Sunday, 4 October 2015

The man two seats in front of me on the bus was wearing 1980s suit trousers

The man sitting two seats in front of me on the bus was wearing 1980s suit trousers, a beige anorak, and something that looked like bird shit in his hair. He was repeatedly slapping himself about the head and face. Behind me, the important-in-corduroy-man was begging to differ with the woman with the bag-for-life, "It's not! It's gonna be another sodding Chinese! Why we need another sodding Chinese when there's already one at the bloody bottom I don't know!” he said before going  on to explain that he'd given up drinking. The woman looked sceptical.

The weather has turned over the last few weeks and they’re selling Christmas decorations at Sainsbury's and Morrison's and the dry cleaners on the ring-road is offering a “Seasonal Ugg Boot Cleaning Service”.

On the moor, acorn and oak-leaves litter the pavement next to the beagles’ kennels. There’s shattered green glass in the gutter. There are concrete lampposts (Concrete Utilities Ltd) and GPO manhole covers, and a pile of dead wood behind an ivy covered wall. There are ferns and holly, rose hips, barking dogs, and cawing crows in the top of the trees. The house with the half-dozen muddy turnips on the doorstep is being clad in pretend wood. 

At the bottom end of the estate, driveways are being resurfaced with small pebbles suspended in clear resin—they look like the top of an apple crumble. There are plastic lawns too, and rusty super-minis, and Octavia Hackney carriages. There are new plastic storm drain grates and concrete top-stones to replace the stolen originals.

At the top of the estate where the big detached houses are, there are leylandii, succulents, rockeries and Alpines, some big toadstools that weren’t there yesterday, a beech hedge, a big overhanging silver birch, ornamental lampposts, pretend mail boxes that are actually bird boxes, yellow grit bins, water butts, high maintenance borders, patios, Burglars Beware neighbourhood watch signs, fire hydrants, bird baths, sundials, and vibrant hi-visibility moss in the grikes between the expensive driveway setts. There was a power cut and all the burglar alarms went off at once.