There’s a gale blowing and the tattered and bleached remains of a flag of St George flaps furiously from the miniature manor house dovecote with the model Morris Traveller parked out front. The woman with the bin liner wrapped around the aerial of her Citroen C3 looks nervously at the straining beech trees that surround the playground, “There’s that many tree-huggers in this village, we’re not allowed to chop them down!” she shouts as a kestrel flies backwards over the school.
A squall rips at the surface of the flooded potholes sending miniature tsunamis flashing the full length of the street and flipping open the bonnet of the big black BMW as it rounds the corner by the church. The driver continues on his way for several seconds before stopping in the middle of the road to clamber out in his suit and pointy shoes to slam it shut again.
Eventually, the storm passes, leaving a clear blue sky dotted with glinting aircraft. The high-end plumbers’ vans and the Mitsubishi pickups cast long shadows across the road; passenger seats and dashboards littered with red-top news, McDonalds bags, biros and notebooks.
On the estate, the man with the bad teeth and brown leather jacket tells me he’s on the sick and bored out of his fucking mind. He says he can’t really complain though because his neighbour is deaf and only has one leg.
I see a nuthatch on the bird table at the famous modernist house, a pair of yellowhammers in the long grass at the side of the farm track, and a brace of pheasants hanging from the door handle of Mr Gaunt’s in the village.