Thursday 14 January 2016

Stepping Around the Shit Streaked Toilet Paper

Stepping around the shit streaked toilet paper that trails from drain at the bottom of the hill, I make my way up the flotsam strewn pavement into the village: Cooper’s of Stortford, Capri Sun, an empty pack-of-three Oral-B toothbrushes, a snapped off cricket bat, some Walker’s salt & vinegar, a KFC box, a Cadbury’s selection box, floating polystyrene, festive wrapping, an overflowing wheelie bin, half a dozen leaky black bin-liners, a bent roller-skate, and a big Porsche 4x4. The woman in the twin-set says she’d report the rubbish but she 'can’t do whatsit-ing’ and she mimes typing on a keyboard.

There are pine needles on everybody’s doorsteps.

The old man with HATE and HATE tattooed on his knuckles is complaining; his new glasses are crap and he can’t see to sign his name.

The ladders slide from the roof of the Land Rover Discovery and clatter onto the road. The driver begins lashing them back into place in the heavy rain.

Mr Briggs pulls up next to the still half-flowering blue hydrangea. He winds down the window of his Bedford Rascal and points to the house opposite. He shouts above the noise of the rain and his idling engine, “They’re funny buggers them; you never see ‘em!” He drives away again after conceding that “He’s ok, but she’s a funny bugger; I’ve never seen her!”

The Jackdaws are cawing, and the proprietor of the shop that sells mainly marrowfat peas; salmon paste; toilet paper; and dusty bottles of Paul Masson is sitting in the dark. I open the door and he gets up from behind the counter to put the lights on.

Back outside, the small woman in the big coat at the bus stop thumbs her phone. “David Bowie’s dead” she says.