Sunday 17 April 2016

The Bin Lorry is Stopping Every Ten Yards

The bin lorry is stopping every ten yards. Its loading mechanism makes a noise like that long note at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue. It dawdles its way down the long road which starts with pebble-dashed maisonettes and the smell of weed at one end, and finishes with detached inter-war bungalows and the smell of seaweed fertiliser at the other. Somewhere around the middle, a man is sitting in his front room ignoring the TV while he reads Russell Grant’s astrology page. Next-door, his neighbour, who is naked apart from a pair of glasses, is playing with his Playstation.

Out in the sticks, a goldfinch flies out from under my feet and the fake grass at the barn conversion is still too green to be mistaken for the real thing. I pass an open window; a woman is having an angry telephone conversation: “Well, it says here that the short length is four-and-a-half centimetres! Well I’ve no idea what four-and-a-half centimetres is in inches!”

There’s cherry blossom, tulips, a rusty cement mixer, leylandii, pyracantha, ruthlessly pruned buddleia, and wooden telegraph poles. A woman in one of those cream, full-length puffer coats that makes the wearer look like an enormous maggot is walking a big black greyhound.

The pub is taking bookings for New Years Eve (‘food will be served between 7-10pm’). Tonight they are serving tapas between 6-9pm and there’s a wet pair of suede loafers in the hyacinth bed.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Stone Buddhas, Buckets of Cig Butts, Missing Top Stones.

Stone Buddhas. Buckets of cig' butts. Missing top stones. 

The woman with the Brexit tote bag walks past the shop advertising ‘Kids £4.’
Litter traps behind broken gates: energy drink cans and takeaway-styrene.
Down from where the big stuffed Tweetie Pie has been lynched from a fall pipe, the young man holding a toddler is talking to the middle-aged woman in the bathrobe. She is sipping from a pint glass.

A bag-for-life in the gutter, cat shit in the ginnel, a torn office chair and a sodden carpet in the miry garden.

Outside the house with the weed smoke wisping from the open window, a woman screams “PACK IT IN!” to the children in the back of the new Freelander.

“Fuck off! What the fuck?” shouts the man when I post his mail. The door opens and he runs across the piss soaked carpet in the yard and up the ginnel shouting after me, “What are you fucking doing! If the dog catches you in the garden, she’ll bite you, innit!” He stops next to a slimy piece of roughly sawn timber and says in a more composed voice, “You need to rest it behind this bit of wood in the alleyway, innit. If the dog catches you, it’s gonna bite you, innit.”

Down from the witch’s house with the hedge full of empty plastic bottles, I follow three men from the engineering shop on their way to the bakery. In identical overalls and of a similar build, the only thing that distinguishes them from one another is their differing stages of male pattern baldness.

The old man in the hi-vis vest is walking with both his arms outstretched, a bag-for-life full of groceries in each hand.

Two sporty young men are walking down Wood Lane, one is wearing a Nike sports bag on his back, the other, grey-marl sweatpants which he is repeatedly hoiking from his arse crack. I follow in the wake of their loud, expletive-ridden conversation and their pungent weed smoke before they turn off into the student halls of residence.

The lights are out in the shop and there’s hardly any stock left, but it’s still open.