Saturday, 23 July 2016

30°C: The ragwort in the back of Mr Brooke’s Transit pick-up is a couple of feet tall now



30°C

The ragwort in the back of Mr Brooke’s Transit pick-up is a couple of feet tall now and the dead badger in the road isn’t a dead badger, it’s a Ramones T-shirt.

The fishmonger drops the pan from his scales onto the floor with a loud clang, “Throwing the tackle around!” he says as he bends to pick it up. The postman walks in and drops a bundle of mail onto the counter, “Don’t you get fed up of delivering rubbish?” the fishmonger asks. 

On the housing estate on the moor where juvenile starlings intermingle with pheasants, the smell of warm porches is oddly comforting. There are fake lawns, stone turtles, small colourful plastic huskies and a skip with a broken drone in it.

At the high altitude newsagent’s shop, the proprietor says he doesn’t get away much. The last holiday he had was a long weekend to Amsterdam. He says he didn’t really enjoy it because the lads he went with ate too much ‘cake’ and spent the whole time asleep.

At the big house in the shadow of the wind turbine, a man in a country check shirt, khaki shorts, deck shoes and white socks is reading print news and sipping Pimm's under an awning. Two care workers arrive in an old black Fiesta, unhitch the gate and make their way into the back garden trailing bin liners.

On the council estate of men in shorts and women in anoraks, there are cherries on the pavement and wood pigeons flapping in the laylandii. Two men in their 70s are talking across a privet: “It’s like when Muhammad Ali came over here and fought Brian London, the Blackpool Rock…”
A ten-year-old people carrier loaded up with bulk bought dog-food-systems pulls up outside the flats with the rusty grab handles by the front doors. 
Grandparents and grandchildren play swing-ball and the ice cream van plays Oranges and Lemons.
Two teenage boys in an old Vauxhall Corsa—windows down, no shirts—are blowing their car horn in time to the music on the radio and the man in the striped apron who is tending his vegetable garden mutters ‘Dickheads!’ under his breath.

The dock leaves are getting big, daisies are coming through, hydrangeas are starting to flower. There is clover in the grass and sunbaked slugs on the sticky asphalt.

On the brand new estate of reconstructed stone semis and developer planted lavender, bald men in their 60 and 70s wear shorts and shades to walk their tousled grey hairpiece terriers.

At the caravan showroom where everything is black and white, black or white coffee is on draft. Black and white flags flutter in the paddock and black and white staff lean on things authoritatively. A large tattooed man in union-jack shorts and mirror shades is checking out the Bailey Pageant Bretagne while a man in khaki shorts, striped canvas belt and an Oxford shirt is having a look at the Hymer Exsis which is parked up by the striking yellow daisy bushes. A slim, tanned man in his early 30s, with big 1980s hair, earings, tight short shorts, espadrilles and a black and white body-hugging shirt with WANG written across the back makes his way between the plastic tub of thirsty pansies and the run-over florets of broccoli into the shop. He strikes up a conversation with the shop manager in an unusually deep voice “… All right, mate. I’ll see you later then, pal”.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Brexit bunting that decorates the No-Unauthorised-Vehicles car park is tangled and twisted



The Brexit bunting that decorates the No Unauthorised Vehicles car park is tangled and twisted, the few bits of it that remain free to flap, do so with vigour. At the house opposite, the woman in the cheesecloth blouse, enormous fluffy cat shaped slippers and carrier bag full of soiled kitty litter is being followed down her garden path by an actual cat. 
It’s warm, bright and blustery. The man in his late 20s in the flat cap and florid trousers is carrying an aubergine and a tin of sardines to his BMW.
The driver of the Audi S4 throws a half eaten pasty out of the window, almost hitting the woman who is walking past the Top Spot snooker club in knee length boots and fleece jacket with wolf pictures on it.
I continue on past the sign that says Achieve Your Ambition Car Wash Open. Past the sparrow pecking at the base of the lamppost with gaffer tape wrapped around it to keep the inspection cover shut. Past the soon to be closed down museum that we all visited as kids—they have a stuffed waxwing from 1970.
The wheelie-bins on the new estate are the same shade of green as the fake plastic topiary in the gardens.
In the rubber scented car showroom, half-a-dozen grey haired customers in anoraks and shorts are sitting by the water cooler watching a wall-mounted television; a grey haired man with swollen legs is being wired up to a heart monitor on the hospital channel.
On, into the village. It’s quiet apart from the blackbirds, the jackdaws and the occasional thrum of a 4x4. There are pansies, pelargoniums, No Cold Callers, Our Glorious Dead, goldfinches, martens, Sunday painters, misanthropic cows, and Slow Children Playing.
Later, back in town, a man comments that I have good legs for kickboxing.