Sunday 6 November 2016

There’s a chill in the air. There are starlings.

There’s a chill in the air. There are starlings. There is standing traffic because a bus has got stuck. The driver is wearing sunglasses and waving his arms at a woman in a Fiesta—who is also stuck. There’s a navy blue sock in the gutter.

I walk past the dog-eared Vote Remain posters in the window of the railway bookshop and take the desire line across the verge. The yellow carpet of fallen leaves under the now thin canopy of the cherry tree is accented with black: seven empty White Star cider cans and a plastic bag of dog shit. 

I cross the road. The clothing bank is propped up on bricks, there’s a new chipboard fence and the kerbstones have been messily daubed with white paint: No Parking Please. 

Schoolgirls are stealing schoolboys’ hats for fun and the man who jogs in his suit trousers overtakes me in the road, his grey shirt completely buttoned—including the cuffs.

I slalom around on wheelie bin pavements. At number fifty-six, the bin has a brass effect '5' and '6' bolted to it, next door the ’58’ has been applied with lackadaisical Tippex and outside No.60 there’s no wheelie bin at all, just a small five litre brushed steel pedal bin with no number.

A single rubberised red-brown glove with off-white cuffing lies in the gutter. This is by far the most commonly discarded style of glove in the Huddersfield area*. I once saw one fall from the back of a builder's truck as it rounded a corner which perhaps explains the phenomenon.

Further up the hill, the soot-black terraces give way to pebble-dash inter-war semis with neatly trimmed privet. There’s a pile of interior doors in a ginnel and a big ball of hoover fluff on a lawn but no more White Star cans. 

A strong easterly breeze is blowing now and the leaves on the pavement are getting deep. There are parked cars on the right, ivy encroaching from the left and overhanging trees above.

Higher up again and the uniformity of another Victorian terrace is broken with a UPVC porch, a satellite TV dish, or a clump of Pampas grass. Opposite this, behind the collapsed dry stone wall there’s an area of literal edgeland: rough tussock grass, arthritic nettles, fireweed, brambles, a broken pallet, a graffiti-daubed electricity substation, the remains of a galvanised security palisade and a sheer millstone drop to the valley bottom.

* Huddersfield Glovewatch 2002