Past the beech tree with the polystyrene takeaway tray in its lower branches and the bin liner flapping from its bare canopy. Past the new primary colours of the nursery school: ‘Be careful of Mia’s knee please Brandon’. Past the prefab school of dance and the rotten green Scout hut. Past the woman in black tassels who is standing still in the middle of the road, distracted by her phone. Past the big cardboard box, squashed and wedged between the lamppost and the wall. Past dead twigs in plastic pots, bent railings, leaded lights repaired with packing tape, the closed down pub with the dirty windows …
Left, down the cobbles and moss. Bare trees overhang green stone walls outside the 1980s vicarage. A blackbird is sounding the alarm and two stocky terriers are fighting by the overgrown chainlink tennis court. Dog owners shout. The fake bells of All Saints ring out from the P.A. in the church tower and the fat man in the Octavia empties his ashtray into the gutter.
There’s a man mending a caravan and shouting for Susan.
The rag-and-bone man drives past the flats at high speed and rattles right by the house with the decorative concrete wall while the woman (maybe Susan?) in tight jeans and purple fleece looks on disapprovingly.The smell of the Aussie Burger grill is on the breeze outside Taste Buds takeaway—Is it the Aussie Burgers or is it weed? It might be a bit of both.
Drink cans and takeaway packaging have been impaled on the cast iron railings around the basketball court and, down behind the broken old concrete fence where there’s a big view across the valley, the man in the noisy JCB is Improving Yorkshire's Sewers.
At the bottom of the narrow stone steps, the tall thin man with the dew drop on his nose stands on a portion control sachet of ketchup and it sticks to his shoe. I say Good Morning as we pass and he ignores me. At the top of the steps, his discarded tab end is still burning out next to a big flob of gob.