Sunday 21 May 2017


“Oh, I didn’t know he’d ordered a jockey wheel,” said the big bleached-haired woman in the red shorts. ”DEAN, YOUR JOCKEY WHEEL’S ARRIVED!”

There’s a long cerise pink hairpiece on the stone steps up to Pip Hill from Albert Street.

At the house with the laughing terracotta Buddha on the broken patio, there’s a plastic Christmas wreath and a dozy looking vine weevil on the front door. The plants in the pots are all dead and two women in their twenties are sitting on the doorstep in their pyjamas, smoking. A black Mercedes Smart car is parked on the drive, its boot decorated with a big iron cross motif with Luftwaffe written underneath it in a gothic font.

It’s mild and overcast and the pervading smell is of liver and onions. At the house with the grinning miniature Easter Island heads I say hello to the man who is posting flyers for the local curry house into the letterbox that says No Junk Mail on it. He doesn’t reply. 

Next door, a three-foot pile of rubbish has accumulated in the garden and there are now fourteen sycamore saplings growing from between the joints in the cracked concrete paving flags. Arranged across the parcel shelf of the old Vauxhall Vectra on the drive, there are six nodding bulldogs wearing cross of St George T-shirts. 

The bin men ignore the bright yellow toilet with the wooden lid that’s been left out with the wheelie bins.

The thin man who is driving the car transporter for the insurance company is known as J-Dog according to the shiny cut-out foil writing in the window of his cab.

The man in the pastel coloured shirt at the Co-op is buying himself a Costa coffee. “I only need five hours sleep a night,” he says to the woman behind the counter, “If I don’t get it though, I’m as sick as a dog!” 
“I’m the same!” says the woman. “I just know when I’m overtired and I just have to go to bed.” “So you should,” says the man, “Nothing wrong with that! You’re like me.”

There’s a thrush singing in the top of a leylandii. 

A big forty-odd-year-old man with a homemade face tattoo pulls up on a child's glittery pink push bike with a flat tyre and asks me, "Have you fucking been up fucking New Laithe with a fucking parcel?” 

Five minutes later, an old Ford Focus skids around the corner. Three of the doors open before it even stops and half-a-dozen big men jump out, smash the front windows of the VW Golf parked at the side of the road and drag out the driver.