Sunday, 25 February 2018

It’s the first clear blue day for weeks on the solid and dependable streets of semis



It’s the first clear blue day for weeks on the solid and dependable streets of semis: half brick, half pebbledash. Reliable men polish hatchbacks or further fine-tune already solid fixtures and fittings. King Charles spaniels bask on the backs of settees. There’s no dog shit, no litter. People stop me to talk about the weather. A woodpigeon calls against the gentle background thrum of the busy motorway tributary. Left, into a side street and a step up the aspirational ladder: double bay windows, dormers, steeply pitched roofs, 4x4s on the drives. There are sparrows in the neatly trimmed hedges and there are children in the schoolyard. An elderly woman waits for the Cairn terrier in the little red dog coat to shit under the hedge at the edge of the pavement, her walking stick decorated with souvenir badges. “What a lovely morning!” she says, before bending down to carefully package the mess.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the owner of the pornographic bookshop is unloading bulk bought dog food systems from a battered Transit van, his Yorkshire terrier tethered to the door handle. A noisy Subaru Impreza farts past at about 60mph with an acid green quad bike in noisy pursuit. Further down, opposite the house with the brass plaque on the front door that reads, ‘A friend in need is a pain in the arse’, a couple are huddled over a phone taking an online quiz at the bus stop next to the pile of energy drink cans. “What’s the day after Pancake Day?” asks the man. “Valentine's Day”, says the woman.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

I’m gagging on the stench of the fetid urine



I’m gagging on the stench of the fetid urine and marinated faeces at the house of the bow-legged terrier called Diesel while over the road a woman in bunny slippers and a bath robe is jumping up and down in a wheelie bin.

A young man in a hoodie sings loudly to himself as he walks past


Eleven magpies and a crow overlook the estate where pretend owls outnumber the human population by two to one: fluorescent silk flowers in tiny porches, pizza sized ha’penny stepping stones, a row of three tiny retrievers with placards around their necks saying ‘Welcome’. Both the Buddha and the donkey that pulls the little wooden cart have lost their heads in the recent frost.


The murky horses look dejected in the steep miry field


Mr Briggs answers his door, legs akimbo, thumbs in belt loops. There are no pleasantries, no hello or good morning, instead, he opens with ‘Well, he’s right in amongst ‘em now, in’t he? “Who, What?” I ask. He nods at his neighbour’s house over the road, “He’s in Goa, in’t he? Moans like hell about ‘em when they come over here, then he goes over there to see them!’


Ensnared black plastic flaps from barbed wire while a solitary starling swanee whistles from a telegraph pole. A long ‘V’ formation of geese honk overhead. I pull up in the van next to the field of jackdaws and rooks—hundreds probably. I get out and slam the door. The jackdaws fly off. The rooks stay put.