Saturday, 15 September 2018

The man walking a dog down the opposite side of the road pulls out his earphones and jogs across the road towards me...



The man walking a dog down the opposite side of the road pulls out his earphones and jogs across the road towards me. “Kevin?” he says. “Yes” I say. “I came to a reading of yours in Manchester a few years ago”. I remember the occasion and we have a brief chat about it. “How’s it going?” he asks. “I’m just off to work, hence the outfit” I say, looking down at my hi-vis waterproofs. “I’m just walking the dog, hence the dog”, says the man.

It’s raining for the first time in weeks and the man on the bicycle who passes me on the slope in the park has both feet on the ground to augment his brakes. 

The man with the pull-along shopping cart is rummaging through the bins again and a big buzzard is circling directly above the house of the old man who is watching the antique and collectables based quiz show For What It’s Worth.

In the village, where crisp brown leaves line the parts of the gutters that aren’t lined with Range Rovers and Audis, a Volvo edges out from the driveway of one of the big houses. It pulls away to the left while the Citroën Picasso that follows directly behind goes to the right. Both vehicles stop about ten metres apart and the driver of the Volvo signals to the man in the passenger seat of the Picasso. They both wind down their windows. “Has he got it on Google maps?” shouts the Volvo driver. The Picasso passenger shrugs. “Ask him if he’s got it on Google maps”. “Have you got it on Google maps?” says the Picasso passenger to the Picasso driver. “No” says the Picasso driver. “No, he hasn’t got it on Google maps!” shouts the Picasso passenger to the Volvo man. “It’s telling us to go this way on Google maps!” shouts the Volvo man, “Shall we just say we’ll see you there?” he asks. “He says, shall we just see him there?” the Picasso passenger tells the Picasso driver. “Yes” says the Picasso driver. “Yes, we’ll just see you there!” shouts the Picasso passenger to the Volvo man. “All right!” shouts the Volvo man, “It says it’ll take us about an hour!”

Nettles, brambles, berries, crows, muddy wellington boots by the back door, a metallic blue Range Rover with blacked out windows and a noisy modified exhaust.

The woman with the pony tail jogs up the lane in a vest top and cycling shorts. Past nine cars—six German, three Swedish. Past the statue of a cartoon dog and the ornamental bays in pots decorated with the words Beauty, Inspire, Nourish, Grow in quite a plain, slightly rounded sans-serif.

At the reception of the offices of the property developer, the skinny painter and decorator with paint on his trousers is talking to the big bald security man in the sweatshirt and lanyard. “I suppose I do quite like political comedy” he says. “What, like Ali G?” “Hmm, nah, hmm, well, n…, hmm, Ali G? well, not… hmmm. He’s all right.”