Neighbours and dogs

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Over the years, Mr & Mrs Nearneighbour have owned a succession of German Shepherds. At present they have two such dogs, one of them not quite full-grown.
This morning at 08:05, I see the Explorer and his parents setting off from their home. The Explorer is on his balance-bike, and is wearing his plastic cycling-helmet. At that moment, Mr Nearneighbour arrives on the scene, with the two dogs on leads. The dogs bound up to the family, and Mr Nearneighbour has to restrain them — leaning back, and pulling hard on the leads. He is a solidly-built man, but he has to put in a lot of effort. Mr Nearneighbour stays where he is, and makes the dogs stay where they are, until the family have walked down the road and are out of sight.
The two families seem to get on very well, and this whole encounter is entirely amicable. However, I wouldn’t trust either of those dogs. The younger one moves with a wolf-like gait.

[Original posting 24 April 2013]

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Travel, explore, delve

Sunday 22 April 2012

Recently, I have assumed that the Explorer’s family are away on holiday, as there has been no sign of them or of their car — which is usually parked on their drive. Then on Thursday, I see the car parked at the kerb a little distance down the road. Perhaps the family are allowing friends to use the car.
The car is back in its usual place by sometime on Saturday.
This lunchtime, on returning from church, I see the Explorer at the front edge of the drive. He is wearing his plastic cycling-helmet, and around him he has child-sized gardening tools and equipment, which include a wheelbarrow. He waves hello, with a bemused expression on his face; I decide it is best not to respond to his greeting, or acknowledge it. A few minutes later I see him giving some gardening attention to the flowerbed of his next-door neighbours.

[Original posting 22 April 2013]

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One penny cheaper

Wednesday 18 April 2012

At the filling-station not far past Salty Sally’s, unleaded petrol is 143.9p per litre.

[Original posting 18 April 2013]

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Dressing-up day?

Tuesday 17 April 2012

There is a wet start to the day, but just after 08:55 the sun breaks through. Unfortunately, the sky soon becomes dull again.
At about 14:15 I see a grey-haired man make very halting progress past the Old Man’s house, on the far pavement, in the direction of the corner shop. He is wearing a shiny blue anorak with the hood down, black jogging-bottoms with a white side-stripe, and trainers. He supports himself on a wooden walking-stick with a handle. He isn’t obese like the Pigeon Lad, just infirm.
At 15:25 or so, towards the end of school-run time, I see two girls together, not accompanied by an adult, walking quite briskly on the far pavement, uphill from the school. (As I remarked yesterday, it seems that few of the local children are allowed to find their own way to or from school.) Then I see something perhaps more unusual: a group of four children on the far pavement, heading in that same direction, one of them a girl in a shiny silvery dress, and one a boy dressed up as a spaceman. He wears a motorcyclist’s crash-helmet with full visor, and attached to his back is what is presumably a cardboard box covered with reddish-patterned silvered paper — representing his supply of air. Above the box are two straps or tubes, which I suppose tie the box on, or represent air-hoses — or serve both functions.
The strange thing is that none of the other children appears to be dressed up.

[Original posting 17 April 2013]

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And the madness begins again

Monday 16 April 2012

It is the first day of a new term at Acacia Primary — and the madness of the school-run begins again.
Thirty years ago, there was no school-run to speak of. A few of the teachers at Acacia Primary would park their cars near the Old Man’s house each weekday morning, and drive away after the school-day was over. That was the extent of it. IIRC, things were much the same until sometime in the 1990s.
In 2001 or 2002 — it cannot have been later than the spring of 2002, as the Deceased Lady was in the living-room with us, and she went into residential care that summer — the Old Man and I briefly discussed the traffic-chaos caused by the school-run.
Nowadays, there is congestion and chaos each morning, towards 09:00, and each afternoon towards 15:30. Cars park halfway (some of them two-thirds or three-quarters) onto the pavements. Some of the cars I recognise day after day: the red Saab, the pale gold Vauxhall, various Escargots. There are a few BMWs and more Audis; I’m not sure whether there are any Mercedes.
I don’t know the boundaries of the catchment area for the school, but the area cannot be all that extensive. As I said to the Old Man in 2001/02, some of the children must be “driven absurdly short distances to school”, and home again. “But that won’t change,” I continued — and it hasn’t. Parents aren’t willing to let their children find their way to and from school unaccompanied; and making the journey on foot doesn’t appeal. (I concede that some of the parents who drop their children off early, no doubt drive on to their place of work, and after the end of the work-day drive back to the school and collect their children — but not all of the parents on the school-run can plead such an excuse.)

After breakfast, I drive to the recycling centre and dispose of some household electrical equipment.
Then I go into town. This is my first trip into the centre of Peakville for several months. I call at Richter Henker LLP, and I have lunch at the Moon Under Water.

[Original posting 16 April 2013]

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With my coat on

Sunday 15 April 2012

At 05:10, I see that there is a light on in the kitchen of Mr & Mrs JG’s house. I cannot see any lights on in any other house.
After lunch, I mow all four lawns. There is a cold wind. I don’t remember ever mowing the lawns while wearing a coat — until today.

[Original posting 15 April 2013]

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Busy day at Bert’s

Saturday 14 April 2012

When I arrive at Bert’s, the blue car is parked as usual. A silver hatchback parks alongside it while I am in the shop.
All four members of staff are on duty, and there are eight customers queuing ahead of me. Before I am served, four people have joined the queue behind me. One of those ahead of me is an old lady with a walking-stick; those behind me are all men.
Short Woman has again changed the style of her hair, but has not changed its deep black colour.
When I go to do some shopping at TeraGroce after lunch, I notice that there is now a second estate agent’s sign in the garden of the house where Mrs AD’s mother used to live.
There are some oddments (wooden shelves etcetera) leaning against the front wall of number 35, by the living-room window.

[Original posting 14 April 2013]

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No road sense

Sunday 8 April 2012 (Easter Sunday)

Not long after noon, I am sitting in my car, which is parked halfway along a service road in downtown Suburbia Somnolenta. I see a group of people crossing the single-carriageway main road — they look as though they may have been to an Easter service at the church nearby. The group includes a couple with two daughters, one small and one tiny. Tiny Daughter is wearing a multicoloured (purple and other colours) patterned dress and a cardigan. As the family approach the crossing-point (it isn’t a proper pedestrian crossing) on the service road, Tiny Daughter excitedly does not stop at the kerb but runs straight across.
“Come back!” her father calls out. She does so, and then all four members of the family together cross the service road.
As I am driving off a few moments later, I saw father and Tiny Daughter again — mother and big sister and all the rest of the group of people have left the scene. He has taken her back to the spot from which she ran ahead, and he is impressing upon her how important it is to cross roads safely. I stop a few yards before the crossing-point, to let the two of them cross the service road, but with an amiable expression the girl’s father waves me through.

[Original posting 8 April 2013]

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Early adopter

The Old Man equipped himself with a mobile phone — at a time when I don’t think many people of his generation had one — so that he could phone the Deceased Lady shortly before the end of a round of golf and warn her that he would be home soon.

[Original posting 5 April 2013]

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Late-blooming daffodils

Monday 2 April 2012

There are two late-blooming daffodils growing alongside the garage. (They are of a different variety from those that grow alongside the drive.) I cut them, and pack them into my car.
At the filling-station not far past Salty Sally’s, unleaded petrol is 144.9p per litre.

[Original posting 2 April 2013]

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