Very very early

Tuesday 11 November 2014

I visit Mr JB at his home this morning. He is enjoying his retirement.
When I am saying goodbye, at 11:30 or thereabouts, an envelope bearing a second-class stamp drops through the letterbox. It contains the first Christmas card Mr JB has received this year, from Mrs AA whom we both used to know in the 1980s. She always was a bit eccentric.

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Tolstoi and tears

Saturday 27 September 2014

I pay Naomi a visit, setting off at about 14:00 and returning at about 17:05.
We discuss a book by George Steiner, and another about Sergei Diaghilev. The former book is Tolstoy or Dostoevsky; Naomi reads out some passages from it, and is moved to tears when she talks about oak-tree imagery as used in War and Peace. She has read that novel in its entirety.

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Tanbrit, Pepper, Vest, PP

Friday 26 September 2014

In the morning, I drive to Peakville. The weather forecast is for a dry day, but there is some rain about a quarter of the way through my journey
Before going to the Old Man’s house, I call at Sandbank Shoals. Tubby Woman is serving, and Very Tubby Woman is cooking.
My portion of fish is slightly below average size; the batter is thin and not very crisp. But Sandbank Shoals is still easily my favourite fish-and-chip shop.
At the Old Man’s house, I notice that the skip that was on the driveway of number 6 during my previous visit is no longer there.
The foliage of the tree alongside number 35 is now very ragged. The leaves of the tree in the Old Man’s front garden are shrivelled, but there are still plenty of them left on the tree.
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Ten years

Saturday 7 September 2019

Ten years ago today, under a different URL, I started this blog, which I restarted five years ago today.

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Heat, hospital, holiday for some

Tuesday 22 July 2014

A hot, sunny day.
I give Naomi a lift to the GP surgery. The GP arranges an appointment for her to have her eyes tested at the hospital today.
I accompany Naomi to the hospital and back, by bus.
On the way back, I point out Bath Street to Naomi — it was recently mentioned in the Peakville Bugle, but she’d never heard of it until then.
At Naomi’s house, she has a cup of tea, and I have a cup of coffee.
After returning to the Old Man’s house, I walk to the Banlieue. There are three cars in the school car-park, one of which is Mrs Pavane’s car. When I return, all three cars have gone, and the gates of the car-park, which were open, are now closed.

Towards 20:30, children are playing on the back garden of the GS family.
An hour later, there is a rumbling noise from the same garden; then for ten or fifteen minutes sporadic fireworks; the rumbling noise again; and finally silence.

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Protuberant in profile

Monday 21 July 2014

At 17:35 or so, Mr and Mrs Eford are standing on the pavement outside the Efords’ house, together with a man aged about thirty and a chubby young blonde woman. They all chat for a while, then the man and young woman get into a car and drive off.
Mrs Eford is wearing orange trousers, and a white vest with a mottled black swirl-pattern. When she is standing in rear left-hand profile, just uphill of the car, I see how fat she is: her waist is of comparatively modest size — but below the waist, things become truly enormous.

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From Escargots to snails

Saturday 19 July 2014

Shortly after 06:00 it is raining. The rain becomes heavier, and then near-torrential.
At 08:08 there is mist over the Banlieue.
I go shopping at AltGroce, in mist and drizzle. When I return to the Old Man’s house, I pick one large and two small snails off the garage door, and two large snails off the right-hand door-pillar. I release them into the overgrown area behind where we used to have bonfires.

At Sandbanks, on the way to buy my fish-and-chip lunch, I pick another snail off the path in the park, and fling it into the foliage to my left.
Then I detect the smell of frying.
Another customer, a woman in her late thirties, is approaching the shop at the same time as I, but from the opposite direction. I let her enter first. There are no other customers inside.
New Girl, at the left behind the counter, takes the woman’s order, which includes “a scattering of chips” — it seems this is for the woman’s mother. The whole order only half-fills one of the shop’s standard white plastic carrier bags.
Young Girl, at the right, remembers my usual order.
“You look bored,” I say to Young Girl as she brings my food from the drainers.
“The weather doesn’t help.” (It is raining.)
“You’ve got free advertising today,” I tell her, and explain that I’m referring to the smell of frying.
She tells me that the smell usually blows the other way.
Tubby Woman is cooking today. While I am in the shop, the young man in the red polo shirt enters the kitchen via the back door.

In the afternoon I visit Naomi. When I arrive she is watching the end of Swing Time on a Freeview channel. Naomi still hasn’t heard from Jen — she has Jen’s birthday-card and birthday-present on the dining-room table.
Naomi is worried about her GP appointment on Tuesday morning. She needs little persuasion to accept my offer of a lift there, plus moral support.
I oil Naomi’s garden shears, and massage her back.
We talk about various subjects including dumbing-down; ill-advised cosmetic surgery, especially face-lifts; and teachers that Naomi still has unpleasant memories of from her schooldays.

Back at the Old Man’s house, I pick another large snail off the right-hand door-pillar of the garage, and release it into the same place as the others.
Around 17:30, there is heavy rain and lightning. Fifteen minutes or so later, there is thunder that sounds as though it is coming from directly overhead.
The rain stops not long after 18:00, and eventually the sun returns, becoming bright after 19:10.

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Simeon asks, Belle responds

Friday 18 July 2014

It has been a hot, humid night.
At 07:02 I see Mrs Eford and a woman whom I take to be her sister — they are equally obese — by the Efords’ pale blue car which is on their driveway. The car has its tailgate open, and one of the women is taking luggage out of the load area. The Efords must have just returned from their holiday. Both women are dressed in pale-orange cardigans (unfastened), and white trousers.
The sky is overcast, but it is getting brighter.
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Wheeler, Maroon, PP, Lurch, Tanbrit, Trotsky

Thursday 17 July 2014

In the middle of the night, moonlight is streaming through the landing window of the Old Man’s house. The moon is above the right-hand corner of the house adjoining Vinnie’s.
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Fern, Black, PP, Zebex, Ojay, Chummy

Wednesday 16 July 2014

There is a sunny start to the day.
Not long after 07:15, a tall man, two little girls and a dog descend past Vinnie’s house. The girls are aged about seven, and four or five. The elder girl is inboard, and she is the one who is holding the dog’s lead. They all stop near the junction-box, for the dog to do a wee. Are they on the school-run, or are they just taking the dog for a walk?
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