End of the nine days wondering

Sunday 21 February 2016

As I’m finishing packing the car, I see Mr OS descending the far pavement of Acacia Grove. I wave to him, and he waves to me and calls: “Good morning.” [sic — the time is a little after 13:00]
I hear what sounds like an old person’s voice just outside the JGs’ house. Two people then walk past the driveway of PH and towards the Oignon parked alongside the front side lawn — they are Nash and (a step or two behind him) a rather heavily-made-up young woman who I suppose must be his girlfriend. “Hi!” says Nash to me in passing, and I say “Hello”; the girl says nothing.
To the side of the driveway of PH, there could be as many as sixteen clumps of daffodils, depending on how you count them. Quite a few of the daffodils are in bud, but there still are none in bloom.
Unusually, there are cars parked alongside both the Thornboroughs’ and number 6, so the most convenient place for me to park is alongside number 14. I take a look at the wooden fence which was given a shaking by Simeon and Blanche, then I go to close the driveway-gates of PH. The new blue car on the JGs’ driveway is a Java. As I return to my car, a grey car parked at an angle nose-out on the driveway of number 14, which is to the left of the wooden fence, briskly exits and heads off up the road.
The temperature-display on the car’s instrument-panel shows 14 degrees C as I coast downhill towards AltGroce, where I fill up with fuel at under £1 per litre.
A couple of miles short of home, I let a silver car turn out of a side-road on the right. That car is an apparently well-kept example of a model that is now not as common as it used to be. Its registration number is N999AAA, so the car is about twenty years old.

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Thomas Tanbrit tired and troubled

Friday 18 December 2015

Overnight, Miss Trimot’s car is parked by the uphill section of the Old Man’s front lawn.
At 07:43, via the bathroom window, I see an orange glow at the horizon, to the right-hand side of the Thornboroughs’ house. Eight minutes later, the glow is a bit wider and it extends much further vertically. A few minutes after that, the undersides of the clouds — from a high elevation to very near the horizon, and from the Thornboroughs’ house to the Ports’ house — are all lit up orange.
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Multiple encounter

Thursday 3 December 2015

As I approach the newsagent’s, a woman is just walking out of the shop. She is of indeterminate age (40?) and slim-to-medium build, with dyed blonde hair and some fake tan, wearing pale denims and a jacket with a fleecy collar.
A few minutes later, on my way to the GigaGroce supermarket, I see the same woman standing on the pavement to my right with her back to me, talking with two of her female friends, both of whom appear to be younger than she is and at least one of whom has medium-brown hair.
On my way in to the supermarket, I notice that an old man has paused in the doorway, just like the old lady on 14 January 2015 except that he isn’t holding on to the door-jamb. I check whether he needs any help — he says he doesn’t.
When I am queuing at the checkout, I notice that the woman of indeterminate age is queuing immediately behind me. She is standing in left-hand profile, so isn’t looking at me.

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Thomas Tanbrit taken to the toilet

Saturday 5 September 2015

There is rain overnight — the roadway is wet.
I intended to set off for Cheerful Market by 09:00, but I have a longer lie-in than planned.
Yesterday I left a trowel on the top of the hedge after doing some weeding in the back garden. I retrieve the trowel at breakfast-time.
There is some sun, and some cloud.
I set off for Cheerful Market about 10:15. The Merkur saloon that belongs to Mrs PM’s son is parked alongside Mrs PM’s front garden. The car is still there when I return from Cheerful Market.
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A lost fragment retrieved

One evening in 2007 or 2008, I phoned the Old Man. He seemed pleasurably distracted by some music on a TV programme that he was watching at the same time as he was talking with me.
It was a rock band performing, he told me, and he thought they were quite good.
The rock band turned out to be the Kings of Leon.

[Original posting 2 September 2010]

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A trace of moisture

Saturday 13 June 2015

In the small hours I am woken by the noise of the rain. There is no thunder.
At 09:30 I can hear subdued birdsong, and it is not raining as hard.
By about 12:00 there is just a slight drizzle. Five minutes later I go out to load up the car. At about 12:25 it is drizzling harder. Mr OS descends the far pavement. He is wearing dark clothing, and a bag of shopping is dangling from his left hand. I am leaning against the top of the closed gates of the Old Man’s driveway. When Mr OS reaches the Thornboroughs’ driveway, I ask him:
“How are you these days?”
“Good morning [sic],” he replies. He advances to Vinnie’s driveway, then he stops, and says he is not so bad.
“I saw you the other day, you seemed to be struggling.”
“I have good days and bad days.”
“It must have been a bad day.”
He says he hasn’t yet taken any painkillers today. Then he points (with his stick?) to the barriers alongside Vinnie’s long hedge, and says it makes it more difficult [i.e. for him] when they put those things there.
“Can you squeeze through?” I ask.
“Oh, yes.” Especially, he adds, since the hedge has been trimmed.
“Yes, they’ve cut it right back.”
And he goes on his way. Our encounter was more friendly than perhaps it looks when written down.
The Merkur saloon that belongs to Mrs PM’s son was parked outside her house all the time during the first days of this visit to Peakville; but for the last few days it has been absent.

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Tanbrit tattoo

Friday 12 June 2015

Mr Tanbrit crosses the street towards the Efords’ driveway, with Thomas’s left hand in his own right hand. There is a tattoo on the outer side of Mr Tanbrit’s right arm, below the shoulder. On the far pavement I see a young man in a black top walking inboard of Mr Tanbrit and Thomas — is it Mr PP? The three of them encounter Mr Lurch and his son, who are ascending from the school. As he was this morning, Mr Lurch is wearing a green-yellow T-shirt with a LUCKY STRIKE logo on the front. Master Lurch is outboard of his father, wearing a yellow uniform top.
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Reviewing the situation

Thursday 11 June 2015

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Return of Grandma Vest

Wednesday 10 June 2015

During the afternoon school-run, Grandma Vest’s 61-registration black Plum is parked nose downhill alongside the Ports’ house.
Mrs PP, and Mrs Vest outboard of her, ascend together from the school. Mrs Vest is wearing a salmon-pink top, with slender white bra-straps showing underneath, and tight black leggings. Her footwear is black sandals.
Mrs PP looks thoughtful, Mrs Vest looks rather tired.
Just ahead of them is Grandma Vest — she gets to the Plum before they do. I have not seen Grandma Vest for some time, though I saw her car on 21 May. She must be about seventy years old; her hair is grey, wavy and fairly short; she is rather stocky of build; she often looks to be trying to hurry, but nonetheless her gait is slow and halting. She is wearing a yellow top with horizontal stripes.
Leah is wearing her pale-leaf-green anorak with white polka-dots; one might think she would feel too warm in the anorak, even though it is open at the front. I notice also her short white socks. She is standing on the pavement just uphill of the Plum’s offside rear corner, playing with a red spring-toy. Then I see Rufus, slightly uphill of Leah and further inboard, with a blue version of the same toy. The Vest children are simply letting one half of the coiled-up toy drop, so that the spring uncoils and dangles.
Grandma is now closer to Mrs Vest who, uphill of the car’s offside rear corner, slips a long-sleeve black garment, probably a cardigan, over her salmon-pink top. Grandma is standing on the pavement inboard of the rear half of her car. Mrs PP drives past, heading towards George Street, and gives a single hoot of her horn. There is more reaction from Grandma Vest, who seems taken by surprise, than from Mrs Vest.
Mrs Vest ushers Rufus into the offside rear of the Plum, then Leah into the nearside rear. Her own car is alongside number 35.

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Conversation, 1970s

My mother used to watch a lot of American police-dramas on TV. She had often heard the word Caucasian used in connexion with the victim of a murder, and so had concluded that it must mean a dead body. When she once used the word in that sense, I told her that it didn’t mean what she thought it did. She would not believe me.
To convince her, I had to show her the entry for Caucasian in a dictionary.

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