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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Blue car, black car, Big Star

Saturday 23 May 2015

I have a dream in which Suburbia Ventosa is at the centre of, or is the source of, the most important aspects of my life.
At breakfast-time I realise that I haven’t seen Mr OS this visit.
At 10:31, as I reverse my car off the Old Man’s driveway, I notice that Mr JG’s car is parked on his driveway with its tail close to the door of his garage — this is most unusual.
I have to take an alternative route home to Suburbia Somnolenta, but I get stuck in a long tailback. To the offside of my car, and then to its front offside, is a black car of the same model as Mrs PP’s car. There is an Asian family in the car, one member of which is an older man who is wearing a turban. He is in the front passenger seat.
As I reach the crossroads in Suburbia Somnolenta, a car that I occasionally see on a driveway near the park, an 03-registration Big Star, approaches the crossroads from my right, and turns left.

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Pegasus trio, Orla’s Trio, Sandbank Shoals trio

Friday 22 May 2015

At 04:40 the sky is overcast. It is much the same at 06:53.
Not long before 07:45, a boy is descending past the Efords’ driveway and then past the upper part of the school-house garden. I notice the pale-green and the pale-blue horizontal stripe on his dark anorak, and I suddenly realise he is Josh Wheeler. Maud and Mrs Wheeler are following, at a distance of some yards.
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The putative Peppercorn

Thursday 21 May 2015

In the early-morning school-run, I don’t see Mrs Vest or her children, but I do see Grandma Vest’s black Plum depart in the direction of George Street, from where it was parked alongside the Trimots’ house and the house adjoining.
Three women ascend alongside the school: Mrs PP inboard, Mrs FW outboard, and a vaguely-familiar brunette between them. I see them continue as far as the Ports’ house. Mrs PP isn’t being garrulous, but seems to be doing most of the talking. She is wearing a knee-length black dress with a rounded neckline, and a cream or pale-fawn cardigan with only the bottom two buttons fastened. The brunette doesn’t seem to be saying anything.
Mrs PP’s car must be parked beyond the CJs’ house. It departs, in haste, up Acacia Grove.
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Master Mustard makes a mess

Wednesday 20 May 2015

It has been quite a cool night for this time of year, and there is a breeze when I go out to the car at about 07:15.
When Mrs Wheeler returns to her car after taking the children into school, she already looks tired. The car is parked alongside number 35. Mrs Wheeler is perhaps in her early forties.
Mrs Vest parks alongside the junction-box. When Rufus has got out via the nrd, he stands on the pavement by the nearside of the car’s bonnet, and gestures diagonally uphill towards the far pavement — no doubt at a schoolmate. He is also pulling faces a bit.
Mr Tanbrit walks past Vinnie’s driveway, holding Thomas’s left hand in his own right hand. Tessa is walking behind them. Thomas, who is wearing his usual red anorak, is having to run to keep pace with his father. When the Tanbrits are crossing the street, towards the Efords’ driveway, Mr Tanbrit is holding Tessa’s right hand as well as Thomas’s left hand. Tessa is having to half-run.
Mrs CM returns to her car, which is parked nose downhill alongside the Trimots’ house and the house adjoining.
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