In the morning I drove to Peakville.
I had expected that Mr JG would have put up the new fence, but there had been very little progress in nearly three weeks. Metal uprights had been fixed in the ground, and a couple of square-section wooden horizontals now extended between the two uprights nearest the gates.
Mr CJ must have trimmed the hedges of the Old Man’s house for me. The green bin was full of hedge-clippings.
At Bert’s, the little silver hatchback and a little white van were parked on the forecourt. I was the only customer in the shop when I arrived. “On my own today!” I exclaimed, and both women smiled at me. Short Woman called out Bert’s name, saying that they needed more peas — but Junior was the only man behind the counter. So perhaps she didn’t realise that Bert was in the back room, or perhaps Junior is also called Bert. (However, the crispness of the batter suggested that Bert had done the cooking.)
When I arrived back at the Old Man’s house, and was closing the gates of the driveway, Mrs PM called out to me from the other side of the street. She was out of breath — her GP suspects that she is suffering from angina. Mrs PM had gone out shopping, but the bus she had caught to bring her home had diverted from the expected route, and so she had had a longer-than-usual walk, from a bus-stop near the GP surgery. She told me that she is 77.
Mrs PM asked me whether I knew that Sally had died. I asked her whether she meant Sarah Goldstein, but she meant Sally F, who lived about half-way between the Old Man’s house and Mrs PM’s. Sally’s daughter had arrived at her mother’s house one day about four or five weeks previously, and had found her dead in bed. Mrs PM told me that she had reckoned Sally to be about 68, but that in fact she was 70. I hadn’t seen Sally for quite some years, but all the time I knew her she was obese. Mrs PM had attended the funeral.
Now that Sally is dead, Mrs PM and Vinnie (the man who lives in the house directly opposite the Old Man’s house) are the only people who live locally that I remember from my childhood. (I don’t remember Harry from those days.)
Straight after lunch, I mowed all four lawns. Towards the end, there was some faint drizzle.
[Original posting 20 May 2012]