To my surprise, Mr JG had made very little progress on the fence between his driveway and the driveway of the Old Man’s house. No panels had yet been erected, and half of the “fence” consisted of simply the isolated metal uprights.
From the dining-room window, I had a conversation with Mrs CJ who was hanging out her washing. At half-term, she and Mr CJ took Charlie and Karl to the seaside resort of Eelby for the day. It was too cold for swimming-trunks, but she rolled up their trousers so that they could paddle in the sea. When she later rolled their trousers down again, a lot of trapped sand was released. Mrs CJ subsequently (at home, I think) tried to wind the boys up by pretending that a telephone call she had just received was from Eelby town council, asking the family to bring all the sand back. Charlie was sceptical about this.
When the boys are at their grandparents’ house, and Mrs CJ tells Charlie not to be so loud, he asks: “Why, is BLEKE next door?” She tells him no, but that he should be quieter when indoors.
At Bert’s, only the little silver “Betty Boop” hatchback was parked on the forecourt. Inside, I saw only Junior and Short Woman, though as I arrived she called out to someone — it may have been Tall Woman, working behind the scenes. Short Woman also informed Junior that they needed more peas. Again, I was the only customer in the shop when I arrived, though a family did arrive after me. From the way they greeted Short Woman, they must have been old-established customers, or friends of her.
The batter on the fish was crisp, so perhaps Junior has learnt from the master.
[Original posting 4 June 2012]