Before driving to Bert’s for my fish and chips, I spoke with Mrs CJ — earlier, I had seen her driving off as I was entering the Old Man’s house, and we had waved to each other. Now she had just returned from shopping as I was about to leave. We spoke over the front garden wall. During the school holidays she is taking care of her grandsons three days a week. Charlie had enjoyed his overnight stay with the boys. “Fantastic!” was how he had described it. They had gone to the pub [!] for a sausage-and-chip tea; for breakfast they had had toast and something else; for lunch before they came home, they had had jam sandwiches.
Mrs CJ finds that her grandsons enjoy all sorts of things that cost little or no money — spending time with her at Bishop’s Park, for example, which four-year-old Karl approves of because it doesn’t cost anything.
When Mr & Mrs CJ take the boys to Eelby, they do not go to the central area round the promenade, which Mrs CJ thinks has for many years looked run-down. Instead they go to the more salubrious area of Hightown. They went there in February, and on the more recent occasion when they inadvertently brought a lot of sand back.
When I arrived at Bert’s, I was the only customer in sight. All four of the staff were behind the counter when I arrived, but Junior retreated to the back room. Bert was standing there as he sometimes does, staring into space and looking a bit disgruntled. I mentioned to Tall Woman, who served me with fish and chips, “I thought you might be on holiday today.” I had meant all of them, but she replied, “No. I’m going on Thursday, me.” Meanwhile, Short Woman was filling my plastic tub of peas. As I was about to leave, a rather obese sixtyish woman was entering the shop. I stood aside to let her in.
The lawns hardly needed mowing, but I mowed them anyway, and cut some long grass at the side of the garage.
Yesterday, the Norwegian massacre took place. This afternoon, Amy Winehouse was found dead. I had predicted her demise, but I hadn’t expected it so soon — it occurred weeks after I spoke, rather than months or years.
[Original posting 23 July 2012]