At the Old Man’s house, I found that one letter had arrived; but it wasn’t for him. It was a mailshot from a utility supplier, addressed to Mr Sidney (no other name, no initial) at the Old Man’s address. The house-number and the postcode were correct, but there was no “Grove” in the street-name, and the district-name was incorrect.
As usual, I parked the car on the opposite side of the road from Bert’s. I crossed the road and saw a hearse and a funeral car heading downhill in my direction. Out of respect, I stopped until the cars had passed. There is a cemetery not far away; the best way there would be uphill from Bert’s, if left turns were permitted at the junction with the main road.
Only the blue car was parked on the forecourt, in its usual position. Junior and Tall Woman were on duty. There were several customers ahead of me, all male. Two of them were a father and young son, light-complexioned black people. I can’t remember seeing non-white people in Bert’s before — there seem to be few living in the vicinity. While queuing in the shop, I saw another funeral car emerging from a side-road. Tall Woman remembered my usual order. While she had her back to me, ladling out the peas, I dropped a coin into the Christmas collection-box for the staff.
After lunchtime on Christmas Eve, Bert’s will be closed untll Wednesday 4 January 2012.
[Original posting 21 December 2012]