Unprecedented reluctance

Thursday 28 June 2012

After overnight rain, it is a damp and dull start to the day. A big white van has been parked since yesterday evening, partly on the pavement, alongside the JGs’ house rather than, as usual, alongside the Old Man’s house. The van departs at 07:53, does a U-turn, and drives away.
At about 08:20, a boy and girl aged perhaps 8 or 9 are walking down the far pavement. The girl, inboard, is swinging something like a yoyo from her right hand. Neither child seems to be wearing school uniform: the girl is wearing a dun-coloured jacket and a salmon-coloured loosely-pleated skirt of mid-calf length.
Several minutes later, a black 3-door Nova drives past the Old Man’s house, and parks outside the Trimots’ house but pointing away from the school. About three minutes later, the driver gets out; she is wearing a sleeveless black top and medium-blue denims; she is not slim, but she is not obese; her hair is very short and is dyed blonde. She lifts a wailing tiny boy out of the nearside, and carries him to school. This is the only time I’ve ever seen a child apparently reluctant to go to Acacia Primary. Of course, as I’ve said previously, I don’t see what happens at the classroom door.

By the time the blonde gets out of her car, Scarlett has parked alongside number 35, just over half-way onto the pavement. She is wearing a long-sleeve black cardi, pale blue denims, and flat-heeled sandals. Small Boy gets himself out of the nearside front, and Scarlett leans in at the nearside rear to undo Tiny Boy’s straps and usher him out. He is wearing a coloured or patterned pullover; his mother helps him put on his light-coloured anorak — he has his back to the second junction-box, and she is facing him. They all cross the road towards the Efords’ drive. As they descend, Small Boy is inboard, Scarlett is outboard, and Tiny Boy is between them; there is no holding of hands. Small Boy encroaches just a little onto the lower part of the school-house garden. He is half-running at that point, but otherwise the boys (although they are moving quickly enough) are not running or even jogging.
At 08:47 the blonde returns to her car.
Scarlett returns a few minutes later, crossing the road from the Efords’ drive. Tucked under her right arm is a light-coloured document-folder, two or three inches thick, which I very much doubt she was carrying earlier. When she drives off, after a short pause, her space is immediately taken by the 60-registration silver Media, which has been “hovering” nearby. Down the road, not far from George Street, a car heading in the opposite direction waits, to allow her to go first. At George Street, Scarlett turns left.
A woman in a salmon-pink top under an olive-green cardi returns to the black 02-registration Umbria which is parked to the right of the Old Man’s garden-gate. She is carrying a baby, which she puts in at the nearside front. Also with her is a small blond boy, younger than Small Boy I suppose; he goes to the offside rear, puts a long sheet of paper onto the seat-cushion (black with blue patterning) of the child-seat, and smoothes it down. Then he gets into the child-seat himself. He seems intelligent and lively. I wonder why he isn’t at school.
Mrs Pavane’s car is parked alongside the Thornboroughs’ house, nose uphill. I notice the pink-ribbon decal at the lower offside of the car’s tailgate.

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