Opposite sides of the sapling

Monday 16 July 2012

I go outside a little after 07:30, to check how damp the front lawn is. A faint drizzle is falling.
Shortly before 07:45, a silver Mercedes C-class is parked outside the upper entrance. It drives off almost at once, in the direction of Cypress Crescent. Some minutes later, the drizzle has stopped.

At 08:00, a silver Plum is parked fully on the pavement, several inches inboard of the kerb, alongside the lower part of the school-house garden. It departs in the direction of George Street two minutes later.
A little after 08:27, Mrs Parker’s green 51-registration Escargot drives past the Old Man’s house and parks tail-to-sapling, two-thirds of the way onto the pavement. Mrs Parker goes through her usual routine with the push-chair: she takes it out of the boot, then gives it a good hard shake to unfold it. Her very small son, wearing a dark anorak, gets out of the nearside rear and runs round the tail of the car to reach the kerb. He looks quite enthusiastic.
Then a black 57-registration Nova parks with the front of the car alongside the junction-box. The driver is a brunette, with her hair arranged in a bun high at the back of her head. She has a small son.
Some time later, a big red N-registration tyre-van parks behind the Nova. The male driver gets out, and chats to someone in a driving-school car that is passing by. Then a small boy gets out of the driver’s door of the van.
At 08:34 Scarlett parks half-way onto the pavement, with the car’s nose very close to the sapling. Mr Jethro’s car is parked alongside the right section of the Old Man’s front lawn.
A man aged about 60 walks past Vinnie’s house, away from the school, with a tiny girl outboard of him — I doubt she can have reached her second birthday. The girl looks over her left shoulder at another man who is a few paces behind her.
When Scarlett opens the nearside rear door of her car, I think Tiny Boy slides down from the seat to the roadway without any help from her. Small Boy gets himself out of the offside rear; Scarlett re-opens that door, and takes out Small Boy’s dark anorak. She locks the driver’s door only, with a key. When Scarlett and Tiny Boy set off for school, Small Boy is still standing at the offside of the car, putting the anorak on over his blue long-sleeve pullover. The colour of the anorak contrasts with his blond hair. Tiny Boy is almost running, a few paces behind Scarlett — who turns clockwise to see where Small Boy is.
They reach the middle entrance, and turn right to go in. On the walkway, only Scarlett is visible.
Then at 08:41 I see Scarlett and Tiny Boy emerge from the middle entrance, and head in the direction of the lower entrance.
It is over ten minutes before Scarlett is on her way back from the school. In her right hand she has a few papers — perhaps relating to arrangements for the next school year? A white Fiat 500 has passed the Old Man’s house and nosed in (at an angle, alongside the Efords’ drive, with its offside front wheel on the pavement) so close behind Scarlett’s car that she doesn’t have room to reverse away from the sapling. Soon the 500 reverses; the reversing-lights of Scarlett’s car come on, and it reverses a little way. There is quite a jolt as her car descends the kerb. At George Street, after a short wait for traffic, and to my slight surprise, Scarlett turns right.

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