Final adjustments

Friday 20 July 2012

A couple of minutes before 10:50, a rather stout middle-aged woman leaves her car and crosses the road towards the middle entrance of the school, at a slight downhill angle. Dangling from her right hand is a transparent or translucent plastic carrier-bag full of coloured items. Just as she reaches the far kerb, she stops, and returns to her car. Soon thereafter, she crosses the road again, and enters the school.

The silver Fuji seen in the late-morning school-run yesterday parks alongside number 33 again, at 10:55. The same woman gets out, wearing the same suede-brown jacket. Her dark ponytail is several inches long; her denims look stone-washed; she has an umbrella; she isn’t smoking. As yesterday, she walks off in the direction of the corner shop.
At 11:00 a silver A2000 saloon is two-thirds of the way onto the pavement, about 10-12 foot below the sapling. A couple of minutes later the car’s front flashers flash, and then a young woman with dark hair approaches the car and gets in at the driver’s door. Meanwhile, the driver of the Fuji is returning to her car; she has a big black shoulder-bag hanging from her left shoulder, and in each hand she holds a full white plastic carrier-bag of shopping. The A2000 drives off in the direction of Cypress Crescent.
A black Ultra passes the Old Man’s house, and noses in at a sharp angle to park between a pale blue Peugeot hatchback which is fully on the pavement below the sapling, and the car that is making its regular delivery at the upper entrance. There is a gap of at least six foot between the Ultra’s tail and the Peugeot’s tail.
At 11:10 or so, the pale blue Peugeot hatchback has gone, and a silver Peugeot hatchback is parked nose-to-sapling, more than half-way onto the pavement. Three minutes or so later, Partner’s Okra approaches, performs a U-turn, and mounts the high kerb to end up with its rear bumper alongside the near end of the junction-box. The car is only a little way onto the pavement, and its nose is angled slightly in. Nothing happens for quite a long time. Then at 11:24 the Okra’s rear flashers flash — I don’t see Partner, who must already have left the car.
Ten minutes later he is back, at the nearside of the car. I notice that he doesn’t have a hat, a hood, or an umbrella. His hair is fairly short, and is brown of a shade a little lighter than medium. He is wearing a dark jacket, and baggy/saggy denims — they must be an old pair. Tiny Boy is with him; he is wearing a dark anorak, but he also is bare-headed. In one hand, Partner carries some artwork: two sheets, or one folded sheet, with flashes of colour visible.
Partner lifts Tiny Boy into the front passenger seat. He then moves to the driver’s door — round the tail of the car, I think — and gets in. There is a pause. Then Partner gets out again, goes round the tail of the car to the front passenger door, opens it, and leans in. He seems to be adjusting something. His jacket rides up, revealing the uncovered small of his back. There is a glimpse of blue at the top of the uncovered area, which could be a top that is also riding up, or could be the lower edge of a tattoo. Partner then crouches down by the front passenger seat, seemingly making more adjustments. Finally he seems satisfied that all is in order. He goes round the tail of the car to the driver’s door, and gets in. It is now 11:35+.
There is another pause. The car’s brake-lights are on, but not the reversing-lights (which this school-run I never see on). The traffic is not so heavy as to prevent Partner from moving off. Perhaps he is on the phone.
Towards 11:39 the car does move off, in the direction of George Street. Partner doesn’t drive so far over to the right-hand side of the road as Scarlett usually does, but the car is nonetheless straddling the notional centre-line. As he approaches George Street, he veers to the left earlier than she does. After a short wait, he turns right, and disappears from view not much more than 30 seconds after moving off.
At 12:04 it is still raining steadily — probably more heavily than at 08:54.
I learn from the lunchtime news that there has been a shooting in Colorado. Perhaps Partner delayed his departure because he was listening to the news on his car radio?
The rain stops sometime around 12:30.

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