Tuesday 4 September 2012
Today is the first day of the autumn term at Acacia Primary — though the staff were of course there yesterday.
At 07:51 a silver Escargot, which has approached past the school, parks at the kerb by the left-hand side of the Old Man’s front lawn. When the driver gets out, I see she has a blonde ponytail and is wearing green trousers and wedge-heeled shoes with cork-coloured soles and heels. She opens the tailgate and takes out a translucent plastic tray at least a foot long, on which are books leaflets and documents. She walks to the school, carrying the tray in her left hand. A big bag is hanging by a short strap from her right shoulder.
At 08:20, a light-brown Origami has parked with its nose to the tail of the silver Escargot. A small child with blond(e) hair, wearing a light-green coat or top, is peering through the nearside rear window.
Not long after 08:20, the Kulaks’ silver Media drives past the Old Man’s house and parks alongside number 35, two-thirds onto the pavement. Max Kulak and Master Kulak get out.
At 08:35 Scarlett’s car drives past the Old Man’s house and parks slightly beyond where the Kulaks’ car was, part-way onto the pavement and angled in. Scarlett gets out of the car, which looks no cleaner than it did earlier this year. I see that her hair has grown a little during the summer holidays, and is now a lighter brown colour, with streaks. She is wearing a black strappy top and close-fitting pale-blue denims, and flat-heeled sandals; at the front of her left hip, there hangs a red-brown handbag. While Small Boy opens the fpd himself, Scarlett opens the offside rear door to let Tiny Boy out.
When Tiny Boy gets out of the car, Scarlett gives him a quick fondle on the top of the head, with her right hand I think, as though he has made some endearing remark: “I’m a big boy now, mummy,” or suchlike. Today must be Tiny Boy’s first half-day in the Reception class. I should think Small Boy is starting Year 2. Both boys look very much the same as last term.
Tiny Boy trots round the tail of the car to the kerb, and Scarlett follows. All three of them head off from the nearside of the car, in the direction of the school.
Scarlett is holding Tiny Boy’s hand as they cross the road towards the Efords’ drive, but Small Boy is on his own. Tiny Boy is wearing a dark coat or anorak, fastened, with a red collar showing from under it. Small Boy is wearing a pullover that is probably blue, but no coat. He has his blue book-bag in his left hand, and in his right hand an object that has some red about it — probably a sandwich-box.
They descend past the middle entrance. Scarlett has released her grip on Tiny Boy’s hand — he is outboard of her and a little to the rear. Scarlett reaches the lower entrance first, then Tiny Boy, and finally Small Boy. All three make a sharp turn as they enter.
While Scarlett is in the school, two people (women, I think) open one gate of the upper entrance, to let out a mother with a push-chair. She then ascends the far pavement.
The Wormwoods’ estate car has parked this side of Scarlett’s car; I don’t see any of the Wormwoods.
Towards 09:00 I see several mothers heading upslope from the lower entrance. Scarlett isn’t one of them. She may be the last of the school-run mothers to reappear: at 09:08 I see her ascending the far pavement. Is Tiny Boy suffering from separation anxiety? Or Scarlett, or both of them?
She crosses the road from the Efords’ drive. Before opening the driver’s door of her car, she peers through the driver’s window as though looking for a mislaid item; then she opens the door and gets in. She drives off without delay, in the direction of George Street. As the car gets nearer to George Street, it drifts further and further to the right; then it veers sharply to the left, taking up a free space in the line of parked cars but protruding a little. Perhaps Scarlett is taking a phone-call or reading a text.
At 09:10 Scarlett turns right at George Street.
On this morning’s school-run I don’t see anyone — child or mother — in tears, nor see any child reluctant to go to school. Some years ago, I remarked to the Old Man that on the first day of the autumn term I’d seen “a young mother in tears — her baby had started school.” She was a brunette, two or three stone overweight, who had walked alone past the Old Man’s house, on the opposite side of the street. No doubt she was returning home, disconsolate.
At 11:23, Scarlett’s car is parked half-way or more onto the pavement, alongside the downhill end of the school-house garden. Two minutes later, a group of adults has gathered outside the middle entrance. The light-brown Origami is parked roughly opposite the middle entrance. The sun is bright and dazzling.
At 11:30, mothers and tiny children start emerging from the middle entrance. Tiny Boy makes his exit from the school, at his mother’s side, just after 11:30 — the two of them are not amongst the very first to leave. Tiny Boy, as usual I think, is walking rather than trotting. He is wearing his coat, and he is carrying artwork in his right hand. Scarlett first opens the driver’s door of her car, then re-closes it; she opens the offside rear door to let Tiny Boy in. Getting Tiny Boy in and settled, and his door closed again, proceeds quite smoothly and quickly. Scarlett is soon at the wheel, and drives off straight away. At George Street she turns left.
At 13:45, the Pigeon Lad, who is wearing black jogging-bottoms and a thin grey long-sleeve pullover, pauses alongside the uphill half of Vinnie’s drive-gates. He stands there for at least a minute, then he moves off in the direction of the corner shop.
At 14:07 Mrs Pavane’s Escargot drives past the Old Man’s house, heading away from the school. This is the first time today that I’ve seen the car. A few minutes later, there are only two cars parked opposite the school: one is a golden(?) estate car opposite the lower entrance, the other is a darker car further along, possibly a Rubin.
Only now do I notice that the silver Escargot which arrived at 07:51 is no longer here. Perhaps its driver works mornings only.
Summer has belatedly come to Peakville, and to other places. How often does this happen at the start of the autumn term? In the BE, the third of the top-hinged windows is open.
Three more cars are now parked opposite the school. The 12-registration silver Ultra has been parked nose-to-sapling but facing uphill, for quite a while.
At 14:43, a silver jeep-MPV parks alongside the Efords’ house. A woman gets out, wearing a loose pink strappy top with a broad white norizontal stripe just above the hem, and white trousers. She lifts a baby aged about 6 months out of the nearside rear, and heads off towards the school. A black-and-white cat crosses the road to the far pavement.
A pear-shaped woman with short brunette hair, wearing a pale-purple T-shirt and cream trousers, descends the far pavement with a girl aged somewhere between 10 and 12 inboard of her.
The Wormwoods’ car has parked at the far right-hand-side of the Old Man’s front lawn, part-way onto the pavement.
At 15:03 Scarlett’s car drives past the Old Man’s house, and parks part-way onto the pavement, to the rear of a little black hatchback which has been parked alongside the junction-box for ten minutes or so. The rear half of Scarlett’s car is level with the downhill half of Vinnie’s garden-gates. Scarlett gets out, leans in at the offside rear to undo Tiny Boy’s straps (her black top rides up as she does so, revealing a couple of inches of her lightly-tanned bare back — she pulls the rear hem down again), and helps him out of the car; he is wearing a red short-sleeve top with a white collar beneath. Tiny Boy’s dark grey trousers are loose, and hang in folds — either they have slipped down, or they have been bought big to allow for his future growth. He looks a bit disoriented as he gets out, and as he toddles his way to the kerb. Perhaps he has again been having a nap?
Scarlett locks the driver’s door only, with a key. She and Tiny Boy cross the road to just below the sapling, but above the nose of the 12-registration Ultra.
The driver of the silver jeep-MPV returns, with the baby and a child. She puts the baby back in at the nearside rear of her car, which soon departs in the direction of George Street. The Wormwoods’ car drives off past the Old Man’s house.
At 15:12 Scarlett and the boys are ascending alongside the school. They cross the road from the lower part of the Efords’ drive. Small Boy is wearing a blue pullover. As they approach the car, I see that Scarlett is carrying, in one hand, both Small Boy’s book-bag and his sandwich-box. The shiny blue book-bag has a handle, and a flap; the sandwich-box is translucent red, with a blue horizontal stripe about one-third of the way up from the base of the box. Small Boy’s blond hair has grown out a bit; Tiny Boy’s hair is still spiky.
As Tiny Boy is toddling round the tail of the car, towards the offside rear, Small Boy is nowhere to be seen, so he must already have got in. I hear Scarlett say (more likely to Small Boy than to Tiny Boy, I think) something about “getting in there” — as a comment or query, not as a command. Her voice is of middling pitch, and she has a distinct local accent. At this point, Tiny Boy utters a few unintelligible words, in a small child’s voice.
At 15:14, all three of them are in the car. I hear the starter, but the engine is just about inaudible. Scarlett drives off; I glimpse Small Boy’s head via the rear screen — he must be sitting in the nearside rear seat. At George Street, Scarlett turns left.
At 16:53 the window in the BE is still open.
Just after 18:20 a silver Panda is parked alongside number 8, part-way onto the pavement. A young Chinese woman is unloading items (of shopping?) from the boot of the car. She is joined by a fortyish Chinese woman wearing a dress. When the younger woman closes the taligate, I can see that there are still some items in the boot. The older woman goes indoors, closing behind her the right-hand half of the drive-gates, which are made of curly ironwork. The younger woman is already in the driver’s seat of the Panda; the car moves forward, and its offside front wheel descends from the pavement to the roadway. Then for no apparent reason the car halts; it stays there for about a minute. Perhaps the young woman is on the phone. Then at 18:29 the car departs.
[Original posting 4 September 2013]