Wednesday 5 September 2012
At 07:26 a black coupé, which has arrived from the direction of Cypress Crescent, parks two-thirds onto the pavement just below the upper entrance. A woman gets out of the driver’s door; she is wearing a skirt and top of primary [!] colours. The offside rear door is opened from within, and out get first a small boy and then a smaller boy, each wearing dark trousers and a long-sleeve blue pullover. The smaller boy shoves the door closed again, with both hands, using the strength of his arms and shoulders — this makes me laugh. All three enter the school via the upper entrance. The mother soon returns, and drives off.
At 08:14, Mrs Pavane’s Escargot arrives from the direction of George Street, and parks beyond the sapling, two-thirds onto the pavement.
Several minutes later the light-brown Origami parks beyond the Escargot; then it moves off; the driver seems to consider parking alongside the Old Man’s house — the child, wearing a pale-blue coat, is still in the nearside rear — but doesn’t; instead the car drives away. Presumably the child hasn’t been dropped off?
At 08:29 a black Escargot is parked at the kerb immediately to the left of Vinnie’s garden-gates. A man with grey hair, a girl in a blue anorak, and a smaller boy, are crossing from alongside Vinnie’s to the far pavement. Have they got out of the black Escargot, or out of the Origami parked somewhere up Acacia Grove?
A minute or two after 08:30, a silver Media which has arrived from the direction of George Street parks one-third onto the pavement alongside number 35. It isn’t clear whether this is the Kulaks’ car. Scarlett parks this side of the Media, about as far onto the pavement, and with the front of her car alongside the junction-box. She steps out onto the roadway, dressed in a light-brown or flesh-colour long-sleeve top of coarsely-woven fabric, and a short skirt of similar colour but of smooth fabric. Her hair is arranged in a ponytail. She reaches back in via the driver’s doorway, and brings out a sheaf of papers. Then she gets Tiny Boy out of the offside rear. He makes his way round the tail of the car, to the pavement. Small Boy has exited from one of the nearside doors. The boys are wearing long-sleeve blue pullovers; one boy (Tiny Boy?) has a red collar showing, and the other boy a white collar. When they are about to set off for the school, Small Boy hangs back and gets some things out of the nearside rear — probably his book-bag, but not (I think) his sandwich-box. That door is the last one to be closed.
As she walks past the silver Media, Scarlett flick-waves towards its driver, who appears to be a man. (Most likely, therefore, it is the Kulaks’ car.) The driver’s window is open. When she crosses the road towards the Efords’ drive, Scarlett is holding Tiny Boy’s right hand in her left, but is not holding Small Boy by the hand.
On the far pavement, Tiny Boy runs ahead eagerly, with a rather wobbly-legged gait — perhaps exaggerated by those loose-fitting trousers. They all enter the school by the lower entrance — Scarlett is the last of the three to enter.
At 08:38 or so, a woman in her 20s returns to the silver Media, and gets in at the offside rear. The car departs.
Mr CJ, wearing a red polo-shirt, walks past the Old Man’s house, no doubt on his way back from the corner shop.
I don’t see Scarlett return to her car, but at 08:53 she is at the driver’s door. She has her phone to her left ear as she unlocks (or just opens?) the driver’s door with her right hand. After she gets in, nothing happens for another four minutes. Then the car’s brake-lights come on, together with the offside rear indicator. As it approaches George Street the car is two-thirds to the right of the centre-line. It joins a queue behind two other cars, but does not have to wait very long to turn left.
After the school-run is over, I go shopping at AltGroce. On my way back, I pass Bert’s. The shop-sign has been taken down, and inside, refitting is still in progress. When I return to the Old Man’s house, I see Mr CJ in his back garden, hanging out the washing.
At 11:02, windows 2, 3 and 4 of the BE are open. A minute or so later, the Kulaks’ car drives past the school-house and parks opposite the middle entrance. Not long before 11:20 a woman (I think it must be Mabel Kulak) crosses the road towards the school. A minute or two later, she returns with a small boy and a baby in arms.
From outside the school, an obese woman crosses the road diagonally, towards a car parked further towards George Street than is the Kulaks’ Media. She is holding a small boy’s left hand in her right hand. He is pulling hard, seemingly reluctant to accompany her. “See ya! Bye!” he calls out — it must be to someone on the school side of the street, but I cannot see the person.
The light-brown Origami drives past the Old Man’s house, in the direction of the school.
A few minutes later, the Kulaks’ car has gone. Then I see Scarlett’s car has parked alongside number 35. I don’t see Scarlett leave her car, but I see her returning to it — she is crossing the road, from between the nose of Mrs Pavane’s Escargot and the sapling. Scarlett is now wearing a strappy top of much the same colour as the long-sleeve top she was wearing earlier; her skirt is unchanged. She is carrying a sheaf of papers — not just a sheet of Tiny Boy’s artwork. (Are these the same papers she took in to the school earlier, or another sheaf of paperwork from the school?) Scarlett is carrying Tiny Boy supported on the crook of her right arm; he isn’t hugging her, he is facing forward. As they approach the nrd, I hear her say to him, kindly, “…[?a baby?], aren’t you?” Her voice seems a little deeper than yesterday. (I don’t hear him say anything.) Then she sets him down onto the pavement, and opens the nrd. As he stands there in right profile, I see his red collar and blue pullover. I think it is at this point that Scarlett puts on her shades. Tiny Boy gets into the car, and Scarlett fastens his straps.
Scarlett reverses fully off the pavement, wheels, and drives off in the direction of Cypress Crescent. It is 11:30 when she disappears from view.
At about 12:05 I go to the Hilltop Haddock for fish and chips. The only customers already in the shop when I arrive are a chubby woman aged about 35, and a three-year-old girl in a red cardigan.
The middle-aged woman behind the counter, who addresses the girl as “my darling”, gives her a little lollipop when she and her mother are about to leave. The girl comes back into the shop very shortly after she has left, to say to the woman behind the counter: “Thank you for my lollipop.” When I leave the shop, mother and daughter are seated on a backless bench outside. I don’t think they are eating their lunch — perhaps they are waiting for a lift?
I am very disappointed with my own lunch. The chips are not too bad, but the fish is dreadful: a thin slice of cod coated in dark, thick, hard batter. (When the Old Man and I used to get fish and chips from the Hilltop Haddock, the batter was much thinner, and too soft for my liking!) I shan’t go to the Hilltop Haddock again.
At 14:15 I am in the front garden, and see Mrs Pavane drive off past the Old Man’s house. She must work short hours. Twenty minutes or so later, a lime-green Mégane has parked in the space vacated by Mrs Pavane’s Escargot, but fully onto the pavement.
Several minutes after that, a black Media which has arrived from the direction of George Street parks alongside the left-hand side of the Old Man’s front lawn. A father, a mother and a grandmother get out, and walk off towards the school. They have blond hair, dark brown hair and grey hair, respectively.
Just after 14:55 the sun comes out.
Scarlett parks her car at the boundary of the Old Man’s house and the CJs’ house, part-way onto the pavement, a few minutes after 15:00. A couple of minutes later, she and Tiny Boy, both dressed as previously, descend the far pavement at walking pace. He is outboard of her but I don’t think they are holding hands.
The father mother and grandmother who arrived in the black Media return to their car, now with a little girl. The mother is the only one of the four that I see get into the car.
At about 15:10, three people are standing on the pavement outside the middle entrance, talking. One of them, in front right profile, may be Scarlett. She and the boys are ascending the far pavement a few minutes later, all walking. Tiny Boy is trailing by a few paces, and is outboard of the others. Small Boy is at Scarlett’s right hand; without stopping, she bends down to whisper something into his left ear. Soon after that, I lose sight of them all. I hear the voices of children and adults, car doors closing, and engines starting.
There is quite a traffic holdup outside the Old Man’s house, with all the cars heading away from the school, until about 15:16. When Scarlett’s car drives past; it looks as though Small Boy is in the nearside front. Both nearside windows of the car are closed.
Later that afternoon I go to see cousin Naomi. Two women come up the garden path as I am parking the car, and get into a car that is parked in front of mine.
“Have you had visitors?” I ask Naomi.
She says not. The two women must have been visiting Naomi’s next-door neighbours, with whom she shares the upper part of the path.
We look at some more old family photos.
Naomi is still quite hot and bothered about the Earl of Oxford theory. “It’s codswallop,” she insists.
She recommends Monteverdi’s operas to me.
At 17:21, after I have returned from Naomi’s, there is a small Mercedes with a spoiler on its bootlid, parked alongside number 33. A little boy in a red pullover seems reluctant to get in at the offside rear — he is hanging back at the tail of the car. His father puts him in. When it reaches George Street, the car turns left.
[Original posting 5 September 2013]