Friday 7 December 2012
At 07:40 the overnight rain has stopped. It is not nearly as cold as it was yesterday morning.
The time is approaching 08:30 when the grey Okra estate seen yesterday afternoon parks alongside number 35, three-quarters onto the pavement. Mr Fern’s black Honda has, for a while already, been parked with its tail just uphill of the sapling, also three-quarters onto the pavement.
A boy is running in the direction of the school, on the far pavement of Acacia Grove. Then a woman’s voice calls out imperiously: “Walk!” — followed by some other words. The woman comes into view, with a girl at her side, a little way behind the boy.
At 08:50, the sun has come out, but the sunlight is rather watery. A couple of minutes later the sunlight is brighter, illuminating the wire fence of the school.
A black Zero has for a long time been parked alongside the lower part of the school-house garden. It now departs, in the direction of Cypress Crescent.
On the way back from Cheerful Market, I see that another business has taken over the premises that were occupied by Bert’s fish-and-chip shop.
A couple of minutes before 11:00, the Kulaks’ car (not seen on the early morning school-run) parks nose-to-sapling, in the shadow of the school-house — the car’s nose reaches just to the far end of the shadow.
The tree in the rockery of the Old Man’s house is quivering in the wind. There seem to be only three leaves left on the tree.
The black Zero is parked about a foot below the sapling, where the grey Okra was a little earlier — but with nose uphill rather than downhill. (The Okra and the Kulaks’ car have already gone.) The male driver of the Zero (I strongly suspect that he is Partner) closes a nearside door, then gets in via the driver’s door. The car reverses a few foot, pauses for about 30 seconds, then departs, driving past the Old Man’s house.
The afternoon is sunny, but with a cold wind. The setting sun shines onto the side of the school-house, and onto the golden-creosoted wooden fence between the school-house garden and the drive of the house next door.
The black Zero seen earlier, which bears a 59 registration, parks where the grey Okra estate finally parked yesterday afternoon, but with nose uphill rather than downhill. It is a quarter of the way onto the grass verge, but doesn’t churn it up any more of it than is already churned up. Not long after that, a minute or so before 15:00, I see Partner walking towards the school, past the Ports’ house — though I don’t immediately recognise him. He is alone. He descends to the lower entrance of the school, and waits for a few moments at the inboard edge of the grass verge, facing the entrance. A woman with a push-chair enters before him.
Almost a quarter of an hour later, I see Partner returning to the Zero, with both boys. He is carrying Tiny Boy against the front of his left shoulder; Tiny Boy may or may not be asleep. Small Boy is some paces to the rear. The boys are wearing their bobble-hats.
Small Boy very briefly wanders into the paved front garden (or the driveway?) of the Ports’ house.
Partner gets both boys into the Zero, at the nearside. After he enters the car via the driver’s door, there is a very long pause — the car’s lights come on and stay on, but Partner doesn’t drive off for eleven minutes! Perhaps he is on the phone. Meanwhile, Mrs Pavane’s car, which today I haven’t seen until now, departs past the Old Man’s house.
When the Zero departs, it heads towards George Street, where it turns left.
At teatime, and in the early part of the evening, I hear Charlie and Karl next door.