Tuesday 29 January 2013
Just after 07:15, a minibus parks downhill of the driveway of the Thornboroughs’ house. It is the minibus that Master Kaufman goes off in a couple of times a week, presumably to a pre-school or to some kind of therapy. The minibus can’t park alongside the Thornboroughs’s house, as a silver Smaragd is parked there, blocking the uphill half of the driveway.
At 08:05 a red Nova parks with its nose where the sapling used to be. A young woman in Islamic garb gets out of the car, and crosses to the other side of the street. I’ve seen her before, but not recently.
So far it has been a dull and rather damp morning, but there has been no rain.
A few minutes after 08:30, the Kulaks’ silver Media parks nose-to-nose with a white Media van which, overnight, has been alongside the left-hand side of the Old Man’s front lawn. Max Kulak and Master Kulak (a small boy with light-brown hair) make their way to the school.
The Cantors’ car parks at the kerb, alongside the junction-box, and then Scarlett’s car drives past the Old Man’s house and parks nose-to-nose with the Cantors’ car.
When Tiny Boy gets out of the ord of the car, he is wearing his bobble-hat. He strays away from the door and appears to be about to dash across the road. Scarlett grabs his left hand with her right hand, and guides him past the tail of the car and to the pavement.
Shortly after they set off for the school, Scarlett stops the boys and does a bit of titivation — first to Tiny Boy, then to Small Boy. She bends forward and down, I think to pull up Tiny Boy’s trousers which are rather wrinkly as though they are about to fall down. (Meanwhile, a couple with a child walk past, heading not towards the school but in the opposite direction.) Small Boy isn’t wearing his wellies today, but he is carrying his blue book-bag and his sandwich-box — both of them in his left hand, against the small of his back.
I can hear the recycling lorry somewhere beyond the CJ’s house, but I can’t see it.
After Mrs Cantor and Max Kulak have driven away, the Wormwoods’ car arrives and parks a little way beyond where the Cantors’ car was. Five minutes later, for no apparent reason, the Wormwoods’ car reverses towards Scarlett’s car, then half a minute after that it moves forward again and stops with its brake-lights on.
A few minutes before 09:00 the sun is coming out, hazily.
Scarlett is the last of the school-run parents to reappear and depart.
On my way to TeraGroce, on foot, I encounter debris left by the recyclers — including a couple of plastic bottles in the gutter, and some shredded paper on the pavement.
On my way back, I am waiting at the pedestrian crossing when the Ojays’ car drives past me and turns right. By the time I get back to the Old Man’s house, the sun has just about gone in and the sky overhead is gloomy.
At 11:15 approximately, the big red RunFlat Remoulds van is parked alongside number 35, nose downhill, part-way onto the pavement. The brown Origami is parked behind it, at the kerb, with a gap between the nose of the car and the tail of the van. Scarlett parks behind the Origami, and gets out after a minute. She seems to be in a hurry, half-walking half-running, and taking the shortest route to the school by going past the offside of the Origami, on the roadway.
The RunFlat Remoulds van may have gone by this time, and certainly has gone by the time Scarlett returns from the school.
Tiny Boy is wearing a crown or hat (it doesn’t exactly resemble either type of headgear) made of mainly white paper; Scarlett has a few sheets of A4 paper in her left hand, one of which bears what looks like a medium-blue logo. On the far pavement, and when crossing the road, she is talking affably with another mother, and smiling. She lets Tiny Boy into the car via the fpd.
At George Street Scarlett turns right.
Not long after 14:45, the Wormwoods’ car parks to the right of Vinnie’s garden-gates. A quarter of an hour later, Esmé has parked alongside the Old Man’s garden-gate and front side lawn. For some time, a faint drizzle has been falling.
Mrs Wormwood returns to the car with her daughter. Miss Wormwood is wearing a green anorak whose hood is down, thus revealing its red lining. After the Wormwoods depart, Scarlett drives past the Old Man’s house and parks alongside the junction-box.
Tiny Boy gets out of the ord; he is wearing a mask, partly red, that does not cover all of his face. He is livelier than usual in the afternoon school-run — while descending the far pavement towards the lower entrance of the school, two or three times he drops back and then overtakes his mother (who is close to the school wall) on the outside. I think he enters ahead of her.
A little after 15:30, a mother and daughter are walking past Vinnie’s house, no doubt having come from the school. Behind them is a three-year-old boy with a podgy face. The mother lets the daughter go ahead, and lets the boy catch up with her, after which she keeps company with him. He can run, but his gait is flat-footed — he does not lift his heels at all high off the ground. This rather reminds me of tank-tracks moving. I wonder, as I look, whether there is something wrong with him.
At 16:12 it is raining steadily, and it is windy. Two hours later it is still raining.