Thursday 9 May 2013
At about 08:30, Esmé’s car is parked nose downhill alongside the Old Man’s front side lawn. Then Mrs Cantor’s car is parked blocking the driveway of the Ports’ house.
Small Boy gets out of Scarlett’s car, which is parked a little downhill of where the sapling used to be. He stands on the pavement near his brother, and seems to be complaining to Scarlett about something. The boys run off towards the school, at about half pace.
When Scarlett returns from the school, she is again in the company of the woman who much resembles her. The other woman gets into a black Okra which is parked more-or-less opposite Scarlett’s car. The two women exchange final words across the street. The Okra drives off past the Old Man’s house, but Scarlett heads for George Street where she turns left.
I go shopping at AltGroce. At the cheese counter, which features a display of free samples, I am standing to the right of a mother whose blonde toddler is riding in the trolley. “A giant one, mummy!” says the little girl. Her mother uses a cocktail-stick to spear two samples of cheese at once. I don’t think the mother eats any of the cheese, and she doesn’t buy any.
It is spotting with rain when I return to my car.
In the late morning school-run, the Kulaks’ car first parks alongside number 35, then reverses straight back off the pavement and parks alongside the lower part of the school-house garden. The driver is Mabel: she returns to the car with two boys (Master Kulak and Tiny Boy?) and Miss Kulak. Each boy is carrying a sheet of artwork.
When all three children have got into the Kulaks’ car, a fat woman with purple-brown hair approaches the car with her small son. The women chat while the boy runs free in the school-house garden. Two or three times, the boy approaches the ord, which is where the other two boys got into the car — he seems to be interacting with them via the window. Then the woman and son walk off up the far pavement, and Mabel gets into her car. For no apparent reason, there is an appreciable pause before Mabel drives off.
At about 11:50 I drive to Sandbank Shoals. When I enter the shop, Big Man is cooking and Bossy Woman is serving — no other staff are to be seen, and there are no other customers. “Wot yavin?” Bossy Woman asks me. She gives me a good portion of chips, and a reasonable portion of fish. (The fish-and-chips turn out to be warm rather than hot, and the batter is thinner than usual.)
When I drive off, I see the Wormwoods’ car parked with its tail to the nose of a deep-blue Zero.
Towards 12:30, Mrs FW’s car is parked nose uphill alongside the JGs’ house. Then a silver Mercedes estate parks directly opposite.
When I first see Mrs FW’s car, I also see Mrs Oldgreen’s car which is parked where the sapling used to be — but it has gone by 12:36 or so. The Mercedes has gone by about 12:40, but Mrs FW’s car is still here nearly ten minutes later.
By 13:40 it is getting windy, and it is starting to spot with rain.
At 14:35 Esmé parks alongside number 33. The heavy rain of ten minutes ago has started to ease off.
The Pigeon Lad, carrying two white carrier-bags of shopping, passes Vinnie’s house and waves to someone there.
At 15:05 Scarlett drives up Acacia Grove, with a sudden vroom of the engine that is reminscent of the noise her previous car used to make when it was accelerating hard.
Five minutes later her car descends Acacia Grove and parks alongside number 35. Scarlett and Tiny Boy get out — she doesn’t give him a shove to propel him across the road, but she gives him a “steer” on his left shoulder, which guides him in the direction of the Ports’ drive. The weather is still wet and windy.
When Scarlett and the boys return to the car, Tiny Boy is bare-headed (as I think he was on arrival) but Small Boy has his hood up.
Scarlett reverses off the pavement at quite a pace, and drives up Acacia Grove.
Not long before 18:50 it is raining, but the sun is shining. The rain has stopped ten or twenty minutes later, and at 19:15 there is bright sunshine with white clouds and lots of blue sky. An hour or so later, it is raining again.