Tuesday 21 May 2013
There is rain overnight, but the roadway is almost dry by the time I get up.
Towards 07:25, Mr JG comes out to his car which is parked on the JGs’ driveway. Then he returns to the house. It is weeks since I have seen him with a van, or seen him park a van outside the Old Man’s house.
Not long after 08:35, Mrs TR and another, rather chubby, woman walk uphill past Vinnie’s house. A boy and a girl are several paces ahead of them.
At 09:00 the recycling lorry approaches from the direction of Cypress Crescent — for the second time this morning.
I walk to TeraGroce. The trees of the Acacia Estate are a riot of pink blossom. At the top of Acacia Rise, I notice — for the first time ever — at the bottom of the back garden of a house on the right-hand side of the street, an old stone wall that backs onto the higher ground beyond. That wall must date from when there was farmland where the Acacia Estate now stands. What else is hidden down people’s back gardens?
When I get back to the Old Man’s house, Vinnie’s burglar-alarm is screeching. It stops before 10:15.
At about 11:09, Mr OS ascends past number 35, then pauses briefly. He is dressed as per yesterday afternoon. Then Mrs Fern’s car parks alongside number 33.
Several minutes later, Myra parks with the tail of her car alongside the JGs’ garden-gate.
Mrs TR, in black trousers, crosses the road towards the Efords’ driveway. She is walking with elegant, longish strides. Her auburn hair is of shoulder-blade length.
The Kulaks’ car approaches from the direction of Cypress Crescent, and parks part-way onto the pavement alongside Vinnie’s short hedge. The car’s nose overlaps Vinnie’s garden-gates by about six inches. In the driving-seat, Mabel seems to be riffling through some A4 sheets of white paper. 11:30 is approaching when Mabel carries Miss Kulak from the car to the far side of the street. Mabel has her right arm round Miss Kulak’s middle. Two minutes later, the crowd of parents outside the middle entrance of the school begins to troop in.
Mrs TR returns past Vinnie’s house. I think she is holding her daughter’s left hand in her own right hand. She definitely has her phone to her left ear.
Myra returns with her son. After they cross the street, they have reached a point a little way this side of the tree when she bends down and then squats down, to have a word with him. My impression is that she’s both telling him off, and reassuring him that mummy loves him. He seems calm.
Mrs Fern drives off by 11:37, but until 11:54 [!] Mabel is still chatting with Zara outside number 33. (Zara’s car is parked alongside numbers 33 and 35.) Their sons run about a bit, both uphill and downhill, and they get called back a few times. Twice they venture onto the driveway of number 35, and Zara’s son (who is a little shorter and slighter than Master Kulak) ventures once as far as the living-room window of number 35. When the boys vacate the driveway for the second time, the Big Star hatchback that belongs to the daughter of the house arrives, and parks on the driveway.
While the women are chatting, Miss Kulak — in Mabel’s arms — reaches out towards her mother’s face, but then stops doing that.
The women separate. Mabel ascends towards her car, then waves to Zara and calls goodbye.
Zara departs in her car; then Mabel drives off past the Old Man’s house — the time is 11:58.
At 14:46 the Wormwoods have parked in the usual place. After a while, the sun comes out.
Esmé descends towards the school, with the push-chair. She stops, and exchanges jocular words across the street with a young man who has opened the tailgate of Mr Trimot’s car.
Mr Wormwood has his right forearm protruding from the driver’s window; then he retracts his forearm, leaving just the elbow showing.
Scarlett has parked nose-to-nose with the Wormwoods. Only after Mrs Wormwood has returned with her daughter, and the Wormwoods’ car has departed, does Scarlett get out of her car, alone. She crosses the street, towards the Efords’ driveway, but when she returns with the boys they all cross from the level of the driveway above. Both when heading for the school and when returning from it, Scarlett seems calm and composed.
As Scarlett and the boys prepare to cross, she takes Small Boy’s right hand and he does not demur — in fact he reaches out for her hand when she reaches out for his. Then she takes Tiny Boy’s left hand in her own right hand. Small Boy takes a step forward, but retreats as a car is approaching from the direction of George Street. Scarlett has kept hold of his hand. Then the three of them cross together, towards the car. A minute later Scarlett departs, and drives past the Old Man’s house.
At 20:16 the roadway is damp from rain or drizzle that I haven’t been aware of.