Thursday 6 June 2013
The day starts under a dull sky.
At about 07:10 or 07:15, the usual minibus has parked alongside the gates of Vinnie’s driveway and the uphill end of his long hedge.
A car that I mistake for Mrs Pavane’s is parked with its bonnet alongside the school-house path. Later, I see Mrs Pavane’s car is parked alongside the Old Man’s garden-gate and front side lawn.
The Wormwoods’ car parks with its A-post alongside the junction-box. Miss Wormwood is wearing a red cardigan and a summer uniform pink gingham dress.
Scarlett parks just this side of the Wormwoods. When Tiny Boy gets out of the car, he has a schoolbag or satchel of more than one colour (white, blue, …) hanging at his left side on a shoulder-strap. It isn’t the backpack I saw him with a while ago — it’s taller, broader and flatter.
Vanessa ascends almost to the nose of the Wormwoods’ car, then crosses towards the Old Man’s house.
The driver gets into the car that I mistook for Mrs Pavane’s. I don’t see the car depart.
Scarlett drives off past the Old Man’s house.
I go shopping at AltGroce. When I get back, workmen are mowing the grass verges.
Mrs Fern’s car approaches from the direction of George Street, preceded by a Citroën and followed by Myra who parks by the left-hand side of the Old Man’s front lawn. Myra gets a baby out of the offside rear. She carries the baby, which is dressed in a white top and denim trousers, at her right front. Myra is wearing a green-brown anorak with fur trim at the edge of the hood, and medium-blue denims. Meanwhile Mrs Fern has parked alongside number 35.
Myra returns, with the baby still at her right front — her anorak is unfastened — and with her son at her left hand. He is wearing a blue baseball cap and a blue jacket. The baby seems half-asleep.
Zara has parked alongside the lowest part of the school-house garden.
I go to Sandbank Shoals for fish and chips. By the time I get there, the sun has come out. Only two members of staff are to be seen: Big Man in the kitchen, and a new girl serving — she has tattoos on at least one hand. At the head of the queue are two women aged about 35: one is tall and solidly built, the other is shorter and obese, with black-dyed hair and a cardigan whose arms are wrapped round her waist.
The latter woman chats with big man and the tattooed girl. She tells them: “I’m from Wellvale. I pass five chippies to get here.” [I’m not sure that she does, if she travels by the shortest route. It may be true that there are five chippies that are nearer to her home in Wellvale than Sandbank Shoals is.]
“It’s the quality,” comments Big Man, managing not to sound too self-congratulatory.
The obese woman’s bill is £5.40. She and the taller woman leave the shop. There is another woman behind them in the queue: she is aged 65 or so, and is vaguely reminiscent of the Deceased Lady, but is less than five foot tall.
I put my shades on when I leave the shop.
Back at the Old Man’s house, while I am closing the gates of the driveway, I notice that Mrs Kaufman’s Boxcar is parked nose uphill alongside the Thornboroughs’ house and just downhill of the minibus, from which Mrs Kaufman and her son have alighted.
At 13:10, the woman I saw yesterday with what I reckoned was a picture in a frame, does very much what she did yesterday: she ascends from the level of the lower entrance of the school, or just above that, and eventually enters the front path of the Kingdoms’ house. The frame, which she is again carrying with her right hand, is a little larger than I thought; the white label is still in the same place. The woman is wearing trousers, and a hip-length brown coat open at the front.
It is still sunny.
When Mrs Wormwood has got out of the car, and is heading towards the school, my impression is confirmed that she is probably the most obese woman on the school-run. She is wearing a black T-shirt, black leggings, and a pale blue coat.
Some minutes later the Pigeon Lad has paused about seven foot to the left of Vinnie’s garden-gates, on his way home, with two blue carrier-bags dangling from his right hand. He is wearing a dark sweatshirt, dark trousers, and shades, but no hat. After ten seconds he moves off again.
Scarlett parks beyond the Wormwoods’ car. A man aged 60 or 65, wearing a light-colour short-sleeve shirt, approaches the driver’s door of the the Wormwoods’ car, leans forward and puts his hands onto the sill of the open window, and speaks to Mr Wormwood — he seems to be making some kind of complaint. He turns round, and makes a gesture: a sweep of the arm and hand. Then he steps away, but soon returns to within a pace or two of the driver’s door, and talks to Mr Wormwood again. When I next look he has gone.
Scarlett doesn’t get out of her car until Mrs & Miss Wormwood have returned to their car but not yet got in. Mrs Wormwood is carrying her daughter’s red cardigan and red book-bag. About half a minute after the the Wormwoods’ car has departed, its place is taken by the medium-size W-registration green Renault which is often to be seen on the school-run but usually parks near the Efords’ house.
The Ojays’ car drives up Acacia Grove.
When Scarlett returns with the boys, she is carrying both boys’ anoraks and Tiny Boy’s schoolbag — the anoraks are draped over her right forearm. Small Boy is carrying his own book-bag. Tiny Boy and then Small Boy get into the rear of the car. Scarlett puts the backrest of the fps upright, then she dumps the anoraks and the schoolbag onto the fps. She drives off past the Old Man’s house.
At the end of the school-day, Mrs Pavane’s car is still here.
There is a sunny end to the afternoon. I mow the back lawn and re-mow the side lawn. When I stop the mower at one point, Mrs CJ calls out to me — she is hanging out her washing. We talk about school trips which she, and I, and Charlie have been on. One of Charlie’s trips cost £150. I tell her about the savings scheme that was organised at Metroland Primary, months in advance of our school trip. Until today, I haven’t thought of that scheme for years.