Sunday 9 June 2013
Before 05:00, the little silver MPV is parked nose uphill at the kerb alongside the Efords’ house.
Two hours later, Mrs GS is advancing down her back garden, carrying in front of her what looks like a medium-size pile of washing. She is wearing a sleeveless top and red-brown trousers; she seems to have lost a little weight lately.
I can’t see her washing-line — it must be at the bottom of her garden, concealed by the JGs’ big trees. She passes out of sight behind those trees.
Mrs JG has had washing out on her line overnight.
The Junior Golfer’s tent has vanished, but his car is on his back garden, and to the left of his car, the handlebars of his microscooter.
Immediately after arriving back at Suburbia Somnolenta, I chat with Mr Jebec. I am in the driving-seat of my car, he is standing alongside the car.
While I was away, one of the Nearneighbours’ dogs attacked the Jebecs’ dog, which is about a quarter of its size. When Mrs Jebec tried to separate the dogs, the Nearneighbours’ dog bit her. Mrs Jebec required treatment in hospital. (By the standards of Suburbia Somnolenta, this is high drama.)
Mrs Jebec’s father is now about 82, and not nearly as active as he used to be. He has got into a vicious circle: less able to get about, therefore inactive, therefore less able to get about. Not much more than a year ago, he was performing tree-surgery, climbing a ladder to reach the branches; but doing that would now be out of the question. He has recently had a fall on the stairs at home. (I haven’t seen him for so long that I have been wondering whether he is still alive — but I haven’t liked to ask Mrs Jebec.)
Mr Jebec’s sister Pippa, whom I saw when she visited the Jebecs years ago, works for the British Ambassador in a well-known trouble-spot. She has previously worked in the USA, and in a different well-known trouble-spot in West Africa. She has been married, but the marriage came to an end some time ago.
The car that Mr Jebec is currently driving belongs to Pippa.
Mr Jebec thinks it preposterous that a certain breakfast TV presenter is paid so much for so little work.
Gretchen Jebec is clearly eager for the conversation between Mr Jebec and myself to come to an end, so that he can help her with some pruning in the front garden.
Later in the day I see the Jebecs’ elder son walking to Pippa’s car. His face is starting to resemble that of his maternal grandfather.