Mr Briggs arrives early

Friday 4 October 2013

At 05:33 the roadway is damp.
Not long after 07:20 a dark Media approaches from the direction of George Street, turns, and parks opposite the middle entrance. After a short pause, the male driver gets out alone, crosses the street at a slight downhill diagonal, then walks downhill on the far pavement. I don’t see whether he enters the school — my view is blocked by a group of people walking uphill past the lower entrance.

At 07:40 it is raining quite hard, and at 07:46 it is raining very hard. A minute or so later the rain is even heavier — it is streaming down the window.
Some minutes later, Mrs Wheeler opens the ord of her car, closes it, then gets in via the driver’s door. She is wearing a blue-green anorak — with the hood up, of course.
A puddle is forming in the rough patch of roadway alongside the downhill end of Vinnie’s garden-gates.
At 08:11 the sun is trying to come out from behind rather dark grey clouds. Thirty seconds later, in the Old Man’s house, there is a vertical slit of sunlight onto the handle of the airing-cupboard door and to the left of the light-switch on the wall beyond.
The minibus departs; when it was parked, its middle section was by Vinnie’s driveway and its bonnet and A-posts by his long hedge.
Mrs Oldgreen parks with the nose of her car over where the sapling used to be.
A black Fiat is parked by the Old Man’s garden-gate and the uphill end of the front lawn. The driver is an attractive brunette with a ponytail, who is wearing a dark hip-length coat and medium-blue denims. She ushers a small boy out of the nrd. He has dark-blond hair. The woman carries his lime-green backpack from her left hand. They descend past the front lawn, and cross the road.
A dark Jaguar parks with its boot alongside the junction-box. The driver is female, and with her is a girl with bobbed, dark-blonde hair.
The Wormwoods’ Ultra has parked nose-to-nose with the Jaguar.
At 08:55 the Kulaks’ car drives off past the Old Man’s house. I haven’t seen it until now.

I go shopping at AltGroce. On the way back, I have to take a diversion, owing to resurfacing work. I wasn’t expecting ever to drive along one of the streets that form the diversion, now that I’m no longer a customer of Salty Sally’s.
During the late morning school-run, the weather is dull but dry. Afterwards, the sun is trying to come out.
There is an HGV parked at or near number 12 —a house that has a skip outside it. The HGV bears the white logo of an insulation stockist. The materials being delivered appear to be white tiles. Later, I see a fork-lift truck at the tail of the HGV.

At lunchtime I go to Sandbank Shoals for fish and chips. It is spotting with rain. Master Kaufman has just returned home in the minibus. His mother and the grey-haired woman from the minibus help him get indoors, each holding one of his hands. He seems to be walking more unsteadily than when I last saw him.
At Sandbank Shoals, it is Young Girl who serves me. “A quiet day today,” I remark to Bossy Woman — there are no other customers at that moment. She agrees, but says that usually the rain brings lots of customers out to the shop.
As I walk away from the shop, another person is heading towards it. When I drive off, I see the Wormwoods’ white Ultra parked, with their van beyond it.
The short first section and the long second section of Cypress Crescent have been resurfaced; the latter is smooth, but it undulates. Further along, I see a man who resembles Partner, but definitely isn’t him, walking on the right-hand pavement of Cypress Crescent, in the opposite direction from the one in which I am driving. (I saw this man at 11:40 or so, from the kitchen of the Old Man’s house. He was descending the far pavement of Acacia Grove.)
My portion of fish is bigger than last time, but the quality isn’t quite as good. The chips are better than last time, and not so pale.

Towards 14:30 Mr OS is descending the far pavement of Acacia Grove. He is making painful progress — perhaps he suffers more in damp weather. (It is spotting with rain.) From his left hand dangles a red bag which is probably made of cloth. There are a few items in the bottom of the bag.
At about 14:45 a white car parks in the Wormwoods’ usual spot — but it is a Zero, not an Ultra. Esmé, her ponytail its natural colour rather than dyed, descends past the Zero with her push-chair, and crosses the street. Her car is alongside the wall of number 6.
The Edial has parked by the Old Man’s front side lawn, a few inches from the kerb.
The Kulaks’ car is alongside number 35. Mabel, her hair tied up at the back, goes round the tail of the car to the nrd and lifts Miss Kulak out. The latter is wearing a dark pink top with the hood up — it is now raining moderately hard. Miss Kulak may be asleep.
The Ojays’ car parks with its nose to the tail of the white Zero.
Mr Trimot’s car is parked alongside his driveway. Miss Trimot comes out to the car, at a trot. She is wearing a pink-purple vest that hangs over her pale-to-medium blue denims. Miss Trimot goes round the tail of the car, to the driver’s door. At the open door she does something I can’t see; then the door closes and she trots back indoors.
At 15:06 the rain has eased and the sky is lighter.
Miss Ojay gets into the family car via the ord. She is wearing a hoodie with broad, salmon-and-white horizontal stripes. Its hood is down, revealing the white hood-lining. Her skirt is lemon-colour. Miss Ojay’s straw-blonde hair is arranged in a ponytail.
The Ojays’ car departs unseen.
Mrs and Miss Wormwood return to the white Zero.
Esmé returns to her car, smiling. She is wearing a darkish blue skirt, possibly made of denim. Her son is outboard of her. He is wearing a yellow polo-shirt, and a blue-grey anorak which is unfastened.
The driver of the blue Ultra, whom earlier I saw descend past Vinnie’s house, is now ascending past the upper part of the school-house garden. His daughter is skipping along, outboard of him. When I next look they are ascending past Vinnie’s house; the girl is now inboard. She is wearing a yellow uniform top, and a pink anorak with a dark-grey lining. The man is carrying her multicoloured backpack with his left hand. They ascend Acacia Grove until they are lost to sight.
Two parents ascend the far pavement, with a dark-blond boy about ten yards ahead of them, and a bright-blonde girl a further ten yards ahead. His hair is mop-like, but hers is centre-parted. The girl is swinging an oblong pink bag which she is holding with her right hand. Then she lifts the bag to her nose, and takes a sniff at it. The children stop alongside the Kingdoms’ house, and interact with a mixed group of three or four other children. When I next look, both adults and all the children have disappeared.

At 17:40 or so, a black MPV parks alongside the Old Man’s garden-gate and front side lawn. An unknown woman gets out via the driver’s door, and Mrs Port gets out of the fpd. When I next look, Mrs Port is nuzzling a baby that she is carrying in her arms, and Laura is getting out of the nrd — she is wearing an anorak. Mrs Port’s dark brunette hair is tied up at the back; Laura’s hair is in side-bunches. They cross towards the driveway of the Ports’ house; Laura is twirling a little umbrella above her head, although there is no sign that it is raining. The umbrella is segmented, pink and white. Both women and Laura enter the Ports’ front path, heading in the direction of the house. Mrs Port’s car is still at the kerb, where it has been all day.
At 18:48 I’m just in time to see the black MPV depart up Acacia Grove, with its lights on.

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