Thursday 17 July 2014
In the middle of the night, moonlight is streaming through the landing window of the Old Man’s house. The moon is above the right-hand corner of the house adjoining Vinnie’s.
The day begins sunny and very warm.
The father, two girls and little dog cross the street towards the boundary between the Old Man’s property and the CJs’ property.
Mrs Wheeler’s car has parked at the uphill end of the school-house garden. Mrs Wheeler and Josh get out of the car, but there is no sign of Maud.
Meanwhile, Mrs Maroon’s car has passed the Old Man’s house and parked alongside the lower part of the school-house garden. The two Maroon girls are both wearing pale-yellow uniform dresses; the younger girl’s hemline is at knee level, but the older girl’s hemline is above her knees. The Maroons set off for the school before the Wheelers do.
Mrs Wheeler returns to her car — initially she is walking rapidly, then she breaks into a half-run. She is wearing sunglasses.
Mrs Pavane arrives at her usual time, parking just below where Mrs Wheeler’s car was. Mr Briggs’ car has also arrived, and has parked just below where the Maroons’ car was.
There have not been many cars on the school-run this morning. In this warm weather perhaps some families have left the car at home and have walked to school.
A few seconds after 09:00 the Peppers’ car drives away past the Old Man’s house.
In the late morning school-run, Mr Lurch’s car has parked alongside the middle part of the Old Man’s front lawn. Mrs PP’s car has parked alongside the Kingdoms’ house and the adjoining house.
Shortly thereafter, the Lurch and PP families are ascending together past the school-house garden. Mr Lurch is inboard of Mrs PP, who is carrying her daughter at her right front, facing forward. Miss PP is wearing a light-coloured dress with a floral pattern. When they reach the driveway of the house adjoining the Trimots’ house, Mr Lurch and Mrs PP stop, and chat for a moment. Master Lurch and Master PP are standing on the pavement nearby. Master PP is waiting patiently, and none of the children seems to be saying anything. Mrs PP is wearing a short dark skirt, and a purply-blue strappy top which is very low-cut at the back, almost all the way across, well below the shoulder-blades. She is bare-headed as usual, and she isn’t wearing sunglasses. I hear Mrs PP say: “…don’t mind…” in a strong local accent. The pitch of her voice is between mezzo-soprano and contralto.
I don’t see Mr Lurch’s car depart, but I see Mrs PP’s car heading in the direction of Cypress Crescent.
Finally I see a woman ascending the far pavement, inboard of a four-year-old girl in a blue sleeveless dress. The girl is wearing a conical black hat, resembling a witch’s hat, about nine inches high, with a brim. The hat was proably crafted rather than bought in a shop — but I doubt that the girl crafted it unaided.
Since shortly before 12:30, a little red hatchback has been parked by the left-hand side of the Old Man’s front lawn. The driver is a middle-aged woman. Now, not long after 14:45, Mrs Tanbrit’s car is parked nose-to-tail with the red hatchback. Mrs Tanbrit is at the open nrd; she is wearing a cherry-colour strappy top, and fairly loose-fit white trousers, rolled up at the hems, that reach to just below her knees. She has lifted Thomas out, and is carrying him at her left front. She also opens the fpd, and I think it is from the fps that she brings out what looks like a plastic sandwich-box: pale pink or pale blue, of square plan, three or four inches high, with a sheet of paper on top of it — and she puts the whole lot on top of the car’s roof just above the fpd.
All this time, Mrs Tanbrit is talking with a blonde woman standing on the opposite pavement, just uphill of Mrs Daniels’ car. I notice Mrs Tanbrit’s strong local accent. She crosses the road, and descends to the school with the blonde woman.
Three women are on the pavement alongside the Efords’ driveway, talking. One of them is Mrs Daniels, another is Mrs Black. The third is Roberta, who is to the right of Mrs Black, and, like her, is facing the roadway. Miss Black jr is in a push-chair; she is wearing a soft white sun-hat of the type that babies wear, and her other clothing is also white. She looks to be younger than I previously supposed — perhaps two, or two-and-a-half. Miss Black sr, who is wearing a pale-yellow uniform dress, is at her mother’s right hand. Mrs Black is wearing a floral-pattern top, probably sleeveless.
Mrs Wormwood and Miss Wormwood are returning to their car, which is parked in Mrs Port’s usual space. Someone says: “Enjoy your party!” — presumably to Miss Wormwood.
A man that I haven’t seen before is ascending the far pavement, with a boy inboard of him. Both of them are wearing black caps. The boy is wearing a long-sleeve deep-yellow uniform top. His father has a dark goatee beard. He gives me the impression that his political views are well to the left. The man is propelling a push-chair shaded by a round purple-pink parasol. It is a double push-chair, but the outboard seat is vacant; there is a baby in the inboard seat.
Three women are having a discussion just downhill of the driveway of the house adjoining the Trimots’ house. The woman at the left-hand side of the group is especially voluble.
As the time approaches 15:50, a blue ice-cream van drives up Acacia Grove. About fifteen seconds after it passes out of view, I hear it play “Yankee Doodle”.
I mow the back lawn, and trim some borders near the driveway. While I am working on the borders, a teenage boy ascends past the Old Man’s house, accompanied by two girls from Acacia Primary. “Do you have an ex-boyfriend?” he asks one of them, in response to something she has just said. “No, I don’t yet,” she half-chuckles. “Wait till I tell your parents,” he retorts.
After I have finished, I see Mrs Pavane’s car depart in the direction of Cypress Crescent.
At 19:37 I am in the kitchen. Mr OS is descending the far pavement. He is wearing black jogging-bottoms with a white stripe on the outside of the legs, and a cheap-looking powder-blue zip-front jacket, half-unzipped to show a top with black and red horizontal stripes. I reflect that he is overdressed for this warm weather. (The sky is overcast, but the light is good.) A blue plastic carrier-bag, half-full, is dangling from his left hand. He is going very slowly. I hope that he will look in my direction, so that I can wave a greeting to him via the kitchen window; but he keeps looking straight ahead.