Friday 18 July 2014
It has been a hot, humid night.
At 07:02 I see Mrs Eford and a woman whom I take to be her sister — they are equally obese — by the Efords’ pale blue car which is on their driveway. The car has its tailgate open, and one of the women is taking luggage out of the load area. The Efords must have just returned from their holiday. Both women are dressed in pale-orange cardigans (unfastened), and white trousers.
The sky is overcast, but it is getting brighter.
Forty minutes later, Mr Briggs’ car is parked alongside the lower part of the school-house garden.
Mrs Wheeler has parked alongside number 35. Josh has already got out of the ord. He is wearing a plain white short-sleeve top, and dark knee-length shorts. The big black bag on a shoulder-strap is at his right hip. Mrs Wheeler is wearing a dark jacket and skirt, a white blouse, white trainers and short white socks. She goes round the tail of the car, to the nrd, and lifts Maud out. Maud is wearing a powder-blue (denim?) skirt, and a white smock with a pattern of pink and cream roses, plus the same white sun-hat with red beading as she wore two days ago. She is babbling in a slightly “arch” tone of voice.
The Wheelers cross the road to just above the nose of Mrs Port’s car. As they pass the school-house garden, Josh encroaches just a little onto the edge of the rough grass between each fence-post.
Mrs Wheeler returns from the school, with Maud, and lifts her into the car via the nrd.
Half an hour later, Mrs Wobbly parks alongside numbers 31 and 29.
A girl aged about seven, wearing a rose-red sleeveless dress, descends past Vinnie’s house. Then a boy wearing a football-shirt does likewise. Both children seem to be alone.
After Mrs Wobbly’s car has departed, Roberta ascends past the Efords’ house, outboard of a boy in full Superman costume.
Mrs PP walks uphill past Vinnie’s house, carrying Miss PP at her left front. There is another woman inboard of Mrs PP. She is wearing a sleeveless white top, and she is propelling a push-chair with two plastic carrier-bags — one blue, one lime-green — hanging from the back. The women are chatting. They ascend the pavement until they pass out of sight. The time is now 09:02 approximately.
Shortly before 09:20 it starts to rain, and the rain soon gets heavier. It stops within three-quarters of an hour.
Mid-morning, a Lexus is parked at the kerb by the long hedge. Mrs Sweet’s car arrives, and reverses to park at the kerb alongside the uphill end of the Thornboroughs’ hedge. Mrs Sweet sets off for the school; she is wearing denims, and she has a big dark leather bag at her right hip. Her brown hair is arranged in a ponytail. Perhaps she is going to an end-of-year assembly?
At about 10:50 Mrs PP is approaching her car, which is parked alongside number 13. She is carrying Miss PP, who has a dummy in, at her right front. Miss PP is wearing a white top with red flecks or little motifs. Mrs PP is dressed as earlier, in a loose-fit black top with narrow shoulder-straps, and a lime-green skirt of knee length.
“Come on!” Mrs PP calls — to her son, who moments later comes into view. He is wearing a light-coloured hoodie with the hood down, and knee-length red trousers. (It has been raining, but I presume the rain must have stopped.) Mrs PP drives off a few minutes later.
A few minutes before 11:00, people are exiting via the lower entrance of the school. I hear a rumble of thunder, not very loud. Most of the school-run cars have gone by 11:06.
In the afternoon school-run, Mrs Black’s car has parked at the kerb where Mrs Sweet’s car was earlier. Then I see her descend past the school-house garden, with Miss Black jr outboard. The girl points to something in the school-house garden — probably the hydrangea-bush.
Mrs Black and her daughter return to the car; I notice the girl’s chiffon dress — three layers, of three pastel colours — and her confident, foot-planting stride and confident expression. From the car, they go back to the school. They are nearing the lower entrance while other people are heading in the opposite direction — the girl is to the rear of her mother, but finally runs to catch up before they reach the lower entrance.
The Wormwoods’ car has parked alongside number 35, and the Ojays’ car just this side of the Wormwoods’. The Peppers’ silver Escargot has parked nose uphill by the middle of the Old Man’s front lawn.
The time is approaching 15:10 when I hear children say: “Bye!” “Bye!” Simeon Pepper is standing at the fpd of the Escargot, about to get in. He asks: “Is this the last time I […] here?” His mother is at the driver’s door; she seems to respond in the affirmative. (It isn’t clear what this means. Perhaps he will be moving up to junior school in September.)
Trotsky ascends the far pavement, accompanied by two boys. He is carrying a white plastic carrier-bag with green lettering; the bag is very full.
A man aged about 30 is walking uph past Vinnie’s house, accompanied by two girls. With one hand he is holding a rod attached to a wheeled suitcase that is trundling along behind him. The elder girl is ahead of the man; she is carrying a coloured item of luggage that may be a suitcase or may be a schoolbag — it has a handle. The younger girl is three or four years old, and she is carrying nothing.
Mrs Chummy and Mrs Ojay are standing on the pavement by the nrc of the Ojays’ car, not just talking, but laughing and joking also. I’ve never seen Mrs Ojay laugh so much — if I’ve ever seen her laugh at all. Another thing I haven’t noticed before is a small tattoo on the upper half of her right arm.
Mrs Chummy crosses the street to the tail of her Boxcar, which is parked alongside the Old Man’s front side lawn. With her is Miss Chummy, wearing a pink dress and a cap that is mainly red. Mrs Chummy is wearing a deep-blue short-sleeve blouse and deep-blue trousers. When the Boxcar drives off up Acacia Grove, I can hear that it has a diesel engine.
Mrs Black returns for the second time to her car. Both her daughters are now with her. She is also accompanied by another woman, who looks younger than Mrs Black, and whose Citroën is parked beyond Mrs Black’s car. Mrs Black has a yellow garment draped over her left forearm, and a larger deep-blue garment draped over that.
At 15:40 the same ice-cream van as yesterday drives up Acacia Grove, and after no more than thirty seconds it plays the same tune.
Mrs Maroon collects her daughters from the school. She has to lay it on the line to Miss Maroon sr that she will be going in the rear of the car, rather than being the front passenger. Miss Maroon jr also goes in the rear. Miss Maroon sr is wearing a white top and a red skirt.
When the car departs, the sun is trying to come out. The car first approaches the Old Man’s house, then wheels round, and heads towards George Street where — shortly after 15:55 — it turns right.