Saturday 19 July 2014
Shortly after 06:00 it is raining. The rain becomes heavier, and then near-torrential.
At 08:08 there is mist over the Banlieue.
I go shopping at AltGroce, in mist and drizzle. When I return to the Old Man’s house, I pick one large and two small snails off the garage door, and two large snails off the right-hand door-pillar. I release them into the overgrown area behind where we used to have bonfires.
At Sandbanks, on the way to buy my fish-and-chip lunch, I pick another snail off the path in the park, and fling it into the foliage to my left.
Then I detect the smell of frying.
Another customer, a woman in her late thirties, is approaching the shop at the same time as I, but from the opposite direction. I let her enter first. There are no other customers inside.
New Girl, at the left behind the counter, takes the woman’s order, which includes “a scattering of chips” — it seems this is for the woman’s mother. The whole order only half-fills one of the shop’s standard white plastic carrier bags.
Young Girl, at the right, remembers my usual order.
“You look bored,” I say to Young Girl as she brings my food from the drainers.
“The weather doesn’t help.” (It is raining.)
“You’ve got free advertising today,” I tell her, and explain that I’m referring to the smell of frying.
She tells me that the smell usually blows the other way.
Tubby Woman is cooking today. While I am in the shop, the young man in the red polo shirt enters the kitchen via the back door.
In the afternoon I visit Naomi. When I arrive she is watching the end of Swing Time on a Freeview channel. Naomi still hasn’t heard from Jen — she has Jen’s birthday-card and birthday-present on the dining-room table.
Naomi is worried about her GP appointment on Tuesday morning. She needs little persuasion to accept my offer of a lift there, plus moral support.
I oil Naomi’s garden shears, and massage her back.
We talk about various subjects including dumbing-down; ill-advised cosmetic surgery, especially face-lifts; and teachers that Naomi still has unpleasant memories of from her schooldays.
Back at the Old Man’s house, I pick another large snail off the right-hand door-pillar of the garage, and release it into the same place as the others.
Around 17:30, there is heavy rain and lightning. Fifteen minutes or so later, there is thunder that sounds as though it is coming from directly overhead.
The rain stops not long after 18:00, and eventually the sun returns, becoming bright after 19:10.