Friday 26 September 2014
In the morning, I drive to Peakville. The weather forecast is for a dry day, but there is some rain about a quarter of the way through my journey
Before going to the Old Man’s house, I call at Sandbank Shoals. Tubby Woman is serving, and Very Tubby Woman is cooking.
My portion of fish is slightly below average size; the batter is thin and not very crisp. But Sandbank Shoals is still easily my favourite fish-and-chip shop.
At the Old Man’s house, I notice that the skip that was on the driveway of number 6 during my previous visit is no longer there.
The foliage of the tree alongside number 35 is now very ragged. The leaves of the tree in the Old Man’s front garden are shrivelled, but there are still plenty of them left on the tree.
Not long after 14:35, Mr Briggs’ car is parked alongside the lowest part of the school-house garden, and Mrs Morphy’s silver Rubin is parked nose uphill alongside the upper part of the school-house garden, where the sapling used to be. The sun is trying to come out.
A van has been parked alongside the middle and right-hand side of the Old Man’s front lawn, but now I see that Mrs Tanbrit’s car is parked there instead. She is at the offside of the car, dressed in a white top with vestigial sleeves, blue-grey trousers, and slipper-like shoes of a pink or red colour. She crosses the street, accompanied by Thomas who is wearing a blue jacket, and then descends towards the school, outboard of another woman who has a push-chair. The other woman is solidly built; she has shoulder-length straw-blonde hair. As Mrs Tanbrit descends past the Efords’ driveway and the upper part of the school-house garden, I notice that her feet turn outwards. Thomas is ahead of the women, looking back over his left shoulder.
The Peppers’ car has parked nose downhill alongside number 35. Belle lifts Blanche out via the nrd, and they cross the street — Blanche carried at her mother’s left front. Belle is wearing a reddish-orange coat, and Blanche a patterned beige dress that reminds me of one that a former colleague of mine sometimes wore.
Mrs Sweet drives past the Old Man’s house and parks at the kerb alongside the lower part of the Thornboroughs’ hedge.
Mrs Mustard has parked alongside the Trimots’ house.
Mrs Port’s car performs a three-point turn and drives off up Acacia Grove.
Mr Lurch, accompanied by his son, returns to his Volvo which is parked this side of the Peppers’ car.
Shortly after the Volvo departs, Mrs Vest’s car arrives from up Acacia Grove, and parks — slowly and clumsily — where the Volvo was, but a little further onto the pavement. Moments later, Mrs Vest is standing at the tail of her car, talking with Mrs PP. Rufus Vest is with them; he is wearing a grey T-shirt with a pattern on the front. Mrs Vest is wearing a dark (knitted or woven) crew-neck top and dark leggings; her sandals have black straps that extend up to her ankles. Mrs PP is wearing a fawn sleeveless top with a V-neck front and rear, plus darkish-grey leggings that fit snugly but are not tight. As often is the case, Mrs Vest has her black hair arranged in a fringe, and is wearing too much make-up on her upper eyelids.
When the Vests set off towards the school, Rufus is on his microscooter. The PP family head towards their car, which is parked alongside the hedge of number 8; Mrs PP is in the lead, Master PP is a little behind her, and Miss PP (who is wearing a powder-blue jacket and a short grey skirt) is further back. All three are on foot. As the PPs approach their car, Mrs Sweet is reaching up to close the tailgate of her car; she is wearing denims. Mrs PP, standing on the pavement to the nearside of her car, looks back at her daughter who is still a few yards downhill.
I see Belle ascending the pavement, via the “gap”. She puts Blanche into the car, via the nrd. Sim, who is wearing a grey top (a pullover?), waits at the tail of the car. Belle takes him to the ord, after checking — rather exaggeratedly? — for passing traffic.
Mrs Mustard is ascending the far pavement towards her car.
Mrs Vest is standing at the offside of her car, in left profile. Her phone is in her right hand but she is holding it to her left ear. She adjusts one of her sandals with her free left hand, then leans forward against the upper offside of the car — she gives me the impression that she is tired or exasperated. Leah and Rufus have already got into the car. I don’t see Rufus’s microscooter.
Not long before 15:20, Mrs Mustard has departed, and Mrs Vest is departing in the direction of George Street. The sunlight is bright, and the shadows are dark.
Mrs Tanbrit has returned to her car. She ushers Tessa in via the fpd; I don’t see Thomas. Then Mrs Tanbrit leans in via the nrd; she goes round the tail of the car and leans in via the ord; finally she herself gets in via the driver’s door. I seem to remember her performing this routine on a previous occasion.
Mrs Courier’s car, a green five-door Oignon, is parked nose downhill at the kerb alongside the Efords’ house. The Couriers are reaching the nrd of the car. Mrs Courier is obese, with dark bobbed hair; she is wearing a lanyard. Miss Courier is a little girl with blonde bobbed hair
Some minutes later the Couriers’ car is still there. Mrs Port’s car parks alongside the Ports’ house, and Mrs Port goes round the tail of the car to let Laura out via the fpd. Laura is wearing an olive-brown anorak, and plastic-framed shades with round lenses.
A stocky, dark-haired mother and two girls aged about eleven ascend to the Couriers’ car, where they pause, and interact with someone in the car. Two other girls, also aged about eleven, ascend the same pavement — one of those girls is whooping for joy, with an arm raised above her head. After the mother and the first two girls go on their way, the Couriers’ car departs.
Mrs Pavane’s car, which has been parked opposite the school, a little below the level of the middle entrance, has gone by 16:17. Mr Briggs’ car is still here at 16:35.