Friday 28 November 2014
The day begins a little misty, and during the early-morning school-run the mist remains.
Mrs Tanbrit has parked alongside the Old Man’s garden-gate, overlapping the front lawn and the front side lawn, and part-way onto the pavement. Slightly uphill of where the Tanbrit Ultra was parked yesterday afternoon, there is a silver Peugeot 307.
When the Tanbrits descend the far pavement towards the school, Mrs Tanbrit is outboard, Thomas is inboard, and Tessa is lagging by a couple of paces.
When I set off to AltGroce, a little after 09:25, the Tanbrit Ultra is still here. It has gone by the time I return, a few seconds before 11:00.
In the late-morning school-run, Mrs Chunky has parked alongside the junction-box, and Mrs Tanbrit has parked alongside the upper part of the school-house garden. Mrs Chunky crosses the street towards Mrs Tanbrit who is standing on the pavement waiting for her. Together they descend towards the middle entrance of the school.There is a crowd of parents outside the middle entrance – I can see Mrs Chunky near the wall, just uphill of the entrance. When the gate is opened, there is a sudden inward rush of parents; then I see Mrs Chunky, and Mrs Tanbrit to the right of her, stationary on the walkway, conversing.
A few minutes later I see both women and their sons ascending past the lower part of the school-house garden. Thomas is wearing his red anorak. He is holding a rolled-up sheet of A4 paper, and alongside the Tanbrit Ultra he turns to face Mrs Chunky and uses the rolled-up sheet as a sword, pretending to fence with her. Mrs Chunky is not very co-operative. Mrs Tanbrit takes hold of his hand — she and Thomas are now at the kerb, near the nose of the car. Thomas is still waving his “sword”, with a piratical demeanour, leaning back somewhat. Master Chunky is pretending that his own rolled-up sheet of paper is a telescope — he is holding it to his left eye, with his left hand. His anorak is of a light-olive colour; his hair is rather curly. There is no indication that, under their anoraks, the boys are dressed up as pirates. Neither boy seems to have a bookbag.
When Mrs Tanbrit drives off, in the direction of Cypress Crescent, Mrs and Master Chunky are at their car — Master Chunky is already inside, and Mrs Chunky is about to get in at the driver’s door. She waves to the Tanbrits for a few seconds as they drive past — not with the childlike wave affected by some parents at Acacia Primary, but with a proper wave. Mrs Chunky appears to be 35-plus, which would make her a bit older than Mrs Tanbrit.
At Sandbank Shoals, one of the customers is a grey-haired woman of 80-plus, frail of body and voice. Bossy Woman asks her what her order is, and she replies: “Chips, and tail-end.” Young Girl seems to know the old lady quite well, and addresses her as M***; she tells her, in a kindly tone that avoids being patronising: “We’ve got a nice piece of tail-end for you,” and she enquires about her health. The old lady replies that she still has to have one more treatment (unspecified) on her chest. She clearly welcomes a chance to talk with someone. (Sandbank Shoals has a sideline in social services!)
Back at the Old Man’s house, I put the fish and chips down in the kitchen, then go and retrieve the tiny plastic doll from the front lawn. It is near the pillar between bays 3 and 4 — one of the boys must have thrown it there yesterday afternoon, from where I left it on top of the pillar between bays 4 and 5.