Segmented umbrellas

Friday 8 May 2015

I have a quick lunch of toast, then I mow the front three lawns. When I am just starting to mow the area of the front lawn that used to be a rockery, I feel a few drops of rain. Not until I am half-way through mowing the side lawn does it properly begin to rain. I finish mowing at 13:48.
Shortly after the start of the afternoon school-run, it is raining harder, and audibly.
Mrs Vest has parked her car alongside Vinnie’s short hedge, with the car’s tail overlapping the garden-gates by about eighteen inches. Some minutes later, a woman who may be Mrs Vest is crossing the street towards the Efords’ driveway, under an umbrella. By her side is a little boy under his own umbrella. I notice that Mrs Vest’s car is slightly downhill of where it was, and a big boxy dark-blue MPV has taken its former place.
Mr Tanbrit descends past the school precinct. He is dressed as usual. Inboard of Mr Tanbrit and just to the rear of him is Thomas, who is wearing a red anorak and grey trousers; his umbrella has alternate segments of plain dark-grey and patterned pink.
Parents and children start to stream upslope from the middle entrance of the school. I see Mr Tanbrit, then Mrs Vest ahead of him. Leah Vest’s umbrella has alternate segments of pink and white; Rufus Vest’s umbrella has alternate segments of white and patterned red. Master PP has an umbrella with alternate segments of grey and of another colour, but not identical to any other umbrella seen on this school-run; his anorak is open at the front. His mother is bare-headed, and has no umbrella. The rain has eased off.

From alongside the Efords’ driveway, Mrs PP smiles towards Mrs Vest who, on the other side of the street, is loading up or has just loaded up her car. Then Mrs PP walks across to where Mrs Vest is standing, at the car’s offside.
Mrs Vest and Mrs PP, standing on the pavement near the nfc of Mrs Vest’s car, have a big laugh about something — Mrs Vest rocks back as she laughs (Mrs PP less so), and briefly puts her hand in front of her mouth, blushing. Then Belle and Sim join them, and soon all three women are laughing. Belle also rocks back as she laughs (not as much as Mrs Vest did), then screeches out something with her head tilted back. (When she was about to enter the school, she had her poncho covering her head, but now she is bare-headed as is Mrs Vest. Belle’s hair is tied up at the back, as earlier today.) She points first across Acacia Grove, then up Acacia Grove. More conversation follows. After spending about two minutes together, the women separate. (I haven’t seen any interaction between Sim and Master PP; nor have I seen either boy interact with any of the women. The boys look very much alike with their anorak hoods up. They have been standing just uphill of Belle, near the junction-box. One of the boys is holding a blue(?) water-bottle in his right hand.)
Belle seems to be half-dragging Sim, holding him by his arm, to the ord of her car which is parked, not very near the kerb, alongside the centre-right of the Old Man’s front lawn. The car departs up Acacia Grove, with its lights on.
It is still raining.
Blanche Pepper and Miss PP are not on this afternoon’s school-run.

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