The starlings are excitable and the flats at Park Court still smell of piss. Outside them, a man in jeans and a T-shirt is blowing smelly ginkgo leaves. He consolidates them into a neat pile, exposing again the small memorial stone dedicated to the dog named Mowgli and the fallen-over A-frame poster board advertising The Dana Ali Band’s next appearance at the Clothiers Arms.
There’s a man in a field shouting at livestock and the excitable starlings are ganging-up in the near-naked beech. Outside the big detached new-build with the statue of the bulldog by the front door, the man on the vintage motorcycle is talking to the man with Cuprinol down his top, “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it stays mild,” he says. I’m not so worried, says the Cuprinol man, “I’ve just had the van fixed and it’s running like a dree-am”.
The woman in the T-shirt with ‘Porn Star’ written across it winces as she walks. She leans on the wall of her porch while she kicks off her muddy trainers and leaves them on the step. In the street outside, a small group of full hi-viz men are gathered around a hole in the ground. They are leaning on their tools and chatting: “He got to the middle of the field, dropped his kegs, did a shit and just carried on walking”.
In the garden of the big house, there’s a man in an orange helmet with a perspex visor chopping down the leylandii. Outside, at the bus stop, the old woman with the belted herringbone coat and Marks & Spencer bag-for-life is complaining about this year’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here: “When they showed the pictures, I thought, ‘I don’t know any of them!” then she adds, “It’s not worth going to the hairdresser’s when the weather is like this; I only went on Tuesday and it’s flat as a pancake already!”
5.There are old women in anoraks and gloves with small grey curly dogs that match their hairdos. They are on their way to the shop that sells dusty bottles of Mateus Rosé, Lion Bars, Bisto Gravy Granules, and Andrex Toilet Tissue. The excitable starlings compete with a car alarm and the farmer who is half-in and and half-out of his overalls, closes his eyes as he reaches for the latch on the blind side of the gate.