Another bright sunny morning. I followed the chubby bald fifty-year-old paper ‘boy’ into the newsagent’s where the man with the intense stare tried to sell me some honey roasted peanuts. “You wanna try them”, he said without blinking, “they’re proper nice, they are”. I refused and, as I stepped outside it began to rain heavily – as if from nowhere. The sky clouded over and the temperature dropped. I thought about going back and buying the nuts but the rain stopped just as suddenly as it had started. it stayed cold though; It was a full half hour before the reactolite lenses of the people in fleece jackets went dark again.
Outside the Church Hall where I was once accused of smoking “wacky baccy”*at a wedding reception, the snow that lined the kerb has given way to dried horse shit, tree litter and slug trails. Large men walk small dogs and large women talk at the bus stop; “I was supposed to be going to Diane’s but I can’t walk nowhere – I’m in agony”. One man’s heels were overhanging the back of his Crocs by about an inch and a half. Another man, who was having his lunch at 11.30am, remarked “Fucking Hell, them Chinese give ‘emselves some right names, don’t they”
I walked up the ring road behind two young men in washed out tracksuits. The taller one – with his hood up – was walking a Staffordshire bull terrier on a lead. His swagger was so pronounced that he eventually built up too much sideways momentum and stumbled, nearly tripping over. To cover his embarrassment, he began a vigorous air punching workout which resulted in his dog being yanked violently sideways with every right jab. The other man wasn’t paying attention to his companion, he had half his arm down the back of his tracksuit pants and was scratching his arse while he wolf whistled at the girl in dark glasses walking down the other side of the road.
*I was only smoking a roll-up.