The sun struggled to climb up in the sky. The clouds were clinging to their place on top of the hills. Children in the village houses below were waking from their sleep. And the world was getting prepared to start a new day.
Grey skies covered a sun deficient landscape. No shadows cast by the trees in the meadows. In the far field a figure stood, still. In closer fields the crows noisily eating the crop. The figure smiled he had done his job. His field was crow free. Mr Scarecrow was satisfied.
A crooked tree stood alone in the field. Alone is probably a harsh word to use, yes it was solitary, but can a tree be ‘alone’. Probably not, ‘a lone tree’ yes, but ‘alone’, I don’t think so. After all a tree isn’t a person, but does it have a soul? We may never know.
They were a strange trio, sat as they were in the corner of the tearooms. They didn’t stop talking from the moment they arrived. Talking about nothing in particular. Just stuff ‘n’ nonsense really, but nonetheless, important to them. When their food arrived the chatter continued in between mouthfuls. Yackety yackety yak. It took an inordinate amount of time for them to finish, but finish they did, eating that is, the talking continued long after they left.
His stick looked as frail as he, as he made his way into the teashop. Choosing a table by the window he sat down. His wife followed shortly after and made her way to the counter. She had a conversation with her husband across the tearooms about what he would like to eat and drink. Three ladies in the corner stood up and left in disgust.
Bleak summer skies wash the waters in dreary gloom; the often-busy pathways nearly empty. Families are reluctant to leave the comfort of their home to walk in the cold, wind blown countryside and who would blame them.
Three generations of ladies walked into the tearooms and sat down. They were given menus, at the bottom of the menu it say ‘Please order from the counter’. The youngest said “Cheek”. Her mother huffed, and her mother looked positively put out. Obviously they were used to Fortnum and Mason’s
They arrived in a flurry at five to two. They chatted about the tearoom at Pigeons Lock and gluten free cakes and a South African friend who wrote about canals. Flapjacks seemed to be favourite with them.
It was Wilf I noticed first wearing a very smart, large checked, trilby. He was 12. Silva followed him then Tim then Helen. Marianne said, “I am glad you came. I need – – – – – ah pra'aps I should let you order first.”
That’s two days in a row that he had come into the tearoom and bought six eggs. They must be bunged up solid. Old people shouldn’t eat so many eggs it will only cause them problems later in the day. Old people can’t afford to have problems later in the day.
A steady stream of people marched through the door. There were teas to the left coffees to the right and a whole pile of cream teas up the middle. The onslaught seemed relentless. For over an hour the queue trailed out of the door, it had never done that before. Orders were taken running, on and on they came. Then there were none, an hour had passed.
He stood up and put his coat on. A chill ran down his spine. Before he could sit down again the dog rose expecting to be going out, she often got it wrong. Sitting he said, “Down”. She sat, and then curled up in the corner feeling dejected.
At the bus stop
The city streets are polka dotted with the detritus of gum chewing louts. Bus shelters are coated with the grime of many months of neglect. Scattered fly posters block any view that there might be. The sports store pollutes the air with bipity bipity bop music. I don’t suppose this city has ever been really clean. People shuffle about in varying states of dress, some smart, and some shite. Old people are babbling. A blind man rolling his white stick left then right then left again. Relentlessly plodding down the pavement at a speed that belies his blindness. The voices all seem foreign; well this is a University City. Those that are English speak highbrow or text speak. Both are foreign to me. A Philipina is wiping her eyes, her man left on the bus without her. He took the baby in a pushchair. I ask if she is OK, if she has bus fare home. She seems OK. Domestic tiff I suppose. Philippine men are hard on their women.
“Oh hello what a surprise seeing you here, haven’t seen you for ages. Oh they moved to York. My brother went to York . . . Uni.”
Do I f**king care? Does anyone f**king care? Why is he speaking so loud?
Walking usually does involve some measure of distance.
'Pissing down,' they said and the sun is shining gloriously. One just cannot trust authority.
The gunnel was noticeable for its rust and tardy appearance because it is the first thing you see when getting onto a boat. Like a badly kept threshold I suppose.
Winston Churchill put it well when he said in his famous speech after the Battle of Britain, “Never . . . .”.
“No, no, no! It’s electric. You need a key.”
“Sorry I didn’t know.”
“There is a notice.”
“I didn’t read it.”
“It wasn’t electric last time I came here.”
There are clever people and stupid people. The canal seems to attract copious quantities of stupid people. Us clever people are in a minority. I pretend to be stupid so I don’t feel out of place.