Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Walk-on parts

Bud McNasty walked through the door. His name isn't really Bud McNasty but we'd been calling him that since he was five years old and we weren't stopping any time soon. Bud McNasty walked through the door, his jutting chin making him look like the truculent ape that he is. He ordered a coffee and a piece of seed cake and sat at the table near the window.

I looked at him.

Time and nature hadn't dealt him a kind hand. The shabby hems of his raincoat reflected the shabby hems of his face and his eyelids had disappointed the flies of four counties. He sat there, near the window, a picture of The Ascent Of Man.

"How's it going, Bud?" I asked him.

"Bog off fart face," he replied.

Bud only ever on his best manners when he had something big doing. This must be some quite considerable venture, then. I wasn't sure how interested I was, either scarcely bothered or not at all, so I returned to my crossword. The answer to nine across was "macaque" and I unconsciously glanced over to the window. Bud McNasty was keenly staring out of the window like a cat watching after a spider.

I returned to my crossword.

Five or ten minutes later, I'll never know which, I was conscious of a sudden increase in the nervous energy of the room. I looked up. Bud McNasty was waving. Bud McNasty was waving out of the window like some kid on the summer holiday ferry. I'll admit to have been unnerved by it.

And then she walked through the door. And Bud McNasty turned to her and smiled like a lovesick puppy.

Just when the world could hold no more fresh horrors, Bud McNasty was in love.

The answer to fourteen down was "bewildering."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Feathered seasons

rookThe school playing field across the road from Railway Cuttings are as good an indicator of the season than many. Better, indeed, than the flowers in the local gardens (we've primroses, roses and magnolias in bloom currently). The wood pigeons are there throughout the year, I'm astonished they find enough to get by with (there's obviously enough for forty-odd of them to have littered the grass over the weekend). Black-headed gulls, starlings, rooks and goldfinches are also year-round habitués. I don't know where the mistlethrushes have disappeared to, I hope they've not been got at by something.

Autumn starts in August when the common gulls come back. They've generally made themselves scarce by the end of April, though there's generally one or two lurking about in the crowds. By mid-November they outnumber the black-headed gulls. Completing the set is the odd one or two lesser black-backs. Their arrival foretold the start of the school holidays, they'll drift off at Easter. I'm never sure why it's only ever one or two lesser black-backs; it's never three or more.

We only recently started getting jackdaws round our way. I've no idea where they're nesting but the feverish activity over the summer suggests they had plenty of mouths to feed. They move away from the field this time of year, moving on instead to the school playground and the local car parks with the pied wagtails.

Soon we'll know we're in for it: the meadow pipits will turn up and we'll have to get out the big quilts. Hey ho, soon be Christmas.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bone idle

All those things I put off until I had a bit of time to do it...

  • Get some sleep.
  • Read some of the books in that big pile on the sofa.
  • Clean the bathroom.
  • Vacuum the window ledges.
  • Watch The Small Object of Desire de-flea The Cat I Do Not Have.
  • Chop down all those dogwood bushes that have erupted in the front garden.
  • De-flea  The Small Object of Desire after she's finished de-fleaing The Cat I Do Not Have.
  • Do something about that back fence without hurting myself this time.
  • Chop back the boysenberry jungle in the back garden.
  • Write some blog posts about Julian and Sandy; the rôle of licorice allsorts in parliamentary democracy; speckled woods: bully boys of the brambles; and, perhaps Titch and Quackers.
  • Do something about that pile of clothes on the spare bed.
  • Take those jackets to the dry-cleaners.
  • Clean that window. You know, *that* one..
  • Write some posts in the serious blog about systemic failures in public library strategy; social media as stock promotion tools; and integrating back-office systems.
  • Empty the cat litter tray that The Cat I Do Not Have only uses as my 4 o'clock alarm clock.
  • Edit the contents of the fridge
  • Find that sock that fell behind the cooker
What I actually did...