The following were the human beings I saw when walking The Splash ampersand this sultry morning: a few isolated car drivers on the road; a postman getting into his van outside the study centre; a woman in a nurse’s uniform leaving a house and walking to her car; one man crossing a road to another house; a psychotherapist walking from her home to post a letter in the box on the green opposite; two woman chatting in a cottage doorway; and a teacher with a group of schoolchildren having a lesson in a shady spot by The Splash. That’s it. Contrast the peace with yesterday’s heaving pavements. By mid-day, even the birds were mostly quiet. The rhythm of my sandals slapping the tarmac was at one point interrupted by the sound of a squealing gate that emanated from a donkey in need of lubrication.
Beside The Splash it was the eager voices of the schoolchildren I heard first. Peering through the foliage I spied the sun-dappled group seated around the stream. For them it was a quite different experience than that of the children I had heard yesterday in Shrewsbury Road.
On my return to the flat, the painters were, in a most relaxed fashion, availing themselves of the facilities offered by Jackie. John Broad expressed the idea that they should cancel next week’s job and come back here instead. Dean was exchanging texts with a friend to whom he had just sent photographs of the setting in which they were working.
I am experiencing a niggling discomfort very similar to one I suffered when I was a child in about 1949. It is strange to feel the same annoyance from a nagging gnasher at seventy as I did at seven. I have a wisdom tooth the root of which was partly exposed many years ago when its next door neighbour was extracted. It is now gradually attempting to prise itself loose from its moorings. If only I could get a good grip on it I feel certain I would be able to help it on its way, just as Mum did with one of my milk teeth. I whinged all day because it was sore, but couldn’t pluck up the courage for the final lift off. Neither would I let my mother near it. I had seen a cartoon in either the Dandy or the Beano where a parent tied a string round a bad tooth and the other end to a door knob, slammed the door shut, and had the tooth literally hanging from a thread. When I eventually allowed my mother to wrap her fingers around my molar it came off in her hand with no tugging at all. It had been metaphorically hanging by a thread. This enables me to imagine what it was like for six year old Jessica just before her front teeth fell out.
This evening, sitting in the garden before dinner, we watched a thrush competing with a blackbird and various tits for theirs. The thrush actually seems to be more alarmed by other birds now than by us.
Dinner was Jackie’s slow roasted pork with superb crackling (tip) and crisp vegetables, followed by sticky toffee pudding. My accompaniement was Berberana rioja 2012; hers was Hoegaarden.