Wednesday, September 06, 2006

joggers and dogwalkers notwithstanding

5 things I saw on my constitutional around the duck ponds.

1 Virulent weeds with ugly stalks - overlong and alien - but beautifully vivid flowers atop them. Two distinct kinds: some unusual deep purple trumpetty flowers wound round railings up at the top of the scarp; some much more common ones down by the ponds, with open-faced lilacky flowers towering above the municipal shrubs.

2 A tracksuited middle-aged man on a bench with his head droopy, his back to the play park. I thought at first he was on his own, but as I passed I noticed next to him a woman with her head in his lap, motionless, tracksuited.

3 A dozen or so young lads in unmatching sports kit, listening to their football coach, or PE teacher. Further along, older kids doing an exercise I'd never seen before, that involves trotting towards someone whilst they trot towards you, jumping in synchronised manner and gently bomping your chests together mid-air, then trotting off to bomp someone else.

4 Sound asleep, a baby in a pram. On the adjacent bench a slightly decrepit-looking chap, possibly the grandfather, sound asleep.

5 An old man, orange of face, with a shock of milk-coloured hair, thick, like a paintbrush dipped in white paint, perched on a wall and drinking, with the help of a teaspoon, something grey and lumpy from a sawn-off squash bottle. A few yards away from him, his scrap-gatherer's trolley, empty.

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