There seems to have been a mass-migration of Tibetan monks to our street. It’s nice; it adds a splash of red-and-orange to the grey-green Summer streets. The sky can never decide from one moment to the next whether it wants to be blue or hide behind the auspices of a silver cloud duvet. The trees are still in all their midsummer glory, and the area at the back of our garden still looks like a jungle. Ruined watering cans in a haphazard pattern near the compost bin, which is nearly concealed now by the low branches of a greengauge tree, some brambles stretching over from the neighbours’ garden.
On the way home that dude with the massive sideburns passes me going the other way. I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen him on a bicycle before, but then I realize I’m getting him mixed up with the short man who wears what appears to be the uniform of a Scottish highland regiment, complete with cap and kilt, and marches up and down the same road murmurring to himself, and if you lean close enough to hear the murmurs you realise he’s only saying a string of obscenities over and over again. So it’s quite possible I’ve seen the dude with the massive sideburns on a bicycle before.
The potted plant I brought upstairs to my new study has been bled of colour; a tired and pallid thing, it droops over the dresser, missing the sunlight it used to lean towards. I keep meaning to move it. And in the garden, the Man points at three new pots of herbs and says, “If you’re ever out here and stuck for something to do, I’ve been moving them into the sunlight during the day.” The birthday bonsai tree, meanwhile, has not come out of its neglect-induced coma, leading me to believe that trees were never meant to be made in miniature. Isn’t that the point of trees? To dwarf you when you’re a child? Yes, that’s the point of trees. Forget life-giving; they’re simply meant to be large. Sprawling. Let them sprawl.
And with the students mostly gone, now, in this quiet time, even the pub has changed colours. I’m finally seeing all the people we live so close to without knowing; we’ve crawled out of hiding, slouched down the street and converged in an ale-soaked hive. More crazies, and more lovelies, than I ever thought possible.