Sunday. The greengrocer closed. The pub across the road, stunned and inturned after a late night, going through its own kind of hangover. The main street silent, focussed on not moving its head. Then three horses clatter up the hill. An old motorcycle drops through the gears to the roundabout. In the silence following that, quarrels break out among jackdaws. Nine energetic white-haired hikers pass my front door, off to tour the labour camps of the industrial revolution (now a shambles of middle class cultural capital above a short steep valley full of thorn and blackberry). “Dad?” somebody calls, putting two syllables into it. “Dad?” It’s interesting to have railings again, and a view of the street. You’re among it, but distanced; everyone parks outside your door, but ten feet of clean old local tile separates you from the drunk thuds of doors, the stutter of the delivery diesel, the fractional conversations. It’s enough. There’s a high turnover, always something going on. The postman, I note, bangs the knocker as well as pressing the doorbell–at first I thought it was peremptory, now I recognise it as unrelenting cheerfulness. I’m not quite as settled as I thought, but I can’t explain how that works any more than I could explain the sense of familiarity I thought I felt when we first moved in. I’m travelling in opposite directions at once. There’s a continuing undamped elasticity, a redistribution of momentum. I arrive too completely then I don’t arrive enough.
That about perfectly sums up the life of a world weary traveler. You think you are going to settle, but then find it impossible to settle, because perhaps you belong elsewhere and this is all a mistake.
This also perfectly conveys life in a busy little English/Cornish/Welsh village.
Those darn Greengrocers are always shutting down – all because of a local Sainsburys or Tescos moving in where the record shop used to be…
Have you decided which local clique to join?
great opening sentence – like being there – can hear the silence and smell the stale beer.