A party of kids from the local primary school came past with a few custodial teachers, and one little girl took an interest in my work. She was about eight, taller than the rest and skinny. She was plain looking with mousy brown hair and cheap glasses, but she had an air of authority about her.
‘You’ve done a good job there,’ she said with easy conviction.
‘Do you think so?’
‘Yes, and my dad’s got one of those.’ She pointed to my pole hedge trimmer. And then she walked away as though she were off to inspect the rest of the troops.
I love kids like that. They’re so confident these days, so precocious. It isn’t the first time I’ve played second fiddle in conversation with kids from the local school.
And then a boy of around the same age walked over and asked:
‘Why are you wearing a mask?’
‘Because I get the snuffles if I don’t.’
Maybe he was the colour sergeant.
I also had a chat with a woman-who-used-to-live-in-the-village-but-no-longer-does-but-still-comes-back-to-walk-her-dog (apparently.) The dog was a whippet called Lulu and was very sweet. She came over and said hello with her eyes.
Later I became engaged in another conversation which took me up until nearly dark, and then wondered what to do next. I closed the curtains, settled down with a cup of tea, and read one of my old stories.
What was the point of that?
‘I wanted to find out whether I still thought it worth reading.’
And was it?