Wednesday, June 16, 2004


It's always a sign that summer has finally arrived when all the black robed widows move their kitchen chairs onto the pavement in front of one of their houses to watch the world go by.

Their synchronisation is a wonder to behold, both with regard to the to the minute precision of the simultaneous appearance on the streets of these crone clubs and to the way their heads move in unison rather like spectators at a tennis match.

It is easy when encountering such a clutch of crones to feel that one is somehow viewing the world upside down, it's rather like walking on one's hands into a bat cave.

In a bat cave however, it would be the guano you had to look out for but even though these crones give off, on occasion, the ammonia of mild incontinence, their production of bile, resentment and general sullenness makes the bats seem decidedly constipated in comparison.

I had a break from marking scripts earlier this evening and I took the Frog and one of her friends out for a stroll around the neighbourhood. We were in a neighbouring street and, as is their wont on these occasions, the girls were well in front of me and had already passed one of these blackspots as I approached it.

I was about to offer the coven a "good evening" with no hope of a reply, I might add, when one of them rasped,

"Haven't you taught her to greet people, yet?"

"Excuse me?"

"Don't they teach children to greet their elders where you come from?"

"Only if they think they might receive a polite reply. Children are very much like dogs in this respect. They're very good judges of character. Good night, ladies."

Streetlife? I've shat it.

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