The church clock strikes 9 as Mr Grigg ambles across the village square to get the Sunday papers from the shop. His walk holds a distant memory of a Ginsters pasty and an evening of celebrations for Oak Apple Day.
He hobbles past the village pump which, while we were looking the other way, has sprouted a cement pot either side planted with bizzy lizzies.
The sun streams through our bedroom window as if we are on holiday. Children's voices echo across the green, loud and then not so loud as they go up and down on the swings. A wood pigeon coos and a jackdaw rat-a-tat-tats. Mr Sheepwash flip-flops by with The Observer, the people up the road have their noses stuck in The Sunday Telegraph and a man from the council houses is wrapped up in the News of the World.
But this is very much Mail on Sunday territory, as the Tory posters standing proud in gardens and on windows in the lead-up to the county council elections testify. Pelly once inadvertently picked up a note from the shop which revealed who read what paper in the village. There were no real surprises. I was half hoping Posh Totty took the Sunday Sport, the new (female) Vicar Playgirl and the reactionary old colonel Hello magazine.
Yesterday, we found ourselves in Weston-super-Mare, which could just as well have been the moon. Dodging the donkeys, the sunburt Brummies and Welsh people from the valleys and a man with 'In loving memory' tattooed around his neck, I sat on a bench in the shopping street to watch the world go by. A party of Sikhs, Polish cafe workers, girls with skirts up to their navels sauntered by. Long legs, fat legs, skinny legs, high shoes, flat shoes, wedges. A man in a silk suit and a handbag, a woman with buck teeth and a look of terror in her eyes, an old lady with a pink felt hat and thick socks.
It was a far cry from the revelery of the previous night, when Mrs Bancroft and Night Nurse arrived at the door reciting a poem that goes 'Grovely, grovely and all grovely' for Oak Apple Day, Mr St John turned up wearing a crown of oak leaves looking like the Green Man and Mr Sheepwash, the least romantic person we know, got all wistful after a few wines about a scene from the film Love Actually.
In Weston, I looked up beyond the madding crowd and above the shop fronts to see ornate leadwork at W H Smith and then a few doors down the words 'Catch me if u can' written way up high by an extremely tall graffiti artist.
On our way home, we were transported to the past, overtaken by a steam train chugging along the track.
It is quiet now as I write this and the smell of barbecue smoke wafts through the air.
That's about it
Love Maddie x
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