We were sitting on our seat in the wall. I’ve been reading this journalist in The Independent, he said. He writes a column about Nature. He’s really good. And he says that as far as Nature is concerned the end of August is the beginning of Autumn, not September. It starts when the birds start to emigrate. You mean migrate, I said. Yes, he said, whatever, anyway it was really interesting. He says that you can tell because the birds don’t sing anymore because they’re not mating anymore. The only birdsong you will hear will be the robin clicking.
In the Castle park the dog roses are turning to hips. My mother used to give my youngest sister rose hip syrup when she was a baby. The few remaining roses still smell sweet. I stood still in the dark and watched the black cloud forms scud over the sea. Nothing else moved. The only sounds were the screech of distant gulls and the dripping of raindrops from the petals of the hydrangea bush.
Two men stand in the doorway of the betting shop. Lights ablaze. One smokes. They stare right through me. It is not yet 5.30 am.
The man with the too-short trousers was back again today. Chapels again? I ask. Yes, he says, I’m answering a query about last time. Water, I ask. No thank you, he replies, I have my own, brandishing a half-filled bottle of what looks like Ribena. Do you know, years ago, he says, I had to go to the studio in town and the man who was meeting me forgot all about it. We had to re-schedule it for later in the day. He laughs. Cheerio then, he says.
He tells me he was accosted by a woman on Chalybeate Street. She’d called out his name and dashed across the street. She told me she’d been in school with Effie, he says, said she was Nesta Williams’ sister. I have absolutely no idea who she is. Though of course she’s not going to look the same after all these years, he says. Said she’d always lived in Aber, except for when she was studying in Cardiff. Mind you, she’d told him, its always been an arsehole of place hasn’t it?