It had been placed directly outside the Elim Christian Fellowship Church. A kind of make-shift barrier made up of a plank of wood laid across two chairs. The plank looked like a painted floorboard, its layers of paint long since peeled. Several A4 sheets of paper printed with the words RESERVED FOR WEDDING CAR had been sellotaped to the board. Some had come away from their tape and one was trapped under a wheel of a car further up the road. The chairs were plastic, austere. There was no hint of any extravagance, pomp or flurry to come. What would the wedding car look like? Would there be confetti thrown? The Elim Church was the congregation that Jeanette Winterson’s adopted family belonged to with the now infamous exorcism and full-body baptismal insertions. It makes me shiver a bit. When I walk past. But that was then and perhaps now they are a little less fundamentalist. Even so, the prospect of a wedding car arriving there bedecked in ribbons and bows seems an anathema. We wonder if Elephant’s parents are members, it is the only way to explain their utter lack of sociability.
He started speaking to us as if he knew us, or at least him. He’d been doing up a mobile van, a bright red thing. It’s going to New Zealand tomorrow, he said, pointing at it. It had to be cleared of all cobwebs before it went, he said, proudly. It gleamed. We admired it noisily and walked on. The mobile van parked outside Alexandra Hall is a little shabbier. The raised, glue-d on lettering on its bonnet looked like Japanese script, illegible to me. But as I walked past I suddenly saw it. It wasn’t oriental at all but English. The word was MABEL.
Two girls were sitting hunched on a bench near Pier Pressure. A jacket and two phones lay on the ground ahead of them just beneath the railings, looking like they’d been thrown there. One of the girls was crying, the other was comforting her.
I see the slug trails as I walk along North Road. The glisten and shine in the lamplight. There are shiny things on the ground everywhere. My eyes search for them: silver paper from a chewing gum packet, bits of cellophane, an odd coin, a button embed into the paving.
No writing today. There are my accounts to do and I must do a few hours on his quilt, then to work.
She was a healer, undoubtedly. Her hands were hot with it. But things were a little haphazard. I don’t find even a small amount of chaos relaxing. I want it all to go smoothly. She asked questions of me, I didn’t want to talk and was mono-syllabic. Did she think me rude? She was good. I felt floaty and out of synch afterwards.
We sat on a bench in the sun. He was loquacious, happy. Let me show you Prospect Street, he said.