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  • Kate Clarke

Heading South

Our last day or two in the neighbourhood before we pack up these pots & pans, whippets & trinkets and head south. I find myself getting sentimental about this quiet, rainy town.

The next time we are back it is pretty likely that Dai the Can, my favourite park drinker, will be gone. There is something gallant about him and his unfailingly respectful greeting as I swing past him on my bike. He is red-faced and shaking by noon, but his shyness is so ingrained that drink makes little dent in it. I bet he was the school daydreamer.


The whisper-voiced retired vicar from down the street knocked the door tonight say goodbye. He wrote Terry the most heartfelt and poetic letter about grief a few years ago. And since he lost his wife - the first time to dementia - he has been even more of a minister to everyone he passes. He means it.


The elderly couple who ply the swans on the lake with oats throughout the winter are getting more bent with every year. When we first moved here they would stand at the waters edge with a trio of mismatched dogs - one who couldn't be approached. Then there were two hounds, then one. Now it is just husband and wife. And for how many years will Barbara clean those steps? she is the only person in the street who still takes the time to do that.





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