Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Park life: Boney’s tuna on brown and the shoeless Eusebios

The park's incredibly dry at moment, the main “lawn” is burnt brown to the colour of sand and has number of patches of bare earth. On it 2 tiny black lads are playing football with a knackered casey, they are bare foot. The sparseness of the grass and their evident joyfulness makes it almost like a scene from a cloyingly aspirational fifa endorsing credit card ad. Thankful they are just playing footy in the sun.

Around me on the new benches a quirk of fate means everyone (5 others) but me has a medical crutch for some leg problem or other, it feels like I’m eating my tuna sandwich during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.

Even in this mini drought the council are thankfully maintaining the new planting and a kindly looking middle-aged bloke in shorts is watering the ornamental grasses and shrubs. The bare foot footballers run up to him ostensibly to collect their errant ball but also to run through his hosepipe jet. He jokingly rebukes them and then pretends to accidental splash their feet. They squeal with delight, thankful for his schedule their dad soon comes over to pull them away as that’s the sort of game to which there’s no end.

My sandwich is almost gone, it’s not bright sun but still hot enough, I’m regretting my black trousers and also getting the last bench, the one without any shade. But it’s not unpleasant for a while and my books distracting me. While I munch one of the regular pigeon ladies wanders past and a little way off starts throwing out huge handfuls of bread and cooked rice. Her mottled grey flock is almost immediately dispersed however by another young lad this time on a bike; her rebukes are sapped of their usual anger by the heat.

The walking wounded have now been joined by a guy with impressively huge head bandage, fearing I too might  fall victim to some of the Tsars’ grape shot as I beat my own retreat.

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