Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Sundays Sound bites

I sit on the bleached wooden bench and close my eyes and tilt my face towards the sun, its rays warm my face as I begin to relax and unwind, the tension in my shoulders eases.

I love sitting here, alongside ‘African Queen.’ a glorious decadent boat with a fine navy blue livery and bleached blond wood deck. She attracts lots of attention from promenaders who wander along the quayside.

'Granny says you could fit two families in that boat but I want it all to myself.'

‘Astrid come here ... Astrid.’

The gentle drub overhead of a light air craft travelling from east to west, is drowned out by an overly large man. ‘You can only be a master if you sail a merchant boat.’

The long stride of a heavy foot fall accompanied by the soft pad followed on by a swift scratch of nails, broken by a regular pant. Its name tag jangles as dog and owner pass by at a brisk pace in a wordless conversation.

‘They've asked for money for bricks at Jill's wedding.’
‘What a good idea.’

A soft spoken woman, a foreign language I can't recognize passes, who comes across as discreet, she walks close to her partner, intimately exchanging news.

The flip flops flap with a regular clip, clap.

‘She should've left Carl, because if she doesn' know what…’ however I’m not privy to the exchange of glances that took place.

‘They cost £45 and how often do you wear them? Dresses...I'd rather go to primar...’

‘How do boats get here?’
His voice escalates several octaves; ‘by sea,’ He stands, turns forty five degrees, squares up with hands on hips, ‘how do you think they get here?’
‘On a lorry.’ She sounds certain, not foolish.
He walks off, in an exasperated tone, ‘don't be daft.’

Another young couple saunter by... ‘I like that speed boat.’
‘What the boat with that bloody big sail… how can it be a speed boat?’
‘Oh... I didn't see the sail,’ she shakes her head as muffled giggles escape.

A gaggle of students, young, boisterous, all vie to heard simultaneously in a foreign tongue, probably Italian.

I open my eyes: ‘beautiful sunshine, you enjoying it?’ She brushes past briskly, her cheerful comment directed at me. Yes I reply to the cheery woman I don’t know, who notices me sunning myself, ‘glorious isn't it’ and she keeps walking, and then she's gone.

Two, couples stop and drop on to the benches alongside me. ‘Take a picture of Princess. I think we should buy one each, we'll have the white one and you two can have the blue one.’
‘There's too much glare from this angle.’

A handsome young man walks in bare feet; his soles do not react to the rough screed surface of this concrete path. Behind me in the flowerbed a gull screeches, another gull stops, sits atop the other gull, dominant and frustrated.

‘Send the picture to Lauren.’

Wearing an I'm-going-to-enjoy-this-Sunday-stroll-smile, a father walks holding his little girls’ hand. A hand he finds comforting and knows will not be withdrawn or rebuffed. His wife appears to ignore them, trailing several steps behind and traipsing even slower than them, a young boy who appears to wish he could be somewhere else, anywhere but here. His sullen face ready to burst. They look disconnected, out of sorts yet strung together by tense invisible threads of varying degrees of annoyance. This unspoken message is loud and clear, sitting here.

‘They haven't heard for him, they've tried to contact him, rung, written, but there's been no response, so they've had to take control. It's all very distressing.’

I eavesdropped on many people's conversations and each brief discussion holds its own fascination. The endless supply of possible starts for a stream of short stories from the lives of ordinary folk filling a Sunday afternoon with parley walks.

Where do you eavesdrop for writing inspiration?

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