Of trenches, barbers and betting shops

Running through the park and someone has dug out a series of slightly curved strips of soil, covering about half of the grass area by the children’s playground where the kids usually play football. These are about half a metre wide and several metres long and don’t appear to have any function. Their uniformity implies that they were dug by a machine; the number of them that they were done with some purpose – presumably a municipal one. This might be an attempt to put in flowers to support insect life and add a splash of colour – to supplement the meadowing of the top half of the park – which leaves the long slope down towards the tennis courts swishy with long grass in the high summer. I hope so. As I pass a small group of little girls in hijabs are playing football across them anyway and arguing – as you do – where the imaginary goal post is.

Just by Aldi there is a betting shop. It is the only shop in the street that has hand rails to support infirm people to stagger up the slope a few steps the better to lose their money. Considerate.

In our local straggle of shops and restaurants a new micro hairdressers stands out like a black tooth in a Colgate smile. The window is covered in a deaths head figure holding scissors and a set of menacing playing cards. Below, a range of clippers are laid out like implements of torture. The decor inside is an intense black and white vertical stripe. Its name is something like The Final Cut, or The Close Shave and it looks like a barbers for sado-masochists, or people who confuse a hair cut with living on the edge.

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