Next to the tobacco counter in the supermarket there was a display stand promoting Fifty Shades of Grey. The man and woman behind me in the queue were talking about it.
‘Is that the book that Molly can’t put down?’ said the man.
‘Yes,’ replied the woman.
‘Have you read it?’
‘And is it interesting?’
‘Parts of it, yes.’
‘Even for blokes?’
‘Mmmm, yes, I suppose so.’
‘Would I like it?’
‘Can I borrow it from you then?’
‘If you want.’
There was a long pause.
‘You know I can’t read though, don’t you?’ the man said.
There was a Cockney in the pub for the England vs Sweden game.
‘Kah-mon Sweden!’ he kept shouting. Then ‘Kah-mon Ikea!’ and ‘Kah-mon Volvo!’ He tried singing Knowing Me Knowing You but they were the only words he knew.
When two old ladies came in, the Cockney moved people out of the way, found a path for them through the crowd and called each one ‘darlin’’.
The Cockney stereotype: loud and obnoxious but respectful to old ladies.
When the women were out of earshot, he turned to his mates and said ‘Don’t fancy yours much, she fackin’ lavs it!’
The wedding was a long day and by the time the party kicked off in the evening, we were all flagging. There was a table at the back with four free chairs next to a pudgy woman in a cardy. My friend’s pregnant girlfriend went to sit down in one of the seats.
‘Those chairs are taken. All of them,’ the woman said.
I watched the table for an hour. The chairs stayed empty.
At the end of the night I saw the woman again. She was on a different table by the dancefloor, four empty seats next to her.
An overweight woman and her even more overweight husband were trying to make it to the train before the doors closed. The man was closer to me than his wife who was several metres further down the platform. She was sweaty and out of breath.
‘Run!’ he shouted to her. ‘Come on, run! Run!’
I got level with the man at about the same time as his wife did. I was near enough to hear him when he leaned close to her ear and said in a low voice: ‘You can’t run can you? Look at the state of you.’
Do you want to go and see a film, maybe?
I was wondering if you wanted to watch a film?
Hey, do you like films?… No, what am I doing? Come on!
Er, excuse me d-do you mind if…? Here? Is that ok? I was just thinking: there’s a girl who looks like she might be into films. I wondered if you’d like to go and see one – with me, I mean. I can’t imagine there’s much choice because Falmouth is quite a lot smaller than London, but how about it anyway? Do you fancy it? A film?
I opened my door to a small, round woman in a football scarf.
‘Is that your car?’ she said, pointing at a red Micra parked on the kerb. There was an old lady in the passenger seat.
‘It’s blocking me in.’
‘Yes, I can see that.’
‘Well, could you move it please?’
‘I’d love to, but it’s not my car.’
‘The lady in it says that the driver went into this house.’
The old lady in the passenger seat wouldn’t look at me. As she gripped her handbag to her chest, I saw the panic in her face.
The lad loitered in the Christmas aisles examining the kinds of calendars you usually find hanging on the wall of a mechanic’s: The Sun Page 3 Girls, one from Nuts magazine, Babes and Bikes 2012.
His girlfriend stood behind him, five-feet tall and buried inside a puffer jacket. Her nose was raw and when she spoke her voice was muffled by snot.
‘What do you like about them?’ she said to his back.
‘Dunno,’ the lad replied, picking up UK’s Hottest Babes.
‘Do you think I look like them?’
The lad didn’t hear. He’d already set off towards the tills.
The bus station was closed for the night. A woman in a red coat sat waiting for a bus that wouldn’t come for another six hours. Her hair was messy, her face streaked with mascara and there was a pink, plastic suitcase at her feet.
A phone kept ringing out in her pocket. The fourth time she answered it and shouted something Polish and aggressive into the receiver before hanging up.
Twenty minutes later a battered Mondeo pulled into the bus bay. The woman grabbed her suitcase and clambered into the front seat without saying a word to the driver.