Moments during a routine Saturday morning visit to Hereford (city) by bus.
• VR fingers an M&S pullover. RR: You've already bought two this morning. Three in one day's unheard of. VR: The diet. I've lost weight.
• A stall offers falafels without explanation. VR says it's unnecessary but I am ignorant. I wonder how many Herefordians know. VR says dismissively - and finally - they understand doner kebab. PS: Chickpeas with an unfortunate side-effect.
• In the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Hereford's second dullest shop after Dunelm (bed linen) they're playing Baby It's Cold Outside, possibly with Ray Charles. The duet allows singers with unique voices to improvise zestfully. Overlapping the "dialogue" adds to the effect. More than just good fun.
• VR needs a new watch strap, but only because the little straplets have gone. This happens regularly and she's irritated. The woman behind the counter is sympathetic and offers to open a shop that only sells straplets; "I'll make a bomb." The three of us laugh and VR's irritation dissipates.
• Outside the Shire Hall there's a statue of Sir George Cornewall Lewis. Two lines read: A wise and honest statesman. A profound scholar. I try to imagine a present-day politician to whom those lines might apply. An unresponding silence.
WIP Second Hand (35,299 words)
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