“I like my colour scheme, don’t you?” Mum says. We’re sitting on the terrace in the parental garden, and all around us are petunias of different pinks and purples:
“They’re stunning,” I say. “What about those pink-and-green-ones from last year?”
“Couldn’t get any this year,” Mum says. “Asked at the garden centre, but there aren’t any around at the moment.”
Wood pigeons coo, blackbirds chirp. Ah, there is the heavy tread of my elderly father.
“Hello,” he says.
“Are you changing?” Mum says.
Turning round, I see that Dad is wearing cream trousers and a red-and-white-checked short-sleeved shirt with a pair of navy trainers.
“No,” Dad says.
“You could put a belt on,” Mum says.
“I don’t have a belt,” Dad says.
“You’ve got a navy one. And wear your navy sweater,” Mum says. “Where is that animal?”
There’s no sign of the fluffy monster.
Dad wanders off – to find his belt, I presume.
“That Hitchcock book is amazing, do you want to read it?” I say to Mum.
“Yes, I do, have you brought it for me?” Mum says.
“No, sorry. Who’s that on the peanut feeder?” I say. There’s a small feathery person there but much of him is obscured by the hedge.
“A blue tit,” Mum says. “You can bring the book for me tomorrow.”
Tomorrow we meet my new allergy doctor.
“The fluffy monster must be starving,” Mum says. “He hasn’t been in for any food all day.”
“Maybe we should go and look for him,” I say. Had a brief cuddle with him in the garden earlier and picked some burrs and grass out of his fluffy trousers. Would like to see him again before I set off back to the flat.
A beautiful collared dove swoops in and balances on the top of the bird feeder. It sways under her. Focusing on her pink, grey and brown feathers, I drink in the heady late-June early-evening.
Happy Wednesday everyone!
*Cited as an example of a detective pot-boiler in The Simple Art of Murder, the great Raymond Chandler’s essay on detective fiction. 1950. It’s not a real novel, or can’t find any evidence of it anyway. Presumably the frilly one on the top left of my photo is a triple petunia…