JJ is hosting a garden party for all the teachers, parents and children. She brings plates of sandwiches and cake from the house and wiggles her way through the crowd; everyone is elbow to elbow; drinks are spilled on lapels and sleeves and down the fronts of summer dresses. The vegetable patch is trampled and children play in the fishpond, but everyone is smiling because it’s a beautiful day and everyone loves a good party. JJ wears a white cotton blouse.
Ray Scott arrives with a dustpan and brush. He quietly sweeps the corners of the room. The sunlight plays on his face and hands.
I see that a new shop has opened in Blyth. I go in. There are racks of second-hand clothes and I’m surprised to find John Cooper Clarke sat at a desk near the back. He is appliquéing felt flowers onto a velvet jacket. “Everything’s twenty three quid,” he says. He is clearly not from Manchester. I browse the racks, but I watch him through the clothes. He has a pair of sunglasses on and a thimble on his thumb. He wears a paper poppy on his lapel. “Nice shop,” I say. He concentrates on stitching, says again, “Everything’s twenty three.”
I hold up a green corduroy jacket. “I have a similar one at home,” I say.
“No you don’t.”
As I look along the clothes rack I realise that JCC is selling all my clothes! Typical Blyth!