The grey street was littered with with rubbish from where a knocked over wheelie bin had tipped over in the wind. Food packets, torn and faded, escaped to the pavement edges in the morning gust and entangled themselves with the drying leaves under the hedgerow. 

“Can’t chuffin’ stand the people who live in that house.”  Brian kicked at a wrapped up nappy bag on the gritty grey pavement and gave a sharp yank on the lead attached to his black labrador to stop him feasting on anything unsavoury.  

“Bloody disgrace.”  He continued, staring up at the purple door with disdain, just incase the occupants of the house with the smiley door were looking out. 

“Why?  Because their bin blew over?’  James scoffed and pulled his cashmere scarf tighter round his neck.  The Autumnal breeze was tinged with the icy kiss of winter.

“ They should be out here cleaning it up.  Have some respect for the place and not treat it like a shit hole. Bloody foreigners.”

“I’m sure they will, it’s only 7am.  They probably haven’t seen it yet!”   James shook his head as they walked on down the street, his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his suit trousers.  They always walked together on a Friday morning. Man to man time for 15 minutes as Brian walked his faithful old dog to the newsagent to fetch his morning paper and pay his weekly bill and James went to catch the train to work.  

“Do you know how many people live in that house?  I’ve seen at least ten different faces come out that door.  Place’ll be a dogs party inside.  Never heard ‘em speak a bloody word of English neither.”  Brian stopped to pull a cotton handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his eyes that watered so readily from age and climate.

“Not a word of it.  You should be made to talk English properly if you want to live here.  They come out that door yack, yack, yacking in some mad lingo to each other.  It’s rude.  I don’t want to be hearing that.”  He wiped the hankie across his nose and pushed it back into his coat pocket before they continued on their jaunt.

“ I think they’re Polish or Lithuanian.”  James looked up to his eyebrows trying to recall what he’d been told.  “ Apparently, Richard across the road had a few of them build his utility room. Said they were really good and cheap compared to what he’s had before.  He said he’d definitely use them again, they were really hard workers.” 

Brian snorted. “Yes, taking jobs from English builders.  Like we ‘aint got enough problems.  Probably claiming benefit money on top as well.  Scroungers, the lot of ‘em.”  

“ No they’re not.  If they’re doing a good job and people are happy then that’s good.  At least they’re doing something.  I can think of a few people born and bred here that just sit on their arses taking tax payers money when they should be working.  You can’t say that.”  

“  Probably because all these immigrants are nicking their jobs. It’s shocking what this country’s come to.  Wars weren’t fought for us to end up like this.  All of ‘em coming over here to use our free healthcare and live in our houses.  What have they done to deserve that right?  Sod all, that’s what.  You couldn’t go over there and do the same.  Place is a free for all.  This ‘aint England anymore. “

They turned the corner onto the High Street of the little town which was still relatively bereft of pedestrians except for dog walkers and early commuters. 

They reached the newsagents and walked inside.  James watched as Brian brought out the handkerchief once more and held it to his nose.  He walked to the counter where the Indian gentleman, Mr Gupta was ready to serve him.

“Good morning Mr Peters.  Your paper.”  He reached toward the back an pulled a neatly folded copy of the mornings tabloid and handed it over.  

“Good day.”  Brian responded courteously, as he was brought up to do.  Always be polite, no matter what; just stab them in the back later.

“And here’s my weeks bill payment.”  Brian dropped the exact change on the counter rather than into the hand of a foreigner.  The etched face of the sovereign, shining under the newsagents strip light. 

“Thank you kindly, Mr Peters.”  The owner smiled and rang the coinage into the till.  “See you next week, Sir.”

“Right you are.”  Brian replied.  James nodded with a smile towards Mr Gupta.

Outside, Brian rolled his paper and placed it under his right arm.  “Did you smell that place? I nearly boffed up. That’s put pay to my breakfast.  Vile people.  No bloody thought.  Who want’s to have that rotten funk in their local shop.”  

“It’s called curry.  You should try one.  I recommend a Rogan Josh.” James offered drily.

“You wouldn’t get me eating that shite.  Not smelling like that.  Place reeks. Shouldn’t be allowed.  You wouldn’t get that if an English chap owned it.”

“Dad!”  James exclaimed, turning to his Father.  “This has got to stop. Your bigoted and racist comments are unacceptable.  You should be proud that we are a multi cultural society and can experience different foods and cultures without losing sight of our own.  You know that curry is the number one food in Britain, right?”

“Don’t be bloody daft.”  Brian scoffed.  

“I’m not kidding!  I’ll take you for one.”

“You couldn’t pay me to have one.  I eat what comes out of the ground in this country, end of, plain and simple.  You ‘aint gonna change the way I think lad.  I’ve seen this place go from a place of strength to a mockery and I shall stand by the rights of an Englishman ‘til Im dead in the ground.  Now be away with you.”  His Dad was red faced and trying to hold in his temper.  The discussion was, sadly, futile.  

“See you on Sunday, Dad.”  James smiled weakly and turned towards the station.  To a business world and city that his Father would find abhorrent.

Labels: , ,