Friday, 28 January 2011

Dodgy deal in the dark

17th November

We decided we cannot accept the place at the lovely nursery in a quite sought after Islington Primary School. (I heard that Tony Blair’s children went there). It’s completely different hours to my work hours. The nursery that Big Sister is currently enjoying is in a school that historically has a poor reputation. Within weeks of my daughter starting nursery the council have announced that they are going to close the school, knock the building down, and merge it with a local Church of England school. The parents are in uproar, it is a multi-cultural and multi-faith area. There will not be enough places for all children when the new school opens. The current staff believe they now have a strong team and have done much to improve the previous poor reputation.

I haven’t used Mrs Jones’s washing machine for months, so I sold it on eBay, “no reserve, collection only”. Tonight I hauled it up the steep towpath and left it at the top of the ramp by the bridge. An Indian man loitered suspiciously under the amber Victorian cast iron street lamp, collar turned up against the cold. I caught his eye.
“Are you looking for...?” He nodded.
“Do you have the machine?” He speaks with an Indian accent and peers over my shoulder into the darkness of the towpath.
I tipped my head over towards the shadows. The towpath is so dark that the machine cannot be seen.
“It’s there.” He looks doubtful but puts a crumpled five pound note into my hand.
We walk over to the machine.
“It works?”
“Yes. It works.” He eyes me suspiciously.
“Thank you very much,” he nods and leans in to lift the machine. I slip off into the shadows feeling like a bit-part in a 1970’s Bollywood gangster movie.
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