On Riversdale Road today, on the same part of the road that was the other day covered in rubbish, one of my neighbours was trying to put the chain on her bike.
“Her chain’s bust,” shouted the tall Irish bloke from across the road, out tending his front garden on the other side of the road.
I stopped to help. The bike wasn’t in good nick and I couldn’t get the chain to work. The Irish bloke came over and we started discussing how this part of the road might be haunted, as my hands got more and more covered in oil.
“It’s bad feng shui” said the tall Irish bloke. “All the chi is flowing off down Wyatt Road. That’s why I’m poor,” he laughed, pointing at his jumper full of holes. I told them about the New River which used to flow under their houses and we started discussing plans to reinstate a stretch of it on Riversdale Road.
“Did you know there was a battle between the Danes and the Saxons round here,” said the Irish bloke. I said I did, though I can’t remember how I found it out – perhaps on a rainy afternoon in Guildhall Library from an obscure book whose title I wrote down in a now lost notebook. The area was once known as Dane Bottom, a reminder of a group of Scandinavian lads who came over for a European away tie and never went home. We discussed the possibility that the road might be haunted by the ghost of a Viking, then the tall Irish bloke realised he hadn’t done any front yard tidying for at least 15 minutes, and scooted off home.