By Aaron Gow

Location: Ainsworth Road, Radcliffe

Outside didn’t look as appealing as inside. The view through the net curtain of a grey, heavy sky and faded light said gloaming; the view from the mantelpiece from the 40 years of continuous service carriage clock said morning.

Carole shuffled in her slippers from the front room window and into the kitchen, switching on the light in the process. The power-saving bulb started up dimly, a shadow of its former self, then quickly improved its disposition until it provided enough light for Carole to be sure there were no slugs on the lino.

Slugs appeared occasionally if it had been raining in the night. Carole was unsure how they got into the house as she was very careful to close the kitchen window. For Carole, there was nothing more bothersome than scraping squashed slug from the sole of her slipper, especially before she’d even had a sip from the first brew of the day. Happily, there were none this morning.

After opening the wooden roll top bread basket, Carole took out the last third of yesterday’s small white tin loaf. She took it into the back yard to the bird table and slowly rubbed the bread in her fingers until it was crumbed on the table. Carole had a brief thought that she should’ve swept off the last few days worth of crumb that had congealed and stuck together in the rain. ‘Tomorrow,’ she thought.

After drinking the first brew of the day, an instant coffee, Carole washed, pulled on some clothes and pottered off to Samson’s bakers, two streets along.

As usual Linda had only just rolled up the shutters and propped open the front door with an old flat iron. A warm, gentle steam seeped out the top of the door and into the murky autumn morning. A slight heat haze could be seen just below the ‘S’ and ‘A’ of the shop frontage.

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