Underneath the arches

Actually, this is about what I saw underneath a flyover, but I kept thinking ‘underneath the arches’ as I sat in my car watching.

My son had an appointment in the city and I drove him up to an area neither of us knew very well; we spotted where his appointment was, just next to a café with chairs and tables already outside in the morning sun, even though it was not even half past eight. we drove past and were heading towards a major traffic island, when I noticed a little turning which took us behind the buildings where the office and the café were. I thought we would be able to turn out of the end of the little road, but it was blocked off, so I turned round and as I drove back we spotted a parking place.

I had parked by a fence opposite a garage with a yard and a few men sitting around on settees and plastic chairs, and one or two standing about, watching us… However I can’t imagine anybody would want to pinch our old car (much as we love him) and there was noting of value in it so we walked round the corner and found the café. We had a nice coffee, served by a very friendly lady, and then my son went for his appointment and I went to sit in the car and wait.

I was parked facing the fly over, and the traffic was whizzing backwards and forwards above my head; there were plenty of people walking backwards and forwards, and I think I was by a cycle path because loads of people were on bikes. There was a works car park with a big gate, and cars kept arriving, the drivers having to get out and unlock the gate and then lock it again once they had driven through.

I didn’t like to keep looking into the garage yard beside me, I didn’t want to seem to be staring… I heard shouting and glanced round; one of the men was either joking or angry and he marched out of the yard with a flat screen TV, crossed over the narrow road and lay it carefully down,screen upwards in a cobbled area under the flyover. He left it and came back to the garage – his shouting was obviously friendly banter with the other men but I was intrigued by the abandoned TV… did he hope some passer-by might want it? was he coming back for it, was it a trick he was playing on the others?

He appeared again with a big sports bag, went over to the TV and started looking through his bag, getting out plastic boxes which seemed to contain food – I couldn’t see properly but they looked like the sort of boxes of salad and coleslaw you might get from a supermarket, and there was a least one big bread roll with some sort of filling. “Are you hungry, lads?” he shouted as he came back.

He put the boxes on one of the settees and the others sorted through as he came back out of the yard, across the road to the TV and sports bag.

he took out a sheet of plastic and began to get other things out of the bag, shoes, boots, items of clothing, boxes of things, bags of things and he put them on the sheet – not arranged as if he was sorting them out or selling, but just put them down.

I was really fascinated by it all, I can tell you! Then he wondered off, down to where the main road was and disappeared, leaving al his stuff. Then he wandered back, stood around for a while, then wandered off again, and then came back with a drink. All the time people were passing by, they would glance at the stuff, but no-one stopped and no-one really paid it any attention. A very slim man came along and he did stop, had a chat, then went over to a car which had been parked all the time I’d been waiting, and drove off…

My son came back and off we went, him back to work and me to go shopping after some lunch, and I never did work out what was going on under the flyover!

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