Sitting on the bench in the park watching the day go by, the pigeons and gulls were swarming around an old lady who had a plastic bread bag and she was distributing it across the space in front of her. You could see she was concerned for some of the shyer birds as she attempted to spread the crumbs to the back of the pack confusing the more dominant birds at the front. As they retreated to the back overrunning the birds in the middle she fed them as the other’s backs were turned. She carried on with this system until the bag was empty, successfully sharing the bread with all different personalities of birds. It wasn’t long before they all realised that she had no more for them and they slowly flew off in different directions looking for more kind humans. I wondered what it was that made these sea birds fly into a city square to compete with the pigeons for sustenance? Was it that there was too much competition by the sea a short flight away and the pigeons were easier to dominate or was it just an easy option for the lazier scavengers?
I was staring out of the little square across at the church thinking about how these people must really believe in their god to build such an extravagant temple to worship him/her in. No expense spared, gold leaf around the impressive dome, a bell tower that shook the buildings close by every 15 minutes and rang solemnly on the hour. The steps to the large vermillion double doors were as an entrance to a palace and three spires made the building symmetrical and important, finished in white stone with two large stained glass windows exploring a bible story in colour. I was distracted by a noise to my left, it was a small dog, a white fluffy terrier, growling at a rather larger example of its species. The more docile larger animal seemed unperturbed, it was a flea and no threat to a muscle-defined black labrador. The owner dragged the terrier away and apologised with a smirk. As they walked away the terrier turned back on its leash and growled again before forgetting what had happened altogether and trundled on down the gravel path, spotting the pigeons and the gulls.
There was a couple sitting on the bench opposite and one over. They were speaking Portuguese and I could hear them because he was explaining something to her, animated and excited like he had a plan, had it all worked out and was selling it to her. She quietly listened and was nodding her head. She was facing forwards, he was turned sideways as he explained and she took it all in. She was quite serious, mid-30s, shoulder-length black hair over a navy woollen short length coat, perfect for today’s temperature, sun out in a blue sky, not raining but still winter. The trees had lost their leaves and made the park look colder than it really was. She had her legs stretched out in front of her (the terrier had sniffed at the soles of her shoes as it went by). He was a little younger than her, more enthusiastic, a wispy beard with intense dark eyes, a beige comfy looking, medium length jacket, dark denim jeans with turn-ups, and nondescript simple black shoes. Sometimes he stopped, giving her time to consider what he was saying, and then he’d start up again as she continued to stare forwards.
The cars were driving all around the square, it wasn’t actually a park, it was a square with trees, benches, a subway entrance, and the obligatory birds. But it was big enough to boast its own bandstand and fountain that directed the gravel path around and eventually to the exits on either side of the rectangle. It probably wasn’t the healthiest place to sit and relax. There were buses, lots of cars and noisy 2-stroke mopeds buzzing by all day. So although it wasn’t that evident there must have been plenty of fumes to breathe in throughout the day. The main roads were on the north and south sides connected by the road with the church and the road behind me that had a row of shops, an optometrist, a bakery, a bank, and on the corner a small post office. The north side had a large cafe that stretched down the street to other shops and the south side had smaller streets that led off from the square at odd angles with buildings built on corners by creative builders who seemed to have to fill the shape on the plot with a building that fit in the space.
At this point it was calm and I was enjoying those last few weeks of winter sunlight before the spring arrived. I hadn’t expected to hear such a distinct rumbling. I tried to distinguish where the sound was coming from by looking behind me and from side to side, it was then that everything went suddenly dark.
Music today was English ex-pats to Germany Janus and their only album from 1972, Gravedigger. This album released on the Harvest label is worth it for the classic cover alone. It’s a Psychedelic Rock album with the sounds of the sixties mixed with the scene of the seventies. It’s as if they were fighting to get out of the sixties (when they formed) and into the seventies where they lived. The other thing is that although they were English, they formed in Krefeld, Germany, and found themselves living the communal dream. Mainly the brainchild of Colin Orr, there’s nothing about them on Wikipedia but quite a big piece on them on Prog Archives. Years later they reformed and have made quite a few albums into the nineties and the 21st century, none of which I’ve heard. But this one is worth its weight in bones.
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