|Ormond Street, Paddington|
At first light, while the streets lamps were still weak, before the milk with its neat silver-foil tops had been delivered, she would shuffle to her front gate and scatter bread and seeds on the footpath for the pigeons. She used to scare the bejesus out of young Nathan two doors down, with her frizz of orange hair standing on end, wrapped in her pink chenille dressing gown, all soiled and tatty where the hem dragged.
Regular as clockwork, a short time later, a gaggle of lads from the postal sorting facility around the next block, would come past on their bicycles weighed down with canvas sacks, a yellow sash diagonally across their regulation navy blue sweater. Guffawing at the top of their voices, and rattling the latch on her front gate, they skidded through the mess of pigeons.
From the deeps of her back room, Glenda would let out a roar to wake the dead, and storm down the hallway brandishing her solid rolling pin, her blood-shot eyes wide and rigid and staring, her Grosby slippers clattering out her anger on the cold hard tiles.
The lads, bent double with laughter, would retreat to the verge on the other side of the road until bored, they dispersed to their allotted rounds. Glenda, for that was her name although her mail was addressed to Dr G. Thompson, would clutch the railings in the front fence until her heart had calmed, smear a mixture of tears and snot across her cheek with a swipe of a chenille sleeve, and retreat to the medicinal cupboard in the front room.
Nathan, mouth agape and face bloodless, standing silently at his own front gate, watched.