The other week The Local Character and I got to talking, I forget by what conversational route, about Bristol Zoo. The Zoo is small but perfectly formed and sits in Clifton, which is the nicest but most expensive area of Bristol. The LC was waxing wistful about Clifton (he and I live in east Bristol, which is less nice but cheaper).
“It’s lovely just to be up there sometimes,” he said, from on top of his horse. “Sometimes Oi wish I’d moved up that way. Oi had the chance I suppose, years ago. Could of bought up there. But Oi didn’t, Oi bought in Kingswood. That’s the way it goes though, you make these decisions in loife.”
“The buildings are so nice in Clifton,” I observed. “You’ve got the college overlooking the zoo there...”
“Yeeeeaaaass, but it’s not just that. Everyone’s more, I don’t know, laid back. It’s not so… Well, you don’t see everyone out washing their bloody cars on a Sunday.”
Contempt, pity, great despair, these were all conveyed by that “washing their bloody cars”, for the two classes of Kingswood car-washer (Mondeo drivers and chav boy racers), and for humanity in general. Sadness and bleak laughter too, at life’s arbitrary twists. This was a new side to the Local Character.
“At least we can always go and visit Clifton,” I said quickly, for I could see him sagging in his saddle.