"The clouds are the same type as when we had the spectacular sunset last week."
"I can't see the sun at all or any sign of a sunset."
"The clouds are too thick. It is up there behind the murky clouds." The Webmaster waved his arm in the general direction of the sun.
"It's come up in California. I saw it in the sun rise photographs from the Student's early morning hike."
"Students getting up at 5:30 to go for a walk. Unbelievable. When I was a student I was only ever up at 5:30 if I hadn't been to bed at all."
It is still light, the sun hasn't gone down yet, but the sky is grey and the clouds are so thick there is not even a glimpse of any glow from the sun. We decide to take the same route as Monday.
"It seems like a week since we last went for a walk."
"It was Monday. Tuesday you were at the club meeting, Wednesday I was travelling back from London and yesterday I was out."
We squeeze through the stile and climb the hill. As we reach the crest where the steep climb changes into a more gentle slope the Webmaster stops and looks around.
"Where are the cows? They must be in the bottom field."
"Bullocks. And they are, look." I point. "There's the red bullock standing like a king in the middle of his kingdom." We stand and look down, across the lane that skirts the hill, and see the black and white bullocks munching grass while the red one stands surveying his surroundings.
"In the land of the hornless the one horned bullock is king" exclaimed the Webmaster.
We walk on. There is still no sign of the sun. A kestrel flies overhead and takes up a position, hovering, to our right, not very high relative to our spot on the hill. We can see its wings flapping. It holds its position for a few seconds and then swoops down, out of sight. We don't see it rise up again. We assume it flew off parallel to the hill below the level of the brow.
"It must have caught something" suggests the Webmaster.
There is one car parked and another pulling into the car park as we descend the steps into the car park. They will have an hour before dusk and the locking of the gate.
We turn right, but this time there is no dazzle from the setting sun, just the thick grey clouds. We follow the road down the hill and turn into the lane.
"Did you report the potholes?"
"No. I found out why the app didn't work. Apparently you have it running while you are driving and it detects when you hit one."
"Really, so you have to knacker your car before it will send in a report. Can't you submit manually?"
"I've found another app." We reach the potholes and the Webmaster looks at his phone. "I can't remember what it's called." He complains while he scrolls through all the apps on his phone. Eventually he finds it.
He activates the location and clicks on 'report pothole'. The app invites him to take a photo. The light is wrong. Too dark without the flash but with it the picture is whited out. After several attempts to get a photo the Webmaster gives up and tries to submit his report anyway. It demands a description. He enters one and tries again to submit. The app responds informing him that the local authortity will not accept the report; please authorise by email. He loses the signal and gives up.
"Can you do it directly on the Local Authority web site?"
We reach the stile and climb over, into the field and along the path past the allotments.
"My old tenants must owe tens of thousands" stated the Webmaster. "I don't know how they can live like that. How can they buy fancy cars and go on several holidays a year when they haven't paid for their rent, gas, electricity, water or rates? She has even defaulted on county court judgments."
"Didn't you get a credit check before they moved in?"
"I have for the new tenants coming next week, but I have to try to stop all the letters and bills for the old tenants. Just putting them in the post marked 'no longer at this address' doesn't work. I've spent the afternoon calling all the companies and debt collectors writing to my address. Some won't change the address. They say it is the data protection act and they need notifying by my old tenants."
"What, even the insurance company that asked you to notify the police?"
"No, the insurance was blocked and I think United Utilities may have tracked them down. But I still haven't found out anything about the person operating the bank account from my address."
"Can you ask the post office to send back any mail addressed to G or L?"
"I can try. I'm hoping I will be in profit with the new tenant. I think so far the lost rent and the costs of the repairs are more than I made."
"Can't you claim against tax."
"Yes, for some of it, but I don't get enough to actually pay tax so it just rolls over from year to year and I can't use it."
"Greedy, bastard private landord eh? Ripping of the poor and the benefit system. Haha! We'll need the money, but at least my job might last long enough to support the Student while she is in the US." We reach the gate out onto the lane. It didn't seem as far as last time. Maybe because this time we knew where we were going. "Wait until the exchange rate affects prices here like we've been affected by the dollar price. I'm sure that it isn't what Brexit voters had in mind."
"Nah. Brexiters won't link the collapse of the pound to Brexit. Only the elite, vested interest, remain moaners will do that."
"Some will. I think some will be shocked by what is happening. There isn't much sign of the cake."
The light is fading fast as we walk up the lane out of the village. The Webmaster switches his head torch to the red setting and fixes it to the back of his head. There are not many vehicles but we want to be seen. A large tractor comes up behind us as a car comes towards us. We climb onto the verge to keep out of the way.
The sun must have set while we were walking, but there was still nothing but dark grey clouds. No glimmer of red or orange glow. No pink tints to the clouds. The weather was reflecting the gloom setting in over us as we contemplated our future in the unpleasant, unfriendly and short sighted country our prime minister and her team had promised us earlier in the week.