Visit the man in his suburban home, sat at the top of a shallow hill. I knocked, but the door was open and saw no harm in looking for him in such a demure place. The house smelt of nutmeg and human, old hair and linen. The sound of creaking furniture could be heard from the front room and I followed. Two paramedics dressed in green with their emergency bags’ contents spread out over tables and the arms of thick floral chairs. Both young women, both sitting at ease discussing what he had taught them today, my presence didn’t disturb them until they stopped and politely indicated that he had gone to get something from the shed before continuing their discussion. I continued my search through the tiny kitchen and into his garden. It was flanked with plum trees heavy in fruit and it concerned me, there was nothing more obnoxious than a gardener recently in fruit, maybe this wasn’t the time to see him, maybe I should wait for winter when his garden was dead. I had the decision wrenched from me with the creak and clatter of an opening and closing shed door, a portly old man was walking quickly through a vegetable patch and towards the side of the house. I hurried behind, grabbing his elbow as he got to an old side door. Unperturbed he turned on me and leaned against the door frame, scratching his great gut and tobacco yellow beard.
“How can I help you son?”
I explained and he listened, nodding and scratching at the woolly jumper that seemed to be falling apart as I went on. He didn’t mention his garden, not once, even when he leaned in, stopping me.
“Go to the end of the road and find two of the cheapest slags you can, tell them you want Old Frank, they’ll know what to do and where to go. They have to be cheap, no one else will Old Frank,” his breath was cucumbers and limes and I nodded.
“Good lad. Now if you’ll excuse me I have something on,” and he closed the door behind him, leaving me standing on the thin gravel line before his little urban orchard.