As the skies turn darker, the traffic gets lighter, and the streets start to empty, I find a quiet corner just off the main road and overlooking a park. It's an ideal spot for an early, unusually warm, summer's evening standby point. Across the road, a fish-and-chip shop is doing some brisk business, people on their way home from work stopping off for an easy meal. A newsagent sits on the corner, with an off-licence sign outside. From where I'm sitting I can't quite see the chilled cabinet storing all the beers, but I know it's there. Next door, the betting shop's lights are off and a dry cleaner is just closing up for the night.
A previous life in the military, the same life that's led to my compulsive boot-polishing, means that even as I sit reading a book I regularly scan my surroundings. Old habits die hard, some harder than others. The mirrors are angled slightly differently from when I'm driving, the doors are locked, at least one window is slightly open so I can hear the outside world, and my sixth sense is turned into overdrive.
After a few pages, three figures appear in the corner of the rear-view mirror. Two of them are wearing hoodies, one has a baseball cap on too, and all of them follow the latest trend of wearing their jeans half way down their legs. I keep a close eye on their movements, their voices raised enough for me to be able to hear their conversation and their plans to capture the hearts, minds and various other parts of the young ladies they may encounter over the coming alcohol-fueled weekend.
As they walk past the car, they completely ignore my presence, although one of them taps the hood a couple of times. I watch them cross the road and head for the newsagent. They spend only a couple of minutes in there, obviously knowing exactly what they wanted. They walked out of the shop, across the road, and back towards me and my car.
As they near my position, I see they plan to start their weekend off in style. All three take swigs from their drinks - each holding a bottle of milk.