WATER, gravel, cement, and sand were shovelled and poured into the circling cannonlike mouth of the concrete mixer. With these ingredients well shaken to a grey pulp, the mouth lifted upwards, still turning, stayed there for a time as if wondering whether to let itself go and spit its cement up at the cloudless sky. Then, as if remembering its humble fixed purpose in life, it gave a shudder of regret, and turned its mouth over to the side opposite Brian to pour its cement-guts dutifully into a huge vat.
He walked on, weighed down by four blue mash-cans of scorching tea. Fresh-planed wood planks slanted from doorways and windows, clean-smelling of resin and tar, giving off newness even more acceptable to the blood that buds in spring. A man, hosing down a stack of bricks, called: "Yo' got my tea, young 'un?"
Brian stopped: "What's yer name then, mate?"
"Mathews. That's it, that one there." Brian had found it hard at first to remember who owned what mash-can. Four or five faces were fixed in his mind when he collected them, but when he got