17 January 2005

A violent end

Anyone who has experienced the collapse of fidelity from either side of the divide may contemplate revenge. Yet most reactions seem undignified when viewed from a distance. This time our hero is a man and he chose this interesting option.

He had decided on his course of action and this time there would be no going back. The man’s hand shook as he lifted the whiskey to his lips. He swallowed hard and set the glass down unsteadily while his stomach burned. The chair creaked as he leant forward and picked the small doll from the kitchen table. Sitting back he turned it in his hands feeling the smooth unresponsive skin. Realistic he thought, all pretense and no sensitivity. It was the sickly expressionless face that he hated most of all. A loud clicking started in his left temple and the doll swam out of focus.

Reaching forward again he gripped the hammer’s rubber handle and dragged it nearer. He fished in his pocket, pulled out a steel nail and held it between thumb and forefinger. The doll lay on her back before him, legs ever so slightly apart. Slowly and deliberately he overcame the tremors and held the nail to her forehead, his mature eye picking the central spot first time. He was breathing hard now and sweat beaded on his nose.

Suddenly he brought the hammer down hard driving the nail in to the hilt. The bitch couldn’t survive that surely. The tumbler had jumped on its side with the impact. Now a tiny scarlet line was running down the doll’s cheek and onto the blue and white checkered table. He stood the glass up and refilled it. Speaking aloud to the empty room he announced, “Now we wait and see what tomorrow brings.”

15 January 2005

Took the air at Hengistbury Head...

...and the cobwebs blew away

11 January 2005

Drinking Again

I slipped on my old brown jacket
And walked to the light through the rain.
Placed a coin on the bar and whispered, “Johnny”
He cried, “Man, haven’t seen you in years!”

“Where you been, here’s your stool, take a whiskey.
It’s your bottle I kept on the shelf!”
I tried to protest and explain I was dry,
But the words wouldn’t come to my mind.

“Had a hunch you’d be back,” he said with a smile.
There’s not many hold out for this long.
We talked about life and remembered the dead,
He poured scotch in my glass and we laughed.

“There’s a wind getting up but the logs are aglow,
If you want you can stay for the night.”
I glanced at the clock and saw it was late.
Hell, who was running this show?

The bar was alive with friends either side
And I felt here was love, here was life.
There was cash on the bar and scotch in my glass,
And tales that had to be told...

...Light crept through my window at dawn
And I stirred from my dreams with a start.
Pulled my coat from the hook and caught a faint trace

Of a scent that belonged in the past.

09 January 2005

Poverty in the 1970s

Memories of my father's father who was blind from childhood.

Firelighters best exemplify my Grandparents’ impecunious life though they relied on many different ways of stretching the pounds. In his world of perpetual darkness, Granddad prepared firelighters by the hundred all year round from piles of old Daily Telegraphs. He opened a full sheet and starting at one corner, rolled diagonally until he had a long thin tube. This he flattened into a strap, which he folded at the centre to make a “V”. Then he folded the strap repeatedly like a plait, finally tucking the ends in firmly.

As he worked an unfiltered Woodbine bobbed between his lips. He reached out and gently felt for both ends of the paper strap to ensure equal length was maintained. Boxes of these tight, concertina-like blocks lined the draughty hallway. They lessened reliance on more costly kindling wood. I mastered this skill too and in time produced work that met with approval. During the long winter months an open fire burned in the sitting room grate, kindled of course by the paper firelighters.

Excerpt from Memoirs Chapter 3 - 1969-1975“, In Verbo Tuo”

03 January 2005

Don't look back into the sun

drew huge lungfuls of new 2005 air and the shingle crunched. The view reminded me of that fabulous song by Britain's only band worthy of attention. The lyrics are only part-reproduced out of respect...

"Don't look back into the sun
Now you know that the time has come
And they said that it would never come for you, oh oh oh oh

Oh my friend you haven't changed
Looking rough and living strange

And i know you've got a taste for it too, oh"

The Libertines - Don't Look Back into the Sun (excerpt)

Growing Up Fast

A memory recorded from age 14 when I was so very impressionable

Michael C mentioned nonchalantly he was riding his motor bike that evening in the woods behind Bournemouth School for Boys. I pedaled furiously to Charminster after tea, arriving in time to see him astride a lean speedway bike. He was rolling with the engine off down the slope of the school’s main entrance. I took in the blue bib of the Poole Pirates and the red cotton scarf knotted around his neck. There was no helmet to restrain his lank, unwashed locks. Scarcely able to believe my eyes I followed and watched him bump start the mighty steed and crackle off through the trees, the bike’s front wheel pawing the air in impressive style.

Raw, high-octane exhaust lingered in the close confines of the woods and thunder from the unsilenced pipe barked and echoed to such an alarming extent that surely everyone for miles around must have heard. He demonstrated consummate control over the machine, a single cylinder 500cc BSA and close cousin of the speedway bikes I saw each week at Poole Stadium. There were no brakes of course yet he roared fearlessly between the menacing trees, carving stylish broadsides. A group of envious hangers on had drifted by so when Mike suddenly offered the mount to me I had an audience. I swung my leg over the small brown leather seat and gripped the wide bars. I weaved unsteadily between the trees and moments later steered the throbbing beast back to him unscathed. He confided that he had a second identical bike at home, which he cannibalised for spare parts to keep this one running. What a man!

After that I often met him in the woods but nothing compared to that first exhilarating evening. Once the police arrived in response to complaints from residents. Mike took the interruption in his stride even having the temerity to engage one officer in conversation about the specifications of the bike! The slightly bemused constables made him push it home.

Excerpt from Memoirs Chapter 3 - 1969-1975, “In Verbo Tuo”