Wednesday, 22 June 2011

One Day The Sheriff Shot This Outlaw Down.

Why am I doing this? Writing this I mean. It is in part for myself. Here I can rabbit on about my life in a way that people can take or leave. I am doing it for you too, dear reader, because I like to share my story.
Mostly though, I am doing it so that there is a record of my life for my children. Otherwise when I am gone, what will there be left of my existence, apart from a few hazy soon forgotten memories? Oh yes, and a few mediocre paintings.
I have told you some tales from my childhood. About the people I knew then. Some of them kindly and some of them horrid. At times, it feels to me that I dwell too much on the nastier side of peoples characters. Let me tell you that I met a lot of decent people too.
In the turbulent ocean of my somewhat fractured childhood I was fortunate enough at times to find calmer waters and sunnier shores.
Unfortunately the stormy times are the ones that dominate my memory. Which I suppose is not surprising, since the bad things are the ones that affected me most. How lucky I am that I have a strong survival instinct.
Apart from a short breakdown in my mental health during my thirties, which I spoke about previously and which I attribute to childhood trauma, I think I emerged from being an abandoned child, relatively sound mentally. Though I have to say, not everyone would agree with me on this.
However, I went off the rails with a vengeance during my teens and into my early twenties. The chip on my shoulder was more the size of a tree. Fighting and drinking, tore my life apart. Disrespect was my watchword, both to others and to myself.
Merchant Navy training. Fit as a fiddle and well behaved.
Let me stop at this point, my dear readers, and ask you, especially those of you who have read my words these past few months. Have you formed an opinion of me, based on the stories I have related thus far? If you have I hope it is a good one. Look at the photo of me in my Merchant Navy uniform. Do I look like a bad boy? Yet I had already been in lots of trouble at this time. I don't really think I was bad. Perhaps troubled would be a more suitable word.
Friends would tell you I am a good man. Kind hearted, generous, loving, a good father. An emotional, sentimental, heart on sleeve type of guy. Yes, they would. I have asked them.
I tell you these good things about myself, so that when I mention, somewhat casually, that I have spent time in prison, you will base any judgement you might make, on the person I am today, rather than the immature, broken youth, I once was. Let me add that my crimes although warranting punishment, were all to do with a massive inferiority complex, which, combined with a serious alcohol intake, refused to let me back down from confrontation. The resulting skirmishes must have been my fault. Everything was my fault in those days. Also I was involved with a tough bunch of hard drinking 'friends'.
The courts did take my troubled childhood into account when sentencing me, and I was given a lot of chances and professional help to get me back on the right path. But I would not, or could not, learn, and finally the Sheriff, Lord Hamilton, in the high court of Aberdeen, who had got to know me well, decided that I needed a harsh lesson and packed me off to prison.
Did I learn anything from my prison sentence. Yes I did actually. Unfortunately, most of what I learned was about how to be a real criminal. But I also learned that I did not enjoy incarceration.
I was still in the merchant navy and on my release went back to sea. Where, if you will forgive an unintended pun, I began to get my life back onto an even keel. Almost.
Whether in the prison, going to sea, working ashore or travelling around the country with my Mother and her on and off paramour Fergie. My life was once full of adventure.
Do you still like me? I do hope so. If you do, please stay here with me, and I will do my best to keep you interested. There is so much more I want to share.


  1. Of course I still like you! You don't look like him, but I am looking at the picture of my father while he was in the Navy. He has the same sort of cocky expression that you have in your picture.I inherited that look from him. Anyway, from your posts I have caught glimpses of a hurt little boy who can't understand why he can't be with his mother all the time. I also see glimpses of a proud father. And there is the man who is trying to understand himself. Does that help?

  2. I'll stay, if you don't mind. Based on your posts about your childhood I have formed not only an opinion but an understanding. Keep writing, for you, your kids, and us.

  3. I like you. Everybody has a story and some parts will usually shock some people. But they're all part of making us who we are now. I know I've done some stupid things in the past, but with the experience of age.... well, they happened and there's sod all I can do about it now.

  4. Yup, I still like you,you can't put me off that easily!
    Jane x

  5. But of course I still like you. Your past does not change the fact that you write a heck of a good story and I enjoy reading your blog. I'll keep coming back to read if you don't mind

  6. I did worry about writing this post. But it is in line with my being honest about myself policy.
    Thank you all for your kind and positive words. I will try hard to keep you entertained.

  7. Hi There,'re a real're human, like the rest of us.
    I've found your blog today and can only comment on the post I've read today. Looks like I'd better pop back over to catch up on some previous writings when I have some time. I'll be sure to say hello. Maa.

  8. You still seem fine to me. Where I grew up it's only a matter of luck if you don't at some point go to prison. I was lucky enough to avoid it, but I know many people who weren't, and they're still my friends. I only react to the way people are with me.

  9. I agree with your friends' evaluation of you. That's the person I see when I read your posts. I like what Sharon said, that we all have something about us that would shock others. But that doesn't mean that we abandon them. We stick by our friends.

  10. I was incarcerated many times as a teen... by mom and dad! Send to my room for EXTENDED, hard time. hahahaha

  11. Although I taught in a posh private school, my students were typically kids and often got themselves into trouble. On one occasion, which was serious for one young lad who was weeping afterwards during our private conversation, I told him that the mistakes were not as important as the outcome: what happens afterwards is the measure of the man. Years later he identified himself to me on the street and recalled what I had said when others had turned away from him. Now this young physician has turned out to be "a man," well-measured ad true.

    I would say the same for you. This is my first visit to your blog and I shall return to learn more about "the measure of the man."