Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Thank You And A Simple Explanation Of The Rules Of Cricket.

Thank you for your comments on my post yesterday. I have decided to respond on this post, because one of yesterdays comments has inspired it and it follows nicely on.
Thank you Emma for all your kind and wise words.
Jane, I sadly have never managed to keep any relationship going for long. I find it difficult to believe that anyone can really love me. I'm sure they have, I just find it difficult to believe.
I wish I had access to my childhood care archives Denise. I think I would learn a lot. There are things I do know, but so far I find them difficult to write about.
Thanks for the hug Valerie.
Sharkbytes, you got me thinking about cricket. I am going to unravel the mysteries of the game for you. Everyone else can blame you for this post.

                                     The Rules Of Cricket


You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!  
Tea and sandwiches are then served by the home teams womenfolk. After the tea and sandwiches everyone goes off to the pub to drink beer and talk about cricket. That's it really, quite a simple game, I'm sure you will agree.

My blog is almost up to 10,000 views, but there are only spaces for 4 numerals. Let's see blogger sort that one out! It'll probably cause a crash.             

Monday, 29 August 2011

Taken Along For The Ride

Auntie Sheila and Uncle Bob were not blood relations. They were chosen for me by the authorities. Or maybe they chose me. I cannot be certain which.
I think I would have been about 6 years old when we first met. They would collect me from the children's home where I lived, and take me to stay with them for the occasional weekend.
During the school holidays, I would sometimes stay with them for a week or more. I loved being with them. We would go on outings, traveling in Uncle Bob's motorbike and sidecar combination. Mostly I would travel in the sidecar, but once or twice I was allowed to sit pillion behind Uncle Bob. He used to put his coat belt around us both, to make sure I did not fall off.
Lots of times Uncle Bob would play cricket and Auntie Sheila and I would watch, sitting in deckchairs, as we ate sandwiches and drank orange squash. I can remember how proud I felt when he hit a four or sometimes even a six, or when he was bowling well and taking wickets.
Other times we would all go to the local park, and spent a happy hour or two catching sticklebacks in the stream with a net on a stick and a jam jar. There would always be an ice cream on the way home. Ice cream was a rare luxury for me.
They had a television too. The first one I had seen. Auntie Sheila and I would sit snuggled together watching children's hour.
They introduced me to their relatives, who were all very kind, and would spoil me with sweets and money. I grew to love Auntie Sheila and Uncle Bob. They had become my family. It was wonderful.
It was so exciting knowing that they were coming to collect me, and I would be free from the restrictions of the children's home for a while.
The worse part of our whole relationship was when it was time to go back after being so happy with them. I can still remember so vividly, the heartache I felt at saying goodbye. But Auntie Sheila would comfort me by saying we would see each other again soon.

One day as I was getting ready to go back to the children's home after another visit, they had some exciting news to tell me. They were so happy, because Auntie Sheila was going to have a baby. Of course, it meant that I would not be able to visit them anymore because the baby was going to keep them very busy.
That was it. Goodbye. The end of our relationship. More heartbreak.

I realise now that they were just temporary foster parents. They took me because they were paid to take me. I was, to put it bluntly, simply a commodity. Probably I helped to pay their mortgage. They took me to places and to visit their relatives only because they were going to do those things anyway.
I wonder if someone had taken the time to tell me the real situation right from the beginning, whether I would have understood. I think I would have, I'm told I was an intelligent child. But as usual it was a case of nobody taking the time to consider a child's feelings.

It was over 50 years ago when this happened. I thought I'd put the pain behind me, but right now as I write I feel angry. No wonder I made such a mess of my life, went off the rails, felt such a rage inside. The whole thing was almost engineered. Unthinking professional idiots shaped my formative years. I earned the right to be upset.
OK, sorry about that! Rant over. I'm a big boy now. I took the blows. I got knocked down, but I got up again. See, I'm indefatigable, I'm singing!
I want to make it clear that I do value the time I spent with Auntie Sheila and Uncle Bob. It was great while it lasted. The ending was thoughtless I suppose, but after all they were only doing a job of work.
Right that's it for now, I have to go. Got to look up that word, indefatigable.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Girl Phobia. Do Not Worry. Time Is A Great Healer.

Apart from the horrendous Sandra Spence episode, by the time I reached the age of 13 I had been really lucky regarding girls. By which I mean that I had managed to avoid all contact with them. Well, as much as it is possible to avoid all contact. Girls can be quite determined when they want to be. But suffice to say I had done all right with my avoidance strategies. Of course at the time I didn't realise that I was using avoidance tactics. As far as I was concerned I was just behaving the way boys are supposed to behave. Naturally it couldn't last forever. Avoiding the inevitable -what a strange phrase- was bound to end eventually, and Jeanette Thompson was determined to be the cause of it.
Life had changed dramatically for me in 1959/60, what with moving to Scotland from London. From City to rural life. With all the upheaval the worse part for me was starting at a new school. Being the new boy in a small village school I attracted a lot of attention. Unfortunately a lot of it from girls.
At 13 I had begun to notice that girls were different. I wanted to be more aware of them but couldn't really figure out why. If only someone had taken the time to explain to me that girls were human beings, and not the frighteningly different species I had come to think they were. Then perhaps I would not have turned into a blushing, tongue tied, stuttering wreck, whenever I was confronted with one.
Jeanette Thompson was a year younger than me. She had taken to waiting for me as I made my way home from school. One day, without warning, she tried to kiss me, and asked me to be her boyfriend. The blatant hussy! That was, without doubt, the worse day of my life. I hate to admit it but I ran away when this traumatic incident occurred, and I didn't stop running until I got home.
The fact that I had behaved like an abject coward, did not however deter her from pursuing me. If anything it increased her determination. Going home time became an almost unbearable ordeal. Something had to be done. I devised a plan.
As plans go it was not the best, but it at least spared me the daily ordeal of being waylaid by Jeanette. My new friend Gavin was instrumental in making my plan work. Not that he realised it. After all I could hardly admit to him, or anyone else for that matter, that I was scared of a girl. Besides which, he actually liked girls! Unbelievable!
It was easy really. All I did was to go to Gavin's house after school. His mum made lovely cakes so it was no hardship. From Gavin's I would simply take a detour across the fields, thus avoiding Jeanette. I say simply, in fact it wasn't that simple. It involved climbing several barbed wire fences, crossing a stream and some swampy marshland, and trespassing on the railway line. As well as adding another couple of miles to my journey. It was worth it though.
Eventually another new boy started at the school and the predatory Jeanette wasted no time in transferring her affections to him. What a relief that was! Thank you Ralph. Hopefully you were able to devise a plan of escape too, and did not suffer too much.
Pass forward a few months, and who is that waiting at the side of the road? Why it is me! What am I doing? Actually I am waiting for a girl. Her name is Katherine Marshal. She is very pretty. I am hoping she will notice me. If I can pluck up the courage I will ask her to be my girlfriend. It's a funny thing puberty.
You may be wondering about the Sandra Spence episode which I mentioned at the start of this post. Well she was the girl who sent me a Valentine card, when I was ten. I have never recovered from that!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Let Me Tell You, It's Been Emotional.

Well I have to tell you that tonight I am emotionally broken. I have been crying. Great big tears have been rolling down my ancient cheeks, and a whole roll of paper kitchen towels has been utilised in the mopping of those tears. What has brought about this melancholia? Is it that I am sad because my family have been away on holiday for the past two weeks? Am I missing them? Am I lonely? No! No! No! Oh Hang on. Yes! Yes! Yes! But those are not the main reasons, why tonight, I have been reduced to a blubbering wreck.
I have been taking care of the house, and the cats, while Tricia and my extremely handsome son George are away. This evening, my own television set being defective, I took the opportunity, whilst I was in the house, to watch some television, and that is why, I am in such a fragile emotional state. I have been watching, undercover boss USA.
Oh the Americans, they do not hide their feelings. In this programme the boss of a company employing 6000 people went undercover to find out what things were like for his employees. What he found out affected him so deeply, that he began to question himself and the whole ethos of the company. Sitting in his office, he'd had no idea what it was really like on the front line. Anyway this programme made him look at himself in a different way. He determined to change, not only working practices, but himself as well.
He cried a lot, an awful lot, and as he cried, I found myself crying with him. The difference between him and me, was that he cried openly and didn't care who saw him doing it. Whereas I cried to myself. Well all right, admittedly, I was alone. The point is though, that if I had not been alone I would have hidden my tears. Why? Because I am British, and must always have a stiff upper lip. It has been drummed into me over many years.
We British, adopt many American ways. I notice that our youngsters are not so afraid to show their feelings these days. I tell my extremely handsome son George, that if he wants to cry, he should let the tears flow.
I think it is a good thing to display emotions openly just like the American boss did. I just wish I could do it. Maybe writing about it is a good way to start. Hey! I feel better already!    

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A Sentimental Old Guy Singing.


This is me singing 'Beautiful Boy'. I was having a moment of emotional and sentimental nonsense. I have no idea why the same thing has been loaded twice. Unless Blogger really rates it and wants to make absolutely certain that you don't miss it. Yes, that must be it.
Sorry about the guitar being out of tune, that is quite normal for me. Maybe it will be OK by the time it gets to you. Blogger is still acting strangely. So I thought, why not me too? With a bit of luck this might not even reach you. Fingers crossed. Here goes.

This video is not working for everyone. If you can be bothered, try my You Tube channel. Type waggonerjohn into search.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Strange Case Of The Vanishing Oatbran.

Dear friends,
            May I start by saying thank you for all your comments on my experimental post of two days ago. They were greatly appreciated.
            It is easy to imagine sometimes that I might be all alone in the world. Especially writing late at night, and that my words are disappearing into what I believe is known as cyber space. Never to be seen again. Anyway things did improve for a few hours, and I felt reassured.
            Strange how this blogging business has taken hold of me. If I take a day off from it, I become unsettled. I thought I had a life, I really did. I am definitely going to have to get a grip. Tell myself that nothing bad will happen if I miss the odd day posting.
            Blogger is still messing me about. My followers have disappeared from the page again. I know this is a common and recurring problem for most of you too. But the thing is I really like to see you all there in your little boxes at the top of my page. After all it is you that makes the whole process of blogging so worthwhile. It is the fact that you have taken the time to become followers, which makes me keep going. Oh I know that I am writing for myself, but the fact that I put my efforts on here for the whole world to see makes it pretty obvious that I do it for you also.
            This morning when I went to have a look at your blogs, I was told quite categorically, that I am not following any blogs at all. Well that hurt, I can tell you. I let my imagination go into overdrive. I mean suppose you looked at my profile and saw that. You would be inclined to think that I had forsaken you. Let me assure you, that I have not. Can I also assure you that I do read your posts. I know that sometimes I don't comment, but that is purely down to time restraints. Sometimes I have to work. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but I need money to live even my frugal lifestyle. When I say that it is purely down to time restraints that is not entirely true. There are times when I just can't think of a comment, or someone else has got there before me.
            I am very puzzled about the post which disappeared without trace. The silly one I wrote about oatbran and stuff. It published OK, and then suddenly vanished. What the hell happened to it? Where did it go? Some of your comments vanished also. Everything came back after a couple of days. But where had it all been? I hate not knowing. I like to have control over these things.
            So now I wait for everything to sort itself out. I need to do some serious writing, but I am not going to risk losing a masterpiece. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

                                       Yours faithfully,
                                             John (the hub) Bain.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

What The Dickens Is It About Rats?

It is just after midnight, so I suppose another Monday has rolled around. There is just me and Sadie the German Shepherd in the wagon right now. I have no idea where Bonnie the cat is. Oh that's a silly statement! I do have an idea where she is: probably out hunting. Some poor little creature is about to meet it's doom. If that creature happens to be a rat, well that's OK by me. Any other creature though and I do get a little upset. Hold on now, just a minute! What's with the rat hate? Why is a rats life less important than say, a mouse, or a shrew?
"Live and let live Guv"
Look, I didn't start this post to talk about wildlife. I started it to let you know that I am not blogging tonight. I just wanted to say goodnight, that's all. I'm going to read a couple of chapters of Great Expectations and then hopefully drift off to sleep for a couple of hours. It will be just a couple of hours,because after that period of time I will wake up needing a pee. It is just something you have to put up with as you get older, but it is a bloody nuisance. I can't remember when I last had a decent full nights sleep. No wonder I feel so tired all the time.
Dickens London
Dickens is a marvelous story teller. I love the way he describes the London of his time. I would love to go back in time and have a look at the buildings. They sound so beautifully ramshackle. Of course for the poor people who lived in them, life was incredibly difficult. London was full of disease. Poverty was everywhere. Life expectancy was very low, and infant mortality was commonplace. Vermin, particularly rats thrived in the sewage drenched streets.
Rats! Back to those dirty creatures again. Well I'm not getting involved. I'm off to bed. I'll just say this about rats, and peoples aversion to them. It could be down to the fact that they get a very bad press.
Anyway, as I say, I am not going to write a blog post tonight. Bonnie is not back yet, but she has her cat flap. Hope she doesn't bring anything nasty through it.
Good night, sleep tight.

Friday, 19 August 2011

An Experimental Post.

Seems that I spoke to soon in one of my comments that not much goes wrong with my blog. I seem to have lost all my followers, and my total page views, and there is no evidence that my last post has even been published. Although there is a comment from Emma, so it must be out there somewhere. This post is just a little experiment to see what happens this time.
Strange things are happening in blogland. Here is a strange picture I painted recently. I have titled it 'The drowning man'. Is it me that is drowning? Or am I the man in the hat? I really don't know why I painted this. I'm only the artist. What do I know?
Just previewed this and the followers are back, and the total page views. I'm off to have a look and see if there is any evidence the last post was published yet. Back in a minute.
It looks like my last post is being read, according to the stats, but there is no sign of the post title. It's the one about oatbran and healthy eating. Maybe the stats compilers are fed up with oatbran too.
I don't get lots of comments, but only to get one in 24 hours is strange. Thanks anyway Emma. If anyone else commented on what was, after all is said and done, a fantastic post, I am afraid I did not receive it. This not knowing what is going on, is so frustrating. Perhaps someone could e-mail me a possible answer.
I am about to hit the publish post thingy. Lets see what happens this time
Bye for now.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Oatbran Every Day. You Won't Live Longer But It Will Seem Like It.

I am republishing this post because it disappeared completely first time around. Apart from that things seem back to normal. Thank you for all your comments on the experimental post yesterday. Sorry some of you don't like my header photo I will change it soon.

These days a lot of importance is placed on the need to start the day with a healthy, nourishing breakfast. Healthy and nourishing? Do those two words really go together? Well yes they do, and today I am going to let you know why. Because today, I am going to share with you, the secret of what it is that keeps my body at the peak of physical perfection, and imbues me with the complexion of youth, minus the acne of course, and boils. Oh, and all those little spots they get in the middle of their foreheads.
Please follow these step by step instructions in order to gain the maximum benefit from my secret menu, or recipe, whichever it is. Perhaps both. It doesn't matter, I am feeling generous.

First, fetch a cereal bowl from the washing up pile. Rinse if necessary. Add three tablespoons of oatbran to the bowl. I don't actually have a tablespoon so I add four or five dessert spoonfuls instead. If you do not have four or five dessert spoons, don't worry, you can just use the same spoon four or five times. With luck you will find a spoon at the bottom of the washing up bowl, if not, there will be one behind the fridge. Cover oatbran with water. Stop covering when water is half an inch from top of bowl. This depends a lot on size of bowl. If unsure just make it very wet, until some little bits float on top. Place in microwave for two minutes. Or three minutes. This depends on size of microwave. Perhaps to be sure, make it four minutes. When you hear bell ring, or buzzer if you are a rich person, remove bowl from microwave.  After you have soothed your burnt fingers under the cold tap and applied a healing lotion, boil the kettle and add extra hot water to the cereal. This is to get rid of the lumps. Add milk and sugar to taste. You may wish to add salt in place of the sugar if you are Scottish. After eating two or three spoonfuls of this glutinous mess, give the rest to the dog. Let the dog eat it out of your bowl. This saves on washing up.

Put some oil into a frying pan and heat on the hob. When it is very hot add seven or eight cherry tomatoes. Quickly put on protective goggles, These tomatoes really spit in the hot oil. Hold a saucepan lid up to your face to protect from hot splashes. You might want to wear a hat as well, for the same reason. As fast as you can, put two slices of bread into the toaster. Sorry I should have mentioned to do that first. Shake those tomatoes about. But don't worry too much about this, it is good to burn them according to taste. Personally I like mine well done. Add two slices of bacon to the pan with the tomatoes, and fry vigorously. Open kitchen door and run about flapping a towel or newspaper to let smoke out. Get plate from washing up pile. Try to find one which is not too encrusted with a previous meal, and is, if at all possible, mould free. Butter the toast lavishly. Arrange bacon and tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with salt, not too much, remember we are being health conscious here. Add plenty of brown sauce. HP or Daddies sauce is best. You will need a fork. There is one in the shed from when you were mending the punctured tyre.

Finish off your breakfast with strawberries and cream.  Yes I know, it is different. I found these strawberries at half price and they need to be eaten quickly, as they are on the turn. Somewhere in the fridge you will find a half empty, or half full, depending on your point of view, carton of cream. You may need to soften this with hot water, if it has gone hard. Dunk strawberries in the cream and dip into a plate of sugar. You might want to replace the sugar with salt if you are Scottish. Try to stop eating the strawberries before you begin to feel sick. I know this is difficult, but remember we are trying to be healthy.

When eating alone it is perfectly acceptable to use a tabloid newspaper as a table cloth. However, if sharing breakfast with an overnight guest, - well a man can dream, - why not use an upmarket newspaper instead. You can usually find one amongst a more affluent neighbours rubbish.

Remember, when preparing food, always wash your hands afterwards. Now tuck in and enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sex, Love, And Animal Rights. Sadie The German Shepherds View.

He is in a right old strop this morning. Not much sleep last night. He blames me, but really it's Willard who should be blamed. Coming round here at all hours of the night, scratching at the door, doing that silly little bark of his, and howling like a lovelorn wolf. It's hardly my fault if Willard finds me irresistible at the moment.
Come to think of it it isn't even Willard's fault, he only wants to do what comes naturally. No, the fault here lies with humankind. What is Willard doing roaming around at night? He ought to be in bed.
Besides which it was John's decision to ground me. If he had let me sleep out in my kennel as normal, Willard and I could have enjoyed our romantic tryst, and he would have been none the wiser. No harm done, well not for a couple of months at least.
I'm quite sure the neighbours would rather put up with a bit of howling, instead of having to listen to the outrageous language which emanated from the wagon last night. According to John, Willard is a "scruffy, flea bitten, ******* mongrel. Which I agree he is. But I also find him roughishly attractive. John really ought to keep those nasty observations to himself. Especially if he wants to keep on portraying himself as a dog lover. Also, if he persists in using shoes as projectile missiles, then he thoroughly deserves to have them pee'd on. How would he feel having things thrown at him just because he wanted to do a bit of courting? Oh yes, sorry, there was that unfortunate incident. Anyway he should have asked the lady in question if she was married.
While I'm having a bit of a rant, I would like to point out that I always smell like this. After all, I am actually an outside dog. It is very bad mannered of John to keep referring to it. Having slept beside his bed last night I really think his unkind and thoughtless remarks, are truly a case of the pot calling the kennel black. Just because he lives alone is not in my opinion an excuse for letting his standards drop to the extent they have.
Anyway he should get a good nights sleep tonight, Willard is being kept in, there have been words. Hopefully he will wake up in a happier mood.
I'm going to have to spend another few nights indoors too. It's not fair, really it's not. Whatever happened to animal rights?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Shocking Way To Treat A Mad Woman.

We found mum in the lane, lying curled up in the snow. It is blowing a blizzard. The temperature is well below freezing. She is dressed in only a flimsy cotton nightgown.
I had gone to her room to check on her, after my girlfriend Pauline, had remarked on the number of pills she had been taking. It is a good job I did. If I had not done so, or if Pauline had not mentioned the pill taking, it is an absolute certainty that my mum would have frozen to death on that bleak winters night, well over forty years ago.
It says a lot about my mothers personality that I had not noticed anything amiss earlier. She often behaved eccentrically. It strikes me also, that she only attempted suicide when we were there to find her. But still, it was a risky strategy if it was just a call for help, and certainly not the actions of someone in their right mind.
A painting of a mad woman by Theodore Gericault.
Pauline and I had only arrived that afternoon. We were going to stay the night and head back home the next day. It was really just a visit to introduce mum and Pauline to each other. We are way out in the remote Scottish countryside. The nearest neighbour is over a mile away. It is not a good place to have an emergency situation.
I was so glad that Pauline was there. She was able to stay with mum, while I made the long trek through the wind and snow, to the nearest phone box. Where somehow, despite my frozen fingers, I managed to find the Doctors number in the directory. He says he will come as soon as he can, and tells me to call an ambulance.
By the time I arrived back at the house, mum had recovered enough to become nasty and threatening. Pauline was extremely frightened of her, and I did not recognise this wild woman as my mother. Her eyes were black with hatred and rage, and she seemed intent on getting back out into the snow. As I struggled to hold on to her and calm her down, I hoped that the Doctor or the ambulance would not be too long. She had become extremely strong. It was obvious that she was completely mad.
The rest of that night is a blurred memory. All I do know is that mum was sedated and taken away in the ambulance, and I was asked to sign a paper sectioning her under the mental health act.

Electric shock treatment.
They are going to give mum electric shock treatment. As her next of kin I am required to sign a form giving my consent. They do not allow me time to consider, and assure me that it will be beneficial to her. I sign the form. I am advised that I should not visit for a while, until the treatment is finished.

A few days later I go to visit her in the mental hospital. She is sitting up in bed when I arrive. As I approach  she starts to clap her hands like an excited little girl, "have you come to see me?" she asks.
"How are you feeling mum?"
She stops clapping, and looks at me suspiciously, "you're not a real Doctor."
"Mum, it's me, John."
She holds a finger to her lips, "shush," she whispers. She takes two hair clips from the bedside locker, and carefully attaches one to each of her ear lobes, "Aerials," she says conspiratorially, glancing around, "I can hear everything they are saying."
"Is there anything you want me to bring you, mum?"
She looks back at me blankly, through dull black eyes, as she carefully adjusts the hair clips, so that they are now attached to the tops of her ears. "You can't be too careful." she tells me.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Discovering The Difference Between Boys and Girls.

Sandra is being a bit secretive. She and Violet are doing whispering behind their hands, and they keep looking at me and giggling. It is a bit annoying because I am trying to read my book. It is a good one about the 'famous five'.
Sandra and Violet are whispering.
If I was forced to like a girl, Sandra would be the one I would like. Luckily, no one can force me to like girls, but if they could, I would like her the best. But only because she has got dark brown shiny hair, with a ribbon at each side, and also she is a bit prettier than other girls.
But anyway I don't like girls. They whisper, and they don't like football.
I am eight years old, and girls are horrible.
She skips across the room to where I am sitting, struggling to make sense of some long words in my book, "you and me is on counterpanes," she says, giggling.
Oh no! I hate folding counterpanes, especially with a girl. They always have to get things neat and tidy. It takes ages.
Every night before bedtime the counterpanes have to be taken off the beds and folded up. Tonight it is me and Sandra's turn to do it. Boring. I would much rather be reading my book.
There are two dormitories upstairs. Six beds in each one. We start in the girls dormitory.
"Do you want to have a do?" asks Sandra.
"What?"
"A do. Do you want a do? Don't you know what a do is?" She sounds a bit puzzled.
"No."
She lies down on the bed and pulls her knickers down to her knees. "come and have a look," she invites, pulling her dress up.
I am horrified, "Sandra," I say in a worried voice, "You're not allowed to have your shoes on the bed."
"Come and look at it," she says again. She doesn't seem to care about having her shoes on. But if Auntie May, the housemother finds out, she would get in real trouble. "Do you want to have a look or not?"
Reluctantly I take a look, but I can't see anything. She doesn't even have a willy.
"Let me see yours now," she says, pulling her knickers up.
"No!"
"Come on, fairs fair. I showed you mine."
"You ain't even got one," I protested.
"Just let me have a quick look. Please. I won't tell, honest."
I give in and drop my trousers. She looks at it for a long time, before suddenly saying, "come on, we better get these counterpanes folded."
Later downstairs, I am trying to read my book. I notice that Sandra and Violet are looking at me and whispering again.
Violet comes over. "You and me is on counterpanes tomorrow," she says giggling.
Oh no! I hate girls.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

How Many Excuses Am I Going To Find To Excuse My Behaviour.

If the truth be told I was a wayward youth. I suppose it was partly down to my dysfunctional childhood. Isn't that the usual excuse. But it was also down to the fact that I drank too much alcohol, which I could not hold. Another major factor was that the alcohol turned me into an argumentative, loud mouthed, arsy little b*****d. Yes that'll do for an excuse too, the alcohol.
It was on a visit to my mothers 'friend' Fergie when I was probably fourteen years old, that I took my first drink of whisky. I recall the experience as fiery, and that it burned my throat. The glowing after effect however, was very pleasant indeed. I don't think I realised then that if I continued to drink, the glow would become drunkenness. But I quickly discovered that was the case. It was Fergies fault. That's my excuse.
I enjoyed being drunk. Or perhaps I ought to say, I enjoyed the lack of responsibility that being drunk gave me. Hell, you can act like a complete idiot when you are drunk. It doesn't matter. You can do what you like when you are drunk. You are invincible.
Craiginches prison. Aberdeen.
When the drink wears off. Then comes the day of reckoning. It's payback. If you are not in police custody, you soon will be. But that's alright. When they let you out, which they always do. You can get drunk again. What do you care? Why should you care? Nobody else does. Another usual excuse. So the downward spiral begins to gather pace.
When my stepfather Jimmy died from cancer in 1964 it hit me badly. I don't know why. I wasn't aware that he was that important to me. We had our ups and downs him and I. Mostly downs, I thought. Perhaps, and I am only surmising here, I saw his death as one more giant disappointment on the road to normality. Mum would have to leave the house, she had tried to make a home. Another safe haven gone for me. Or maybe he was more of a father figure to me than I realised. Whatever was going on in my head, and to this day I don't know the answer, I was terribly sad and upset, that he was no longer there. That's my excuse for what happened next.
A few days after the funeral, I found a bottle of whisky in the sideboard. I drank a lot of it. I got very drunk. I got loud mouthed, arsy little b*****d drunk. I upset a lot of people. The police were upset too. They arrested me. The procurator fiscal was upset. He told the Sheriff that I had been given enough chances. The Sheriff agreed with him and remanded me in custody. So unfair! After all, the thing is, I was drunk. That's my excuse.
Craiginches prison, Aberdeen, was a dark dismal and frightening place. I was not so tough now, but these convicts around me were. Seven days I spent in that place on remand. Seven days of worrying that I might be sentenced to a longer term there. Seven days of praying to God that He would make the Sheriff treat me leniently. Amazing how religious I would become in times of trouble. Seven days of feeling sorry for myself. Seven days thinking of excuses.
My sentence was a years probation. My probation officer was a really, genuinely nice man. Tough when necessary, but also fair. I don't think he saw me as a criminal, more as a youngster with a troubled mind. We talked a lot and I used to actually look forward to seeing him. I even spent time with him and his family. I was lucky to have him as my probation officer. I was getting on to the straight and narrow. But I was no paragon of virtue.
There were still a few lapses to come from me. Even, I'm sad to say, more prison time. Always the drink was involved. Another excuse. Crikey, I must have been a slow learner! Either that or incredibly stubborn. I was not unintelligent, but it did take me a long time to cotton on to the fact, that nobody was forcing me to get drunk. That's my excuse.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Angry And Upset. I Have To Stop Writing Now. Liberalism, Pah!

I'm upset and angry about so called riots which are happening all over England. Are they riots? Isn't it really just gangs of moronic idiots behaving like thugs and criminals? Low intelligence thugs and criminals at that. Mindless zombies. The areas they are so set on destroying are the places where they live.
I love this country. It was mother and father to me when I was growing up. I owe my country so much. So many good people have died for it. To keep us free.
I have to stop writing now. Being angry and upset is not a good mood in which to express an opinion. I am on the verge of saying things I might later regret. Or even be arrested for. We are no longer able to express our feelings freely, for fear of upsetting people. For fear of upsetting those who would, indeed are, destroying our beautiful country and it's freedoms. Do you see what I mean? As I say, I have to stop writing now

Monday, 8 August 2011

An Acquired Taste I Never Acquired.

Tonight after a lot of abject, and I have to say undignified pleading from the organizers, I gave in, and went to an open mic event. It has been a while since I graced such an event with my presence, and I was a wee bit nervous. Yes! It is true. I am, after all, subject to the same human frailties as other less talented people. I can allow self doubt to chip away at my confidence. Silly of me really. Of course they absolutely loved me.
I'm never sure if it is my dulcet tones that the audience like or if it is just my natural charisma. Probably it is a bit of both. Whatever it is I've got, I wish it could be bottled, and sold in shops. I would make an absolute fortune. Which naturally I would donate to charitable causes. I can't do that though, I am far to humble a man.
Now then, I know you love it when I write about the wonderful talents that God has gifted to me, but I have to disappoint you. Because I want to write about alcoholic drinks.

Tonight as usual I bought a pint of bitter. I bet you are surprised by that. Me, having to buy my own drink. Lots of people wanted to buy me one, but I can't have favourites. It would be unfair. As usual I did not enjoy it. I bought the one with the lowest alcoholic content. I do this because I have to drive home afterwards, and I would hate to have an accident, and be done for drink driving. Oh what an absolute paragon of virtue I am.
Since I only have the one pint I am forced to forgo the pleasant buzz which a second pint would impart to my brain. So therefore, what is the point of me having the first pint? It is certainly not the taste. Perhaps I am just stupid. To be honest I don't even like beer. Yes definitely stupid. Glad I cleared that up. As it says on the pump, it is bitter. I derive no pleasure from bitter tastes.
What is the fascination with wine? It is awful vinegary stuff. I have never found the taste of wine appealing. I love grapes, they taste delicious. But then they get fermented and, yuk! People sometimes complain about wine being corked, meaning it has gone off I presume. Well corked or not, it all tastes vile to me. Those things that the so called wine experts say when describing it's bouquet. What a load of codswallop that is.
Sometimes I might be heard to say that I like a good whisky. Not strictly true. I don't like the taste of whisky either. What I do like is the inner glow it imparts when imbibed. I'll put up with the burning throat, but only because I like the buzz.
The same sort of things apply to all alcoholic drinks. As I say, for me it is not the taste, but the effect, and even that is beginning to lose its appeal. I have not the slightest interest in drinking to get drunk. I went through that phase when I was a lot younger, and, as the saying goes. Never again!
I know what you are thinking, and yes you are quite right. I can be a miserable old b-----d sometimes.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

An Alien Woman, A Gold Watch and A Wedding Ring. What Is That All About?

Sorry that my last post made some of you feel sad and unhappy for me. Sometimes this phenomenal ability I have as a writer can be just too unsettling.
Hey! Don't be concerned for me. I just celebrated my 64th birthday. Yes life has been tough, especially my childhood, but I got through that somehow, and I am still going strong. Still making mistakes too.
Blimey! When I hear about some young lives, the sickness and the traumas that people go through. Well I tell you, I count my blessings.
There was a time when I felt sorry for myself. Felt that life had handed me a rotten deal. But that was a long time ago. I don't feel like that these days. Anyway what would be the point of self pity. The past cannot be changed.
Self analysis cannot explain why I painted this strange picture.
I consider myself lucky actually. Lucky in the sense that I have a strong instinct for survival. An instinct that has served me well. Lucky too in the way that I am able to analyse my own feelings. I think I have an honest sense of my own strengths and weaknesses. This awareness I have of the inner me, this self truth, serves me well. I never feel the need, as I did in the past, to pretend that I am something which I am not. What a long journey of self discovery it has been though, and of course still ongoing.
How good it must feel to be one of those happy people, who sail through life, avoiding turbulence and storms, or at least taking the rough with the smooth, and never a backward glance of regret. Or maybe not. Perhaps we need our share of adversity to shape us. Turn us into individuals. Make us who we are really meant to be.
Having said all that I do live an alternative kind of lifestyle. I have always, at least since early adulthood, yearned to be away from the norm. Some people find my wagon dwelling life strange. Some envy me the fact, not in a bad way, that I have few possessions, or bills to pay. Even through the years of my marriage, I always had a campervan ready for when the wanderlust hit me. Which it frequently did.
I put my strange ways, if that is what they are, down to my fractured childhood. Somewhere in my psyche is the thought, or realisation that what you haven't got, cannot be taken away from you.
Why I feel the need to tell all about the events that shaped me, is a question I cannot answer with clarity. There is a desire to write things down for my children, especially my daughter from whom I am presently estranged. Maybe one day she will read these things I write, and it will give her an understanding of me. Also I do think I have things to say that others might find of interest, and fellow bloggers will understand the simple pleasure of writing and just the desire to do it.
Finally I will answer a question often asked of me. Do I find it painful to remember the past? The answer is no, not painful. But it does make me sad at times. I have to confess that I often shed tears as I recall certain traumatic times. They are however, only the tears I should have cried a long time ago.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Consequence Of An Afternoon Nap.

"Hurry you two, if you want to see this." I was excited as I cried out to them. They both turned to look at me.
"What's up, what's happening?" Called back my friend, who's name I don't know.
"It's frogs," I answered, "lots of them, quickly you two."
The older of the two men shouted back something but I didn't hear what he said, because he was hammering the wheel back onto the railway wagon, and I still had my wax ear plugs in.
"Hurry up," I urged, "or they'll all be gone."
My friend who's name I didn't know, never had known actually, but I was certain he was interested in frogs, eventually came sauntering up.
"Where are they?" He sounded bored.
"Just over there on that barrel. Hundreds of them. What about the old bloke, doesn't he want to see them?"
"No, he's seen a frog before."
We ran over to the barrel. I was sad to see that most of the frogs had gone, and there were only three or four left. I felt a bit embarrassed, "sorry about this. There's not many left."
He pointed to a big frog, "that is not a frog," he stated emphatically. "That my friend is a lizard. Can't you see it's long tail?"
I did take a good look, and I had to agree with him. It was a lizard. It must have been hiding among all the frogs.
"Not only is it a lizard," he went on, "but it is a deadly venomous lizard. One bite from that, and you my friend, are dead."
Quickly I took out of my pocket a brown paper bag, and attempted to coax the lizard into it.
"That won't work," he said scornfully, "that lizard will be out of there in two seconds flat."
Just as he said it the lizard dashed into the bag, thrashed about madly, dashed out again, and threw itself off the barrel top, and onto the ground.
Amazingly the lizard changed into a beautiful woman before my very eyes. I was certain that I knew her from somewhere. "Excuse me Miss," I said, "but don't I know you from somewhere?"
She smiled at me. "Do you still want to take me to the cinema?"
Even though I knew that she might turn back into a poisonous lizard at any moment, I realised that I should not miss this opportunity to date such a truly beautiful woman.
Somehow in the excitement of the moment she and I got separated in the cinema. By the time she found me again I was well and truly stuck in an extremely narrow stairwell. She rushed to get help.
The attendant who came to my aid was very kind, and wore a peaked cap. He brought me a cup of tea and a chocolate marshmallow biscuit, my favourite, whilst he went in search of a screwdriver. Unfortunately he left the tea and biscuit just out of my reach.
Due to the stress I was under, my desire to drink the tea became a matter of life and death. I was desperate. As I struggled to reach them I was lucky enough to free myself, and shot out of the narrow stairwell like a cork from a bottle.
I woke up on the floor with the duvet wrapped tight around me.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Manipulation? It's Difficult To Get My Head Around.

Usually when a woman asks me to lie down on her couch, I think to myself, "aye, aye, Johnny boy, looks like your charms have worked the old magic again".
Not that I will allow situations like this to happen too frequently these days. I have to hold myself back a lot of the time from intimate encounters.
Women do tend to find me irresistible, and do throw themselves at me with a reckless abandon, which to be honest, at my age I can find a bit intimidating. So the truth is, I tend these days to limit the amount of physical contact I allow myself to have with the opposite sex. I feel it is the decent, and kindest to thing to do. So many of the fairer sex have been disappointed in the past.
When I say they have been disappointed, I am of course not referring to my abilities as a lover. That, it goes without saying really, has never been a problem for the lucky ones involved. No, what I mean is, that I just cannot spread myself thinly enough to accommodate all the ladies who want me. Oh dear, it is just so sad that there is only one of me, so unfair. I suppose that is the reason so many women just have to settle for second best.
Today though the couch in question belonged to the physiotherapist, and although she was an attractive lady, and I could immediately sense her interest in me, I thought it best to keep things on a professional level.
She began by asking me really personal questions, like, how many pillows do I have on my bed? Do I sleep well? Do I sleep on my right or my left side? Do I smoke? Do I drink? Things like that. There were so many questions that I can't remember most of them.
Then she got me to lay on my back on the couch and pushed my head through a hole. She said it was because she wanted to stretch my neck. That is not the first time someone has said that to me. Anyway when she did that I got really extremely dizzy and began to whine like a baby, "I want to sit up," I cried. But she then showed her mean side, and pushed my head down even further. Oh it was horrible!
"I don't like you any more," I sobbed, when finally she relented. But then she suddenly twisted my head to one side, and told me to keep my nose pressed against the couch. She made sure that I obeyed by pushing down on my head with both hands. Just to compound things further she did the same on the other side.
When she eventually let me sit up, she had the cheek to ask me how I felt.
"Awful," I cried,wiping my eyes with a tissue. "That's the first and last time I allow myself to be manipulated by a woman."
She looked at me through eyes that I could not help noticing, were very beautiful. "Really?" she said.