He was extremely drunk, extremely slobberingly maudlin, and, in a loud slur, telling anyone who cared to listen, what a good laddie I was. When in this kind of state, he was also fond of clamping an affectionate arm around my shoulder and bestowing the occasional alcohol laden, bewhiskered kiss upon my cheek. I would tolerate this for as long as I could. Which was not very long for the young man I was at that time.
This male bonding type of behaviour, was uncommon in those days, especially in a men only bar. I would say goodbye and leave him to it. I did not want anyone to think I was a .. well you possibly get my drift. Suffice to say I found it embarrassing. Funnily enough, these days I am extremely tactile. I love a hug. Male or female. I'm not bothered what people think. Maybe it's because I'm at an age where I don't give a stuff. Maybe it's just the way things are, these more enlightened days.
So let's just say for the sake of expediency, that I was twenty years old when I last saw Fergie. I make that forty odd years. He must have died quite soon after our last meeting. All I have left of him, apart from some lovely memories, is a small photo, measuring about 3ins x 2ins. It was taken by my Mother, when she and he were still together. It must have been taken in the late fifties. It shows Fergie sitting in the old Nissen hut which was their home then. This tiny image of Fergie is all I have to remind myself of what he looked like.
|THATS THE RANGE with the sauspans on he's just after finishing his dinner when I took this snap|
Well The results of my endeavours in this respect are not great. But they have brought back vivid memories of Fergie. Memories of where things were in the hut. The stove, with the kettle and saucepans.The table, with the oilcloth cover. The big cup would have been his, and the smaller, more genteel cup, my Mothers. Look at the soup dish, with the spoon still in it. The bed in the corner. Never enough blankets, so supplemented in the winter with a couple of coats. That is a big chest of drawers, it would fetch a lot of money these days. They have decorated with wallpaper. Mum would have put the pictures on the walls, and have had little ornaments about the place. She loved things like that. All these little details in this photo, give it an added poignancy.
Oh dear! Once again I have saddened myself with a trip down memory lane. I must remind myself that I am doing it so that George, my extremely handsome son, has a record of my life and times.
I suspect that this was their first home together, after years being on the road. Mum would have made the best of it that she could.
It is difficult to explain, but those few words that she has written on the back of the snapshot, tell me quite clearly, that at the time she took this photo, she was in love with Fergie. She must have loved him, to put up with his fighting, binge drinking and the hardships of life travelling the length and breadth of the UK. Sadly, it was in the end, his drinking that ended the relationship. I say sadly, but it did allow Mum to move on with her life, and of course, eventually allowed her and I to be reunited after years apart.
Perhaps I should not say that their relationship ended? Because, in truth, it never did. Not entirely.