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Last 10 Posts [ In reverse order ]
peter.howden Posted Today, 11:20am
  My Chronicles 04/08//2020;

The mind is simply complicated

The important reason for taking a spin, in the old jalopy yesterday afternoon, was to visit Aunt Becky in her old folk’s newbuilt dementia home. It was the first official sanction, regrettably allowing only one person, appropriately veiled, to visit the large communal garden… warned no presents of any kind because of the naughty virus risks. I stayed in the car listening to McLevy, as Rebecca was escorted by a masked attendant, around the back of the building to see Becky.

Just some fifteen minutes later, Rebecca returned, in an emotional mood, taking time to compose herself before telling how Aunt Becky is not only very frail, but sat with her eyes closed, flouting her surroundings. She did awake when her personal assistant asked Becky if she knew who this is? pointing to Rebecca. Quick as a flash she retorted, “I don’t know her, or anyone here, and I don’t like them!”, then as quickly…shut her eyes again, ignoring everything around. We have great faith in the careful attention the home staff are giving Aunt Becky.

Apart from dodging the rain, my main task is painting the extending garden fence, longer than remembered and it needs two, perhaps three coats. I feel like huckleberry Finn’s grandfather…knackered, while Aunt Polly keeps her beady eye, making sure there’s no skipping off to meet up with the likes of crafty Tom Sawyer, or the judge’s daughter. Truth be told there is only two Becky’s for me.

The raw skill I possess makes me ponder in the mind, if such artistes, of the caliber of say, Vincent Willem van Gogh , Monet, Pissarro, the main man Leonardo da Vinci… and the almighty number one, Michelangelo, famed for painting ceilings and walls. Did they all do such menial stokes around my age? Conceivably, they served their internship from an incredibly early age, rather than a duff old timer, who akin to the Michelangelo, doesn’t want to, but now, seemingly taking as long with my personal ‘Sistine Chapel’.

Stop Press…news just in, Emma our granddaughter, Nikki’s daughter, has passed her exams with flying colours, which gives Emma a ticket into Aberdeen University, to study Biology and Cytology…magic…pure dead brilliant…for this is what she is pining to do.
peter.howden Posted 2nd Aug 2020, 01:57pm
  Alternative farming;(1)

Not so long ago while visiting Netherlands, collectively are the second biggest exporter of agriculture goods in the world. Firstly, there is no need for fences surrounding most areas, because the national abundance of canals produce individual islets, and larger islands of lush green grass, to enhance prime sheep and livestock. Half the countryside is used for husbandry, surrounded by inland waterway, it was obvious the shepherds may have a more complicated relationship with sheep and other farm animals., than here in Scotland.

This may lead to problems for herdsmen working through twilight, while holding his trusty crook, delicately approaching their flock of sheep, or flink of cows, becoming slightly disturbed, and unwisely disperse uncertain of his dark intentions. Rising despair of their situation, can possibly be followed by accidental tumbling or tripping, or simply falling unintentionally in the water? It would be so easy an accident for a very scared beasty, requiring one eye concentrating deep on the herder’s man, while moving over unsure ground

Before either one is aware, the poor beastie splatters into the ducts, probably feeling rather sheepish, who knows...but what danger lurks.? Their wool acts a disastrous dead weight, causing sinking. This peril is currently first in the backlog of health and safety for Netherland government, hastily organizing a programme of life saving courses, which would include chest heart manipulation, plus mouth to mouth respiration, to be compulsorily for all Shepherds in Holland

This also may lead to strained relationships between both parties. One such herder has been taken to court for gross indecency with his charge, but, earned sympathy from the court when explaining how one thing led to another. Scottish shepherds are up in arms, as well as their kilts, angerly stating clearly… it is unfair, and they are demanding kisses too?
peter.howden Posted 29th Jul 2020, 12:35pm
  My Chronicles 29/07//2020;

During this trouble time, it’s so easy an excuse, to think ‘maybe later’, when hard determination is sticking to a routine…no matter how weary it may be. She who must be obeyed’, and ‘I’, are clearly slowing down, unsure whether it is advancing old age, or lockdown…or a combination of both giving physical mental fatigue signals. We practically knowing each other almost inside out, while still can flip the odd surprise now and again. Being close and accepting each other’s traits and foibles helps, with perhaps some grunts do surface occasionally. Love isn’t a crutch…but a floating emotion confusing reality…but hey…bring it on.

Nikki and Emma played a happy surprise visit on Saturday afternoon. Sipping tea and just typical natter face to face, small patter, rubbish chatter, completer with laughter… just superb. I do feel sad for those who can’t see loved ones in person, for one reason or another, as I have long standing close friends, who are unable to do just that. Chris and Kirsti are fine though Kirsti is still recovering from a broken wrist.

With the lockdown restriction easing, after quite a whilst not actually seeing her at all, next Monday may be possible to drive to Aunt Becky’s home. I will drive Rebecca to the dementia residence, however only one person is allowed into the grounds…so definitely Rebecca to just see her, for Becky has been part of her life, right from when she was born…Rebecca not Aunt Becky. We have full confidence in the staff, although they must be under immense strain and stress.

On Sunday Rebecca’s IPod , accidently fell from the kitchen table, resulted in blankness. Following all the guidelines, on the internet to reinstate the data, failed. Early yesterday’, a purpose car trip into almost empty eerie central Glasgow, was right out of the 50s catastrophe films. The peoples working in Apple store Buchanan St were pleasant, and indeed successful in returning the device almost back to normal. When arriving home, all that had to be done was to type in the Id…and the sacred password. Where I went wrong, I do not know, but …after continuously going around in circles, Apple have blocked the IPod, in case of naughty goings-on. I’m indeed a dunderheed…back to the internet?

It’s not the mirror showing more wrinkles every day, neither the boldness of creeping baldness, or reality looking every inch my age, plus several more years…it’s the simple fact losing my independence and marbles, almost instantly forgetting things, plus intermittent pain by just touching a unknown surface. There is no sanctuary when friends say they are the same. Early yesterday morning as I reached out for my trust IPod, as always being the custom…But, it wasn’t there. Some vague recollection of using it the night previous, while in the office, come Toni’s room. Searching the usual drawer(three times), then all around the desk, wastepaper baskets, in case it fell in accidently, but finding no success…the fretting started.

All day Inside my crustiness, irritation grew in a blank mind, except… one question was irately rising …where the bloody hell is it . after dinner as I sat brooding, while upstairs, ‘She who must be obeyed’, called out my name, whilst displaying the precious IPod, and an old pouch I’d seen in the drawer, while I fruitlessly searched it…three times. Rebecca explained the lost device was inside the leather poke. I’m blind as well as daft, but thanks to ‘She who must be obeyed’, spared me from unlimited days, being unbearably annoyed at myself
peter.howden Posted 25th Jul 2020, 07:05am
  The cat sat on the mat,

“The cat sat on the mat”, a basic starting point to teach our vulnerable young children with simple terms and language. The tale is usually displayed with a cartoon caption of the whole story, added with plain printed words below? It could be argued, this innocent looking formation is creating a thought-provoking complex of extremes.

Those captions may well imply it is a fictional cat, on an imaginary mat, who looks totally puzzled, emphasizing a possibility of possessing split personalities, with oversized eyes staring right back to a dark source…searching for something unknown. Subsequently, if the other cat, not an imaginary one, believed it is a real mat, probability thinks the schizophrenic puss is being selfish, even if he only envision this to be the case. For there is only one mat, either illusion or real.

Going further into the unknown, would the other half of the split personality pussy have a nine-life cycle, with individual characteristics, or sadly nil…because it started from nonexistence? If the fantasy mouser suffered from a form of bipolar disorder, this presents a possibility of two mats, so which one would he sit on?
If the moggy inadvertently found out, it was not schizophrenic, or indeed exists… how could it come to terms pawing over inside its illusive mind? The terror and the very real danger to the kitty’s sanity, with multiple traits, this presents a possibility of two mats, so which one would he sit on?

In another dimension, would this depict the argument, an unspecified schizophrenic Malkin would believe the other cat is off his mat, because there is only one imaginary mat? What would happen mentally to the paranoid mouser if it found out by mistake, it was not in schizothyme mold at all, but did not happen? I think so therefore I am…closer to either schism or loosely schlemiel, while this would make tabby, a tad Jewish, and circumcised while not taking this chimerical serious?

In another spectrum, the ongoing phantasmal tabby: essentially a moggy’s disarmed tale, deliberately springing around the café scene on paper, not the mat. “Tip and mitten” just appear like a holy conception (implying Catholic connotations) however if it was not… how was it done.

Who, what, was the Uncle Tom? Stuck in his cabin or scrambling out of the closet; this imaginary or schizophrenic kitling. More to the point, who was the mother?
Where did she spring from …and how?
peter.howden Posted 23rd Jul 2020, 11:05am
  American Swings.(4) Free from the dark

Left abruptly alone without warning, for the other two adventurous had abandoned the quest, scurrying back towards the entrance which was but a dot in the murky emptiness. The darkness hauntingly wrapped around, almost smothering young Hector whose imaginary courage had fled without a steady light. In near blackness, as the candlelight had long perished due to clumsiness, and the much needed every ready torch battery, flickered intermittently. Strange sweeping shadows emerged in bloody darkness.

Resting on a boulder wondering what to do, Hector’s was aware his clothing was clingingly cold, and a hint of wind. With raw deduction from some film about miners, there must be a current of air, deducing its surly coming from the other end. Taking a couple of slugs from a Barr’s bottle of ‘Dandelion and Burdock’, bought at Calder St corner shop, he began recalling local tales about the burrow, a thought began to pester his mind. Perhaps this was the rumoured last century’s cart coal tunnel, some 400 yards long, running under Whifflet st, hidden for donkeys years

This assumption found him more spunk to see the ‘Dare’ all the way through, yet, with each step ricocheting into the unknown eeriness, worried him. Hector’s trouble had always been a vivid imagination, so the further into the abyss, the more alarming thoughts swam in his mind. After just a few minutes, to his relief, was forced to stop his solo adventure, as the way was now enclosed up. He persuaded himself he was at the end and had conquered the quest. In excited haste he retraced his steps, waded over knee high water, and at last, saw daylight peering through the entrance.

It took his eyes sometime to adapted to sunlight again. No one was there to witness his achievement, as he scrounged around for something to dry himself. Stupidly trying grass, leaving tainted frog legs when arriving home, with his sister scrubbing, in a frantic effort to save his skin…with little or no success. Unfortunately, when Hector’s brother-in-law came in, he gave him a thick ear, and a sore bum for his troubles.

It was raining next day, so the lads, and two girls met up in a deserted warehouse in North Bute St, playing a game of ‘Dare, Promise, or Kiss’. A mawkit milk bottle brought from the midden, pointed at Hector being dared to kiss the girl named Archibald...on the lips. He only consented to do so If they put a cardboard box over their heads while the act was being performed, even then chickened out…kissing her on the cheek. Brave wee man?

Next; The Tank
peter.howden Posted 20th Jul 2020, 01:26pm
  American Swings.(3) The Tunnel

During what seemed an everlasting summer, Garturk/Bute st was overflowing with a variety of brood’s, having one thing in common...“Dare” challenges, competing to come up with a desperate taunt. One morning, the ultimate test was thrown into the explore the depths of the abandoned tunnel, believed to be haunted by rats and the like, under the main Whifflet |St. It was rumoured, some kids the previous year were never seen again... failed reaching the other end, gauged to be at the incredible American swings.

The spooky tunnel ran underground, from Bute St all the way to behind Hospital St...and the famed American Swings. The reason for some playgrounds to have such a name escapes grown-up logic, although quite a few swings and roundabout areas were so called, in Glasgow and surrounding rural populated districts. Whifflet American swings were brightly painted, so maybe this is the justification, as most things in the 50s were drab and formally painted dark green, or brown at best. Another theory is it had a special type of apparatus, close to “A Dundee Swing”, but operated on a maypole fashion.

Hector had been instructed by his family; the upper other side of the main Whifflet Street was strictly out of bounds. Taking little heed, he joined the brave trio outside the dodgy entrance. The boys had battery torches, plus a candle and matches, from someone’s home. Richard explained the need for a candle was, to test the air was breathable. He added it should be canaries, but he only had a budgie…and his old Gran would miss it. Garry was first to enter the dark shaft, not a sound was heard until, just after a minute or two, he came clambering out the entrance, face pure dead white, yelling...’No f---in way’, and scarpered. Along with two of the other lads hector was a tad scared, but Richard,(who became a priest) stepped into the tomb opening, followed by two god fearing scared lads skulking through

Crawling down deeper than expected, holding his torch it is hard to tell the actual distance of this built underpass, but it was black murky, smelly, and dripping, constant cascading noisily, massive holed pathway, stony obstacles with boulders to attempt to dodge. The walls were wet and dripping as the challenged individual’s, had to take off socks, shoes or sannies, wade knee deep through manky water , with squelching icy mud seeping through toes…anxious as to god knows what lay ahead

Being about three boys wide with massive water covered area in the middle. The main danger was the reputed ravaging rats, living deep in crevasses slinking in the wake of the darkness down there, anticipating the unexpected explorer. The numbers were unknown, but Hector heard them scratching near and far, as their shadows darted back and forward. although defiantly saw a dark grey one, massively bigger than it should logically be. When cornered, rats bite, for every boy knew this as total fact.

Next; Free from darkness
peter.howden Posted 16th Jul 2020, 07:32pm
American Swings (2) A Leap beyond

Hector had some sense to practice when no one was around, meant sneaking out at seven in the morning. His balance was awkward due to cerebral palsy, plus the terror wavering on a curved top of the wall, working up to the dare. Landing clumsily on the gravel and on his bahookie several times. One day, while practicing, bid to jump the dreaded concrete nemesis, such a dreadful leap.... but not far enough.

Bounding between solid concrete into hopeful landing, Hector realized misfortune. The furthest corner was way out of reach, either by foot or hand, even when franticly trying to grab. He fell completely out of control, landing with arms stretched out only to feel his legs at a wearied angle. His right side took the main force of the craggy ground, covered in old fireside ashes. Wheezing in immense pain, lay there unable to move for what seemed ages, for it was more than his pride hurting. Eventually clambered with shaky feet, vowed never to do anything like that again, truly scunnered with the whole thing

Later on that afternoon while all the local lads, along with a couple of girls, one lad came along show off. Gleaming with bravado, carrying what appeared to be a real cowboy six shooter. He informed everyone his uncle brought it back from Hollywood, where he worked as an extra or scene mover, which kids envied with a lust passion. Tub’s(there was always a Tub’s then) handed around the heavy revolver to the keenly awaiting delinquent group, who showed their appreciation in the way they held it delicately. Being an outsider, Hector wasn’t privy to handling the magnificent trophy, but being mere cinema lad.... it was just out of this world.

Now in a fit of self-peek, hector blurted out his wild intention to jump the ‘corner to corner’ dare, which caused a few giggles from a couple of lads. What was unknown at the time, those boys had seen his pitiful attempts walking the wall earlier and were gunning for taking the micky ? For those few moments whatever came over Hector, he had little control over his mind, now oblivious to the fear of the petrifying obstacle. What was clear was an inner force driving uncommon bluster while scuttling along the approaching wall in fair speed and surprising agility? Lining himself up to the final approach where disaster happened that very morning, closed his eyes…bursting with instant energy and jump into blind abyss.

Before he knew it, landed safely over the opposite concrete roof with amazing margin to spare. He had jumped the jump. From that precise moment, hector was one of the lads...firstly being presented with the sacred weapon, even allowed to draw and fire imaginary bullets from it. From then on…accepted, that’s what most people want to be. He was a member of the Garturk/Bute St gang, missed when away...bonded when he came back.

There was other acts to prove valour, although he was as a member now… known as a dare devil...and not as an outsider.
Next…The Tunnel.
peter.howden Posted 16th Jul 2020, 09:48am
  My Chronicles 16/07//2020;

I’m very fortunate to have a couple of long standing ‘Chinas’, normally with me in my mind, but I don’t see as them often as I would like, yet, with the lockdown restriction, not that I can’t, but must abide by the limitations, makes it tedious that I cant jump a train, car, or bus…just to say Hi’…in person.

Last Saturday brought a surprise to our garden, visitors from afar, Nikki and Simon, Andrew and Emma and the mutt, closely followed by Chris and Kirsti… seeing them, talking intimately with them… easily what the doctor ordered. The weather was a bit precarious, although we had large brollies and the non-de-plume old G.H.A umbrella at hand. I have been known to talk rubbish… but savoured every word spoken, by all of us… pure dead brilliant.

Unfortunately, Aunt Becky was in a slight incident at the care home. While brushing her hair, she thought another resident came to close to her personal space, and apparently hit out. The staff in the residence, took steps to intervene before real danger could take place. They phone to report the incident, and when questioned, stated the other lady was not hurt. As usual we have every faith the carers ability to look after our sometimes fast acting Becky. Due to concerns about the virus, they closed down the ‘Visit- open in the garden’ period, but now it’s reopened. We have decided to wait awhile until personal visits is in the frame, because Becky hasn’t a clue who we are, which will just confuse her fragile routine ,

The old jalopy needed to visit the ‘Motortune’ car hospital in Shotts, where the skilled vehicle surgeon applied his knowledge and ability. Because the need of parts it was quite a long wait, so as usual for vital exercise, I took a saunter around. Luck was in seen three rabbits near the chapel, scurrying and hopping about. On returning to the garage I only saw two. The presumption is the other rabbit was in confession…obviously the rabbit’s name was Peter? The real good news was I meet up with Fergus, which allowed a smashing hour or so, talking about how to save the world…in three easy steps…just sublime.

After coffees and tea in the automobile waiting room , another leisure stroll was in the wind, along unfamiliar country road, and boy what the amazing thing the imagination is. Looking at all the green fields at different stages, I was transported back to 15 years old, hobbling down another lane towards the sea at Whitesands, Dunbar…whiffing the delights of growing wheat. Although these fields yesterday had no wheat, the aroma of yesteryears is still within my mind…and exuberating…every time !
peter.howden Posted 13th Jul 2020, 11:14am

The year is in the early 50s; the place is Whifflet, it was the best of times... though like most times... Hector was more than a little bit mixed up. As a youngster, he was extremely conscious of his defects, classified as handicapped. Deemed as a spastic, more so by elders than the odd treatment handed out by other children, good and bad. Tangible and imaginary hurdles appeared from nowhere, which at the time, seemed unassailable, however, Hector soon discovered this was normal for the rest of the youngster he knew ... equally urgent. The way you perceived things, along with the reasons to overcome obvious, and not so clear problems, lies close to the path for near future’s endeavours...but stayed permanently within the mind.

The school holidays was always a problem, this was solved by being shipped off to Hector’s sister’s home, wherever that may be. The summer in Bellshill’s coal binges were magic, the highlight of the Bellshill summer weeks, being given permission to stay up on a Saturday night, after sport programme of the day, around 10.30, was ‘Sergeant Bilko’. Dressed in pyjamas watching this American comedy , Phil Silvers line went “fun, fun, fun”….but the real ball for two years was called ‘American swings’…was Whifflet,

Hector was shipped out to the hamlet, just south of Coatbridge, was a new adventure with mixed feelings before arriving. One local saying determined the difference between Motherwell and Coatbridge; Motherwell was famous for coal and steel, while Coatbridge was famed for steal’ in coal. The town was renowned for the Olympic sized swimming pool it had, also had fine views and deep history of industrial railways and all that entails

Whifflet was Hector’s introduction to dykes to dreip... the middins to rake, and the best of all, the first tongue bud tasting of the original Dandelion and Burdock. Throughout the backs of Garturk St and Bute St, lay in square formation with dividing walls of different structures, along with outhouses, once used as washing houses for the families abide.

From the not so far away past, these buildings and walls varied in height, possibly 8 to 12 feet. To be accepted into the local had to do the corner leap. This was quite a jump for a bachle, not out of shorts, or up to that time, had not seen or known about backyard playing. The jump was from corner to corner of 45 degrees facing each other, but with a problem…one corner was higher than the other, by a good foot and a half. The spring was from lower to higher, with only three steps run in, but… worse of all was everybody had to be there when you did this dare.

Next…the leap
peter.howden Posted 9th Jul 2020, 01:12pm
  What’s Up “Doc”

He was a great world renowned ‘Chef de Cuisine’, valued knowing the basic work which could add delightful heaven to the client’s taste buds. Similar to all the greats; knew just how much of ‘this and that’ ingredients make gastronomic magic, down to the very last dash. He was untidy, gruff, but dependent on the lower grafters. Show me a master chef who isn’t or does not have a skivvy, or two up his, or her sleeve. His big fault was health and safety approach on both equally without thought or concern.

A pot of water with just a tad squirt of his secret liquid, was always near the boil, purging through sterilization, all his utensils, including his keen, razor sharp knives, he described as cherished delicate whittles. He never used, or trusted, any wandering Shantieglan to grind his precious instruments, he alone, with loving care, stone sharpening the blades to a hair breath keen edge.
Treasuring one of his cutting appliance above all others, had an awful nasty habit of taking it from the always steaming water cleansing pot, then drying it with a dangling tea towel he was wearing under his armpit, , which he swore, saved valuable time and was perfectly hygienic. Either claims were suspect; however, no one in the classy restaurant dare tell him…. never mind chastise this naughty habit,.

Instead of insisting obeying Health & Safety rules, the owner laughed off in a childish pansy manner. The manager, and a couple of brave souls in the kitchen would mumble word for word, ‘There will be a revolting horrible accident happen one day, his oxter being slashed deep inside…Mark my words!’, they all quoted uniformly….then added before finishing their spiel; “could be disfigured for life, (and possibly ruin the soup)…the last part they never said…only thought it …for no-one had the stomach for antagonizing this already brusque human.

The fateful day arrived with no pointers, no clue what would happen, and the far reaching effects with the head chef’s ‘Haute cuisine’ dishes. Working normally by keeping a skewed eye on all the other commis chefs, preparing his Special gourmet surprise, while observing ‘waste not, want not’ perfect ethos. The lethal moment came closer with all pots and pans on full blast, or just simmering away ingredients for a master stroke in his culinary dish.

Automatically reaching for his trusty knife, as he had so many times from the boiling purgative pot, but this time was to be horribly different. Without looking his main cutlery hand reached in the correct direction, but, contacted a heavy metal spoon, instead of the hilt of the knife. Having been purifying for some considerable time, the whole spoon was nigh to boiling temperature when his fingers first got in touch.

His digits meeting the scorching spoon, burnt and scaled his skin, then producing huge instant blisters . With indescribable agony, he attempted to rid himself of this calamity, but the spoon just sunk in deeper into his fingers, damaging the very nerves of his whole hand. The shouting squealing in pain did not last an eternity, but it just seemed so as one brave helper, had the savvy to smother the hand and the offending utensil with a soaked cold watered towel, giving enough relief to quell the distress calls for a brief moment or two at least.

The tragic consequences were losing his intimate senses, in his golden hand holding an acute touch for the amount of ingredients, to most minuscule tad needed to supply his famous recipes. His books were cooked, as the world never forgave him in his reckless moment. Basically, he returned to being a mere skivvy …Par-average at that… one greasy diner….with a global famous Scottish clan title?
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