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Last 10 Posts [ In reverse order ]
peter.howden Posted 10th Nov 2019, 12:48pm
  My Chronicles 10/11/2019…

For serval reasons, I’ve been looking into the near future, deciding to bring a halt to the cherish tradition taking Becky on regular hurls in my auld jalopy, around varied countryside of Strathaven, Linlithgow and surrounding areas while the old Scottish songs piping out just for us two. Aunt Becky is steadily becoming frailer as time passes; however, the main reason is simply my reaction capabilities are slowly dwindling, which could endanger Becky if anything happened unpredictably.

Last Monday, sitting in the Home’s dining room, mainly listening to Becky, drifting through her Dementia imagination, around wonderous past events, plucked from her curious sense of reality. For nearly an hour, we chuckled, giggled and laughed while talking mostly absolute nonsense, which I do as normal. With good fortune, hopefully this will become another cherish tradition. I will miss the jalopy trips, for no matter the weather, the Kilpatrick hills could look out of this world, and on a few occasions, forebodingly moody, with us. both singing ‘Flower of Scotland’… with grand gusto.

Lucky for me, I still take in the diverse landscape regularly, by train trip down to Ayr, visiting another old grumpy China, Jim Hendry, in Witherspoons. Again, we talk a lot of baloney of past and present, but rarely take anything serious, though if need be…Jim is the lad to do it. He is a genuine lifelong Labour man, believing in the rights of the people, while I’m notoriously slyly whimsical…but the intimate time with him, is usually a tonic.

I often visit Stirling, which has its breath-taking moments, but one more expedition this week will be cruising up to Alloa. No matter the road I choose, I’m surrounded by fabulous panoramic views. …its magic…including the charming Teresa talking, and showing me around all the enjoyable community commitments she and her partner do
peter.howden Posted 7th Nov 2019, 11:01am

Shug always felt he was destined for something, he began to believe he was a modern version of a soothsayer, able to prophesies the future, or at least his own fate through nightly vivid dreams, with him reading next morning newspaper. Although exactly when this phenomenon began, is not quite clear, however, unswervingly seriously, he grasped hold of the whimsical idea on the first night while imagining reading his tabloid reporting the winning Cuddies, running next day at some racecourse. Very early next morning, with his photogenic memory, headed for the betting shop in town, placing a wager on each predicted winner…and every blooming steed won.

How, why, or by who, or whom, remained a mystery, but this launched Shug’s idle theory of his wondrous gift of forecasting powers. Each night, he envisaged glancing at the headlines in his newspaper (known locally as a rag), then straight to the betting results. Several weeks went by, he doubled his wagers each time, becoming exceedingly wealthier way beyond his imagination. One night while dreaming, browsing the rag, he could not help seeing, in bold letters, the terrible news; the two coach 09.15 train to town, tragically crashed, with deep regret…there are no survivors.

Rousing in sticky shock, Shug’s first thought was to warn the authorities…but who would believe him, at best treat him as mad… and unfortunately, nothing, just nothing could be done…fate is fate. He was now in a quandary, this very timed train to town, was his train, always taken so not to forget the results sequence from the visions. Somehow… sinful greed took hold, with Shug deciding, in the morning…he would take the 09.00 train instead.

The following morning, the newspaper printed an apology… for causing unnecessary distress to their reading public. The earlier reporting edition had regrettably a simple typographical error …the train which crashed…was the 09.00…
peter.howden Posted 4th Nov 2019, 09:23am
  The Fall

We have been extremely fortunate observing over the years, a small sapling, at the back of our garden, cultivate into a magnificent tree, stretching higher into the skies. By the shape of the falling leaves, it could be of mountain ‘Alder’ family, however, in my mind…the trusty tree is, a Robin Hood’s essential observation post, with its many strong branches, and enormous stature, vital as a look-out for way beyond the wild forest …or hide his loyal merry band of free spirit outlaws, ready for surprise affray, with the naughty soldier thugs belonging to the sheriff of Nottingham.

All through the summer… either watching from the kitchen window, the wildlife equally enjoying the fabulous tree, or I admire it personally, as I refill the birds feeding cages. The only fly in the ointment is, each autumn, the tree, sheds ..and sheds…and sheds, limp dreary leaves from its branches, to the ground below. Because I have obtained a University honours master’s degree, in being a grumpy old man, the sheer clearing the ground endless dull leaves is laborious to say the least

Outside our fence, at the front garden, is a much smaller younger unknown type of tree, which during the year is rather plain, if not boring, as trees go. Yet, in early Autumn… its miraculously changes, into superb golden statue, small …but out of this world. As Autumn fades, touching toes with winter…the gilded display dropping to the round, not losing its amazing colour, in fact appears to emphasise a unique brownish yellow pathway around its roots…and way beyond as the winds predict.

I crave… I Pine… for that tree
peter.howden Posted 1st Nov 2019, 06:33pm
  My Chronicles 01/11/2019…

I yearn for the makeshift home parties taking place after the ‘Guising’(children going from door to door- in disguise), to ward of Ghosts an Ghouls and demons. Most families in the late 50s onward, proudly made the individual costumes and masks, or blacked face, to fool the ghosts identifying the children going out on ‘All-Hallows’ Eve’…Galoshin, originating from the Celtic festival ‘Samhain’. A gift was traditionally given, in the form of food, coins or "apples or nuts, or in recent times…chocolate, but first, perform a ‘Trick’, by reciting a song, poem or joke, prior to being given goodies. Today, now modernized, mostly bought costumes…

Yesteryears parties, for the young and old, was homemade activities, cut out neep lanterns, keeping evil spirits at bay… ‘Apple Dookin’ a Celtic game of the past, where everyone taking part, laughing, squealing, screeching and yelping while being splashed, and drooked by the on-lookers. Nuts Burning (steady there, naughty thinking) … treacle scones daggling on a string, hands held around the back, while mouths and teeth, struggled to swipe a bite. Simple fun was so infectious.

Yet, even missing what my memories recall…the first moment I opened the door last night, to be welcomed by smiling faces, just blew the cobwebs away. After calling out, ‘Trick or Treat’, in unison, left five assortments of childhood, coyness, bravado, angelic, directness…and shy, silently waiting for my response. What could I do, other than ask is anyone had a song, a joke or a dance? Of course, Bravado obliged, though I had difficulty hearing him…but laughed anyway as the took their prizes from the basket.

For the next couple of hours, the doorbell rang repeatedly, producing a new batch of various types of infants, most wide eyed with curiosity expectation, giving for gratis…wonderment to anyone watching…and for me
peter.howden Posted 30th Oct 2019, 12:03pm
  Jim stepped down to nowhere (episode 2)

A lot of wild commotion, coupled with pathetic yelling, was apparently the primary protection for these deluded peoples frantically seeking salvation…or a saviour. At the very beginning, Jim lost everyone he cared for, perhaps loved, he still was a novice at brutality. Right now, a contractor, totally immune in feelings or reason, a robotic human with a given purpose, paid retribution, for who would notice in this field of lunacy

He sought a contract mark, kill him, or her, moved on to the next selected target, nothing to do with right or wrong, or money…just plain survival. Without mercy, a barrage of shells fell as mayhem erupted within the small area. With each explosion, disruption began with petrified screams of people who had obviously been hit. Civilians, cowards and the brave, react the same, to get out of instant hell, followed by an earie deadly silence. Jim couldn’t condemn them…but he had no choice, his mission was priority.

Trekking through debris, Jim nearly stumbles over, what appeared to be the remains of some kind of animal, its lifeless body crossed his path. As he leaned down, grabbing and tossing it aside, he recognizes human skin. He made a colossal blunder which his training forbad… interrupting a job, even for a moment. On the ground was a motionless frozen limb of some young child, according to the size, though age would be a guess. A hint of blond hair over a shattered baby face with one open eye, pierced and burrowed instantly deep into Jim’s very soul, prompting him starkly, he had unqualified emotions, inwardly asking… “how long could he go on living like this?”

A fiery blow struck physically numbness into him, so unexpected, he had no time to prepare a shield against it… And what of death?... He did not care; it would be a release from the constant clingy sweat, from this incessant nightmare, breeding revulsion to life itself. Jim evaporated into the throng, it is said never did return…but, sometimes in the wind, or around the improvised campfire, rumours by the strays from combat…Jim is continuously prompting himself…starkly…he has emotions…defiantly.
peter.howden Posted 29th Oct 2019, 03:35pm
  Jim stepped down to nowhere (episode 1 of 2)

Jim stepped down from the train, in just another desolated township, possessing haunting silence which prevented any sensible conclusions of how there was no rain no bloody wind, yet a sensation of an undesirable chill, uncontrollably rushing through his body, which no earthly fire would be able to rid.

Before stepping down from the coach, Jim checked he had everything prior to leaving the compartment, for one thing he had learned about surviving this journey, depended on this being done, and any equipment could save your life in these foreign parts. He had naively expected a warm welcome from some of the town’s inhabitants, just a hint of relief, for he was expected, but then again, unforeseeable setbacks caused unknown delay.

The platform was packed with bodies all dressed the same, all heading in the same direction, however, as different capabilities and professions. They had been herded into those trains and forced to travel through the heat of the day, even if the whispers were right, this was first class, compared to third or last class from previous treks. The poor sods paid over the odds for their tickets, then only allowed one suitcase and even then, they had no choice of their destination.

Jim walked briskly, almost marching out of the main transport building, then heading to what was obvious the main street of this tumbled down deprived wayside. He had seen more than a dozen hamlets, villages and small towns, over the last two drudgery weeks, with each day exactly the same…. draughty, manky accommodation, and the miss- trust of the locals. What made matters worse, the ludicrous tedium attached to these places or indeed anywhere Jim had stopped.

Keeping his eyes alert, checking for potholes which caused more injury than the job Jim had in hand, no matter whose fault they are there. The chances of medics or indeed the luxury comfort of an ambulance was beyond the likes of Jim’s means or rank, and he had no intentions of needing one. Each street, if you could call them so, were exactly the same, making just for some slipping moments, Jim being lost

Then without warning, from somewhere in the darken skies, a hazy din suddenly swarmed louder and louder, so close, it became thunderous, making everyone either crouched down, or attempt hiding behind some kind of protection. Jim observed some inexperienced individuals actually with their faces flat on the ground, leaving themselves, well and truly open to anything while they next attempt to scramble to their feet, seeking other cover. By then, the unidentified threat has a far clearer picture in what is going on in this perimeter.
peter.howden Posted 24th Oct 2019, 11:06am
  A conclusion from a song

Listening to Bob Dylan, singing on an old long player, “The times are a ‘changing”, the 60s song moulding home spun philosophy for the young, while the old looked on in silent perplexed. I’m now much older, looking on at the young, perhaps not muddled, but slightly amused as the fledglings making their mark… similar to the young generation of yesterday. No one likes changes, apart from the young, who change anything… just to change. To be prickly with the old is their duty to be so, for they are the future… since first man arose. The old hang on to tradition…. hopeful not having to adjust…too much!

It is a myth, we grow wiser as we grow older, because our minds were set when very young. Aristotle philosophized; “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”, as do all religions practice in their own way. However, somewhere along the line, we collect useless baggage, complete with phobias of all descriptions, and biasness, sometimes willing and sometimes anonymous, but we do with some degree of foregone conclusion.

One thing is certain…there is always uncertainty, known as the unknown, to react or prepare. The up and coming generation seeing through virgin eye, attempt to break down dusty traditions, to have a new horizon and holy grail…. which is the same as the last horizon, but perceived at a different angle

Personally, the older I become, I make the silliest of mistakes, with the only difference throughout my years, now… I’m more than ready to admit my foolishness. This very morning, I have misplaced my favourite bunnet and gloves…any attempt to remember where I laid them down …leaves me…as Frank’s song goes…bewitched, bothered and bewildered
peter.howden Posted 22nd Oct 2019, 10:23am
  My Chronicles 22/10/2019…

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, realize we are so lucky, because the wild emotion called, ‘In love’, we still possess, now matured from total madness urgency, to a precious unique passion. The fairy tale dreams of growing old together, walking hand in hand to the post office, collecting our pensions, has faded into the long ago, leaving a wanting to just care and nurture each other.

Rebecca is within me, as I’m within Rebecca, mixed with the occasional temperament instigating slight friction. I believe if not for Rebecca’s inner power, we would not have survived, simply because of the selfish roads I walked in younger years.

Misfortune has struck erratically yet, due to our bond, we not only survived but valued its passing…however the most unfair tragedy losing through rapid slithering cancer, our daughter Toni, was beyond words, but our close family, on Saturdays around the old kitchen table, slowly fashioned a unspoken understanding between us all. There are still moments of utter despair, yet…pleasant, even happy reminiscences of many special times with Toni…in all her ages.

We are both very fortunate with the true friends we both have…and I reckon being exceptional fortuitous with my buddies, but especially my China’s…who are totally different in personalities…but boy…what a bonus for me. (still selfish)

A sense imitating grumpiness is growing, due to the feeling of total inability to change anything other than my socks. When younger a determination to make a difference, by changing the world. Then in midlife, a urge to place my pennies worth with a minor chance making Britain take note, Slightly later, in an illusional state, being in a position to persuade others to change locally….now a sense of helplessness, as I see on any, ‘as a once upon a time’ being unable to change anything… the country, the world and the people go on making the same crazy mistakes…but….maybe one day….who knows …apart from my love.

People complain about the so many inferior insincere politicians in all shades and parties, yet the polling results demonstrate the public do not vote… a right so many fought for not so long ago
peter.howden Posted 21st Oct 2019, 09:59am
  CATERPILLAR ; The Ending

Between 61/62, Benn’ took on board, the complete American ideology, simply work hard and succeed in personal achievement, being well paid as an extra snip, over the time hired, however, sadly, he developed abscess swelling, a form of atopic dermatitis, due to the cooling oils running constantly drained in working machines within the plant. A job was allowed, as a clerk, in the massive office with endless row after row of desks (comparable to the office in the film ‘The apartment’ he had seen). Instead, Benn took a payoff. but wondered if he had chosen prudently.

He had enjoyed almost all facets, other than the 6 weeks strike, which he could not make head nor tail what caused the disruption. After the all clear, several seemingly unnecessary strikes took place, including one over an unofficial tea break. A multi-drill operator left his auto- system running, to scamper through three lines, for another tea from the trolley lady. He was chastised by the line supervisor, the Shop steward ordered ‘Tools Down’… and a walk out.

Yet, well hidden in Caterpillar doctrine, was a militia clause,aimed to control workers obedience.

Regrettably, in the plant, the shop stewards, not the union, dictated, their own unyielding principles…over harshly, now irritated the workforce, packed in a ‘V’ tapered labour hall, was seemingly a simple strategy where only a few hardy union men heard the actual grievance …and voted with a show of hands…starting many a Mexican strike wave throughout the early 60s

The aftermath was not a question of who was right, but both sides were in the wrong, to allow such a trivial case to deteriorate to far…depriving everyone. It was one of the best raw education young Benn experienced…for no matter what the play is about, or who wrote it, in the end, it depends how its dictated… and whose interpretation of the script is applied.

It would be speculating… if this was when young Benn decided to pleuch his own furrow, no matter where, or his involvement, would be slightly pretentious, however… where, or when he developed his kangaroo mind…is more than another event
peter.howden Posted 19th Oct 2019, 10:09am
  EVENT 39

CATERPILLAR….The start, almost

Mention the word, ‘Caterpillar’ and the reaction you will achieve, depends in what part of the world you happen to be, and in whose company, you are keeping. To most children caterpillars are the squiggle things, magnified in David Attenborough wonders of the world, though rarely noticed in life

For teenagers and swingers, a form of footwear much sought after, and in high cost bracket. To some tribes around the world, an essential means of protein, in our stiffly opinion, a stale diet. In China, the mere uttering of such a word, would set in motion a dish to eat, most likely raw…as an instant restaurant would appear in the street.

In the early 60’s, young Benn was employed as an apprentice tool investigator, in Caterpillar Tractors, at Tannochside plant, the largest single construction under one roof in Europe. It took ten minutes to reach the time clocks, and another five to your place of work, regardless what, or wrere it was.

The wages for any manual or semiskilled workers was far above any firm in Scotland at the time, including Rolls Royce and Hoover and the like. A scheme to slightly pay extra taxes per week, meant holiday pay at the Glasgow Fair, issued three weeks’ pay, without any reductions…and wow what a difference that made. Each person walked out the main gate on fair Friday as a mini millionaire. Unknown by Benn, a drawback was, any certificate earned and achieved, was not acceptable in British qualifications

The conditions for working were first class, health & Safety, plus the canteen was extremely cheap, hot food instantly ready as you strolled in the door, anywhere between 24 hours. The safety angle made it mandate, for everyone working or visiting, to wear protective glasses on the factory floor, plus wear Caterpillar, toe protecting shoes or boots. The factory joke for new guys was; “down lane 10, the guy with the glasses!”.

Surnames were abolished, first names only in the whole factory, as if to make it one class workforce… but never quite achieved, for it debating with boss’s, the tone was deeper…and with respect. The night shift was Benn’s preference with extra allowance for 4 nights, with gaffers being few and far between. As far as labour went, no breaking sweat, but the rewards could not be equaled by any other firm in Scotland at that time.

His duty was, ambling through all the productive lines, such as incredible lathes, massive multi drills, milling, sheet metal, all working constantly, even when shifts were exchanging. If a job halted because of tool fatigue, or unknown failure, Benn was supposed to be able to work out why, and redesign these said tools, having someone else test them, then returned to the said machine to continue production.

Benn was such a vital cog in the whole works, almost indispensable, yet… on one Monday shift, after an all weekend party in Clarkston, he fell fast asleep… right on the work’s loo… for four bum sore hours… no one noticed. The aftermath …were piled on his problems.

Final…The ending of such employment
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