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> Home Made Tales, The journey
peter.howden
post 17th Nov 2017, 08:34am
Post #451

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Foretastes of a 60s adolescent

The camp;

It would be hypocritical to say I was ever a Christian, in the true sense of meaning, but… for quite a while I did mumble the words and I would say many did the same. Later, for a very short period skirting around the edges of religion trying to figure it out.

Part in parcel of my developing into some form of adolescence, was my involvement within the popular church youth movement, started in 1883 Sir William Alexander Smith at Free Church Mission Hall, North Woodside Road, Glasgow My introduction was through my brother in law ‘Easton’, shortly before he and my sister ‘Margaret’, emigrated to Canada. I was 7 years old, travelling from the Gorbals to Princess st Rutherglen, because Easton was an officer there. Both Life Boys/ Boys Brigade were run in an principal army discipline, collectively including a Christian ethos.

When my mother and I moved to Minard Rd, for a short while it was Shawlands Cross 57th brigade…then the 45th brigade based in14 Redwood Street, Shawlands. As constant companions in these ranks were Tub’s, Richard, and myself …the three ‘Amigos’. Now it is politically incorrect to give such a nickname as ‘Tub’s’ to anyone, but then, in every district school or gathering, there was nearly always a boy named so…not disrespectful but due to his frame.

The ‘Amigos’ looked forward to being at summer camp, wherever our brigade chosen site, once at Drummore, then twice White Sands Dunbar. My main memory of the small village of Drummore was, wellies filling up with water while collecting from the tap at the furthest corner of the field. White sands; a different kettle of fish, as my hormones where crashing about in all directions into unknown territory, and by then we were the senior boys…. we did some juvenile pranks all the same.

Being in the vanguard, preparing the home away from home for the main party, gave plenty of spare time. I came across a girl’s school summer camp, based inside a big barn some fields away. My hormones played funny games as I met, and instantly attracted to a girl named Alice, meeting with every day, then late evening. Rather an innocent holiday romance it may have been, but still reminisce our first real kiss. Alice was the daughter of the head teacher of the special school.

From all over the country, including England, around 7 companies of Boys Brigade camped in a large field, along the curved shoreline, protected by Barns Ness lighthouse just further ahead. It was tradition, on the first night, to let down tents of other companies. Around 1 am in the morning, as the swirling light piercing the dark aiding our progress but hiding our identities at the same time. Releasing the guy ropes of a couple of tents in each brigade, but leaving one company untouched. plus, we collapsed a few of our own officers’ tents, triggering quite a nosy kerfuffle as we duck into our tents. The conspicuous untarnished camp company shouldered the blame.

One middle of the night, a bet arose to be dressed in our pyjamas, walk a mile and a half into the centre of Dunbar, recouping a souvenir to record the deed. I actual thumbed a lift in a car going there, then back in a lorry…unbelievable these days. The girls school all had to have their hair treated for lice, including Alice, with horrible smelly lotion. This immediate treatment lasted one day.

I was hammering pegs surrounding a latrine, several days later, some distance from the camp, Graham Love, who was a spitting image of the young Cliff Richards, passed by mumbling comments about the hair affair…adding cruelly and sharply, “you will need to watch for scabs from your redheaded!”. In a whim of instant fury, a cold deliberate temper flared into action, as I swung, and tossed, the wooden mallet straight at him. Fortunately, the fleeing missile missed the intended mark, but just by a hair’s thread…making him stop dead, standing rigidly while turning white as a sheet at the same time, as I shouted “bastard!”

Not another single word was said, by either one of us…he kept a wide birth, but later I should have apologised…. but what can you say when you attempt to knock someone’s block off?

I have had to quell this instant anger, for almost all my life.
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peter.howden
post 19th Nov 2017, 09:46pm
Post #452

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My Chronicles 19/11/2017


It has been a problematic few odd weeks, with a couple of changes made except for ‘She who must be obeyed’ due to a reputed bug/virus from god knows where. Rebecca’s bad luck was being run down physical after an ankle operation, and extended hospital stay. Since homeward bound she has become ‘homebound’ due to instant needs for the bathroom. One day we think she is over the worse and ‘Wham…. back to the smallest room in the house.

Trying desperately to recover, a diet of continuous boiled cooled water, black tea, and a small bowl of Heinze chicken soup. If by tomorrow, after I have taken Aunt Becky to her doctor…I will phone for one such G.P. to come out and evaluate Rebecca’s situation…. It has been far too long going on. My woman has lost over a stone in weight, plus weak as a kitten. it is hard for me not to be frustrated and selfishly hope for a horizon… Pronto.

As for wee Aunt Becky, because of her many Great escapes, wandering around without a clue where or why. We are lucky because of her immediate neighbours who look out for her, phoning if there is a problem. However lately she has become aggressive if anyone interfered. And by the time I arrive…it’s not in her memory. On Friday her last bid to be a carefree wanderer ended with the police picking her latterly from the pavement and bringing her home.

The truth of the matter is…. she has slipped into a different world and soul due to her Alzheimer’s disease worsening. . It sounds bad news, but it is necessary for the safety of Becky herself. Rebecca and I will in time reduce the sadness, near guilty disposition we both endure now. In the future we will recall so many happy, slightly eccentric memories Becky brought to her…and our world.

One was quite a while ago as Aunt Becky and I were walking down Allander St in Possilpark one sunny day. For some reason or other a siren suddenly resounded from somewhere…Becky just stop dead and froze. She had a worried silent look on her face for some 5 to ten seconds until it stopped just as sudden as it began. We walked to the car and there she told me about the fears of the war and the tragedy she witnessed during the most horrible of times…. Becky recalling this shocked me too.

On a special occasion, while Becky, ‘She who must be obeyed’, and her pall Peggy, stayed at Salty’s citadel, (two caravans moulded together in cottage style). A week’s break enclosed by all the mod cons. One night, just around the bewitching hour, Rebecca heard a noise and investigated, only to find Becky, slightly bewildered by her surroundings, trying to open the door. As it was her lifetime wanting, she slept in the nude. Rebecca tried to persuade her nude Aunt not to leave the comfort of the place. Becky called out she needed a breath of fresh air, and anyway…no one will see me in the pitch-black darkness of the night.

Quickly managed the locks…the front door flew open, she took two steps, reaching just out the door…when…the security lights luminated the whole front door and stairways leading down to the path…also spotlighting Aunt Becky in the pink.
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peter.howden
post 21st Nov 2017, 08:57am
Post #453

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MIKE..

Mike stepped down from the locomotive after an exhausting journey, though one where he had no choice to make. There was other means of transport, but none would help him blend in unnoticed, except possible the coach, days on end in a packed bus, with no ventilation, sitting next to uncomfortable peoples, all perspiring an uneasy whiff, was not the way he wished to travel. Had fate not been forced on him, then maybe he could afford the luxury of travel he felt he deserved. He imagined he could escape the authorities… but he had no chance getting away from him… but Mike just had to try.

He had been skint before, but now…way, way down on your luck. Millions of his fellow countrymen, and women, had been just that for well over five years, regardless what the government said at the time. The European war had solved the good old Sam’s financial problems long after politicians stated all was well. Then the big crash hurting all walks of life, however, when push came to shove, it was mostly the already poor or downtrodden who suffered most during this time

Mike had fair better than most having seldom to bum his way around the railway lines of different states. It had never rubbed his conscious of cheating ordinary folk, for one thing was always sure, when a black market exists there is always a way to make a buck.

The problem was he could never capitalize on his good fortune and let it slip through his ever-grasping fingers. In other words; Mike was an idiot, or a real bum. Now he had found out just hard it was when not only did your suit look shabby, it was hard to distinguish the suit’s colour…it was just a guess. No one wanted to take a chance on any scam, no matter how good it sounded, from a geezer dressed like he was.

He knew one rule for true, can turn misfortune to your advantage, always use a weakness to become strength. However, this did not help him lumbering his tired body through the cold unforgiving back streets. A church bell rang loudly, giving pimple of an idea growing into a certainty. The chapel give to the poor, the priest is a servant to the community, so if he could stick him a line, then who knows what he could scrounge.

Entering the big chapel contemplating ‘His angle’, observing multitude of religious folk leaving the candle lit building. Walking up this isle, a young man dressed in black counting coins from several silver dishes, also catching Mike’s eye were candlestick holders, adorning the whole alter and surrounding passages. A cold dark thought entered his low brain, which at first, he instantly dismissed as balmy. However, after another few steps into the warmth of the building, he thought again and this time he refused to dismiss it. The evil seed was set.

Making every effort eluding the pastor’s attention, so he would be totally unaware he was not alone. With great caution, sliding slowly towards his quarry Mike heard the “Father” mutter to himself something about an orphanage and how proud he was of his congregation. Almost there, although he had not worked out exactly what he intended to do, he lifted his fist ready to pounce. Just then the cleric turned around, and instead of looking surprised, or frightened, gazed on Mike as if he was expecting him.

“Are you all right my son” the words quietly from padre’s lips. “Can I help my fellow man in his moment of darkness”? The man of the cloth next words came softly and sincerely. Mike was astonished, for one believing to have the patter for any situation, or murky deal, he was speechless.

The priest, without any further words, thrust a ten-dollar bill in Mike’s hand. This was the point when simplicity became complicated, and the road to hell was firmly cemented. Mike picked up the heavy candlestick closest, while the priest turned around for some unknown reason, struck a cowardly blow, giving not a thought of what had just taken place, until well after the fact, when deeds were then irreversible.

Stuffing every penny of the collection in his pockets and a bag he had found close by. Just as he was snatching the silver candlesticks there was a shriek from the base of the chapel. Mike did not have to think twice before he was on his toes. Wildly running past some old lady, who by now was in hysterics, he ran and ran into the murky of the night. Later the next day he was in a hovel of a place, whose coordinator would fence anything including his grand mother, he displays the chapel’s wares.

The fence was no angel, yet refused to touch the ill-gotten goods. He snorted “You were lucky not to have killed that priest, if the papers are anything to go by the whole county is after you”. The crook went on, “The laughable thing about it, the priest’s first words recovering consciousness was –I forgive the poor soul; God go with him”. Well I’ll tell you this boy, I don’t; now bugger off you bit of crap”. Mike could not understand his anger for after all, the fence was no catholic…but Jewish.

Mike did not argue, as the guy was big and mean, ducking being clobbered, Mike ran…left the booty. He certainly knew the snitch would tell the police, in hope of some gratuity from them or the church. So now everyone would know his identity and his haunts; so he had to travel as far away as possible if not further.

Concluding, maybe, just maybe… the priest forgave him, but his boss would not...as he is constantly in the head of Mike… as he wanders into a darker abyss.
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peter.howden
post 22nd Nov 2017, 08:39pm
Post #454

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JIM Threw Double 6

Jim stepped down from the train which transported him towards a wedding which he had been graciously invited too some time back. The carriage and the reserved seat were first class but the actual journey gave time to ponder if he made the right decision accepting, though once made and his word given…there was no choice but to turn up.

The shindig promised to be a huge affair between his former best friend, and the girl in Jim’s dreams as a walking angel. She was to be his soul mate, his dearest until the leaves tumbled wearily onto his grave…but fate interfered. Jim recalls the tragedy surrounding the heart-breaking circumstances, as he walked the grey concrete platform towards the gateway.

A few years ago when all were relatively young, with carefree thoughts looking over the horizon, for something better. . Jim saw her, just out of the corner of his eye, instantly smitten by this ‘Spirit of sweetness itself”. He had been bowled over before, though it usually took an aroma of perfume or a few beers to wet the appetites. She was a stunner, flowing with soft whispering words, as a gentle breeze glided over enticing ruby lips, so not to disturb other gods or a sleeping world.

Jim’s emotion erupted uncontrollably within, worshiping the graceful movements of a living goddess floating towards the main hall, her head straight and aloof. What tantalizing majestic elegance, charmed in her company, he knew she was the one, the only one to spend eternity.

The problem was; apart from the fact other people were there, ardently besotted, he lacked the courage to ask such a beautiful creature out on a date. He never revealed his overpowering passion for her or his inner secret feelings, so she never knew. Jim’s love stormed to overflowed, though silently. She must have spotted his puppyish mannerisms displayed but chose to take scant notice. He remained throughout the summer, having a one-way love affair, teasing only his inward ego.

All this was in Jim’s mind and there was more, for his best friend welded the cruellest blow of all. He did ask the girl out, to everyone’s amazement, she consented. This, in Jim’s heart, was the last straw, making it futile to continue his private affair.

The following day he left for foreign parts, somewhere beyond deep into the black country, without telling anyone or leaving any clue to his where about. He knew his adulation would stay with him forever, this mere fact, he decided to end his days with just memories and what may have been sweet “Affaire d'un coeur secret ".


Time had past drearily slow while the clocks hands played havoc with his mind. Months if not years past by but somehow his ex best mate managed to find his location; so hence the stag night and wedding invitation now he was on his way from the train station to meet his friend. His head full of nonsense until he heard the familiar voice of his mate, calling across the pub he had previously arranged in the letter of invitation. His pal of the past looked exceptionally happy good and almost before the first refreshment had touched his lips, Jim felt he had come home to an old and trusted friend.

The lad explained, to the assembly, although it was his stag evening and his very best pal was with him, he would only sup a beer or two, as his intended bride would be annoyed if he turned up at the alter slightly worse for wear. Jim could not remember anytime his friend ever being drunk, he was the more sensible amongst the twosome, in fact it was his mate, who took all the flack because of his sometimes rather over enthusiasm for the “Water of Life” and always helped Jim out of awkward situation.

Suddenly the doors of the establishment flew open in such a violent manner; it made all and sundry turn immediately in that direction. There stood Jim’s old dream, turning her head. Jim instantly thought this was his moment of true recognition, his passion would surely give him away. This must have been his fate. The following words will echo in his mind eternally.

Although the gorgeous full hair black hair, the goddess curves were unmistakeable, there was something strange if not foreboding. Jims best mate appeared to shrink in stature with an “O shit” look on his face. Like a whirling devilish; she marched straight towards his pal, no heed paid to anyone else, she grabbed his lapel, tugged merciless in pure temper. “I told you, no drinking especially with these cronies” she barked with rigid dispatch and a coarse vulgar tone not expected. Jim’s mate tried to deflect the situation by stating in a meek mannerism almost pathetic. “It’s a special occasion… I’ve only had one beer” he said, almost apologetic, “You remember Jim, the best man”. He stopped suddenly as if tired of talking.

She gazed straight into Jim’s eyes and without hesitation or need of a breath, she barked “yes but who the hell told you, you could invite the ‘Looser’. With that piercing remark, whirling her gorgon head, she returned to her victim, demanding to be escorted home. In a few seconds they were gone, while Jim’s reason for inspiration; shattered.

The best man’s pal said very little the next morning just before the ceremony. Only an excuse of pre-marital nerves and a half-hearted effort to say she was out of sorts. Jim could tell that his friend was well used to being in that position and he was willing to pay the price just to be with her. The wedding ritual went without a hitch though this did not prevent the bride growling once or twice, just to keep in practice or, so it seemed to those who saw.

As the couple sped their way out into the daylight, Jim thought; ‘Paradise lost’… not much… but his pal had got him out another awkward position. He returned to the train a happier man than he had been in many a year.
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peter.howden
post Today, 11:02am
Post #455

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Family Ducks; The Great Escape.


In 1992, fraught in furious squall of waves 30-metre-high, a lone container ship, ‘Ever Laurel, packed to the guzzles, plunged through the tormented Pacific Ocean. Amongst the consignment of containers, one was holding captive a shipment brace of yellow ducks, red Beavers, green frogs, and blue turtles. Locked inside A Spartacus impossible dream, was brooding amongst the ducks, to break free from the drudgery of slavery. in unwanted captivity, to suffer any future shackled in people’s bathrooms, as amusing ornamental objects

Was it fate when rampant tempest loosened several containers from the overcrowded decks, unceremoniously hurling them into the salty abyss. The sheer force of the storm force containers to slide and collide with each other, cracking open the now brittle container. Incredibly Three long journeys, worthy of a Walt Disney film, formed a desperate struggle to break free from slavery

These ducks were made of yellow plastic which hampered being inconspicuous, therefore, to minimized capture they separated while 28,800 or so headed south to take their chances with Australia (once a penal colony) and the rest headed north to the Antarctic. Some experts may have called this full hardy, but the strategy certainly worked

This synthetic armada of so many plastic yellow ducks with a few beavers, turtles, and green frogs, made a dash for freedom when they broke free from a cargo ship in the pacific some 17 years ago. Since then the artificial flotilla of floating mariners, have braved, yet some would say fool-hardy, an 17,000 miles incredible journey to hopefully freedom. After perilous voyages many ducks have landed in various parts of America, South America, Hawaii, Russia, Alaska and the Artic, Japan and elsewhere. Rumours have emerged that some landed on Christmas Island have been unconfirmed

What happened to the red beavers, green frogs and blue Turtles brigade is unknown…but they will always be remembered with honour…lost at sea… With one solitary duck, nickname ‘Spinks’, floating with the ocean currents, reached the west coast of Scotland after 17years in the oceans

Unfortunately, sinister thoughts abroad as some eastern counties, and the good old U.S.A… believe sabotage was the reason and the ducks were on a clandestine mission …more info to follow
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