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Glasgow Boards/Forums _ Strange Stories & Customs _ Home Made Tales

Posted by: peter.howden 31st Dec 2014, 08:32pm

The Journey

Jim stepped down from the train and immediately knew where he was. ‘I am dam well sure this was not my original destination when I boarded the carriage but I defiantly know this place’, he thought inwardly.

The guardsman hollered over his unheard thought “We will stop here for exactly two hours while we repair a vital part of the locomotive but don’t worry folks; you will make your original destination required on your own personal ticket. It was at this instance or there about, Jim saw the place as being his home town. The town he grew up in. Though Jim appeared to walk aimlessly, his feet took on an agenda of their own which led him to an old run down shop that had been his family’s business almost as old as the township itself.

It was in a decapitated state but Jim had seen it as its prime. He remembered he left the tiny enterprise while the depression was in full swing and his parents were in dire need of unpaid help but he needed to “Get away” and make his mark. Jim recalled he might have stayed on yet the lore to see bright lights out there in the world dictated his departure. His father suffered a stroke shortly afterwards and his mother never recovered from the gruesome toil as she struggled to make ends meet. They are both gone now and he could not remember being at their funerals. Sad, how things do change without warning especially when there is a wanting not to. .

Another unexpected stroll left him standing outside the church which was used for all religions and ceremonies within the tiny community, and past crept back into his mind, uncontrollably of his youthful girl, Jane… to be precise. The result of this unbridled fancy; was a seed of life created by embraced love and the need to marry…. so to keep his beloved’s reputation being torn by the prejudices of the straight laced core group of the district….he promised a hasty elopement..

Not only did he take cold feet at the last possible moment, disappearing without trace or a word as Jane waited at the hall door; leaving her to face the disapproval from the righteous bible brigade that scours every community, town village or city of this confused country. . Jim could swear he could hear the organist playing, rather badly, as she always did, but with gusto and heart and he was almost sure he caught a glimpse of his old sweetheart but gnaw it could not be. “I wonder what happened to her and my child”, Jim silently moaned to himself. She left town just as the gossips were weaving their distasteful tales and glances were never of the kindly type.

Somehow, as if by magic or some mysterious force, he was standing in front of the bank or what looked as the bank was back then. It had managed to keep its business head just above water and struggled against two possible runs on the back which were common for that period of time. One thing, above all else, kept it going was it belonged to the people and the community trusted everyone for they were all in the same boat. Times were desperate and hard and the silver dollar was but a dream and he had so many dreams. This was the very reason he chose to scarper however I would not supposed the town would have given these act two thoughts had he not taken $4,000 of their money with him. He persuaded himself he had to get out of such a dreary place and make good of himself. The trouble was; he never did.

Perhaps nostalgia or time had placed soft sparling coating over his eyes, for the township look good… warm to his thoughts….for whatever he had done in the past, and after all, it was where he grows up and became a man he was.

A call from the train guard and a haste boarding of the now ready train and they were oft like a bullet out of a gun. As the train tumbled along, the faceless ticket collector was high above him as Jim slunk on the couch of the carriage and wondered if he had been dreaming as he could not remember where his journey had started and had he been sleeping all the way. . He was just about to inform the man of his destination when his ticket was punched and handed back without a word being spoken.

Jim glanced at his ticket to see the words printed boldly; “a one way ticket to Hell”

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Jan 2015, 08:24am

Second wind

There is a lot of absolutely nonsense written, and spoken, of global warming and how we humans are to blame for the end of the world as we know it “Jim”. Poppycock

Methane gas has been particularly aired out as a matter of fact cause and our poor cows have been shouldered the blame…………… absolutely verbal crap and nothing to do with gravity but can cause hallucination on a mass scale

For this reason the authorities are attempting to hide the truth behind the fallacy of the udder. It is factual that livestock, particularly cows chewing the cud, gives oft heat and decay and huge quantities of Methane, equal to two cars per cow per year, is true, yet below our feet lies the true problem….Termites. the following do not include Ants, Bees or Wasps…..

Insect experts at the Natural History Museum reveal termites, the creatures famous for building enormous mounds and eating houses. What they do not reveal is that there are 2,500 species of termites, never mind cockroaches, which brings the numbers into trillion billions or almost absolute infinity…..+1.

Atomically speaking; the scientists secretly are taunt and fretting with the physics of this massive problem. When termites and now cockroaches find or try and attract a sexual mate…. they Fart….. producing a small dosage of lethal methane. The boffins have worked out mathematically….. if the entire population of termites let oft wind collectively at the exact precise instance….there would be enough energy to move the world.

However now; with the realization Cockroaches are from the same family group, it is feared that if they all achieved their sexual appetite spontaneously, then the Earth would shift orbit and aim for the sun and a immature demise.

The boffins say it is not a question of if it will happen….. but when?

A guid Ne’erday’s ‘Tae ane an ‘A’………..It may last

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Jan 2015, 01:11pm

End of her tether;

The flat itself is exceedingly cheerful; roomy with its fresh painted baby cartoons displays, coupled with rainbows on opposite end’s bright clean walls. This is not the despairing point for the young mother of two. It is the walls themselves which act as a blockade or fortification or a modern day stockade. The plain matter of fact is she is a prisoner of her own making.

She loves her children more than life, utterly adores them with an intensity to make her weep,; however they don’t t help not only being a guilty hindrance reminder but intensification to the problem. It was been bearable with the first beautiful child because of all the fuss made by one and all though the novelty of calling “ Goo goo Ga ga” whenever the scene warranted it, or “Whoopsie-Daisy” proved to be…. just as a whim ….though her love for her brood never waned .

Everything was a brand new experience and if she was not wrong, she absolutely radiated a crisp gorgeous persona. Even when things did not quite go to plan or ‘poo-poo’ nappies whiffed the already scented air at the most awkward of times. The sheer motherhood had enough twinkles and sighs in the eyes to absorb the invisible increasing frustrations.

Even when the second little adorable baby arrived, all and sundry’s behaviour was exactly the same as before yet it seemed to wear off quicker. Even father was not quite overboard has he had been before. Now with double helpings all the way, in everything, it has started to wear down her resistance to the point of mood swings and frustration, diving into depression and generating her own introverted mortified hell. No one comes around anymore, perhaps because of the constant nappies on the pulley or they are scared they might be roped into babysitting but they would say, when met by accident, how they wish not to disturb her routine and quickly contorted obvious thin excuses to leave.

The pram her mother-in-law insisted in getting them is too big to direct around the narrow staircase. In mother-in-law’s day; a Churchill pram was the bee’s knees but times have changed yet she did not wish to upset the mother of their father. She had dreamt, nay prayed, for motherhood and envied anyone who had a child, only to find her wished paradise fashioned spiral echoes that never spoke and silence itself became louder

How she longs for adult conversation and how she hates herself for not giving her all to her adorable babies. The walls may be crystal clean but that does not stop them from caving in to suffocate a lonely person. For nigh on 10 hours a day she spurts ‘Poppets’, ‘yum-yum din dins’ or whoopee’s repeatedly then asking who is a clever so and so. She tries to have a settle down period every day when the little imps are laid for a lunchtime rest, but this precious time is swallowed up by tidying up or washing clothes or taking jam out of the carpet.

The television is a God send…. with “Andy Pandy” or their favourite “Tellytubbies” which keeps them amused while those childish programmes were on but holy mother of Jesus…. it sends her brain around the bend. Almost all children always like a programme or action or story and then want it repeated, word for word, again and again and yet again till she felt her sanity was in question.

She could only glance out the window marvelling at the freedom of all passer-by’s and again retreat slight deeper into her own little unfilled world, more helpless than the day before. The once proud, almost beautiful, appearance has gone… to reflect her own self-loathing and her wanting true natural womanhood instincts, as told by her supposed friends and betters who are just gossip chatter merchants magnify her guilt-ridden mind to past reason and knowing no bounds

Her front door is green but no Frankie Vaughan behind her door…. only wash day blues………never ending……………..every day.

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Jan 2015, 08:08pm

The Parables

The good Samaritan?

The old man dropped to his knees like a sack of tatties, in disbelief at the sight of his faithful mutt lying motionless at the side of the road. The dog had been excited by events around him as he and his elderly master was coming from the post office, and trod oft the pavement just at the moment a fast moving motor machine was passing. The driver had no chance to stop, in time but swerved in a vain attempt but tragically failed.

As the elderly man remained crouched down and staring apparently at nothing, a comforting hand reached out and held his shoulder. He turned around to see a face which was not unknown to him yet he could not place who it was. The driver almost crying as he hurried up to the old man in a desperate effort to make sense as to what actually happened….. finally the police became involved as witnesses tried to present their versions all at once.

The experienced policeman suggested that someone should take the grieving old man away from the horrible scene and as there was a café very near perhaps buy him a good strong sweet tea to steady his nerves. The comforting hand beckoned to comply and led the tearful body to the café sanction. Once inside he sat the old man down and ordered two strong teas. While awaiting the waitress to return he told the old man his elbows of his jacket were mawkit from the blood and tears involved. Encouraging the elder man to disrobe the garment, so he could make amends and rid the thread bearing sleeves of the manky dirt.

Words of silky comfort passed from his lips as he assisted the senior man on with his jacket. After some consoling words and meaningless chatter, the Samaritan made good of his departure. The old man stood up, though still rather confused returned to the accident to find all the necessary duties had been completed, and his trust old mutt had been taken away . All that was left was a couple of spots of blood and a caring constable asking if aid was needed to return to his abode.

Entering into the home he shared with the beloved dog, several tears fell from his now red eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the money he had taken out of the post office before the accident. There was only £40 there instead of the £100 he had withdrawn. He knew almost instantly that the Good Samaritan had dipped him. This meant he had not taken all the cash, only some in an effort for his victim to believe ether he was mixed up or somehow had used the money.

The problem he faced was he knew who it was but could not say anything for he had no proof.

Sadly the old man closed his eyes and pretended he was in the woods walking with his faithful hound.

Posted by: Dylan 2nd Jan 2015, 08:15pm

Entertaining Peter , enjoying them !.

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Jan 2015, 10:26am


There is a fine line between reality and illusion

We have to face it lads, there is defiantly some kind of invisible energy ……… a force field in front all the time regardless of which direction we come from, preventing us reaching the given ultimate goal. …. yet sometimes it seems it’s all around enclosing the neighbourhood. With a sense of scientific conviction this just can’t be….surely not…. for we can go where our want takes us….. Yet the moment we attempt to move in a forward direction, something…something supernaturally, not of this world and totally transparent halts us…. If only we could break the cycle!...or is it a purloined dream.

It’s not alarming me…only cause’s compound limits, and you should not loss faith either, because there is a constant bright light…a beam which signals almost to the second every twenty four hours, giving us a continual bearing to measure and see the direction we need to travel. Other luminosities happen high above, if memory serves me, with either no set pattern or consistency to be reliable but the morning light never fails…………..if only we could reach the light we would be safe.

Yes we have food; Yes we have some restricted freedom, Yes there is life? nevertheless is it a false existence ….. But there is something out there…. What it is I’m not sure….Just out of reach…..shadows of some significance appear then disappear without logic. If only we had the intelligence, the ‘know-how’ I am sure we would recognize why we are here…. The answer …. the ultimate question of life itself…. if there is a divinity?

They are trapped and there was no doubt about that, yet somewhere deep in the their D.N.A; a stubbornness arose through generation after generation and raw evolution , a harden craving to seek the unknown, being totally away from their usual docile lifestyle, forcing them to fight against this imperceptible unwanted restriction…..

They would persist to find a clink in such unseen armoury their plight will last their lives …as goldfish in a living room bowl….

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Jan 2015, 11:00am

Thank you Dylan.................which one I wonder?

The black cat

A group of young people were loitering at the rear end of this main chapel of the spiritual town holding a catholic ‘All Saints Day’ mass. While smoking naughty cigarettes they all spotted an exquisite black cat majestically strolling around the holy statues. What was evidently striking about the panther like creature was its blackest perfectly groomed pelt, so smoothly delicious it could be mistaken for silk. As the cat paraded around the inner grounds the shine, her coat alerted at the slightest twitch or direction the cat sashayed. Her large pupils reflected deep green eyes, while her stiff whiskers suggested military obedience as a successful predator.

The white-cassock robed youngsters were members of the chapel choir and caretakers of the consecrated relics during the service. One innocent lad stared and pointed while calling to his peers; ‘Look… Cats hold luck’. Crunching a very unchristian couple of words, the biggest of the boys, a tormenting bully deliberately flicked his red hot burning cigarette right at the cat’s jet black hair, which not only brutally scorched the flawless coat but cause severe pain for the unfortunate beast. Her eyes flashed with fury as her ear piercing squeals of agony was only silenced by the organ music coming from the chapel. The cruel sneering boy just laughed before he entered the holy place to prepare for his religious duty

The dutiful service followed its strict code of practice, performed and conducted by the visiting bishop wearing Dalmatic garment, from the chasuble alter, the priest reading from the Roman Missal in celebration of the Eucharist. Meanwhile, due to the pious obedience from the awaiting congregation, no one noticed the black cat prowling stealthily towards the sacred tabernacle area of the all-embracing Church. As a wild hunter she used the pews shadowing her existence of purpose as if stalking a particular prey. The only detection was the distasteful lingering odour of wet singed fur.

The tormenter of a lad was the main solo singer, stationed just under the Sanctuary lamp awaiting his celebrity appearance and recital. It was justly believed and noted he had the voice of an angel and would be a professional chanter in later life. Each other adolescent was prepared for the holy order, with Chalice paten and Purificator while the dark cat crept accurately closer to the stone alter as if on a deliberate hunt.

The young boy stood up to sing directly under the ‘Tabernacle Lamp’ looking ever inch angelic in his white cassock robe when… out of nowhere… leapt the frenzied cat, knocking the oil full lamp from its safety on the stone wall. It unceremoniously fell from its insecure holding as the contents of inflammable oils spilled unrehearsed onto the boy’s head, then splattered across and through his bright white robe, instantly igniting into uncontrollable flames throughout the petrified boy’s attire.

There followed screaming bedlam, echoes of excruciating screeching within the old walls of the medieval chapel, shaking its foundations. The cat just sat sedately quiet… watching the mayhem her actions had created, while she licked her coat of jet black. The alert priest had the presence of mind to rap the statue standing petrified lad in blankets to stifle the flames which saved the lad from first degree burns all over his body.

The boy will never sing another note due to the injuries to his vocal cords he endured almost becoming a horrific human torch…and the cat…. never seen again after it casually strolled out of the chapel…

Cats can bring luck….but what kind?

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Jan 2015, 11:00am

(1)The Big Bang;

Along a uninhabited road which lead to what now could only be described at first and second glance, as a neglected path now overgrown with grass and assorted weeds . Yet this snakelike track concealed a slight trodden trail created by footwear, through thicket and almost impenetrable bushes, leading eventually to the end where a square consisting of old cobble-stones surrounding old inaccessible abandoned factory…long forgotten by the grown up people.

Once an explosive factory throughout the conflict, it was designed so not to pull attention to its location. Consisting of 6 stories high, its stairways were crumbling and untrustworthy but still led to the roof which was in fragments and not fit for purpose. In shadowy nights its gloom was beyond any imaginary explanation however if on the ground floor, if someone was staring up into the starry night… infinity was there.

Within this spine-chilling air howling building almost at the centre where the night-time sky was flawlessly visible, lay a huge oval shaped workplace stank most probably used as a water drainage when the floors were wetted and cleaned of all the explosive dust accumulated on the concreate surface. Whether this was indeed true was impossible to tell for anyone who had laboured there was either dead or lost in time, but what was a bare fact was the large elliptical shaped drainage stank.

One the grey colour metal stank with a slight angled into the centre, was a multitude of small holes which were right up to the rim of its slightly rusted circumference. Around the hub of the drain, was a mass of Bools; (Jorries), named as, plonks, clampbroth, cats-eyes, Opaque, Devil’s eye, agate, Lutz, China and rolled earth ware. All these and more were owned by mysterious boys and lads, living some distance from the old decrepit building. Each Ash Wednesday through to Good Friday, the local lads traditionally came to this very site to play marbles in peace and comfort away from prying eyes of the grown-ups.

Around twelve of the boys surrounded the inside gutter…unaware history was about to unfold.
Completely in furtively, one sleekit young fellow who was desperate to win in one go, had clandestinely brought the ultimate weapon… a steely …a enormous ball bearing, outlawed by all marble they crowded around the bulk of Jorries, the improviser raised his hand and dropped his steel ball on the unexpected spheres below. What happened next was and is unclear but the force of the fall and the hefty weight of the steel orb smashed the rest to the outer limits of the oval rim.

Whether this alone exploded or some elements and particles of the explosive substance used so long ago was lurking however simultaneously from the lad’s foul, an immense explosion instantly acted. The marbles lost in such an eruptional flash…. spread indiscriminately around the drain. So was born the big bang theory………….

Was it in some parallel universe…from realities or fiction or a diverse Physic dimension … Quantum gravity from M-theory seen through Micro vision …….or in my mind’s eye…who can tell?

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Jan 2015, 11:58am


In his mind, he walked this final path along the ultimate cold avenue before early morning, recalling his school days being religiously, regimental, constructed by one overbearing sadistic individual, who wickedly carved into his mental and physical statue. This inhumane individual constantly inflicted unforgettable….unforgivable harsh treatment, because simply the lad being just him.

To this end, instruments would inspire pain, growing measures such as the leather belt, then the large brass buckle. Other dreaded times, a thin whip-like rod, callously inflicting with increasing intense heat as it tore away young flesh,… opening older wounds with each stinging flick attack. Numerous kicks with steel capped boots, followed blows where it would not give evidence to the outside world…. For although this master of diabolical wickedness grinned in apparent anticipation at each stroke…………strongly wished it to be kept quiet…their secret……….in particular held by fear. The lad was left as a wasted bundle…. preying to end. Craving for loneliness

Above all else, though he had believed he had now broken free the persistent bulling which made him do things…terrible things, he did not want to do. However he not excuse himself of his criminal and desperate life, by laying the blame on such evil deeds preformed on a boy who had no means to protect himself, for he alone was responsible for deeds ‘beyond the pale’ of decency and far worse things outside simple imagination, so personally demeaning, so utterly horrific…. he was now scared even to think about them.

The truth was he was more entangled than ever. Now he had to pay the ultimate price because as everybody knows, it’s impossible to keep them out, there are eyes… everywhere. Coming to the untried but familiar path, he took one last deep breath of cleansed air before the final thoughts and suspicions

Is any man's death accountable…and to whom…. weighing up from deeds preformed in the past…for he is manhood…. willingly or unwillingly…. no man is an island…. responsible for your action but more important…. responsible for what actions taken against you as mankind; wither individually or mass… therefore never “send to” know for whom the bell tolls…for it tolls for thee.”

Once again in pure surrender….trembling in his imaginings… prepared once more …after an immeasurable time scale of torment ….ready at last to climb the final steps…reality opens with the first peek of dawn…………..the abyss …no more……….until the next night of darkness

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Jan 2015, 11:44am

Greek bearing gifts

She was a young, French, good, limited Catholic girl who thought he was old fashioned, even eccentric, giving her an amazing stimulating bangle with connecting lines, so delicately woven appeared to be fine lace, while Inside was amass with deep lavish green, blue stone giving the illusion of being alive. It was magically impulsive to examine its complex delicate craftsmanship akin to the world famous ‘Clover Leaf’ created by the Russian family of jewellers she had once seen in an tattered old Paris bulletin

She had always been attracted to glittery things, compelled to jewellery, an outcome from her strict religious family. The few men in her life knew what pleased her though most could not match her desired wants since leaving the confinements of a stringent religious family and region.

He was timeworn; becomingly pleasing to the eye, yet something mysterious was just out of reach, and whose speech sounded like imitation French added with a hint of Greek. A strange alluring man obviously with an obvious massive private income used to splash out in truffles washed down with Duval-Leroy champagne, raw oysters, and crème fraîche Beluga caviar.

Beseeching her to wear this humble gift, along with a single red rose, as a sign of his endless pounding love he holds for her, dear to him than life itself. . Wearing the finest white Kidd gloves, he gently placed around her delicate wrist. He explains in a soft seductive but ….deceptive tone, he wishes not to soil such an honourable gift to such beauty and venery qualities

She was enticed and captivated by the intricate dexterity of the craftsman who created such out of this world armlet, second to none…bar one. She did not love him but was captivated by his power of speech, affluence and obvious supremacy.

Once secured on her thin white arm, she felt what sensed like a needle, continuously piercing her skin but shook the very tight wristlet and it was no more. The rest of the evening was uneventful until alone in her private bedchamber when for some reason found it impossible to find a catch to release the precious gift. It was tight, she thought…but bearable until tomorrow where she would visit her jeweller’s and be aided in her quest to release the bangle. She drifted into a slumber so peaceful and fretless.

Across the medieval town, he lay in his bed sweltering ravishingly his sadistic feverish action, takin in the name of hideous revenge. He was a lunatic beyond reason, converted to religious retribution on the Roman Catholic religion He was an obscure numerous second cousin, unknown removed from one of the original French Faberge family who had fled ‘Picardy’ two hundred years ago, due to religious persecution of we Huguenots.

As she slept unaware her bracelet was coming to life in the shapes of countless deadly…’Emerald Cockroach Wasps’; who’s natural habits is to paralyzes with venom and disable anxiety, burry into their chosen victim, releasing a white egg which hatch three days later, excruciatingly to the victim kept alive right to the end, totally consuming internal organs and all before cocooning and then a full grown wasp leaves what once was a living body.

Because she was human…. this would last for numerous dark days.

Two weeks later … in the towns daily proclamation…the body of the 9th young girl in the past year discovered demised, was found in her boudoir…with life totally absent from her withered corpse…….identification was nay impossible… thought there was signs she wore a extremely tight armlet covered a multiple of large puncture holes still in evidence….


Posted by: peter.howden 9th Jan 2015, 07:02am

The Parables

The Glasga good Samaritan;

He had always been a nutter, a chib merchant (weapon haulier) carry and using a cosh and knife or anything at hand while attacking anything indiscriminately against foes without care or fret. His enemies was the infamous ‘Monks’ gang, but headed by the local notorious ‘Fleet-Tay’; who held the same morals but were more of them than he could muster for self-protection. Unfortunately for him, the opposing gang planned and carried out an ambush on him alone, in revenge for a spontaneous battering he gave to an innocent cousin of the brusque gang leader. The surprised quarry was left unconscious, critically bleeding which would surely lead to his untimely demise.

Just by chance another member of the ‘Fleet-Tay’ bunch of hooligans returned to the scene, feeling true guilt and remorse, believing his mob had crossed the line and would regret the comeback and revenge, not only from the few mates the victim had, but more dangerous, from the police harassment and his bird (girlfriend) threating to dumping him…if a murder charge was in the cops books. He was aware of being just a Marionette while others pulled the strings His concerned newly discovered conscience, asking of himself what gain or good for anyone battling over who owned a bloody crap street

Ignoring obvious danger if seen aiding the enemy, he dragged the prey home, attended his wounds with care and precision self-taught due to past experience when giving medical help to him after each dangerous insane fracases ending in brutality on both side. For the first week or so stayed awake in 24 hour stints and using his job seekers money for specialized easy to consume nourishment, sterilized bandages and creams to keep the wounds clean avoiding decontamination.

Slowly the assaulted guy recovered, conspicuously having trouble working out why one of his adversaries was now his redeemer… and what scheme he was going to unduly surprise him when unprotected and alone in a unknown foreign den. When time and conditions allowed, his male nurse moved him to safety outside the ‘Fleet-Tays’ unofficial domain taking him as far as he dared into the victim’s unsanctioned dominion. Once the young thug reached his home and took his first slug of Buckfast; for medicinal reasons only…… he felt his pockets for a fag (cigarette) to find two ten pound notes which he was forced to recognize his adversary must have bestowed the money.

Did any good come from this surprising act of compassion is not known …but rumours were wild that someone had ignored the principles and rough rules of the gang and if they found out who………………


Posted by: peter.howden 10th Jan 2015, 07:25pm

The Parables

Five loaves and two fishes;

Lady of the prime home had just clipped the lughole of one of her cheeky little tykes, for having the neck to try and sneak a wee bite of bread. As if she was addressing her whole waft of children, she bawls…. which echoes around the tiny scullery resounding loader than ever ‘have bloody manners and all will sup the feast’. Suddenly all pandemonium vanishes, stops the kids of all ages from any mischief they were doing as those responding words of command instantly gave them the ability to sit as quiet and still their young bones would allow. Everyone knew they were waiting for ………………old torn face…father

This was his pay day, nevertheless this was no guarantee if Jean, the ageing mother would have any money to put in her empty purse. She had three empty ginger bottles stashed under the sink curtain, just in case. These pop bottles where known in her circles as ‘Glass—Cheques;’ in good days the kiddies may have them but…not this bloody day. It all depended on Shug, the roving father, and who he met or what pub he landed in or if the bookies had called silently his name. Some may not credit Jean as being educated, as schooling in her day stopped when her mother needed help around the house. Though strapped for cash she had the sense to have planks all over the house. They held little bundles of money for desperate times but it was hard to tell the difference in these coming days.

Suddenly the door bangs open as Jean looks up to the tattered smoke ridden ceiling as if on silent prayer. Her man, if this is the true description, puts his head around the door frame and splutters out that Wee Willie, and John and Fred and another loon, had come back after kind invitation for a bite to eat. He softly adds ‘Jean; the boys want to see our little cherubs’ came a slurry voice from the man of the household. The five drunks hawkers sat down at the table oblivious of the bairn’s and waited for ‘something to eat’ Shug splurts out showing his buddies who is the master

Jean was a good mother to her weans, did everything to protect them from the violent things in life, though no matter how she strained to do so, the ugliness of poverty and ignorance bit deep into her soul. She knew her place in this world but more so in this small tenement flat she struggled to make a home. One thing she was determined was no one will take the food oot of her weans mouths. With a shrunken smile she stepped back hides the fact she is stirring a pot of illicit mince.

Adding to another pot of salty water, more than three and a half handfuls of lentils and then two Oxo cube she returned just ten minutes later and served up the banquet to the sitting guest including the chief of the puddins. A left over tin of Sardines, which was being saved from the Christmas dinner because Shug was too bevvied to eat, was displayed for all to see the two remaining week old smelly fish. Five near mouldy slices of Pan breed, was dished out to each and every guest.

Totally unaware of what was happening right under their noses, the blootered guests feed on scraps …while underneath the wobbly table lay her bulging brood, tucking into bundles of mince& tatties….fresh bread and butter…. imagining they were in a posh restaurant



Posted by: peter.howden 11th Jan 2015, 10:56pm

George (Thee Polar bear)

George was a sucker for fridges where he would wallow away a few hours dreaming of home in the sandy beaches of the Sahara Desert, well he thought he did owing to the clues. He knew he did not come from the Gobi Desert for that would be just plain ridiculous. Who ever heard of a polar bear from the Gobi desert? You would have to be right planker or plain daft or a bit rough to be contemplating that and anyway the number 41 bus doesn’t stop there.

It was only common sense, George though; that he truly came from Sahara Desert as his dad smoked those types of cigarettes before it came popular that they were bad for you, and anyway they gave bears a horrible smell. George was ignorant of his qualification of his origins, the basic fact that he (George took the hump (just like a camel ‘Dromedary’) or two (Bactrian) when he was not going his way.

Both bear and camel come from around the same Palaeogene era, and adding to this, as if to qualify its authenticity, George’s Aunt used to drink the dark Camel Coffee, bought from a shop in Dubai by some troops from the Royal Fusiliers. George does not talk much about his aunt because of her lose morals. The coffee was a bribe so she would take the soldiers, not up to the front but to local brothels which did not sell soup but were ill-reputed bawdyhouses.

George arrived at 12 Calvay Place and just made himself at home. We did discover his efforts to be here was encourage by the knowledge of a group of authentic synthetic yellow ducks resided within and growing. He made a beeline for the fridge and to slip into something cool. From then on, when the idea took him, he settled in the fridge for a couple of hours

George always avoided treading on the butter …for butter was the substance of life. Not water or air but glorious butter, not a breath or hair was ever left on butter in the fridge that George had visited or honoured with his presence. How or why he came from Sahara he did not ken, he just knew.

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Jan 2015, 10:15am


Pee Wee is thee Glasga pigeon of some amazing stature, not a pair of cowboy boots of the same name in the American west. Nor is he a stool-pigeon… though he does give secret advice when needed , or named after past silver screen idol Walter Pigeon…. or any run of the mill pigeon… but a very extra special pigeon. He can talk any bird language you care to mention, but above all, he can talk human. Of the latter, the communication between is with only the chosen reprehensive of Glasgow, in the shape of “The Lord Provost” dating back, in some form, to the final era of the dark ages… where all magic was possible and plausible.

The mere suggestion the present Lord Provost would take advice from a feathered bird… will not raise many eyebrows …however…. that a pigeon could understand the political dealings with such an understanding … may stretch the art of belief.

This simple fact in its-self, would place him in a higher category bracket than any ordinary pigeon in Glasgow’s famous George Square, he is even more, much, much more. He was and has always been since time and immoral remembered as “Thee” number one guardian of all protocol within the boundaries of Glasgow now Greater Glasgow than before...

Pigeon history has been winged way back to times where hours did not pass without counting the grains of sand… or gazing towards the moon, while the sun was indeed the main ‘God’; which mysteriously disappeared nightly, which all who witnessed… blessed, and hoped in prayer it would deem to return the next day. The Rowan tree was the guide and the guider between the worlds known and perceived. Clandestine and magic were in infancy were and when anything could happen and often did, to the utter amazement to the young populous of the fair green place.

Pee Wee is not magical but had magic was about him and around him which enables the bird to do things out of reach of most birds. His life span knew no bounds and his memory of the past was razor sharp… recalling down through history each Lord Provost would not only rely on him… but depended on him utterly. From the very John Stewart, through the reformation… and its aftermath that so named the Lord Provosts to be Mr Glasgow to this very day. . Where Pee-Wee came from… is in the unwritten scrolls of legends s and how long he’s been totally unknown. The only hint was the very first Lord Provost was a nodding acquaintance at first but because of “the incident”… became a total admirer

He has, and always had, at his disposal, the means to keep all other birds in check, regardless of their rank or size. From swifts to the oppressor magpies, Pee Wee’s call was law and obeyed even by his mischief cousins, the tyke street/road pigeons… for under their feathers they feared and respected Pee Wee and in more than one occasion needed his protection.

Magpies… like all bullies, always picked fights with street pigeons, as easy meat but thought twice, about tackling a wizard of a pigeon as Pee Wee. Once defied and scuttled they did not even dare have such a thought ever again. In short Pee Wee is the super birdie in the skies. His patrol of George Square is recent as the Grand City Chambers was only built in 1888. His loyalty to Glasgow is timelessly undying and true. . ………….let the tale begin

Posted by: peter.howden 14th Jan 2015, 08:47pm

Grant’s Cloths;

Through anyone’s life, there are people who have had influence or manky fingerprint over life’s good or bad, and carries onward with certain moments of remembrance pushing forward one particular character or event

I have been exceptionally fortunate by having such a rich pot of people, both present and past, all loaded with experiences of the wildest stooshie’s ever…. so to allow me to miss the curved balls of life which can knock you for six. So why do I keep being stoatered by wayward orb’s. Who knows maybe I’m just lucky. .

Ross Grant has left a marker in my mind which frequently pushes a recall tab, simple because he was involved in a very important part of my life. This was the period where I had rented accommodation in Marywood Square. I did not need someone to share the flat as I was earning quite big money, one way or another, however through the mist came; Ross.

We became Best mates slowly, as we had different circles of friends but there is no question, we hit it off right from the beginning. He had ettle risk in his humour… coupled with actions which always took me by surprise. He dared to do anything to enjoy every moment of life with even a smile for the down times.
We, on the whole had a ball of a time, with scat concern of tomorrow and perhaps the closest we both came to those well published imaginary swinging sixties. Quotes bantered around with sayings such as “If you can remember then…. you weren’t there”, there areas of time I just cannot remember and even forgotten weekends which I’m certainly incapable to recall. This is down to too much alcohol consumption and not swinging illusions though I have had several of those. . Some of the parties held, at the drop of a hat, were out of this world and I can still see the wee happy bugger right in the middle of it all.

After one particular Ne’erday’s bash, we were drinking the booze left over's…. right through to April. I am not trying to smugly imply alcohol, in all its disguises, was the centre of our existence but it was a necessary release for our youthful exuberance and beyond.

A delightful laugh Ross had and was only serious when he talked about Dennis Yates Wheatley; thee penny-a-liner author... The book “The Devil rides out” was the most read book in the flat, second only to the fabulous “Famous Rugby Songs” and “Move away from the fireplace Granny, Grandpa is heating his bum”.

We did manage to scare the crap out of ourselves by following instruction from a Wheatley novel preventing Satan gaining control of our bodies or minds. We were so drunk and our minds so fuzzy the devil would probably not want them even if he came in person. The amateur occult wanted cleared, all the furniture and carpets and drew around us impregnable circles and triangles right to the letter, including salt at the vital points of entry, right to the last dot described within the tattered literature.

We heard unidentifiable peculiar noises coming from behind the door of our basement flat. This sent us into an unpredictable scared state. We realized it had just struck 12 of the clock; the time when evil lurks in packs. The basement was always gloomy though now it turned sinister and foreboding as each creek and movement was heard as if within our heads. The gas fire had run out as the metre needed fed and we were at a loss how we could since we did not have a two bob coin for it to consume.
We were genuinely terrified and sweating porously though this was probably due to being intoxicated with liquid spirit while preparing to meet thee Arch-fiend known as Auld Clootie. How long we were there is now stuff made by legends however at one particular point we cuddled each other more intimately than we were with the opposite sex, though we never quite discussed this principle part. A mate is a mate but when it comes to mating………

A few weeks later, a very important date to meet the parents of my true love of the time, “Cathy”. I had been out the weekend before plus the previous night and one by one spoilt my dress since needed for such an occasion. Pullers the dry cleaners had shut unexpected and I was lumbered with old cords which could walk themselves. Ross like a true gentleman said I could use his wardrobe for anything I need. Without thinking I had pressed his brown suit to perfection, polished my Beatle boots and draped my pink shirt. Sex personified I though however not quite.......I looked in the mirror and it became painfully obvious of the height and builds difference between Ross and me.

Ross was a good five inches smaller than I and slightly fatally proportioned (compared to me) which knocked the perfect dressing for six. The trousers where half way up my shin while I had to tense my belly, inward, so not to burst the buttons. I reckoned if I blew wind….. The seat would explode outwards. The sleeves of the jacket were extremely short while not only showing a cuff but practically the whole sleeve. Holding in my stomach meant my feeble chest exaggerating its potential, so much so it warped the cut of the suit. I looked like a blond wee monkey trailing my knuckles along the bare floor.
There was no choice but to brave it out. I am not sure if they noticed however I was never invited back and sweet lass….never brought up the subject……

After two great years, Ross and I parted company going our separate ways due to a number of factors; seldom saw each other until twenty years later he came to see me one Thursday afternoon at the Calder Street baths. We had not seen each other for years and I took the opportunity to have a few beers with an old friend. We chatted about old times and I do remember laughing our heads oft recalling one thing after another.

It was a superb night and more so because it came out of the blue. We saw the pub’s bells in, warmly hugged and called it a night. Ross had a rare blood disorder nickname “Christmas Disease” for some strange reason. If he cut himself, in the slightest way, he needed hospital attention immediately if not sooner. He was on a drug regime for life.

I received a message on the Saturday morning that Ross was found behind his door…spent…. He had stopped taking his medication for over a week prior……

I miss him……

Posted by: peter.howden 15th Jan 2015, 10:24am


Gazing on Beth’s fairy like movements, ever innocently and fondly on a piece of living magic with longing of a lost pup and perhaps... looking just so, he could hardly sleep in the darkness of his bedroom. Her face was cast near constantly on his very being, introducing her features as paramount to the simplest thoughts or actions cast that summer.

Beth had every quality a lover could wish for; silky brown hair wafting wind swept look so desired by magazine photographers. Deep dark brown eyes to beckon the wildest of soul and a hint of magic going on forever complete with a smile to enchant a defeated devil because of her natural innocent creamed skin beauty of her face. Her walk defied gravity as if strolling with the Gods themselves. Her voice echoed sweetly to soften any discerning ear or pierced the most resilient heart to become a willing slave to her every whim or suggestion. She was beauty and sexuality personified.

He was brand new to this game of passion, nevertheless entered it with the vigour of a seasoned Romeo and the private presumption of a master ails Casanovas… even with Great Expectations, but never quite reached the qualifier (11 plus or otherwise). Since ever he could remember his desire for observing Beth just formed a life of its own emotions but unfortunately...pure love…. at a distance

These unreturned expressions were not seedy glances at limbs and digits not normally paraded for the world to see. This was gazing with adorations and factual affection, for all to see but particularly Beth…who was totally unaware. Each time she made entrance to the street they both lived in since childhood, the sun shone through the heaviest rain to brighten up that moment. Graceful Beth would seeming not make contact with the ground but dance to wherever she wished to be. Immediately her pure radiance was such…. All he could do was no more than stare.

He found himself timing to be at her close when he thought she was due out, not wish to waste one second or moment being with her.

There was a problem… for she neither realizes he existed or ever encouraged or touched him in any way which was a bit of a hindrance to his affections. It became even more difficult when he discovered she fancied dashing Gordon Campbell.

This boy had always been a thorn in his side, right from the first day meeting him in the street. He was good at everything he ever tried to do, and to name any sport he did not excel in school and you would be hard placed. He had the audacity to be good looking to boot but the worsted thing of all was; he was so dammed nice? He would make up excuses for him when once again, beat the pants off him (not literary as it was still against the law and any he’d probably wipe his ass with that too) at some deed or other.

Having no choice than to accept his immeasurable fate … looking on from afar, hoping against all hope she would miraculously change her mind and see him in hero’s romantic light. He had no choice but to do something constructive so to fill in the lonesome time.

He decided to make a new bow and arrow out of garden canes, just like all the kids but he would slave to make it so well…Beth would look on and wonder…. but he inwardly knew and would tell you this…. Gordon Campbell always made the best one?

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Jan 2015, 12:21am

Shug in two halves

It is said you can fool some of the people all the time, you can fool all the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time. This did not apply to Shug who was employed by a Town Council baths dept. He was the man working in the old style wash-hoose final closure of washing board stalls, huge steam operated washing-machines, drying horses, prams bringing dirty washing and a 100 years of a way of life for the woman-folk of the area.

This was decided by the forward thinking Council, to make way for the so called laundry-mats, which held no culture, or atmosphere for the prime and proper ladies in the neighbourhood .The wash-hoose was more sharp, a gossip terminal, and down to earth environment… close to the Scenes from the famous and very humorous play…“The Steemie”.

Shug was no walking fool … but fooled everyone I ever met, who indeed had come into contact him. He may have been a walking disaster and pretty slow in the uptake; however believe me, no fool. Shug was a Zen Buddhist (sort of) without having the knowledge of it, or actually being Zen or a Buddhist, or forming a thought pattern anyone would recognize, he was just harmless lazy Shug.

In an ordinary shift, he could receive instruction one day, and then loose the requirements quite quickly without knowing consciously he had been instructed at all. His burning ambition was to be a life saver in the Victorian styled tiled swimming pool….only used for schools during the day and the snooty club at night. Shug was employed as a dog’s body; with cleaning everything he was drilled to scrub.

He also was the message boy for lunches or nip out when the boss needed fags, a habit in those days, making a skin from each item purchased by charging operatives dearer than when bought. Friday was pay day, when each of the 18 employees’ wages was received in brown envelopes. Friday was the big dinner-hour when luxury came into play.

One such day workers made their big orders, gave Shug a fiver or tenner, and asked Shug to get something for himself. After rounding all the orders Shug left at high noon. A hour and a half past by with no sign of the chips or Shug and most of the allotted time for dinner used up. A couple of the girls fretted slightly, but on the main body of employees were growing with irritation.

The gaffer was really fuming for not only something to eat was astray, but Shug with the bloody fags.

Just about ten minutes later, Shug stoater’s in slightly full to the wind, and plunks the goods down. Angry and frustrated because the official dinner break was well and truly over… with the chips are cald, the curry’s is manky…. they all demand their rightful change.

A bemused Shug pulls out two pokes, containing two shirts and a pair of Wrangler jeans, that horrified all present….Shug came away with a belter….”Ye all telt me tae coff something I wanted?” …gobsmacked was the reaction from the team………and he forgot the gaffer’s fags……

Posted by: peter.howden 20th Jan 2015, 12:54am

A Christmas miracle

Glasgow has in famous or infamous name of being an alcoholic’s dreamland holiday or as a refreshment centre, depending what side of the glass you are standing. At one time with a pub at every corner though not in the posh areas for they do their indulgence and depravity, behind well kept close doors.

It is true, or use to be, Glaswegians are renowned for being ‘Wee’ hard drinkers, having no difficulty in “a Swally” as there was a pub and nigh every street corner. Harry enjoyed even more than slight refreshment giving him a tad of a problem as to know when to call a halt to such “sessions”

After this particular hard day’s work, he scurried around the famous Trongate, to visit all taverns such as Crystal-Bells, Candleriggs or renowned Granny-blacks, meeting such men of the same calibre, swapping stories Being thee Christmas Eve with millions of individual star shaped snowflakes dropping to the earth creating a instant festival picture card scene outside. This encourages Harry to stay, in the last hostelry, The Hangman’s Rest, with company joyful and glee…longer than first intended.

Leaving the warmth of inside, cold air was playing havoc with his water-works. The fact this tavern lay in the complete opposite direction from Harry’s original journey home, was pure chance returned to powder his nose in the little boy’s room..

The Hangman’s Rest was an old man’s pub, locked in many decades before décor (Known by Glaswegians as a sawdust pub owning to the sawdust spread over the floor to hide dirt or blood stains). Harry bought a couple of raffle tickets as he sat down once again with a wee Goldie. Minutes later numbers were called and one number matched his….the reward was one massive bawled duck.

The next moment Harry was outside, askew with the extra weight, while the crowd were still clapping. Struggling through the snow, though severely handicapped carting this huge bird, he managed to find the bus stop

Alighting from brightly lit bus, trudging home along the street, Harry felt like the little boy out of “Christmas Carol” when Scrooge ask him to carry the turkey to “Bob Cratchit’s” humble home. Puzzled to discover he held another surprise plastic bag containing a pair of deep red Italian leather stylish shoes in a fancy box. Where it came from or how he manages to be in possession was an enigma … a miracle all the same, in the mole of Harry Belafonte’s festival song ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ ….. There is magic in Christmas

Posted by: peter.howden 20th Jan 2015, 02:26pm

Home Made Tales


It’s dark, darker than usual, so dark he lost control of his eyes as they were unable to see anything, or cast a shadow. The room was filled with emptiness. When light feebly attempted to sneak in past the all-purpose one room/kitchenette gloom, it was beaten back by sheer blackness. It has always been a mingin miserable place called a flat, hiding from daylight to disguise the grime formed by lewdness within these walls, but something extra was enticing repulsion.

An air more than uncertainty flanked like a deadly wave cushioned within by the peeling dirty wallpaper, unheard noises continuously returning, time and again, from the origin …but with darker disturbed vibrations. Four restraining walls repulsing echoes of the hideous past which bounced uncontrollably across the forbidden floor, avoiding the centre area like a plague

There was no mistaking as he clocked it, just seconds ago, as he lazily woke up between the soiled clarty sheets. The dampness, which the council insist was condensation, seems to add to the itchy touchy evil in this house… a wicked atmosphere …

What kind of person would linger in such a hole, let alone sleep, for would take a special kind of being to remain there, an individual lacking a conscious dignity, one whose blood must remain jelled even when his movements imitated a human.

Yet it had not always been so…no ….just a frightened bewildered soul whose body is frozen to the manky bed by invisible threads of fear, not a wishful heaven but a bloody hell which threatens to devour his very thoughts… if not his all.

He tried and tried to look into the middle of the room but bleakness returned but he know evil was within. His mind was now numb…..whatever it was ….it was about to devour him….making him defunct


Posted by: peter.howden 21st Jan 2015, 07:09am

Fairy tale

The first meeting was not supposed to happen but like all fairy tales… once upon a time it did.

Mark was walking past a stores window in the fashionable part of town. Helen was acting as stand-in for her sister, who was the window-dresser of female lingerie, for the large department store. Helen’s sibling become unwell, frightened she might lose her position, she asked her to stand in. Not sure if she could cope, being a novice in art School where actual work was not quite her bag, Helen’s code of sisterly duty came first.

Mark yearned for something completely different his dreary life, something with risk and action not available in this small township, forcing him to make up his mind, that very day, to be on his way to sign up and join the Army.

He stopped at the large window, standing almost motionless, staring directly in…not realizing the assortment of underwear the window exhibited…for he could not help staring at Helen’s angelic whimsical face. She turned around and heard music coming from outside where this guy was looking in. He tapped the window gently…motioning her outside. She dropped what she was folding and instantly submitted. In pure excitement their first date was arranged for that very night

From that very moment, that very second, they danced and sang and giggled into a whirlwind romance. Mark and Helen felt they had known this would happen all their lives was leading up to this joining of souls. He joked and she laughed when Mark said she was his Helen…. who launched a thousand slips.

They dreamed such sweet dreams, so composed they vowed it would last forever where they would grow old disgracefully together collecting our old age pension at the post office, then walk holding hand in the local park that so endeared and warmed their hearts. She cried at ‘Girl’s-pictures’ on the screen and he cared so much he was there with the tissues and popcorn and coca cola. As a couple they would dance at the drop of a hat swooning the moony along with old records, then dancing without moving their feet or limbs, but so close together it was almost indecent, locked in a heaven all of their own as Peggy Lee sang as they hummed ‘The folks who lived on the hill’ full in the knowledge it was written for them.

Just as quick as it had begun, She was gone… in a hint of a windless whiff and no letter of reason…just gone. All that was left was the bottle of perfume Mark had bought to celebrate their togetherness for it was something else above all other love affairs throughout history…and beyond. He had not noticed until the fateful moment of discovery she was no longer in his life……not one photograph for him to hold...with great heartache… reminisce.

He never did join the army but passed the window regularly hoping above hope, his Helen would be there. While staring in the abyss of the window, Mark would mentally sing, though sometimes was caught out by a stranger as he mumbled a verse or two of Ray Davis song “Thank you for the days” because those precious days was a lifetime for him.

He knows men should not cry……….but failed to keep the tears from falling


Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Jan 2015, 08:12pm


A single figure of a man, sat in the middle of the human jungle rest bite of tables and tatty chairs, where people just minutes before sat in the café which now was almost empty. The usual morning crowd who in rushing mayhem, scattered around the plastic flooring in search for coffees and teas; rolls and toast and the odd chip butty, before scrambling up Jam-packed elevators on the look-out for their private bureau… exactly the same as the next one and the next desk forming a row.

That clientele were well gone. All of them locked safely in boxes containing boxes, surrounded by thick walls of concrete blocks. Outside, and furtively hidden in some corner, away from the main door, was the odd couple of fly’s by night, in unison sucking nervously on cancer sticks while prepared at a moments notice, to dart oft as soon as they have had their fix.

In the unfilled snack bar the stranger, twist and turns his tea spoon, first clockwise then anti-clockwise, swirling the cold liquid in a haywire direction. This simple act he had carried out for at least the last ten minutes. The tiered waitress has given up tempting him to move but washing down the table with …a not so clean damp cloth…. which left streaks across the Formica speckled table top.

Splashes of water soaks his shirt sleeve cuff, but fails miserably to encourage movement on the stranger’s part. Where ever he was, was not prepared to leave the coffee bar.

The head waitress Slide closer to listen to what was on his mind for it could heard the following; “How could I be such a fool all, of our goodbyes to last forever”. I have no sense except horse sense”. “How could I let her slip away; how could I not tell her she was my Mona Lisa, my soul mate; my life”. How could I be so foolish, so proud…. so tongue tied?” “Now she has gone and so have my chances; just for once I wish I could open up”. “In love songs, some rain must fall and some tears be shed but I’ve had showers… too many tears wash my eyes”. She will never know just how much I cared”.the stranger mumbled to himself

Just then, a young lady entered the quiet café, ordering Russian tea and neatly sat down quite a distance from the stranger. He glancing up towards her and making sure she did not see him do so, the stranger looked intently at this young female. There was something about her that excited his eyes. He observed something really sweet and charming and innocent about her body language. Was she waiting for someone? However the stranger did not believe so.

The waitress delivered the glass containing lemon tea and left the change, in such a way to encourage a reasonable tip. The waitress just glared at the stranger, who failed to notice because his attention was on the other patron at the far side of the window. Her saintly hands reached for the covered glass, the lemon dropped into the hot liquid,

The stranger witnessed her well-manicured nails of the edge of her lean piano playing fingers, so slender and elegant she owned an obvious silky touch. Her red lips puckered with excitement as it tempted to sip the hot beverage. Her eyes glistened with expectation and her expression showed signs of anticipation. Her feature lines personified through the crafty lighting of the open premises. In other words the stranger says the young beauty as a peach…which he would love to take a bite and savour.

Could he take a chance, could he approach this Madonna…asking if he could sit next to her. Could he be so bold and ask this female perfection… for a sentimental journey to ‘Begin the Beguine’? Perhaps they could take a tram ride together to Kelvinside or maybe the Art Galleries. Yes…. lets strike while the iron is hot, thought the stranger and almost gave effort into standing up.

Just then she crossed her legs, amplifying the physical sound of stockings stroking each other…which drives young, and old men alike; wild. She rose and left the premises without one word from her perfectly formed lips. Just at that moment… a heart was crumpled again.

A single figure of a man, sat in the middle of the human jungle rest bite of tables and tatty chairs, where peoples just minutes before…. sat in the café which now….was empty.

Posted by: Heather 23rd Jan 2015, 08:19pm

Aye very good Peter, I enjoyed those stories. smile.gif

Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Jan 2015, 08:49pm

Magic Heather.........I like to scribble............we are all proud.....and as free as our minds will allow....

Posted by: peter.howden 25th Jan 2015, 10:21am


The coming of a particular day of the year is a date our family have no need to search for, though a craving and aching to remember is always with us. . We are not alone in such dire, for in Glasgow, in Scotland or indeed the World peoples woe such a date’s annual arrival. Yet two years ago this date brought harrowing grief we were unaware existed which lead to emptiness you wished no other person had to share. The most unexpected happening… happened, against all odds for it would not she was too young, too full of life, to vibrant to allow this catastrophe to occur. Unfortunately she lost her short combat with cancer and we lost our daughter.

We all experienced psychological pain far beyond any brutal wound could inflict or sword could slice or dismember and what we were live through ,with unwanted suffering,… there was no cure and no escape. Each morning the darkness grew, each day the tears flowed at the slightest thought and each night torment knew its mark.

We decided as a family, without words or conversation, we would make sure we would be together… no matter what. The harrowing event happened on a Saturday and we would as a family meet on that day… at our home. The wooden kitchen table became our alter, the conversation became our script… with hours of talk mixed with sorrow, tears, awkward laughter and the family became our salvation. We were always close but there is a bond which is unspoken as we see each other and just know.

There is a worldly saying… ‘Time heals’ which is in my limited knowledge, is not quite true. It eases the tension slightly; it softens the pain a little, but it can’t stop the sudden anguish flourishing through the instant darkness or the unexpected tears which come out of nowhere. Now day to day living is no longer a trance as my rational capabilities return, not too normal, but to something which I can act so. There is a sense of guilt coming from deep…way deep inside.

There is no time when she is not there. She is with us in certain things we do, she touches our hearts with memories stirred from little ordinary day action we do which remind us something she did, or said or giggled about. Washing the dishes, a photo of some place, a present she gave or a knickknack she thoughtfully bought for my wife and I.

The comfort for me is………. I know there is a future…where we have to squeezes as much contentment out of life as possible and not feel guilty which hovers around unchecked.

Selfishly I know indeed I am lucky. Fortunate because I have my missus at my side, my family and my true friends whose help is beyond value……… but above and more so vital…………. I had, and have a daughter … for as long as I live.

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Jan 2015, 06:46am

What’s up “Doc”

He had the makings of being a great world renowned ‘Chef de cuisine’ , for he valued knowing the basics to work with, which could add just heaven to the client’s taste buds, and like all the greats knew just how much of ‘this and that’, ingredient to make gastronomic magic… down to the last skech of a dash.

He was untidy, gruff and dependent on the lower grafters, this shows 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 and may approach on both equally. A pot of water with just a tad of washing up liquid was always near the boil in not doing so…to properly cleanse through sterilization all his utensils including his keen, razor sharp huge knife better described as a whittle. He never used a ‘Shantieglan’ to grind his precious instrument; stone sharpening its blade to a keen edge himself.

He treasured his cutting appliance above all else… but had an awful nasty habit of wiping it from the cleansing pot, then drying it under his armpit with his tee-shirt sleeve…which he swore saved times and was hygienic. Either claims were suspect; however no one in the classy restaurant dare tell him so never mind chastise this naughty habit,.

Instead of insisting obeying Health & Safety rules they…. rather in a laugh off way or childish pansy manner.… the owner, the manager and a couple of brave souls in the kitchen would quote;… word for word……’here will be a revolting horrible accident happen one day… to your oxter being slashed deep inside’ ‘Mark my words’, they all quoted uniformly….then added before finishing their spiel; “You 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 grippe human.

The fateful day arrived as other days do with no pointers, no clue what atrophying happenings and the far reaching effects with the ‘Haute cuisine’ dishes, or it would have on all…. but mostly with the head chef .

Working normally and keeping a skewed eye on all the other commis chefs while preparing his Special, guaranteed holding taste to die for and 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 culinary dish.

He reached for his trusty knife in his usual manner from the boiling cleansing pot. He had done so many times but this time was to be different. Without looking his main cutlery hand reached in the correct direction but made contact with a heavy metal spoon instead of the hilt of the knife. Having been boiling for some considerable time the whole spoon was nigh to boiling temperature when is fingers first lay contact.

The reaction on meeting his digits to the scorching spoon burnt and scaled his skin, then producing instant blisters turning his fingers black. With a hell of 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 agony did not last an eternity but just seemed so as one brave helper, had the savvy to smothered the hand and the offending utensil with a soaked towel which gave 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 hour…..Basically he returned to being a mere cook …Par-average at that… one greasy diner….with a Scottish title…..


Posted by: peter.howden 26th Jan 2015, 07:54pm

Nomadic (1)

The long train, with a multitude of selected carriages took quite a while to slowly grind to a standstill and lucky for him, as the clatter of the steel wheels waked him for an uneasy sleep. Stretching and moaning for being awaken, a familiar cough as the railing pulled back revealing George (the porter) was standing with a pot of coffee and a huge grin which stretched from, ear to ear across his whole face.

It had been a long journey… monotonous to boot with few bright spots except the detours from tedium via George and the history of ‘The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’ battle, ‘fight or be slaves’, with the Pullman company. He heard it was a clash for survival from some considerable time, while the custodian of the train revealed a few interesting facts. One being his name was not ‘George’ but it was a condition of his shaky employment all passengers would recognize him, and all his fellow brothers by this single non de plume.

The voyager rose sharply from his make shift sleeping quarters, washed and brushed up then checking his Italian mohair suit was presentable his hand made Melbourne shirt, followed Milan leather shoes(shined to perfection by George) , and finally taking his cashmere coat of the swinging hanger.

It was raining as he stepped down from the coach, onto the wet unwelcoming platform, making the traveller wonder why he had truly come to this dismal station which was exactly as he remembered it…cold and unhospitable. He struggled to remember poor George’s real name but it was lost in his own discomfort as the rain lashed down making it difficult to see what was ahead.

He had no wish to be here, or anywhere near this grim reminder of the past ….but was drawn by not so subtle threats and intimidations which made it appropriately clear as to his would be future if he disobeyed. He was trapped and now there was no turning back. Unlike George…he had no union or backing for his unspoken services to companies……or individual shady clientele. He wanted out but out was not an option.

‘Money was good but sometimes money is not the problem’, he thought to himself his light attaché case.

The blue skies had disappeared long ago but now it was dark and foreboding black holes with intervals of nothingness. The angel of death he knew too well lurking behind some innocent facade, being rewarded for surprising this beaten be continued


Posted by: peter.howden 28th Jan 2015, 09:50am

Nomadic (2)

His psychological grisly journey, through dismal personal confinement was measures in years…. with his own Gordian knot, forever present. No swift Macedon blade to swiftly cut clean the unanswerable question; countless dire struggles release this particular endless riddle His was a small intimate family business, taking contracts, from the unidentified…. to be honour above all else…or human cost . Was there a higher deity, would his dark activities be deemed immoral. Was his deeds condemning him dammed eternal unrest. This time was the total conclusion of his life’s worth and he knew, regardless what he truly wished…. for had no chance in hell of coming true.

Walking along the unsympathetic empty streets of his home town in the early drab morning ,he recalled his school days had been regimental constructed by one domineer individual above all else, his mother…. though he had now broken free from the persistent bulling which made him do things, terrible things. He had, he believed, this was the one last mission into the bleakness of life. As usual he reached the bus locker station and with his key received his instruction. He did not see the shadowy furtive body lucking in the avenues and passageways nearby.

Following coded instruction, examining rail ticket left in cubbyhole, followed by something to eat at the old café…, then wait for the return sleeper back from whence he came…the contract was on the train line . He followed his orders methodically. Time waiting just caused pain. The Pullman carriage was dirty through travel, hiding the distinctive Chambersburg dark green of all the companies’ coaches. He met George again and George was his target. Like many other large companies of this notorious time, they employed spies to keep tabs on their employees; in extreme cases, company agents arranged disappearance of union organizers. How this was done…no questions asked.

The simple thing of George asking if he wanted his shoes buffed, made the decision not to fulfil his contract for to act as instructed was no place for a man to boldly go. So often, in the past, he had refused only in the end in mental torture as a dominant voice would dictate surrender terms. This time he was determined to see it through. He warned George…through his real name of his company’s wish to end the ‘The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’ and push George over the railing of the Caboose.

George smile had gone however for some reason did not, or would not believe him…. so it forced his hand to trick George going through to, and lock the unfortunate porter in the freight carriage, then prudently take stock then head back to his allocated seat on the train. Arriving and just about to pull the curtain back he heard a tense explosion then instantaneously felt a red-hot pain singing his skin just below his heart. Blood spurted over his shirt and onto the grubby curtain as he uncontrollably spun through them.

Spinning forced his body as he fell to Land backwards on the converted divan, staring upwards close to unconsciousness. The pain became unbearable as he could see a shadow appear through his blood hazed eyes. For some reason he sneezed which cleared his sight slightly when a head took shape right above him. What ever happened was beyond explanation, made his sight come to life for a brief second or so and he recognized his assassin.

Tears rolled gradually down, from his misty eyes to his pulled in cheeks as he took real effort to spurt out his last spoken coherent words…. said….”Hallo Mother” ……his limp body ceased to exist


Posted by: peter.howden 28th Jan 2015, 07:59pm

Home made tales

The real Trojan horse

Odysseus, or if you prefer his Latin name, Ulysses, urgently sought an ending to the Trojan war, in a vain hope of returning to his reputed faithful wife Penelope whose image stirred his venting emotions…due to news of parties all the time back home….… and in Odysseus private apartments…in his palace. It was testified Penelope was weaving or sewing or something like that…but this was hard to swallow…even for Odysseus’s reputed big mouth.

Now Helen beauty was never in dispute by her husband King ‘Menelaus’ of Mycenaean(later day Sparta) though he was slightly vexed against a certain ‘Paris’ who sneaked away from grand banquet, by the way… held in his honour. On face value he could be forgiven for such bad manners…. if Helen had not been pirated away, so he could lay his hands on her beautiful curves.

By pure chance…the reality was, the marauding King Menelaus, had already booked and wanted a holiday away from the growing frugal way of life in the dull state, choose Argos independence agency to arrange a longish break in Anatolia. The problem, began because of a lack of visas for some four thousand individuals he selected to bring with him, through a silly misunderstanding, started a tiff about trespassing on private land… or playing around with different gods.

You know what it’s like when lads get together in sunny warms, drinking too much wine, or the local liquor, especially when girls are involved, ownership and winching privileges, allow tempers to fray with outcomes every now and then… not too pretty. The fact others would join in and it lasting so long was just one of those unexplained things.

For King Menelaus to save face, he sued Argos and used his wife’s innocence and Paris’s sexual transgressions as a protest against paying Argos independence agency for the extended time, strongly reminding the organizers…his whole team had to sleep on the beach due to lack of accommodations.

Meanwhile Ulysses was beginning to be frustrated by the tussle and what may be going on in his own court, decided to take action. He built the mighty impressive Trojan horse… hiding lots of army pals armed to the teeth. The Greeks made such a tattoo about giving up, the Trojan’s swallowed it hook and crook, accepting the horse as a gift… planning to take it inside the great walls that so well protected their city for 10 years

Now Ulysses may have been a heroic warrior solider but a mathematician he was not…and unfortunately Geometrician Philo the Dialectician; or Chrysippus of Soli had centuries to go before being born. The measurements were not checked and double checked, when the great horse rumbled forwards the mighty city walls, it came apparent it would not pass through the enormous gates…due to the fact the stallion was much bigger than the going space would allow.

The Trojans on the other hand, apart from being stupidly dumb to allow things to get out of hand, wisely decided the best thing to do was to give a burning sacrifice to their Gods…. For unforeseen victory…and the horse was perfect being under health and safety protocol …securely outside their cherished walls

The Greeks got burnt and did not return until Alexandra the Great past through….not stopping mind you………..the rest you may have heard….is a myth……..of course.


Posted by: peter.howden 30th Jan 2015, 09:15am


It’s hard to tell a story particularly when there is no real story to tell just a collection of happenings. I have told peoples some at various stages in my life but to put pen to paper is a different game altogether. Some found them amusing and some found them hard to swallow but they are all true and the names have not been swapped to save embarrassment. When I say they are true it is worthwhile remembering that my vision of truth may or should differ from persons mentioned within, so it lies mainly with the reader.

(Grannies remedy)
As a young boy and growing adolescent I suffered badly from dreaded spots and boils of all shapes and sizes. As the years have passed this embarrassment state has been explained as normal growth behaviour for teenagers of the male gender but while in action this became a constant harassment. The boils would spurt out with surprising speed and I would look in the mirror just before leaving to go out, and I would certainly see one or even two maturing on my neck. A look further on and there was a spread around my lower chin. Other boys had boils but they never seemed as big or as sore as mine. My affliction in tow I managed to struggle through life and carry on to marry the girl of \my heart. Life was now appearing colourful and bliss until the fateful day
A few days before that particular morning’s dawned, it became obvious that a boil had travelled far. This singular inflamed swelling had settled between the cheeks of my bottom. I did not know how big it actually was, but it felt like a volcano erupting pain my wife and I had been married for only a few weeks and we were still on honeymoon really and totally inexperienced in life or its funny ways. My wife could remember a remedy to rid of boils handed down by her great Gran to Gran to mum and then to her of a magic poultice made up of heated sugar, soap and kaolin and just thinking about it now brings tears to the eyes.

I lay on the bed face down while the gently warmed substance was placed between my bare cheeks and this mountain of a boil. After a short period we both realized that it was not being of any good and my wife suggests that it is not hot enough. The second attempt was totally different for the mixture was heated as far as she dared and then a couple of minutes extra for good measure like all good novice cooks do. The chosen wrap around the mixture was too small a piece for the amount of mixture made, expanded by heat I think , so when it was placed a second time it hit raw flesh. Well it was such a shock it forced my cheeks together which made the mixture act like super glue while the force of the clam tight cheeks spurted the by now huge extra stuff out in all directions but mainly the ravine of my exposed bottom.

I was never a great athlete at school but with my new overheated aid I leapt upwards into the air from my lying position to what I believe a hairs breath away from the ceiling of our Victorian room returning back to bed in a cat like posture screaming “get the buggering thing off”. This created a panic in my wife, much the same as a chicken that has had its unfortunate head chopped; she grabbed the only piece of cloth showing and pulled with feverous vigour.

Unfortunately as she pulled more of this homemade larva discovered virgin skin relatively unscathed which lead to my second leap. It was not as high a leap as my first but it did manage to squish the remaining mixture forcing me to squeal in a very high pitch which I have since never been able to repeat and I wish not to. After such an ordeal you would imagine that the very boil would have at least burst but no way.

My wife argued convincingly that since I had been to hell and back, and to rid myself of this boil once and for all, heat I should try a course that her Granddad swore by. On reflex ion I now know why Granddad swore and call me a fool but by now I was past reason or thought and also my threshold for pain or so I believed.

I watched my wife prepare a heavy old milk bottle by heating it up in water just below boiling. She explained that by heating the bottle and placing it on the skin it would act like a kind of vacuum therefore suck up the boil puss and all. You may find this hard to believe that there was no sensation of pain what so ever when it was placed surrounding the offending boil and she insisted that for it to work she would count up to twenty before removing the very hot bottle with the two towels raped around it.

I was extremely embarrassed by now but the count came to an end seemingly without success until my wife tried to remove the bottle which was rock fast. She had no choice but to give a violent tug and being in an awkward position lost her grip on the bottle leading to my third leap but my screams by now were muffled by muteness.

The aftermath was cream placed gently on the whole area and I was told the boil was indeed burst. A few days later, with the aid of mirrors, I was able to see for myself and all that remained and to this day is a perfect red ring mark.

My lovely wife has never had a boil or if she has never told me……

Posted by: peter.howden 31st Jan 2015, 11:50pm

The flight for life;(1)

my life was forfeited as I struggled for breath…through smoke and putrid smell of hostile carnage formed by modern sea battles brutally displaying pieces of human flesh attached to shackles still locked to large broken spinsters of rough wood, blown apart by terror ramming ships hurling indiscriminating fire buckets..

Unrecognizable limbs, socked in bloody sea water, as fallen masts cripple both life and ship alike create a floating hellish aftermath whilst fire scorches, roast and barbecue skin peeling off live and dead bones that once were human… desperate to survive at all cost.

This meaningless butchery was my punishment for defying the Roman Gods or Caesar which were the same deities. I could hear crowds of people cheering; yes cheering as I lost my final grip knocked unconscious slowly fell towards a watery grave. It all started quite innocently, for me anyway, back on my homeland; and if I the same thing happened over again, it would certainly prove what I knew then; that I had no influence in the forthcoming events as the Gods had ordained it to be so. We are all pawns in a much bigger crueller game.

Now, I would not call myself a coward, not exactly, just I want to live and live without pain to this ends I became important in my adopted tribe, by camouflaged my hidden fears by taking on the status position of wandering druid (Augur teller) for my adopted tribe. I was quite confident in making up fables or stories with a purpose.

Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself Dugall Vcean, embraced clansman to the noble Scots Damnoni. 'Men under care of the goddess of the deep' we were the best of Celtic traders. I was born a free man but sold as a slave of Rome burning hatred of the men who betrayed me and killed my only light.

I do remember the Romans coming, in peace but ravished, plundered and massacred anyone who opposed their peaceful tributes sending my whole family to hopeful safety to kin tribe on the far coastline. Just for practise in battle, the Roman commander in that area, butcher everybody to a man.

The invaders deliberately caused panic through rhetoric; “Each drill like a battle; each battle like a drill”.

This scared the living daylights out of me but I boiled sweat for revenge….

.to be continued

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Feb 2015, 01:08am

The Flight for Life(2)

In the darkness of my flooded awareness, concentration for life resumed jolted by the reverberations of the Roman mob, jeering abuse as my kinsmen warslin for a lungful of life... in their hour of peril...clench a hint of dignity. Here in the middle of this awesome Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum, built by the methodical Vespasian, authentic mock sea battles barbarically staged for the amusement of the mob and the dubious honour their new Caesar.

Uncontrollably while under undefined rage my mind independently returned to the past

When the Roman Chief Agricola came North reaching the mouth of the River Esk, he encountered the tribe of The Votadini at Traprain Law or Dunedin. This fiercely proud tribe was related to me through my wife’s NcNdonochie Vcewn. The Romans slew her, not before invading her and made her watch having our children slain….. While they were absent from my protection. There was no need to slaughter my beautiful woman and our offspring, for the skirmish had been settled. It was the legion 1X; the philistine Parisi Celts brought over from Gaul. They would sell their own kin for a few denarii.

Our peoples of a mixture of tribes had a basic attitude to warfare as a part of life. . It was considered part of their solemnly religious rites, for all young men to perform adolescence to manhood. This process would indicate which youths were the fittest and strongest, thereby enabling them to progress into mature warriors. The weaker or puny youths and the physically uncoordinated did not survive and would often be cast out of the tribe.

As such they would not survive and so perish when left to fend for themselves. A brutal system, but it ensured the tribe remained strong and healthy.
But this was not me, for I may not have been a combatant warrior but I had sharp wits to survive and studied to become a skilful druid, respected and travelling the length and berth of the land giving guidance and wisdom to the welcoming natives

The all brutally conquering magnificently disciplined legion army were steeped in the art of warfare, would squashed the ragged collection of the dour barbarians This was the Roman folly, for the Caledonians (this was our Roman title) Druids such as I, persuaded the Cruithi; “the people of the designs"; and the mighty Nouantae, put aside their neighbourly squabbles to take on the might of the known world. The Celts and the Picts beat the Romans time and again. As the chariots lightning attacks scared the hell out of them.

In Celtic tradition a “Druid” means ‘Knowledge of the oak’ and ‘profound knowledge’. They were never challenged because whispered to be demigods, beings in human form who were somewhere between humans and the gods.

At this point of being out of daytime wanders, I returned to the carnage of chained beasts...for that is what my people, their warriors had become. This watery grave of thousands was organized... in this vast arena where no true god would enter...but my now alerted mind...concentrated on raw revenge

Nothing is more cunning or brutal than a cornered hound.....with nothing to lose but life be continued #


Posted by: peter.howden 5th Feb 2015, 10:40am

The fight for life(3)

Mayhem spread instantly, like a fearful plague bestowing agonizing death indiscriminately....through sword, blundering, fire or drowning with the severe crippled scattered throughout the brutal; imitation battle, to be cut to pieces by the Praetorian guard of the mighty Caesar who showing pomp and ceremony sat watching this cruel display with wonderment.

Clinging desperately on to life with some sort of divine delay for the inevitable end, my tortured mind was amiss to why... the Gods had chosen so unforgiving to severely punishment bestowed on my peoples in this den of regal bent Iniquity

I did things no living man should contemplate but I had no choice... though was glad I did Being a blessed soothsayer of true augur virtue... via visions gave me privilege enhancements denied to others, our fate was revealed came forth before leaving our beloved shores of our homeland. It was that moment I planned retribution revenge... savouring it cold and slowly.... as all good vengeances should be relished.

Captured chained and taken before the mighty Caesar who bequeathed knowledge of my fame or infamy by some betrayers or spies within our kingdom. He demanded my knowledge of eternal life to be laid before him. Like all apparent great men, above all else was his wanting; endless time to achieve the ultimate goal of a legacy of supremacy for a thousand years.

Though tortured...I chose to inform, but he believed this was through fear, to reveal I did have the source to Immortality; escaping rejuvenation far beyond anyone’s means other than the Druids. It lay in a certain herb found nowhere else but the very northern isles yet to be discovered by Rome, whose location known to but to a few . Caesar was so desperate to believe he swarmed on my words as if Holy Scripture and believed he had stolen from my merger goods... the actual answer to eternity.

Now as I lay on top of a burning splitter of salvation, Caesar deliberately searched for eye to eye contact with his principal victim, who unwittingly had blindly followed my arduous extracted instructions of taking a portion of my mashed components of wolfs-bane and white snakeroot. It was clear, for I knew where to look, there were irreversible signs... naively...on the brink of an excruciating death. These herbs presented in a mashed component

The Gods would know... divine intervention ....I would be dead....but retribution for the death of a nation...........and the sordid inheritance of the reign of pitiless Caesar Titus.............


Posted by: peter.howden 6th Feb 2015, 01:32pm


Once upon a time there was a petite balloon whose every life sustaining breath was filled with loneliness even though he had devout parents. He often felt to be the last balloon in the world.

One fair evening as he lay in his cot, which made him feel immature rather than a youngster, he decided to visit his parent’s room, for some urgently needed comfort. After a hard day of ballooning they were fast asleep.

He did try awfully hard to squeeze into their marital bed without disturbing them but just could not without causing unwanted vibrations, which woke up both parents. Collectively they blew hot air at such unprecedented happenings, demanding the little balloon return to his abode and try to discover his own Utopia. Their little balloon had not heard of this place before though felt he was wasting his breath to ask his father where this could be.

Later on while shivering alone and frightened in his cot, the little balloon decided to try once again to snuggle up with his parents, for they certainly had looked obviously comfortable. Sneaking silently room, he once more attempted to squeeze between them with no more success than the first time.. The little balloon reasoned his parents were too big to fit him in.

Then came the brainwave the answer was to let some air out his parents.

So extremely carefully he loosened his mama’s balloon pink ribbon... allowing a controlled amount out, and then sealed it with a cute little bow.

Turning to his father he untied his heavy string and once again allowed a certain amount of air out then closed the escapee with a sailors knot.

This time he had the space to snuggle up between both parents and enjoy collective hot air.
In the morning his mother and father woke first and were shocked to see their little balloon had deliberately disobeyed their instruction and in anger, papa balloon wakened up his offspring. Once out of sleep, the little balloon was barraged by his father who complained bitterly of his disappointments and that his little balloon had disturbed his “Utopia”.

This was the second time the little balloon had heard this word and from his own papa. His father continued to scold the little balloon. I am banishing you from our family home and though you think it to be severe punishment right now, when you become a bigger balloon, and discovered your own “Utopia” then you will thank me.

The little balloon was all filled up and almost choking as he floated oft from what he had known as home.

Because he was so concentrated as to what was this “Utopia” his father had called three times in one night but had failed to mention before, he bumped into furniture...and then the ceiling a few times, he uncontrollably bounced back into the room he had shared with his parents and some mixture of toys. The little balloon landed on the chess table, right next to the white queen.

The little balloon had not spoken to anything or body, other than his parents and other balloons when the opportunity arose. He decided this was not a time to be short of breath and asked the queen “Where or what is Utopia?” For me, the Queen replied, Utopia is when my king is not check-mated ....but I am of the belief there is a bigger and better “Utopia” out there; somewhere.

The little balloon could not see her pointing anywhere however saw Her Majesty gazing upward and so concluded that is where the better “Utopia” was.

So, with no further ado and with every bit of energy he could muster and vibrate, the little balloon took to the air and a wild adventure. Out through an open window and up to the bright blue skies where he was sure held the secret of the better “Utopia” and who knows;

perhaps he would find it?


Posted by: peter.howden 8th Feb 2015, 12:47pm

Constant Hot Air;

Unlike other ‘Once upon a time’ tales... this one has depth or height depending at what perspective you were coming from.

The little balloon was now full of mixed emotions, matching terror and sheer excitement all rolled into one, as he was leaving what was his happy home, his security when things got rough and an answer to any question. It was not his fault he seldom, if ever, had a question to ask but somehow he knew that if he ever had.... in his home would have an answer. But what was this “Utopia” which his Papa suddenly brought into his life and both parents more than urged him to search for.

With a final last glance downward, he vibrated so hard he shot upwards faster than he had ever done before.. As a novice he found it thrilling. Although it made him wobbly inside, he knew he was in perfect shape to cope with whatever, because Mamma balloon had always remarked so to Papa.

Floating along with the help of inner artificial pulsations which soon tired him out to near exhaustion, bring him down to earth... landing in a small graceful stream. Once down he realized there was no need for work or pulsates, as he could float with go with the flow. Relaxing in his new environment allowed him time to dream but no matter how much he tried, the idea of “Utopia” escaped him.

He had heard stories in the nursery at home of the big and smaller walking skins,, of ‘Peter Pan’...’Alice in wonderland’ but they were just fairy tales, for who ever heard a rabbit talking, never mind being late, or of a boy, any boy who could fly. Everyone knows only balloons can fly. Just as he reaching this conclusion it became obvious he was travelling very fast indeed...and this balloon had no control as he headed where the stream’s unknown destination.

Rapidly, which came as a bit of surprise, he decided if he was going anywhere, then its only right and proper to be in control himself, so... with a mighty heave and a good deal of shuddering, as if he was about to sneeze, he broke free of the surface tension which had held him in check....lift-off was achieved by pure effort and not by physics. The little balloon comfortably rose above the whole scene to catch a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall which could have spelt danger for him. Yet with his reasoning he could not spell so danger would not find him.

As he made is way upwards he did recall a distant uncle giving him advice by saying; “always aim for the top in anything you do...It made be hard even a struggle but you will be an achiever!”... looking up, he thought...’I’m on my way to the top’

A sign post appeared through the clouds, marked “You are now in Troposphere stop Stratosphere” which meant nothing to the little balloon for he could not read. He was able to listen to the stories told in the nursery at home...but give him a book....he was lost....and anyway...he could not turn the page? This was no disadvantage at home but it really could have helped out here..

Unexpectedly atmospheric bitter coldness overtook his on the spot thrill as he was turning bluer the higher he went....firstly light blue....then deeper positive blue and he had no idea this was called changing colour. He knew absolutely nothing about colour of balloons at all, different or otherwise, as it was not ever mentioned at home. In fact... he never saw colours in any balloons he was acquainted with....but now he reasoned they must have been one colour or another....he was just too unaware to see it.

Meanwhile he was travelling upward as the flatness slowly disappeared to become sort of roundish....just nearly like him.....


Posted by: peter.howden 9th Feb 2015, 06:34pm


It’s hard to tell a story particularly when there is no real story to tell just a collection of happenings. I have told peoples some at various stages in my life but to put pen to paper is a different game altogether. Some found them amusing and some found them hard to swallow but they are all true and the names have not been swapped to save embarrassment. When I say they are true it is worthwhile remembering that my vision of truth may or should differ from persons mentioned within, so it lies mainly with the reader.

(Grannies remedy)

As a young boy and growing adolescent I suffered badly from dreaded spots and boils of all shapes and sizes. As the years have passed this embarrassment state has been explained as normal growth behaviour for teenagers of the male gender but while in action this became a constant harassment. The boils would spurt out with surprising speed and I would look in the mirror just before leaving to go out, and I would certainly see one or even two maturing on my neck. A look further on and there was a spread around my lower chin. Other boys had boils but they never seemed as big or as sore as mine. My affliction in tow I managed to struggle through life and carry on to marry the girl of \my heart. Life was now appearing colourful and bliss until the fateful day
A few days before that particular morning’s dawned, it became obvious that a boil had travelled far. This singular inflamed swelling had settled between the cheeks of my bottom. I did not know how big it actually was, but it felt like a volcano erupting pain my wife and I had been married for only a few weeks and we were still on honeymoon really and totally inexperienced in life or its funny ways. My wife could remember a remedy to rid of boils handed down by her great Gran to Gran to mum and then to her of a magic poultice made up of heated sugar, soap and kaolin and just thinking about it now brings tears to the eyes.

I lay on the bed face down while the gently warmed substance was placed between my bare cheeks and this mountain of a boil. After a short period we both realized that it was not being of any good and my wife suggests that it is not hot enough. The second attempt was totally different for the mixture was heated as far as she dared and then a couple of minutes extra for good measure like all good novice cooks do. The chosen wrap around the mixture was too small a piece for the amount of mixture made, expanded by heat I think , so when it was placed a second time it hit raw flesh. Well it was such a shock it forced my cheeks together which made the mixture act like super glue while the force of the clam tight cheeks spurted the by now huge extra stuff out in all directions but mainly the ravine of my exposed bottom.

I was never a great athlete at school but with my new overheated aid I leapt upwards into the air from my lying position to what I believe a hairs breath away from the ceiling of our Victorian room returning back to bed in a cat like posture screaming “get the buggering thing off”. This created a panic in my wife, much the same as a chicken that has had its unfortunate head chopped; she grabbed the only piece of cloth showing and pulled with feverous vigour. Unfortunately as she pulled more of this homemade larva discovered virgin skin relatively unscathed which lead to my second leap. It was not as high a leap as my first but it did manage to squish the remaining mixture forcing me to squeal in a very high pitch which I have since never been able to repeat and I wish not to. After such an ordeal you would imagine that the very boil would have at least burst but no way.

My wife argued convincingly that since I had been to hell and back, and to rid myself of this boil once and for all, heat I should try a course that her Granddad swore by. On reflex ion I now know why Granddad swore and call me a fool but by now I was past reason or thought and also my threshold for pain or so I believed.

I watched my wife prepare a heavy old milk bottle by heating it up in water just below boiling. She explained that by heating the bottle and placing it on the skin it would act like a kind of vacuum therefore suck up the boil puss and all. You may find this hard to believe that there was no sensation of pain what so ever when it was placed surrounding the offending boil and she insisted that for it to work she would count up to twenty before removing the very hot bottle with the two towels woven around it.

I was extremely embarrassed by now but the count came to an end seemingly without success until my wife tried to remove the bottle which was rock fast. She had no choice but to give a violent tug and being in an awkward position lost her grip on the bottle leading to my third leap but my screams by now were muffled by muteness.

The aftermath was cream placed gently on the whole area and I was told the boil was indeed burst. A few days later, with the aid of mirrors, I was able to see for myself and all that remained and to this day is a perfect red ring mark.

My lovely wife has never had a boil or if she has never told me……


Posted by: peter.howden 12th Feb 2015, 11:10am

Endless Hot Air;

Looking downward towards earth he was filled with surprising emotion somewhere deep inside, he felt he could never see home again and poor Mamma and Papa would be searching for him throughout the house but especially in the small walking skins nursery where tales of Peter Pan ruled.....’Second star to the right and onward on till morning’. Would it be forever and a day?’ He whispered a silent message to his beloved parent balloons, Quote “between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember to dream......... to dream......where you will always find me”.

Unknown to the little balloon he was now passing by the pointing outward signs Mesosphere, Thermosphere, and then finally Exosphere, his insides gurgled strangely as he soared uncontrollably further and further into the unknown. Although fretting, the vision all around, being so heavenly spectacular astounded him, filling his emotions with excitement and wonder.

He recalled earlier times when he was amazed as to the bountiful wonders of life, simple but complicated things beyond little balloon’s ability to explain, such as the miracle in a drop of water and a new bit of string...long enough to keep him alive...lifesaving technology a balloon it is. The awe inspiring feelings of love... when nothing is said.

Moving little by little towards what even to a little balloon was the unknown but magnetically inviting memories flooded in and out, went as quickly as they came, with one exception... he recalled asking his parents where he came from and unanimously the answered ...under a bush. Now being a travelling balloon, seemingly his thoughts of reason were deeper than before as he wondered..... but what bush?… a bramble which promises sweet fruit once you have torn your hand to gain your fill………or a thorn bush……………which promises nothing but bare reality...and what was reality.

He stopped pondering for a moment being more than content as to where he found himself, not scared in the least drifting into infinity...before having one more thought. Would he ever become an old star...he hoped not....for they lose their twinkle......but to an awful big adventure.


Posted by: peter.howden 15th Feb 2015, 01:35pm

Peewee Too;

How did it start??

One evening, near the start of one of our holidays, I happened to be wandering along the coastal front, between Stevenson and Saltcoats, just north of the river Garnock. You could see the mystic “Arran” to the left as I sank forward in the ever moving ground of sand. I can tell you at first hand ‘Arran’ so serenely majestic yet sublime as the silver moonlight reached my hazy eyes. What a sight, what a view.

Being on long weekend break from the ties of my labour, earlier I had refreshed myself with an uncountable account of “Wee Goldie’s” giving me a glow beyond spirits... of heavenly merry mood.

The moon exceled in its nightly duty, clearly displaying the shiny grains of sands which had travelled for indefinite centuries to be there on that special I plunged with my best foot forward sinking into the sands, with the stars above not glittering through the milky way, but winking at we humans abroad that night. The whole sky was so clear and crisp with enchantment falls only once in a while or on a cartoon film of Walt Disney. I was captivated by the stillness as I halted, sat down to flounder in this awe-inspiring disposition.

Then reaching for my inside pockets to hold the bottle carrying my golden nectar, perhaps enjoy a sip or two while surveying my prospects. Before I had the opportunity of tasting through touching my lips this divine god sent liquid...there was a distinct clamour...a noise that should not have been there at that time of night. It caused not an alarm, but curiosity

It is a very difficult thing to do, trying to pin point any noise on deserted seashore, shingled or not, with the worldwide sea waves roaring across the break forming small white horses, then they vanish as soon as the sand makes contact. Noise just naturally wanders all over the open space with no definite start or finishing point. Even in moonshine a spooky place for grownups. Strangely for gay abandoned holiday-maker, secure in spiritual hand...inviting.

The first sight of ‘Pee Wee’ was against the powerful moonbeam, just as in E.T; the movie, but without the boy, or the bike and all. The really funny thing was how cool I was cool about it. One moment enjoying a secret swig of pure unique whisky, then this bird... which had all the makings of a Pigeon... but much bigger.

My mouth, was so dry but open ,while trying to find my vocal cords, as this biggish bird clearly uttered; “ My name is’s it going there Peter?”. I did not reply but the bird added; “You’re not a Provost, you know...I normally only converse with reigning Lord Provost and have done so all my existence.... but then again I’m on my vocation!”

With mixed messages buzzing around my confused brain, I did consider if it was a ventriloquist’s trick, for as it spoke and although its beaks moved they were not in sequence as the order of these words and where, or how I recognized the name “Peewee” did not penetrate right at that moment...but ...Peewee was one of the not so prized nicknames I was given at school.

From this day forward Peewee, the extraordinary pigeon, gave me an historic insight of his life and exciting times by preforming his duty as the ancient guardian of the governing Provost in each era, which he related each time we met down at the Saltcoats sands. Coincidently I was always alone except for Jonnie Walker with the black coat...or his brother Blue coat.......and at all times... by moonlight

To this day I find it not only incredible but privilege I am of his choosing to keep company with...on his days off. I will endeavour to pass this valuable information to tales fashion.


Posted by: peter.howden 16th Feb 2015, 06:28pm

Worm up;

In as noble a voice he could muster, he bawled ‘they have forced us into a hole that certainly isn’t square ... and have those mutts pee all over us...we have just about had enough!’ called the leader of the squad of diggers emotionally expressed .............”Yes by George”, that’s just enough. With this verbal display of rebellion... the rest of the excavators became obviously restless.

‘I do mean this’ he added with a bit more aggressively harsher than he thought he could manage, ‘we should not have to put up with such indignities, no matter how high the peers of the regime are’. ‘We have suffered enough indignity and now it’s time for action...what do they think we do all day?’ he repeated but with genuine emotion. Galloping with pace added near furiously... ‘the way they treat the hard working minions...You would think we just dig insignificant holes for the pure pleasure in doing so!’

‘Well lads ....down tools.... not one more piece of digging till our conditions are met and appreciation for our existence is shown’.

This was the determined words spoken by the chief engineer and shop steward of the ‘Worms Union, Municipal Miners’ Buckingham Palace branch, two whole weeks ago. Since then, the strike has spread to the rest of the country and I can tell you, it’s causing havoc. Where William Blake’s; ‘Once England’s green and pleasant land’ was green has been transformed into a mini Holland.

Scotland has fared much better as the belief the Loch Ness Monster (he does exist and it’s rude to scoff) is transporting huge quantities of water away from troubled areas. Apparently Wales has not noticed the difference and no one had the manners to ask Ireland.

Speaking to a professor on the ground; he states on his reputation quite simply... Worms dig billions on trillions of holes per day, 10’s of millions per square yard. If they stopped digging then the rain had no place to go. Right now the Prime Minister, in Blair mode, has begged the Queen and her ladies in waiting (they decided not to ask Prince Phillip along in case he swore) to have a word or two with the worms leader.

We will just place the microphone nearer to hear what is being said at the royal earth.

“Yes I see why now’ softly spoke the monarch, ‘If you are digging the last thing you want is a horde of Corgi’s cocking a leg urinating with willie-less care or dumping night manure on top” that was the Queen herself;

Now the marine Engineer worm, who or whom, I have not managed to catch his name…States with conviction.....”That’s right missus, no one likes someone peeing & shitting on them while they work and while we are at it…..

Another request was if you an you stop those fanfare blaring night and day when ether a dignity arrives or when you go to the loo….its most alarming; especially in the dark?...and does our nuts in”

The queen waves her hand majestically instantly agreeing to the worms demands. The trumpeters are promptly dismissed.... sent out to the Dalai Lama; to remind him of his homeland. ..As for the queens mutts they have been put on a tight reign. As for Prince Phillip…who knows?

The worms were as good as their word and in no time at all things were back to normal.....

Posted by: peter.howden 17th Feb 2015, 09:05pm

A bedroom Drama

You did everything to me, to keep me under your whims, apart from walking all over me ... then lost interest when not connected. Throughout our relationship, which was all one sided, you mistreated me for years, yes years. I sacrificed my appearance giving you the best years of my life... and how do you repay me in so many ways including ignoring me in bed and it is no good trying to hide under the covers……….again.

I am telling you for the last time, no more are you burdening me with your weighty problems just because you need me when you decide it’s time to be intimate. For as far as I can remember, every time I come to bed your always rather manky with ooze ....reeking of yesterday’s booze ...then after coming home in the early morning, pimping and sweating horrible odours which would knock out King Kong.

Every day you leave me alone in this drifty old damp house, expecting me to give a captivating performance just when you push my buttons. I was not put on this earth just for you, but you think you have bought the rights to mistreat and abuse me. Well I tell you brother……. you are not on.

I have lay here night after night, hoping you would come home to our abode so that when you are finished playing with me I would be able to truly rest before the next trial, but like all selfish bastards you think you can do what you like when you like and how you like...well sonny boy not tonight. I am sick to almost discontinuation with the inhuman abuse you lay upon me. In the morning I am curled up after being ill-treated and tossed aside like an old blanket.

Well....I am at the end of my tether, and I can tell you, you have driven me to drastic action even if it means my own existence before I blow a fuse. Tonight, when once again you retreat to bed, lying there steaming like a drunken wally, I will make sure that one electric cord is bare just about where you slop the dregs from the beer can and the drooling will cause a spark and………….. Whoosh goodnight Vienna.

So ends the depressed fiction of a once very proud Electric blanket …………………….un-named...for personal reasons


Posted by: peter.howden 18th Feb 2015, 07:29pm

Granny’s Soup

They say bigotry was rife within Glasgow boundaries and I reckon there will be an element of truth in these stern words, but perhaps not to the same degree as was the past throughout Glasgow, Scotland, Briton and the whole world.

There was intolerance with colour, Italian Pakistani, Arabs, Jews, Chinese almost most races and at the drop of a hat or some rumour, feed, anyone who was different, to ordinary or preserved way of life. Disablement was hidden away or when in company, were talked at...very loudly as if they were dense or near brain-dead, not just created differently when born, as the disfigurement as it was feared it may be catching

It is believed we have come a long way to re-correct but I would suggest that there is always a hiding place for bigotry thoughts... and we should not rest on our laurels, by working always try and see, the other point of view, along with room for scope.

Growing up right near the Clyde was not a battle, only a trek to Renfield church on a Sunday, hearing oldie stories from far off places. It appears although all people say you should be free and able to pray in daily life, whatever you feel.... each religion had passive spiritual message saying theirs alone is true...or the best...causing rivalry and convicted indignant righteousness beyond any logic.

When I met my future In-Laws my views had not changed too much but my knowledge of the world had move on, for the better I hoped. Brought up in a reputed protestant household, and my new girlfriend’s family were all, to a man, Roman Catholic. Caused me no concern by now I was an atheist though through curiosity I read, and debated, lots to do with religion in Scotland and the different theories on theories for poises.

The only person in the whole large family to always show a kindness was patriot Granny. The reason why, I think, the rest of the brood felt uncomfortable, not with my creed or the real lack of it, it was that they put me down as a patter merchant, or as Glaswegians would say...a pure chancer

We would visit Granny every Sunday, as a cheap day out, and without fail, no matter who was in the house, she would shout” get some soup into the lad”.. Three or four bowls latter followed before she was relaxed enough to await and ask a few questions. The favourites were how my hand was doing since she had related the secret was rub olive oil every night to stimulate the muscles. .She would insist squeezing her hand until she would whisper that it was defiantly coming stronger.

This ritual over, she insisted her daughter feed me up something to eat, he stays in digs, grand Granny insisted. This was usually a very large plate of whatever and I was more than glad for it as I was a growing lad. It was not that the rest of the family disliked me it was just I was labelled a smooth talker. I think the old lady may have seen something more in me than the rest did, or she was sorry for me being in the position I was in alone in the world, so to speak or maybe, just maybe she had a soft spot for me?

One day ,while in the kitchen of the cubby lady, she was busying herself making soup, and I saw her cut half a pack of margarine and dispose it into the bubble of the prepared mixture. I had never seen this before, so I asked quietly what she was actually making.

Quick as a flash the reply came

“Catholic soup you orange bastard”

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Feb 2015, 03:19pm


There is a knock on the door. Wonder who it can be? It is rather soft and personal... though it can’t be a friend, for they would know how to press the doorbell a special way squinting to the left. I’ve been meaning to have that bell fixed for some time as it has something to do with the contacts being slack or lose or something. The manager at the rent office said last time around and he promised to send a man round. It’s not him though, for if he was the electrician he’d know how to touch the bell to make it work. Right enough tradesmen are not what they used to be.

I won’t be the postman; he normally bangs and if it is a special delivery, he would put through one of the cards. Tried to deliver mail to you but you were not at home. I think he writes them out before he starts his rounds. He gave me a hint once of a second job and this is why he never wastes a second. He has to be finished for a certain time. I reckon it isn’t the postman... far too late for him.

I wonder if its kids playing “Ring bang Skooshie” still I would doubt it for I never heard them run away. That is if they had the muster to run with all those electric games and computer in their pockets now a day. Operate in silence, alone in their room’s, like little hermits unable to see the sun, with fake tans and pen friends non-existent. They say you hear no chapping in cyber space….. Whatever the hell that is? I was told once it was a void up there storing all information from every computer in the world but it doesn’t exist. Sounds like my football winnings.

There it is again, wonder who is knocking at the door. It may be the fancy tart in No 56; who always wears her Sunday best and chatters on about to love thy neighbour but I don’t think the almighty meant to show special favour for him in No 33. God’s work must have more magic in the wee small hours God works in mysteries ways but there’s bugger all mystery what goes on in No 33 while his missus is away. I’m not a prude.......but I ask you..... Jammy bandit!. .

It could be meals on wheels but I doubt it…..since I told them to bugger oft.... I told the two of them; Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.... Well that is what I called them. I broadcasted for all to hear for I have got nothing to hide...their food was crap.... pig swirl and they would better oft shinning their grave stones. I think the matron said she would never darken my door it can’t be her and that’s a fact.

There it is again; they want attention knocking like that. The trouble with people they have no patience, no consideration for other people’s feelings. Everything is go…go…go..

I guess it won’t be my kith or kin. My son, if you can call him that...the doolie will either be propping up a bar or too drunk to find his way. Even sober he will not remember the address. He only asks for a hand full if happen he comes around. And as for her.... after all I have done for her.......made sacrifices no descent chap would talk about..... she just ran oft without a by your leave or warning.

The iron is still on the table where she left it.... I wonder what ever happened to my sock? Funny things always lose one in the washing....just disappears....always the right one I think.........because there is one left.............

I had a cousin in Durham but that was donkies ago anyway... I’ve moved since she knew me.

It sounds as if they are walking away…..wonder who it was???

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Feb 2015, 02:06pm

Thee Visit

“Hi Archie”....You phoned a couple of days ago, sounding so weak, telling me the latest news from the hospital and your doctor, then insisting it was fruitless to travel down all the way to Guilford as the end could come any time. I reckon you wished your friends to remember you as you were before illness took a grip but being so self-centred, I just wanted to...really needed to... say hallo to an old pal.

The nurse whispered just as I came in, not to expect communication, but there are times when you appear to be lucid but void of any reaction. Sounds rather clinical but then again ...this visit could add an extra word of goodbye. You’re a brave man “Archie”, always was, never shunting away from the what you viewed as reality or truth, with an inner strength which was catching....but at this precise moment I am certainly not ...there I go are the guy in sick-bed and I’m being selfish

All the way down, it was a sort of drama dream, with mixed feelings of joyful reminiscences which go way back and how you influenced the way I thought about things. In the past, we met near every week, but recently not so regularly since you moved to Guilford...but I came down, used your key, but I always phoned first. You did come to Glasgow quite a few times, always stayed in the Central hotel and we would meet up for supper followed by long debates and arguments way into early morning. I always looked forward to those dates, like a kid going for a pleasurable lesson... with your vast knowledge from experience.... you constantly spoke more sense than I ever could. You never said I was wrong...never....but you would express so to me without saying I was wrong.

Stop at the flat before coming here and it was empty.....I mean empty............not a trace of who, or anyone lived there........she took everything.........seemingly could not wait. You always said Guilford was not civilized if you could not buy a bottle of, ‘Irn Bru’ or a ‘Tunnocks tea cakes ‘.... you just missed Scotland........and sadly... it didn’t work out for you both

A couple of times we verged on the subject of the afterlife...agreeing we were so sure it was complete nothingness....but would you mind if I saw it as you napping’s just the silliness within me.

It’s so obvious you are uncomfortable with un-manageable pain, injections of high dosages of morphine, only go so far...being blunt..... Losing so much weight it would be hard for acquaintances to recognize the once resilient man......demise will be a relief fact I can see it being so now......... but I will have an empty corner... a space no one can fill. I hope you don’t mind me talking like this while holding your cold it is, but you seem unaware... though if I used my over active imagination...there is a flicker in your eye, just a slight glimpse of the old Archie.

Remember that time “Archie” when we dined at the Central Station Restaurant (overpriced I always thought...silver service indeed) I complained to you the glass of white wine tasted like water............and you said “no’s Perrier Water?” What a dumplin I am sometimes. Or when we visited an Italian Restaurant.....but that will have to wait............a strict rule of the hospital..........time at the bedside....and since I’m not family.......i will have to go.

I make a promise “Archie”....I will remember you as you were....for there is no other way...Goodbye dear friend.


Posted by: peter.howden 24th Feb 2015, 08:10pm


When you ask any academic or professional writer, what the basic rule about writing, there is a good chance they will end up telling you to write about something you know. The trouble is with this theory is when you have a blank page, and you don’t know anything so nothing is what you write about and very soon you run out of subject matter...leaving you with a blank page without really trying.

‘A life that has not been tested or examined cannot be creative’ said an old Greek philosopher but I would say this is nonsense, for many of us can be simple or empty headed and still create. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to laugh or enjoy life to its fullest. In fact there is room to think how too much evaluation can choke the very life out of any adventure or enjoyment in life.

Two persons springing to my mind to prove my point.... Billy and his mother Mary, who unfortunately are both deceased now, but as far as they were concerned they lived their shortened lives to the fullest whilst abiding across the road from our abode.

This is where Mary and her son Billy, who’s only outlook was to scramble through any day as best they could.... with as much alcohol humour thrown in to life’s melting pot. Mary was known locally as a character, as many older people in Glasgow are.... because she would talk to anyone, stranger or friend with wit and a wink of the eye outlook beaming to hell with tomorrow. Mary could claim fame for Billy was also a born character, in his own right, unusual to have two such persons in a living family, even for Glasgow.

Billy’s hobbies were Rangers... an empty glass lifter. I would presume ‘glass lifters’ exists in every busy pub throughout Scotland, under a different guise, with a busy bar.... a regular local user, who is there every night can perform this duty, when chosen after years of attendance. Collecting used glasses at the punters side of the counter, with a reward of a few beers on the house. It helped the bar staff and it helped Billy saving the expense of alcohol each night.

Mary was a cheery wuman who always seemed to laugh as so as she spotted anyone she wished to pass the time of day with and along with her friend and next door neighbour, she would often have slight refreshment when the mood took. Mary and Billy were both free spirits... in more than one way.

One particular day when Marry had not been well for quite a few days, the Doctor was called, to examine the possibilities of her compulsory stay in bed, she was asked a few normal questions. One seemingly innocent enquiry was “had she taken any pills lately” with this Mary answered a resounding YES, making the Doc look at his patient’s records...then look puzzled...asking “are you sure”, with a definite echo “Yes”. An expression of worry crossed the Doc’s brow when he added there was no sign in her notes of any pills prescribed over the last six months. In a lower tone asked ‘where did she get them?’.

She answered with confidence she personally did not obtain them but her Billy did. The Registrar inquired, ‘what amount had she been taking?’

Quick as a flash, Mary said.... about six at a time. The Doc reacted, ‘what colour were these pills?’. Marry, mussed; ‘green and yellow’

This forced the general practitioner to utter under who’s instruction did he obtain these pills and she then came back with “ME”.

The physician was by now nether up the wall or down it and had a final stab at what he believed to be a sensible all round question and asked what chemist supplied such pills without authorization needed normally with a Doctors line and again with instant speed the answer came with some surprise in her voice”.

“You don’t get Pills Lager from a chemist.... if you can get them with a Doc chitty.... then please write a few out”. Billy thought they would cheer me up and at the same time sweat this terrible whatever it is out of me.

It was probably not the best lager in the world....but probably the best piece of humour the Doc had heard for a while.

Posted by: peter.howden 25th Feb 2015, 04:27pm


The longest tem minutes I have ever spent and it was in a caring place. On the way there the mutt looked at me accusingly with its sad deep eyes until I realized it was my uncomfortable interpretation. The dog just sat there reflecting my thoughts via her eyes, dark spiritual pools piercing my already fragile guilt. In short I was taking Aunt Becky’s hound to the vet with a strong probability of it being for the last time.

Several weeks earlier Aunt Becky had been taken into hospital and my grand-children had volunteered to be the carers of the bitch, the dog... not our wee aunt. Becky loved the dog to death and often too much by feeding them everything she thought the hound would like, plus a few extras along the way. Fish suppers and cream biscuits, washed down by milk were no strangers to the canine’s dining table.

Gregg’s famous pies were no stranger to her plate though sometimes all she received was a Glasga salad……….. Plate of chips.. The only reason the dug did not have the legendary ‘Deep Fried Mars-Bars’ was Aunt Becky’s repugnance to chocolate in any state., ever since with an incident in the siren shelter during the war.

In contrast the children stuck to a précised feeding pattern backed up with regular exercise. The mutt grew healthy and wet nosed though my daughter spotted the dog licking her special bits more than she thought she aught. I took’ Lassie’ to the locum vet who gave me antibiotics and ordered us back next week’ he warned me of serious consequences. The following week, the senior vet instructed the dog back to the main surgery, for exploring examination, in a voice and manner indicating a very serious diagnose.

Meanwhile Aunt Becky comes home and broadcasts thanks to the children , indicating she would be happy to resume her tender care on the pooch .I had to tell her about the visit to the vets as I was scared not to. It would have been a terrible shock to Aunt Becky if the dog had gone without her knowing about the possible tumour. We both cried a bit, all that day, and more.

So here was the dog, sitting in the car like snoopy as I nervously glancing at her.... hoping she would not sense my desperation. She did not for it was only my clarification of her moments surrounding this trip. Selfishly I wish I had taken bow-wow to the graveyard earlier in the morning as she just run around crazy trying to catch rabbits and squirrels. Although she always failed in her goal, she lapped up every moment. Driving with a dread music of Elvis’s ‘Old Shep’ coming over the radio, but needing some distractions from the mutts returning stare.

’Lassie kept trying to give me a paw each time the car stopped at traffic lights or nuzzle her nose under my hand as I changed gears though most of the journey she just sat in the front seat like the famous Peanut character . It was a lovely morning when we reached the leafy part of Whiteinch meeting Scoutston. Early as I was so early in the morning I decide to take the canine for a walk to kill some time. Perhaps not a very good choice of words but I was nervous, for both of us.

Leaving the pedigree anonymous there was hard on both the dog and myself as she was dragged away to the enclosure. The assistant where every inch of kindness and even talked in the high pitched voice for soothing purpose but annoying to my ear. Lassie now defiantly knew something was amiss, as she had been there twice before and her senses taught her to fight against being manipulated towards the trap. She had shown teeth in angry fear for the first time ever in my presence. My heart and manner sank right there.

She had a tumour and was put to sleep because of its spread and dumb animals should not suffer.

In my mind nether should human beings, dumb or the song goes’ if there is a doggy heaven?’…………… thing for sure; I will not be there.


Posted by: peter.howden 26th Feb 2015, 02:52pm


There were many backcourts in Glasgow situated a million miles away from poverty and if one toffee sweet paper or a piece of litter drifting aimlessly by the breeze, there would be one stooshie of a kerfuffle if not stramash .in many a Wally-Close. This description was of a stairway to tenement houses, which had tiles, or fancy decoration that was much sought after by the haughty brigade. No one underneath their supposed class or station in life was allowed into the hallow walls of residence unless called for or dipped their tatty bunnets in respect

It was not uncommon of workmen changing from ordinary labour clothing of their work and into suits in Central railway station before embarking home and entrance to such intimate passageway. This was

the desperate lengths some would go to hide the fact that their employment were not of the supposed standards of other lord and lady mucks of such esteem quarters.

This crazy class illusion was not available for the other type of communal dwellings in the backcourts in any slum area was just about the same however, people were not aware of presiding in such a place called ‘A Slum’ or did not realize they were deemed destitute or ‘in poverty’ for most people were in the same boat and some were more skint than others. Such was the situation in the Gorbals and other parts of Glasgow at the turn of the previous century, including, such as Dundee, Liverpool and other industrial cities around Briton....great or otherwise. In those areas were backcourts.... which today would be unimaginable but existed all the same. Those were manky holes at best and utterly disgraceful germ, disease ridden hotspots in reality. This was not the fault of the tenant.

Most closes had room and kitchens on each landing and a single end dotted through the whole stairway. A common toilet positioned halfway up each stairway to the landing. Every proud misses of the household kept her domain spick and span... to the very best of her ability and woe betide anybody who spoilt her efforts. There was one or two considered clatty middens who became the talk of the steamie every wash day.

The backcourts foul smelling marshes of mucky puddles and mud in the winter and dust bowls in the hot summers Kids played with anything at hand or from the middens. Now and again, something really smashing was found in the ‘Luck Midden’, treasured more than a pot of gold by the finder, keeper. Shops sprung up as the wee lassies had cardboard counters and milk bottles filled with muddy water and displayed as perfumes or milk or ginger. Empty cans filled the store and milk tops was the money to pay for such luxuries. Many a tear came when such shops were forcibly close for the night by weary mothers.

Nevertheless, back to where there was fun and life by the jug full where most people said hallo and meant it.

Backcourts of Glasga were alfresco entertainment centres were mistrals of different quality would sing their hearts out proving there was no shortage of chanters. Sometimes a mouthorgan player would join in or even a banjo. Highlights of the show shown by the youngsters, in the audience, giving rapture applause with the help of dustbin lids. The then performer would show their agility by catching pennies and the like thrown from various windows, down to the court. They had to be smart as the young tinkers were not averse to nipping in and grabbing the fallen loot.

Our gang decided to do something different and perform as a circus. The idea came from Kelvin Hall annual circus. These instant shows came without frills but bags of enthusiastic wee showstoppers. Tubby was to be the strong man while Willie became the escape artist and a couple of the girls would do show dancing. Alan was the ring master with a top hat made out of an old oil black container. Tub’s had a dog which could do roll over and play dead, then hold its paw out which was quite nifty but there was something vital missing... at the first whiff of a sausage or cooking in any was off like a hound out of hell .

A group of woman were sitting waiting the grand opening of the instant gala as weans prepared murmurs from the group peevish they had no one to dress up in baggy trousers, a squirting flower, big shoes to fall over and a painted face.

Just at that moment one of the well-built wuman smiled and belted out ‘ the name of the wee man, there are plenty of clowns around Richmond Park and Glasga Green’;


Posted by: peter.howden 28th Feb 2015, 02:39pm

Slight stout language deemed it apt

The window to watch.

Because in the 60s/ 70s the rag trade was ripe with so many outlets to pick from, it was not too difficult to change jobs or positions within the close circuit of the clothing trade. Paul had a fed up span in his employment which lured him to John Colliers (the window to watch) this tailors was part of the multiple trade which included Burton, Jacksons, Fifty bob tailors, and Dunns, slightly upmarket to City Cash group.

Salesman class was first, second, third and junior had a recognized standing inside any shop or store in any company. The first sales took the plums like made to measures and suits. The second sale would take coats and blazers if the first sale was busy. The third and junior took whatever was handed down. Colliers carried this discipline a few steps further.

Although Paul had worked as senior sales in many shops, he was placed, quite rightly, at the back so to analyse my potential, serving at the shirt counter for the first week. They discovered he was known as a spokie (ability to measure bespoke suits flannels and jackets) so they placed Paul , on their busiest day, Saturdays, in the front measure

Each Saturday, Paul would finish a particular bespoke sale, ready to write chitty receipt, and at that precise point, he was called by the first sale to assist somebody...while he took over the writing of the bill. Paul discovered after his first wage packet two weeks in his allotted commission was not showing. Later... being interviewed by Mr Black, manager he told they would go through the first sales.

The following Monday while stuck behind shirts again, Paul was contemplating my future and statues when I was given two average customer, who turned out to be loaded tipsy sailors, asking for shirts so the first, second third, were not interested. The multiples always answered and talked to customers in a set manner, and never strayed, so stray talking was out their league. It turned out they were home for three weeks and were really looking for two suits for that evening to go to the Highland institute(a well-known Scottish Dancing event held every week up Charring Cross way) but believed they could not be fitted up.

Paul ’s unique patter changed their minds selling two suits, two coats two sports jackets and trousers to boot. As an afterthought he suggested made to measure and they jumped at the chance and remember this was ready cash sale as they were just oft the boats from a long haul. As he wrapped up the sale and measurements, while filling in the necessary forms for my commission, a senior salesperson approach “Mr Paul ..., Mr. dent wish’s to speak to you” and with this said, made a gesture to take my place.

Paul with a glued smile replied simply “You can take an F--- to yourself” and carried on writing. He was so taken aback at such a foreign response inside this type of establishment; he repeated the request with a little more vigour. The response stayed the same but louder” you can take an F--- to yourself”.

The customers looked a bit surprised and asked if Paul was in any bother. He reassured them all was in hand and carried on. The next thing was the arrival of Mr Dent, who quickly and efficiently informed Paul that he personally would take over the sale as the manager wish’s to see Paul right away. Paul ’s response did not change although his tone became gruffer. “You can go and F--- yourself”, and like clockwork drilled into an army and because he was not used to such a retort, so repeated adding, “It’s for your own good Mr. Paul .” Paul moved not an inch while with the last flick of his trusty tape measure; to spin around.... answered “F--- Off”.

Managements dilemma was it was obvious caught between a couple of customers and a rouge salesperson, etiquette had to be observed. For the remaining time, Paul was left in peace with just the strongest hint, if all the eyes were to be believed, he was I deep trouble once the counters were cleared of punters.

Once Paul ’s bodies walked out the swivel door of the shop, he made my way upstairs to the locker room for his coat. Walking down stairs, meet Mr. Black, the manager, halfway down, or up it depends how you look at it, whose face was as red as red could be. Passing him the manager began his rant.... uninterrupted until Paul closed the front door. “You will never work in our stores again”, followed “you’ll never work in Argyll St ever again”. While getting louder he wailed “You’ll never, ever work or be employed in Glasgow Ever”...sounding ever so sincere

Strolling along to the grand Glasgow Cross, Paul strolled into City Cash and met the General Manager, asked if work was at hand. He responded with the question “when can you start” and now was his reply. Five minutes after Paul was working for a new master and do you know,

Paul was offered by Collier’s senior management when he returned to the store to pick up my P45 and monies due, a position in another store and as a first sales but declined.

Paul met Mr. Black on a few occasions after the verbal stramash.... but he refused to even speak to Paul . It never ceases to amaze how some people who just can’t take in being wrong.

P.S. Paul was offered a position in Slater’s, years later, at a gargantuan salary, and again he turned it down. By the way, Mr Black was the under manager for Slater’s ...but by all accounts, the sum Paul was offered was higher than his wages.

Funny how things run, is it not.


Posted by: peter.howden 1st Mar 2015, 12:11pm

What are dreams?

What are they lay in wait within crowded but forgotten allays, stirring in the making, to opt out unannounced to strike sensitive nerves uncontrollably forming a passage for Auld Nick practicing his sardonic purposes whilst the host is in a docile position ...or simply a undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, ... “Scrooge” wrongly predicted.

Alternatively; is it possible dreams, are worrying sensations somewhere, reproduced in a murky curve of the mind while in slumber, and then when awaked, not remember or to find innocent or not accurate or simply imaginary ...yet... an uneasy emotion flutters and lingers way after the client is awake.

In true confession style I have been involved, many a time my choices made in a hasty manner, in different shades of grey may be viewed through other eyes as greedy or self-interest which I resoundingly regret later....but being history I am unable to change the outcome. These types of thorny issues pop up every now and then...leaving an onus compound, enduring for an unlimited time... yet unexplained why?

It is plausible dreams are simply animal survival instincts keeping out the terror of the world, forcing chaos at bay by creating a safe haven to return to when reality is too much to bare...for sin or the conclusion of it, has no boundaries but may seep when least expected somewhere along the line.

This very morning I awoke, instantly brooding and mentally asking when or why does a dream become a dread to open your eyes, when does lucid illusion ooze into reality; when does the fantasy become fact ....or hope disappears into the quicksand of misapprehension horror .The situation was not only confusing but left me bewildered as to what was real and what was invented.

What was life and what was dreaming? It may sound perfectly feasible to the rational head of deduction automatically separating reality from fiction however; remember... this is achieved in the welcoming light of day. My normal reveries spanned usually at the dead of the darkest hour of night, oozing and whimpering in most cracks and crevices of my now disturbed snoozing mind.

Sticky and concentrated residue act as natural glue keeping my eyes closed, with the help of the back of my hand rubbing quite vigorously, it aided my lids from the unwanted substance. Movement of my left arm was difficult, let alone my hand, so I decided just to stay still until movement came back. During the night, I must have lain on my side, on top of my hand which preventing the proper blood flow. As I have grown older I have noticed this inability to move after wakening has become more common than not

My head slightly moved from the softness of the pillow, a wriggling sensation underneath encourage my wish to roll onto my back, yet preferring to keep my eyes close, while unexpectedly my mind switch on to the previous night’s entertainment

Along with friends, discussed the bible and faith driven by Christian belief but in particular Moses and his peoples; the Israelites. A lengthily debate took place about whither there was the 10 plagues of Egypt which included Boils Blood ,Hail and a massive sand storm called “Cashimh”. .

Out of the blue someone indicated ants are strange in two ways. One being they can have numerous queens and are so small they can hold a colony in a thimble or between sheets of paper.

We should hold a contest for who talks the most tosh.... With such a loose running thought, my neck became uncomfortable and itchy underneath the skin. By now I was wide awake and certainly having no chance resuming the happier state of slumber.

Was this conversation the source of my unauthorized heaviness, an awareness of dread about my being....The mind boggles.....but. Not in the land of nod..... and certainly not at 04.05 of the morning clock

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Mar 2015, 09:16pm


Not again...There’s that knock again....can’t think who it can be.... Just as I manage to puff up the cushions to make my old easy chair more comfortable ... I bet it’s the same nuisance as yesterday whoever they are.......well I’m staying put.... maybe it’s the television licence detector van...looking for proof.... turn the sound down on the telly....he’ll think I’m out....bugger this... its wagon train with Ward Bond........ I’ll need to guess what he’s saying....he was grand in the searchers ... There it goes again...........might have got the wrong it’s a waste of time getting up.

It could be some religious charity giving aims for the poor...doubt it round here. They would be mugged in one street but one...soon as their soles hit the pavement.....hard cases round there...not safe in the dark...or daytime come to think of it

I don't know if it’s urgent... personal...could be Littlewoods football... they have to hand the winning cheques over personally .but with my luck. It the shop and not the pools company...lost the luck of the Irish .........anyway I stopped doing them last year so unless there was a late goal?.... tried spot the ball once...could not see it...even with a magnifying they left it out on purpose...

Could be Misses Grant, Sadie to her friends, sounds like her knock.......yes she has a particular thump.....wonder what she wants, Petty or significant........ Oh’s getting louder.... she’s staying there would think if no-one answers.... after all this time she would presume I’m out... and go away... it could be she’s round with the cake she promised last Christmas...I’m this is Monday....bake day is Thursday...... jings my slipper has a hole...

By chance it’s the big bloke who owns the dairy ... come to complain about last week shenanigans....if it’s he....I’m defiantly staying here... did not pay the bill ...£3 for three weeks owed .... I think I’m barred for insulting the milkman. I answered the door when he was looking for Christmas gratuity. He told me he was from Pakistan and he had Co-Op on his uniform, I said, ‘must have a big milk round, so that’s why your slow ?’.

Instantly angry his face blew red; he stuttered he was going to report me to the race relation board....Some people can’t take a poke of fun...or a joke and find it hard to laugh at themselves;... I must admit...they have better manners ...than some I could mention... could be

There they go again; rattling the panel off the letter box.. Wonder what they want?.... must be in a hurry.... Impatient bugger whoever it is....on the other hand...might be from the social Security, wanting to cut my money again. All these long forms to fill up... and I fought in the last war for the name of freedom. Do they show appreciation.... no way....not a clue what self-sacrifice is.

Wait a minute; there at it again. Getting a bit ratty are they not. It could anything. If they think I will jump....another think coming.... More than likely those young thugs who shout out and call me an old bastard. A short sharp shock is what they need. Have no respect for king and country. I’d shoot the lot if I had my way... swing for them I would. Anyway it can’t be them for there is no hubbub no shouting. I’m sure it was them who peed through my letter box last week ...then again... I couldn’t be sure.

It might be her from 21 looking for a subscription for wee black babies in Africa. She is a nice wee woman but is a pain in the bum when she talks of Finding God. She is a bit of a prude....wonder when she lost him. The minister still comes around but that is his job... is it not….to help old persons like me and all we have to do is say….. Jesus saves; ....I hope it’s not the Jehovah Witnesses... there’s not getting rid of these Americans evangelist with the plastic smiles.

It might be that Indian guy of the corner shop. I asked him if he believed in free speech, and he said, aye so I asked if I could use his telephone. He just played dumb. Anything to do with money.... their prices are well over the top. He says I owe him £31 from when I was last in his shop and I had forgotten my wallet. People are money mad....what’s the world coming too

I don’t know.... Someone told me he had his shop done up last year. I don’t know what it’s like for I have not been in yet.

We were poor in the old days but happy days. They don’t know their born these days. That knocking is getting irritable but I wonder what they want. Why? Could it be the fancy filly from 56…..naw much use anyway!.......past my sell bye date.

Stuff it, I need a pee... can’t go or they will hear me. These people are so inconsiderate. Can I hold it o bugger it… I’m dribbling.... It sounds like the same knocking as yesterday but they gave up quickly before I had time to make me mind up. Might be a telegram ... can’t be....surly they stopped doing them some years ago. Last one I got was call up during the war and I floated off to stay with my auntie in Eire... or Eriu my Gaelic Goddess

Still… I would like to know who it is. I hear footsteps walking away ….trouble with people today... they have no patience.... just rush; rush; rush


Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Mar 2015, 04:21pm


The building was some old grand age, neglected down to the ground; dilapidated, though at one stage, had been converted into separate flats. The actual front door lay on its hinges. The tenement had once been the pride of home-making for good honest hard working Glaswegian families...and before that... a city residence for some upper-middleclass family of better than the run of the mill heritage.

The now condemned unsafe slum building should have been razed to the ground, flattened and not tattered up to its last legs while absentee landlord squeezed every penny he could with no humane feeling worth a drip.... having a iron cast heart.

The clatty hallway gave a horrible clue and apprehensiveness followed everyone who may have knocked the grubby door on purpose or by accident; for entering such squalor for its aerial mark being so pungent at the door and beyond.

Inside; within the walls of what can only be described as a manky midden, sat a cast of frump to the world. But this trollop had a name though for spells through her staggered day of neglect... even she herself may have forgotten. Her name was Kate or Cathy to some. Her feminine magic had gone long ago.

Everything touched was a skin of sticky jam texture without the sweetness but instead a suffocated odour prevailed a fustiness of rotten mushrooms. No sign of cooking while a couple of empty MacDonald’s take ways, lay in no order on couch and one perched up in a corner like a motionless pet. The staleness of smoking was not only caustic on the eyes but got up your nose

Kate must have had a recognizable female form which had been hidden for years in dowdiness and neglect. Her children had long since flown the nest and no one ever heard of a mention of her man except in times of real delirium and that was scripted as “blooming bastard” over and over again.

In moments of sanity her mind was frantic with half-baked ideas or languished in memories she alone was merely a toy

Her childhood recalls was her bony mother telling her when times get hard, she would go to the fruit market and pick up bashed fruit and vegetables from the gutter or rake through once the market stalls were closed. “You will never go wrang with a bowl of soup” her mother’s words rang in Kate’s sober brain more often than she cared to remember. She was too proud to demean herself.

One thing was true and that was she never stooped to prostitution for she was not a gal like that; even though she had kept her looks but only in her mind and not in the mirror. She did sleep with strangers she meets at the local country club but that was just for an extra swally. Now even the cattiest bloke demanded her to wash before he would entertain a fumble never mind sex

Kate had no conception of time just awake with sweat and aches with searching her abode for a drop of something alcoholic. Blacked out periods she had no idea of.

Religion was lost apart from the occasional hand out devoid of meaning with less appreciation and annoyance for having to mumble three verses of “Jesus saves”.

It was deed as a furnished flat because of a bed a wardrobe and drawers of some description and a thread bared rug and the side; for this the social paid blood money to the cockroach of a proprietor.

The authorities were forced to open the dingy den because of complaints of smells and rats lose in the crumpled construction Kate’s door revealed an over-profusion of smells and darkened corners, even when they don’t exist. She lay slumped and oblivious in death as she was in life. A lone anxious voice says this should not happen again as the mawkit door is closed over. No one came to the funeral

Within a heartbeat some other poor lost soul in accommodated in Kate’s old dodgy flat

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Mar 2015, 03:07pm


Always prime and proper, that is what she was shining like a new pin, being tidy to almost obsession. This almost sums up the middle class middle aged lady whose flat had seen better days and the district of her smallish abode, had certainly gone down the property market Every Sunday the lady would attend the local church, casually whispering hallo while nodding profusely while smiling to whoever... yet, apart from this form of social intercourse; her life was pretty close to being dormant

Each Sunday without exception other than illness, she would dawn her respectable clothing, which had little difference to her other attire except it had been the latest purchase. From childhood she had been installed to wear brand new apparel only to be worn on the Sabbath. The garb which used to be Sunday best was demoted to Saturday only and Saturday only was reduced to week-day attire.

Once home from any of these days then it was straight into clothing once called week-day but now classed as old. Old worn out Knickers and socks were used as dusters with only rags ending up in the bin. The rag and bone man used to come round with his pony and cart, blowing his bugle till he turned blue and gave balloons for old cardigans and the like.

There is a void in her life though the sad thing is; she does not realize this simple fact. She has no friends only the old hens of the church. There is a distinct possibility that her attendance is out of habit than conviction. Each holy day she meets old maids equally prim if not primmer. She then returns to her small domain and has cottage cheese and a cup of very weak tea. She sits alone in the tiny kitchenette because her sitting room has a huge plastic cover over her suite so not to dirty it while awaiting unknown guests to arrive.

The only amusement allowed in the flat is a small transistor radio.... switched on for the news only.

Kate, for that is her name, carries the exact same sandwiches each day to her work as a book-keeper for one of the oldest law firms ever in Glasgow. Thirty five years of potted Beef-hough has dulled her taste buds to the extent everything tastes the same.

Kate is meticulously precise having the whole shebang in its place only moved for dusting. The flat holds no memories other than drudgery. It was not always so and though it is hard to believe at this very moment,

Kate was once with a man. The reason why it finished is clouded and lost in absentee thoughts, however just now and then you may catch a glimpse of a faint smile recalling.

One evening some weeks ago, Kate was trying desperately to open a packet of scented soap but found the cellophane impossible to release its charge. In growing desperation, Kate tore wildly at the sealed object but in vain, as it stubbornly remained unscathed. Kate’s blood-pressure rose as her face turned red almost scarlet. She then just dropped down dead.

No one really missed her in the following couple of weeks in the holy place for the peoples she associated within the church had no scrapping of an idea where she lived. That is the authorities at the door right now and preparing to break down the entrance. They will find poor Kate dead as much as they found her alive; an enigma

Curiously her bible was opened at a passage with a piece of paper marking the page. On the paper was scribbled “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.

I wonder if she found out.


Posted by: peter.howden 9th Mar 2015, 10:38am

Five loaves and two fishes;

Such pandemonium as there was, ceases the instant the wuman clips the lughole of one of her cheeky little tykes, for daring to nick a wee bite of bread. Wiping her hands on her tired piny, she bawls her words to the waft of weans, ‘bloody manners’. The echoes wobble around the tiny scullery like a marble in a tin can, while the broods heads bowed, submissively siting as quiet and still their young bones would allow, stopping any mischievous ways her prized cherubs instinctively have . Everyone knew the dread waiting, on this day especially, for old torn face…father

This was pay day, nevertheless this was no guarantee if Jean, not so old but ageing mother would have any money to put in her empty purse. She had three empty ginger bottles stashed under the sink curtain, just in case. These pop bottles where known in her circles as ‘Glass—Cheques;’ in good days the kiddies may have them but…not this bloody day. It all depended on Harry, the ramblings of daddy, who he met or what pub he landed in, the bookies, he chose called silently his name.

Some may not credit Jean as being educated, as schooling in her day stopped when her mother needed help around the house. Though strapped for cash she had the sense to have planks all over the house. They held little bundles of money for desperate times but it was hard to tell the difference in these thread bearing days.

While Jean looking upward to the tattered smoke ridden ceiling, as if on silent prayer, when abruptly the door exposed open. Her man, if this is the true description, puts his head around the door frame and splutters out that Wee Willie, and John and Fred and another loon, had come back, on his kind invitation for a bite to the kitchen. He grunts; ‘Jean the boys want to see our little nippers’, burps the man of the household, followed by a drunken display to show who is master in the house.... ‘Something to eat wuman’ Hugh slurs, even though five drunks hawkers sat down at the kitchen table oblivious of the bairn’s

Jean was a good mother to her weans, did everything to protect them from the violent things he life held, though no matter how she strained to do so, the ugliness of poverty and ignorance bit deep into her soul. She knew her place in this world but more so in this small tenement flat she struggled to make a home. One thing she was determined was no one will take the food out of her children’s mouths. With a shrunken smile she stepped back hiding the fact she is stirring a pot of illicit mince, alongside a huge pot of boiled potatoes.

She knew her drunken husband was the only bairn.

Adding to another pot of salty water, more than three and a half handfuls of lentils, a half used union and then two Oxo cube she returned just ten minutes later and served up the banquet to the sitting guest including the chief of the puddins. A left over tin of Sardines, which was being saved from the Christmas dinner because Harry was too bevvied to eat, was displayed for all to see the two remaining week old smelly fish. Five near mouldy slices of Pan breid, was dished out to each and every guest.

Totally unaware of what was happening right under their noses, the blootered guests feed on scraps while on the scullery table next door, her bulging brood, tucking into bundles of mince& tatties and carrots and peas ….fresh bread and butter…. Washed down with warm inviting tea, for everyone’s afters...two chocolate digestive biscuit’s and a good helping of ginger....

Apart from eating noises, the silently imagined they were in a posh restaurant..... ‘The wee lambs’ ...thought Jean.....

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Mar 2015, 09:01am


Jim stepped down from the train, lights a longed for cigarette, looked around him, as he always did, just to check all was friendly. Sometimes in the past it had not been so. Taking his bearings, examining his pockets, to see if he had been dipped travelling, resisting a within feeling.... something was just not connecting.

At first he was unaware the train was silently pulling away, increase speed to allow the locomotive departure from the platform. Jim looked directly at the main massage board; which struck him like a thunderbolt he was in the wrong station, with the writing on the railway swinging sign confirming it.

He desperately tried to catch the ever disappearing Pullman, but even the very last carriage was way out of reach. Frantically he searched his flawed mind as to what to do now; having faith in his destiny was on this the carriage with his personal numbered seat. Jim simmered down, trying to work out just how it happened as this tedious journey was foretold in the omens long ago. His reservation ticket with the right seat number, correct destination, in big print. His token cardboard ticket had been close to his heart which he gawked on secretly, just after the midnight hour, almost every night, for weeks, trusting it was a pass out of where he was.... an answer to many a prayer.

Jim even believed it to be a heavenly guiding light... a new start. The number of the seat he had chosen by an inspirational act of blindfolding himself, opening the bible to finger a passage, pinpointing a verse. The numeral revealed and the letter of the book, he selected to be his carriage away from his ever growing darkness.

Jim heavily shrugged his shoulders, surrendering to a dreadful and unwanted ill- fortune. While wondering his next step, suddenly and explosion followed by indescribable clamour bellowed down from the tunnel. Time stood still, filled of terrible echoing pains screaming overpowering terror.

An announcement over the crackling loud speaker mumbles something about a collision. As these words were being translated over a stunned audience, Jim found himself running towards the tunnel enclosed in darkness, with just a hint of light somewhere in the awful blackness.

Within short minutes he had reached the edge of the now obvious catastrophe...then as if some force was guiding him searched our the very carriage he booked to travel to his rendezvous with fate.

Somehow in the apartment where his allotted seat was situated, a bizarre light abled him to see clearly, a person was literary sprawled in his reserve seat. He had no medical experience yet instinctively saw, with a simple glance, the man was in a real bad way.

Jim did his best to make the stranger comfortable; telling him help should not be long, though the truth whispered that all was lost and his gut erupted with terribly emptiness. He could not help himself looking with genuine pity at the broken body in his seat.

He opened up his heart to the dying man, confessing he must have been mad to follow a fantasy as fate had played a terrible trick, by allowing another person to take his place. He should be there, not the stranger. . He was the one designed to perish...not the stranger.

This crumpled body made every effort to gather hidden strength from within to utter these words for Jim, who by now was crying extensively. “Don’t look for death, for it will find you without any assistance from you”. Taking a deep excruciating breath, the stranger continued, ‘I’m crippled now but my mind is still sharp remembering resent happenings”. “I have more happiness to recall which keeps me reasonably content... for these last moments”. He lay back to rest and then uttered

“Don’t call it madness to follow unscheduled dreams, call it foolhardy if you wish but don’t call it madness”. “Chance happens just by living; despair takes hold when you think about it”. “It’s called Fate when you are looking for a reason and a poor one at that”.

With these last words.... The man died.... leaving Jim……..

Posted by: peter.howden 12th Mar 2015, 07:10am

Any similarities or likeness or connection to any person, or animal or fictional character, is by coincidence, especially “The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea”?. The essayist takes no responsibility;


The owl and the pussycat,
Met in a tree on day,
Said the Owl to the pussycat,
Stay with me and play,
Said the Cat to the Owl,
With a sleekit smile,
Yes; let’s stay and play,
Least for a little while,
Cat naughtily swung his paw,
Ruffling feathers of the Owl,
Hanging grimly with a claw,
Then let out a horrid howl;
The Cat lost its balance then,
Tumbled straight on the root,
It’s lives spent were ten,
The Owl cared not a hoot…..

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Mar 2015, 09:34am


Dorran had to admit though perhaps just to himself .everything changes but still remains the same..............what happened to the urge, the deep thriving passion held by him and his companions who were desperate to make a difference, opening up the universe to the truth......acknowledging the demand by asking thee important question....or be dammed.

Dorran was his proud name, with fiery noble Irish blood running through his very veins, ready more than willing, with his confidantes, to reach out to change the world. What became of their dreams of utopian ideals? Was his name a signal to focus the needs for the human race, or to mean exile as a wanderer?

This was a life away but now time had shown its hand, not in constant cruelly but deceptive interferences due to circumstances beyond Dorran’s control. His companions had move away in separate directions, way in the deepest past, their youthful vigour was lost on the establishment because the hidden halls of power wished status quo by constantly stamping old treaties as new....making the same pathetic mistakes as their for-fathers

Yet with constant regularity financial crisis, once more hits the country, making for time unemployed Dorran contemplate all these things and many more, trying to persuade himself he should exercise both his body and mind, while he is just about hung together in both these areas. .History tells us our unemployment regime is way above necessity except for those who capitalize on the masses misery, but apathy now drives Dorran’s actions. His intellect is simply his phone, letting his fingers do the walking and the internet his vehicle of knowledge and purchase, along with most of the population.

Dorran’s bedroom is his sanctuary; his phone is not his lifeline but his life. He has no money for ‘The gym’ and no wanting for exercise, or to be mentally or physically fit.... too busy endeavouring to survive.....while beyond endurance.

Some may blame him but is it really only his fault, but being under hidden manipulation and peer’s pressure, squeeze every penny from the poor’s pocketing by passive aggressively making a social dependency.... legal to print their own money for the top companies. Right from the beginning of so called civilization, it’s been wars, combat, gambling, religion, Gin, cocaine, booze, sex ...and now technology brings all this and more secretly into Dorran’s home to brainwash his now un-awareness. The fire is lost... no longer existed

Dorran has no reason to walk so he stays put. Each decade make excuses or complain, depending if old..... or up and coming, although the reasons appear to change...the basics remain firmly in place

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Mar 2015, 03:03pm


The owl and the pussycat,

Met in a tree on day,

Said the Owl to the pussycat,

Stay with me and play,

Said the Cat to the Owl,

With a sleekit smile,

Yes; let’s stay and play,

Least for a little while,

Cat naughtily swung his paw,

Ruffling feathers of the Owl,

Hanging grimly with a claw,

Then let out a horrid howl;

The Cat lost its balance then,

Tumbled straight on the root,

It’s lives spent were ten,

The Owl cared not a hoot

Posted by: peter.howden 14th Mar 2015, 01:49pm

The right Time;

Pure excitement can’t help taking over his body and nerves, for it always happens every Saturday and has done for well over a year when he will see, at Boot’s Corner, the most gorgeous girl this side of Scotland. Boot’s corner does not really exist now but it is the place where true lovers met and some poor soul had dizzies, but not him because she always turns up at the very same time every Saturday. As he dances and warbles like ‘Tony’ singing ‘Something’s coming’ from the fabulous film ‘West Side Story’ he had a feeling tonight will be the night which will change their lives forever.

Just for reassurance, if reassurance was needed, he checks once again to make sure the ring is in its case, and the case is secure in his right pocket of his jacket, for tonight might just turn out be the most magical night ever to make his life complete. Love blossomed from the very first moment he laid eyes on her angelic smiling face and her bubbling personality, however he has never been able to enlighten his deepest desires, prevented because of his shyness and being tongue-tied when he becomes serious.

Every Saturday, straight after work, his schedule is a methodical timetable, shower then talc, aftershave, then dressing with carefully ironed shirt and tie and cufflinks to match his best light blue suit. His whole attire completed with immaculate shinny shoes. Phones the usual taxi company and travels into the city centre clutching the precious wee red jewellery box.

Walking towards the ‘Hielanman's Umbrella’ from Buchanan Street end of Argyle St, he is on time and he can see her standing there on the same meeting point as usual. He slows down and stops for she has not seen him. He waits for a few moments taking a check on reality. Suddenly she is beaming, smile over smile while running open armed towards another fella and they intimately hug, and then walk hand in hand past him

He was hoping, as he has every time, that this Saturday the guy would not turn up and he could then introduce himself properly but she does not know him……….ye?. If that other guy would just take a rain check or give her a dizzy, he could step in and take her to the pictures or something. He knows she would fall for him, if introduced the right way just like he did for her but this other guy makes it imposable. for just that moment he is the saddest man in the world.

Turning around he is secure in the knowledge that fate will make their meeting………..its just a question of when…………maybe next Saturday………………….

Posted by: peter.howden 15th Mar 2015, 11:06am


In the cold light of daybreak and of course in the eyes of the law, Mary was considered as a prostitute, which in olden days was deemed to being a harlot, also named as the oldest profession in the world but it is neither a vocation nor occupation, for Mary to put her body ‘up for sale’ but a road taken out of sheer desperation.

She had through this means of surviving, been called a strumpet, trollip, whore and slut, but the one such definition filled her with horror, cutting like a knife, as a lady of pleasure.... for pleasure was not the reason, taken or given, while performing her persona. Mary sold her body...not her mind... or herself...or her soul.

Her rules where non-negotiable, no kissing or touching her lips for those were private and for her precious loved ones. She would disrobe naked.... except for wearing a pair of black laced gloves, securing part of her body totally unavailable from prying leering eyes.

Mary had never set foot in a ‘Bordel Hoose’ (brothel) now relied on an adequate established clientele, honouring unwritten contracts ,making it a profitable business, which now she wholly accepted...but this was not always so. In the beginning it was an emotional struggle, bearing corruption on an innocent mind... in a trade totally foreign to her principles and upbringing ......but survival was vital

Her educational qualification were many and varied, to claim service in a number of careers, yet had been discarded due to male dominance so rife in 1911. Her blaggard of a husband squandered all financial reserves, vanishing with a true floozy, abandonment of all responsibilities including Mary and three bonny children to their own uncertain devices.

Now her private life and business practice were worlds apart and her precious children where financially secured for the future having no such knowledge of the grim past their mother had to endure.

Mary’s constant fear, was her dearest brood’s reactions... if but more likely...when... the truth is exposed


Posted by: peter.howden 16th Mar 2015, 09:55am


There is one thing I recall in my childhood while staying with my sister, in Whifflet, for the summer months, my brother-in-law asked a blacksmith to build a bike. When finally delivered to their home, I was over the moon, never separating from the saddle other than the essentials such as food and sleep. It was a heavy bugger but it could it take a bashing. Walls and lamppost did not dent the solid black frame or even scrap the chassis paint, if my memory serves me.

Other boys in the area rode ‘Racing Bicycles’. So light, the whole thing could be lifted from any ground by one small pinkie. It took great effort to lift my pedal apparatus. I still think I have a rut on my left shoulder doing just that...

My Iron bike gave freedom, sometimes electrified by sticking an empty fag packet between the spooks, pretending it was a scrambler from anywhere in the world. But I was envious of those racers, modern fast and fancy. One of the lads, birthday present was a brand new, up to the date combination wheel geared cycle. His father laid out a fortune to obtain, so fast no clock could time it

We always aimed for the forbidden glen, for we were a clan, in all but in name. The mere fact it was forbidden, was a magnet enough to give courage. It was a fair distance from the square in Whifflet where all the boys and girls stayed.

To our eyes it was a huge wide open outback few had tread, where we built a den on our own. A burn running right through "Our Glen" feeding a dark whirling pool just under the main new ‘A-Road’ high above going to Edinburgh. This was unknowingly deep, for no one had ever touched the bottom, no matter how hard we tried, diving into murky water. In the buff we swam.

There was a wee path trodden down by constant use all around the pool and beyond, winding in and out thru the trees willy-nilly. We used this as an obstacle course for our young supple bodies proving stimulus to our peers. We dared to ride around the path twice with our bikes.

To my amazement I sailed down, with little effort rode up the other side for my first run. Several bikes wobbled quite a bit but most made it, without damage. My second run, I just aimed the thing letting gravity take care of the rest. On the uphill my heaviness made the grip the now mucky mud all the better with remarkable velocity.

Now by rights, these fancy races with all there gears should bounce the course and that’s what they did.... but not in the way they should have. . I got through without a scare or scratch scudding several trees. Black and a tank Wow.

The other boys were not so lucky. Most came away with buckled front or rear wheels and a couple had both twisted and warped even beyond repair. The one lad having a real cropper was the birthday boy; his was just lying at the bottom of the dirt track, half in and half out of the burn. Both wheels wrapt, but obviously originally round, however the frame twisted in all direction other than the right way.

The boy was in greet and yowlin the long way home. It was a grand impression as he desperately tried to think of something to tell his dad. Some boys chipped in with an excuse or something but they were all stupid so all that was left was, lie? And that is exactly what he did by telling his father that a runaway lorry had done the damage.... but it was no good. I’m quite sure his Dad did not believe him

With so many local bikes disabled, in the one time, with all the other boys telling near the truth, All needed repair....except my tank of a bike....standing tall.

We did not see him for ages. In fact he missed the best of the whole summer.... an actual stunt pistol.... all the way from U.S.A... In Hollywood used for the cowboy pictures.....

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Mar 2015, 09:32am


An extended break was called for, but the collective funds would not allow four mates the luxury, so they arranged to meet in the ‘Pandora’ to discuss what could be achieved for the Fair weekend. One bright spark came up with ‘why not go camping’ followed by’ I know the perfect place just off a golf course overlooking a fabulous view of the sea. ’ There were the obvious signs, mainly swear words, showing disapproval until another voice uttered; ‘why not? I have a sleeping bag!’. Before any sane person could object everyone was in for a penny, in for a pound… we would pool our resources

The following Friday, five blokes met up high noon at the bus station heading for Edinburgh, and then changed for Dunbar. This bloke turned up, I didn’t know, weird even by our standards, wearing a bright check sports jacket and an old fashioned, see thru Plastic Mac, with all the folding lines showing way down to his ankles. The slight variation of dress, the plastic Mac was under the jacket…. he offered no explanation… so we never asked. On reflection he looked canny like Keith Moon, just as daft being a natural comedian who appeared not to know he was….. But he was fun.

Anyway… this is the guy who lost most of our provisions apart from corn flakes and two pints of milk, only discovered this after we set up camp. With this sad news exposed, leaving the wind to guard the camp, nothing worth stealing, logically we all headed to the nearest hostelry

If you ever have a mind to, do so, try and shave in cold sea water suffering from a blinding hangover then attempt to eat cornflakes swirling in suspect milk, with wee black bits appearing within the plate designed for a childish picnic…. S.A.S. survival courses could learn. Keith Moon impersonator said he would go for real grub as he felt guilty for losing the rations. Dunbar some 3 odd miles away…a .two hour walk… tops

Six hours went by waiting for the messenger to return with untold goodies. We wielded away the time smoking talking and even taking a dip into the rough seas, a very brisk and stimulating exposure. A shout came from a lone figure seen coming just over the brim of the hill, appeared to be running as if the very devil was chasing him, with his bright scarf fluttering …. it was not difficult to know who it was.

The closer he got to us it was possible to pick out, even at his running speed, he was not carrying any large supermarket bags or the like but appeared to be clutching something very close to his chest.

Almost upon us, he called with all glee “HOT PIES, HOT PIES!” but the truth of the matter was that once probably were pies, now a collection of pieces of pastry, cold fat entangled into a gooey mess. Even in our desperate state it defiantly looked inedible. Another reason was, in his eagerness to render them warm, he had kept them right to his chest, perspiring floods of fluid, soaking into what now was mush. . He had not brought any other provisions and had no explanation what took him so long…but he was fun.

The real strange fact is simply, we came home after a bumper of a time, went our separate ways. As usual we meet in the ‘Pandora’ in Victoria Rd for a beer or two later in the week and it turns out ….no one knew who this unpretentious mimic was, for he disappeared from whence he came, never to resurfaced again and wasn’t he fun?

We all believed he was a friend of one of the other guys. Maybe he was the real Keith Moon…. but naw; he would have eaten all the pies for he was real crazy.


Posted by: peter.howden 20th Mar 2015, 07:10am

A Date;

Pure excitement can’t help taking over his body and nerves, for it always happens every Saturday and has done for well over a year when he will see, at Boot’s Corner, the most gorgeous girl this side of Scotland. Boot’s corner does not really exist now but it is the place where true lovers met and some poor soul had dizzies, but not him because she always turns up at the very same time every Saturday. As he dances and warbles like ‘Tony’ singing ‘Something’s coming’ from the fabulous film ‘West Side Story’ he had a feeling tonight will be the night which will change their lives forever.

Just for reassurance, if reassurance was needed, he checks once again to make sure the ring is in its case... the case is secure in his right pocket of his jacket, for tonight might just turn out be the most magical night ever to make his life complete. Love blossomed from the very first moment he laid eyes on her angelic smiling face, profusely bubbling personality, however prevented because of his shyness, he has never been able to enlighten his deepest desires, being tongue-tied when he becomes serious.

Every Saturday, straight after work, his schedule is a methodical timetable, shower then talc, aftershave, then dressing with carefully ironed shirt and tie and cufflinks to match his best light blue suit. His whole attire completed with immaculate shinny shoes. Phones the usual taxi company and travels into the city centre clutching the precious wee red jewellery box.

Walking towards the ‘Hielanman's Umbrella’ from Buchanan Street end of Argyle St, he is on time and he can see her standing there on the same meeting point as usual. He slows down and stops for she has not seen him. He waits for a few moments taking a check on reality. Suddenly she is beaming, smile over smile while running open armed towards another fella and they intimately hug, and then walk hand in hand past him

He was hoping, as he has every time, that this Saturday the guy would not turn up and he could then introduce himself properly but she does not know him……….ye?. If that other guy would just take a rain check or give her a dizzy, he could step in and take her to the pictures or something. He knows she would fall for him, if introduced the right way just like he did for her but this other guy makes it imposable. For just that moment he is the saddest man in the world.

Turning around he is secure in the knowledge... fate will make their’s just a question of when…………perchance next Saturday………………….

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Mar 2015, 12:14am

The little bashed pan

Having been laid down, unceremoniously, lodged between other already washed dishes, the little bashed pan settled down to dry. The time this took, depended on the heat within this busy kitchen and when someone would use a dish cloth, then place it on the usual shelf ready for the next time.

The wee battered pan was not a castoff, for it had been brand new and bought for purpose of everyday cooking, though this was many years ago. It was a very popular pan because of its size and the bashes and scraps told the tale of constant usage. There were even abrasions when one visitor to the kitchen, volunteer to do the wash-up, had used, of all things, an old fashioned brillo pad. A no-no as all good cooks knows to their peril... and pots and pans dread..

Unknown to the little pan, he was being ogled by a self-professed beautiful crock, in prestige condition, whose resting place was in an all glass display cabinet, actual built with him in mind...reputedly but never substantiated . The ancient pot was downright snob, who had never been washed so commonly as the rest of the utensils in the pantry, as he knew he was special.
When he had arrived he was handled with kid gloves while hands delicately used a small brush and a blow dryer before being carefully placed in his resting cushion enabling him to gawk at all around the kitchenette.

Once the humans had left the scullery, silence fell except for the drip-drip from the tap which had been wasting away for ages. The bad mannered would be toff scornfully quipped down to the wee wet pot and cursed it with a sting, calling him a common pot rough ware. The little pot was not completely upset by this unnecessary hurled abuse, quickly quipping back, how at least he had seen life with constant use, learned a few things by meeting all other utensils...and been loved in a particular way.

On the whole, the show-oft appliance grumpily stated he was of the upper order of the social scale as he was an antique having been kept in unspoiled condition for all those years and more than he can remember. His last quip rang out ‘I must be worth an exceedingly high amount because everybody wants to hold me and kiss me’.

The little pot, with a glint in its well-polished bottom, whispered this rye twist ‘Were you are, you’re definitely not ‘suffice to purpose’ ; for my boastful fellow……………you are a Victorian travelling commode; yes a latrine’ ....A p—s pot.

Posted by: peter.howden 24th Mar 2015, 01:35pm


Give me a spade and good honest soil and the aid from Mother Nature … I will produce growth from this land … this virgin land. I do not know if this was ever said by anyone of importance, on the other hand…Leo Tolstoy stated, ‘I’ll give you land abundant; honest soil and by means of that land... I will get you into my power’.

The following tale is of a Gable-end virgin gardener.

After arriving in council estate , the young man decided to split the large ‘L’ shape garden in two...for the kids to play safely and be observed ....the other to become self-efficient in vegetables. The obvious course was seeking advice in literature, easily obtained from the spacious library, and led John to dig out four separate plots for various types and green growth just as the archives books instructed...

The first was for potatoes, from seeds and cutting taken from the kitchen table when his wife made totties going for supper. Two further plots were used for parsley’s greens of all types and the other area was for leeks, onions, beetroot and runner beans. The very last plot was still to be put to the fork when a priest happened to pass the fence…then stop to look. Now this preacher passed by each Sunday, heading for the Chapel at the top of the hilly road. This very day he stopped at the railing and in a fluent Irish brogue He asked …. “Was this first time gardening” which John replied quite proudly…’Yes’. This appeared to amuse the pastor as he trotted off to his service, in his brogue shoes, with a small smiling face.

John chose for the last piece of ground… carrots.

Concentrating on the book and following it spot on being very precise, it stated a sandy well turned and weed free plot was essential for carrots growing tall and strong grand orange root. This he did with extra vigour taking his time to really turn the ground, and each Sunday the priest would look over the large fence, just smile warmly while asking the exact same question about his experience in gardening and if this was truly the first time.

His extra time spent in the ground work paid handsomely and the green shoots were shooting up, nine inches apart, in four rows and weed free. Taking the clergy man’s comments with less humour than the religious leader gave…being surprised he had not appreciated John’s efforts and how good it was turning out. The runner beans took up a vast area with green leaves all over the place but only four pods to show for it… but the carrots were really magnificently set in their rows, spaced almost to attention like an army brigade giving him a sense of pride and achievement.

Then came the day he spotted a weed pulled it clear from the earth texture and the rest of the squad, just to discover the so called ‘weed’, had an teeny orange tip on it. It did not take long to work out what the problem was. What John presumed was foreign nasty weed growth…was in fact carrots… achieving something really special….growing the straightest and greenest weeds in estate

The very same priest asked him one day to go round to the Chapel house, and collect some flowers and greens for planting. Now the man had been in the couple’s home, a few odd times, when John’s wife mentioned he was a Monsignor, not a priest. All John knew was he was a hell of a compassionate and considerate clergy man. John’s wife clarified the position of Monsignor was indeed high up in the Catholic belief … and she being brought up as a catholic…she should know.

John did recall, sometime previous, the Gaelic pastor inquiring why he had not seen me in the chapel, of a Sunday, and John replied …”No wonder… I’m a reputed protestant atheist with no particular faith?”

As invited He arrived at the front door, rung the bell as the door creaked open, to reveal this frocked man stood before him, obviously waiting for a response. John discovered immediately the cold fact was…. I had no clue what my Irish benefactor’s name was… for I had never inquired. His sudden reply was simply in unthoughtful haste…“Is your gaffer in?

In rather a cold manner of suspicion…was asked to wait…followed by this intense look you would imagine peoples witnessed in terror at the Spanish inquisition.

Later….John still received my horticulture gifts from the well named man of God


Posted by: Dylan 25th Mar 2015, 08:33am

I read your stories every day Peter.

They make me smile .

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Mar 2015, 10:23am

Good morning Foster..........I am chuffed you not only read my scribbles but took time to send such a kind message............thank you

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Mar 2015, 10:26am

Short and Unfinished;

Denise sat for a few moments, attempting to take in what she had just seen. There was something wrong with ether, the camera or the computer to close everything down like that, taking out all leads and electric power. She was a tad annoyed but realized she would have to begin all over again, as the phone adviser always instructs being the first thing to do when the computer won’t do what you want it to do.

She cautiously re-set the equipment, checking each step, twice, as she felt uneasy as to what she thought she saw. It had to be some kind of illusion or fault with the machine. Denise was definite she knew her and Gary had not visited her wanting dream holiday week-end in the romantic city of Paris. But the closer she got to the stage where to lock in the camera the more uneasy she was until she pressed enter, as instructed, and closed her eyes.

She opened her left eye and wished she hadn’t as the images of fun and laughter again displayed themselves on the monitor. Her other eye opened all by itself...then suddenly the face of Gary covered in blood came into full focus. A cold clammy sweat instantly was upon the young girl as she be terrified of what she knew was coming next and to her terror... Gary’s pathetic death was in full view...

She ran out the room, to be as away as possible from the instrument reporting such horror...sitting motionless for such a long time, as far away as physically possible in such tight spaces. Once more, thoughts began to race through her mind, each new one more terrifying than the one before. In despair Denise phoned Gary again...and again... but every single anxious attempt received the same answer; “This number unattainable” Denise realized she had automatic just punched in no 1 on her mobile and so thumped the digit numbers out from memory and again the same voice reply.

There must be some rational explanation to all this” she nervously thought re-entering the room which housed the dreaded computer, now was on stand-by mould. Without even looking at the screen she closed down everything, disconnected the digit camera and logged into E-mail and known addresses.

She scrolled down the list but no Gary there where only last night he was alphabetically logged. Onto Google search and his full title with the surprising result “Nothing.

Denise grabbed her coat ran out completely oblivious to forgetting to slam the door shut, and in growing uncontrollable turmoil scarpered around to where Gary lived...then furiously rang the bell at the front door, but as the door opened, an instant furious old man who was dumpy and bald stood behind it. Worse of all, Denise had never seen him before.

The man was obviously angry, though Denise state of mind would not allow her to hear one syllable or noticed any irritated gestures he was now making...... Was she in shock or.... was she in limbo?????

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Mar 2015, 10:30am

Good morning Dylan..............Dylan I truly appreciate and honoured that you like my scribbles enough to read them and to comment so favourable.......I will have to check to keep my feet on the ground..............I hope future stories will meet with your approval..............thanks from a delighted guy

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Mar 2015, 08:01am


She talked with us,
She walked with us,
She cried with us,
She sighed with us,
She stumbled with us,
She humbled with us,
Always seen with us,
Now serene with us

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Mar 2015, 08:06am

The Train

The train, beautiful train in my play,
Travelled everywhere in childhood day,
Fired with a little imagination,
To reach any destination,
Driver of thingamajig bold,
Long or short depending when cold,
Hour after hour, trip after trip,
Into wildest dreams we would slip,
Always able to gain a seat,
Never leaving our own street,
Once there you were not alone,
Magic carpet, our train of stone-=-

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Mar 2015, 11:48am


There was nothing really unusual about the puppet except is cute wee nose and an eye which twisted around to follow you wherever you may happen to be standing. It had been adopted by a gracious little girl who cuddled him, tenderly and lovingly, every night since she received him as a late gift from an auntie she never knew she had.

The little girl carried the puppet everywhere she went and made sure it was on her pillow every night before the night light went on. She told him stories and nursery rhymes she had learnt during the day and just before she fell asleep, she kissed him warmly on his scraped head. He was a hand puppet.

One day while the family were walking in a strange part of the town, away from where they lived, the wee girl accidentally, without noticing, dropped the puppet out of her grasp. As he landed in the gutter, the puppet saw his family move away in big strides. It had been the little girl’s father’s fault as he was carrying her; he jolted the lassie, just before crossing the road. In a nervous reaction, her grip slackened and so the puppet was tumbled down to the cold street

Luckily it had stopped raining however puppet fell in the only puddle around that kerb and his fine attire plus his mittens were soaked with dirty water. By a strange quirk of fate a dog happened to be sniffing around trying to find a lead on other mutts around the vicinity. His nose was telling him nothing was happening and in a fit of pique he picked up the puppet and decided to carry it home to his abode.

A couple of blocks later, the mutt caught new prospects whiffing in the air, the canine dropped the puppet at the side of a well-kept garden, moving swiftly to investigate where the scents origins were coming from. Rather undignified as he had landed on his head, the puppet was there for some considerable time. He began to worry as night was approaching and he had never been out alone at night. The puppet was truly frightened. He had heard some terrible stories about the goings on that happened to unexpected travellers during the hours of darkness and how we don’t really know what happens when the silky black obscurity cover takes over, swallowing everything it its path.

As the last glimmer of light slipped away fear, surprised and griped with fear at first, the hand puppet realized feeling warm hands around his now soggy body, being carried into a home, washed and cleaned then laid to rest by the warmth of roaring hearth log fire. The couple decided the next morning to place the puppet in the garden, as a sort of mascot, but where he would be protected from the worst parts of the rain and wind. After several days the couple reconsidered bringing him indoors...for keeps.

His new abode appealed to him though for some reason he could not forget the utter innocent kindness lavished on him by the wee girl.

In this new house he stayed mostly in the bedroom, with occasional trips throughout the house and beyond. Several times he slept on the daughter’s pillow, along with her favourite doll. No kissing took place but it was cosy. Then.... for no reason he could think of he was once again placed outside as a amulet The puppet did not know how long he was there, in the garden, however the sun went down a few time and let lose the dark mist. Sometimes puppet was very scared.

One day a piece of bread fell on puppet’s head which had come over from next door’s gate, as they had a habit of feeding the birds. One nervous magpie came cruising down and instead of just pecking the bread; it lifted the bread and the hand puppet’s head and flew as fast as his wings would carry him.

As he flew over lots of chimney tops, the magpie must have realized it was only the bread he was after and dropped puppet from his beak. Down and down went the puppet until he landed again on something soft. At last I will return to lovely stories, kisses and a cosy pillow to lay my head.

Puppet had no way of knowing he had landed on builders Skip....but

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Apr 2015, 10:17am

A Christmas miracle

Glasgow has a famous or infamous name of being an alcoholic’s dreamland holiday or as a city refreshment centre, depending what side of the glass you are standing. At one time with a pub at every corner, though not in the posh areas for they do their indulgence and depravity, behind well kept close doors.

It is true, or use to be, Glaswegians are renowned for being ‘Wee hard drinkers’, having no difficulty in “a Swally” as there was a pub near nigh every street corner. Harry enjoyed even more than slight refreshment giving him a tad of a problem as to know when, or even how to call a halt to such “sessions”

After this particular hard day’s work, he scurried around the famous Trongate, visiting taverns such as Crystal-Bells, Candleriggs or renowned Granny-blacks, Blackfriars, meeting such men of the same calibre, swapping stories. This being thee Christmas Eve gloriously with millions of individual star shaped snowflakes dropping to the earth creating a instant festival picture card scene outside. This encourages Harry to stay, in the last hostelry, The Hangman’s Rest, with company joyful and glee…longer than first intended.

Leaving the warmth of inside, by only one step, cold air was playing havoc with his water-works. The fact this hostelry lay in the complete opposite direction from Harry’s original journey home was pure chance, so he returned to ‘powder his nose’ in the little boy’s room..

The Hangman’s Rest was an old man’s pub, locked in many decades before type of brown décor (Known by Glaswegians as a ‘sawdust pub’ owning to the sawdust spread over the floor to hide dirt or blood stains). Harry bought a couple of raffle tickets as he sat down once again with a wee Goldie. Minutes later raffle ticket numbers were called and one number matched his….the reward was one gigantic un-plucked duck.

The next moment Harry was outside, askew with the extra weight, while the crowd were still clapping. Struggling through the snow, though severely handicapped carting this enormous bird, he managed to find the bus stop

Alighting from brightly lit bus, trudging home along the street, Harry felt like the little boy out of “Christmas Carol” when Scrooge ask him to carry the turkey to “Bob Cratchit’s” humble home.
Puzzled to discover he held another surprise plastic bag containing a pair of deep red Italian leather stylish shoes in a fancy box.

Where it came from or how he manages to be in possession was an enigma … a miracle all the same, in the mould of Harry Belafonte’s festival song ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ ….. There is magic in Christmas

Bob Cratchit’s.....I just want to live……

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Apr 2015, 02:39pm

Not easy forgotten

Harry spied an advert, placed in the evening paper, by a memory clinic, stating a wish for volunteers to come forward, assisting in a five year work study on Alzheimer’s/Dementia impairment... with a view to discover new treatments to delay if not in prevention this grave syndrome happening to all peoples . Harry decided it would be a good investment of his time, if only by a fraction of collectively aid helped the minds of the future.

This was no noble act on Harry’s part... but a prod in the right direction due to own family great Aunt’s tragic symptoms beseeching him to give what he could. Phoning to make a personal appointment, literature was sent through the post; almost instantly, explaining basic studies would take place, intense 4/5 hours duration, every six months, with blood and urine test...and of course mental observation.

When the time came, Harry visited the clinic, surprised how unusually spacious, even lush the surroundings contrast with other health board departments. Along with present smiles from almost everyone working within, he was given a video and literature to explain what would happen that day and future visits.

He discovered this experiment, was not the Health board’s initiative, but financed by a obvious very rich pharmaceutical company who wished to explore and exploit their product for diabetes, which could have affects to aid Dementia suffers. Half of the volunteers would daily swallow Diabetes pill, half a placebo, with the results secure in their security vaults, tight as a drum apart from superficial data enabling them millions.... once more.

Other than financial, very little facts and individual conclusions would be available to the general populations or indeed scientist/doctors and experts in the public aid and improve all who enter...if either the Health board or indeed Boppa and private treatments could not afford pharmaceutical company price for selective treatments.

It may seem mistakenly fool hardy... but....Harry sadly decided not to take part.... on principle.........all for one and one for all.....

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Apr 2015, 04:26pm

Another Date;

Frank was a fan of the real old black and white dreamy films made in the late 40s early 50s... but more important and his newly discovered lady friend swooned in such movies. . He was a real romantic if not starry eyed with the sentimental promises made on the silver screen and again his lady was of the same frame of mind. Passion was to be a journey of discovery and elusive suggestion. Day dreamingly they both preferred the gentle touching with the ending wishfully to be with the most luscious long lingering kiss even if they had to have one foot on the floor for decency.

He had two problems and one was his teeth. Visiting the dreaded dentist when a young boy, he was informed he had ‘Pyorrhoea’ a cures then with all the teeth having to be extracted. After such dramatic experiences and the national health false teeth, his confidence with the ladies was short, coming as the clattered together during attempted embraces.

The second problem was, Frank’s lady friend was found of one numerous chat lines on the internet. They had digitally corresponded for a couple of years and the young lady had persisted to come and meet up in his home town of Glasgow , at the end of next month and maybe cap the day with a visit to the cinema, quoting Doris Day’s words as she sang , ‘ Que Sera, Sera,’ but between the lines. He was on a promise…or so he read.

In his memory he had heard of teeth being ground into the gums almost instantly after the genuine ones had been removed but by all accounts it was painful. Grabbing opportunity he headed for the same tooth-drawer from years ago, thinking, if its pain it will be worth it for he had seen her photo and dreamt of their first haunting caress. The kiss to overtake all kisses gone before

The dental surgeon’s son was now in charge of the chair, informing him through science techniques, produced now a brand new set of imitation realistic nashers, placed almost without pain, dependably positioned by an implanted in the gums a very strong magnetic half circle to fit precisely every private mouth. Within 10 days, Frank had the full job completed, at some heavy cost, but they looked perfectly natural.

They met as arrange and he could not say he was disappointed at the turnout, for she was a wee cracker, bubbly and her perfume was out of this world. She seemed to like him instantly which he put down to his now natural smashing confident grin. They walked... they talked...then had a light lunch before choosing the Grosvenor in Hillhead,(Frank’s attempt to be a bit posh) to view a real old-fashioned movie of the silver screen.

Everything was smoothly going swimmingly as they held hands, cuddled up and slowly it was obvious they both desired the big finish. Her eyes caught his glancing seductively towards her as he motivated himself for the final, long awaited passionate climax. Then moment was just right...the position perfect.... as he moved in, but no matter how he tried he could not make contact.

With one foot on the floor and both sets of lips puckered, ready for wild exploding action, but try as he did so many times, just inches from heaven there was a hidden force which would stop any attempt to make a connection. It was perfectly obvious that his lady friend was just as determined to bond with more than a hint of greater expectations but both became exhausted which proved futile but earnest endeavours.

It turns out his young lady also received the heavy duty magnetic procedure of the gums, to replace decaying teeth.... rotted by eating too many sweets. What they both did not realize was magnetically they were Poles apart……….and that was....he was North.... and she was South.... of Earth’s core;

Posted by: peter.howden 6th Apr 2015, 07:16am


I love you, I really do,
“The word”, Quite absurd,
Over used, And abused,
So...I care for you;
When you need, I scurry,
When you’re late, I worry,
When I’m late I hurry,
To be home;
When you hurt, I’ve cried,
When you worry, I’ve lied,
When you sleep, I’ve sighed,
To care for you;
When you’re not there, you’re in my head,
When I’m away, I hear what you’ve said,
When I close my eyes, I see you ahead,
I care for you,
That’s what I do


Posted by: peter.howden 8th Apr 2015, 01:24pm


Jim stepped down from the train... trying to remember when he boarded or what his destination actually was. This town or settlement being a closer portrayal was alien to him and no landmark helped him either to decipher just where he was. The porter disappeared, and as far as Jim could tell, no one else had enlightened oft the train. Alone on the platform he instinctively stepped forward then steadily walked towards what appeared to be the hub of the station. Jim could not phantom if it was a dream he was partaking or an illusion... or whether colours actually stood out, a sure test of reality, or not. Unexpectedly it was dusk, with the fading light drawing out a form of a dusty street leading further away in the distant... towards ‘Something’?

Gawking forward at this ‘Something’ catching Jim's attention was in fact a tree at a peculiar angle to the ground, as if it was ready to fall over at the slightest breath of air. It was a tree as far as he could recall, with more branches than most and mature however there was something odd he just could not put his finger on.

So absorbed was Jim, he failed to see this boy springing out of nowhere, in such haste and abandonment, with his face soaked is sweat and crippled with utter dread... as if auld Clootie, out of hell, was after the lad himself. The terrified boy stumbled past him in pathetic panic and haste yet something caught the corner of Jim’s eye. It was a glitter from a stud badge the boy had on his buckle. Jim only had the slightest of glimpses to identify it by, but instantly recognized it’s shape because Jim knew he had had one, just like this one, given to him by his grandfather, when he was a boy. Just as he was wondering what he did with his buckle....the stripling, tripped and tumbled uncontrollably across the street to land some feet away from the unseen kerb’s stank... which had caused the youngsters accident.

As this happened, the unmistakeable clatter of a full cart could be heard to be just inches away from the youth’s grounded position. It became pathetically clear the boy had injured himself and forcing him to the ground. The injury kept him glued to that very spot. Now as the hooves of the uncontrolled horses, thundered heavier as they galloped forward in straight path towards the boy. Jim impulsively shouted and hollered some kind of loud noises trying desperately to gain their attention so to swerve the beasts away.

In a split second after, without fear or wonder or any thought at all, Jim leapt with huge strides forward, grab the lad from the clutches of runaway horses destruction, whisk him to relative safety within a hairs breath of a wish. The act was spontaneous and surprised Jim more than the now few onlookers. The lad picked himself up and while dusting himself down gave a massive grin towards Jim's direction while also holding out his yet shaky hand. “Thank you Sir”....with a loose Texan droll. In a previous era youngsters, no matter under what circumstances, was taught to be polite to their elders.

The wagon sped way up the dust filled street into the yonder unknown, while ,peoples followed the wake, to ether gain a view of the driver’s misfortune or to help with the aftermath whatever it was to be. Jim and the young fellow were left alone as both of them gazed at each other with different senses of relief. Jim's eyes were again directed to the buckle of the boy's belt.

A fury of thoughts darting around his head, Jim managed to catch one and hold on. He knew now it was identically to the one he owned and was puzzled. He had always thought his had been forged all those years ago when Grandpa’s was a nipper. This precious gift was from virgin metal and there was not another one in the whole world.

At last the boy spoke again though this time with his own feelings bubbling out in true sincerity. “I thank you kindly... I am in your debt as I now realize the true danger I was in”. My name is Samuel but everybody calls me little Jim; after my Grandfather, the towns Blacksmith” I think when I grow up I will use the name as he is a great man”. He made me this hasp, all by himself, and I have promised to keep it throughout my life; so I will always remember him...and you”

Before Jim could make any reply the immediate area was filled with bodies all asking what happened and was the boy all right. The strange thing was that Jim could remember, vaguely, of some incident happening to him somewhere roughly around the lad’s age. And that tree started to puzzle him for he reckoned he had seen it before.

Slowly he turned his head, finding himself back on the train again, sitting alone, with just the hint of dust drying his mouth. He began to ask some pretty awkward questions like; did it happen at all or had he dreamt it. It couldn’t be possible he saved his own life by somehow transporting back in time. Naw... That’s just nuts....although his name had been Samuel when he was a youngster.... and that tree; was that just an illusion or coincidence?

One thing Jim knew for sure ...and that was the hasp had disappeared many moons ago whether in a card game or just plain lost. Jim reached in to his pocket for a cloth to wipe his forehead, for the temperature of the couch was making his brow perspire profusely

And in his pocket, as he drew his big hand out, was the virgin buckle????

Posted by: peter.howden 10th Apr 2015, 03:29pm

A day happenings

Once again this week has disappeared so quickly, with time purloining any chance to flitter away any stolen moments for nothingness to fritter away. Each day has been organized, mapped out from one arrangement or other with Aunt Becky a positive must, not a duty but a need to know she is as safe this situation allows.

Although our visits are filled with routine language seldom changing, though certain words as a marker for Becky to reply, she has moments of her old self but those flashes are becoming rarer. Becky’s mixed days appear in only spasms, with no clue of change from her. Aunt Becky appears contented surrounded by her precious twa penny books, added with great literatures which are seldom opened now but lay proudly for all to see.

How long this illusion will last is unknown but mainly Becky’s for her sake we will keep her wish to stay in her own abode, surrounded by exquisite memories of Uncle David and those of the many dogs wondering from her past

As for ‘She who must be obeyed’, there was a time when we both dreamt about growing old with each other, dreaming about walking sticks and grey hair in a romantic mood. Has it turn out like all those years ago imagined ...I’m not sure for old age is not all fairy tales even if its love forever. We’ve had our ups and down...lots of in-betweens with other pieces not even fitting the jigsaw puzzle formed by life creating anger from illusive creations, and bits we can’t remember, either on purpose or perchance of our advancing years... What I do know is ...wondering each day how such a girl could stay with me, caring for such a fool...but who will love beyond depth unknown but blossoming in all waters...regardless

Each day my wife recovers from the dire consequences of the emergency some weeks back. ... her confidence may have been shaken however her tenacity lives through... but it is my patience which needs checked.... to give the support needed to make tomorrow memorable


Posted by: peter.howden 13th Apr 2015, 08:14am

Peewee’s surprise;2013

It has taken a certain amount of courage to admit what took place in Avignon whilst the sun was blazing at 38/39 degrees centigrade...but hot to say the least. Being politely served from a charming café overlooking a duck pond I sipped a few French lagers,. I moved to a shady spot in the Rocher Des Doms overlooking the river Rhome and the Pont d’Avignon, mused in my own thoughts. A recognized voice from the past lured into my half daydream state. At first I thought it was a mirage however this illusion was shattered when a friend appeared before me, in all his glory it was Peewee.

Peewee was the magical sorcerous pigeon, who oversaw protected thee Glasgow’s Lord Provost in office since the 141th century. I reality 1258 precisely for a Richard de Duniduvis who was not titled so.... but was all and manner was the first Provost of Glasgow town.

Peewee’s ancestry was long before time was measured in any depth or man’s first footstep on the land where primeval reptiles had ceased to roam in tropical forest, co-existing with a trickle of life around lifesaving water not yet named the Clyde.

I had meet Peewee abroad before in Paris and the like, but mainly close to Saltcoats secluded beach while I was on our family holiday while taking the air after a refreshment or two , sitting alone on the beach he would appear.... for Saltcoats was his destiny for a break from hidden council duties. Not everyone could see him and I was truly honoured he chose me to companion him. Funnily enough no one else could hear him ether... as he made history come to life.

He explained he was taking a short break in France, as the Glasgow council were due to sit the following week and he must attend the opening after their holidays. Just before leaving he had been in introduced to the classy Francis "Frankie-boy" McAvennie, more famous for outspoken on pies and birds (ladies) than his talents on the football grounds of Scotland, particularly Celtic park, akin to some councillors, though Peewee was more concerned about ‘The right honourable Lord Provost of Glasgow’ to give Sadie Docherty her official title.

Peewee expressed an anxiety to preserve the ‘Auld Alliance’ and he was here in Lyon to encourage keeping it going just in case a Mr Samond becomes Mr Scotland.

The sun did not seem to bother him though he was obviously glad to see me. As he took a paramount look around him, he astounded me with this astute observation. ‘Did I know’, he asked in his usual manner, ‘the French grunt in pronouncing their language...while local Ducks quack extraordinary grunt in an accent that a Scottish duck would not recognize.’

He immediately noticed I was stunned with this astonishing information as he went on to conclude; ‘They may be vegetarian but communicate with a frog in their throats’………..


Posted by: peter.howden 16th Apr 2015, 08:14pm

The shore date; (Part 1)

There was defiantly utter innocent joy in his heart while he hurried down, late Friday night, to the caravan site in Saltcoats, anticipating a rapturous enticing 48 hours with his enchanted near mysterious lover. This very night’s elements were dark, desolate and thunderously stormy conditions forcing the trains stop at Stevenson because the roaring inexhaustible colossal waves crashing across the tracks where the railway line met the squally unpredictable salty sea.

Yet for him nothing this side of hell would have stopped him from the now almost custom weekends of intimate sensual enchantments with the most beautiful woman ever to grace and walk this earth.

Only a few weeks ago, he had no idea such passion would dare to be arouse from deep inside his beating craving heart, fashioning zealous desires beyond logic, or care from the consequences within. His first glorious noticing of her, standing motionless as if produced from magic at the foot of the dunes at the burn which separate the two towns. The moon dominated the night sky as a huge silver pearl in the clean black skies, while a million stars sparkled and played.

Standing in statue pose, her goddess silhouette displayed flawless womanly features, highlighting her long golden hair, blowing in the night swirling wind drifted small pieces of seaweed to tangle in her locks as she watched the white sea horses prance wildly with excitement along the sea shore then tumble and disappear across the sands.

Instantly love was spawned while they strolled hand in hand talking for eternity before ambling to his brother-in-law’s caravan where the two bodies became heavenly entangled as one, then desire was no longer a stranger.

‘This blissful rapturous experience could never ever be capture again’, he thought throughout the following tedious mundane week....but the next weekend proved his supposition wrong...because the magnificent cravings were surpassed each and every date for the next few months.

There was however, moments of his puzzlement, where the measurement of time did not exist, and the almost real concept she slipped away during the night.... especially when the weather was troubled. Yet on the very moment he awoke with the chirping birds of a morning, her tantalizing figure lay lovingly around him. This made any of these doubts...just fade away.

Strangely he could never recall what they talking about of a night.... or did not care if he could not.... but more and more gaps seemed to edge into his mind.


Posted by: peter.howden 18th Apr 2015, 07:48am

A day in the life;

This very early morning I decided to go for a walk, more of a saunter, to place everything into some kind of order... which has happened in the last 24 hours.

My wife has once more a unwilling guest of the Royal Infirmary, because a blood clot came to light after a now routine scan and blood test. her naughty disease, once thought to be “Takayasu Arteritis’” but now there is some doubt...but regardless what the boffins wish to name it... it still causes great distress to all concerned...not least my poor missus. I will just have to be patient and wait for news with fingers crossed.

Yesterday early morning while ambling I saw what appeared to be a group of geese, flying south in a remarkable “V” shape manoeuvre as advertised, by that awful nice presenter.... David Frederick Attenborough, now a ‘Sir’ I hear. ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I witnessed down North Berwick way, the almost perfect same procedure, different birds of course since it was 49 years ago. We have since, always friendly argued wither it were geese or ducks a captivating sight regardless what class of bird....magic.

Weather-wise it was a grand day yesterday which gave me the urge to phone my Aunt... saying; “get your------- sannies on” which is code between us to go for a hurle. This is one of the few messages she constantly knows and is ready by the time I arrive at her door to get into my old jalopy, heading for well-kent countryside. Some may question the language used but it is one way to make Glaswegian Becky comfortable.

There is doubt who treasures these spontaneous trips more, she or me, for the ultimate destination always involves the magnificent ancient ever changing Kilpatrick hills. No matter where we drive after Strathblane parish , memories of walking over Cochno hills and Greenside Reservoir and the ultimate experience of “The Whange” ....just blows the mind.

Aunt Becky always happily singing along to the old Scottish tunes, such as ‘Scotland the Brave’, ‘The Dark Island’, ‘Ye banks and Braes’; ‘Down in the glen’ and the ultimate favourite ...the Corries.....’Flower of Scotland’, which always finishes, with a insisted request for...once more. All this and more are played on my trusty IPod, with adaptions completed by Peter, the wizard garage man from Shotts, Shotts is famed for its Highland Games and its prison, all in one freedom and incarceration

A text on the phone informs me my wife has had her blood taken and is hoping when the Doctor does the rounds she will be allowed home....I’m not henpecked for I refuse to eat matter what the circumstances are. Yet I better complete the ironing before ‘you know who’ returns


Posted by: Dave Grieve 19th Apr 2015, 05:19am

Lovely stories Peter, I don't always have the time to read them now but enjoy them when I do, you have a talent for telling a tale. Have you ever tried wattpad?

Posted by: peter.howden 20th Apr 2015, 10:48am

Good morning Dave.........
Enormously kind and generous .comments ... however in my internet or technical skills are narrow if not exceptionally limited...I have no idea what a “WATTPAD” is........ the mind boggles ...but....I would appreciate if you could throw some data my way.

But the main reason for this to thank you for reading my scribbles...take care


Posted by: Dave Grieve 20th Apr 2015, 10:55am

QUOTE (peter.howden @ 20th Apr 2015, 01:05pm) *
Good morning Dave.........
Enormously kind and generous .comments ... however in my internet or technical skills are narrow if not exceptionally limited...I have no idea what a “WATTPAD” is........ the mind boggles ...but....I would appreciate if you could throw some data my way.

But the main reason for this to thank you for reading my scribbles...take care


Hi Peter, Wattpad is a website for budding amateur writers, people like yourself, it is a place where you can your post your "scribbles" as you call them to a much larger audience.

No offense meant to the Board or its members but will have a much larger readership for you.

Posted by: peter.howden 20th Apr 2015, 07:18pm

Good evening Dave;........I thank you once more and I will follow through and see what happens....I do send my Scribbles to Glasga well as this board who were kind enough to give advice and encouragement way back in 2005/6, so I will be loyal and keep them posted as well.

I am so chuffed people can overlook my faults and like the basic lines jotted down....It helps me personally and if others can enjoy..........well more the merrier

Thank you from Scotland

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Apr 2015, 09:32am

The Shore date...2

This very night’s rendezvous, as always with her insistence, met on the beach, just below the haunting dunes, regardless wither the weather was fair or foul, and this very night made no difference to the secret tryst spun by the two, except he came from Stevenson direction due to the concealed train timetable. The beach was dangerously wild making it totally isolated, with gusting wind whipped the brackish grit-sand around him, penetrating viciously deep into his now stinging red face. It was certainly the squalliest treacherous stormy sea he had ever seen from across the bay, the titanic waves were pounding the very walls of Saltcoats seaside defences. Breaking through where they wished.

The weather matter not as his eyes and mind where totally captivated by his haunting single minded affection overtaking any common sense he may have once possessed, while his eyes searched through the tempest for her. His excitement burst spontaneously on seeing her at the dunes beside the running water of the burn.

As he walked closer to her, he instinctively knew she was something special and way out of this world. She was everything he ever dreamed in a woman, warm tenderly delightful and vivacious seducer with a hint of raw innocence Not a word was spoken as he took her hand, for words would have been wasted and unheard, with the thunderous crashing of the roaring mountainous revengeful sea behind them.

Then... and only then, did moments from a hidden past flooded into his tantalizing thoughts, as if the night itself was provokingly true confessions. there had been times he knew she defiantly slipped from their lover’s bed, when she believed he was sound asleep, she disappeared to God knows where then returned before the new dawn arose.

This very night, she was dressed with a simple tunic covered with a long dark cloak and cowl hiding all her facial features. The wild untamed wind created a sandstorm as her slender standing appeared to increase in size as if by magic………..and it was so….. Darkest enchantment it must have been.

Without word or warning and before his senses could be alerted, the she devil dropped all pretence as her womanly traits completely disappeared.... and in its place... was the form of a wild unharness pony, with its shimmering green as glass form, complete with the blackest of black mane and tail shinning in the moonlight.

Now spell-bound and captured by an un-natural unearthly force against his will, raised onto her bare back, and with a face ghostly with sheer terror, he clung on for dear life as if all hell had broken free and caught any hope of escape.

In the very next instance, the two bodies locked seamlessly as one, made straight for the deepest murkiest and wildest part of the incoming unpredictable sea, vanishing below the thrashing rampant waves, never to return.

In some of the inns and taverns or more selective lodging houses surrounding this coastline …………there have been undertones spread from tongue to mouth to ear, of disappearances and comparable happenings ………… through the ages, thoughtful seamen silently in the know…………..may secretly air………… in tales wrinkled with foreboding …………… of the home-groomed legends of…………


Posted by: peter.howden 26th Apr 2015, 12:59pm

Son... the Pencil

My son, my son, my only son, this said, I have often wondered how many fathers, throughout the ages, have said or thought these words, about their singular male offspring. My son is an intelligent fellow; with no badness in him.... no devious thoughts running through his mind..... only lots and lots of single tracked cars. I must add at this point, I am extremely proud of him, with all he has achieved as a honest person....with principles

He has, from time to time, totally surprised me with his quotes but more for his action, on actions running close with his reasoning and reply’s. . For an opening example, he took a pair of my binoculars to utter bits just to see its prism, then was complete surprised he could not re assemble the equipment. He climbed into the bathroom window, while slightly fou, blootered out of his mind, just to see if he could do it. When we heard the noise, we assumed it was burglars and acted accordingly. I am not the bravest of the brave, although I went forward. Our abode was four landing up with a communal balcony leading off the stairs.

My boy, having no senses at all other than being intoxicated, had climbed onto the water pipe and came into the scullery window. by the time my courage enabled to be at the kitchen door ,he was standing there lost, head hung down from his 6 foot frame I think this was one of the rare times I had a right stooshie with him.

I cried out defiantly “YOU ILLIGITIMATE PERSON YOU’...not exactly in those words. He just stood there like a wounded soldier and once again the tables turned. All I could see was my son... who would not hurt his dad any cost.

A lone thought sprang from the muddle to mind of the time he was six or seven. He was attending primary school at the time, when per chance, I was looking through his exercise book. The exercise was his A.B.C. the capital “A” included a picture of a Apple.... which my son had printed... a capital “A”. B was a book shown both in spelling and in drawing and so on. My eyes went down the page until I reached on the list the letter P. In his own hand writing next to the letter was drawn a very long thin thing followed in his handwriting.... boldly printed word... ***IGNORED WORDS***. .

This offensive word had been scored out in red by the teacher while she substituted the word with PENCIL.

It meant not a jotter to me for as far as I was concerned they both had lead in them!!!! And standing in front of me.... was my son.

Posted by: peter.howden 28th Apr 2015, 11:28am


It began with a slight earache, followed by a buzzing noise within my head, lasting for donkeys after I awoke. At first I thought it was Tinnitus, as it was a ringing tone...with no pain felt but strangely it seemed to dominate my very being as I rose from bed. It was as if I was disturbing something within my head. I tend to laugh at myself when such strange thoughts occurred. The time progressed slowly, then into days, then weeks this annoyance was beginning to hurt and sometimes after raising from my slumber.... several spots of blood could be seen on the pillowcases.

My wife, my poor suffering lifetime partner, stressed how now, I wriggled and thrashed throughout the night... were as before only occasionally would I toss and turn. The occasional twinge was now a constant hurt and the spread of ache was alarming in speed and time. Now most of my day was consumed in trying to relieve this invariable spasm.

This unending buzzing or mysterious sounding of tapping feet was replaced by the relentless tick of a pendulum found in the old fashion time pieces. This was in a small way fuzzed with a rocking sensation, to and fro deep in my mind. I attended my local doctor, who in turn, sent me to the mind specialist....not a quack he insisted. Something about this man rocked my boat.... he explained to me... these sounds were benign. This in no way helped my situation, for as time passed my so called Tinnitus became almost unbearable with very little relief from the complaint.

One night while I was sleeping, dreams now appeared to try and explain what the quack could not. These foreign reveries took me into the very heart of my brain, floating and observing every nerve message carrying the secrets that while awake I was not aware of.

Still, this did do nothing to quell the pain, as it progressed to almost every waken moment and my only solace was drug influenced sleep. I tried to douse my mind with alcohol which only acted as a distorted amplifier with terrible hangovers of assiduous magnitude. Then one night, out of the blue, came the horrendous discovery of why I was now in unquestionable distress.

I used modern technology ,a screen and wire thin apparatus with a minute magnifying glass attached, attempting to down my listening auricle because the scrutinising agony became almost incredibly unbearable... denouncing my sanity...which was close to collapse . Now while in a semi-conscious state of near delirium I observations caught this feeler coming from my ear drum. Within seconds a fully formed ant emerged with what appeared to be larvae, proceeded to prune both it and itself. While being utterly petrifyingly spell bound... I had the presence of mind to take a photo of this ghastly phenomenon. Later I possessed the results into my computer and this is the dreadful truth unveiled…..

A certain genus of foreign Queen Ant; probably from Australia, has borrowed into my ear and far beyond. On the screen was the name “Irdomyrmex purpureus” known as meat eating Ants... who survive in nests around 64,000 populations. How they got there...I do not know....

My immediate distressful impasse.... is not producing my own ant colony.... but in order for them to progress, the nest will expand but whilst they do so I will have throes of increasing excruciating agony. However...I will be absolutely insane...right off my rocket before they break out from the core of my brain.... as their nest can expand to 600 metres

I am alone in a mass of sweat and fear wishing someone will come and blow my brains to smithereens and free me…..It all started with a slight earache…….

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Apr 2015, 07:38pm


There was a narrow period in my life; I was desperate to find brownies, of any calibre to recover my sanity. Before you run to the nearest telephone box, or pick up the modern personalized digit phenomenon, to report an unhealthy tendency or something terribly bad, I will give a clear clarification. My explanation was to search was for old Gaelic Scottish pechts Fairies called “Brownies”; from Gaelic word “Brunaion”;

The year previously I had been unable to sleep, due to an overlong patch of working nightshift and full overtime boosting my wallet though causing havoc with my metabolism. The doctor I attended prescribed sleeping tablets, left me rather apprehensive... for many moons ago being desperately tiered I swallowed an overqualified quantity, which resulted in weird experience. Reasoning this with an exhausted mind the pills were left in a top drawer, where they remained unmolested until this tragic Saturday evening.... or more like, Sunday morning.

The die was cast, proving beyond any doubt how I’m an irresponsible ill-disciplined youth at best... an eejit in reality, for I had already consumed quite a quantity of alcohol throughout this particular evening.... spent in listening to a certain academic, discussing history and legends of the old Scots, particularly the Picts race.

His finishing quote troubled my mind during the course of this horrendous night. It was “Ca’ brownie ca’; A’ the luck o’ Bodebeck, Awa’ tae Leithen Ha’” The verse may not mean much to you though to us novice Brownie hunters, this is a verbal plan how and where they might be. In the myths of times gone by.... implanted in folk law, these creatures were not fables from old folklore but taking from the facts of startled authenticity and fearful events inflicted on the decedents of the Iron Age.

They were forced to go underground or cave existence they were sucked into the core of the earth’s deep ravines after being almost annihilated by marauding forces of all kinds Celts, Romans Norsemen and the like.

This belief is where the sagas of the Brownies first took shape because those dispersed desperate souls stole babies, from fresh cribs, so to keep the blood going. It was suggested they kidnapped young males, so to marry their plain who were foolish enough to take a lonely path after more than their fair share of refreshment. There was a blinding flash which would calm the target to almost pitiful acceptance to his fate. By then it was too late to defend yourself from the Brownies purpose simply because they were tremendously strong with arms so long, they trailed the ground. In my exhausted stupor I was becoming worried as I knew a few blokes of the same stature and they were prêt rolling the streets of old Glasga toon. .

In such a frame of mind, I retired to bed, I soon discovered asleep was out of the question, and this is when I remembered... the pills though forgot to remember the danger they presented beforehand. I took two recommended, followed by another two and when they did not produce instant success, by a sort of hand full. I fell asleep...then suddenly I was wide eyed awake and staring at the old wardrobe but particularly the brownish tinted mirror showing great age.

There was something lurking, a shade or some kind of movement I could not relate to as I adjusted my eyes to accustom themselves to the murky darkness of a freezing November night. Then it happened. Straight out of the reflection of the mirror came a arm projected, clad in some sort of dirty material, followed by a small torso just before a head supporting a rather large black topper hat. Standing in front of my bed and only interrupted by me closing my eyes was a small person with arms almost touching the worn carpet of the room?

Was I terrified? Yes is the retort.... as I tried, in vain, to disperse this unwanted visitor by blinking my eyes furiously. His face was not grotesquely ugly but by no means was it pretty. It had to be male as the fusty cloth covering “It’s” body rapped around each leg and was pinned, by a single piece of rough wood, in the centre where his belly was

A humped back and an obvious twisted mouth, coupled with worn knuckles, presuming having grazed the ground for so long, piercing pupils in the eyes socket which would penetrate through anything he wished too. A gentle voice, not expected from such a rough frame, beckoned me to quieten my thoughts and ease my state of mind. He went on to explain he was in search of a bridegroom, for his young most beautiful sister. He proceeded to pull out and proudly show an illustration of his available sibling.

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and each one of these ones alarmed me. The definition of robust, took on a new meaning as it was painfully obvious the basic acceptable looks of her brother had been passed down through her genes. My pulse began to race, picking up extra beats by the score as each darkened second that now past.

Just then a bolt of light filled the room with such a warm glow all my fears and intimidation suddenly vanished. It was obvious my guest or visitor was intensely scrutinizing me. Then he spoke though this time with more determination in his voice. I am sorry Peter, you are not suitable. With this final utterance he vanished quicker than he came and the room was returned to its drab state.

The more I thought, the more I felt insulted at not measuring up to gremlin and now I’m in Fruitless search of a doctor to issue pills to rid me of those “Brownies”

Just in case he returns after having a change of heart…….

Posted by: angel 1st May 2015, 01:00pm

Peter , I guess he was as full as a Fairy's phone book . yes.gif

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd May 2015, 07:03am

Thank you young lady for reading my scribbles......your an angel ..

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd May 2015, 07:04am


We true Scot’s, are not akin to the sentimental shortbread adverts or the lone piper awarded around a bottle of whisky or all the Edinburgh Castles tourist panache. We are hard sturdy peoples... who would fight tooth and nail for our family, for our corner, but hold dear a canny... if dry sense of humour. In our not so distant past...fought endless feuds, committed clan massacres by the score, seldom having the notion for holding together as a nation, other than the football pitch or to annoy the Sassenachs. I though, did have a hero of the highlands of my own, though sadly no more. His name was Sandy....

He was every inch a Hielander, built as the side of a barn and a beard, red and roguish, ay with strong Hielan tongue. He wore the plaid, scorning the tartan kilt for the use of pudget persons of feminine incline and swore relentlessly at those toy dress from Balmorals displayed everywhere for the wanting of Sassenachs.

He was a military man, proudly resting his Sgian Dubh correctly under his left arm sleeve, while his Biodag, held in the back belt by a buckle. His strength was in his word and his word was his oath. A proud man sadly whisked away too early.

He tutored me how to hunt the hare and the rabbit, to tickle trout from burn or stream or the shallows of the rapid river where salmon rest. The best place for a Rendezvous where friends would be dancing and a sup of the water of life; ta redden the cheeks o lads and lassies of a chilly nicht. My Hielander was a braw dancer, and none could say other than that, and I miss him so. We spent hours just watching the simple sunset. It would warm the cockles of our hearts as the last peep of light was covered with glittering stars and planets. I can but only imagine his big rough hand holding mine tightly as the stars twinkle for free and free we were. I miss him so.

No need for a kilt to make you feel proud, but all suithfast men of Scotland fighting bare are proud to be so. No need for the pipes ta makes the kilt swirl with pleasure while yon feet tap a bonnie tune of “The Rowan Tree” or an angel singing “Bratach Bana” to make heaven on these craggy shores called hame. Heaven can’t beat that; I would be telling you.

My Hielander would call to be true to yourself, enjoying your own company, allow you to smile inward, not smirk to the world. The Scottish way was, and is always to be kind to our kin, auld folk and bairns, hold dear your principles and look after the bawbees.........
I miss my Hielander.....wherever he rests.

My Hielander and I used heather and bracken for pillows and bedding, with music from sweet mountain streams soothing our eyes to sleep. My Hielander taught me how to strengthen my never strike defenceless beings without cause.

Many a time I wished my father would spoil me with these lessons, but it was not to be for he looked at life through an empty bottle. My Hielander taught me not to wield the sword of hate but spare the hand with passion. What has happened cannot change so don’t use your dirk to pick at it.

I miss my Hielander for he is missing beyond reach.

I carried the tattered photograph of my “Hielander” everywhere while I was young, dreaming imaginary dreams of how and what he was....., however the passing tide of time.... my precious fading card has been lost forever..... As I think of him, and see him through my minds eye, standing full of pride, a tear or two....slowly cross my cheek....

Bagpipes are not only for Hogmanay or Ne’erday’s and the kilt not for weddings only

Posted by: peter.howden 5th May 2015, 09:53am

My wife and I

When a curious sun shines across the waters of Scottish seaside towns and hamlets, you may have to travel far to witness such variety of scenery of wild waves and secluded beaches, bounded by the green of the inland grass, trees and hills and glens, with ample zigzag dusty roads, beckoning complete serenity brought for lucky sightseer. I have fond memories of quite a few of these natural havens and more of Saltcoats, due to our family holidays when the kids were young.

My wife and I took to the road, on Thursday, heading for that very township, in my old jalopy loaded with sweets, ginger and the ‘Corries’ singing the hearts out thru the dusty speakers. Rolling down the hill with the first view of the town it appeared not to have changed while we headed for Salty’s (Brother-in-law;) caravan, for a cup of tea. Later...although nippy around the surrounds, the sun shone its very merry month of ‘May’ best.... all day, as we paraded up and down Main Street examining every window and shop, peeking into almost every nooks and cranny available in the back streets before settling in the renowned fish & chip shop for their special high teas. A majestic day but tiring.... proving we are old showing signs of real old age.

Having taking the plunge in attempt to lose a bit of weight, I not to eat bread, scones or delicious butter, except on Sunday’s when there are homemade cheese or current scones left over from Saturday’s crowd, I must come clean and admit temptation sometimes wins its wicked way. Making the toast of a morning, for my wife, after all is set with the breakfast tray, I deliberately place excess butter on the last knife stroke leaving this cherished yellow golden spread just beckoning, not only to be licked but sucked and savoured in my mouth. Manky I know but heck...I am only human....nearly.

When my daughter stayed in Leiden, quite a few times, my wife and I visited this charming Netherlands city full of exciting history. Most famous I presume is the exodus of the Pilgrim martyrs.... Spanish blockade, the birthplace of ‘Rembrandt’...and of coursing the canals. My memory fails me but I did buy something in one wee shop full of magic gifts, trinkets and picturesque drawings of the old Rhine canal. What was purchased I do not recall, however it was wrapped in a paper poke decorated with a printed drawing of the said canal and buildings, steeples of the city surrounding it. My memories of Leiden are kept alive with a simple shop paper poke under glass and framed and on the wall above from where I am typing.

On Saturday as usual, I met the ‘Benghazi Mice’ at the Dollan sports complex, along with my mate Don who now is suffering from ‘Parkinson’s disease ‘and has for some time. Unfortunately the numbers, of our own wee club, are dwindling since it started way back in 87... But the craic is still first class. We talk a lot of baloney while reminiscing the old days, adding a few blemishes and swearing for good measure. Dom is tops. With his one-liner...’I knew I had Parkinson Disease when I had a compulsion to interview people?’

Posted by: peter.howden 6th May 2015, 09:54am


The landscape was unrecognizable after many years of troubled times. What was once a urban centre of commerce and cultivation, was within just a few dire years, now pathetic humid makeshift protection against the elements, as the fundamentals of living utterly appalling, leaving survival the only crude choice, with no sign of commerce, no bazaar but a few entities cowering in-between the bombing threatening close to total annihilation...the only fibre holding such frightened ragged peoples was just sheer grit for life after hell, and distant hope for their children of the future

Alongside dispersed rubble now causing a stench of ambiguity, was a demolished clearing, stood two individuals, one astride with authority of a uniform...and the other, with arms tied, just standing with no expression at all.

‘I am here to keep the peace’ stated the soldier trying to convince the ragged civilian, ‘I’m not an animal...I have to follow orders, no matter what, from above’ he continued to express his position to the rather tired non-combatant. Taking a quick breath...he continued, ‘As a world wandering un-united nation, we were once almost totally destroyed by bigots hidden in wars, but our faith saved our civilization’ the combatant quipped with self-importance. With a more serious approach, he commanded ‘With no homeland, the whole world tried to destroy our way of life with the jackboot of oppression upon us’ was the explanation with bitterness in his voice.

‘Now we are a resilient state, in our ancient birthplace, as our spiritual scribes foretold’ spoken with growing complacency, then hastily added; ‘as I said... we’re not a Junta...we only follow the ‘Assembly’ lawgiving clarifications,... regrettably some brutal actions have to be taken?’ the self-styled legionnaire said with no conviction as his fingers held tight around the trigger of his I.M.I machine gun. ‘We are the same...are we not, the same course of your countrymen know the same woes and tragedies as my peoples’

The civilian turned around looking through despaired glazed eyes and a sort of fraught smile as he replied slowly.... ‘You are right in one way are the tyrants of my peoples as you continue to drive, what is left of our nation...into the sea!’

The sudden sharp blare of the machine gun... echoed throughout the once proud city hallows ruins.


Posted by: peter.howden 8th May 2015, 09:15am


Glasgow are bidding for these prestige world class alcohol consumption games and feel they can be the only city (if not thee capital) to host them. The population, if given the nod, would be steamin right in there, fu of spirit and culturally stotious to boot. The cities track record speaks volumes for itself, with quip quotes.... “He boked aw doon his jaiket after a right swally” and the incredible “he’s honkin... bowfin wa the heavy bevy!” The feeling is not uncommon of just how friendly Glaswegians are, with the wild tale of a man walking down the street and meeting someone, obviously bevvied up, singing “twenty one today”. Inquired if this is indeed his birthday, with the golden key, the singer stoatter’s the man with a Glasga Kiss...proceeds to skip down the street singing “Twenty two today!”

Areas like; Easterhouse (known affectionately as Easterhoose) Castlemilk, Drumchapel (known as Drum-Chap-el by snoots from this vast area and just plain “The Drum” by true inhabitants) Bridgeton; Govan (with it’s home brewed Wine Ally) and of course the old soldier, world famous in its own right, “The Gorbals”... all who have reached, in their particular field, special status of their own. Some begrudging persons have loudly mentioned of the advantage particular areas have because there is a pub in every street corner, thus giving local contestants more places to practice than others disadvantaged dry unfortunate Govanhill.

It has been mentioned, with some air of pure snobbery, even sobriety; neighbourhoods have pubs and inns every few steps, almost in each street or lane of their domain, they can literally trip over pubs... even blindfolded. Let me remind those people; the contestants do not need to be blindfolded to trip anywhere. Allow me to add some sceptics of how the named housing estates, who are almost at the top of this list, have indeed been deprived of such numbers of establishments in their area. This being true perhaps they may have one or two boozers per huge population but they have shown “True Grit” (enough to have Marion Michael Morrison... greetin) in their chosen art and have persevered, far above any human endurance and beyond, to be rewarded because of the determination under extreme harsh conditions.

To this end it would be beneficial for all; if certain rules and regulations were laid down, even just for common courtesy, “Big Man” before the beginning of the march pass (or pass oot “locally observed in Scotland” )of the teams concerned. A very dim view will be taken of any illegal substance or any induced drugs showing up after spot check tests in the peeing tents.... the committee feel it their duty to warn all contestants of instant dismissal and banishment for life if any competitor is caught taking illegal substance directly or indirectly of malted Horlicks or Ovaltine nutritional beverages. Iron Brew would only be tolerated in extreme small doses and then only as a stopper and in no means to be mixed with Vodka, Rum, Bacardi and defiantly not in Whisky.... though a exception can and will be made for whiskey as this is Irish.... diabolical for a true Scottish drinker of any merit.

Unfortunately; the committee can not accept a contestant’s word as to his accomplishments as being correct, no matter how slurred it may sound, for the committee regrets there is no grounds for it...if he ,or she(let’s not be accused of being sexist) is still standing but proof of intake must be taken. The normal drinks tests which are used at the side of the road are not adequate for the games propose or bringing empties as confirmation of intake must be ruled out also.

Regrettable the committee also have accepted the wasting of valuable time, the needs must and so time has been allotted for public consumption taken prior to the start of each heat with questions “whose round is it anyway” being muffled by the serious competitor. A bare minimum of six Carlsberg specials (probably the best indicator of intoxication in the world?) must be swallowed in full view of the entire stadium... for each individual’s event and in each stage of each game. The committee believe this will be the only way to guarantee an absolutely unbelievable final in all bouts.

Other areas of Glasgow, for one reason or another have been unable to meet the standards necessary, though some have come within a baw’s hair in realizing their dream. Of course it goes without saying; no professional athlete or competitor will be tolerated as with the original spirit of the games for individuals to represent their areas as amateurs with total dedication to their be continued


Posted by: peter.howden 10th May 2015, 03:29pm

Trademarked pain…..

Callum believed he held few wrong thoughts, held proper ideals while standing against Injustice, or prejudices through colour, creed and intolerance… but like lots of armchair Humanists never tested his will, though it is my duty to do so. Man is the measure of all things however care and attention taken to quota the results….principles with what you gauge against…. may distort the truth. We have to believe in each other, to survive no matter what belief you bare or cross you carry. What runs through it all is supposed decorum, I don’t think so.

Callum employment was in the city’s Baths Department, also stood for the union steward.. It was hard work as it was surrounded by Victorian tenements, crumbling old buildings, overflowing with cramp population and where the general population had made the habit in soaking in the large tubs provided. Every day but especially all day Friday and a Saturday morning, were especially busy with drunken punters soaking well over their allotted time. Many a drunk had to be taken to hospital because of falling out or in…hitting the taps. Callum watched eight people, of the same family, using one bath in a half hour stint. Embarrassment and dignity was pushed aside for necessity and the lack of a few coins

Callum was moved to a more affluent district of the city where opposite was the normal as very few persons used these common facilities. The snooty population deemed they were too posh to do so. The huge long corridor seldom saw a sole from hour to hour. Tedium was harder on the soul for Callum ….than hard work.

One old lady was a regular. She was Polish, or so Callum thought. She was certainly odd eccentrically off balance, while constantly mumbling inwardly. Each time she greeted Callum with a stern face of no emotion showing for the outside world…but then occasionally a nod to him before a muffled squeak as she shuffled up the corridor before slipping into the same bath recess she used week in week out. Next came the clamor, echoing through each empty acoustical bath, of opening then closing the door several times like a child peeking out to comfort all is safe, before the final gentle closing of the wooden door.

For health and safety reasons, Callum knocked on the cubical door, waited for a reply and then retreat. I had a master key if needed for emergencies. Callum regularly knocked on her door and stood back, shortly, the little woman answered, firing some kind of curse or abuse, not to loudly though, and then silence once more. . She did this regularly and the other workers in the building put her down as crazy, nuts … and Callum confessed he did so to. He did not join in calling her names but I did not object or call a halt others as they did repeatedly.

One day, the noise was louder coming from her alcove to noisy just to knock the door. This time the knob turned before Callum could step back and the wee woman managed to convey she had forgotten to pick up her towel at the desk. Taking some spare ones from their personal store for use, Callum returned, with toweling, to the door now ajar, stretching them forward. Her reedy arm came out to collect the items and straight away Callum saw numbers barbarically exactly branded onto her arm. They struck out coldly as skull and crossbones and the horror hit straight away, for they stood out so clearly…on this old skinny tired arm. The old lady saw that Callum had seen her secret.

It was as if all the facts and figures, stored from the history, Callum had read with fever wanting... information, meant ‘He-Haw’…and for at that precise precious moment… he understood, perhaps limited but genuine anguish for her grief and utter sinister despair writhed continuously almost beyond hope. Simple people were only trying to endure in a world starved or give emotion in the hell of the holocaust and the unceasing abyss of surviving. Again it could be his imagination or wishful thinking, but he did fathom why she was the way she was…and he defiantly grasped why the elderly lady behaved the way she did.

From then on, there was a unseen bond, between Callum and the Friday lady, now sharing a terrible secret … and she gave him an extra smile each time she left the premises from then on…. or was it Callum had just opened his conscious eyes.

Posted by: peter.howden 13th May 2015, 08:40pm

Part one

there will be certain things, throughout your life and within your grasp or possibly ownership; you take for granted without thinking. The importance as they thread through your life is missed while your family travel a particular road. Their worth need not be much in financial status or indeed appreciated in any real sense, however prove invaluable to you and your loved ones. This is the case with Henry’s found baby bath.

Henry can recall exactly when he first laid eyes on this rather oversized blue plastic baby bath. The miners were on strike in 1972, again 1974, which in turn proved to be the famous, or infamous, three day week through the winter, including Christmas. Henry’s family was living in a single end situated in Toryglen Street, the very heart of Oatlands district of Glasgow. It was cosy enough with its bed recess and everything within arm’s reach, literally, but the one drawback was the coal fire as its only source of heat. The restrictions meant the electricity only being on at certain times, and the lacks of coalnuts which meant forgetting the coal man. He struck an idea.

Along the old Rutherglen road there was red sandstone building all boarded up, ready for demolition, when the council could be bothered to get around to it? At one time upmarket respectable homes, with kitchen bathroom front room and most important; the indoor cellar for coal. They had been void for some considerable time.

With hammer and wall chisel, along with a trusty rubber torch in hand, Henry went in search of coal. Hacking through walls and old closes, which had not seen human traffic for aeons, He was very successful though acutely covered in coal dust. Each individual coal bunker had loads of coal and dust which had to be separated by sieving. It was desperate efforts for desperate times. The result was his family toasted themselves with his gains from the grey side of the law.

One day Henry entered this unusual home with many a thing left as if the household had left in a hurry. Sitting lonely in the corner was the big baby’s bath. He was about to leave when he thought about the coal dust plastered on to every part of his skin whether covered or he lumbered it home.

What a glorious stupendous bath He had that night, right there front of a roaring fire....fuelled by his sort of ill-gotten gains, and how essential it was to become within days of taking possession. It was close to Christmas the day his wife borrowed from next door a pair of ladders so to hang decorations. Not realizing at the time, along with the steps was these unwanted visitors. Henry awoke to feel itchy and scratching in such a frenzy it forced him to look under the bed covers, where he found wee beasties crawling all over his missus , most alarming was our baby’s cot...teeming with the tiny blights .

Hendry was not brave fellow.... however panicking certainly did not help the situation as his wife arose, still blearily eyed from sleep and these little perishing bugs, dropping by the handful onto the floor; slight exaggeration though you are bound to imagine the alarming picture, for those beasties were immune to screaming. They managed to have the bug squad out almost instantly, loaded with equipment to skoosh stuff everywhere where there was a hole to skoosh into. After such drama and continued house cleaning they all celebrated with a glass or two of Irn Bru.

From then on, all three of them....Henry, wife and child used that plastic tub in front of a roaring fire, as a truly close friend and essential piece of equipment for goodness knows how long.... . It certainly rid Henry of coal dust blues.... or is that black.

Posted by: peter.howden 15th May 2015, 09:18am

An old but new medieval tale (1)

No one can truly say with all confidence, medieval tales did not come from original true happenings, though now referred to as ‘Fairy stories, so amazing and out of this world, making any explanation not only complicated but full of complex wonderment which the simple minds of the peasants could not comprehend ….. Mattered not how hard they tried, and so took them as lurking magic, simply black and white.

During medieval times it was world-widely believed the ancient Greek ‘Aristotle’s’ theory on the heart being the centre of emotion, passion, soul, melancholy, and the brain merely cooler for the heart’s warm-blooded male function. They were 4 humors, blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm water.

As for such things as ‘Wishes’, the Church claimed loudly, and methodically, if you had faith via prayer, this strengthened the need of wishes. Such thoughts unwritten, facts and ideas and illusions were deeply bonded into everyday lives of the rustics and slaves of the period and oral communication travelled through time to become what we believe as unbelievable and as so became children’s tales of a night-time just before bed.

In feudal times seers dreamt such astonishing happenings with a fever of devout belief, which the country-dwellers could only help to believe what was said by the wise soothsayers, for they were the astute men and prophets of their day. However what are dreams, if dreams they were, just a muddled up contortion of daytime thoughts brought to life in abstract setting.

Those were vehement blood thirsty murdering times s where dire legends spread throughout Europe and Britain, reputed to be factual historic stories of the’ Blood Countess’ Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed from Transylvania, concerning her vampire ways and sadistically killing many servants and virgins, to ‘bath in baths of virginal blood’ in vicious attempts to rejuvenate her beauty and skin. ‘Vlad the Impaler’; whose title was Vlad III... Prince of Wallachia, was not a male version, but a macabre gusto tyrant according to scraps of texts and was positively a sadistic madman

The unwritten diary had scenes of extreme and utter savagery reflecting the times of the era...they originated, though via Walt Disney 1937 ‘Snow White’ shown them sanitized wispy washy, good over evil. Perhaps because the story was originally thought to be German, this traditional story is cruelly highlighted as a servant in a rough barrel studded with pointed nails and rolled down the street as her naughty wicked stepmother, dances while wearing a pair of red-hot iron shoes, which obviously kills her. This type of vehement behaviour mirror’s what was common practice and condoned by the church punishment for the wicked and witches

However there is an element of accuracy in such spoken folklore based geniuses.... be at your peril to dismiss without study..... for it’s amazing how the peoples of today express them as scary childish anecdotes, the reality of the matter is, though some tales are not founded on actual happenings, others are....clubbing them all in the same literary book or collections of books is a exploitation of old sincere Chronicles.... which the words and sometimes scrawled paragraphs are lost in the annuals of time ………………… the one I now disclose.

Whether this very story or tale is true or false... you alone will have to resolve…………….but it has not seen the light of day since its birth…….. and its conception was through dark troubled doubtful times, so much so, the language used is raw and certainly has no introduction in the manner of …………….’Once upon a time?’ ……………………but let us begin

Posted by: peter.howden 16th May 2015, 03:04pm

An old but new medieval tale (part 2)

From the very beginning, I thought it was just an ordinary room until the haze lifted slightly and the gloominess made its first appearance. I had no idea or clue where I was, or indeed how I got there...though this was not unusual as alcohol was my main time travelling companion to oblivion and unkempt foreign places once I awoke. Somehow instinctively I knew this was dissimilar to normal, almost beyond my mind. Feeling rather groggy which was commonplace for my lifestyle, if that is what you could call it , but something was niggling me though I just could not place what exactly or put my finger on.

All my body ached like the devil while my bones felt as if they would snap if I moved unexpectedly, but to be honest.... this was the run of the mill for me and mister booze. Lying there without my senses was no effort at all, but closing my eyelids was quite difficult as they felt like sandstone and grit was enclosed under each eyelid. I could not see other than blur images of grey or greyer still and there was a presence of something hovering around, yet nothing. I instinctively knew I wanted oblivion, to steer clear of responsibility, not to be tied to anyone and everyone and turned out to be a no-hope twilight soul bum

I reckoned my eyes were bloodshot, which I experienced times before, and this is why the sensation of sandy granite was coming from. Sooner or later after a spell of time normal focus would resume. I stayed put as I closed my eyes slowly and painfully, held my eyelids rather tight for several minutes to moisturize my tired eyes, then reopen them sharply and was shocked by what I could dimly see. What appeared in front of me really should not be there.

It was a shabby closet sized room with a single bed and a paillasse full of holes and straw sticking out every worn opening. What appeared to be a rag was the only other thing on the bed apart from me. Everything gave the impression to move in its own vocation throughout this homemade mattress, as I swung my leg unsteadily...then with great effort rose to my feet. I did not help .My sense of smell had not disturbed me and by the appearance of this hovel, I was particularly lucky for this one grace.

Looking around, it was obvious this was a shabby manky odd room where everything was covered by dust and cobwebs at every single corner or gap. The door was just straps of old pieces of wood nailed unevenly together showing there was some kind of light coming from outside. I managed to fathom this is why I could scarcely see what I could see. To my right, there was a cracked mirror. Clumping my foot forward I managed to reach it within a few steps then tilted the mirror to gaze upon the reflected image of my face.

What I saw………… no sane person should be allowed to witness…………… for..... Imitating back at me……….was not me………. but somebody else’s forbidding tortuous face

Posted by: peter.howden 19th May 2015, 05:56am

An old but new medieval tale (part 3)

Totally bewildered with an uncountable reaction, I grabbed the mirror, tossing it violently across the filthy tiny room. When it landed on the mawkit paillasse, it still broke into fragments because it was already cracked. How long I stood there, not moving a muscle, is uncertain... however my stumer of a brain raced around desperately but creating nothing other than incomprehension, and heated terror as mentally I stepped off the edge of the real world to reach for comfort in unprofitable thoughts but land with the devil knows what or where or how………. but too hot to handle ……………

We are wholly mysteries to one and all with the way the wheels come around, for we recognize not what would change us in the twinkle of an eye. I now find myself unable to use common sense or have psychological boundaries, creating a thoughtless leaking bucket spilling all over the place as I cringed and huddled in a corner, near petrified, gawking at the mysterious broken looking glass.

What pain we try to bury or create a façade of ignorance, rendering a melody of a lost life, striped of the certainties... but cursing the door that closed so loudly. I instantly feared my world had collided with another unknown sphere of existence or mirage madness dancing in the wind, where the evil spirit uninvited joins the party and he pays the piper with torment

From some nameless urge, I again took stock of my surroundings...unfortunately to see little else than from my first fleeting look. A tatty badly home-made chair was in the last corner but nothing else but the awareness of the filth covering every nock and cranny, becoming increasingly obvious as the ability to inhale smell took hold.

How it happened or when exactly it did is not known but I now was instantly alert I was wearing not what I expected or what could be named as clothing in any manner but filthy rags of unfamiliar origin caused total distress to follow.

Crawling across the rough wooden soiled floor to the straw mattress on the jagged bed, I took hold of the biggest broken piece of glass, calmly though perspiring with a chilled secretion all over my wreaked body, slowly raised it to my blinking eyes. The same unknown ghastly face stared back at me although this time was seen with pure disbelief terror.

Straight out of nowhere was pounding sound of something outside, and perhaps someone walking towards the door. The flickering light moved nearly eclipsed by the door and a shadow appeared from between the wide gaps………then instant darkness ….and silence

I cursed myself for not calling out but I was scared as never before……….but?

Posted by: peter.howden 20th May 2015, 06:04pm

An old but new medieval tale (part 4)

Fear does such strange things to the awareness when astride in the unknown darkness, fetching and delivering sheer almost sacrilegious dread within a whiff of treachery. Even though I wanted to yell out... in that very moment, not a single murmur forced its way through as my voice suddenly froze and my mouth became dry, and sand gritted my tongue. My brow sweltered as if someone had drenched me with sticky reeking water while all my terrified mind could think of, was... I did not want to plot against whatever had brought me here, where here was……… I knew not.

With not even the flimsiness flicker of light, the darkness became a blackness forcing time to be lengthened beyond meaning of existence, causing me not to move and stay rigid, in case I was discovered. There was a slim chance what wandered earlier around at the other side of the locked door was unaware I was there. so fearful was my desperate predicament,I nearly keeched my pants, unaware if the dirty old door could be death’s door or my salvations barrier.

Uncharacteristically; even in the grip of some kind of sorcery, somehow I fell asleep, soon to dream a dream of dark magic taking me to a new level of horrid bewitchment. I found myself staked out in the blazing sun which scorched my hair as it blinded me into whiteness,. I could hear what I believed to be water, slowly dripping so close; the merest minuscule splash touched my red hot cheeks as if by a sharp rock, before it evaporated to infinity. Each drop brought unwanted agony creating cracks and the rawness of my red burnt skin. While I cursed every single droplet while every globule searched out every inch of my seared skin, to dance the dance of agonizing cruelty.

How long I lay there is unknown but I became aware the sun had somewhat rested and in front of me was a huge open gateway. Again how or why was faceless yet I had the sense to realize, as I lay untied but aching, this imaginary vision was utterly unnatural. Whatever this was, it was but a trick for an open door is no freedom.... if you dread what is beyond. I was tempted if I could, to end it there and then, and end the abnormal torture but somewhere, deep inside, instinct to survive took over and conquered the blind numbness.

Without any warning, I was back inside this cramp mancky den but now there was a glimmer of light flickering underneath the uneven door’s frame. With this shaky lowlight I was able to focus once again without being deceived by the unknown and found all was the same as before …………..except for the mirror…………. no more was it in pieces all over the filthy paillasse………. but whole except for the crack, hanging back of the wall to the right of me……… #

I also could hear muffled voices and some kind of footsteps becoming louder as I attentively listened. What secrets held me here and what was to happen in this witches hour………………..for now.... there was no doubt this was skulduggery………. of bewitching entangled destiny.

Posted by: peter.howden 25th May 2015, 04:35pm

An old but new medieval tale (part 5)... one before the one before the last

All the way through this unwelcome torment which now befell upon me, abnormally chilling my very bones, I felt someone or something persistently observing me...but where from I had no idea. Now, I was first quaking beyond control then gawking at my feeble surroundings in disbelief as to how I had returned from my unpredictable prison, for now there was no doubt it was a prison

Eventually managing to focus on the closet room, for the want of a better description, reasoning this was the only constant thing in this nightmare apart from the stuffed paillasse and the manky blanket. Nothing had change except phenomenally the rough woodened framed mirror. Had I not shattered this object into bits after the reflection, reproducing a face which certainly was not how did it happen, how did a strange repulsive appearance follow my lines, duplicate every movement of my skin and create such bulging eyes, then disappeared.

Would the same image return if I stole another glance through its reflection? I presumed this ugly featureless image was not me but how could I tell? For how long has these misfortunes been taking place ...there was no means of telling. Was it now me or a doppelgänger who mirrored my distress? Again no knowledge whether this was enchantment of the blackest kind or demons I per-chance released to torment me ………. or my mind had accidently flipped into another dimension where the doors of revenge had opened and chosen me as a special guest, now loosing what little sanity I had once possessed . There is something about inward panic which not only rips common sense to shreds but creates fear-provoking alternatives for the mind to wallow in and dismisses what actually perceive.

I decide, after a hard course dry swallow, to investigate by blindly closing my eyes and feeling my way, slowly approaching the mirror, then standing stiffly in front of it, ready to face my existing nightmare. Why blind? But this was my way. I blinked open just to see a shadow of the ugliness I had seen the last time. Gradually I released my eyes wide and saw a hellish loathsome foul face imitating my every move.

Again creating such unbelievable shook, I trembled violently then threw the looking glass across the shabby cell and witnessed it strangely silently, smash into little pieces leaving one sort of large piece almost unharmed, lying on the soiled straw mattress. .

All at once, what sounded like a brouhaha commotion outside the entrance to the cramp chamber, stole my attention, quickly followed by loud but unintelligible screeching voices, then screams above inconceivable shrieks of sheer terror , causing not only instant dampness from top to feet by the bucket full, but repeating frozen shivers right down my back and staying there. While this unrestrained ruckus went on...what seemed indefinite, I tried to hide in the furthest away corner. ………………..while feet scuffed and hands or bodies bumped against the door.

Was this a hellish dream………. for if it was………… had the devils clawing fingerprints all over it………….. ending my known world?


Posted by: peter.howden 27th May 2015, 05:48am

An old but new medieval tale (part 6) Penultimate

I craved total oblivion, nothing more nothing less, which I wished with each slug of awful decayed air I breathed. Fear had found a home...created by fiendish demons haunting to bewitch any soul and with not control or choice ...the soul was mine. No reality behaves in such a way and now nerves have gone leaving me utterly defenceless, beyond reason or hope and numbingly petrified.

Now, behind this feeble but grim door, a contest to end all contests, creating sheer bedlam of a battle of some kind, by unknown beings fighting for life which I had seen no evidence of existence. Each moment it seemed the frail door would give way from the pure weight of the combatants.... but each clawing second it stood the pounding and clamour ... which became louder and louder

Oddly.... out of this evil sounding din of a abyss, as the agonizing all-encompassing blare reached a pitch virtually unbearable to human lobes... I remembered…I heard not a peep, not a cry, not a gulp when I held the looking glass. What happened next I have no awareness or acquaintance in the slightest but one moment there, next instant somewhere else, where I had never been before?

Before my startled eyes, the dimness did not spring on me or arrive with the click of a finger, for the workings of my mind made just one moment... turned around and it just was so. It certainly was not complete blackness though a hint of bleakness weaved and oozed almost out of the moist ground beneath my feet...still trembling uncontrollably. My new prison had no scope but again a strange place with just, trees upon trees, with no sign of bushes or natural shrubs…… green or otherwise but totally grey.

Because I was certain I was somewhere, I needed to find shelter as the bleakness of above gave warning, even to a frightened wee beasty as I. There was no noticeable trail anywhere but I raised my foot and placed it down, to my astonishment...a path appeared. I placed a canny foot to the right and another path appeared and the first disappeared. Paths stopped and started where I placed my heel and toe. The aroma of Scottish pine cones became atrocious yet no such tree was there, so my homeland this was not, but weeping willows galore and curious man shaped trees with over expanding branches. Something unseen in the unreachable darkness, unseen but ……. Stirred!

Around every grey drab tree was an unclear mystery, for although the trees defiantly did not walk… yet they appeared to move a few inches in appropriated moments, then feet in several seconds without signs of the roots clawing or uprooting.

Had the whole nightmare now control mind body and soul? Had the unseen stolen my inner spirit and played dice with my senses? I stood perfectly shaking spine, legs and feet suddenly were solid as rock. Then and only then the truth was...these abstract trees... were alive and placed to hunt me.

With every effort from my spent body, I broke free from the statue spell...or so I thought, as my legs struggled to run at any speed but like being in slow motion they just moved and no more. The tree rid themselves of their sculpture disguise, shredding from the very earth and stone and ground to move with a speed fast and fury struggling with each other to be first to catch the prey………which was me.

Those roots so presently in the ground moved without anything to bar them, flicked and twisted to trip my fleeing feet carrying my terrified body. The branches of all kinds grew and grew to aim for my crumpled body and head, as my heart beat a petrifying pulse. Each step brought a path in front of me but the trees needed no such guides making dismaying gain. My only hope was their habitual habit to overshadow their adjacent tree, pushing and propelling to be ahead.

Salt seeped from my nonstop sweat, stinging my bloodshot eyes... as I ran for my very existence never before from hence which claimed to foul my brain. In no time I was halted physically and now mentally as two or three roots, first hindered then stopped my run. With no waste of time branches wrapped around my aching body, immediately began to squeeze tighter and tighter. Other branches reached my head and striped the flesh in a rush to capture. Within no time I was captive to the will of this venomous wood. All allowed of my body to air was my crippled eyes.

Black clouds twisted above, stealing away the skies with scary thunder, producing lightning bolts flashing towards an unseen chasm, taking me unwillingly back to psychological nightmare where the dark side wanted to steal my soul as evil spirits dancing a dance of cruelty, thieving all what was once kind within me.

They knew...whatever or whoever...“They” was or were... I had wished to be a pilgrim of oblivion, yearning near total nothing in every dream before which the man underneath this vine capture wished for in every stolen breath.

The last conscious moment I knew was being deprived of air as colour lost its way around my face, while the blood squeezed from their cells until about to burst……………………then blackout.

Posted by: peter.howden 29th May 2015, 08:40am

An old but new medieval tale (part 7) the uncomfortable end

What is time... when in a state of no reason to portray past, present, or illusion of such a dimension as a future, when there’s nothing but a black gorge stretching further than no distance at all, for there is nothing to see or gauge from. Sanity does not come into the equations whatsoever because I was now just a thing...a blob devoid of everything other than unemotional nonexistence The horror is not being in utter bleakness... but knowing your there.

Entirely frozen, colder than a icebergs covered in constant snow. Misapprehensions surrounded by unmovable solid geysers deep in the Antarctic where no human has left a foot print because instant sub-zero will not allow it to be so. A period of non-measurable ceaseless followed minus light or clue but a feeling it was not endless obscurity

Abruptly out of this very depth came a distant vague deduction...something just out of reach of my inflexible fingers.. How long it took to become semi-conscious I have no idea, but I knew my senses where questionable as previous creeping pictures passed randomly. Now in reasonable focus, unexpected dread returned with witnessing the return of the roots , gradually creakingly tightening their grip around my legs, while other types of undergrowth of various lengths tied up my arms, distorting my face with the friction of movement, causing bleeding while cutting deep into my flesh.

Just as it may be assumed there may be a chance this is a hallucination coming from a misty apparition of a unforgivingly long passageway...the again its truth prevailing because I could have sworn a flicker of light came some way off. Responsiveness was climbing on board to my now startling thoughts. Danger was pushed aside for the longing and need for knowledge of what had become of me, discarding any jeopardy before ‘IT’ became involved...whatever “IT” was; became. Monstrous fleeting judgements at random scurried at reckless speed to invade my dull almost lifeless mind. They were not roots or branches but clutching demons attempting desperately to smother me.

It was still dark but much closer to the light as I took a look around...I now knew I was there. Closing my eyes, then opening wide to witness crumbled figures and parts of physiques in a state of decay and greyness, from poor dense shapes. Huddled in indescribable squalor and trampled in muck. They could not be tagged as human bodies but I knew they had been.

A constant push forward from behind hidden forces brought me ever so close to a craggy door. I admit trampling on some forms of beings, dismembered hands and arms...still attempted to harm me anyway they could but by now I was capable in fending them off. By now I was just an arm’s span away from this ill made feeble wooden door...suddenly I recognized I knew that door. It was the same one which locked my prison the very first consciousness of my ordeal …but from the other side.

A single light shone through the cracks of the entrance but the mass of bodies illuminated it as a glint. I clung frantically to its frail frame by my fingernails and put my eye up to the largest fracture and stared. There was a man looking at a mirror then placed it so to see his reflection. The fellow was straight in front of me and I could see the replication image. The man was shocked...and I was struck numb.

It was ugly, so ugly it was far away from description but it was fascinatingly drawing me not only to look but take every edge, every article of this most curious horrible vision. The face I could see reflecting as all tortured and disfigured………… was mine. Just then the savage angry person flung the mirror away. ……..and that was the last thing I saw.

The mass behind me was colossally strong pushing forward...snapping my fingers, one after the other...and my being was forced forward into total darkness ….and beyond.

Posted by: peter.howden 30th May 2015, 07:09pm

My Almanac 30/05/2015

Earlier on, well after the bewitching hour of midnight, isolated in the stillness, I was contemplating my navel, or anything else, unable to sleep and not knowing why....apart from an allusion of ‘Déjà Vu’. Is it due to the mixed emotion of enthusiasm and trepidation unknown while preparing for a holiday...or just a trivia excuse because the eyes refuse to close properly to encourage sleep? While in France for the next two weeks, will I have foreign thoughts...I doubt it. Still the quietness of the night beckons state of grace allowing the drifting mind to slip into memories of peoples and deeds.

The past is a magic carpet jaunt of patterns, jaggy thoughts and remembrances; Good and bad...but mainly good which points to one hell of a bundle of luck. Each individual on this planet has a similar journey, filled with paths, which if you had the choice, you would do a detour, or go back to yesterday, no matter how golden or cushy existence they appear to have. The conclusions of life changes as to the attitude taken and making the best of the cards you are dealt with. Some say morals in life are black and white... up till now I prefer having a rational mind prism, to see and act with colours.

The need to assess my life, and hopes for the future, automatically spring from a relatively inactive mind...with surprises conclusions. ‘She who must be obeyed’ is not the reason why I live or breathe....but she is the main reason why I want to live.... It’s not the big gifts or gatherings with loads of hullabaloo...but just a glance, or a smile across a busy scene or unpredictably hand of comfort, reaching out unseen which is the bonding matter what age.

Will I need my woman while partaking on my voyage ...yes.... in certain ways, however I do not need to think but I can see her it my life’s bonus......I would loathe to miss it.....

Posted by: peter.howden 14th Jun 2015, 11:07am

Holiday Over...............

Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary(1)

What an excellent figure of man Mr Swan was. He was not the tallest of tall, in fact his height was around 5 feet 4 inches, or Mr Universe, but immensely strong of wirily stature, plus owning a red beard to shame Rob Roy. He could run faster backwards than I could full pelt forward. There was a kindness about him that is rare and comforting. Mr Swan was the one who introduced me to the fact there was more than one type of girl and defiantly more types of complicated men.

His pipe blow smoke continuously, coupled with his thankfully forgetful habit of leaving his half glowing pipes, dotted all over the place, with several different stages of shags and moistures, with sublime distinctive aromas, was opium to my breathing senses which I can still muster today, right now... at the twitch of my nose ....a scent I regularly hunger for because of a distinct bouquet of varied seasonal earthy growth... mixed with tobacco of his splendid pipes. Mr Swan told a variety of stories in an exciting and educational way, without boasting... and when he was finished, you would wish you could have been there.

He told of his crossing over to the vastness of Canada on five separate occasions, always by boat, whilst his first trip over to Chicago, holding the commonwealth games that very year. He would run every morning around the deck and he used to race this young fellow, who turned out to be the number one athlete, on track for Great Britain. He apparently beat him most times and as Mr Swan said, it was probably because the poor lad did not have his sea legs yet. He was no bragger as he related his findings while working planting or pruning something within his market garden.

He helped to build the railways through “The Rockies”, worked at mining, also employed in the brothel and cheap bars as a bouncer. If money was hard, and it often was, by all accounts, he would sleep rough. He was one of the thousands of drifters, in and out of all types of work he always said travelling and abroad... was the making of the man.

Posted by: peter.howden 16th Jun 2015, 08:17pm

Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary(2)

At the time when I was associated with Mr Swan, he was engaged as a market gardener; groundkeeper, all round worker come anything, for the old Glasgow cooperation’s ‘Clydenuek House’... and grounds between the ‘Clyde’, Greyfiers Rd, leading up to the old bridge over the river. I spent hours, of sublime moments, during the long summer months

He had been instructed to employ workmen and an architect, along with a bridge building firm, to erect a bridge over a stream that ran into the river Clyde. It proved to a hell of expensive exercise to do it in that way... so he just did all the drawings and models himself ,then organized it with a couple of mates high up in Ravenscraig to make up sections and he began to lay foundations himself. The whole episode took seven weeks and at a fraction of the cost....

Mr Swan cultivated me to....Set your own challenges ...not your neighbours, or societies or the world..........Dance to my own tune.

He also taught me how to play open bowls, and fly an arrow, with demonstration how to shoot a gun in safety, even let me hold his shot gun when it was unloaded. His philosophy on shooting was, “you don’t have to be John Wayne, just point it at what you want to hit, then pull the ‘trigger’, but never ever kill... just for the hell of it.... If you cannot convince yourself that there is no other way, then don’t do it.

The driveway was pebble mixture of golden brown and pearl of white. The garden consisted of flowers I could not pronounce or remember and three large greens so soft to walk on. While a small wood between the house and the main road heading for the Haughhead Bridge, held bluebell displays in the spring. The bonny river was a cool sight anytime however on a summer night it shone its own element of wonder.

He had a saying; quote... if you can get through life without deliberately hurting someone else, then you’ll do all right. But have your work cut out complying.

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Jun 2015, 01:51pm

3..... Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary(final episode)

As a young boy of nine year’s old... of course, every action, and surroundings, was larger than life, the little I knew of it, but being in Mr Swan’s home was something else. It was a massive mansion with castle like features, Scottish gargoyles outside, and overshadowing large mason stone walls best suited for medieval building of strong holds. The front door was solid wood, so much so, I could not close it by myself...and the deep-rooted locks, I thought were gold but turned out to be well polished brass.

Inside this wonderland were some twenty odd rooms with a refrigerator bigger than my sister’s living room and her kitchen combined. I, alone, was allowed to have the run of the place even to watch this specially adapted small screen of the times television. The picture received was enlarged with an even larger magnified glass, situated precisely 2foot 3 inches away from the screen. Sitting at the other end of the room it was like being in the cinema. Pure schoolboy heaven when the “Lone Ranger” came galloping on.

The actual manor was owned by Glasgow District council while Mr and Mrs Swan stayed there a few nights a week for they preferred the small quarters at the stables across the way...and at the time I could not understand the logic....but now I do. We would play bowls on one of the the open lawn’s, along with a local scrap merchant who lived nearby, with homemade lemonade for me and slight refreshment for the gentlemen. A tad more was for the winner. The call of a wood pigeon today will take me back to those light floating times.

In private moments, he taught me how to look at nature, to wonder in its complicated simplicity. My life, if not moulded, guided in the way to take stock, believed where we are in the spectrum of things. Strangely.... only now looking back, I realize, Mr Swan gave me a goal of a blueprint, a code to attempt to follow sub-consciously... though I often fail due to my own making.

My magical mystery tours with Mr/Mrs Swan lasted for two summers, for my sister Sheila moved on and my life began to grow up, or so I believed at the time. On revisiting the place we now can’t see the mansion or the gardens for that matter, so memory lane is my only transport. Adult influence coupled with the splendour of the manor, gave me so much fascination at a time in my life were it was most needed.

Disappointingly, I do not know what happened to the Swans, though it is certain they are no longer alive, as Mr Swan must have been seventy nine... if not a day... while the baker supreme ,Mrs Swan, will always be young.

I hope they both rest in peace.

Posted by: peter.howden 21st Jun 2015, 10:53am

Holiday retreat

Having been back for a whole week from holiday in the south of France region, you would have imagined I could have managed some sort of report from my travels. Although I may be a tad neglectful ... hitherto this was not as simple as it may seem... yet I wish not to blame anything other than my bad organizing of my private life blending into my on-going commitments sometimes beyond my control. In other words time galloped by before I knew it

It has been said, there are words in our common language, abused and overused from their original meanings with a couple certainly more so than most, such as ‘Nice’...’Beautiful’......nevertheless sometimes these are the only words to fit the bill at that precise moment and moments henceforth. While in both Paris and Saissac those two words popped up regularly in my mind. It would be nice if I managed to converse in French to a greater extent than I have managed to grasps from all of my visits. This slight handicap seldom stops me gleefully receiving the warmth from the people I met on my excursions, but I would reap a great deal more in both conversation, and reading signs, messages and listening to the French television, although on sight alone of the programmes on the telly....this may be doubtful.

In my mind, Paris, gay or otherwise, has a unique position in Europe, with inherent wonder and beauty stakes, due to known history and the enticing locations around the left/right banks of the winding river Seine, complete with mystery and liveliness of ‘lived in’ Metro and main railway stations, both far more than just transport. It could simple be, because of my ignorance of language....I enhance what I see. All I truly know, I have yet to be disappointed with my stay in the French capital and been constantly in awe of its history and beauty, rugged and ostentatious. Away from the usual suspects of tourist attraction.... it never fails to weave me under its spell.

There is something comfortingly “Nice” about whipping out my trusty 10 year old French “phrase/dictionary” pocket size book, taking yet another daring spree of discovering what the plaque is conveying... or simply where I am in France’s main Metropolis. By the end of my capital visit I am exhausted with my version of sightseeing efforts and head for what has become a personal Utopia oasis.

Saissac has rustic beauty almost at every turn into Rues, Avenue or corner of this medieval castle/chapel hamlet, but particularly the promenade ...for this is where the home of my hosts is situated, sharing a grand view of across France to the Pyrenees (the site where the end of the world was to take place a couple of years ago). Looking from my given bedroom window, the view is partly blocked by a splendid tree, growing in the next door’s garden, which just begs to be just stared at, for long extended periods, cultivating in phenomenon appreciation.

Apart from doing my washing gratis free, there is an abundance of intriguing company from all walks of life....stretched out lunches and evening meals...alfresco...washed down with lashings of beer or larger...whatever takes my fancy...... The conversation may be mostly whimsical but with dashes of serious subjects, strongly debated with the head of the house leading the assault... what more could a Scot desire having a scouser china quip; “Go 'ed, is right, nice one, boss, well in, sound, belter, made up”?..

Taking regular casual saunters around the well kent district, though nothing strenuous, leaving plenty of time to recoup my now old bones. So quickly the holiday is forced to an end....

No matter how wonderful, just how beautiful, and nice the trip has been, it is a grand comfort being a Glaswegian...travelling home to the fairest green your own folk...your own bed...oh how I missed “She who must be obeyed”.

More to come

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Jun 2015, 08:00pm

Blind Date;

She was the most exquisite alluring woman he had ever met in his entire life. In fact...he thought such obvious goddess comparable serenity only existed in old sagas, or fairy tales, with each word for the imagination to be used, or romantic stories in the film industry. He could not believe an ordinary bloke like him, that he had sole privilege of talking with her, for hours on end while gazing on her obvious charms, and tonight’s date……… he would be her only companion, with no distractions, and as far as he was was unadulterated ecstasy over the moon.

They met at social party where they were casually introduced. It was not apparent she was totally blind, for she carried such self-assurance in her every movement, with her stylish glasses gave no hint of what lay behind her graceful facial features... yet.... she also possessed a teasing girlish characteristic which enticed his rather ordinary dullish senses.

Under these circumstances, the final destination for the evening was a strange selection chosen for he had asked where she would like to go as the dined at his favourite bistro. She asked with near amiable insistence, to be taken to observer the classic Charlie Chaplin’s ‘City Lights’ at the Glasgow Film Theatre. She must have sensed his surprise as she softly explained how people must place forward true confidence in trusting their basic instincts, and forcefully appreciate a silent film. To cast away the trivia and grip the sheer power of the innocent deception.

She serenely hinted, to do this properly and sincerely he would blindfold himself into total unaccustomed blackness throughout the whole proceedings and witness the inner person vitalized above the normal scope. It was a revelation to him though there were no words vocally he could have any chance of explaining the following experience he nurtured through the whole screening of this classic film.

It blew his primitive logical mind away entirely...while entering a new dimension he did not know existed. Each silent noise produced percussion his ears had never heard, each moment took him mentally into the picture with each movement of the characters materializing straight in his very soul, completing its hidden thesis.

He could not help rave about the experience as they walked through the foyer heading into the coal black night. The Madonna lookalike asked him if he would accompany her home and perhaps come in for a short nightcap as it was a chilly night. They walked; they talked of what such a magical understanding he had witnessed and that he wished this insight would stay. Secretly his attentions were with what seductive delights he would experience with such a temptress creature in the private darkness of her boudoir. The soft singing voice of supernatural enchantment blinded him all the way to her destination.

He could hear her move from the bed sheets which strangely held a musty smell and a cold wet texture was certainly about as he tried to open his eyes. No matter how he tried they just would not open his eyes for darkness was all he could grasp. His hazed memory slightly recalled having some Brandy out of a massive glass as the girl taunting him to finish it all in one go, then his mind is numb.
He felt her had led him to another room and sit on what felt like a soft easy chair as far as his weary head could tell, there was not a glimpse of light from anywhere.

Far away from the soft alluring siren goddess, daughter of the Greek Achelous deity calling the night before a more chosen austere power of speech took hold of his understanding.

‘Please do not fret, however, I have removed your entire ability of sight by the very modern technical laser, which is painless...or so I’m lead to believe’, she stopped, for a couple of seconds, presuming waiting for a reaction. But none came because he was in complete immovable horror shock. You are one of the first lucky ones as not all that long ago it was with a red hot iron, I always store for this very purpose in case of unpredictable power-cuts.’

He had this crazy idea there were others in this large chamber though not a speckle of noise came apart from her tone which was ridged, void of any emotion whatsoever as she added finally. ‘I will close the door now and there are plenty of others to keep you company until my next opportunity?’

Posted by: peter.howden 25th Jun 2015, 10:16am

A Scottish Lady.

In Glasgow, there are certain types of women, who are deemed to be unkindly wee biddie Glaswegian’s, also renowned for being a nippy sweetie’s...yet hiding a heart of gold. They stand out from other ladies of this dear green place, who ‘swirl round the mouth ‘wi'’ an English dishcloth’ from Kelvinside ‘Wallie close’ manner. Now and again, through necessities in the early 80s, both primsie nosed and ‘Gabbie Hens’ uncomfortably meet in the new Glasgow council laundrettes which were the replacements of the old beloved steamie’s.

Once in a blue moon, a special character stood out from the usual frantically hurrying attitude almost all who used the facilities of the laundry, and in this instance was the Scottish lady. The image of such a lady projected in reality, between ‘Janet’ in the old television series of ‘Doctor Findlay’ and ‘Mrs. Culfeathers’ from the renowned Scottish play. Her mode of dress all the times she came to the Pollokshaws experience was an old fashioned pinnie and a scarf covering her grey hair. She talked in lovely lullaby diction.

She used the facilities regularly three days a week and from first thing in the morning right on the dot of opening time, came in and out attending four separate washings. Her actual name was not known by the attendant or by the regulars who were too busy in their own titty-tattle to be bothered by an old lady. Over time it was realized, through polite conversation by a third party, it was due to her taking washing in for some snotty ladies around the new dirty linen amenities but were to snooty to attend in person....who paid her a pittance...I would warrant. Each day she arrived at the premises, she seldom left until somewhere late of the evening clock after washing drying and ironing and delivering for such persons, by means of an old Churchill pram

Each week, each month, each season that past by her tired appearance became more obvious which cause certain concern for the few who took time to care. In a rare frank conversation with a third party, she revealed the reason for her exhausting toil...a labour of love. Each time she mentions his name her eyes lit up and a beaming smile crossed her tired mouth. The singular name which changed her persona, as quick as a blink, was Robert....her son.

She spoke lovely Scottish English when the subject was her boy... and how he was studying for the last 7 years to qualify to become unrighteous... up and coming first class lawyer. He lived in a fancy house, close to the baths complex...but a bit further from her room and kitchen in the oldest run down part of the district. Her last word on the subject was... “It’s worth all the labour under heaven”, then she returned to the task at hand.

Although the third party was not employed in the laundry, he did have occupation in the sports complex...under the same roof where he went to collect and fold towels...this was how he came in touch with this special Scottish Lady.... His duties were to lock up the whole complex around ten of the evening’s clock, after all affairs where done.

He did not have the heart to inform such a devoted mother.... that her son never attended college or indeed university, for legal studies....or any other studies...and each evening around 22.00 hours...when the old lady, whose dignity was beyond question, did not attend others washings...he rolled and stoatered out the pub across the road from the laundry....probably after drinking from the monies the lady toiled so desperately hard to earn


Posted by: peter.howden 27th Jun 2015, 12:49pm

Peewee’s explication

While on holiday memorized by the stars shining through the black velvet of a French night reminded me the whole human race are all under the same sky. My thoughts turned to wander through the passage of time and recalled a surprised meeting with the famous Glasgow Peewee, the magical pigeon who’s sworn purpose was to watch and advise every Lord Provost of Glasgow since Richard de Dunidovis...and no less a person than, William the Lyon before him. Peewee presided at the ‘Auld Alliance’ and later strongly advised, the patriotic John Stewart, of Minto, not to banner at ‘Brainston Moor’...but heed he not, losing his life in the fatal fray at Flodden.

I had the honour of being able not only to see him but to communicate as well, usually after having a few “waters of life” in one of the many hostelries in Saltcoats and while I rested in a secluded spot, by the seashore along the dunes, before the final effort of homeward bound.

Under the French evening I recalled his explanation why the stars shine so bright constantly...and why some twinkle.

Peewee; began his lecture in soft amplification.... they come down from around all the universe, in organized turns and times, to bath themselves in the waters of the world, for if they all rushed untimely... night would be in utter unbearable darkness ... as it has on several uncontrollably panic occasions throughout existence itself, frightening all the animals including humans.

The stars twinkling so beautifully, are the ones who skimmed the sea and have gathered unwanted salt over them making the blink...and flicker...and wink.......the constant shining stars have washed in rivers and springs and lakes of the world but prefer Scottish lochs, which they will patiently cue for a dip... is why Scottish waters are so fresh and taste sweet heavenly nectar.

His lecture strayed onto one of his favourite subject steeped in the past order of things mysteries of life beyond human ken. Peewee emphasised how only a chosen few who have the knowledge and understanding to envision the nay impossible...will witness all beyond logic...he continued
If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of such action as the late stars leave the waters of the spinning globe and the fairies magically and playfully capture the dazzling energy into invisible peapods...then gracefully shiver along the lakes and streams and burns....and even in puddles, of all sizes, given birth from the earlier rain.

On the flowing rivers in the capitals of Europe but particularly on the Seine and of course...the home coming Clyde, whilst the sun is correctly positioned for humans to observe, indistinguishable fairies cupping their hands...then letting silvery droplets skate along in ripples animated by the sun...ancient peapods of brilliant silvery light escaping before the river darkens under its many bridges. The naughty furies (disobedient pixies) try to steal and plunder under the bridges of the Seine... and the Clyde.

Settling in a tranquil mood... I spent most of that night staring out of the bedroom window, in the middle of tempting France, fascinated with the stars above and the knowledge of many medieval pathways leading to the unseen domain or “Yomi-no-Kuni”... reached by certain trees, and one such tree was situated in the next mansion’s garden. Now content in the knowledge I knew such an amazing benefactor, in the shape of Peewee... protector of Glasgow ...but slightly wondering where...or more important... when our paths would cross again

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Jul 2015, 08:50am

My Almanac;3; )1/07/2015

Once in a while you may wish holidays and company could last forever but thankfully they don’t... or my cracks of inconsistencies’ would be available for all see

Returning home I now know for certain, deep inside, I have far more than an urge, or a yearning... but induced passion, almost habitual dependency to weave in and out the Scottish scenery at any turn, stare at such wonders, envisaging what the meaning of life is all about...and be happy to be utterly clueless on the subject

Taking Aunt Becky regular hurls is certainly not a grinding duty, especially around Strathblane and surrounding countryside’s and counties, lorded over by the ancient Kilpatrick hills, which make the precious humans so insignificant against such colossus. I am not knocking humans willie-nilly... but through their entire history, there is a tendency for being outrageously pompous, claiming every step of land, and sea, and air around the world, claiming ownership of all they can survey...a manmade myth. We are a mere speck in the era of things having no control over nature other than blowing in the wind.

This magical range turns into the Campsie’s “Fells” and all, not forgetting Kilsyth hills, plus Fintry. For Aunt Becky it is just all green and beautiful while she listens and stumps her feet to her favourite tangible Scottish music... complete with the adopted national anthem “Flower of Scotland” rivalled with “Roamin' In The Gloamin' for being her ultimate favourites..... Though she stamps her feet, in triumph to both and most of the others wheezing away from the speakers in my wee jalopy.

After a few weeks away, one of my first attentions is our garden. Labouring under the allusion I plant, grow and enjoy the proceeds of my toil, when in actual fact it is Mother Nature who is in complete control. However I realized I had forgotten to place a net over my tiny plot of strawberries. The few luscious red strawberry, left half pecked or eaten, had been invaded by the assortment of birds, which nest in our garden.

More important was tidying up with more mundane duties, such as clearing out stores and old compos heaps and storage bin. To my surprise it was obvious mice had stolen in through a crack at the side. All the bird feed and peanuts were scattered around in a smelly mice fashion. Moving and removing half chewed plastic bags brushing out all dribs and drabs wastage ready to wash down with Dettol disinfection lock, stock and barrel. Shifting my old tatty wellie-boots, a mouse shot off... like a bat out of hell... into the unknown undergrowth ...leaving me to discover inside one boot, the wee mouse had made a nest out of basket straw, and inside the nest appeared to be moving. Gently leaving it otherwise undisturbed .

Once finished the onslaught cleansing and repairing the crack, I washed down the new tubs and closed the store bin. In behind the brown bin, for garden waste, I placed both wellies away from wind and water, wrapped up in plastic with an opening gap for the comings and goings of a field mouse family. Thus I left “Mother Nature” to focus on such matters... much better than my puny interference.

We think this is our world... but we are just endured by the nature, whose power is beyond true understanding or command. Are we a tiny blip on an almost accidental spinning rock or are we conclusions of life?.....who knows


Posted by: peter.howden 5th Jul 2015, 07:02am


The year is in the early 50s; the place is Whifflet, it was the best of times... though like most times... I was more than a little bit mixed up. As a youngster, still growing up, I was extremely conscious of my defects compared to other adolescents’ standards, classified as handicapped, demonized as a spastic... more so by elders rather than the odd treatment handed out by other children, good and bad. More surprising, was my lack of understanding and remedy to suppress the actual truth. Tangible and imaginary hurdles appeared from nowhere to stumble over, which at the time, seemed unassailable constantly threatening my simple happiness, however soon discovering this was normal for any juvenile as the rest of the youngish delinquents had the equivalent infantile dilemmas... equally urgent.

I failed to realize every inexperienced prodigy staggers through this minefield of self-doubt and body malfunctions...forcing inward criticism of small problems and blemishes, to utter ridicule exaggeration. The way you perceived things, along with the reasons to overcome obvious and not so obvious problems, lies close to the path for near future endeavours...but stayed permanently within the mind.

Through my tender boyhood yonks, my mother worked as a ranked civil servant, working at...I do not know exactly but based in Maryhill Military Barracks. Being a solid dependable woman, expected of the time, seldom showed any outward sign of affection, ether in kiss or hugs. I cannot recall being touch by her physically, except once...while I was having a nightmare. Now I know her story better, I can understand why. She looked on me as a duty and so she carried it out, as best she could. The summer holidays was always a problem, for her, with me being at school, 6 weeks or so recess coming along as they did yearly. This was solved by being shipped off to my sister’s Sheila’s (the Greys household) where ever it may be.

The year of the ‘American swings’ was Whifflet, the coal binges around Bellshill and that area, were magic, but I met Tom’s (brother in law) dark angry side because of playing in them. .he did not believe of sparing the rod or as sometimes proved, of using a rod. Looking back though, it must have been difficult for Sheila and Tom...for I was certainly no angel whilst I had the heartfelt angelic look.

The highlight of the Bellshill summer weeks, still stays with me, being given permission to stay up on a Saturday night to watch ‘Sergeant Bilko’, after sport programme of the day, around 10.30 of that evening. I stayed up, dressed in my pyjamas to view this American comedy which I still love today. As Phil Silvers line went “fun, fun, fun”.

So, when I was shipped out to the hamlet just south of Coatbridge, it was a new adventure that I had mixed feelings about. 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 famous for the Olympic sized swimming pool it had, also had fine views and deep history of industrial railways and all that entails... but these details it all washed above my head.

Whifflet was my 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 gang... you had to do the corner leap. This was quite a jump for a bachle, not out of shorts yet 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 the problem was.... one was higher than the other, by a good foot and a half, even two feet. . 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.

I had some sense to practice when no one was around and that meant sneaking out at seven in the morning. Late at night was out of the question as my brother in law was severe in the 9.00 of the night dead line. My balance was terrible, added with my born again side and the terror I held being so far up, wavering on a curved top of the wall. I landed on my bahookie more times than not until one day, while practicing alone, in the very early a.m.; I made such a dreadful leap.... but not far enough.

Posted by: peter.howden 8th Jul 2015, 08:57am

American Swings (2) A Leap beyond

The moment I leaped into the space between leaving solid concrete into hope for triumph covering ultimate glory I realized I was soaring into misfortune. The furthest corner was way out of reach either by foot or hand, even when franticly trying to grab something. Downward my body fell completely out of control, though like countless times before tipped onto my right side. I landed with arms still stretched out trying desperately to grab anything, only to feel air, and my legs at a wearied angle, leaving my whole right side to take the main force of the craggy ground...covered in old fireside ashes. . . Winded and in enormous pain while I lay there unable to move for what seemed ages ticking away emphasising how it was more than my pride hurting. Eventually I clambered to my shaky feet, vowed never to do anything like that again. I was truly scunnered with the whole thing

Later on in the afternoon while all the local lads, along with some girls, were hanging around and I was way out on the outer ring, one lad came to show off. Gleaming with bravado pride, carrying what appeared to be a real cowboy six shooter. He informed the now surrounding crowd, his uncle brought it back from Hollywood, where he worked as an extra or scene mover or something, which some may envy with a lust passion, but being mere cinema going ordinary boys.... it was just out of this world.

I have forgotten his name but he handed around the big pistol to the keenly awaiting delinquent group, who showed their appreciation in the way they held it with precious delicately, and it was plain to see... I was not involved. Now in a fit of dreadful peek or selfish anger for my personal failure, which I believed no-one witnessed. I yelled out my intention to jump the ‘corner to corner’ dare, which caused a few giggles from two lads. What was unknown to me at the time, those a couple of the boys had seen my pitiful attempts walking the wall earlier and were gunning for a good laugh mockingly taking the piss?
Whatever came over me I had little control over my mind, for those few moments it took to ball out my intentions I was oblivious to the terror of the petrifying obstacle? What was clear was an inner force driving my uncommon bravado, Scuttling along the approaching wall in fair speed and surprising agility?...I lined myself up to the final approach where disaster happened that very morning, closed my eyes ran bursting with instant energy and jump into blind abyss.

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

There was other bravery prove yourself test, although this was as a member now known as a dare devil...and not as an outsider.

Posted by: peter.howden 10th Jul 2015, 11:49am

American Swings. The conclusion

Our gang was filled with a variety of brood’s, age wise, had one thing in common. During the everlasting summer...continuous “Dare” challenges. Simply we all dug deep to compete and introduce a desperate taunt. One morning the ultimate trial was thrown into the explore the unknown depths of the abandoned mine shaft, believed to be haunted by rats and the like, under the main Whifflet |St. it was rumoured, or told, some kids last year were never seen again... never reached the other end, gauged to be at the incredible American swings.

This creepy tunnel ran underground, from Bute St all the way to behind Hospital St... And the so called American Swings. The reason for 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 reason as most things in the 50s were drab and formal, and 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.

Having been instructed by Brother-in-law Tom, at the start on my holiday stay, the upper other side of the main Whifflet Street was strictly out of bounds to me, so this test was right up my street. I accepted the challenge without thinking though I was not the first to enter however just after a minute or two, Garry racing out the entrance, face pure dead white.... hollered...’No bloomin way’ I was not the first to go through that dark entrance alone however with two of the other lads,(one boy was called Richard and he became a priest, so good training) and it was, by god, terrifying but as a group we skulked through.

Crawling down deeper than expected, holding my torch it is hard to tell the actual distance of this constructed subway, but it was black murky, dripping constant cascading noisily, massive holed pathway, stony obstacles with boulders thrown in. Being about three boys wide with massive water covered area in the middle. The main danger was the reputed rats living down there awaiting the unexpected explorer. The numbers were unknown, although there was defiantly, a dark grey one bigger than it should be and when cornered, rats bite, for every boy knew this as fact. The challenged individual had to take off his Socks, shoes or sannies, wade knee deep through manky water running to god knows where.

Reaching my destination it took our eyes sometime to recover. Once adapted to sunlight again, I scrounged around for what I could dry myself with. Stupidly tried grass which left me tainted frog legs for several weeks even with Sheila scrubbing with a stair brush, in a frantic effort to save my skin. Tom gave me a thick ear, and a sore bum for my troubles.

Belonging to the gang, enabled me to be involved in all what they did including, how long could you go your bike with eyes closed. The main problem was.... attempting this hair scary cycle when on the A8, the main Glasgow to Edinburgh rd. The thought was we would hear the whoosh of the traffic and steer clear and the wind thermos caused by the heavy freight movers would keep us in the safe airstream.... acting like a buffer.

It did not work that way...for my wheels became grooved in the tram lines we nearly got killed.... but we were being nearly killed together as pals, making the real difference. The calculation of danger was practically non-existent..

This may seem really ludicrous behaviour, even for the young and untested, but compared to the next wasn’t.... for I stupidly consented on a rainy day to take part in “Dare...Promise...or kiss”...decided by a mawkit milk bottle from the midden. Girls where included and I was dared to kiss a girl...on the lips, whose Christian name is blurry, but her surname was “Archibald”. I only consented to do so If they put a box over our heads while the act was being performed........and even then....I chickened out..........kissing her on the cheek.

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Jul 2015, 10:30am

Shaky Steps

It was no use, no matter what she would have to do and force herself to step closer to her goal, even though they were crying out trying to hit a contact and make her stay still, for her own safety. They had not caused this dilemma but were the instigators of mortal agony and she knew they had started the whole sordid walk through close torment beyond belief ...this was fact.

She had no cause to be in this terrifying situation, for the remedy lay safe and sound with her...but she was too proud to admit her failings. She could have been sharing the bosom of her friends, laughing light-heartedly beside the hosiery’s blazing fire, soothingly sipping of ‘the water of life’ as it moisturised her lips, but her stubborn pride and a sharp word, or two from her lover... force her into the bitter cold clear night... through old cobbled stoned pathways close to the midnight bewitching hour... if you believe such things.

Her whole attire, but mainly the flimsy dress, was for the wee small hours ball organized by the ‘crème de crème’ of society, located the seaside echoes of the dim spectral streets were her undesirable companions. Her mouth was dry, her hands trembled and her ankles of hard skin took its toll for wearing stiletto heels. The biting night was not the only chilling her skin, her muscles her slow flowing blood... but freezing her very soul.

She was alone and frightened being the dead of night, walking distressingly through unfamiliar nameless deserted streets... shadows lurking then bounding... while dark forbidding things appearing at the blink of an eye ...disappearing at the hint of a glimpse from her frightened eyes as slightest sound ceased the instance she turned to look in the direction any noise came from which reached her ears.

Each step was terrifying agony; each corner was filled with dreaded expectations .

No mouth ,no tale of utter endurance ,no syllables or collection of words could express or explain the ultimate anguish suffered other than.... she forgot to keep her appointment with the chiropodist that very morning... and her feet...they were killing her.

Posted by: peter.howden 17th Jul 2015, 12:01pm


As far as he could fathom, through the passage of time, closely related to every belief or faith, has some form of, carrot or stick approach for virtuous reward or agonizing punishment for having faith or rejecting the call. Heaven was always some sort of paradise as far as the mind was concerned and the hellish place termed hell had not yet been reliably explained as no person or soul had returned from either.

Constantly feverishly reading all types of history, literature, he hoped to consume knowledge but coming to the conclusion Socrates was correct; ‘The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing’, although Shakespeare’s death is a long sleep, while J.M Barrie’s, reputed to quote ‘Death is an awful big adventure’. He felt safe that death was all conciseness terminating.

As the years past as they must do, demise, with no special request, became intimate as the last breath was on count down. An unknown period past without recognition or recall till finally he had the nous of some sort of occurrence. Total emptiness was abundant yet a hint of a a beat was somewhere while nowhere. This sense was not by eyesight or mind but telepathy ...not of his making.

The thud became a rumble then an irritating persistent sound. For some reason or other the louder it became, apparently annoyed him outside any conception. Electric charges darted, ‘thither in thither’ slowly picking up speed. What was just nonsense became clearer into section somehow his awareness gradually understood. The absolute horror abruptly became a reality... to discover his he spun around in nothingness ....neither alive or dead

Within his abyss, became louder and louder beyond sanity with no moments of rest, no breathing space...was the constant recall every corrupt vicious deed, each immoral action against his fellow man or woman, every single cross word, every broken oath given, every hypocritical motion ever uttered from his unceasingly broadcasted in an inescapable void...every word said in anger is now each person’s private hell for eternity...and a step further


Posted by: peter.howden 21st Jul 2015, 11:26am

My Almanac;3;21/07/2015

A surprise visit on Jim Hendry at his local in Ayr late Saturday night before last bells was on the cards however, early that afternoon I left the privacy of my tavern/hotel to keep a personal staunch promise of walking to “Heads of Ayr” from the central of Ayr fair town. This pledge was made some time ago, vowing in the near future to do just that.... but now it has come and gone...and with it.... one failed attempt to stride the scenic miles.

My comrade Jim Hendry, unaware I was in town, had no influence on my endeavour which I abandoned minus pluck. The climate was dreich, chilling to the marrow, tedious rain soaked and scunnered all at the same time. Godforsaken meteorological conditions influencing the promenade to be almost completely absent of peoples.... other than windswept die hardy.

This stark view leads to a personal conclusion, this once rightly proud holiday destination is struggling at best, although the hard working welcoming community herald how busy it is on ‘Race’ days, but then again appears almost impossible for shop owners, who gear themselves for wandering holiday day visiting trade, to make a viable living as all I witnessed was empty shops with keen operators trying to look busy and attractive.

As for my clandestine visit to the Anchor tavern, allowing the home grown cheerful ‘Del Shannon’ twanging majestically, to sings his lungs out for two hours or more, it was a travel into the past based mainly around late 50s, early 60s. The company was rosy ...proving the locals are joyfully bunch with a bundle of laughs.... along with china Jim, rare comfortable in his element.

Time and hours have come and gone so swiftly leaving today yesterday being we know it. For the past ten days or so, time once again is the spell bandit but unable to steal a couple of most welcome moments taking place during regular showers, drizzly rain, typical weather leading up to the Glasga fair. Some unexpected intervals.... nay... couple of jiffies of pure dead brilliant sunshine as the clouds play hide and seek, proving this is in July’s holiday interval. The warmth of the sun melted my stubborn laziness into leisurely good intentions of much needed fences repair, cutting grass, painting trough and plant boxes, and scour weeds, deadheading roses and clip bushes way back.

Warm air carelessly weaves thru the intervals of toil, wafts carrying pleasurable sounds of the local children frolics and laughter playing ball or statues wavers. There is something unique in the sound of impish yelps and squawks creating dare and double dares in adventurous games, of mind and body. This tugs is a inner cosy glow of fond memories from many years back, for older peoples such as I, reaching where other emotions can’t reach... fresh raw happiness.....Probably the best memories in the world.

Our futile expectations of wishing for constant sunny weather akin to holidays spent in foreign resorts in Spain and Portugal or near and close down the French Rivera coastline, are not only alien to our climate but would certainly set unbelievable problems for the residents of this fair city of |Glasgow and Scotland. The rain certainly helps things to grow with amazing speed and is the fundamental reason why Glasgow is known as “Dear green place”.... without being the author

Posted by: wellfield 21st Jul 2015, 09:29pm

Well done!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Jul 2015, 01:24pm

Very kind indeed “Willfield” I appreciate your comment

Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Jul 2015, 09:05am

Keep Fit

In today’s money world, millions even tens of billions worldwide is spent on creating fitness embodied... coupled with parse beautiful bodies. The newish mecca for keep fit fanatics or the ‘In crowd’ to be seen attending, ‘The Gym’ or the physical...and mental torture departments ... in more ways than one.

If you happen to be a reputed natural Adonis, then it’s a free ride with just a few press-ups to ensure the body is in the pink, but to ask a body to start from scratch...then its murder trying to obtain suitability and be judged by the treadmill squad. The ‘In crowd’ expect the unprofessional participant to run through the constant pain barrier without raising blood pressure or not much to matter and still not out of breathe....opening pickle jars with the twist of a wrist, either one, even when simpler things, brings you out in a heat rash and the like.

Unemployed Stan has for some time being contemplating all these things and many more, trying to persuade himself he should exercise both his body, but especially his mind, because wee Stan knew he just about hung together in both these areas. His intellect is simply his phone, letting his fingers do the walking, text the internet... his vehicle of knowledge and purchase, along with most of the population.

Stan’s bedroom is his sanctuary, his phone is not his lifeline but his life and he has no money for ‘The gym’ and no wanting for exercise, due to apathy. Our history tells us of ‘the unemployment way’ is above necessity and a drain on mainstream capital and resources....except for those who capitalize on the masses misery. The unemployed are classed as ‘Them’. Most jobless people do not go to ‘The gym’.... they were walking everywhere to find occupation...any employment. They were not fit; they were too busy endeavouring to survive while near starving beyond endurance.

Now he is categorized as being long time unemployable, some may blame Stan but it’s not really only his fault, prostration under peers pressure but being under hidden manipulation to squeeze every penny from the poor’s pocket, by passive aggressively...making him a social dependency.... legal to print their own money, those nice and thoughtful top companies such as Provident Cheques...and the banks ilk .

Right from the beginning of so called civilization, it’s been wars, combat, gambling, religion, Gin, cocaine, booze, sex ... the poor bearing the cost and now technology brings all this and more , secretly into Stan’s home to brainwash him in unawareness.

Stan now exhausted all avenues without the hint of success has no reason to walk so he stays put. Each decade make excuses or complain, depending if old or up and coming and although the reasons appear to change...the basics remain firmly in place...the multitude carry the few

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Jul 2015, 10:56am


Dean witnessed first-hand there are no bars on the window, no turnkey at the door to the kitchen, no hard rules to follow but there might just as well be. The occupant of the small maisonette is an Ex-convict, or seasonal criminal, who in any session will steal or rob for gain or just because he can which has led to him being lock up in numerous occasions for his trouble. He is not only deemed by the authorities to be institutionalized...although he is mentally in jail....

Inside the many jails Dean has had accommodation; he had little preference except a loathing for Peterhead, which now has been closed, for in the old days is where all the nonse’s (Paedophiles and child molesters) are made trustees. In Dean’s opinion and many of the main stream prisoners, they would turn anybody’s stomach...yet the authorities, in their fashioned wisdom; stuck most of them together, in that nick …..Supposedly for their own safety…. but Dean knew it was to prevent ‘Winda warriors’ (prisoners who shout from windows) passing information to the outside world or bank against prison riots.

Screws were roughly the same in most penitentiaries though some did have a evil twist Dean preferred a single ‘Peter’(cell) but would double up comfortably with some crony from the old time, where a square go just meant that... or with a chib...where snout was the currency all prisoners used not these phone cards.. Time plays funny tricks to the memory and more so when little is left to remember.

While inside, Dean was in no danger of learning a new crime, for he was too far gone down the line as an old lag preferring to be in his own company, reading a book with no ending as some sod had ripped out the last pages. Where he was in peril was by some soap slashing after lockdown, or a jammer from a young nuttier trying to stamp his authority. There is a class system inside and a heavy duty pecking order and one must know one’s place. This gives a sense of comforting security to the lifers, eight year stretcher’s; “A” fours (four years and under) which some uneducated person’s call ‘Bird’ but really marking and passing time to a jail calendar .

He was released, on licence, by the “get back to civilization” mob that had to be seen to believe they know what they were talking about. Dean passed with flying colours when he wasn’t really trying. He was asked where he would like to be housed and he plucked for where he landed for it was the easiest to spell. .Social workers and others were busy bending over backwards to succeed, they forgot what was best for the man inside………. but they had boxes to tick and quotas to perform and they were doing their best while hemmed in by procedure …..Under trying circumstances………and their hands are tied.

In Dean’s drum,(house) he had all the mod cons ... T/V and all within an all-purpose, newly painted room and a tiny kitchenette He had no past apart from jail, no memories to fall back on and no friends from the outside at night. Sleep was nigh impossible because of his insecurities and during the day; acts as an enigma while stoatering to and fro from wall to wall in his cramped strangely named living room...while time march on in his head as if banged up. But here there is no old lag to smirk with.... or lookout for thee Hench man of the block to avoid eye contact with while genuflecting before dare passing the alpha male. . No debt to pay for trafficked salmon (best tobacco) or inside genuflecting as the gaffer passed.

In his manufactured home; Dean felt and behaved like a wounded animal deprived of all we look on as cold and degenerate; but made him feel safe He tramps the same path in the so called living room, as if in his cell and uses the mirror not to make eye contact with who is passing per chance. He cannot sleep because the lack of noisy silence and the whiff of different flint-tins were ignited... or the urine odour which floated from landing to landing which no locked door could keep out. He seldom retreats out except to cash is dependency.

In prison he had a sense of belonging to a community within a community... an esteem autonomy of sorts ...a worth…………………………………………………… in Freedom.... he is a caged animal.


Posted by: peter.howden 28th Jul 2015, 11:58am

Infinity minus one;

Somewhere in a dilapidated once proud building, there was a constant rubbing noise, a disturbing relentless scrapping sort of din...nearer chilling hum, right behind the thin protection of the shaking walls of unknown strength. A exposed group of startled, near panicking peoples huddled together due to space confinement rather than choice, forced to share intimate feisty responses and emotions usually hidden from any other soul. The pathetic group completely ignorant if human life existed elsewhere

The emergency battery lighting blinked sporadically as everything electronic was non operative. No contact could be made with the outside world, if there was such a thing left, as every computer, every phone, every apparatus or anything relying of vital internet satellite worldwide web...was now completely defunct. No satellite no man made contraption remained inoperative from that fatal period.

In a universal elapsed moment, an unpredicted gigantically powerful Steller flare-up “Super Nova’...fleetingly outshone the entire ‘Milky Way’ galaxy, radiating massively more energy as the actual Sun. This uncalculated collapse changed Earth’s rotation angle against the right handed rule of 23.5 minus 1.34 degrees. Every 92 of the Earth’s elements instantly altered unceremonious as did the density of the once blue planet. The atmosphere just plunged.

With the moon completely off-balance, causing acceleration orbit and destroying earth’s tides and the so called atmosphere static without wind. Disseminated electric and atom tremors have turned the all-inclusive form of existence, every species of life on the entire planet, have become carnivores or blood sucking miniature vampires including; Parasites... Mosquitoes... Hornets...Black fly....Bees...wasps...Ticks...the list is endless throughout the world.

Within the crumpled building, the frightened penitentiary remaining occupants, huddle within the dark stale room. Lifesaving air condition bottled oxygen aeration, operated by battery, is lifelessly silent because they daren’t open the airborne vents leading from the crumpled fear what may enter....unwanted.. Clamours from outside constantly try penetrating the last defence off ill-practical walls shuddering under immense pressure...deemed to be flying swarms of killer midges.

Over the past alarming weeks, while contacts over the airwaves was possible, the dreaded news in Scotland of total inhalation of human population in every Clahan, Toon, City... by these flying doom carriers... then the airwaves croaked......Now in isolation they may be the last of the human race... with the paradox...barricaded in the premises of Glasgow University...once working on a serum to prevent midges biting indiscriminately.... ,

Posted by: peter.howden 28th Jul 2015, 07:58pm

loose spell Midgies...

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Jul 2015, 10:03am

My Almanac;3;30/07/2015

I must apologies for my scribbles and my manual ...due to my inability to convey appropriate sentence structure, spelling and the likes while recording my thoughts and deeds or short stories....this is due to the excitement of creating and not for the annoyance of passing readers... I could claim being language impairments or some form of dyslexic but to spell out the truth... I’m just crap at English...

Last night was what a night... no Champagne bubbly, and a hot tub but a superb steamy bath, coupled with a mug of my favourite tea, along with the incredible Ray Charles. I do not have a unhealthy appetite to share a bath with a corpse but it is sheer dead brilliant lying back in the hot bubbles listening to this master of so many types of music and song. My attention to Ray focused on a train journey to’ Dunbar’ and my last B.B. camp 1960 listening on a portable record player, playing American recording of this cool vocalist, singing the captivating ‘I got a woman’ and the sheer dazzling “Georgia on my mind”.

This week luck gave me more than a kinky wink with a very kind gentleman presented me with some C/Ds of the Rolling Stones excellent concerts. With high pitched old fashioned earphones it takes just a distant mind's eye to be there among the ignited crowds giving me a rolling buzz for 10 days or more. Personally I have been stoned. with their music from way back in 63 while playing in Barrowland....having a distinct fragrance only bestowed on the ‘Barra’s’ and the world famous distinguished Ballroom along with its cute shuffle

There is a vast space between time and reality perception transporting into meaning with missing dimensions no matter how dark of invisible, but tantalizingly close on the blink of an eye. ‘You can’t always get what you want’ memories pour into my heart aching due to the date being of my daughter Toni’s sudden demise 6th august 2011... but my mind settled remembering that special night in 2006...Rolling Stones concert...Hamden Park we as a whole family stood for nearly the complete event, along with the mass of people singing our very hearts out especially at this song.......extended for the concert. I miss her...

My old jalopy is still tumbles rolling along the country roads taking Aunt Becky for a wee hurl around the base of our favourite Kilpatrick hills. Being 88 years old, slightly muffled minded, Aunt Becky is oblivious to the dangers while driving at speed, of shouting out constantly about some fellow on a bike or demanding ‘What’s that’ without any further information. To prevent this occurring or at least cutting it down, I play her kind of music which is country cowboy or Scottish auld songs. The Scottish auld standards are the best as she is to busy singing and stamping her feet especially to “Flower of Scotland” to bother with questions about the roadside. I sometimes wonder how the Rolling stones would deal with rendering “Scots Wha Hae” intriguing thought....

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Aug 2015, 11:50am

Infinity Minus One....One More Step.

The stark dilemma with killer midges was melodramatically spelt out in horror realization of how pathetic their situation was... which lead most of the survivors, stranded within Glasgow University lab, near close to accepting their dire fate. The air within had developed into fowl tasting gulps of staleness, along with the humidity such circumstances cause. The huddled group now believed the ‘Ceratopogonidae’ midgies would succeed beyond measure, was overwhelming on the exhausted nigh defeated humans. Four concrete walls were all there was separating them from realizing the terrible truth being far beyond their innocent conception.

Strongly structure lab built due to the scientific experiments carried out in the name of universal knowledge, while their present position was way past logic or any Grimm fairy-tale. The clamour just outside was now an ear-spitting grind with the occasional physical trembling of the whole room spreading a nasty sweaty dread.

Somehow out of the gloomily trepidation came a spark of hope as one of the junior laboratory technician, involved in research and development in the main building of the complex, knew of a concealed emergency causeway.. an escape channel in case of unforetold catastrophic consequences....leading from the main this prison test site . Someone spoke out the instant logic, how at least there would be daylight somewhere in the assessment centre. Within second, a hunger for hope guided all to move from the unquestionable perilous location.... step out to the unknown.

The passageway was reasonably wide, though the flickering scares intermittent emergency lighting showing up unidentified gloomy shadows darting to and fro absconding into dark concealed corners... caused mayhem with individual nerves of the humans. The call came from somewhere, light could be seen glimpsing in-between some sort of blockage just further along. Visibility was nearly possible though touch and smell was the senior senses. The so called impasse was people all piled up in a mass. How many was impossible to tell but all the humans who touched the bodies agreed....a sticky substance covered their skin...

Dishearten mode once again set a course of neurotic action...just to reach the relative sanctuary light gives to those in darkness... they all scrambled towards their new haven until they were forced to stop because the unnatural glaring light, from the interior just ahead, stung the cold bloodshot eyes ....what they came across made each and every one of those desperate humans.... stand completely paralyzed... staring not in complete fear...but total revulsion of dis-belief..

It had been thought their extreme chilling circumstances could not become any worse....but they were about to....


Posted by: peter.howden 4th Aug 2015, 11:37am

My Almanac;3;04/08/2015

Aging as I approaching well into my elderly years, towards a wintery daze or haze, still holding one advantage, or solace.... a theory how I have the same silly mind as when I was twenty odds but with more complicated emotions frizzing around my mind and body. Bravery is not one of my strongest suits, perhaps foolhardy is nearer the point, but when Salty (my brother-in-law David) friend.... demanded a match to end all confusion of who is still “The Boy” I rallied to the gauntlet. This may appear flippant, even childish but the challenge is after some 45 odd years sporadically playing, who is the ultimate champion at “Alcohol Chess” a classy competition, created with alcohol of various descriptions, and a chess board and 32 pieces being the vital ingredients.

Trust a couple of Scots to play a game of gripping strategy while gulping booze which is well kent for making you dopy, the venue...his extended caravan down Saltcoats way.

Was I off my game, possibly I could not handle such pressure, yet was his mutt rubbing my leg like a cat a distraction, is not quite clear if but an excuse for the truth of the matter is I got slaughtered two nil. Exuberant with his win the scoundrel attempted to claim lord of all the games ever played however he forgets I am from Viking stock and the world champion at the moment is Norwegian...this speaks unspoken volumes. The contest is afoot....

Making my way along the promenade to the ultimate contestable event, the unpredictable weather had formed stormy dark waves rolling against the crumbling wall with an invisible energy yet to be harnessed. I timed my steps in the intervals the waves allowed where at on halting curiously, in the midst of raging sea, an eye of the storm, exclusively preforms enchanting illusions of absolute serenity... as the sun shone magic over animated haven of tranquillity just out of reach from the shore.

Quiffs of warm rays acting as indistinguishable fairies cupping their hands allowing silvery peapods of brilliant shiny light, energized by a allusive sun ...allowing escaping hoary drops to skate along in ripples to faraway in the from prying eyes.

You see what you want to see but..... you can feel uncontrollably completely abandoned ...lost in a vapour of onus, yearning for the impossible as blobs form into lamenting erratic at certain times and dates of the calendar holding anniversaries which holds a dread of time passing. Ignoring garb or appearance to the outside world, neglecting yourself within the bubble you find yourself in...Sobbing at the slightest unknown hint from an action or word randomly spoken... creating instant despair and unfortunate doom... for a unknown spread of time ....before the awful darkness disappears deep under emotion bridges acting as guards to maintain sanity

Toni, our eldest daughter died unexpectedly, on the 6th August; 2011 and Rebecca and I miss her so... yet the ache is still irrepressibly there ....

we, .....Rebecca, Chris, Nikki and main man Fergus.... as a whole family .... Can think and talk about Toni in past times and situations...and smile in remembrances ...without teardrops falling.... Selfishly ... as usual....I just want to say “Hi”...once more


Posted by: peter.howden 8th Aug 2015, 05:51am

Infinity Minus One...Finally

The sudden intensity of natural light blazing through security bonded glass of the hemispherical structure, created almost a criminal endurance of vision pain, preventing them witnessing the unadulterated revulsion of what was before them from appearing straight away. In their transitory blindness... the survivors tripped...then stumbled over bundles of something or other decomposing. These actions caused talcum powder effect dispersing around their feet and across the floor.

Just as if planned by an unidentified spine-chilling source.... the emergency lighting flickered and flashed, for a moment or two, accompanied by upper high pitch frequencies screeches through the vile unexplainable atmosphere, bestowing the first revealing grisly picture.... which authors of untold consequences terrifying paranoia phantasms, laid in body and mind, for the scarce time they had remaining on earth. Those of the group who witnessed this first hand just stood like statues, unable to move limb or call out a warning to those yet to as they scrabbled in...Their revulsion was equal to earlier arrivals and stood just as still in ugly flabbergast repulsion. .

Petrified while turning around to see what they had been stumbling or tripping over...was not abstract objects, but they could have been named so.... but nearer of human origin, for even at first unwelcome peep...all life had been sapped from them... leaving not a body....but a form ...just. Weirdly was a white powdery substance cast in a wide area of the filthy flooring. The junior technician is the first to speak in a lenient quivering voice, revealing this was the area where the professors and dons, looking for new breakaway medicines, to be extracted from South America rain forest. This part of the lab was a small but meticulous to every life form within a tropical forest so much so the humidity was almost extreme.

Outside was darkening...aided and abated by the mass of killer midgies... gathering, as if praying for the slightest opportunity with the dishevelled targets moving inside the dome.... while inside around the jungle floor, lay fungi named “Ophiocordyceps”. In its angelic shape it is most deadly when spawning. This was repeatedly muttered by the now frantically Tec assistant. It was obvious that death had played the villain in this catastrophe... but the tragic path to such agonizing demise was ruthlessly beyond endurance of any human. Countless huddles of bodies lay around causing the stale air to turn near putrid while a few unidentified reputed petrified humans, white as sheets and drained of blood, walk senselessly to nowhere in mindless automaton...akin to a zombie manner

Their elected lead officer, being the assistant Laboratory technician, cringed with dread, was almost so out of his mind in distress, he barely made logic in his now ramblings, more sort of howled rather than spoke in and clear communication with his fellow stranded victims. If action speaks louder than words then it was obvious to all and sundry trapped in this glass arch....that something awful could...or would happen....which they had no control. While from time to time, the thick, presumed unbreakable, security glass shuddered ever so slightly ...every so often...but if they had not been so alarmed they would have observed signs of weakness in its structure.

Turning over the facedown rancid dead bodies came the sight of sights, as not only were they lifeless in every manner but some sort of growth coming from the necks, sometimes from the top of the head. But the alarming factor of these growths was....they were growing while the hosts had obviously died in excruciating pain

In a rare fit of normality, the lab technician manage to string together a few words explaining exactly what was the fiendish conundrum.....He quietly said we are all going to be the living dead for a day or so....then die until the fungi reverts to spawning. Ophiocordyceps parasites treats they host it lands on as zombie like creatures until finally it tortures the victim to death making sure we die in the vicinity of others...making sure of potential hosts for the fungus.

Posted by: peter.howden 8th Aug 2015, 12:24pm

(Grannies remedy)

As a young boy, a growing adolescent, I suffered badly from dreaded spots and boils of all shapes and sizes. As the years have passed this embarrassment state has been explained as normal growth behaviour for teenagers of the male gender but while in action this became a constant harassment. The boils would spurt out with surprising speed and I would look in the mirror just before leaving to go out, and I would certainly see one or even two maturing on my neck. A look further on and there was a spread around my lower chin. Other boys had boils but they never seemed as big or as sore as mine. My affliction in tow I managed to struggle through life and carry on to marry the girl of \my heart. Life was now appearing colourful and bliss until the fateful day
A few days before that particular morning’s dawned, it became obvious that a boil had travelled far. This singular inflamed swelling had settled between the cheeks of my bottom. I did not know how big it actually was, but it felt like a volcano erupting pain Rebecca and I had been married for only a few weeks and we were still on honeymoon really and totally inexperienced in life or its funny ways. Rebecca could remember a remedy to rid of boils handed down by her great Gran to Gran to mum and then to her of a magic poultice made up of heated sugar, soap and kaolin and just thinking about it now brings tears to the eyes.

I lay on the bed face down while the gently warmed substance was placed between my bare cheeks and this mountain of a boil. After a short period we both realized that it was not being of any good and my wife suggests that it is not hot enough. The second attempt was totally different for the mixture was heated as far as she dared and then a couple of minutes extra for good measure like all good novice cooks do. The chosen wrap around the mixture was too small a piece for the amount of mixture made, expanded by heat I think , so when it was placed a second time it hit raw flesh. Well it was such a shock it forced my cheeks together which made the mixture act like super glue while the force of the clam tight cheeks spurted the by now huge extra stuff out in all directions but mainly the ravine of my exposed bottom.

I was never a great athlete at school but with my new overheated aid I leapt upwards into the air from my lying position to what I believe a hairs breath away from the ceiling of our Victorian room returning back to bed in a cat like posture screaming “get the buggering thing off”. This created a panic in Rebecca, much the same as a chicken that has had its unfortunate head chopped; she grabbed the only piece of cloth showing and pulled with feverous vigour.

Unfortunately as she pulled more of this home made larva discovered virgin skin relatively unscathed which lead to my second leap. It was not as high a leap as my first but it did manage to squish the remaining mixture forcing me to squeal in a very high pitch which I have since never been able to repeat and I wish not to. After such an ordeal you would imagine that the very boil would have at least burst but no way.

Rebecca argued convincingly that since I had been to hell and back, and to rid myself of this boil once and for all, heat I should try a course that her Granddad swore by. On reflex ion I now know why Granddad swore and call me a fool but by now I was past reason or thought and also my threshold for pain or so I believed.

I watched my wife prepare a heavy old milk bottle by heating it up in water just below boiling. She explained that by heating the bottle and placing it on the skin it would act like a kind of vacuum therefore suck up the boil puss and all. You may find this hard to believe that there was no sensation of pain what so ever when it was placed surrounding the offending boil and she insisted that for it to work she would count up to twenty before removing the very hot bottle with the two towels raped around it.

I was extremely embarrassed by now but the count came to an end seemingly without success until Rebecca tried to remove the bottle which was rock fast. She had no choice but to give a violent tug and being in an awkward position lost her grip on the bottle leading to my third leap but my screams by now were muffled by muteness.

The aftermath was cream placed gently on the whole area and I was told the boil was indeed burst. A few days later, with the aid of mirrors, I was able to see for myself and all that remained and to this day is a perfect red ring mark.

My lovely wife has never had a boil or if she has never told me……

Posted by: peter.howden 12th Aug 2015, 08:25pm


The whole country, if not the entire world, was on ‘Red alert’ due to massive overcrowding caused by mindboggling population explosion causing standing room only, clambering for breathing space.... anywhere. Every square scratch used throughout houses or business’ premises... strictly regulated with crushing controls and fines except for those and such as those. In surround towns, and cities old crumbling tenement closes, the long forgotten lobby-Dossers had returned, in catastrophic force, taking every inch of the stairways spare or unused.

It was a mystery, lost in a sea of a unknown paradox but everybody who was anybody wanted desperately to be in such privileged company, able to witness what lay behind the strong door of the exclusive room at the residence known purely as 99. This exorbitant valued domicile, with rooms of miniature ballroom eminence, lay in the most exclusive part of metropolis not so regimental restricted to living space standards as were the less affluent areas or the grim and grime reality for the poor members of the population.

The ground planning authorities of the council, with their genuflecting councillors, tend to turn a blind eye to certain areas of their abodes, tolerating several centimetres here...or there, but especially on the professional made peoples, near aristocratic rank, allowing a sense of decorum decency, allotted solely for the very privileged few to wallow in. Size did and does matter.

The grandiloquent avenue was the location of ‘Thee’ establishments in town, each dwelling more ostentatious than the next, due to bombastic owners, creating near tasteless one-upmanship, displaying their fluctuating affluence by covering every spot on walls complete with floors chockfull with artefacts beyond usefulness but extravagantly stupendous beyond measure in coinage of estimate.

Each habitat was not populated but simply to be looked on with countless envious, had an open door policy just to pamper the sickly affluent as privileged. Every hall...parlour, bedroom and fact every cavity in the house including the water-chambers open for inspection for all and sundry.. to witness their fabulous lavishness...except in the one house baptized 99... This one house had one undisturbed room so named by all as the “Ultimate Apotheosis”. This residence was rated the tops the definitive in opulence...just out of reach from everyone on the planet. .

Wild rumours ran eccentrically with every bit of gossip or tittle-tattle having great expectations of what lay behind the massive exotic ‘Ebony Walnut’ doors, enhanced by pure white marble passageway to shame even the exclusive Taj Mahal. No one in living memory had even a hint or peek as to what was inside... but whatever it was...was impossible to envisage but obviously superior to the wildest dreams of the legend’s ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ or ‘The count of Monte Cristo’.

The owner of this unbelievable establishment gave a surprise declaration of his intentions to let a small elite party to view his house which would include the mysterious “Ultimate Apotheosis”. Twelve persons would card invitation....the following noon to inspect what very one had spoken about for at least a decade....probably the 8th wonder of the world. Voices rang out from the moment of such electrifying proclamation right to the last second ticking of ‘11 of the next morning clock’. People of all sorts boosted they held a precious invitation and the volumes of currency bartered for such a ticket rose higher and higher out of protocol of any stock market before or since.

It was hard to tell for the huge crowd which had been there before dawn, whither shrieks of amazement or disbelief, as one unholy scream echoed through the mansion... and even when the lucky twelve disciples came out looking absolutely bewildered. What they saw when the massive Ebony Walnut’ doors released its ultimate secret was a enormous chamber of ballroom dimensions...empty of anything other than dust......

The proud proprietor sporting a broad sneer, strutting like a peacock, was the only man known...on this earth.... near collapse due to overpopulation, who could afford to waste valuable space having an colossal priced property with a part of the building, utterly void of anything.

The utter insanity of it all was his coy confession, to those who listened to every syllable hoping they would be privilege for the next viewing. The disclosure was.... in frightful tainted haughty voice “Entering the room and squatting on the bare boards in the middle gloating and ravishing voracious thoughts of superiority”

Was it the decisive affluent one-upmanship....or decadent unmeasurable?


Posted by: peter.howden 14th Aug 2015, 09:27am

My Almanac; 3; 14/08/2015

When individuals say quite in a glib manner , how old age is actually a state of mind, it is obvious to me , they have not reached what could be safely called mature or creeping ever closer to this life’s end goal, which as far as my limited knowledge aspires to, everyone and everything, on this blue planet... expiries . I’m certainly not complaining or boasting about aging or the journey reaching such a state of affairs having spent getting so far, and the remaining time on this mortal coil is a guess at best, I would not have missed it for the world, but like everything in comes at a cost

There is realization, innovative tedious aches and pain arise given birth from simple day to day activities, which never triggered anything before, when young and virile, other than a light curse in passing, now instigates unintended realistic collisions with inanimate objects...instantly truly hurting beyond imagination.

People treat you differently, mostly with kind intentions, wishing to lend a helping hand while underestimating what older people can achieve though taking slightly longer to do so. There is a myth age brings wisdom... where is actual fact they carry baggage... personally I can and prove often being just as daft as when I first read ‘Oor Willie’ in the Sunday Post. If there is a stupid way to do things...I’ll find it with no bother at all.

Memory plays unpredictable tricks, recalling certain complexed matters with amazing mental agility, while simple names or places or times can create confusion as recalling separate years sleek together like a psychological Mediterranean concertina or accordion as I am luckily happen to be Scottish I call women’s “Girl” not as an insult but their name has skidded momentary out of my mind.

If I am honest most names have not only slipped within my concentration but freestyle skiing down hidden Alps. When ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I attempt to recall a name or a place or a title we are a two person team...bob sleighing

Trying to decipher or predict when the final day will arrive is to box with an imaginary shadow or play with an imaginary gun... its bullet knows nothing about intellect. Or even I Q... no Dorian Grey in me on canvas although a unknown artiste caricature of me hanging on the wall of my den everlasting but I would care not a “Sous” to be immortal......

I think it is time for a rest a little relaxation for a week or two... doing nothing yet I sense.... there will come a time, later on, where I will be as busy as a bee...all day...and every day......doing nothing ........see you in a few weeks.........

Posted by: peter.howden 17th Aug 2015, 11:37am

My Almanac 3; 17/08/2015

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry...perchance in culture but certainly, most certainly, in life when optimism is thru an apparition when hope is made a phantom. Our holiday was such a vision

Friday there Aunt Becky and I were safely down the outside stairs, passing through the garden gate, to keep an appointment with her chiropodist, when Aunt Becky tripped and fell flat out, arms stretched out in unholy confusion. Unfortunately as she landed face down, causing rather sever looking bumps and gashes on her forehead, twisted her left thumb on impact, grazing the other. My main problem was attempting to lift her up from the pavement, for although near midget in height but deceivingly roly-poly ...she weighed a lot...heavy boned. As luck would have it a neighbour taxi man came to our aid...along with a few others.

Safely back in her home then carefully washing her face, she certainly looked shocked and bewildered and shaky forcing my first conclusion If I had taken her to the emergency unit in the Royal....they would have most defiantly kept her in for observation, which would not help Aunt Becky’s position. Becky does not like clinics or infirmaries, for she belongs to the era when going into hospital was, for most folk, unlikely to return to the bosom of the anxious family.

With this heavily on my mind, I decided near spontaneously to put her to bed and call the Doctor. While the kettle warmed up, I called the Doctor’s reception first who asked if we could make out way. Cut a long story short, we did just that and after attending both the doctor and the nurse who were quite pleased with their examination....nurse cleaned and attended the wounds(mostly superficial) and asked if I would bring her back on Wednesday, in the Springburn health centre...just as a update to see her progress mainly because Becky is 88 years young but mixed up.

There was more than the few moments when glances broke thru the aged craggy face... indicating childish trepidation plainly peering thru staring eyes companied with quivering lips which failed to be disguised..... Dread of the unidentified... although she is a brave wee soul....

Yesterday ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, having already given our word to look after the neighbour’s cute mutt next door, for Agnes’s daughter’s wedding was take place. I was still obligated to three meetings on Thursday, which the plan was to drive up from Saltcoats to attend, winding up the business of A.G.M for the year

We have made the unanimous decision to leave this forth coming Friday instead of our original break time.

Hope it will be still Sunny Saltcoats by the time we get there...but Becky and Rebecca’s piece of mind comes first before anything....

Saltcoats may not be up to scratch as once gleefully advertising as one of the ‘Three towns’ of sunny ‘Clyde’s Riviera’ but for we two olden rovers, it brings back such memories you cannot buy. Due to the lack of spare money while the children were growing up, first Stevenson, then Saltcoats was the holiday haven for us all, including the “Voice” (my petite mother-in-law) whose whisper was a stranger to her lips since birth but underneath...a welcoming heart. She is no longer with us but sometimes, in streets surrounding the coastal township, an illusion of sighting of her.... scurrying just out of reach.

Time to catch up with household duties...I am not henpecked.....I just want to live....

P.P.S. gives me time to listen to the greatest jazz band ever....”Dutch Swing Collage Band”.....more than makes up for the delay


Posted by: peter.howden 18th Aug 2015, 12:28pm


“I’m afraid your hastily arranged visit down to our Wee ‘Retreat for the elderly and infirm’, has been fruitless” “Not that we are not pleased to see you, nevertheless the information from crackpot journalist has been nothing but desperate lies... on a slow Newsday...or so say those knuckle editors name these sort of days... with no sign of soul but tragedy.

“Your aunt is fine...doing so well though now I have to break a promise but do it within the knowledge you will be more than overjoyed... as we were.... when she told us in confidence.” “We are really sorry for your frantic journey, so un-necessary but at least your minds will be put at ease”.

“Totally outrageous and how dare these pathetic defamatory rags, for that is all they are you know?.... should print such slander and I can assurance you this! We will be seeking out our lawyers and suing for every demandable printed word…..they should not be allowed to operate so?”

“How long has that charming lady of an aunt of yours stayed in the safety of our little retreat from the outside world? Some 10 months and it only seems like yesterday you and her walked through that door for the first time?.

“What I’m about to tell you in the fullest intimacy, will maybe terribly shook you.... but remember your Aunt has a mind of her own and these things can happen …even at her age?. “She met a man and they fell in love” “It’s as simple and lovely as that”

“Nothing at all sinister about it;. Just romantic entwine”…. How dare these papers squander our good name and make our customers madly worried!” “To think or invent such a immoral line as to hope to be believed…that we would kill off our lovely clients or as we would prefer to call them…our elderly family…but to do away with those completely healthy souls to profit in the spare parts market…What audacity? What madness?”

“Now back to your Aunt…She and Charles…(Yes this is the name of the elegant respectful exquisite suitor who courted and wooed ... then very smitten by your Aunt)….they have eloped to a secret address...somewhere in the vastness of the Mid Pyrenees …..In France where everyone loves a lover…They stayed in gay Paris for a short honeymoon but the mountainous air won out……Now you cannot tell those scandalous papers for the couple prize their privacy above all else ….

Don’t you worry... I will have my day in court and they will all rue the very day they printed such rubbish…..Anyway; Please mum’s the word... for I gave a solemn sacred vow for myself to the loving couple just as they departed. But I do have the most irrefutable direct evidence to ease your mind….

Here are four postcards…one for every week they have been there and sent by your Aunt personally....all in her hand writing expressing everlasting love devotion to Charles…now is that not sweet. is it not?” “As you can see…she has given details as to her intention to stay there as long as they are happy”.

“Sorry…did not quite catch that; what are you saying….your Aunt…your beautiful Aunt never learned to read…..or write?”

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Aug 2015, 12:53pm


I tell this tale as a penance rather than a warning to others whose common sense and inflated head can be turned due to personal gluttony for the item known as money.

It all started quite innocently and for something totally different than the purpose of such an establishment named as a betting shop. The motive for being in such an gambling premises was purely pressure and need quite urgently, for a toilet. Since the galleries of authority have frozen public expenditure, this comprises cuts on social services including the opening hours of gent’s relief premises...built in Victorian age with disposal of natural waste in mind.

Before anyone can jump to misplaced conclusion...that I may, in any way blame the councillors or our austere fathers of the city chambers for my predicament, they would be wrong. I take full responsibility for my actions, and results here after on my own weary shoulders.

On leaving the shop I became rather curiously interested to watch racing coming from many screens at once. The whole area surrounding the multiple screens stood ridged statuettes of eagerly tense punters whose very reason for breathing gave me the impression, their existence within sanity, depended on this next result. I had no wish or want to become a convicted gambler, induced randomly to bet on a four legged creature.

I watched with some smug comfort as the poor gamesters showed so agonizingly, the pain of losing
Their pathetic heads hung down in defeat against an invisible enemy squeezing everything including bleaching their bones white...without qualifications.

Just about to leave this enticing gaiety colour trappings of a money bleeder, a man I had associated many moons ago, while working in a pub situated near Queens Park. He walked up to me. . As far as I could recall he was exceptionally careful with money, being christened as a miser, along with ‘John’ and addressed as Careful John. For some reason un-characteristically, he felt obliged to whispered a tip as some kind of gratuity. He left me with a greyhound’s name.

Does not sound much in the cold light of day nevertheless the brute happened to be running in Shawfield that evening. The thing is; no matter what whisper went on this running mutt; I checked the results next had won.

John; owned several greyhounds himself, employing several guy’s to exercise them. I would not call John a Felon, well not to his face, in spite of the fact, most of his business associates were crooks, while there was no doubt. John was a jazzy dresser which suited his handsome appearance...but beware...appearances can be deceiving.

A week or so later I return to the smoked filled scene under inquisitiveness, sighting John standing apart from the grumbling crowd He pulled me aside and inquired quite gently if I frequented this particular betting establishment often. My answer no...did not look give the impression too pleased him or disappoint. “Look Ben (emphasise was on Ben) I would like you to bet for me as my face is well too known around here and if you have any brains, you would put a packet on them yourself” spoke John in an imitation soft manner which hid his darker side. “All I ask” he continued though in a slightly rougher form “is you make the ticket with Bells& Fishes as a nom deplume” “Simple is it not?----I’m relying on you Ben” he called with a hint of excitement as he handed me a envelope, plus a note of paper. Before I could even ask any question I was alone as John had simply vanished

I took a peek into the large envelope to discover a even £1,000. I quickly folded it up in attempt to hide such a large sum. I felt as everybody’s eyes was on me because I knew this was not right... but what the hell was I to do?. I checked the name of the mount Albaran;... quickly decided my course of action. I placing the bet as strongly advised by John, along with his nom deplume. I then grappled with my conscience about the small monies I carried, in my pocket, to buy my wife her first present for years.

Then with not one more thought allowed in my head I ventured the whole some of £45 on the strength of our previous agreement that worked well in my favour. The horse won by a mile and so I collected on both tickets. Unseen John was once more by my side with his hand out to collect his gains. He never mentioned my side bet and I certainly didn’t

John studied some runners and then scribbled a name on another envelope stacked this time an unbelievable £5,000. Placing down the nom-deplume along with the runner mount called Antares and wandered confidently up to the desk and placed John’s bet. Then I took my winnings and placed all on John’s new steed. It romped home yards in front. I have to admit right here and now I was not only excited beyond dreams…………………. I was electrified. .

John disappeared completely never to be seen again even with a few visits, by me, to the same gambling den which at the time a truly selfishly regretted because as Arthur in T/V Minder says ‘a nice little earner’.

Now I see it was the best thing that could have happened because I might have become one of this immovable statuettes hanging on to an uncertain existence....but hey.....I was pure dead electrified.....

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Aug 2015, 12:15pm

Booked unprinted 'Part 1

Jim casually stepped down from the train, soothing his craving for nicotine, rolled then lit a slim cigarette, while observing coonstanly all around ...considering what or who was around him, as he always did, just to check all was friendly. On occasions in the past it had not been so, and he still senses the scars. Rumbling through his pockets for wallet and tickets, to make sure he has not been dipped while sleeping on the Pullman travelling through the unknown... a frown appears around his craggy face, even though both were cool... but he had a uneasy feeling... something was just not connecting.

At first he was unaware the train was silently pulling away, increase speed to allow the locomotive departure from the platform. Taking a few steps then Jim looked directly at the main massage board; which struck him like a thunderbolt he was in the wrong station, which the faded writing on the railway swinging sign... established. This was a one horse town....without a horse.

He desperately tried to catch the ever disappearing railroad car, but even the very last carriage was way out of reach. Frantically he searched his flawed mind as to what to do now...for logged in his intimate faith...his destiny was on this the carriage with his personal numbered seat he had deliberately reserved for the journey.

Jim instant anger quickly simmered down, for he was a professional and specialists are cool and methodical. His mind was now operationally rational; frustratingly work out just how it happened as this tedious journey was foretold in the omens long ago. His advance book ticket with the right seat number, correct destination, in big print. His token cardboard ticket had been close to his heart which he gawked on secretly, almost every night just after the midnight hour, for weeks, trusting it was a pass out of where he was.... an answer to many a prayer.

Jim sincerely believed it to be a heavenly guiding light...a divine communication to a new start. The number of the seat he had chosen by an inspirational act of blindfolding himself, opening the bible to finger a passage, pinpointing a verse. The numeral revealed and the letter of the book, he selected to be his carriage away from his ever growing obscurity.

The locomotive was reaching a underpass along the tracks as Jim heaved within...then shrugged his massive shoulders, conceding to a now dreadful and unwanted ill- fortune...which his fate had played a losing card. Considering his next step, there was a deftly silence followed suddenly with an almighty explosion bellowing from the tunnel which the train had entered

A massive awareness of intense heat thundered...then whispered from the opening of the railway passageway, causing high velocity air to splatter full of black gasses carrying big and small particles to rise way above the area of the station. Fragments of unknown origin settled in slow motion as people including Jim...failed to time stood perfectly still.

Confusion followed by indescribable clamour hollered down from the tunnel. full of terrible echoing pains screaming overpowering terror.

An announcement over the crackling ancient loud speaker mumbles something about a collision. As these words were being translated over a stunned audience, Jim found himself running towards the tunnel enclosed in darkness, with just a hint of light somewhere in the awful blackness.


Posted by: peter.howden 30th Aug 2015, 11:32am

Booked unprinted ‘Part 2

Immediately everything happened in slow motion…then utter confusion burst out savage panic erupting into waves of screaming despair of denial disbelief from the unfortunate witnesses as Jim strived to reach the edge of the now obvious catastrophe...then as if some indefinite influence was guiding and directing his concentration for one purpose and one purpose alone…to search out the very carriage booked, in his very name, to travel to his proven rendezvous with fate.

Inside the subway through the chaos of tangled wreckage of twisted distorted steel girders smashed into coach after coach, complicated combined with fragmented pre-stressed concrete sleepers, which once was laid railway lines. All around was the airborne atrocious odour of death sharing with burning sparking electric pongs suffocating the foul air available in the once sturdy tunnel?

Feeling his way,

With no attention to caution because of a indefinite impulse to seek out the coach he would have travelled in. Was it a morose excuse he was alive but would he have survived such a disaster, he had no idea, the single need was to be perused…at all cost. Jim felt his way along the continuously mayhem with forms and sights vaguely appearing which no eyes should be challenged to see.

Just ahead through the clamour and frightening darkness, as if by some unexplainable awful magic, a mysterious bizarre source of light displayed the numbered carriage which contained Jim’s booked seat, just seemingly stood on its own… more or less totally unscathed. Jim’s first impression was nigh disbelief, as the carnage all around totally disproved this possible…yet his bloodshot ease kept testifying what was there…surrounded by the agonizing screeches of utter horror, almost stripped Jim of all emotions other than fear which griped his body into a ridged standstill position

Once he managed to pull together his stunted wits, Jim slowly near crept through the adjacent gloom with some caution, to reach the actual doorway to the unharmed carriage…he gingerly stepped in…not knowing what he was about to witness.

As far as he could see the entire coach was completely empty and undamaged. Not one seat showed any sign of ever being occupied…or any napkin, used to prevent the head rest from being soiled by Brylcreem from gent’s hair, was unplaced or even wrinkled. He walked unhindered towards the corner seat he knew was his reservation. As he neared his seat, the inexplicable light uncovered the final horror to witness one thin steel shaft of twisted girder, rammed through the window directly lodged tragically, into one single male person literary sprawled through blood and sweat in his reserve seat. Jim had no medical experience; though this was not necessary, for Jim instinctively saw, with a simple glance, the poor man was in a real bad way.

In his muddled head Jim could have sworn the train was packed and his seat was the only one vacant while he stepped down from the train.

He did his best to make the stranger comfortable; telling him help should not be long, though the truth whispered that all was lost and his gut erupted with terribly emptiness. He could not help himself looking with genuine pity at the broken figure in his seat. He opened up his heart to the dying man, confessing he must have been mad to follow a fantasy as fate had played a terrible trick, by allowing another person to take his place. He should be there, not the stranger. . He was the one designed to perish...not the stranger.

This crumpled body made every effort to gather hidden strength from within to utter these words for Jim, who by now was crying extensively. “Don’t look for death, for it will find you without any assistance from you”. Taking a deep excruciating breath, the stranger continued, ‘I’m crippled now but my mind is still sharp remembering past happenings”. “I have more happiness to recall which keeps me reasonably content... for these last moments”. He lay back to rest and then uttered

“Don’t call it madness to follow unscheduled dreams, call it foolhardy if you wish…but don’t call it madness”. “Chance happens just by living; despair takes hold when you think about it”. “It’s called Fate when you are looking for a reason and a poor one at that”.

With these last words.... The man died.... leaving Jim……..

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Sep 2015, 12:46pm

My Almanac3;02/08/2015

At last we had our jaunt down sunny Saltcoats way with truly agreeable weather, and as if commanded just one heavy downpour during one night-time….which gave my car a much needed wash. Salty’s (my brother-in-law David) hideaway has all the mod cons one could desire and reasonably comfortable to sit around even for two more elderly persons bent on their own chair’s unique qualities.

For us two lovebirds, of some long standing, Saltcoats is jam packed of memories and wishes, sometimes tearful, as our children grew up with holidays…first in Stevenson then Saltcoats. Like many seaside towns and villages around the Scottish coastline the fabric and buildings are looking weary due to no investment and lack of visitors. They are part of the “Three Toons” but due to falling visitors.

The voice (my mother-in-law) this time failed to materialize or make an appearance either in phantom or illusion masquerade as she has done so often, but at the bridge between the two towns, we recalled most of the antics preformed by Nancy throughout the years… well past from the present. Holding hands while on the old bridge, looking out to wind swept beach, with sand-dunes for shelter if the wind changed its mind and caught a cold, a rip-roaring sea producing white tumbling wild seahorses, the reminiscences just flooded back…along with a few snuffles. You can never relive the past…no matter the yearning .

The following day will strolling higher than sea level allowing the grand view of the watery horizon of the Firth of Clyde breaching the open sea, was Arran... complete with the magnificent ‘Goat-Fell’; through sunshine galore with only the odd dog walker breaking the mood of the shifting sands still warm for all that, while I ambled alone along the peaks of the shifting dunes. This is a bird’s paradise because of the marshy ground fenced in from the public so not destroying their fragile habitat. There are no such rules for such as the magnificent fox just sprawled out between the bushes and caring not a yelp for me.

Drifting further along the deserted beach, enjoying the solitude as near Robinson Crusoe as I wish…mystic low tide pools appeared full of amazing marine life hidden under rocks and seaweed, algae of different varieties and fantastic bright colours. I leaped at the opportunity to return to childhood days and investigate those marvelous hidden world’s full of starfish, Lichen, Sea anemones, mussels’, crabs and tons of wee fishes complete with crawling things completely out of this world One difference was I did not prod them with sticks or stones…even the jelly fish who were stranded on the sand. A very pleasant hour or two flew away, wallowing in animation…of all my yesterdays, with serene enjoyment.

The day controlled themselves as we relaxed the whole five stolen days… for ‘She who must be obeyed’ and me…it was simply sublime

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Sep 2015, 06:53am

Benghazi Mice

There have been many stories about the ancient lads, known with affection…as the ‘Benghazi Mice;’; loosely formed ,and named in 1987 of the selected group, but by now baptized as Scotland’s answer to “The last of summer wine”. There is only other slight niggling thing, to annoy the older mind… “Who is Compo amongst us”. As you may have gathered, I am more than proud to be one such member A bunch of more senior lads who partook the Turkish baths; in Pollokshaws Sports Centre …each Saturday morning.

The function of the suite was less important than the rendezvous and comradeship, not surpassed before or since, formed into a bond. When Pollokshaws was mistakenly demolished, by the hidden Glasgow Council….we moved to East Kilbride “Dollan Centre”.

Right thru, organized nights out, on regular bases of the 12, original members, combined with field trips abroad. One such memorable excursion was a several day trip to Amsterdam…involving a longish bus runs down to Hull, then a boat journey overnight. ‘The Three Musketeers’ volunteered to take this task, to go Dutch, which would, or could spell danger in the watery canal streets of the capital of the Netherlands.

John, big Jim, Archie and I…were ready willing, presumed able; to take on the pleasures of Amsterdam and the entire canal city could offer. The ferry across provided music, entertainment provided no less, by the actor who played the bank manager in the Scottish comical , ‘City lights’. This nautical soirée was accompanied with first class food and drink. After a jovial time, when all were rather Fu, we chose to find allotted berths with Archie and I sharing. Corridor after alphabetical corridor lined with torpedo sized cabins with fold down bunks. The suction of the toilet was breathtakingly powerful and noisy when the plunger was pulled. The bunks were surprisingly comfortable

Next morning we all met up for a quick breakfast, with John complaining how uncomfortable his sleeping hours was but more so as to Big Jim’s constant snoring but what made sleep almost impossible was the room in the actual buck provided. John carried on, in a grumpy manner, how he was pinned down with Jim's mass.

It quickly dawned on Archie and I when we sniggered and asked “Did you sleep in one bunk?” With some sort of indignity…usually brought on from the morning after a swally (An honour Glasgow get-together with drinks provided), John replied…. “Of course…we’re mates”

They had failed to notice all cabins had two fold down bunks


Posted by: peter.howden 6th Sep 2015, 03:17pm

My Almanac,3;06/09/2015

Our two goldfish have demised in a mysterious manner which even if they had survived would have been unable to convey what actually took place. One was called Moby. The other Dick and akin to the classical tale, from the pen of Herman Melville…Moby was a [prickly customer. Moby bullied Dick, with a Freud like attitude, quote (The ego is not master in its own house) replacing Captain Ahab. All I know is Moby will not pursue now…and Dick will not be a Dick no more.

Another sad admission being not only am I aging by each second/hour relationship with life but simple every day repairs, or things to do around the house, now are under question mark as to where exactly they are or how tight the blinking screw is. My strength is under question and is seeping at an alarming rate…there is a limit now with everything needing to be planned. This is foreign to my past, as I never knew any constraints before…just did what I wished …when I wished …without thought, rhyme or even reason. Now every dunt or dink, once just triflingly annoying, is sore and positively painful with a capital “F”.

Aunt Becky, being the rare wee lady she is, has recovered quite satisfactory her last fall, which from now on will keep ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I on our toes while taking her out. Becky and I take to the road around the Strathblane situated in the middle of the remarkable Kilpatrick hills, then head further afield, perhaps ‘Milton of Campsie and back home within the hour. All the time Kenneth Mc Keller and the like are singing the heads off, as Aunt Becky taps her feet to the tunes of ‘Will ye no comeback again’ and ‘The Skye boat song’. I used to think I was doing it for Aunt Becky…but it has come to pass it is for my own well being as well… and I miss it on the days I can’t manage for one reason or other…its like a welcoming visual medication…changing at every visit.

We may have lost our goldfish but then again we still have, in pride of place in the bathroom our yellow plastic ducks, the brace is growing all the time. The oldest members are Donald and Daft. Donald was a present from a Dundonian Innkeeper…who says people from Dundee are tight? perhaps with money but not with ducks. Daft does not mind being mistaken for Donald …but Donald does not like being mistaken for Daft.

The sun chose to visited Glasgow, preforming hours of summer suntan rays, altering the dial on houses Barometers over the last few days and what a difference this makes to the whole picture, bring a mood of contented acceptance. The stark reality is… Scotland is green due to rain and a brake, though not essential, is always welcome. I suspect, if we hardy Scots had sunshine all the year around, it would soon become tedious and yearn for the yesterday’s… fluttering with good old showers

Posted by: peter.howden 6th Sep 2015, 11:03pm


Jill lay in the warmth of her marital bed. It was still very early but for some reason she just could not sleep. The bed itself was a huge king size which suited both her and Bill. What was this thing called love and Jill’s instinct called it, “Her Bill”… her lovely husband, who she just loved to bits. She need only think of him and he was there, protecting her if needed

They had been happily married for so long, they joked that the nuptial lines were written in Latin, but he just got handsomer &handsomer as the time just magically passed. Jill’s nose squiggled with delight as she puffed up the pillow softly, not to wake her man but snuggled gently, as close as close could be, contented more than anything else in her wakened and conscious mind…was her Bill…his face she treasure in dreams and thought

Some may see this being over the top, Jill told herself but how could it be because in Lena Horne’s words “What a man”; or was it Peggy Lee;… well whoever it was it certainly fitted Bill like a picture. In the Post office queue it really worried her as to how some women talked about their men. ‘I would not dream of treating my man any way but with love’, cooed Jill… as she instantly recalled how they met

Some really sad stories, if they were true, had come out of that post office queue. Some men were really mean to their spouses and for no reason at all. “Wonder why that is?” thought Jill, perhaps they should all have a king size bed to be able to snuggle up any time and keep the chill away.

A little bird landed on the window ledge which pleasantly startled Jill as she moved over her hand towards Bill, just for comfort but careful not to awaken him. It looks as if it will be a lovely day and Jill wondered for a while, where Bill would take her. She had not been down to the sea for some time though she just could not remember the last time, not exactly anyway

Jill snuggled inside the covers of the luxury of her marital bed as she happily listened to Bill’s grunts and groans while sleeping; being excited like a wee lassie hoping he would wake soon He deserved a late sleep in…do you know, she demanded of herself, Bill has never even sworn at her, never raised his voice, not even that time when something or other happened, or she could not find the right words, where most men would have blown a gasket. They certainly broke the mould when Bill came along.

I hope the other women don’t think she is a bore, taking about Jim as she does but what else can she do. Not one bad word from him….Just a minute, I think he is wakening and need to be at my best, she excitingly whispered to herself as she turned around

A fearsome screech followed by deafening screams and an exasperating bawl and cry as she fought oft this total stranger who somehow got into her room and slept where Bill should have been. Jill let loose a frenzy of blows to protect herself from the unknown by biting scratching and as the stranger tried to cradle her in his unwanted arms. A terrified Jill screamed for her very life; Bill where’s my Bill…..what have you done to my Bill.

The man just sat there… unable to do anything but whisper softly but pathetically; ‘Jill; but I am your ‘Bill’.

Jill is suffering from progressive Alzheimer’s…this had been happening… becoming more violent every morning….for a considerable time….

Posted by: peter.howden 9th Sep 2015, 01:49pm

Up North Twang

Each area of the British Isles may speak English but not with the same vernacular or indeed what is termed as the Queen’s English…thank god…. Who wants to speak with a load of toffies wobbling around the mouth and as if someone made up a speech a few hours earlier? Speaking and listening should be relaxed and a pleasurable affair while giving or gaining information… or just passing the time of day.

In years gone by Scotland always had a reputation of pronouncing words of English precisely and clearly though now it may be different. Having travelled up to Dundee and Aberdeen I can say it has been my experience that though I had to cock an ear more and listen intently what a Dundonian was saying…this was practically impossible with people who truly was born in Aberdeen known as Aberdonian. What a transformation 66 miles makes… Not route 66 which the Stones sing

If asking the way to ‘Union St’, they smile broadly, then proceed with Doric dialect which they guttural express in great haste losing peculiar vowels in confusion for five odd minutes or so, when you suddenly realize it was directions all the time they were trying to convey.

Weird words such as ‘Rummlieguts’ Clart; Thrawn Fa's, or ‘Bydand’ which means ‘Steadfast’ the proud motto for the ‘Gordon Highlanders’ or is it the gay Gordon’s. I do recognize, ‘Deoch an Dorus’, and have enjoyed Aberdonian company with a glass or two. Strangle my powers of understanding the local tongue grows easier the more alcohol I consume. One such time in one off their many taverns the subject of frugile Aberdonians carefulness with money and the likes was sneaked into the conversation.

The following tale was related.

A lowlander came to Aberdeen and set up a general grocers across the road from a general store. Out came the traditional blackboard and written with chalk was ‘Sugar 2/- a bag’. Seeing this the Aberdonian put out his blackboard and wrote in chalk ‘Sugar 1/-11d a bag. This spurred the new arrival to wipe his board and scribble in chalk, ‘Sugar 1/-9d a bag’ Each time the stranger placed his price the Aberdonian lowered his further this procedure carried on until later on in the day when eventually the stranger marked up in big letters , in chalk; ‘ Free Sugar’.

With a smirk on his lips, wandered across the road and said…you can’t beat that. The Aberdonian in a cool droll saying ‘Ken Telt nay …Aye dinna roup sucarr’…translate….Don’t you know… don’t sell sugar…

My small miracle was I understood the joke…told in Aberdonian patois

Posted by: peter.howden 9th Sep 2015, 02:54pm


One evening, not all that long ago, after a few “Waters of Life” or as Glaswegians refer to “A Slight Refreshment”; while strolling along the coastline between Stevenson and Saltcoats, as the sun dimmed down allowing only a dusky light through, I had a feeling eyes where upon me. These were Peewee’s bifocal eyes, so with no urgency in mind I came across “Peewee” my old friend. Just as a reminder for those who may not know who, or whom Peewee is; he is the master mystical pigeon serving the famous city of Glasgow, by taking, under his wing, the Lord Provost and guiding all of them over the centuries.

He hardly ever communicated with humans, but gave me the privilege by picking myself as a confidant. The rare occasions we would meet at this particular beach coastline…was when the enchanted bird was on his sporadic vocations. The bizarre thing is; these meetings always happened at this time of night after I would walk home from a wee dram or two in the last pub of the small township of Stevenson…or the very first one in Saltcoats

On this unscheduled get-together, after our customary greetings were completed, followed some talk of the past history , including raising a stake on the oldest public park in Europe, ‘Glasgow Green’, where the ‘Molendiner Burn’ joins the Clyde and salmon was so plentiful, it was daily fed to the apprentices of Glasgow who complained bitterly to the Lord Provost.

This stirred a memory in Peewee, shaking his wings and feathers, as he tumbled on an incident which had happened long ago though still irritated him. He was talking about his favourite subject, which was Glasgow, when the name of ‘Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart' rose out the ashes of olden times followed by a debate that rang several interesting loud bells….

Peewee carried on with; “He was known as (The Young Pretender) or as some called him “Bonnie Prince Charlie" and "The Young Chevalier" (the French word for Knight). I asked in all innocence did he not believe he was a proper ‘Charlie’. To which he replied ruefully, YES…but we were all Charlie's the way we dealt with him.

Peewee continued to explain;


Posted by: peter.howden 11th Sep 2015, 11:59am


With a discontented opinion; Peewee quietly continued with his tale of how portraits certainly displayed a handsome young man, although the Hanoverian rumour machine tried to spread stories that he was deformed and an imbecile, unbiased observer of the young Prince described him as arrogant impetuous and brave. Educated in Rome he learned…English, French, Latin and Italian (but there was nobody to teach him Gaelic) and a dab hand with a cross-bow. From an old ship Doutelle…his arrival would result in a massive, spontaneous uprising.

On 23 July 1745, Charles landed on the white sands of Eriskay, accompanied only by a small band of companions known as the "Seven Men of Moidart". The Prince sprinkled some seeds there... to this day known as the Prince's Flower grows there and nowhere else in Scotland.

Peewee’s eyes dulled as he recalled how the pompous, self-appointed Prince Regret sent a letter …demanding monies of £15,000 to the provost Andrew Cochran. His reply was a thorn in Prince’s craw, refusing because of Glasgow’s throng hostility against such a cause…and the chamber feared the mob more than his puny army.

Slowly speaking, Peewee story followed with the fatal return home, ahead, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, of a crippled depraved army, now a rabble with clothing in tatters. The Prince now threatened to turn loose his 6,000 riotous hielanders, billeted around St. Andrew's Parish Church which was under construction at the time

Rather the city sacked, merchants provide them with new outfits and a revitalised Prince Charles reviews his troops on “Flesher's Haugh”(now known as Glasgow Green) close to Glasgow’s first 'steamie', built in the middle of a field on the banks of the Camlachie Burn ,just a few years before.. The peoples of Glasgow had been let down by a council….and not for the last time.

Peewee’s voice reduced to a whisper as he explained how it was Glasgow’s poor who suffered that year…plus many years more, for the lack of basic supplies and essential food and clothing trough terrible conditions, while the affluent within the city limits felt not a pinch.

I could tell the way he was chirping all this out, he somehow blamed himself for that dreadful time which brought no joy, but misery for the citizens, and he personally rued the whole affair. Peewee added that in their haste they and the Lord Provost “Andrew Cochran”; did not seek his advice. He could understand the commercial greed of merchants though found it strange the Lord Provost acted so; as he (and all his fellows before and since) always sought debate with his trusted guardian of The Glasgow.

Just as his tale ended and I looked closely to his proud head I could have sworn I saw a tear if a tear was possible. Peewee thanked me for being an audience and departed into the night without another sound been heard. I was alone on the beach looking straight at the Isle of Arran and “Goatfell” sparkling magnificently in the silver moonlight.

I was grateful of having a friend such as peewee…as I took my last sip of the night… of the water of life

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Sep 2015, 12:56pm

Not a Water baby…not?

Once upon a time this slowly growing elderly man, named Paul, glimpsed into the mirror and decided he did not appreciate the reflection of a balding grey haired droopy man standing before him. This suddenly prompted his compelled brain system to reintroduce his body to physical application in an attempt to regain a twinkle of youthful vigour, and maybe, just maybe he would have favourable looks from the gentle sex. . Swimming was the prominent thought as clean exercise, because the water took the weight no matter what shape or size, and he was a nifty skinny-dipper in his youth.

Next early morning, grabbing his swimming shorts (on reflexion, too old and slightly out of body proportion for speedo’ slim endurance trunks) and towels, and oft for the nearest venue which was Easterhouse sports complex, which strangely includes a library.

While undressing, to himself, he admitted he was no Mark Spitz, at any time…for a long time. Approaching the tiled area, a distinct odour arose from the swimming pool, which took him back to the old Olympic sized Coatbridge baths, where as a boy during summer holidays he played with mates and Ian Black (gold free style) trained for the games in Budapest. Paul curiously dipped his toe then plunged into the bluish water and began to swim as if the skill never left his ability. He swam some two three lengths, quite effortless and natural before he noticed the attendants being rather concerned about his unique strokes as loud blustering, coughing and spluttering out of breath.

Stopping for a short breather pretending to take in the ambiance of the surroundings, Paul was determined to make progress by kicking off another two spans of the pool but this time more like a fish out of water. Paul’s big mistake was at the deep end he tried to attempt another length, but his legs were like rubber and wobbled, forcing him to stop in deep water not quite able to touch the edge.

These employees of the pool, being true lifeguards, straddled-jumped in ….pulled poor old Paul out, onto his side and checked for foreign objects…as a matter of procedure.

Paul’s mind was groggily distorted through hazy recollection, one attendant, pronouncing the kiss of life was called under these circumstances. This is when everything nearly stopped with grunts and groins coming from the aquatic staff. There were long faces, followed by longer faces tragic shaking of heads followed by them decisively tossing a coin. It was obvious they felt Paul’s appearance did not warrant personal contact

Rather miffed, as Glaswegians can be sometimes be, Paul quickly picked up while one attendant helped him back to the dressing rooms, he smiled and said

‘O.K… John Wayne’. After such a compliment, Paul felt rather chuffed, being linked to the big western film star and inquired what made the assistant call him John Wayne. The reply brought Paul back to reality when the swimming instructor replied….’everybody in Hollywood knew he was growing bald as well!’ adding insult to injured pride…a lump of precious hair tugged out as he combed and dried his scalp with the drier provided.

No point in making a song and dance…. however his new found slender confidence in public took a dent. Swimming might not be Paul’s opening to the wide world keep fit club .

At a stroke… back to the quack?


Posted by: peter.howden 16th Sep 2015, 06:13pm

New date..

His love for her was immortal, gauged by an indefinite timespan with no reason or excuse other than it was within his being, constantly creating moments of perfect love.. The next breath is the very breath which would signal the move closer. So close the inevitable kiss, so unavoidable for him to experience her rosy red lips which has haunted his dreams both day and night, stirring his sleep having every moment surmount total exhaustion. In reality she had broken their proven frail glass ball game…

But sadly for one who believed…as if the very next breath was the very breath which would be the one closer to the caress made heaven almost touchable…delivered by her amiable rosy lips bring into being, heaven’s air intoxicating fragrance mixing with his seductive pants…. forever as fate intended

Each night this allusion disturbed and stirred his sleep, as if by clockwork, and his love’s enchanting image haunted his days where ever he looked. . The smallest deliverance could vivacity his world beyond limits as he walked on a cushion mysterious to medical science.

He wished nothing more than to whisk her of her feet with his bold proud status man but feared the worse…he would not come up to scratch because lack of gravitas…with such youthful thoughts and deeds.

Still is weekly routine has him constructing an affectionate letter, full of passion, including an ancient poem, repeated time and time again in each articulated communication. A prompt for a meeting, on Saturday, at the once ‘Boots’ Corner’; a famous Glasgow corner for young romances first dates. He dresses with anxiety in his action and a feart to be late. Hail rain or snow, he stands there braving the weather until at last he confesses to himself…she will not come.

He returns to his lonely digs and begins the weekly cycle again seemingly hopelessly unaware he has lost the glass ball game…..she will never return....for she never existed?

Posted by: peter.howden 18th Sep 2015, 08:36am


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder although I suppose it depends how we define beauty for ourselves rather than how we see it in others. I have meet some lovely people and quite a few stunners however very few stopped my breath or rang soundless decibels through my mind. I would say perhaps one or two, excluding dreams, even today I can still visualize to almost perfection, and at the drop of a hat.

Entering a club full of people enjoying themselves, I spotted this jaw drooping sensation... with feminine curves though the florescent lighting of the time had some small manner in the deception. This type of lighting was popular with clubs throughout and popular with male members because the luminous light heightens the dresses, skirts blouses and underwear of girls wearing white of any form.

On this occasion the dancing Madonna was wearing a tight white outfit and an obvious living bra. In contrast, the almost jet black hair floated effortlessly to the rhythm…occasionally dropping to the full length of the back.

The only weird thing about this incredible vision on high heels and tanned legs, not one soul was near. I tried to look unimpressed or possibly cool however failed miserably because I tripped over a hidden step and crashed onto the dance floor, in an undignified manner. Meanwhile the floating dream seemed to be concerned as I picked my limp body up, trying unsuccessfully to pretend I meant to tumble as part of my dancing steps.

The ceiling of this club was rather lower than normal, intensifying the fluorescent illuminations, complete with the sudden jolt onto the disco level must have slightly dazzled me, as I screwed up my eyesight to witness something was starting to look out of place for looking every inch feminine but the movements were out of place, as we sort of danced together. .

This was how I met David. At this time, his sexuality was in question by him and almost everyone who met him. He was genuinely a fine person who was experimenting with his sexuality but had no clue where, or how to place his feelings, his dress or his body. He was no mother’s boy but adored his mum. Even in the light of the interval he looked gorgeous. It may sound curious but we sort of hit it off as we became good friends for quite a long while before I lost contact with him.

The dressing up was experimentation trying to find his niche but did not come up to mark so shortly afterwards he reverted back to almost normal gear. He then arranged for an interview in ‘Granite House’ and I reckon this was a happy period in his life. The staff in this Trongate store treated him as one of the gang right from the start, almost family really. He tried his hand at window-dressing but proved to be crap at the art…lacking of all things… imagination

He left the store though we kept in touch, meeting at a pub in Hope Street called the 505, where all kinds of human being met up however it was notorious for being gay. It was certainly obvious now that David was a budding homosexual. Going into such a bar took a bit of bottle as the impression that gays are slap dash and easy going is far from the truth. If someone took a shine to him they drew daggers at me if I appeared on the scene, even worse when they mistakenly fancied me.

David was no longer the happy go lucky, baby faced, footloose and fancy free person from 'Granite |House' as his experiences had not only harder him but made him build a barrier between him and life. He had a lover who was a bum, pardon the pun but that is exactly what this low life was. The whole performance made it a sad story where latterly in his impressionable state, he met an old queen who used and abused him he felt he was one of those tragic ‘Victim’ figure’s

The last time I saw him he had not only aged but had hardened within which could be seen from his craggy disapproval manner. If he had dressed in a feminine custom once again, he would be an old hag with a boil on the nose, knitting and viewing Madame Guillotine at her worse. We arranged to meet up in the’ Crystal Bells’ at Glasgow Cross but he did not turn up……..or I did not recognize him. Just now and again I wonder where he is and if he is all right. I hope so;

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Sep 2015, 02:10pm

The lazy Armadillo lizard

It was a usual very hot day in a south African unnamed desert where the family rock stood higher than high, as an advantage point for the occupiers safety enabling them to spot any raiders intent of an easy meal. This rock was the home for a 50 strong family of ‘Armadillo Lizards’ live in social groups …hide in rock cracks and crevices… with the main lookout, with swivelling exaggerated eyes, based on the highest point of their rock

Anyone in the family group would be easy meal for wandering or flying predator’s, if the security benefited vigilance which fifty pair of eyes gave was dropped even for a moment. The law of sheer survival on the rock was not to make a mistake either by accident or failure to do your duty.

This one selfish lethargic armadillo lizard just wanted to have forty winks and believed he could, due to 49 attentive pair of eyes behind him would take the brunt of security day watch without the need of his weary senses. The gommy spiny-tailed reptile with his yellow underbelly angled to sunbath, way out of sight from the rest of the attentive group

The elders of the family were shocked when the realized, by accident, that one of the group would so ignore such a compulsory diligent duty for the safety of all. There and then a decision was taken to teach such a scoundrel a moral lesson he would never forget for snoozing while all his comrades kept the industrious onus…for the advantage of the clan. One second they were all spread out on the rock…the next as in by holy magic…they disappeared from sight.

The plan was to wait concealed for 10 seconds…or so… then as an excited rabble…rush to the highest point and scare the hell out of the malingering slacker. Unfortunately 10 seconds may be a quick matter of fleeting moments for humans…but out in the wild almost barren desert…it will mean life or death.

Unfortunately in their haste not one eye caught sight of the flying predator swooping down with claws ready to claim the unworthy napping lizard. Within a flash…he was gobbled up

However; it did deter any other lizard…from sleeping while on duty again.......and with hard felt guilt.... no other lizards sneaked away.


Posted by: peter.howden 25th Sep 2015, 10:59am


I sit in the shadiest corner trying desperately not to be seen, or heard by anyone who might, by chance, be passing by. There was no getting away or avoiding the bare sinister facts, I have crossed the line of decent living and what could be accepted as civilized behaviour between one human being to another. It is little consolation now I disgust myself. No matter what the urge, or unnatural conduct, was running through my mind at the time, the law of decent morality dictates my onus?

How could I have contemplated such a flight of sickening elevation? How I wish I could be banished to the furthest corner of the universe, so to cleans my dirty psyche and reveal my utter sorrow for such a desperate regretful advances on something so sweet…so innocent. Only hours ago the sunshine was exceptional in all its magnificence, now eternal darkness can be my only hide.

Someone is bound to notice for time is against me. Is there anything else I can do to cover up my crime, though I think I have done everything possible to clear the evidence in the circumstances? Looking at every angle there is no way anyone casual going about their legitimate business can’t see the horrible signs of evil I stooped to. In my nervous state, after the feverish crazed attack, I just froze unable to take in how much a savage animal I had become. There is no salvation for my soul now, that is plain but should I confess or run and conceal myself from this wickedest of wicked deeds of horror.

It is true……the instant affair came on to me, akin to the infection of amour and beyond, but broke up on first physical contact. I should have ceased then but some uncontrollable urge prevented sense prevailing….hunger for such an attractive blameless thing became my most darken goal no matter the outcome This, I’m afraid is more than a misdemeanour

The clock takes its time counting the minutes yet I am safe for the moment in my recess furthest from the actual offence. The gloomiest hour is just about and there is no vision of a brand new dawn. Perhaps I can find courage and at least be a man and accept my lust for stripping bare my want. It may sound callous after what has taken place in this shared abode but I thought it would satisfy my craving however it has not. Is there no end to this torment?

Oh God…I hear a noise from upstairs and my dark heart starts to strike. I hear a door slowly creaking open in an obvious attempt to disguise the fact someone or something is afoot. Oh God the footsteps have past the head staircase and now are slowly making progress down the stairs.

What can I do? Where can I go? Why did I do this terrible thing? I want my mummy……The door to where I am, slowly creaked ajar and a hand creeps forward for the light.

Quick…I need to decide if to stand and confess or take action so they will never breathe a word of my crime. Will I jump this invader and pin them against the wall and break down and make a clean breast of my sordid behaviour.

To late…the light is switched on and now all hell will let loose and there is no going back….the familiar voice of ‘She who must be obeyed’….called out in instant distress …. “Hey who’s eaten all the chocolate cake I made for the special event tomorrow?


Posted by: peter.howden 28th Sep 2015, 03:04pm

The lady of the laundry

If any Glaswegian, or for that matter… any Scottish person, has not seen the gritty home humour throughout the play ‘the Steamie’, set in the early sixties, I would be quite surprised because it has become an institute since first preformed. All the characters were tip-top acting throughout the scenes…but one special actress ‘Sheila Donald’ as the old housewife, with plenty of spunk, Mrs. Culfeathers…a incomparable lady with genuine dignity.

The story starts in a undisclosed wash-house, surrounded the raw hardships of pram pushing woman, full of the weekly laundry, in the areas where such establishments were situated…and how they coped with what their harsh life threw at them.

In a real washhouse, named as a laundrette for convenience, a delicate framed elderly lady entered the establishment bang on 6 of the evening clock during a week, washing, drying, ironing and folding a bundle of washing which took several hours to complete. Her clothing was of good quality but aged as she quietly continued her duty. During the few times when she had little or nothing to do, she would blether with the assistant.

In a mellow well-spoken voice she informed him, she worked as a cleaner in several banks first thing each and every morning and a hotel later on …while in the afternoon for tenants in Wally close stairways… and of course the washings…each wash was for a different client earning a few coins for her savings. Her delicate frame

The purpose of her grit and determination in working almost every moment of the day was to see her independent son through law school and university. Her eyes lit up with striking reflexions of fondness of remembered moments only a mother could show with dignified proudness beyond scope as she softly uttered….he is on his sixth year and one to go when he will pass the stressful exams for good.

Absolute pride blossomed radiantly each time she mentioned his name as her cheeks developed an instant smile spreading instantly complete contentment in her thoughts of her son. She continued ‘He stays in the high flats, but will by a house once he becomes successful’..

She would then diligently load her old Churchill Pram with assistance from the attendant helping her down the few steps to the pavement outside whatever the weather was. With a kindly ‘thank you’, she crossed the busy road, past the local pub…. and disappeared into the night.

The attendant could not tell her…he knew her son well right from school. To the attendant’s memory of her son…he was and always would be wrought as a loafer…a liar and lout whose academic achievement was leaving school without being expelled. He never was any part of university Strathclyde, or any other, and his chosen career was propping up the bar of the pub she passes, unknowingly almost each and every night.

The attendant knew her son was abusing her hard earned money…but it would break her heart…and dignity of spirit…. if he told her the truth.


Posted by: peter.howden 30th Sep 2015, 10:27pm

Home Spun Stories


With a pair of uncontrollable shaking hands belonging to the small dismal statue of a man who hesitatingly move forward towards the grubby handle in preparation to open a door. There was no need in him guessing what was behind its shabby appearance…for he has witnessed the secret so many times… in such a short period of time. He may know what the door conceals from view, but has little or no concept how long it’s precious cargo has been hidden

In front of the door, held on with a couple or rusty screws inserted in the ill painted woodwork of the frame… is a mirror of sorts. The dirty edges are discoloured completely around the rim as if rust marks and foreign specks roam around the actual plate reflection freely of the glass. Even being near it has to take great concentrations as to what this mirror can hold in images… as it is past its sell by date in true replication. Better days have come and gone for in background of the tedious wee man, is dirt or clamour all over what dimly passes an inhabitable chamber.

The walls original wallpaper no longer intact exists, as in its place are just strips mingled in with holes and some kind of yellowish paste. A calendar showing dates around 19 hundred and something, displaying a naff picture of a car and a girl in all our yesterday’s style is dog-eared and tatty. A couple of old hooks for picture frames hang on.

Mould of different calibres meets the partition and the so-called table and sideboard was previous whipped over on the last Coronation day. The place in simple terms is a dump but the man does not see it so.

In his mind, he pleads lonely and this is why he is heading for the door. He stops for a moment and appears to argue with himself. Seconds later, his hand is on the well-worn knob precariously suspended downward. The door creeks open to reveal the ultimate prize just sitting there on the dusty shelf…around eye-level. The treasure itself is his holy grail and salvation all rolled into one.

Six cans of Carlsberg special….once known in Glasgow as limb icebreakers. The very first sip is actually putrid to his lips but once swallowed he is the slave to the liquid master.

His eyes resembling two pee holes in the snow… gloat over the remaining haul. The hands do not shake anymore as he gentle takes out his booty and places them gently on the manky table.

He has no idea what day it is though when his giro day arrives, he is always waiting for the mail carrier that gives him the influence and readies to attend the prodigious country club. Run by men of the same calibre and for sozzled loonies with no hope (well-oiled fellows) for communal drunkenness. So what if any can to drink first. Is it possible he span them out for the whole day…for it has been done before….not often his muddled mind reasons

Moments later he has swallowed not only the first can but almost finished the second. His destination is to be blootered,(fu) and he is an expert. Ten minutes later not a sound, other than creaks from a moaning abode, can be heard coming from the grim depraved room…lying where he landed is the crumpled body of one manky body that used to be human.

For him he will never be free…of the alcohol quicksand.


Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Oct 2015, 09:18am

My Almanac Three; 02/10/2015

I was listening to Bob Dylan sing or crocking “The times are a ‘changing”, the song starting his mould of home spun philosophy for the young while the old looked on in silence in some sort of bewildered. Now I am much older, looking on at the young perhaps not muddled but slightly amused as the fledglings make their mark… similar to the young generation of yesterday.

No one likes change, apart from the young who would change to anything just to change and be prickly with the old…as they should believe they are the future. I reckon it has been an unspoken tradition since man started to walk in all two’s.

I do believe its bundles of myths we grow wiser as we grow older because our minds are set when we are very young indeed. I personally make the silliest mistakes the older I become and the only difference from my years is I am more ready to admit my foolishness

However somewhere along the line, we collect useless baggage complete with phobias of all descriptions and biasness, sometimes willing and sometimes unknown but we do with some degree of foregone conclusion.

For me the one thing is certain…there is always uncertainty of the future being known as the unknown to react or prepare…when suitable and appropriate …what is normal or conceived to be normal. The up and coming young generation attempt to break down dusty traditions as they have a new horizon and holy grail….which is the same as the last horizon seen through virgin eyes. The old hang on to tradition….in hope of safety having not to change.

Tomorrow is our; ‘She who must be obeyed’ and my self’s…. 46th wedding anniversary, a personal tradition of our own. Although when we married we had visions of growing old together but never in our wildest dreams did we guess what lay ahead. We have, and do love each other which has matured throughout the years…different but just as strong for I miss Rebecca when she is not there but always in my mind. My only question to my bride is how she managed to accept all my faults without laughing out loud or making my position redundant. I can only say with authenticity…I am lucky.

One thing which has become a tradition is Aunt Becky’s wee hurls in my old carriage jalopy around Strathblane and the Kilpatrick hills. For Becky it could be anywhere however she takes great delight, singing along to traditional Scottish songs, tapping her feet to the pipes and accordion while chucking through the hills, and countryside, abundant with trees and greenery which supports walking lamb chops, cattle and many a horse. I certainly have noticed it is also a soothing drug for me as each trip while returning home I feel relaxed almost ready for anything….now that is a tradition worth having.

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Oct 2015, 11:50am

Home Spun Stories....

Dance Date

She magnified serenade charm with natural fertility, complete with charitable elegance of a swan languorously circumnavigating a peaceful pond, as she glided around the dance hall for slightly more mature people. She had such inner beauty oozing out her perfectly trim frame and her smile could dim the spot lights often focused on her. In other words she was the bell of any ball, a honey queen bee.

He tortuously looked on enviously on her privileged partner as they cascaded effortlessly whirling and swirled with refinement, almost poetry in motion. Since joining the club several weeks ago, his aching heart pinned for the only lady he had sought with passionately desire, but because of his lack of dancing technique, he was regulated to being a solitary wallflower, second class. He had asked her once, if he take her hand and accompany her to the dance floor. With polite distaste, she motioned to her dance card and without a word spoken, dismissed him outright.

Deciding this would not happen again the next time he entered the mixed crowded hall, he would have mastered the waltz, which up to now deluded his efforts but, on his return, would equally enhance her performance.

‘The one problem you have’ said the small French dancing instructor he was paying a small fortune to teach him the rudiments,’ is your un-natural rhythm and your two left feet if I’m being blunt ;, sorry honest’. His face collapsed as he could see his dream disappear with those short sharp words. Just as instant hopelessness took hold his wee tutor came up with a strategy, more for the money than for the pupil.

Acting in accord of an army ‘Percer le sergent (drill sergeant),we will concentrate and I will drill you night and day until instinctively you can perform in your sleep exactly as taught this waltz. Remember though this will be the only steps you can do imitating a dance .

For ten solid days nearly without sleep of sustenance, they devoted the hours god gave to this one goal. Perspiration flowed freely and bone throbbing was constant along with utter tiredness, the cost but he knew it would be worth every second, just to be able to have her arms around him. Tortuously it carried on without a break, until at last his waltz footwork would be parable to the all-time great Scottish debonair man-about-town Jack Buchannan. His victory was within his grasp.

He appeared as if by magic, dressed in top hat and tails with the all-important white gloves for that all important dash of elegance personified, to the utter astonishment of the throng of the hall. Before the very first note of music was struck, he slid across the empty floor and bowed in front of his exquisite quarry. He uttered the very words he had dreamed and pinned for the confidence for so long, ‘Can I have the honour to escort you to the dance floor for the first waltz’.

Suddenly he could see smirks coming from the viewing peoples around and that the lady of his wanting looked surprised at first but showed shadows of near contempt posturing from her lips before she spoke. ‘Are you an ignoramus imbecile dressed up Jessie?’ she bawled out as if intended t for all to hear, as she followed with a verbal spear to his innocent heart; ‘This is the Latin season and the Buenos Aires Tango is the dance we dance!’ She could have been kinder but her true nature surfaced for all to witness. .

To seek sanctuary , he reached for the stars and now came crashing back to the bare earth………………………he crept away in silence though some say they heard………tear-jerking pitiful sobbing.


Posted by: peter.howden 6th Oct 2015, 04:24pm

Home Spun Stories

JIM story 5

Jim stepped down from the train, into downpour of rain then stepped right into a massive tarn. As if in shock he just stood there… motionless alone while her memory locked and burnt uncontrollably in his disordered mind… as the puffing locomotive headed to god knows where. Still transfixed Jim carefully felt his crumpled pocket of his well-worn rainproof jacket, to check if her letter was safe.

Within the weary scribbled message, in her hand, he carried one of those new-fangled “Image Photographic Phantasmagoria” although he had no need to do so… as each dimple; every curve and special delicate feature was branded and imprisoned in his mind….tormenting almost every wakened moment.

Over and over Jim would silently tell himself…if only he had not miss- read the note…. he would be a contented man by knowing where he stood.
Recalling all events as clear as if it just happened, he caressed aggravated despair….almost into the murkiest depths of depression where unwanted happenings happen. Abruptly he was back standing alone…in a manky puddle

Taking a deep breath Jim looked around to find himself at a waterlogged railway crossing somewhere in the middle of a desolated wilderness. No evidence of buildings ever being there, no trees or bushes, no shelter and only the single rail track, stretching far beyond distance in both directions… all there was sort of standing was an old crumbling message board, exposing a scroll of words in a language alien to him. His conclusions started with he had forgotten to have a map or ask for directions before leaving hastily on this particular journey.

He had in the past tinkered on the idea of joining the Foreign Legion, though thought better of it as he could not stand discipline and his Arabic was sporadic, if at all. Years ago while in the desert region of Syro, mucking around the Algerian war, he befriending the Berbers and Bedouin peoples in the Arabian Sahara Jim had taken up a sort of verbal local dialect and with a few words of French, pronounced sort of, he was able to get around… but just. Jim reckoned, as his senses always swirled around his fate to have her memory deep in his mind constantly, disturbing his way of being.

Back to his present isolated location; he did notice another distant sign, apparently pointing away from the steel rails at roughly forty degrees into nowhere land, though there was no obvious trail or pathway but a few deep impressions of washed-out footprints… mishmashes into each other as if the previous footprints as if they could not make up their minds in which direction should be taken. As Jim slowly analysed his predicament, he could remember being told the locomotive only ran twice a week on this particular stretch of line as there was no call for it.

Walking slowly up to the old sign Jim observed on the tip…. not a drip but a droplet of water which mysteriously give the impression of holding a whole universe within…and after each glance the droplet grew in size, causing a miniature panoramic illustration like a time capsule. After some ‘toing and froing’ the enlarged rainwater globule was the size big enough to look into without strain.

It revealed a near picture record of his life…a whirlwind guide to all the happenings

Posted by: peter.howden 9th Oct 2015, 10:52am

Jim story (2)

Whatever struck his reasoning at that precise moment… no one will ever know, but one thing is certain…he thought there was something ‘jarring’ about the whole set-up… what was really annoying him was the incomprehensible message on the old wooden sign having an abnormal growing magic bead of moisture on the edge…just flowing out his life story…for all to see…if anybody was, or had been there. Was he being delusional?

Obviously, he had heard of people suffering heat stroke in the desert, having hallucinations and its name was at the tip of his dry tongue. It was due to heat and light causing an optical phenomenon. As if another piece of a jigsaw appeared out of nowhere …he noticed there was not a singular sound, no noise, not just quiet, not just muffled no birds, no crawling bugs, no wind, and no sign of life but absolute scary silence…and an absenteeism of feeling.

Staring again at the message, now perceptibly deeply registered on the wood, but somehow he couldn’t place all the words together…to form an obvious instruction. As far as he could fathom…nothing had stirred an inch, and he must have been here for some considerable time. The single track was still heading in both horizons but both skylines, in Jim’s scope…was further away. Again returning to the sign message …the blurred letters magically were becoming more focused but just out of reach of reading.

His eyes automatically set on the splintered edge and the growing droplet. Jim recognized almost all which whisked past in incredible speed until it stopped precisely at one frame. To his horror he immediately recognized the gruesome image… he locked his eyes so tightly, almost burst his head with utter rejection but did not prevent the truth, being displayed, how he had brutally slaughtered his declared ‘love of his life’.

He fell to his buckled knees, shivering uncontrollably in dire sociological pain… releasing how much a deceiving monster he had become. And at that exact instant, the haze of the notice dropped, revealing in branded black clotted blood …’this man will hang this day, for odious and unchristian crime against humanity’…strangely in the noiseless panorama ….a whistling tune of “Coulter’s candy'.

Unexpectedly Jim awoke in pandemonium state of foul smelling secretion …it was a nightmare … he is here…safely out of the delusion… two detached domains…his mind jolted…but which one is the dream [size="3"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Oct 2015, 11:20am


Welcome yes welcome to the village of “Dreimire”... settling in seclusion and protection of the craggy stanie braes in the deepest part of the highlands…yet we have all the hot spots that any Metropolis in the known universe has… with some added attractions which little are known about.

Remember; as you are entering our boundaries... watch your speed. We have up to the minute, on the spot speed cameras in operation, focused directed to our main street and thoroughfares…so you have been warned.

If one of our local pedestrians spots a speeder, immediately they press a button on special constructed lamp post which alerts Mr Mc Deed, the undertaker to come out of his closet with his flash. As a deterrent, it appears to work with the sight of Ernest Hardly Mc Deed( he was to be Christened ‘Hardy’ but the minister had a lisp) a lum hat, naked and painted black from head to foot.... apart from what he is flashing... scares the living daylight out of drivers....always has a surprisingly effective.

We are proud... proud as punch... of the excellent cuisine personified in the ‘Ghilie Dhu’ and garnishes from the simplest of ingredients, tailored to perfection, second to none and equal to any comers in Scotland or indeed the European market we hear so much about... as long as cook rose in a good mood. “Punch” himself is seldom allowed into the centre of the village, these days, after the unmentionable happening involving pea soup and a unscripted ladle placed in unspecified quarters. It was judged to be unhygienic by the village elders.

There is of course the dreadful red light district, the scourge of any urban area. It’s up there but we don’t talk about it down here. This seedy establishment is run by Hardly’s older cousin; Ambrosia Hardly Mc Deed; (same minister christened). She acquired the rudiments of equipment, mainly thirty red bulbs, for an electric company holding a closing down fire sale. Although getting up in years by some forty and fourteen span in age, she can be very flirtatious, even voluptuous, under such lighting.... has been known to send guest into unbridled genital procreative behaviour at the mere sight of her tartan helm lifted above Church standard decency. Sensuous or so I have been told.

The export trade from the village varies in amounts. We tried to grow our own tartan stones which to all practice and purposes took forever to we can find no local person, living or dead, who can recall cropping such marvels. Still, after watching Weir’s way (An Outer Hebrides boy by his accent) on the only translation photo boxes in the village, and the now defunct Rolf Harris, we struck gold. Tartans to order all suits, skirts and thingymabobs…weaving cost extra…and can you see it yet.

As a community we have few, one or two at the last count, of the new-fangled moving screen box in the corner but one seendil programme we collect in which is nearest, the communal hall…or the pub, goggled eyed viewing the Glasga “Thingummygig”. ‘The laird O Ccoocaddens’ proudly displaying Scotland’s best

With good fortune, we do not suffer from hoodlums or graffiti except for Madam Mayor; with slogans of “Votes for women” rather set in her ways and in the past. We have a superb youth programme run by Willie Hardly Mc Deed, who is proud of his Danish ancestry, giving special care to blond wee boys. With great personal pain, tries hard putting a little Viking culture into each of them, whenever the chance arises.

It’s the simple things in life that gives pleasure to the gratified inhabitants of “Dreimire” village


Posted by: peter.howden 12th Oct 2015, 08:54am

Lay preacher bloke

The other day across from the renowned Glasga Green’s unofficial ‘speakers corner’ one orator concentrated on the crumbling state of Scotland, Britain and the world values, continually hammered home the decay of humanities scruples inviting debauchery and devaluing of religion. His vocation, as a former janitor for 50 years for Allan Glen School sanctioned his platform. Mr Allan Glen, a prolific tradesman, died in 1850 and approved a fee paying institute with places for social preparation in hands-on trade’s education or businesses including public places in the commercial modules for sons of tradesman. The school was renowned in rigid Christian values

His passion threatened to burst all veins and arteries as he feverously near tyrant bawling that the young today give little or no respect for their elders and how society and the world has lost its way in historical creeds and disregarding the good book as God’s holy words. His feverous pitch reached ear-piercing decibels, howling how pugnacious wars violated the populous wants, needs and rights completely by voracity and unpalatable vicious desires. His closing line was a simple statement…”What has the world become?”

A voice within almost immediately captured the crowds’ attention, with a soft but deliberate reply…. The world is the same as it’s always been… from savage beginnings… and yesterday is as today…. We singularly believe we are cultured and civilized… and the feeble excuse is…”they and others are not”

The voice of motive continued… the young’s duty is to question their elders…then added even softer…..It is not either a boast or complaint but I am not religious because throughout my ordinary experiences in life, I’m unable to believe in such a deity… but if it comforts others… so let them be… but listen and read other people’s book?


Posted by: peter.howden 13th Oct 2015, 02:26pm

My Chronicle three 13/10/2015

The last few days collectively been extraordinary with astonishingly surprising meteorological conditions…so much so… it’s not only an Indian summer …but extended autumn showing off trees in a fascinating array of dark green and stepping stone stages of gold to golden along almost every road and avenue. I generally take Aunt Becky for a hurl in such sunny weather heading for the nearest hills with Scottish music and bagpipe dirges blaring inside the old jalopy.

The day free, from commitments, and on a whim to do just that, was the first day for ‘She who must be obeyed’ to visit her after Rebecca’s own appointment of being unwell. Notwithstanding…I took an instant notion to make the usual trip alone but this time with some more gusty music of my own taste

I did not cry but there was humidity or a leek as I observed all before me….it was heart-warming moist eyes of total amazement viewing spectacular panoramic landscape in such perfect conditions, up there…right in the middle of Kilpatrick hills…or was it the Campsies….looking down of the ‘Clachan of Campsie’. It’s bloody marvellous.

To add insult to injury to wee Aunt Becky, I paroled a poke of nibbles I have in the car for her, along with a couple of sweets to help her constant dry throat. I have to use wisdom while eating anything for having complete set of false molars…is a mouthful. Throughout the fifty odd years I have been cautious as to eating habits as certain things penetrate under my wallies, such as strawberries, tomatoes and a surprising amount of food is a no-no on account of diner table manners…and not to look like a complete Charlie.

I am off tomorrow to seek out a really good friend and spend a few hours away from the hurly-burly with a refreshment or two though avoiding getting blootered…like the plague. We talk many a subject but mainly baloney and I can be a “heid-the-baw” gowk without reservations. The measure of a special friend is how much you would miss them if they were not there…and I’m lucky…I have three…..

Posted by: peter.howden 18th Oct 2015, 07:24pm

My Cornicle’s Three; 18/10/2015

With such grand benevolent weather I could not refuse the opportunity of joining my china Jim for a sneaky extra visit to Ayr…but this time seriously be shown the hidden sights of Ayrshire…the ones the tourist rarely see and Jim Hendry is thee oldie pioneer of Ayrshire coastline… a sort of ‘Scottish’ Daniel Boone of Cumberland Gap fame, (originally sung by ‘Uncle Am Stuart’ back in 1924…; then Brigdeton Glaswegian ‘Lonnie Donegan’ belted the lyrics in 57’.

So with a dream the weather would hold out I aim the tin lizzie in the direction of Ayr joining the traffic working its way through mist on the very early misty Saturday morning. The grey mist thickened as my wheels rumbled past near brother loch, little loch and white loch, wheezing through an unrevealing floating tunnel made of eerie smog you can’t truly observe from side to side The sun was bleary orange ball unfocused hole through the grey sky as my wheels darted into the imaginable unknown though hopefully a mystery tour set in the correct direction. The music playing was ‘Bix Beiderbecke’ and boy was I enjoying the blues horn of the twenties.

The phantom smir, as if stealing time itself, plays hide and seek with unseen but permanent building who’s location suddenly appears for strained eyes to see gauze skip through bushes, trees, clinging to blades of grass yet…akin to ‘Will-o'-the-wisps, horses crop up as phantoms of the wild as livestock hooves trample over the ‘breath of the dew’, while isolated pampered pedigree bulls stand motionless as if they are wiser than humans who hurry onward going to god knows where.

Like an instant dream straight out of the blue… clear cloudless skies and a sun that would not be foreign in Spain. The faraway flowing meadows with a variety of green and cows and walking lamb chops with a odour of imaginary mint.. a sense of raw excitement as I entered near the city centre …or was it Tom Jones and the album now playing “Reload” duets.

True to his word, Jim takes me around the veiled treasures and advantage sight-seeing spots…to then tramp to, within striking distance of the Crème de la Crème “Heads of Ayr” the weather tapped the top making it a rare grand day .

After a sauna in the plush hotel…then oft for a meal and a few golden nectars with a braw band of punters in the Anchor Bar, with the resident home brewed note-worthy Del Shannon plucking his instrument…”G” string by the sound.

On the way travelling home on the M77 as I neared civilization….well before Pollok, the mist befell onto the motorway intimidating most motorists to slow down apart from one or two Stirling Moss imitators. after a few minutes as if near magical or translating spiritually…. the whole metropolis of the fair green city of Glasgow, slowly rose from the depths of the ghoulish haze… displaying the image off rising out of the bellows of the earth itself….a magnificent sight to behold…pure dead brilliant…..

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Oct 2015, 07:53am

My Cornicle’s Three; 18/10/2015


With such grand benevolent weather I could not refuse the opportunity of joining my china Jim for a sneaky extra visit to Ayr…but this time seriously be shown the hidden sights of Ayrshire…the ones the tourist rarely see and Jim Hendry is thee oldie pioneer of this rugged coastline… a sort of ‘Scottish’ Daniel Boone of Cumberland Gap fame, (originally sung by ‘Uncle Am Stuart’ back in 1924…; then Brigdeton Glaswegian ‘Lonnie Donegan’ belted the lyrics in 57’.

So with a dream the weather would hold out I aim the tin lizzie in the direction of Ayr, joining the traffic working its way through mist on the very early misty Saturday morning. The grey mist thickened as my wheels rumbled past near brother loch, little loch and white loch, wheezing through an unrevealing floating tunnel made of eerie smog you can’t truly observe from side to side The sun was bleary orange ball unfocused hole through the grey sky as my wheels darted into the imaginable unknown though hopefully a mystery tour set in the correct direction. The music playing was ‘Bix Beiderbecke’ and boy was I enjoying the blues horn of the twenties
The phantom smir, as if stealing time itself, plays hide and seek with unseen but permanent building who’s location suddenly appears for strained eyes to see gauze skip through bushes, trees, clinging to blades of grass yet…akin to ‘Will-o'-the-wisps, horses crop up as phantoms of the wild as livestock hooves trample over the ‘breath of the dew’, while isolated pampered pedigree bulls stand motionless as if they are wiser than humans who hurry onward going to god knows where.

Like an instant dream straight out of the blue… clear cloudless skies and a sun that would not be foreign in Spain. The faraway flowing meadows with a variety of green and cows and walking lamb chops with a odour of imaginary mint.. a sense of raw excitement as I entered near the city centre …or was it Tom Jones and the album now playing “Reload” duets.

True to his word, Jim takes me around the veiled treasures and advantage sight-seeing spots…to then tramp to, within striking distance of the Crème de la Crème “Heads of Ayr” the weather tapped the top making it a rare grand day .

After a sauna in the plush hotel…then oft for a meal and a few golden nectars with a braw band of punters in the Anchor Bar, with the resident home brewed note-worthy Del Shannon plucking his instrument…”G” string by the sound.

On the way travelling home on the M77 as I neared civilization, the mist befell onto the motorway intimidating most motorists to slow down apart from one or two Stirling Moss dunderheeds. after a few minutes as if near magical or translating spiritually…. the whole metropolis of the fair green city of Glasgow, slowly rose from the depths of the ghoulish haze… displaying the image clearly rising out of the bellows of the earth itself…a magnificent sight to behold…pure dead brilliant…..

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Oct 2015, 09:43am


I need no excuse or particular reason to visit the special family whose residence is in Saissac France other than the great excitement in meeting people I really like… way further than friendship, though I do wonder why or how on earth they invite me at all. But for me the plus apart…Yes their abode is in the heartland of the southern mapped area called Aude, complete with twisting roads and fabulous mountain scenery of the Pyrenees…the Midi canal and of course the medieval castle ‘Citi de Carcassonne’ yet I hasten to argue this gives me little cause to be there as my French consist of six words and after saying “Good Morning Monsieur”(very badly) and asking for a Baguette, I’m lost. The simple fact is it’s a privilege for me as I immeasurably relish the couple…the family and for a few days of near to nothing other than good food, rich company and slight refreshment

I do confess I am intrigued by the French peoples and their language however, I believe this is from classic books as “Three Musketeers”; “The Man in the Iron Mask”; the list is near endless, plus the book called “Naked came I” the life of the creator , of “The Kiss” Monsieur Auguste Rodin.

Many moons ago I was casually invited to their home , or should this be chateau, in the lower parts of the Midi-Pyrenees, which I jumped at the chance however our friendly airline could only book at a slightly awkward time. This was a hidden bonus as I already possessed a half price billet for the Carcassonne Grand Terminus Hotel straight across from the main railway Gare and the famous Midi canal. Now I could sample the good life for at least one night to prepare for the splendid care and attention mine host always adore. My host, monsieur “No-deplume” arrived unannounced at the airport, chauffeured me to this ‘Grandiose’ hotel, arranging a pick up point for the following morning. Kindness personified.

The hotel obviously was a grandeur building, though rather lost its perhaps sparkly or pompous appeal, however its interior would surpass most hotels in Britain. I was treated with great courtesy, while my every whim was cared for even if it took hiccup sign language to make my wishes understood. With the doubled door in the balcony flung widely open I was able to smell the complete picture of life passing under my rooms. Rising from the busy street or should I say “Avenue”, was the noise, the air, the language from French motorist, taking me to a state of equilibrium which I had not experience before.

Breakfast time in similar establishments I had experienced before. Now a day there is no longer French cuisine of a morning but a self-service which may be “Quite quaint” however losses the personal touch and a chance for us lesser intellects to practice our French to some order of respectable letter. Instead you had an abundant selection of cold meats, plus cheese coupled with biscuits, yogurts and eggs cereals weird long sausages and the like. No square Scottish sausage, black pudding or Scotch eggs and fried bread… and certainly no porridge. It appears they all go to work on a continental breakfast and one hell of a strong coffee.

I was down to the food hall very early with the intentions to miss the rush then onwards to enjoy the health suite and swimming pool which came with the package. I had observed several coaches had arrived throughout the evening before…and now it may have been conjecture however it would be calculated hypothesize…this paying abode depended reasonably heavy on organized posh tour business as a large quantity of various personal luggage and baggage was already taking position in the large lobby ready for dispatch to the next destination.

The morning battle of the Midi break-fast was about to take place

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Oct 2015, 07:08am


I selected a seat almost underneath the stairway, which led upstairs to extra seating of this all-purpose brasserie and adjacent to the automatic coffee/hot chocolate and tea dispenser…which instructed in vocal French. The following may show some bias to certain nationalities; however I can assure… all that this is what took place…. or as near the truth I can relate.

Cautiously choosing to sit alone because it was obvious there were British travellers down for breakfast being slightly prissy aloof while puzzled and indignant at the need for self-service. In conversation they spoke loudly to the French staff so the foreign employees could understand good old fashioned Queen’s English. They appeared to be rather unflappable apart from one young couple positioning themselves at the corner of the huge bay window to benefit from the to and fro of the attractive avenue outside, having eyes for only each other as they munched their croissants.

The Germans were the first to enter for no mistaking their gruff sounding language and slight aggression as to where and how they would sit. All of them, including the ladies wore khaki shorts and marched rather than doddle or walked and looked fit outside credence. Some were taken aback from the rudimental conditions they found… however almost without words, as if previously planned, they separated as if panzer groups even taking seats upstairs, long before the necessity of being overcrowded ground floor. Before almost no time had passed, Germans were at each stage of the breakfast accommodation and only being slowed down by the verbal French instruction at the coffee machine. One by mistake I guess, received hot water when he was clearly expecting something else, however managed to bluff his companions with what echoed as military instruction, this is what he desired all along.

With no hint what so ever, the Japanese silently were everywhere on the bottom floor, some dressed in Hawaii shirts, which forced the suit adored statesmen of the group to lower their eyes, attempting to harbour their pearl wisdom. This situation seemed to near stop in slow motion when the red and white rising sun group suddenly realized the danger they were in with being outnumbered. Luckily the Japanese had old fashion honour which halted their progress, as not so senior busied themselves by bowing to senior and so senior bowed back so slowing up their strategic advantage. The brightly dressed ladies in the company astutely and traditionally toing and froing to serving their masterly men with whatever they desired.

The closed doors of the eatery suddenly burst open…a soundless fanfare filled the air… entered the Americans(last for at least two major conflicts) whose garments could only be matched with a children’s sense of dressing properly… including bulges showing from every angle imaginable and a conceited arrogance they invented the origin of the oily-dollar. The muted bugles blasted at full strength as they over-ran surprised defenders of the defenceless sewn Baguettes. A miniature battle of midway threatened as male Japanese’s stood up rigidly …imitating their ancient Samurais….but merely bowed in good manners.

They bolshie Yanks were on top of the Butter Mountains without struggles… the now polite Germans took a strategic step backwards having lowered their eggs into the communal boiling pan for the three minute eggs; incited by the females of the species. For a breath taking moment it looked as if the Germans would come to blows, at least complain about their own eggs now unclear when due, all to the aggression of the Americans. The battle of the bulge faded, with the Germans retreating, upstairs almost to a man, on higher ground with slurred grunts and Flemish thoughts, leaving behind their special ‘Schwarzwalder Kirsch- torte’ (Black Forest Gateau).

While the Americans were busy supplying their comrades with nick knacks, the Japanese headed for such seating left available at the bottom of the diner, while an unknown odour rose from nethermost below. For a while it was unknown as to what damage the Kamikaze single operators whiff did to the American morale, who silently claimed it was farts rather than divine wind. Several Japanese chose a squint of their eyes …receiving constant glares from Uncle Sam.

The big problem for all concerned was this being a first class classy hotel, no one wished to drop their manners first. So an uneasy peace broke out with smiles, bowing and heel clicking. The last action was extremely difficult to do with sandals on and no goose in sight. By now the eggs were well and truly over boiled yet no American had coffee which suited their taste as the Tokyo Joes had used up all the hot water and ceremonially tossed it into the street (avenue) for luck. They did not rue this action even when the others complained using bad French letters

Rumblings from all three nations’ representatives and dire consequences could have been afoot, however as swiftly as it started; it ended with a blast from a coach’s horn. Suddenly bodies were flying past to check whose transport was calling. It happened to be the Japanese who still had the urge to bow to anyone they had not met in person yet. The Germans and the Americans were informed their luxury wheels were across the road and would leave in a few minutes in different directions, so please do not board the wrong bus.

An unpleasant incident at Midi Break-fast had been averted and the restaurant fell into reasonable quietness apart from me sipping a hot chocolate from the now replenished coffee happily observing the young couple beside the bay windows…completely oblivious to all the happenings and appeared ready to…in French style ‘copuler’…in public…if allowed

Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Oct 2015, 10:16am

My Chronicle’; 23/10/2015

Personally I find age has a habit of surprising me as it changes in uncertain stages throughout my life span…yet old age stays just around the corner whatever age you have managed to reach. Some stages are just a single word which alerts me of my creeping advanced years in slightly different ways…depending entirely on the circumstances and the single word being said.

I remember the first time I was called ‘Mister’ by a young lad whose ball had landed in our garden. It was to me an honour that I had reached the position of elder statesman in the neighbourhood… I was chuffed almost like a peacock. The boy was just that about 8 years old and anyone who was male and several years older would be a mister to him.

Just recently while taking slight refreshment in a Ayr tavern, a stranger, of say well over 40, called out to me ‘Pop’. My inner reaction was not horror but awareness that indeed I had turned the corner into old-age long ago…and he and the world recognized this at first glance. Vanity…vanity where is thy home.

Last Monday I had a hospital appointment alert on my computer. With this electronic message displayed caused a personal thrill because this had been recorded ages ago, by me, with the instruction where the letter for the practise was. It was easy to find and I read it intently. Parking at the infirmary is always a problem, but Monday I was lucky as the letter clearly marked the time of the appointment was 13.15 of the afternoon clock. I left earlier to catch a parking spot during when most people have lunch break.

Having difficulty pronouncing the actual department once I reached my destination I just gave the letter to the receptionist and whimsy asked “I’m slightly early…is it OK to wait?’ The administrator laughed….quite loudly if I can recall correctly, before informing me…“You certainly are…you are a whole year early. To save ridiculous embarrassment I hastily added…’well is it still OK to wait?” …they all laughed.

Not disheartened but now aware how even when reading a document I may not focus of vital information…I must be alert to my shortcomings…swings and roundabouts.

On the way home I popped into ‘Morrison’ for some messages that “She who must be obeyed” repeatedly reminded me of the households needs. Within the wheelie basket, I had all which was required to complete my duty. The express till for ten and under was empty but I had at least 19 items as I re-routed towards the self-service machines overseen by a supervisor. The controller knew me from previous excursions to this supermarket, saw my preference and pointed me to the fast till. The smiling lady at the till signalled me to use the express service. Within seconds…with my bill paid and change in hand…I walked pompously out the swishing Star trek doors … Swings and roundabouts.

Having an IPod blows my mind right out of the water, for at the slightest touch of any digit, music plays and anything whatever….at my fingertips …anyplace…anytime…anywhere. Just yesterday while listening to a downloaded American radio production of 1939 it was commercially supported by a company called R.J.Reynolds…known for Camel cigarettes. Their advertising slogan, repeated most regularly throughout the programme, was ‘you get more puffs to the penny’.

This just illustrates how they knew the harm nicotine caused yet belatedly ignored it for profit. They were by no means alone and sadly the practice still grows to mislead the gullible public…for the toss of a coin….


Posted by: peter.howden 27th Oct 2015, 01:47pm

Shaelo Life-force

If this rendition is real, it proves there are cacophonous sounds we are incapable of hearing as we know it, but hideously bury within the foundations of our wits… to gore into ever nerve…tissue… atom of our bodies…making or instructing mentality …resulting …I will go mad…. But if it is an illusion….then I already grievously insanely fear of utter obliteration… for no tangible rational reasoning can break into my mind.

I am alone…alone as never ever before ….sheer terrified my mind will explode or implode… at best robbing and denying my snatches of stability followed by disorientated horror or vanquish my brain into a million pieces and my physical existence will cease to be. The hope of survival is acutely beyond me…by a long chalk.

The full moon’s hoary beam distributes light through the incomplete darkness of the night sky, shinning with unusual brightness on an unexpected metropolitan whose inhabitants had forgotten the desperate belief in absolute black magic which twisted such odious demon creatures to roam amongst humans whenever called on from the centre of evil…. I sit solitary

We are not our fathers’ shadows or dreams to make or come true yet fate wills coheres black magic with the dreaded talisman who deals the yard of measure in misery and apathy towards life…
The beginning if ever there was such an happening, began with an irritation vibration within my left or right ear, I can’t recall exactly but a noise spasm similar to the description of Tinnitus with a sort of hissing or a irritating whine starting from somewhere out there in a wilderness of foreign dins.

Over the next painful couple of days this irritant became a clamour I dreaded awaken to witness, as soon as my eyes released the morning, as its strength could not be measured in decibels for it had leaped by far above, but bizarrely no one else could hear its titanic vibration. It no longer tracked from my earlobes; its cradle of hubbub had crawled inside my skull… crux power storage laid within the very soul of my mind.

Oblivious to my loved ones, or indeed associates all others this dreaded soundless blare started as a distant hum but measurements of vibrations escaped its secret hold…contacting me without permission. It soon became them…for now there was an innumerable horde.

People talk about the Dark Continent but the darkest continent is the island of doom in my head... I envy the sane… cursing them for denying me the right to be one of them…if I had only known…what was ahead….

Posted by: peter.howden 29th Oct 2015, 10:03am

Shaelo Life-force;… the end

As with all the folks in our small community we lived pious lives, solid in our devotions and religiously unrestricted in caring for our fellow man. As a family we were blessed with material wealth, gained by good honest trade and with devout labour invested and rewarded with the finest house in our small hamlet. In times of scarcity or misfortune we shared whatever we had until good fortune returned within our mist.

It became obvious to me how much I was powerless to find solace in simple sleep and at first my family were unaware until the evidence of complete exhausted manifest into my intermittent, then constant, redraw eye bulging with pin like pupils seemingly staring into an abyss uncharted, followed by vivid hallucination in which I found thorny comfort but frightened all others who beheld.

My family, though loving in every manner, believing I was possessed by some unknown lurking evil spite … or the Lucifer himself…. forcibly detained me in the furthermost attic, from public or personal gaze, of our grand home, shunned away from prying eyes of passer-by’s in the streets or travellers of the highway who may spread the horrendous misfortune. The church elders deemed it to be ‘Predestination will of God’ while the common parishioners began openly murmur curses calling me…an abomination of the earth.

Overpowering hallucinations of ghoulishness forms gave apprehension of shear dread, as a replacement for sleep causing constant perspiring, the launder of the devil, stained my cloths until I was left constantly naked. In plain English…I was going completely deranged, and my distort relatives where planning to move me… unseen… to the “St Mary of Bethlem” hospice. They halted in such a plan was practically impossible not to be observed and in panic its fumes spread to them and others in the rural community .

With no end in sight other than a reduced skeleton of a craved beast, stuck with muteness unable to communicate with a living soul… possessing nought but frozen unseen dreams there…disguised in hideous shapes…in no world whatsoever… existence but a crippled creature hurdled in a corner of darkness. I died on “Hallows evening”…. ‘all saints eve’

My remains were disposed of, without my right of religious ceremony as the cleric refused to ordain my burial. My family torn by entrenched guilt, left their home of centuries, for a destination nameless… never to return.

It is only recently discovered this helter skelter band of depriving emotion and diabolical mental fears I suffered…. where the result of... Fatal familial insomnia Disease…. Still unreservedly terrible and incurable

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Nov 2015, 11:03am


Dean observes his new estate…there are no bars on the window, no turnkey at the door to the kitchen, no hard rules to follow but there might just as well be. The occupant of the small maisonette is one Ex-convict or cyclical criminal, who once upon a time, stole or rob for gain, just because his only talent was as a thief which has led to him being banged up(confined in a cell) on countless occasions for his trouble.

By the prison authorities he is not only deemed institutionalized, but by his actions and reaction, is Inherit of jail system.

Inside the many jails, there is little preference except a loathing for Peterhead…for is where all the queer folk (perverts and child molesters) are made top job trustees. In Dean’s opinion, held many of the main stream long termed convicts, those detainees are blight… and such offenders strike loathing in the hardest lifers, sadistic murderers and Co. old lags …

The authorities, in their fashioned wisdom, stuck most of them together, in that crumbling nick for supposedly their own safety…but Dean knew as all inmates recognized… it was to prevent or bank against prison riots.

Screws were roughly the same in most penitentiaries though some did have a evil twist He preferred a ‘Single Peter’ (a solitary cell) but would double up comfortably with some old crony from the old time, where cons having porridge…doing porridge, playing cards ‘Bela’…also known as Clobyosh by old timers Tobacco and fags used to be the currency all prisoners used, but now its phone cards. Time plays funny tricks to the memory and more so when little is left to remember.

There was in no danger of Dean learning a new crime while inside, he was too far gone down the line of entrenched, preferring to be in his own company, reading a book with no ending as some sod had ripped out the last pages. Where he was in peril was by some soap slashing from a young nuttier trying to stamp his authority without violence against himself. There is a class system inside and a heavy duty pecking order and one must know ones place…a society within a locked society .

Being released on licence, by the “get back to civilization” team…Dean passed with flying colours without really trying. Asked where he would like to be housed, plucking a simple name for it was the easiest to spell. .Social workers and others were busy bending over backwards to succeed, they forgot what was best for the man inside………. but they had boxes to tick and quotas to perform by procedure…under trying circumstances………as their hands are tied.

His abode had all the mod cons (Pun) T/V within an all-purpose, newly painted room and a tiny kitchenette He had no past apart from jail, no memories to fall back on and no friends from the outside at night he cannot sleep because of his insecurities, while during the day; acts as an enigma stuttering to and fro from wall to wall in his cramped strangely named living room

But time march on in his head. There was no old lag to smirk with or no ‘Thee’ man of the block to avoid eye contact. No debt to pay for trafficked snout or inside genuflecting as the gaffer passed. In his synthetic home; Dean felt wanting and needing all we look on as cold, depraved and isolated from the world; but made him feel safe…

He tramps the same path in the so called living room as if in a cell. He can’t sleep properly because the lack of noisy silence, the whiff of different flint tins or the urine odour which floated from landing to landing no locked door could keep. He seldom retreats out except for caging a shopping need of Giro drop.

In prison he had a sense of worth……………………………………………………within Freedom he is a caged animal.

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Nov 2015, 12:44pm

My Chronicles 03/11/2015

All in all, this week Howden’s household has had more than a slight improvement in ‘She who must be obeyed’ measures of quality in life. Rebecca’s confidence is slowly methodically returning, boosting the inner determination which so much assisted the success our 49 years tryst and continuous love affair.

Similar too many marriages, there has been an old fashioned carnival ‘Dundee swing and swung occasional muddles as to our feelings and objectives, with collective honesty it was Rebecca who held our pledges together.

Aunt Becky is in a wee, seemingly comfortable, world of her own with little reaction other than reading one book or other but minus the concentration staying power longer than 10 minutes…then moving on to the blaring television. If it’s a John Wayne movie she will watch it to the end. Becky and I both love old cowboy movies…the difference is she forgets from one minute to the next …and I have noticed personal moments when I battle to remember names.

During the week, the sun was shining in a cold but bright manner, forcing me to awake to the garden needs for some comfort and care. Usual in September, I sprinkle some weed stuff to prevent moss and weeds taking over the range of wild grasses. This year having an unofficial extension in good autumn weather, nature has overlapped with traditional seasons…so my laziness took its usual position…less fret and prepare nothing.

A bonanza of fallen leaves covered the surrounding Howden’s Ponderosa, to such a degree, I took action with a garden rake, outside sturdy brush and the brown bin supplied by the nice people from ‘Glasgow Council Cleansing dept.’…duly worked on for at least 1 ½ hours solid…or as near as I could do. Two things I noticed but not at that precise moment of achievement. They were I was near if not knackered and the very next morning my right hand pinkie was thumping with pain, real bloody sore, for holding the shafts of both implements used to achieve my objective. Age has forced me to think hard about getting ‘Suction treatment’…in a garden theme.

However on that morning after completion my now marathon task, it provided a on the spot, magnificent bonus, observing all the golden flaxen pathways surrounding my abode offering a picturesque dazzling variations of bright yellowy tinged, light brown golden treetops, with evergreen bushes and trees of all shapes and sizes completing the magic setting…it’s the small things that count…just like marriage.

With tons of T/V warning, in-between adverts for Christmas, around came Halloween or ‘All hallows’ Eve’ to give the old Scottish Gaelic…’Samhain’…pagan to the Christians coming along with the giving of ‘Soul cake’ to the poor. Aunt Becky would remember if she could ‘Galoshin’ in safety from being sensed by wicked Ghouls’ now called guising, Neep lanterns, dookin for apples or swinging treacle scones on suspended string, nut burning…not to bring tears to the unexpected eyes but to witness if your true love would be happy…finally scrumptious Sausage rolls forbade by the ‘Witchcraft Act’ just before Culloden…but reinstated in the 50s .

The newish American ‘Trick or treat’ where the applicants need do little more than rattle your letter box or ring your bell to achieve a reward for being dressed in over commercialized costumes which cost their parents a bomb…escaping from the tradition of All saints day.

This is an old folks perspective…but their duty to support the new theme, for no matter what it is called, the tiny tots and children still display a huge variety of facial appearance, from shy beyond expectations, to the boisterously full of vim kid, both displaying their interpolation, in many shades of astonished gratitude personally receiving the booty…also giving the householder a glimpse into fairy land and happy memories of their own youth.

The old brigade needs to encourage all children to be united…especially if it is not quite what they remember….it’s the little ones that matter.

P.S…. I have not witnessed any poppy sellers this year?

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Nov 2015, 08:46am

The dancing imps (1)

The daytime is reasonably harmless in creating impish spasms roguery captivating individuals uninvited…yet there is a price to pay in city’s hours of bleakest darkness winding through the dead of night…invites without favour these mischievous sprites…those scallywags lurk un-shamefully ready to pounce on the unexpended traveller, loured into the seemingly safety of a hearth volunteering a roaring fire.

Even the ‘Prince of Darkness’ himself, in all his malevolent majesty, concealed in startling masquerades, in an enthusiastic manner is instant available to inflict terror, striking with immeasurable brutal force…resulting in a wound that never heals…or vanishes until the concluding clandestine of fatal death itself…rears its ugly head.

This particular traveller, weary tired and exhausted, almost lost through weird winding narrow streets, the tantalizing temptation of a whispering light, superficially escaping from the source of an open fire, thru a window of some outlandish accommodating tavern or lodging house, was hard to resist when appearing as a beacon of salvation from the freezing unsympathetic unsettling fog of the uneasy darkness…once inside …the benign appearance was abundant but deceitful.

For our nave of a traveller entering the candle-lit interior…the beckoning enticing rosy face of the shapely barmaid, releases an air of a instant warm haven from the dreadful conditions outside, carrying our unsuspecting naive wanderer closer into the centre of the blazing interior…while his nose catches extraordinary but enticing aromas from the catering noisy kitchen, waft thru the merry old rafters of the clandestine establishment.

A superb out of this world meal gave our wanderer a full and satisfied belly, followed with a rosy disposition, enhanced by not so light ale and a complimentary spirit or two made his eyes woozy and his heart content in relaxation…but unaware…dire consequences where afoot

In every nook and cranny of the interior…intertwined in every shadow, skulking in the darkest of dark corners, lay unobserved… along with his little helpers… watches the creature commonly called ‘Satin’…a beast craving uninhibited vengeance for being unceremoniously stripped of rank without grace, expelled from the seven heavens being denied infinite ecstasy…in words unable to define simply because they are humanly crafted.

But what could be explained was just ahead

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Nov 2015, 04:00pm

My Chronicles 07/11/2015

I’m surely no ‘Phileas Fogg’ or ‘Passepartout’ where travelling is on the menu however over the years I have trod a few towns in a couple countries, other than the British isle, which gave me a wanting urge to see more… such as Amsterdam, Lisbon and Barcelona but specially Paris…its bygone days full of artful flair and panache just stepping where Emperors, kings, princes poets, authors artiest cultures crafting instant dreams so much… it float’s into the past glories via left and right banks of the Seine.

Yet I came across minor spots on the map, displaying an air of unbelievable unassuming wonderment…freeing any restriction I may have held. One was in the ancient Dutch town of Leiden, part of the old Rhine flows…fleeting past a roman settlement, a castle, university and windmills, revelling almost at most corners and canal delight. Yet for me it was off the beaten trail next to St Joriskerk, facing a minor Marina, watching Coots diligently constructing a nest for the coming wonder clutch of eggs.

Morning had peeped through a mist sky as the sun crept across the waterways. Memorized by sheer pleasure, completely oblivious to the affairs of surrounding world, time did not exist. The spell was broken by a eastern gentleman introducing himself as ‘Aafiya’ who talked so proudly about his son at Leiden University and their religion. How many hours had passed I was not sure or remember but Boy…what a morning.

Another totally unprepared nature trail to almost perfection was out of the blue excursion with close friends to swim, alfresco in the unknown depths of ‘Auberge du Lampy’ supplier to the Midi Canal on a really hot day midsummer. After our dip I decided to walk around this man-made structure roughly 1.5 miles circumference…clad I may add. I stumbled across a steam oozing down cleansing three or four wee layered pools of running water to the French loch surrounded by growth unknown to me…

Yet the tranquil atmosphere, created by this simple trickle of water, was almost out of this world…a moment to clasp and hold as long as possible to witness Mayflies galore and brightly assorted colours, deep black swimming beetles, Dragon flies Damselflies, water striders and totty fish of numerous characters and origins of amazing proportions. The time was irreverent however my friends did become slightly concerned when eventually I left this haven, returning to man-made reality.

Chateau de Saissac Castle, a medieval castle entwined with 12th century Catharism, known as the ‘Pure ones’. “Comme ci Comme ca” It takes little imagination of the horror inflicted while being exterminated from the main catholic religion of the brutal times. Adjacent there is this simplistic built chapel with the barest of needs for a congregation invisible at any of my visits. I am not religious yet there is something fundamentally good honesty radiating from its massive stone walls which without thought or purpose, takes me on a trip through ages as commitments leave me with warmth of peace. It is a place of solitude and reflection for a weary traveller.

No matter where I go…little can compete with Scotland and recent privileged views of Ayrshire…Thanks Jim…. but for complete and utter delight a wee hurl in my clapped out jalopy and the road to Strathblane and the compelling magnificently brooding, changing at every glance the pure dead brilliant Kilpatrick hills has yet…in my mind…to be surpassed.
It may be noted by everyone….I am slightly bias

Posted by: peter.howden 10th Nov 2015, 04:14pm

The dancing imps (2)

What did follow has no bearing on anything in the world, verbal or scribed before, as no human being, breathing or demised, rational or insane or free spirited, has before witnessed such dire clandestine integrity mysteries, banished from…but held beyond the grave of mere mortals

Yet; this intrigued wanderer entered the interior of the back room, first smelling of peat, then noticing a lit fire in the hearth with this enormous chimney which grate took the whole wall…and that’s no over embellishment. With his first few steps inward, the fire appeared minute while he took notice of a lunkie elderly man humbled in the furthest corner of the inglenook. His face was uncovered but dark just the same as his features remained undisclosed from the eyes of the hostelry’s visitor

A weird hypnotic refrain ostensibly coming out of the self-same core centre generating massive heat gained by earth’s simple turf, driven by an un-natural breath oozing down the crumbling lum …bursting forth as raw flames surprising the eyes then quickly disappeared as it came. A tune… eerie of a lament played on Scottish war pipes wreaked from the fumes of the prehistoric munch, moulded by millions of years decayed vegetation, then dug traditionally from histosol soil.

Stranger breaths intimately mingle along with the heated tantalizing vapours secretly outward from the inner gases entrenched in the ancient blocks of turfs oozing deadly persuasion for the keen onlooker to be drowsy…or actually involuntary laps into sleep. Within the clock time passed slowly as out wanderer noticed curious eye movements from the old man in the corner. Each glance, each rod stare brought the flames seemingly to life and much more.

The wanderer stared at the now blazing fire, witnessing a whole chorus of actual miniature men of fire dance in line…so much so…. each bursting flame formed into a body with moving fiery limbs and head with a smile of stern displeasure…then instantly returned to the core.

The old man slightly moved his finger…then his gloved hand as a whole multitude of flaming dancers moved flickeringly towards the now startled wanderer. Each individual dancing imp… took it in turns sizzling and pirouetting closer to their now judged victim …within untold moments there was a petrifying shreek …scrauchin to awake the dead of ages.

At that precise moment the whole scene vanished. No traveller or old man could be traced…. just a rip roaring fire…unusual for peat….blazing in the back room of this olden hostelry

Where this tale came from is anyone’s guess, or indeed our wanderer did meet “Clootie” alas thirsty for vengeance that night… you will never know for sure…. Yet where this tavern is located is kept stringently secret…just in case you unintentionally happen to wander past…and then wish to enter… hope to see you soon…. Death is the final mystery…at the moment.


Posted by: peter.howden 12th Nov 2015, 08:44pm

My Chronicles 12/11/2015

Around my local area it has been bucketing it down…constantly pelting cats and dogs,(even they had imaginary coats on) then during intervals, the dreaded minuscule stuff which soaks right through without trying…and above all this, anything not tied down was tossed around by unpredictable severe winds. All these driven weathers are no strangers to Scotland…however the extended autumn in the meteorological conditions has been dodging around for some time and like any such season…abundance of leaves from the trees and bushes, fall to the wet chilly ground, creating thick gung slush, not so golden carpet on the earth below.

The mixture of exceptional weather happenings delayed horticultural conditions gave way to saturated leaves spreading into all nooks and cranny corners including street now water-logged drains of communal rubbish Adjacent to our back iron fence, lays the corner main bevelled drain, slanted several inches on an angled-tilt continuous road surrounding a rectangular public grassland area. When it is heavy drenching rains of any calibre, the water from various surrounding areas, swiftly runs past other drains heading for this sunken main drain positioned somewhere in the steeply dipped corner. Due to all factors, this drain was obviously clogged with rubbish plus sodden leaves building up to an artificial reservoir…blocking traffic at the vital corner with almost knee-high(my knees are quite low) manky water threatening a disastrous runoff into our garden.

Our sanctuary plot is undoubtedly not up to the standard of thee Alan Fred Titchmarsh but a lot of hard work as gone into this patch and it’s our little bit. With rain giving no sign of abating while the moon playfully reflecting its proud silver rays lightly dancing across the wavy waterline…I decided endeavouring to re-route the not so great flood by fair or foul means. Old faithful wellies and old clothing and armed with a couple of bamboo and metal poles, complete with a garden brush…I stepped into the unknown.

Wadding slowly towards the corner …somewhere in the dark while the rain pelted down my acute direction indicator was either faulty or had swam inside to the warmth of our abode. Pinpointing just where the actual drain was mounted was not the easy task I first thought as added was big lorries driving through this submerged road, while smaller cars giving up, caused wave after wave of this mawkit liquid. Drookit almost to the skin by now, passing comments from inside driving seats such as ‘what are you trying to do?’…became a scunner until I replied sardonically ‘I’m on my f---ing holidays!’

The elusive drain was not to be found as I frantically prodded and brushes hordes of floating leaves from one side to the other of this growing the now small loch. Beaten and near disheartened I returned dragging my garden brush in a faint of disgust. I left my cane/rod planted in the adjacent grassland as an epitaph of my struggles. With a now odious body odour a hot bath was called for and an added zing in adequate measure of “Uisge Beatha” and my pride returned in abundance…especially after another refill of the tonsil warming ‘Highland Park’

Phoning the Glasgow Council next morning and explaining my road problem, they dutifully came, souked up the excess water, in a matter of half an hour…with their mobile souking machine. I discovered the drain was there but some ten feet away from where I thought it was….

On Wednesday at a meeting of housing ass…I was informed my aftershave gave the fragrance of ether air freshness or furniture polish…all I could say…”do you pledge this?”….

At the same meeting… precisely on 11.00 of the morning clock…was held a one minute silence for those who had fallen or injured through conflict. It is a human tragedy how in recent history there has been so called two world wars, but hidden away, before and since, bitter conflict which adds to the human catastrophes way beyond silence or words… sadly I believe it will never change


Posted by: peter.howden 15th Nov 2015, 11:37am

If Music be the food of love; find me a trough

Food glorious Food…a rapturous song in the famous musical “Oliver”, the full cast giving all, their best before the central character tensely asks for “More” because he and his fellows were starved. Fortunately I have never been in such a die frame though food is rather important since, in one form or another, I have been consuming it for almost all my life. Having savoured sheer delights or even recommended first class gourmet nosh but to some embarrassment…my gastronome bent favours plain “mince and totties”,(mince and tatties as far east as Fife) then ‘Pies’, or ‘fish and chips’.

For utter heaven…being really blessed, a feast of steamin hot “ribs and cabbage” with an profusion of tatties… sublime to the eye and digestion, dished out cheaply in a small scruffy looking café in the centre of the renowned Glasgow historical 200 year old ‘Paddies Market’’….regrettably no longer flourishing under a old railway arch which led to a complicated assortment of life in one small area. Situated behind the Salvation Army’s hostel for fallen women next door to the high Court completed the triangle.

Paddy’s Market bought trinkets and rags, sells antiques and rave clothing. I am not knock the place for it was an essential place for Glasgow families and beyond, to buy clothing for a growing family at a fraction of the price it was originally, and just needing was a scrub with carbolic soap.
The Victorian imaged lanes, with lean-tos shanties…stalls; was often quipped as being P&M stores by mothers constantly having to count every penny, being no strangers inside its borders. People of all walks of life would stroll along the causey (more likely struggle through a mass of bodies) hoping to pick a bargain or undiscovered treasure.

We all believe we can barter and gain a prize at the lower price than the seller peddling but nothing is further from the real truth. All the hawkers there have no difficulty at making a keen profit out of this misguided notion. I would go on to say that they indeed could have taught the chancellery or the royal bank of Scotland a trick or two.

The bustle and the noise and the smell mixture of food, clothing, staleness and people all surrounded at the river Clyde results in a unique excitement of being alive, with a constant sprinkle of magic of a flea market …But may I come back to food?

Invited to my first outing to an Italian restaurant noted for ‘Lean Cuisine’….I must state now, I was not naive in good food and etiquette…just totally ignorant. My host suggested the ‘La Lanterna’ speciality ‘Ravioli’…my only experiences was with the firm Heinz 57. Served with elegant decorum, a heated dish displaying five pieces of pasta with no tops on them, a minute cube of meat in a slim pathway of sauce around the open space left on the sparkling white plate.

The sauce the food was wonderful in taste but after a couple of slim tasting…. the plate was empty of everything. 7 courses later, I was still starving as the whole meal to me was a appetizer…but I still had the good manners not to display my wants…or hunger….to my host

Posted by: peter.howden 18th Nov 2015, 01:20pm

Bugs me.

“What is that relentless vibrant annoying noise...where is it coming from, and where the hell am I? These thoughts suddenly sprung into my blurred mind as I came to my limited senses.

My mind and intelligence, for what it was, is more than hazy…more completely muddle, resulting from one heck of a pounding headache deep inside, like nothing I have experienced before. One thing is certain’s not dark… but completely and absolutely black with no clue to anything else other than a distinct odour foreign to my senses.

The bed is solidly hard, with no ply…hurting the back of my head like billow, with the impression of hot darts racing right down my back. Best thing to do is remain still, allowing me to accustom to the blackness and try to remember…but remember what as my mind is wholly unqualified…apart from sheer agony there nothing at all.

Hell… I can’t move at all …not one muscle or limb

Now there is no noise other than this inherited hum; did I imagine it…I don’t know…I still can’t see even in front of me. The bed, if this is what I can call it, is not high because one of my limbs can reach the very cold bare floor. There is lip on the corner as far as I can sense, hard but not metal I think, and it seems to run as far as my hand can go. I feel as if I am not the right way up and my hand is so sensitive. I can’t move anything else… no sign of restraints but I am confined, if not being manipulated and moved without actual moving

Opened my eyes and hell terror struck………. Something bloody happening, some kind of horrible catastrophe as if I am looking at nothing with vision through a kaleidoscope. Tried to move my head; but something invisible prevents me doing so. This place is beginning to warm up while the air is stale. Muffled hums come from somewhere…if near or far I can’t tell but fear is beginning to take grip as some kind of fluid invading my body.

What the F--- was that?. Like a giant pin with a million volts striking burning flesh in every fibre of my entire body, creating miniature eruptions at every stage until blew out my arse as if there was no tomorrow

Thwarting it is impossible while for some reason now a cry in my vocals though not one syllable has passed my lips…hell I cannot feel my lips but a dripping humid sensation

A shocking pain just shot through my whole body and now I’m terrified of what is out there but even more frightened of what is in here and where is here?. A small glimmer of light is somewhere beyond me…I am not sure if it is a allusion or not. Try to move again but I nothing budges though I have a strange rumination having more limbs than I should have. Whatever or whoever they are, they have intoxicated me in some way but what the heck do they want and who the hell are they?

Straining real hard this time… but I am where I am and nothing I can do.

Wait a minute there is light, it’s coming towards me. Somehow I have foreboding about this but this does not stop the precession. Suddenly such brilliance; almost burning even with my eyes tightly closed. I slowly come accustomed to the new radiance and what I see brings new revulsion, from a huge reflecting mirror.

I am a beetle being experimented on for scientific research and now I presume I will die for its progress. The boffins believe I have no feelings no emotion…no dignity

This really bugs me?

Posted by: peter.howden 20th Nov 2015, 03:57pm

My Chronicles; 20/11/2015

Is my ability to forget simple everyday things at the drop of a hat, yet remember other obscure happenings of a gone-bye age with vivid clarity clutching almost with pedantic tendencies…a mark of my aging age…or am I going potty?...if the latter is true then I must above all else…enjoy my personal things, my friends and lifestyle while I have the mind.

For some considerable time I have counted myself as being fluky… nay fortunate with all the things which gather up my life. Thee one and only “She who must be obeyed”, my family, my China’s, my close friends and a couple of bob so not to go hungry if everything goes burst.

But in the not so distant past I have noticed certain silly things happening and losing things which are there but I just can’t see them while following a day to day existence…Doing odd jobs around the house, it takes longer to find mislaid tools that complete the actual task.

For example this week I caught or was hooked at my unreachable back, by my leather belt; on the inside handle of a cupboard….while wearing tight jeans. I should have known it would be tricky trying to catch my youth by wearing such a garment and dancing to ‘Bat out of hell’. Attempting to be released was hampered by items stashed behind the door as I searched for ‘god knows what?’

The door defied being opened ajar and for some considerable time the dilemma grew almost to the extent of dropping my jeans though I tallied this would not help because the belt would still hold fast. Eventually I managed to be gratefully released but this will remain a secret …for decency sake.
The main mystery came yesterday morning after purchasing 10 large tins of assorted chocolates for gifts to certain folk. Later in the afternoon I returned to the room, to store the goods in their plastic carrier bags, finding five only.

I was totally alone and where the others are I have no idea. Search after search has proved fruitless but worse was to come. Because of my continuous shifty curiosity, “She who must be obeyed” oozed out my predicament. Bampot is the only printable response I can report.

Driving the long way home the other day from Aunt Becky’s the clouds smothered right along the tops of the famous Kilpatrick Hills, shrouding them with a misty clandestine sensitive look creating intrigue of the unknown…dark but pure dead brilliant magnificent.

This very afternoon while passing them again but going towards Becky’s abode...;positioned right in the middle of the peaks, an out of this world rainbow… reaching out bursting for eternity…and surrounded by a heavenly lit showcase emphasizing the power of the skies beyond human conception…bloody pure dead brilliant.

If this is a sign, first or otherwise, of going batty….roll on

Posted by: peter.howden 25th Nov 2015, 03:39pm

Alternative farming

While visiting Holland, the Scottish shepherd observes the Netherlands shepherds and sheep have a complicated relationship. Land being so precious, most sheep and livestock have rich green ground surrounded by an abundance of canals surrounding rather than open fields or fenced in areas. . This can lead to problems for them as they may choose to run away from the Shepard, in the dark being uncertain of his intentions…as Scottish ewes are whilst the working kilt is swirling

For the going Dutch Tups, in desperation can possibly be followed by accidental tumbling or tripping or simply falling unintentionally in the water while confused? These fields are rarely vast, making it so easy a thing to do for very scared running lamb-chops concerned about virtue. In this situation they are lumbered having one eye concentrated on where its going and the other nerves eye on the shepherd holding his trusty crook …and before the poor beastie is aware in the canals, probably feeling rather sheepish…who knows.

Because of the animate danger, the Netherlands government have ruled a strict health and safety throughout their domain having started a programme of life saving survey and courses to be obligatory. .

For would be Shepherds from Holland, this would include chest heart manipulation and mouth to mouth respiration for the lambkin. No softly, softly approach would be deemed right because of the nature of the beast….ram it home would be compulsory.
This could lead to strained relationships. One such Dutch herder has already been taken to court for gross indecency with his charge but had sympathy from the court due to the dire need of the situation.

It must be pointed out in the case of acute emergency heart respiration… it is now considered to be more practical not to use lip service and just pump the chest to the rhythm of the Bee Gee’s song ‘Staying alive’. This does not apply to sheep…I repeat that sheep do not need to blindly follow this Euro instruction as it is believed Sheep have better taste.

Scottish shepherds are up in arms, as well as their kilts, in anger…. stating clearly it is unfair and they are demanding kisses too? It is a flimsy and false rumour; that a fleeting Mac or north Celts, Gaelic or otherwise, hold no tender moments or indeed thoughts…dear and near to their cherished lambkins

more news to follow.....

Posted by: peter.howden 29th Nov 2015, 01:02pm

Home Spun Stories

An oracle?

To what purpose are dreams, do they lay in wait in crowded but forgotten cells of the mind, craving to opt out unannounced, striking imperfection clouded in fear alike as phantoms…perhaps a mixture of uncertainties humans find impossible to fathom being a mobile home for the Gods to influence tomorrow’s behaviour…or a passage auld nick uses for his sardonic purpose.

Are dreams, a light of day sensation reproduced in a murky curve of the mind while in slumber, then to awake not remember in part, or to find innocent, or not accurate...yet an uneasy emotion lingers even though not so. Perhaps simply a piece of cheese unsettled as ‘Scrooge’ wrongly predicted as far as the story goes…who can tell

It is plausible they are animal instinct keeping out the terror of the world, forcing chaos at bay by creating a safe haven to return to when reality is too much to bare...for sin has no boundaries…and indeed are we not animals beneath our pretence.

This very morning I awoke, instantly pondering when or why does a dream become a dread to close your eyes, when does the lucid illusion seep into reality; when does the fantasy become fact ....or hope disappears into the quicksand of misapprehension horror .The situation was not only confusing but left me bewildered but disillusioned as to what was real and what was invented.

What was life and what was dreaming? It may sound perfectly feasible to the rational head of deduction which automatically separates reality from fiction however remember this is achieved in the welcoming light of day. My normal reveries spanned usually at the dead of the darkest hour of night. All the while a sweet smell of mint apple jelly draughts through my nostrils, seeming whimpering in most cracks and crevices of my now anxious mind.

My eyes were closed with sticky concentrated residue. Restricted I barely move my arm let alone my hand, so temporary blinded I decide to stay still until movement came back. During the night, I must have lain on my side on top of my hand which preventing the proper blood flow. Growing older I have noticed this inability to move after wakening has become more common than not

After an unknown interval I managed to raise my head slightly from the softness of the pillow, becoming aware of a wriggling sensation underneath. Rolling onto my back and suddenly being wide awake though for the moment and for no reason, preferring to keep my eyes close. My mind suddenly switch on to recall of the previous night where, along with friends, had discussed the bible faith but in particular Moses and his peoples; the Israelites. A lengthily debate took place about whither there was the 10 plagues of Egypt which included Boils Blood ,Hail and a massive sand storm called “Cashimh”. .

While discussing the pros and cons, someone mentioned one of the plagues was of ‘Pharaoh ants’ however this was dismissed as not true as it was reported to be flies. It was then added, as a face saving fact, by someone, indicating these ants are strange in two ways. One being they can have numerous queens and are so small they can hold a colony on a thimble or between sheets of paper.

Now my neck became uncomfortable and itchy underneath the skin. Leaving me wide awake, certainly having no chance resuming the happier state of slumber.

At that precise moment… my mind boggled… …. The dream was coming alive….


Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Dec 2015, 10:31am

Home Spun Stories [size="4"][/size]

An oracle…thee end

Something unattainable whisked passed my eyes, leaving me for a jiffy, almost blind as the ending sort of reflected back. For that precise moment, unadulterated fear took hold barring any rational thought on my part. I had read somewhere it was common to see illusions before turning blind It is strange how during the night, all apprehensions are magnified to almost to panic proportions. Now my skin below my neck was burning with a clawing sensation and appeared to have spread towards my ears of all things. Again I tried bodily to move…and I could not.

The radiator, which I could not recall switching on, next to my bed suddenly burst out extremely hot makes the room stuffy and I prefer fresh cool air while in slumber. The palms of my hands were clammy as I now, in earnest, tried to shift my lumbered body with no success as something was holding me down

Then… and it was bloody then, I saw this thing move directly in front of my vision from one side of my head to the other and it appeared to be carrying something. Then another scuttled across my sweating skin leaving a syrupy substance behind it. Shockingly came another, and another really scaring the hell out of already overloaded exhausted brain

A last ditched attempt to move from a inviable cocooned …failed as I collapsed in total defeat

In utter disbelief there were red ants, tiny wee red ants by now a steady stream cutting across my head along this tacky path…exactly.

Horrified and unable to cry out as sweat was gushing from my brow. Tapping noises in the lob of my ear, at one side then seconds later vibrating from the other ear, as if to convey a secret message. A colossal amount of toty ants, coming and going, I could not guess how many were on me, or elsewhere, for there was no feeling left from my imprisoned physique.

Inside the workings of my skull booming sounds… almost explosion, followed by a boring cutting sensation, deeper and deeper from inside my now aching ears

I gave all my strength to my body but not one inch did I move from my unseen bondage, though now my head could twist round to the pillow. I did not want to; being feart to what was there, so I slowly sneaked inch by inch as my eyeballs were are the furthest to the one side. Nothing.

I moved slowly back to the original position staring upwards to discover lots of little web like things dotted all over the ceiling. Then the horror began from my defenceless position and my head trembling and daring not to move, when suddenly it was there.

I was way past mental and physical fear…as It surfaced from nowhere, stood on the bridge of my nose, with its antennas darting madly from side to side. For what seemed a lifetime... this beastly ant stood still as a statue apart from its twitching things.

Somewhere way far off... the alarm rang… it was a dream…a dreadful dream…but just a dream.

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Dec 2015, 07:12am

Home Spun Stories;

A human deed

The little town was almost shattered out of existence by years of bombing and military bombardment, reducing the once proud township to rubble and despair. During the brief times during the night, this terror halts is when the few scares survivors scurry to find water, fuel and any kind nourishment to continue….like human rats eating anything. Most were determined to endure by any means possible or otherwise… justifiably foul. An incredibly thin ravenous boy crawls and stumbles through the rumble in the pitch black. He hears a faint tapping noise and following the survival code… instinctively…he stops dead in his tracks.

In the eerie murky surroundings, silently breathing, he watches a man with a white stick rhythmically feeling the ground, fumbling and shaking, coming closer and closer until he is just a breath away. Observing the man is wearing dark glasses indicating he is blind, the boy accidently moves kicking a stone. The sightless man falls to the ground, wailing loudly his exhaustion. He shouts out in distress, ‘who’s there?’ then almost crying pathetically ‘ if your he bloody soldier’s then have mercy and kill me’

The boy falters…then comes out of the safe shadows, bends down to the old man saying;’ I’m just looking for scraps’. As if instantly relieved, the old man seemed to smile while quickly explaining how and why he was here and acted as he had done. These terrible militias torture strays then they would know about his where his beloved wife lay sick, in need of medication that is why he begged to be shot.

The elderly man, coughed and crooked, then added ‘it’s nearly pitch black now… and doctor’s house is just a few blocks away but I am so spent’; as he desperately attempts to stand up…but fails…falling back crumpled and exhausted…and crying unstoppably.

The endurance of this senseless conflict had stripped bare the lad of any decent emotion, or so he thought, as a glimmer of compassion rested on his weary shoulders as he realized the human passion when someone is needing help…and desperately. The boy had noticed the old man’s clench fist…held an envelope, crumpled but just visible as he asked if he could help by contacting the medic. .

The old man gave a sigh of total relief and begged the young man to go to the address on this envelope which held the prescription needed to save his cherished wife… but most important…deliver it personally to the consultant. The boy instantly readily agreed as the man promised not to move until he returned with the vital medication. Like a cunning fox, the boy harried through the ruins…finding the premises tattered but still standing. He knocked the huge wooden door.

A stocky built man, wearing an undersized white blood-stained coat, appeared as a weird odour escaped through the now open entrance. A quick verbal explanation as the man examined the contents of the wrinkly envelope…nodded then returned it to the boy ushered him towards a door down the end of a dingy corridor. As the door opened a horrible stench reached his nostrils and immediately the boy was flung down a slippery stairway.

This was the basement, dark and gloomy, with a singular flickering candle light, of hope… far away in a corner ahead. Everything he touched was greasy as he stumbled, tripped or fell making his way towards the glimmer. Roundish objects, fleshy in texture, coupled with the continuous horrendous stench just smothered the boy’s consciousness as he now urgently needed the light for his sanity.

Finally reaching his lit oasis he looked around to find instant revulsion. Low the light may have been the outline of half eaten carcasses, skeletons, skulls and a assortment of limbs…and every one was once a human being. He was frozen to the spot…for an unknown time.

A rude slamming door upstairs brought some senses back from the catastrophic human abyss…lifting his arm… stare with bulging wet sobbing eyes at the filthy envelope he was grasping so tightly…discoloured by manky blood.

The letter within was clean and white which he took out slowly…and he read….”this is the last meal tonight…Bon Appatite”


Posted by: peter.howden 6th Dec 2015, 11:32am

My Chronicle 06/12/2015

Travelling down to Ayr around once a month is not only special with meeting up with a special china... but magic in so many ways

Standing on the windy Edinburgh Road on a crisp morning, wakens the senses with birdcalls, observing shifting clouds glide through the skies, something I miss when I usually open the curtains ready to make breakfast. As a dedicated people spectator, travelling by bus rather than driving is a novelty of its own as school kid’s mothers and workers mix in the journey. In days gone by, at the drop of a hat you talk nineteen to the dozen and by the time you disembarked from the locomotive…you had someone’s life history.

The sorrow is for Glasgow culture reputation, now a memory in the past,of talking to anybody and their granny at the bus stop or on the journey, has all but gone as few, if any, people say ‘hello’ anymore to a stranger.

At my usual time arriving at Central station is about the morning rush, it’s abuzz as a hub of moving bodies, mostly heading for daily employment or town shoppers in for a day’s assassination in high heels while introducing bunions in the name of a bargain. People all at different speeds mixed with a wide range of nationalities communicating in many tongues and idioms making it a guessing game what they are actual saying but all the while sharing a common body language.

Simply because most commuters of today are either messing around with their phones or pitching a game they have no time for dialog or the outside world whizzing by…the actual train journey has compensation. Each journey is unique with the occasional four seasons in one…or at least two including summer …spotting curiosities…amazing wildlife…and amazing varying scenery and the odd eccentric to brighten up the couch.

Ayr itself is having a tough time as most seaside towns and villages around our ragged coastline however there are small signs the communities are fighting back although fewer holidaymakers come to fill the eager coffers.

My main reason is to find and talk absolute bollocks with one of the best arguers in the business. There have been brief moments of close rationality but the basis is just to laugh and joke…mainly ate each other expense…in the hostelry known as whetherspoons
Unfortunately the time allocated is short, with my good china Jim Hendry; we become old Sir Lancelot’/Sir Galahad joisting with twisted words on impulse. Laughter with a personal china is worth any journey no matter how long it takes…and thanks to Jim…I have never been disappointed

Leaving earlier than desired, is due solely to my reduced accomplishment in consuming a slight refreshment …over a certain dwindling amount…nonetheless the quantity of nonsense brought to bear, particularly sounding almost sensible, is astonishing beyond belief. My main excuse for leaving early is having a longer journey home… where I could take a bus … but like all grumpy old buggers…I need unexpected immediate pee…and the train takes care of this emergency by having a toilet.

My thinking and visit Is it a justification…or wishful thinking, but I do believe these ventures balance my way of thinking and keeps me in check.

The family visited the very funny pantomime, playing at the Kings Theatre, thanks to the generosity of our son Chris. One main exception was Aunt Becky, due to circumstances beyond our control however we have a treat in store with the Schools version of ‘Cinderella’ being played locally in Barlanark community hall. Becky enjoys the atmosphere the children audience create more so than the show itself.

I saw a bright colourful lady Santa, no sign of her Reindeers, waiting for a bus very early this morning. Passing I gave her the thumbs up…she returned with the most generous beaming smile, brightening up this day….who says there is no Santa Clause?


Posted by: peter.howden 7th Dec 2015, 08:11pm


The young lady’s name, to give her a label,
Was not classy petite, just plain Mabel?
Sturdy, robust and stable
Though for sensitive advice, was able;

Her younger brother was called Rodger,
Evil, surprisingly simple little codger,
Who, imagined he was a artful dodger,
Just one of life’s wee shifty forger:

They lived in a house of brick and stone,
Because of their age they didn’t live alone,
There was father and muter and Dobby Malone,
A strange ginger cat suffering kidney stone;

Rambling around the building; room to room,
Always alone while whistling a tune,
Guarding themselves with a big wooden spoon,
Through great halls up and Doon.

Now the reason for this lengthily story
Is that father was standing to be a Tory,
Muter filled with pride and felt glory,
However Mabel called it “Jackanory;

She stated as she blinked her eyes,
Those politicians say nothing but lies,
Rodger disagreed with those ties,
Raised glass of wine, “here’s mud,” he sighs;

The cat Dobby Malone, been quiet thru that,
Silently had been squatted on his mat,
Gave his opinion rising from where he sat,
Strolled over … pissed over Father’s hat.

Posted by: peter.howden 8th Dec 2015, 10:53am


There is no use believing in nothing,
For nothing is not much of a sin,
So start believing in something,
Is roughly where you should begin.

There are beliefs on the shelf
From one to quite a few
But to believe in yourself
Is really the one to do?

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Dec 2015, 01:53pm


Dreimire is by no means a one horse town, certainly not sir, we are proud as punch of our livestock consisting of an profusion of sheep, followed by a few track ponies, plus some cows and bulls and an odd looking beast with antlers....which was taken to be the true ‘Monarch of the glen’ until the butcher owned up placing the new-fangled coat-hanger on top of a old horse’s head.

Mr Mac Dabble, being the practicing Veterinary (you would think he would have got the hang of it by now…would you not) approached with his every ready arm, can cause a slight disturbance with the cows and bulls. Come to think of it….they looked rather rattled and pinkie one morning, after being seen to by the veterinary

“Dreimire” revels a grand old country setting, with of course the festive season returning once more, as it seems to do each year on Christmas day, then like any other city or town throughout the land, we are geared to satisfy all shoppers’ whims. Our parish is not bound by the glorious 12th as we have round the year poultry farms and grouse sanctuaries, dealing with a mixture of wild birds (if you were being shot at, wouldn’t you be in a terrible mood) looked after by professionals dedicated to their shooting flighty trade.

There is old Angus Mc Duff, and although it’s a tricky business, what he does not know about stuffing birds ready for cooking is not worth a poke in the eye. He has been known to stuff birds out of season, just to keep his hand in. It’s the rawness of the hens and cocks inners which most raw recruits cannot handle, though it don‘t seem to bother an old codger of the likes of Mac Duff.

Blind Jock Mc Jock(the minister stutter at his christening) though now he is too old to catch the fallen birds, so he just sits there and makes flies, for the fishing, a skill of master baiter to line his own pockets. Before losing all his sight, he would just handle the cocks before dead heading. Some nasty rumours were spread by members of the village how he missed his mark and decapitated the wrong thing while working with the sessional helpers

I must vigorously stress these were just naughty whispers and has no bearing on the coincidence the choirs numbers being on the increase… particularly male sopranos. Jock himself has never married so I suppose that makes him Master (with a Mac); who has an uncanny knack, regardless of his sight handicap, being able to put his fingers on any fly. Amazing

The seasonal problems start when the volume of work is overstretching for MacDuff. Some, part time labour is needed, which causes a problem. Far too many applicants are enthusiastically wishing to stuff any wild bird…without the experience to guide them.

The novice apprentices can be so exuberant, while high strung with the whole affair, go padding fowls, being not fussy in the least if feathered, dressed… or in the pink… but found out…being nude…feathers crept in the most curious places


Posted by: peter.howden 13th Dec 2015, 01:09pm

My Chronicle 13/12/2015,

As promised I took Aunt Becky to the ‘Cinderella’ production, performed by ‘Glasgow Arts’ and held in the Barlanark community hall. The place was jumping with excited children proving infectious quickly as we both sat there, listening to a mixture of old Christmas classics.

It could be said the costumes, the scenery was more home-made than what the Kings Theatre offered but the cast personalities, and the audience enthusiasm reached an intimacy far beyond professionalism…which could only be summed up as pure dead brilliant.

As usual, Becky watched weans more than the show and I found this fascinating too. Observing bairns captivated with the instant magic exploding within…is just a sheer pleasure. We enjoyed every minute of the intimate show, finishing all too soon.

Back in our cosy home, after all the family had left the Saturday table meeting, I watch Becky closely as her concentration was to and fro. Sometimes asking her a question and seeing her face looking back at me but her mind and memory are beyond connection …lost in a broken string of pearls…yet somewhere another word brings her back and she smiles…those smiles are worth treasured moments.

As a matter of convenience, very early this morning, while looking out the window like a small boy, to see a true impression of ‘Will O’ the Wisp’ phenomenon, cold eerie mist just vanishes, as if by magic, leaving the bluest skies seen for ages, revealing a golden sun spreading brilliantly while penetrating and glancing off every dewdrop afar, creating pure dead brilliant across a winter scene fit for a royal Christmas card… any heart could desire.

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I were talking about the spirit of old folks Christmas which reminded when I was involved, in a toty way, with the old Church of Scotland situated in Coplaw Street.

In this era… many old people lived up closes throughout the area, nearly trapped due to bad weather and the filthy slush and icy conditions. it was decided to deliver a made up parcel of provisions, which included a bag of coal…since most had working hearths. Distributing the shop bagged coal to one male pensioner…he quipped quickly with a twinkling in his eye “ at least my nuts will be warm”

Dispensing to one old lady she nearly cried with joy with thanks and kisses for everyone standing at her door. Then she remarked as she looked at the small bag of coal, “it’s a pity I have electric’ she sighed. We quickly to her we could take it away and give her the cash quantified. “No-~No” she insisted “I will give it to the old dear next door”.

The woman who lived next door, was twenty years younger than her …that is the true meaning of Christmas in my book

Posted by: peter.howden 15th Dec 2015, 08:03am

Jim Stepped down…The Beginning(part 1)

Jim stepped down from out of a dream, his eyes heavy and blurred into the darkened room appearing before him while he argued subconsciously of his sanity and sensuality. He was confused as to what was reality…or celestial or just dreaming, but he did know, just before this curious happening happened he was sleeping. An uncontrollable anguish claimed his doormat heart, as he wept, not knowing why the growing distress, or what would happen to him.

He was usually a plucky soul however suddenly he felt more than uncomfortable here; where-ever here was now.

The big man stood quite still, while he checked for his security, wanting to be safe in such dark surrounding. Strangely, he had not noticed until this very moment the room was vibrating. At first it was of the slightest of trembling, and then more until this distinct and obvious quiver.

All his senses told him, no matter how fantastic it was, the room was in fact moving…and shivering. He had the urge to hold on to something but resisted it which was really academic as there was nothing to hold on too; everything seemed real yet at the same time as if he had been stamped on a life-sized postcard. Silence ruled the picture

Seating directly in the centre of the puzzling room was four large forms. No serious formed in direct lines bonded to a particular shape for any of them; they just merged, or smudged with each other sneaking into darkness.

Some hidden force gripped Jim compelling him to move closer whither he wished to or not Just then and it must be emphasized only then, did Jim slowly become aware of the constant steady clicking noise of steel rolling over gauges of steel bedded by sleepers which echoed the unchallenged clatter of a moving train.

Jim took stock once again; ether imagined or seeing shadows of buildings and trees, and the like, whisking past busying themselves on the furthest most wooden wall, of what now he presumed was a bare train carriage; except for the ghostly abstracts hovering in the middle. Were they smoke which had escaped from the air of the night, just happened to be hovering between the small Waffs of air cushions inside.

Meanwhile, those hovering, beings of dubious shapes and sizes had not conspicuously nudged or moved at all until someone or something menacingly echoing these words; “Are you ready to see?” Now the words ominously bounced all around making it impossible to locate the origin, causing Jim to be rooted to the spot…in frozen fear. Was this black magic; was this Sorcery?... Why pick him?

Jim also was aware he was not perspiring. He usually did when worried or frightened, and boy was he ever terrified now… no actual physical sweat. Was he in Lucifer’s den...or beyond human imagination?


Posted by: peter.howden 18th Dec 2015, 06:38am

Jim Stepped down…The Beginning(part 2)…no ending

The all-inclusive illusion of a Pullman train jolting and moving with increasing unknown speeds, rhythmical resounding the message repeatedly, louder and louder, with the clicker clackers of wheels over invisible tracks reverberating “Are you ready to see?”.

Testifying every ounce of strength he had to form a fist so tight, the fingernails broke skin inside his clenched fist and bleed profusely, Jim crocked back “What for; I don’t believe” Jim had no idea why he said this the way he did as there had been no hint or determination what these being were talking about or what their intentions were, or if they were capable of intentions.

Silence reigned…until another short sharp message swirled around the darkness “Yes you are?”

For a second or two, nothing happened until with out reason or resistance from Jim, he was catapulted besides those darkened imagines soaring around the centre of the room/carriage or what ever and witnessed the core of the carriage spread apart to what seemed a bath of bright crystallized water lay in front of the unconventional shapes

Then one outline form spoke, which Jim assumed talked before, though this, was just pure conjecture, because if he tried really hard, a skimmer of outline resembled almost human facemask characteristics. The one attempted to speak in unison with its contour; “You are the witness and the chosen essence of the Universe; The Guardian of Mankind has chosen you”.

In a fleeting moment…. formed within untouchable darkness, Jim in a swift glance caught a cold eye looking back… imbedded within features of a murky silhouette, revealing a skinless cranium. This was indeed revolution unspoken, as beasty things moving both inside and out of the sphenoid bone and nasal cavities.

Unannounced and just as unexpectedly, ghostly apparitions began collectively waving which created a singular beam of magnetic light, engulfed Jim’s atoms, from every corner of his body, transporting them to be released in composition of limbo, looking down on rows of tiny cells holding weird shaped prisoners of supposed men.

For some unexplainable reason Jim knew this was indeed a place called the second heaven, a cherubic residence of which had been instructed throughout his childhood. The shaft of light concentrated on angels imprisoned for choosing to disobey the commandments from God “I am who I am”, by association of their own will. Poor lost souls named Fallen Angels; as they are well dictated scornfully by bible readers.

Jim mentally protested, how he had no right or longing to be here or indeed anywhere dealing with Divinity as the nearest he has come to spirituality is “Highland Park” alcohol; brewed by a lonely Minister on some Scottish Island.
At the moment his protest was to reach another plane; the voice spoke once more “You have no choice as your path has already been chosen by the Universal all powerful Divinity; however you are promised one question which will be answered with all truthfulness”.

Jim thought he heard heaven knocking, and expected a galaxy of trumpets sounding celebrated glory of it all, but only heard silence and silence is pretty loud if you know what you are listening for. Instinctively he asked the question where on earth had disturbed him throughout his life “How was God created?” He inquired almost puffing as he did so, the answer was to come.

the carriage entered a long bleak tunnel, barring all others but Jim to hear the earth shattering Principles of Relativity explaining God’s naissance. Once out of the darkness and the noise of the tunnel, Jim’s facial expression gave nothing away to what had been commanded to him apart from an almost invisible smirk. .

The bond sealed….the contract rested…Jim stepped down from the train…repeatedly ….and for an ever so long…an infinity long time

Posted by: peter.howden 21st Dec 2015, 06:50am

Granny’s Soup

They say bigotry was rife within Glasgow boundaries and I reckon there will be an element of truth in these stern words, but perhaps not to the same degree as was the not so distant past throughout Glasgow, Scotland, Briton and the whole world.

Not all that far back universally there was intolerance with colour, Italian Pakistani, Arabs, Jews, Chinese almost most races at the drop of a hat.... or some unfounded rumour about anyone who was different, to the ordinary or reserved preserved way of life in that community or town. Disablement was looked on a second class residents being hidden away in the darkest corner through another room when company came to call, or when present being talked at...very loudly as if they were dense or near brain-dead,,...for it was feared it may be catching

It is believed we have come a long way to re-correct but I would suggest there is always a hiding place for bigotry thoughts... and we should not rest on our laurels, by working always try and see, the other point of view, along with room for scope.

Around the age of seven while growing up almost able to touch the mighty River Clyde was an experience I treasure, along with the Sunday walks or trek to Renfield church, hearing oldie stories from far off places. It appears although all people say you should be free and able to pray in daily life, whatever you feel.... each religion had passive spiritual message saying theirs alone is the true path ...or the best...causing rivalry and convicted indignant righteousness beyond any logic.

Throughout my childhood had been dominated with protestant outlook and doctrine to an extent of being a Sunday school teacher …of sorts. Later on in life, around 18 years of age...I became totally convinced any divinity in the world existence was mere myth. My hope was to not be a bigot and allow people to believe whatever they chose

When I met my future In-Laws, my views had not changed too much but my knowledge of the world had move on, for the better I yearned. Brought up in a reputed protestant household, and my new girlfriend’s family were all, to a man…women…and children, Roman Catholic. This caused me no concern for by now I was an atheist though curiosity allowed me to read, and debated, lots to do with religion in Scotland and the different theories on theories for poises.

The only person in the whole large…large family to always show a kindness was patriot Granny. The reason why, I think, the rest of the brood felt uncomfortable, not with my reputed creed or the real lack of it, it was that they put me down as a patter merchant... or as Glaswegians would say...a pure chancer

Visiting Granny every Sunday, and without fail, no matter who was in the house; she would shout the order…. “Get some soup into the lad”.. Three or four bowls later followed before she was relaxed enough to await and ask a few questions. The favourites were how my hand was doing since she had related the secret was rub olive oil every night to stimulate the muscles, insisting I squeezed her hand until she would whisper it was defiantly coming stronger.

This ritual over, she maintained her daughter feed me up something to eat… “he stays in digs”, grand Granny insisted. This was usually a very large plate of whatever was going, complete with piles of tatties and greens. I was more than glad for it as I was a growing lad. It was not that the rest of the family disliked me it was just I was labelled a smooth talker. I think the old lady may have seen something more in me than the rest did, or she was sorry for me being in the position I was in alone in the world, so to speak or maybe, just maybe she had a soft spot for me?

One day ,while in the kitchen of the chubby lady, she was busying herself making soup, and I saw her cut half a pack of margarine and dispose it into the bubble of the prepared mixture. I had never seen this before, so I asked quietly what she was actually making.

Quick as a flash the reply came

“Catholic soup you orange bampot...she smiled... ”

Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Dec 2015, 10:51am

My Chronicle 23/12/2015

Being the 22nd December, yesterday was the longest night in the calendar, making it pitch black when once again I prepared to head down to the capital of Burn’s country. This monthly trip has become a welcoming ritual. ‘Get-together’ with my Ayrshire china Jim Hendry.

As usual, the 41 bus takes me into Central Glasgow, but this time, the coach was near empty, minus the school children due to Xmas holidays. Normally it’s jammed packed with boisterous kids of all ages, frantically and urgently in all manner of excitement within their own wee domains… a delight for a wee peek or two for old onlookers who can only envy their utter enthusiasms… if we are lucky enough to remember our school days.

Being a small boy locked in an adult’s body strolling leisurely across Georges Square towards Gordon St in centre of Glasgow the city’s lights mesmerize me as if it was the first time ever seeing the yearly wonder, while the daily rail commuters, delivered by trains, thunder off as herds of wildebeests,(native Gnus) sweeping past in droves… heading for all corners of this Glasga metropolis.

The hurl on the train was comfortable as usual with a suspense viewing of the passing world because the morning was struggling through Jack-o’-Lantern darkness as the eye of heaven arose. Far into near obscurity, barely making out the brooding Kilpatrick Hills give the impression of wiz past, dark seamless clouds danced over the rim as if devilish Gods riding along the crest… showing of their invisible powers…toying with mankind. As the light won the day, searching out its arch enemy along the foothills it was plain to see the devastation these instant wetlands had on the countryside …and how powerful nature can be.

Passing along the stormy coastline there was no sign of any cherish rainbow reaching into eternity over the horizon but the sea was somehow still devilishly alluring and magical.

Jim and I met up, as usual, in a converted church, renamed the ‘Kirk Wetherspoon’s’, apt I though because you received spirit inside. The main reason I enjoy such visits there is no script ….just a couple of old buggers enjoying memories and one-upmanship while laughing our heads of at the slightest of excuses. It must be said a few of the other clientele have looked over with rather dour expressions at our loud chuckles …however it is usually those without a dram in front of them as they sip painfully slowly on the last few drops of beer at the bottom of a nigh empty glass.

All too soon it’s homeward bound time and the not so neat march to the station. Again I might not be as alert as the morning journey but I do sit perfectly contented just staring at the world. Through the media of the radio, I was informed that yesterday’s temperature was the warmest for that December date since records began…all I know was how warm and contented I felt.

A very Merry Christmas to.... Kenneth MacLeod…thank you

Posted by: peter.howden 27th Dec 2015, 07:42am

Thee greeting card

Ian remembers it so well almost down to the instant it was delivered…not as yesteryear…not yesterday but just a few moments ago Ian had held it…this treasure in his hands with great care. Ian live alone and just thinking about gave a lump in his throat and add the first signs of a tear or two just reminiscing about just that very special Christmas card.

He had no idea this would or could happen but Ian can abide witness that it does, and most unexpectedly to be picked…no to be fortunate, in such a privileged manner from such an icon of this country just makes him feel so humble.

When the letter landed on his mat he did wondered for ages from where or who it came from, searching his mind trying to guess, but even in his wildest dreams he could not have pinned it down…and certainly not from such a vast cherished institute the nation loves.

Naturally once he had stared so long and for agers in disbelief at such a wonderful elegant thought, Ian carefully and religiously positioned the sacred card right in the place of honour in centre of his seasonal fireplace mantel taking away a dusty photograph of ‘you know who’. Those years’ lonely festivities were constantly overshadowed by the warmth the card radiating outward towards Ian regardless of the activities happening at the yuletide flashes.

Each year this special delivery was in its rightful place dead centre of the well-polished brace

Several years ago, some ruffians broke into his small dwelling and the swine’s took everything of financial and sentimental value which included Ian’s irreplaceable treasure…way past valuation….for it will never be repeated…ever. The whole abode was unrecognizable…for the pigs even defecated on the very seat used to gaze at his special Christmas card.

Lucky for him, he did not rip the envelope open in excitement for it is now treasure this beyond life itself. Ian have kept it safe as safe can be…and only on odd occasions check’s…then carefully place it back on its cushion…in its hidden place. On the golden envelope, specially printed, his name and address for the postman delivered it personally

The fact Ian cannot read or write hasn’t hindered or diminished his enjoyment in any way or take away from his experience…but he does know and easily recognizes from who, or is it whom, it came from…for everyone in the land …from Adam onwards knows….what the title “TESCO”….looks like.

Posted by: peter.howden 31st Dec 2015, 09:12am

My Chronicles 31/12/2015

I have just been delivered not only upsetting news…nay…. clearly sacrilege when dealing with a Scot…more precisely…a true Glaswegian. Safety steps just slipped out at the local vet’s (doctor) clinic while he was checking my blood, due to a male complaint of overheated liquid retreating from around the water area…nothing serious, just uncomfortable

My kindly GP, Doctor Smith, uttered unsuspected dreaded words, which have the ability to bring blankness and bleakness to… not only the flowing festivities but as my main duty as the head of the household, (I hope ‘She who must be obeyed’ is still out at Aunt Becky’s). “In my opinion”, says the family physician, in his understanding but serious voice, “to stay off alcohol for at least till the blood samples come may have an infection?. Brutal…just brutal…not the actual diagnose, but the advisory instruction”. No more slight refreshments…no …“Sláinte” with the true ‘Water of life’ for an uncalculated period…and right thru Ne’erday and beyond… I am feart my circadian clock will fail to cope… Help ma bob.

On Tuesday, I had the first occasion to test my will power to follow the medical advice for my good Ayrshire china and I had squeezed in another wee ‘Swally’;(Glaswegian for a slight refreshment ), to rejoice the auld year slightly earlier than the almanac decrees. A rare tear planned with a overnight stay in the Burn’s Capital . Pre-warning Jim of the calamity befallen myself. It was decided to go ahead…the only question was could my diurnal timer keep in tick? Swallowing ginger is a hard duty at the best of times… but drinking nothing else may have been one of the tasks for Hercules…if he had been a Scot.

Since true refreshments were banished from the menu I took the old jalopy and headed for the coast. I know I am biased being a Glaswegian and a Scot but Scotland is beautiful if you allow your eyes to observe and I consumed every moment of the journey with Tom Jones/Jools Holland, belting out songs ten to a penny. Absolutely bloody magic….as the Welsh may say.

As usual meeting up with Jim was a refresher course of sanity simulator through a mixture recalling old times, playing the game of one-upmanship, talking nonsense surrounded by laughing out loud at almost everything. We met a few friends in-between, where common sense culminations took place, before idiocy once again took over. Many thanks… Jim.

Having a ‘China’ means you don’t have to explain.

Many places in the U.K had been battered with undesirable floods repeatedly, without signs of release and bad weather threated my journey home on Wednesday morning. It was quite a downpour traveling along the A77, with many parts of the highway suddenly flooded but managed slowly with due care and attention. The real danger was the idiotic drivers, whooshing past at unbelievable speeds, ignoring the conditions of real bad visibility. Their selfish faults could cause potential accidents and calamities hurting innocent peoples.

My jalopy pottered along…in the windy pouring rain…warm reasonably safe …while the Rolling stones belted out their songs…Is there a heaven…

Sláinte”…a guid Ne’erday….to one and all.

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Jan 2016, 08:42am

Up north twang

Each area of the British Isles may speak English but not with the same vernacular or indeed what is termed as the Queen’s English…thank god…. Who wants to speak with a load of toffies wobbling around the mouth and as if someone made up a speech a few hours earlier? Speaking and listening should be relaxed and a pleasurable affair while giving or gaining information… or just passing the time of day.

In years gone by Scotland always had a reputation of pronouncing words of English, precisely and clearly, though now it may be different. Having travelled up to Dundee and Aberdeen I can say it has been my experience that though I had to cock an ear more and listen intently what a Dundonian was saying…this was practically impossible with people who truly was born in Aberdeen known as Aberdonian. What a transformation 66 miles makes… Not route 66 which the Stones sing

If asking the way to ‘Union St’, they smile broadly, then proceed with Doric dialect which they guttural express in great haste losing peculiar vowels in confusion for five odd minutes or so, when you suddenly realize it was directions all the time they were trying to convey.

Weird words such as ‘Rummlieguts’ Clart; Thrawn Fa's, or ‘Bydand’ which means ‘Steadfast’ the proud motto for the ‘Gordon Highlanders’ or is it the gay Gordon’s. I do recognize, ‘Deoch an Dorus’, and have enjoyed Aberdonian company with a glass or two. Strangle my powers of understanding the local tongue grows easier the more alcohol I consume. One such time in one off their many taverns the subject of frugile Aberdonians carefulness with money and the likes was sneaked into the conversation

The following tale was related.

A lowlander came to Aberdeen and set up a general grocers across the road from a general store. Out came the traditional blackboard and written with chalk was ‘Sugar 2/- a bag’. Seeing this the Aberdonian put out his blackboard and wrote in chalk ‘Sugar 1/-11d a bag. This spurred the new arrival to wipe his board and scribble in chalk, ‘Sugar 1/-9d a bag’ Each time the stranger placed his price the Aberdonian lowered his further this procedure carried on until later on in the day when eventually the stranger marked up in big letters , in chalk; ‘ Free Sugar’.

With a smirk on his lips, wandered across the road and said…you can’t beat that. The Aberdonian in a cool droll saying ‘Ken Telt nay …Aye dinna roup sucarr’…translate….Don’t you know… don’t sell sugar…

My small miracle was I understood the joke…told in Aberdonian patois

Posted by: peter.howden 6th Jan 2016, 09:55am

My New Chronicles ;06/01/2016

The twelve days of Christmas have come and gone and this being the start of a brand new year, I took the time to look right past last year…or the years before … to way back almost as far as I can recall with a certain mark of true reflection as to my part in the input into the human race…and came to the opinion throughout my existence I have been an apprentice, firsts strolling but in latter years practicing and studying to learn the trade of a reasonable assembled person although my theories have always been better than my practical accomplishments.

It would be wrong to imply or justify the training was like ‘a duck to water’ although many would say it gave the appearance of fumblingly waddling through time itself. My personal conclusion perhaps just when it may be possibly reaching my goal…the mortal coil will end… leaving me uncertified and not even with an eleven plus. However I have been extremely fortunate in two vital areas of my life…being true friendship and most important… being in and been loved.

I have always had right to this very day, had two or three really good mates which have been Chinas, the highest degree, knowing all my faults are always there when most needed, with the privilege being mine to echo. A mate is a mate no matter what or why, distance or time just simply does not come into the equation.

Again I have had three loves in my life…. The first lasted two weeks… the second continued close to six months… and ‘She who must be obeyed’…48 years, my complete life to date. The first dip into adoration stakes called winching was a summer romance with the first real kiss, which lingers yet in memory as an experience beyond.

My second adventure into being in love rather than just dating was another experience forward though my behaviour was not ready or the ability for commitment but has many happy memories.

My third and lasting 48 years partner is “She who must be obeyed” who has brought sense to my existence and a longing in my time. There are few words to explain what we both feel about each other than “Love”!?, which has changed slightly over the years, but lost none of its desire. I hope ‘she who must be obeyed’ is the last thought I have before I end this mortal cord…

Now my Family, my clan and close friends and of course… the elder of the family… Aunt Becky, all are thee centre cornerstones to my choices, my actions and my future

P.S….I took Aunt Becky for the first of the year’s hurl along to the Kilpatrick hills, where the awesome rawness through millions of years creation awaited as we turned the bend towards Strathblane…and boy it blew my mind, just like it always does, and this time while the Corries sung “Flower of Scotland…perfect…just perfect.

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Jan 2016, 11:07am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie;

Electrical energy

In most industrial towns or cities, throughout Scotland, before and during the turn of the twentieth Century, purposely build local council buildings supplying public baths, hot baths, Turkish saunas facilities and the wash-house,with affection named “The Steamie”…housed in the less affluent districts….these are some stories, accounts or parables which may have originated within such amenities walls

The Sherlock Holmes quotation, ‘when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth!?, anything can, for a moment… for an hour or day or undiscernible amount of time, be held to be true If you say whatever, in such a tone of alleged personal sincerity… then regardless how ridiculous or insane it appears written down….people will take it in trust indeed held to be true.

Throughout wards of a certain metropolis…old fashioned public swimming baths, along with community hot baths and the ever impressive ‘Steamie’ were numerous in areas once categorized as working class. These community buildings were operated by low paid workers whose employment largely due to the whims of district managers, and four area superintendents… almost all had either worked their way up through the ranks or had a funny handshake…extended to others of a similar ilk.

Most of the day to day employees presumed to have some kind of granted perk or gratuity such as, in the wash-house an unofficial buckie (unscheduled wash) or flogging the odd poke of soap powder or to the pensioners in the area, small bags of coal used for the boilers. Obviously I do not condone such behaviour…yet the workforce laboured long unsociable hours for a meagre wage…there was always a squealer, who could not wait to spin and spill a tale on some staunin aboot poor soul. The purpose was just souking in with the gaffers… in the hope of granted overtime above everybody else.

In one such building, close to the city centre, there was a tell-tale fellow informing on anyone skiving improperly…shop his granny, at the drop of any hat, to worm his way into the confidence of a region manager to gain perquisite. If truth be told, the managers actual despised such action but benefited from them. The whole workforce was well aware of this slinkin sleekit employee’s allegiance…for personal gain. It came to the point no one trusted anybody but realized something had to be done. Quite fortunately the culprit was an eejit who intensely read comics.

The day of reckoning started while the snitch was passing a worker acting rather furtive, whilst carrying a closed cardboard box out of the stores. Questioning where he had the authority to enter the stores unsupervised… then the nark demanded to know what was in the box. Nervously the employee beckoned him towards a hidden corner as he placed the box, extra carefully; on the concrete floor…wiping his brow of excessive perspiration…then with a sigh of relief, took off the thick rubber gloves he was wearing.

Standing in a academically pose, the operative whispered he was willing to split the proceeds once the item in the box was sold to a contact he knew. Curious about the extent he accidently caught some kind of pilfering, the grass was determined to winkle out as much information as possible…perhaps he had stumbled of a thieving ring which would be a feather in his cap when it came to the next promotion.

Looking in all direction through the dark tunnels underneath the swimming pond while listening carefully for any foreign clatter, the employee spoke in an extremely quiet, but solemn voice so not to disturbed the very air. “In the last two months I have managed to pass on about 39 boxes of electricity collected from the emergency generator”, he uttered earnestly then continued “I daren’t take more because the generator has to make up to record perfect on the electricity meter before I take one amp more” he stops for a deliberate breath. The grass asked rather savagely “do you think I came up the river in a banana boat?” he growled!…”how could you handle raw voltage into the box?” he spat..

“O.K” softly spoke the operative as he moved his head from side to side, checking no one was about, “unlike you I have done my homework for inside the cardboard box is a smaller rubber box which is sealed to stop leakages… and before you ask, yes it’s on the same principle why Superman needs a lead box to stop Kryptonite affecting his powers!” All this was uttered with a dead pan face.

Trying to think of some sensible comeback, the nark struck gold he thought when he mentioned…”how do you managed avoiding an electric shock?” was his clear curious question…. “are you a total numbskull” the worker quipped queitly yet holding on to authenticity …”why the bloom do you think I am wearing these heavy industrious duty rubber gloves?” . This struck a sensitive nerve in the informant’s way of thinking, stating he would consider the offer. The employee displayed great acting ability as he laboured to pick up the box and make his way out of sight and sound.

It was not until the end of the week it became common knowledge the stoolpigeon had been moved to the Parks department, in charge of the rubbish, after his failed miserably attempting to update his employers of the shocking theft now taking place under their very noses.

It is unknown if the bosses laughed or cried crocodile tears at the idea


Posted by: peter.howden 13th Jan 2016, 07:13pm

My new Chronicles;13/01/2016

The regular East Kilbride drive to the Dollan Baths last Saturday morning proved to be out of this world… through a panoramic Christmas card, almost fairy tale picture, with imaginary wishes hiding out there, or crock of gold ready to surprise the finder at any moment. The fallen snow… just so laid back resting of the bare branches …refreshing the trees into animated life, cultivating a splendid white display of purity. Yet, with the snap of a childish finger, this mystery of a winter wonderland before my eyes…as if I was the very first to witness such a sight, totally ignoring the many cars passing me and my old jalopy with ease. The snow continued to fascinate and my eyes wishing to see everything… before nature started its epic journey out of reach from reality. .

The sad news to bare and accept the probability of Thee end of the much treasured “Benghazi Mice” could well be nigh, due to ill health and quite a few demises obliterating membership throughout its grand history. The institute, for this is what it was and is, started innocently enough in 1987 due to a Mr Dominic McCabe, whimsically saying he wanted to write a book about his critical time served in the R.A.F’s Waffs during the war. We were a bunch of old lags meeting up in the Pollokshaws Turkish suite…and so started this unnamed group meeting up every week…added was a monthly outing somewhere for a meal, ending with hilarious company preforming in one or two taverns. As for the name …it was plucked out of thin air and because we were not in the army… but akin to the desert rats

The members numbers where always around twelve, not ordained by creed or colour, as a healthy mixture from the twelve partisans from all walks of life. Something likes ‘The four just men’ multiplied by three…almost…without unlimited monies…or saving the world… enjoying good companionship was and is the common denominator…and crazy old buggers a must…but sadly our numbers now are down to a shaky 5.

Our singing Heroes of the 50s and swinging ‘Jean Genie’ 60s are slowly being lost or been thrown overboard in the journey from the ‘Six-five Special’, thru a purple haze wilderness as new music scene becomes Cloud Number 9. We have the recordings but no more in person; ‘Dancing in the Street’ as ‘Rebel-Rebel’ or ‘Star Man’ knocking on wood, because of their untimely demise. Some faded stars drifted from over usage of drink, drugs or heart trouble or cancer or simply oldness….lost in the mist of time with just a tempting name, not quite there on someone’s tongue.

It seems the same happens to local ordinary people of yesteryear, who decided to do something for their community by joining committees or action groups…intent to make a difference. At the time, they were the true heroes and heroines, champions for the people of Glasgow and every city, town or hamlet throughout Scotland, making a sacrifice of time and effort for their fellow citizen. They now have become a nearly forgotten memory of unsung protagonists. A few are living in hidden corners, in houses and homes, humbled by illness or mere old age. Take a moment to lift your eyes, and thoughts of gratitude as to what they archived in our names which changed the face of your city.

The politicians and the civil servants claim ownership for peoples ability to be proud of all the achievements but without the volunteers…these would be unimaginable draughts of a forgotten dream… hidden from reach by a coded filing number.


Posted by: peter.howden 17th Jan 2016, 04:42pm


This is an unauthorized copy of a transmitted message, recouped somewhere in cyberspace, from an unnamed seemingly distorted person , but thought it may be a ruse…. the authorities are treating it with caution while having the source verified…. Live report as follows as a trembling voice calls….

My purpose as the real traveller, with a Sphere time machine, similar to the reputed ‘Anacronopete’ possessing miniature rotating compressor blade, operated by total computerized technology, which simply surpass H.G. Wells tale in 1895 by reach Fourth/Fifth and even the Sixth dimension in seconds rather than minutes or hours. I intend to reach the future according date, 2525…a boyish whim of mine, due to a song by forgotten duet called ‘Zager and Evans’, entitled “in the year 2525”…

Aiding my departure, all systems located back up computerized instruction, just in case I was unable to instruct….due to unforeseen circumstances. My lifetime’s endeavour was before me…ready to launch from the centre of the lab, far away from any interference from flight plans or secret rockets paths being sent up from Earth axis travelling from the west towards east. With my last look at my surroundings, checking my settings… proceeded to begin my journey into the unidentified… to enormity and yonder …with a simple switch.

There is no way on earth can I, a mere mortal explain or describe, in words what the journey consisted of… but it included inconceivable sights, even the Gods would be stunned, never before witnessed by man, including an emotion collective in pain coupled with haunting passions at the same time. How long the expedition took in a measured unit, I could not tell as my dials and counters just went haywire. There was a start and a stop but total loss in-between.

The time machine halted almost unnoticed, though rather the worse of wear. Staying motionless for a few brief moments, I had no way of calculating my position in the time frame of existence, while arriving my apparatus was warped…hopefully repairable with my backup system. I stepped forward into the mysterious yonder. A deliberate jolt I realized to my utter dismay, this was defiantly not 2525… or indeed anywhere in the future as far as I could tell.

The only conclusion I could muster was I somehow reversed into the hidden primitive past…perhaps medieval. I decided to stay put and use my technology to reboot my backup and analyse the position and time. Meanwhile concentrating on the immediate area, 360 degree observation of my situation …in case danger lurked

It looked every inch as a bombed area….crumbled demolished buildings with fires burning in hidden corners as crowded hordes of intimidated peoples, apparent psychological tormented just staring out but frightened to see anything. Before me lay my impression of the ‘Dark Ages’ no sign of any form of technology, almost everybody clad in worn thin rags, with filthy confused appearance of very timidly cagy almost animal reactions, while a horrible smell of rotten meat and putrid smokiness wafting through the murky air.

Above all…no bloody shoes, or boots, or footwear of any kind, apart from leaves and leather patches wrapped around their ankles…it was bitterly cold with few building of substance…just hovels which could only be described as primitive hovels

Taking a quick glance at the instrumental panel, on my time machine, the date unreadable, as my backup was obviously having difficulty rebooting. Then the shock came with information live on the screen, how 14 years previous came from outer space, an unknown catastrophic virus, a growth bug of unlimited power, extinguishing every satellite obverting earth and near planets. This universal Trojan horse completely demolished the entire computer system, worldwide and space, terminating internet and all informational data…. To nothing. Now there were signs the travel machine’s computer has caught this syndrome, with a constant distress signal indicating all emergency batteries is near exhausted…soon to be non-functional.

I grasped how the extent of absolute chaos this would have in the time period I had left… because for the first time in history of humans throughout the world…. Nearly every solitary person breathing earths air existence through dependency exclusively on the internet, for everything from minus to plus, and the internet alone…for life survival itself….without it they would return into cave dwellings due to lack of mental knowledge of anything else.

The unfathomable dreadfulness of my own predicament became personally acute in one sudden thud….with a flashing faint signal…dictating my present date and position… I was standing in the year 2051…I had travelled…not thru a bygone age…but into the future of earth… a mere 24 years

For a long empty silence, there is nothing until a faint crackled response echo’s ….there is no backup the virus has contacted my computer, this is the last recorded report back before power fails comple…. Pease…please beware for th ……. The signal died….

Today March 21st 2017….The worldwide government believe this must be a hoax….but is it?


Posted by: peter.howden 21st Jan 2016, 10:42am

My New Chronicles;21/01/2016

Once again my journey to my comrades, the last of the ‘Benghazi Mice’ up from Thee Braes/Peking Palace over William-hill onward to East Kilbride was a trip of over indulgence ‘Gallus’ imagination with a canny eye catching view in the near distance.

A old stotter of a country saying “Red at night, shepherd’s delight, Red in the morning, Shepard’s warning!” but this so called warning was just a superb phenomenal displayed in the early morning sky. While the road rose up highly to the outskirts of East Kilbride, the brilliant red blossomed on a smooth panoramic canvas riding across the sky to meet the horizon …as if the road, was the pathway to heaven or hell….if there is no heaven there should be in such scenery…and if a hell….well to hell with it…

Aunt Becky is slipping slowly into her own wee world, though seemingly content, certainly not aware of such happenings. “She who must be obeyed “and I visit each day while each week passes, it takes longer individual time to secure and make ready her home. Sometime…just sometimes I catch a glimpse of her innocent take of her world…and it is a wee girl looking back. I find it reassuringly hopeful while Rebecca wants the old Aunt Becky… who will never return. We both know it will be harder and more heart wrenching, no matter what happens in the future…but Becky helped each one of the family, whether they wanted her to or not…so she deserves just a piece of our lives to relate too.

My own memory wants more leeway trying to remember what I had for dinner last night but can remember precisely a day in 1955 or swinging 60s. No matter what the adverts say there are ways to prevent this…I have not found them or have forgotten the combination. I have to start watching an old film before I realize I have viewed it before.

Grumpiness, coupled with less patience with indecisiveness fellow colleges has overtaken laid back easy-going composure while in attendance of some meeting or other. I reckon I’m ok with an aggressive argument or decisions which I do not wholly agree with, but the purposely constructed loopholes melt my resolve. Everything takes so long before the dots are dotted… and we run out of “T”s to cross.

Staring at an old photograph I ponder what makes personal prized processions so individually cherished is who gave you them…. or in what memory you hold because of them. Having quite a few keepsakes from people who mean a lot to my being…but no more so than “She who must be obeyed”. It is the small insignificant odd pieces I treasure, yet most of all it is Rebecca herself.

Chris, Nikki and Fergus…our sprouting grand-children… Lauren, Andrew and Emma, all having tolerance with my attitudes… while close “China’s” know there is no room for change….with all of this… my range of faults….even after the tragedies… the unwanted pain manifesting anguish bursting with uncontrollably fuse and flair….I am reasonably content trying to be myself…for I have, been pretty lucky….my worry is I may become a prune…inside and outside….I can’t change the outer appearance but the inner?????

It’s coming close to Burn’s night to celebrate this poet of beautiful words and deep meanings… I am not a religious person but this address is nigh perfect.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat an canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit

Posted by: peter.howden 24th Jan 2016, 08:14am


I gazed on Beth as if she was a goddess, with a longing of a lost pup and perhaps looking just so…but it was a dream afar. I could hardly sleep in the darkness of my room. Her face was moulded into my very being as her features were paramount to the simplest thought or action that splendid summer.

Beth inherited every quality of a Mademoiselle a young male could wish for; silky brown hair with sniffs of flowers, blue eyes to beckon the wildest soul. Her innocent smile would enchant the devil himself, while each step of a dainty walk defied gravity. She strolled as if in the breath of the Gods themselves. The sweetness of her voice echoed softly enchanting all ears yet pierced the most resilient heart to become a willing slave to every whim or suggestion she may wish. In short…she was beauty and sex personified.

Even though being new to this game of passion…I entered it with the vigour of a seasoned Romeo and the private presumption of a master Casanova. Alas; even with Great Expectations, my labours never quite reached the smitten love qualifier (11 plus or otherwise).

Each time she made entrance to the street, where we both lived, and the sun shone instantly, even when the skies where full of rain which rested shimmering glittery on the street. Her feet seeming made no contact with the ground… but dance to wherever she wished to be. I found myself timing to be at her close when I thought she was due out, not wish to waste one second or moment being with her…gazing with worship, and true affection, for all to see but Beth.

There was a problem, or two. The fact she neither realize I existed or ever encouraged or touched me in any way was a bit of a hindrance to my affections…and the hard to bite…she fancied Gordon Campbell. This boy was good at everything he ever tried and names any sport he did not excel in school and you would be hard placed. He had the audacity to be good looking to boot but the worsted thing of all was; he was so dammed nice? He would make up excuses for me when once again he beat the pants off me (not literally…as it was still against the law and any he’d probably wipe my arse with that too) at some deed or other.

I had no choice than to accept my fate and look on from afar, hoping against all hope she would miraculously change her mind and see me in hero’s light. I had no choice but to do something constructive so to fill in the lonesome time. I made myself a new bow and arrow out of garden canes, just like all we kids did but I tell you this….Gordon Campbell made a bloody better one!? This is when the writing fever began…through desperation or depravity

Each time I recall and look back I cannot help but smile… for to win or lose…to have a dream of any sort ,believing and nourishing it, walking the walk and talk it, allowing it to flourish in daylight …even when peoples think and tell you your heed is full of jorries, is worth every breath…every single moment…of your existence

Posted by: big al 24th Jan 2016, 11:30am


I have really enjoyed reading your short tales - reminds me of my grandfather who used to write similar "tales" - keep it up - have you ever had any of these published anywhere?


Posted by: peter.howden 24th Jan 2016, 07:05pm

Big Al

Apparently publishers wish…Good clear English Diction, Spelling which certainly leave me out….however I enjoy Jottings as a release valve so I will continue making up wee stories… in the shadows…thank you Big Al for reading my scribbles

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Jan 2016, 04:18pm


Sitting silently in a sporadic light room, constantly apprehensive as to what might or perhaps happen, bite’s her lips knowing deep down, her terror…it will happen. She sits alone, dreading intently when the worn sound of the Yale key turning in the front door. The woman seldom blinks or breaths, keeping alert like a trapped animal, to make sure of her readiness to receive her man; her tormentor. For that is what he has become, totally changed from the man she chose to spend her life with. For this she gave up friends and relatives alike simply because she believed with all her heart…they both were so in love, needing little else except each other.

That was a lifetime away…and now… everything is cold even in the heat of bitter suffering. Sheila has cleaned the room from top to bottom with a nervous perfection to assure she does not alert his wrath. There is nothing left, except a tattered picture, she treasures in daydreams, to remind her of the happy day when they were betrothed. No wedding presents left meant to sail them through life in gay abundance. One single spoon from a set is all she can cherish and she does by hiding it from anyone’s eyes bar her own. Of a night, when it’s safe to do so, she sits for hours and gazes upon it…dreaming impossible dreams

Her loneliness knows no bounds but the empty shell she exists in every day. No longer having a sincere smile let alone smile from within, she anxiously grins in his company but apprehensively laughs when others can hear. Her days entangle into nights but may as well be both for her time does not exist.

Suddenly the terrifyingly familiar sound came from behind the battered scraped door. A scurry of sound follows with the seemingly endless search for the latch. Then the dreaded moment of truth when the key finally finds its home, a kick…then the door swings open there stands the man of the house completely senseless when and manner.

He demands his tea.

Shelia’s bloke has never struck her, no a finger, even when he has been in a uncontrollable rage. He always manages to stop short of the dreadful deed, but his tongue never misses the cruel savage sharpness against whatever she says to either appease or defend a certain action. He lashes into her with no regard of another human being. The only difference between drunk or sober is the length of the current fury.

He is all the inch of a bastard.

His worn out wife makes every attempt to salvage the spoiled ‘Carry-oot’, a gooey disgusting mess, bought with stolen money out of her purse. Grumbling to himself, takes another slug of electric soup, slabbers with snottery abundance…then wipes his mouth before following with another incoherent ramble of torturous abuse. Sheila has somehow managed to cope with these savage attacks and almost truly believes that somehow it is her fault, yet …in a crowded misty thought…she still yearns for her old bow, again dreading the sweet talk that comes with the break of day along with the self-pity. She knows that this is the prelude for the exact same the next night or afternoon or any bloody time at all.

Sheila has lost her independent actions and views or ability to walk…or run away. Just ekes out an existence, from moment to moment, in her own private hell.


Posted by: peter.howden 29th Jan 2016, 02:37pm

JIM; the caper (part one)

Jim stepped down from the train, exhausted after a tedious one way journey…one he had no choice but to make. Certainly there was other means of transport, but none would help him blend in so well in a crowded couch, but lumbered, days on end, with six uncomfortable travellers, all perspiring an uneasy whiff, was not the way he wished to travel. Had circumstances not been force on Jim, he imagined he could escape the authorities or even the dirty detectives… but from him... no chance getting away from him; but Jim realized…he just had to try.

Jim had been skint before near rock bottom with a few dimes, barely enough for a cheap one way ticket. Millions of his fellow countrymen and women had been just that through the depression for well over five years, regardless what ‘Franklin Delano Roosevelt’ said about the ‘New Deal’ programmes. The European war had solved the good old countries financial problems long after politicians stated all was well.

The big crash was advertised as hurting all walks of life, however, when push came to shove it was mostly the already poor or downtrodden who suffered most during that particular time. Jim had fair better than most, seldom had to bum his way around the railway lines of different states. It had never rubbed his conscious of diddling ordinary folk, for one thing was always sure...when a black market exist, there is always a way to make a buck.

Jim lived on his wits but his problem was… he could never capitalize on his good fortune…always allowing it slip through his ever grasping fingers. In other words; He was an idiot or a real bum to be perfectly clear. Now he had found out just hard it was when, not only did your suit look shabby, it was hard to distinguish if it were a suit or not and the colour was just a guess. No one wanted to take a chance on any dip, from a drifter dressed like he was. No matter how good it sounded,

The only solution was to be dressed from head to toe in spanking new expensive attire. He thought of doing a number on one of the many drapers in the city but, realized to his cost it would not work, for as soon as he entered a store or corner shop, the proprietor; immediately suspect to his intentions. Some of these shop keepers would defend their stores more aggressively and to the death than any bank.

Jim knew one rule for true…you have to have the ability to turn misfortune to your advantage; always use a weakness to become strength. You could only con a greedy man…but man.... most humans are.

All this street gen did not help him as he lumbered his tired body through the cold unforgiving streets. The church bell rang and with it came an idea that grew into a certainty. The chapel give to the poor and the priest is a servant to the community, so if he could stick a line then who knows what he could scrounge.

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Feb 2016, 11:25am

My New Chronicles;01/02/2016

Last week I made two special journeys in my old jalopy, both loaded with tempests of huge proportion and both journeys had music provided by the miracle of science my iPod. Travelling through Thursday’s weather was difficult but I managed taking cautious time.

The whole trip scenery was dark and blurred at best, not seen at its most advantage. Keeping me alert and company was vibrating through the speakers, an assortment of classical music from such masters as Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Verdi, Dvora, completing with a few anonymous Handel’s. Having no idea of the orchestras preforming but with such magnificent experience once more just blew my socks off.

The quality can’t be questioned as the splendour of the compositions wafted through my head exciting every savour bits to be almost in danger of exploding. As usual, most of the singing was in Italian almost urging my pitiful frail voice into vocals without perceiving what the performers were singing. There was no need as the texture of the trained voice, the passion with perfect pitch in each of the voices just carried the piece of music into reality. All music played in such a professional way pleads appreciation. The flower song duet…sung by Anna Netrebko & Elina Garanca; just hypnotizes my senses… taking me to another world, as does the ‘Hebrew slave chorus… utterly superb. ’

Due to being voluntary tea totally, once again off to Ayr deliberately to visit my chum Jim at his home. I denied the pleasure visiting the tavern known as Weatherspoon’s, mainly for the main reason not to attempt drinking ginger till it came out of my ears. Jim was having slight problems with his computer as we elderly statesmen endeavour to keep up with technology. With me there to assist…it was like the blind leading the blind, yet between us, we worked out the problem….we were both computers illiterate.

I really look forward to turning up in Burn’s country mainly due to visiting Jim Hendry. We both have pure dead magic wrangling verbally and severely with each other as ‘China’s do… no explanation needed.

The storm during Thursday evening and night was not frightening because I was secure in safe dwellings however the next morning witnessed wide spread destruction, especially in caravan sites in Ayr, Prestwick, Saltcoats and the like with anything not tied down just disappeared. My journey home was following the tail of the storm, with a totally different but most welcome music interlude …vibrating once again from my speakers but supplied by IPod…the miracle of the age…it was time for ‘SLADE’

What a magical trip bouncing almost at full pelt thru speakers nearly strained translating the vibrations causing electronically steamin… exploding inside this moving musical booth… my trusty tin lizzie. Each song almost a classical in themselves, accompanied by the horsy voice of Norrie walloping out decibels such masterpieces as ‘Get down and get with it’;’Mamma weer all craze now’ and the cracking ‘Take me back home’ how can you ignore such savage beat especially when I could feel it in my very bones, knowing all the words as I struggled to sing in the same gusto but failed but still continued at the top of my limited vocal cords. Horse as a mummified duck at the end of this fabulous solo concert….thanks to my IPod

The weather has been rather cold, windy, wet and snow …yet still Daffodils insist it is spring and are growing almost in mass in our back garden. The front patch has an assortment of early spring flowers such as Crocus, Eranthis, Snowdrops and the weird named Pussy willow.

As far as my inelegance may suggest the floral world has gone crazy, but who am I to judge .…..I forfeited my adolescence in search for wisdom….and lost out on both of them….

I have been a brave little soldier… not mentioning but endured the pains and agony, in silence, of a ‘man-cold’….the terrible condition which robs the male of the species of vital hunters senses needed to be the provider….and woman scorn at …shame on lady class

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Feb 2016, 02:14pm

JIM; the caper (part Two)

Jim knew most Chapels and Churches had poor boxes and he felt he qualified since he was behind the six, slang for being stoney broke. All his life as a professional grafter, taught by ‘Old bones box’, the best, how to be a dealer for the back street wise game ‘Three-card monte’ he was hip… but because the wall-man lost his cool, a team of detective’s (bluecoats) raided…Jim was nearly caught and would have to take the fall(Prison) a narrow escape but it blew his stake. .

Jim cautiously enters the immense chapel through the golden tipped gates of the main thoroughfare, watching the last worshipers disappearing into the dead of night. It must have been an important mass for while Jim had been contemplating “his angle” he observed multitude of religious folk leaving the candle lit building. Once believing he was alone with all the congregations homeward bound, he sauntered slowly up this isle, still occupied with how to start a conversation with the priest or Monsignor.

Carefully crafted inaudible steps avoid echoes of warning given to any ‘Mark’ in the oratory’s vicinity; he made his way towards the central alter. Out of the corner of his eye, Jim witnessed a young man, dressed in black loudly counting out the contents contained in several silver dishes. Also catching his eye was the elegant candlestick holders which numerously adorned the whole alter and surrounding passages. A cold dark thought entered this astute brain which at first he 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.

The priest failed to hear Jim exercising his dexterity as a thief huckleberry, lifting each silver candlestick silently moving in the shadows. Jim was making every effort eluding the monastic cleric’s attention …yet totally aware he was not alone. Jim was descending towards his quarry, the poor box, when he heard the “Father” mutter to himself, something about an orphanage…how proud he was of his congregation. Jim was almost there and 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 Jim as if he was expecting him.

“Are you all right my son” the words quietly spoken from padre’s lips. “Can I help my fellow man in his moment of darkness”? The man of the cloths next words came softly and sincerely. Jim was flabbergasted and for one, who believed he had the patter for any situation or murky deal, was speechless. The priest came forward and without any further words thrust a sawbuck in Jim’s needy hand. This was the point when simplicity became complicated and the road to hell was firmly cemented as Jim picked one of the stolen candelabrum’s…ready to strike a cowardly blow.

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Feb 2016, 06:41pm

JIM; the caper (Final))

For one frozen moment, an abysmal ferocity raged over Jim’s existence, reflecting coldblooded eyes bent on reprisal. In this state of void, everything was in absolute slow motion with jagged movements, breeding inner rage and revealing ownership of a hidden antipathy to destroy everything before him, becoming a cornered animal beyond religious or moral redemption. Instantly Jim forced behind the eighth ball and would do anything not to be caught or do the ultimate final chair dance…the big sleep

Somehow and somewhere behind his living nightmare, consciousness produced a reality awareness stimulated his inner simulation, detesting ferocity though always been a fakeloo, a drifting grifter fleecing by his wits rather than any savagery and a definite no-no to wearing iron or any kind of a mohaska (gun). He was one of the old schools, marking a chump by being the bee’s knees but no violence or drugs to fill you up with pretend guts

Just at this precise moment the priest unexpectedly turned swiftly around to face his menacing marauder, with a look of self-possession serenity…near a state of grace, then softly said….’rob me and my house, my church if need be…. but do not commit the mortal sin of murder …if you do, this day and every day you breath …you will know no peace…here or in the afterlife .

As if an actual bolt of lightning came from nowhere, penetrating his mind with active electricity, immediately striking the core of his basic humanity nerves reporting to Jim’s brain. He savagely cursed himself aloud… for permitting hurrah, to be set in this conundrum, sanctioning consent to pure greed taking hold of all his morality creating boundless self-destructiveness. Demeaning his life borne principles by inflicts a simple robbery to end up committing actual body harm.

Lowering his offending arm, Jim placed the candlestick softly onto the table. He knew facts and deeds were by then irreversible, as he returned ill-gotten dishonest gains to the rightful place but perhaps not in their proper place… for time was the essence…if he wished to remain free. A bag of silver coins he had plundered was being dispatched from his person, as one single coin escaped spinning separately on the floor. Jim decided to take it, not as a souvenir but a reminder of his terrible folly. Hastily leaving the holy place, he asked the priest to forgive him. Before the priest could reply Jim was nowhere to be seen….just vanished without a trace.

Before he had started this train journey which he had attempted to mingle in with the crowd, he washed up in the stations rest-room… and to his horror he saw his reflection in the mirror. On his forehead was branded …. "Truly you shall be with me; in Paradise”. If seen, everybody would know he was a thief… all for a silver dollar which he keeps close to his heart ,only every now and then he touches it….to remind himself he is but a $1 hustler

Jim returned to the train he had been drudgingly travelling on for days, with his cap secured on his head he had to travel as far away as possible if not further…Jim now came to the conclusion that the priest was being unfair….or was it him?

Posted by: peter.howden 9th Feb 2016, 03:45pm

Andrew’s dilemma

Many people insist quoting as the golden age, which it can be but age does not bring happiness or contentment and love can cruelly twist your fate. It has been said love can so much affect the steps of the young who are in the spring of life but it can be a crushing heartbreaker for the senior members of our society.

Andrew was a kind deliberate man who had what can only be described as successful academic life, now enjoying the fruits of his past labour to the full, in a comfortable house and lifestyle.

Surprising to all who thought they knew him, being just over 65, he travel south from Glasgow, to be relocated, lock stock and barrel, in an English town steeped in history reputed having Saxon times connections, mainly in reference to golden flowers or golden sand found at the banks of the river Way. The reason for Andrew to encounter such a home upheaval, few knew it was his lover’s fast promotion chances in the Civil Service. They were a couple for a short time although both relatives frowned on their relationship, criticizing them for two marriage break-ups due to their sizzling love affair.

From a safe distance, family tongues wagged…and wagging little more than tittle-tattle, but Andrew truly adored his fair maiden who happened to be around her late twenties. As a couple they were world’s apart, chalk and cheese, with Andrew possessing a long urge for educational studiies on world affairs, a self-made man though having an enigmatic past…to the outside world.

Underneath the skin was a man, plain as that, but such a man I felt comfortable knowing, even when he is not there, for I was satisfied by his company. He has a knack to teach without one realizing they were being taught. His passion for Scotland’s history echoing its present affairs never faltered, while his adaptation to a brand new arena south of the border to live in, took its time and perhaps…its toll

Andrew had the deepest adoration for his cherished younger lover who was exceedingly charming, class pretentious, seemingly flirty but dedicatedly wholly ambitious…which led them both to the road south. It was obvious he was ambiguous as to the move to England… but love persuasion prevailed.

By invitation, I drove down to witness their Shangri-La; which on the surface was blooming, both showing a face of idyllic contentment…yet I could not fail to see the change in Andrew, his serenity was not quite on the mark.

I was happy to accept another surprise personal invitation some months later. Having diner in their small flat proved and displayed visible sign his physical and mental stature had changed dramatically… and their personal relationship was tense at best.

Not long after and out of the blue, Andrew phoned asking if I could come down, then quietly, almost in a whisper, requested if I would consider staying over for the night. On arrival the apartment felt cold, empty of lots of knickknacks in the living room. Andrew’s personal items staked against one wall, except the splendid music centre with speakers specially tuned for high performance of his beloved classical music. Once I had settled in, during a bite to eat, he spoke how his lady had left for some other position within the Civil service, By now his physical appearance had detreated and was now extensively house bound.

Pouring three fingers of Scotland’s special malt into two glasses he let go with detailed information how his tragic dilemma had occurred which I was unaware about until I arrived. He had lost all contact with family and friends and knew nobody in this town of his abode. When he confessed she had walked out and he had lost her forever…he cried like a baby. Through his uncontrollable tears, he told me she had moved back to Glasgow… the final critical blow…without him.

Throughout the whole account…not once did he mentioned or hinted it was anybody’s fault…just that it was glorious while it lasted… but it was obvious to me it was fatal when it suddenly crumbled.

I asked him one question just before leaving the bare house, he was now just sitting in utter melancholy …what was his intentions…what was he going to do….his answer was grim….”I’m just waiting to die!”.

A short period later…a surprise phone call from Andrew’s lover, coarsely sharp with these few words….’Andrew has gone…he died two weeks ago and cremated’….

The 1471 recall recorded…. number unattainable

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Feb 2016, 08:31pm

My Chronicles11/02/2016

If my memory is serving me reasonably well, dubious at best, when I was a young scraggly lad around 11 years old, time was a reflexion in reverse of today. Everything of any worth was always tomorrow or even longer counted through minutes and hours and days heaved through tedious wanting…clock and calendar watching. Christmas, summer holidays, birthday’s ad special outing was always another day in a mind-numbing bog called time , if not era in the future, which could only be reached suffering mundane existence in a grey building landscape and surroundings.

I had a deep down uncontrollable urge, begging to be classed as grown up, a full-fledged adult, or at least the nearest equivalent, to escape this adolescent phase, however I realized there was a pecking order leaving me somewhere at the bottom. Not that I was mistreated, but I yearned to be able to stay up late, do anything when the wish desired it. Slow ticking time was my nemesis.

Today, the opposite takes place every day or week or month just disappears without being evident in personal consciousness. Making singular events in the date book, planning loads of time to prepare, but before we are aware…the months have evaporated right beside us. Someone’s calls out its Monday, as if by magic the previous week is lost forever. This makes nonsense of the new theory from somewhere how space-time is a 'block universe' where the past, present and future all exist together

Time is based on now…the present, though it is crafted by yesterday and the blueprint for tomorrow

On a serious note…‘She who must be obeyed’ and I have growing concerns as to Aunt Becky’s capacity and future remaining in her treasured home. Once again time will not allow calculations on her abilities staying stable as she has both physically and mentally faded to a new stage. Becky’s skill to grasp or understand the news is defiantly sketchy, while her knowing what day it is has been lost for some considerable time along with remembering from moment to moment. Physically the wee woman has shrunk, at the same time almost dazed and curious beyond words, locked in her wee world with a childlike stare more often than not.

Becky can remember with great clarity, some untrue story from the past which has grown in such a short period

The toilet pan is her dustbin for anything she disregards along with any food Becky does not fancy or is chucked out in the back garden…for her feather friends…regardless of what it is. Becky planks food when the home helps make lunch/dinner. Each time I talk the serious talk, Becky smiles and agrees…but within a jiffy…the poor wee soul has forgotten. Each day I say to Becky; please be careful and be a good girl!’ with a crafty twinkle in her eye, she replies….’I’m always good…when you are here’…

We both enjoy the hurls, in my old tin lizzie, along the countryside accompanied with musical array of tartan songs, as we saunter passing through the Kilpatrick hills singing our hearts out. She acts and says the exact same things right on cue while each trip proceeds, making the same comments and observations…it has a comforting affect. Her favourite moment is when I give her the daily medicine prescribed by her doctor…two pills. She was having difficulty with different helpers doing the deed. I just tell her…’these are your sex pills’ she laughs heartily and always replies…’you have a weird sense of humour’ then swallows them with a sip of ginger

Becky needs these anchors in her life but it reminds me of my lack of story-telling skills while giving my reedition of fairy tales, to and for our Children/Grandchildren. I could not resist in straying verbally far away into another make believe kingdom, which annoyed the kids….for they wishes to have stories, read word for word, exactly, in the same tone.

This is the full circle for our Wee Aunt Becky and we dread when we have to decide the future.


Posted by: peter.howden 15th Feb 2016, 11:28am


That’s strange; there is goes again and again…miserable annoying rat-a-tat at the door, almost the exact same as the yesterday. Wonder who it is? Left before I had a chance to know. Hope it wasn’t the Mormon Jehovah's Witness American mob, instant painted smiling razzmatazz pan-faces, without one original self- thought or idea… telling me he’s always with you, sees everything….not in the water closet I hope.

Right enough I was at a spiritualism meeting the other week…. a séance apparently contacting lovers and dear departed or blood sucking relatives in the afterlife. The medium was a fraud as she did not detect I had no money and if truly “Tuned in” she would have seen it coming; anyway she does not know where I stay….I hope

Sounds as if they are in a hurry,… that clamouring mimics close to a masculine rattle at the letterbox…..ladies doesn’t do such common things. Perhaps it’s the goody two shoes from the church looking for old cloths for the vicar’s jumble sale…. Where the hell does she think I got these rags…. What about the priest…it might be him or maybe its his boss…. the monsignor….never liked the French… a bit crappy after Dunkirk

Its bloody annoying now, this knocking and letter box bashing… have they no patience- have they no manners? There is a doorbell if you care to look…they must know I’m an old man who fought in the last war….not a villain like the rest of the old lags around here…. Hold on maybe it’s important …could it be the Littlewoods man, not the shop… a wee humorous line…helps tae pass the time…I forgot the doorbell won’t work…no battery.

Perhaps it’s the fireman, back after home safety thing he did last week… better put out the candle till he has gone, but why should I?…. we old soldiers should be given gratuity electricity, the world wouldn’t be free I suggest ……Why do fireman have bigger balls than policeman …they sell more tickets….I think that’s the punch-line ….got to laugh even if things are not so good and no one cares….and my arse is sore

There it goes again, noisy bugger whoever they are….It’s still raining and it’s been coming down cats and dogs for donkeys…. It’s these Turban peoples who have brought the monsoons with them …sneaky buggers to boot…pulling the wool over our eyes….taking all our boys’ jobs right under their noses. There allowed to wear a turban in this protestant country…. William Wallace would be rocking in his grave …. They are bus drivers now and they’re bloody useless, deliberately jerkin the bus about ….you know why they curry stuff and why there are no cats or dogs around Allison St….All these fruit shops but they Aren’t fooled me….
Good God; I wish they could take a hint but NO…they just keep banging away….lucky the bell don’t work….the idle bastard from my loins was supposed to fix it years ago but I would be as well punching the wall….I sacrificed for that awkward lump… I should have used the belt more, but does he thank me….not bloody likely the selfish bugger….you know when I came back from Wales, after the war, I stayed with his mother who was silly enough to get pregnant …the world was my oyster… I could have gone anywhere but no …I stayed …no sense of duty the younger generation….

I wonder if it’s that Pakistan fella (I can’t tell the difference) and he has a cheek to knock at my door … has a shop near the pub…he accused me of saying something derogative but what is derogative stating the bleeding obvious…. the truth is they are so insecure.

That reminds me… thrown out those new-fangled cinema’s…..bloody expensive and I never got my money back….they even took away my flask of tea and my fairy cakes I got from the goody brigade of church members …my Christ is there no freedom left for old warriors… anyway their all fairies working there…to dark for our colour brothers …get lost in there I would think…..

I miss her sometimes, that mother of my lazy git of an excuse … becoming an old sentimental slob in my old age …but I do miss her…genuine… there is an eerie echo in this empty house…ever since she is gone…

I can’t remember where I put it, but I still have her special valentine somewhere…I do wish…oh shit….after all the bloody kerfuffle, I think they are going down the stairs and out the close!

Posted by: peter.howden 15th Feb 2016, 04:30pm

The last story 'Knocking once more' .... It is written as a l belived a bigot old man would think…not by a bigot writer

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Feb 2016, 01:11pm


How many dreams do we have filtering through our heads without giving them a second thought to follow through in case we appear to be childish to the rest of the world or in the company we keep among our peers? If we had the courage to dare build a personal fantasy, setting our limited talents to hope they come true…then the world is our oyster, managing such a marvel, no matter what age we have been given or find ourselves, in a particular moment of magical creation.

Within our reputed civilization, peoples of this calibre are deemed touched or simple in the poorest sense, even looked on as scary being against the tide …but in many cultures they are not only seen as special, forward thinking in another dimension, rightfully revered in their unassuming way of looking at manmade complications.

Death comes to Glasgow in the same way as it does all over the world followed by unpredictable behaviour for those who are left. Sometimes demise is slowly, often too quickly unwanted, but always as a shock. It is a hard lesson to learn it is indeed life eternal. Some people have a religion as a crutch to lean on, while others hide inwardly, refusing to accept the plain facts of inedibility of causing distress and unexplainable pain and torment whether asleep or awake. On occasions people agonize over love ones to be left behind…leaving no room celebrating precious time they had enjoying their needs.

Special people or should I say exceptional ones, have a magic innocence which allows them a view life without visible crutches, or hiding places, no taboo or guilt. Or just plainly a freedom from being so called customary. It’s not that they do not feel emotion or sorrow; it’s just a different light to see things within.

I was privileged to know, for a brief time, a 39 years young lady; which possessed a child’s eye on every subject at her finger tips. A smiling and deeply happy lady whom happened to be categorized as “mentally challenged” such cold colder words rarely exist so sharp as some unenlightened personage would maintain that is what she suffered from . But I had yet to see this within her, although many in the same situation do suffer at the hands of numerous ignorant well-meaning souls.. It is a giant mistake to porthole humans and a massive lost not only to the individual but the whole of society.

A few years before I met her she stayed with her father, and she had a pet rabbit. By all accounts he was a caring man who would do anything close to his power to help or improve his daughter’s wellbeing. One day; the bad news was heard throughout the household of the poor rabbit’s demise but how it died, nobody knew; all that was known it was now deceased. As any father, to ease the pain of death from his child, he related his speech to her as if the rabbit was human. A funeral was arranged with a proper timetable given after she had said her personal goodbyes. Father and daughter dressed in black accordingly, as protocol was followed to the letter with the deceased snug in a rather large shoebox. With a small hand spade and special permission from the authorities; they slowly march and maintain deliberate pace set off for Alexandra Parade Park.

After the pious and sober duty was duly preformed, they went about their slow long way home as her daddy explained now they should be happy for the bunny as it was now at rest where bunnies go. On reaching Duke Street, the father decided to take his grown up daughter into one of the many pubs for “hauf and a hauf”; common practice to toast the dead and the mourners as one. The girl remembers the way forward to the bars counter was barred by people shaking her dads hand ,and quotes such as “sad-sad was the decease close to the family” she heard her father being asked many times. The father answered very honestly “yes”. Refreshments followed all the evening they supped with it not costing the pair one single penny.

As she told the story, she beamed mischievously as she added” I wonder what they would have done if they knew it was just a rabbit, a nice rabbit but just a rabbit? What we don’t know is wither the personage in the pub were on show for the girl or not…. but taking my knowledge of Glasga folk… I would not be surprised if they did.

Her father quite a while ago himself had died, leaving her to live in supported accommodation. I asked her if she enjoyed it and she instantly replied with a loud “Yes”, the last place she stayed in the drug addicts waited until she had left home and broke in and stole all they could carry, and wreck everything else and as a parting shot hung her wee dog to death on the pulley in the kitchen. On this all she would say sadly” they could not have been shown how to look after animals when they were young”?

I am not often prone to it, but just sometimes a small piece of envy comes when I think of those special people whom; if left to their own devices will outlook life in simple terms.

When ‘She who must be obey’ and I, lived in a tenement block section of housing in Barlanark Place, built just after the war. It was opened balcony and four landings tall and our home was top flat with a rare view of south east of Glasgow, complete with the main Cambuslang via East Kilbride Road. One day while rumbling to the top Rebecca used a very strong swears word to trying to emphasize her point while I retorted in a sharp manner” do not swear it does not become you”. Just as I spoke these words a small girl, of about nine years of age was coming down the stairs with her apparent mother… we presumed.

The little girl asked in a very clear deliberate matter of fact voice” Is that your daddy?” followed by “My daddy tells me not to swear as well?”
Out of babes?

Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Feb 2016, 08:13am

Strange goings on

The scruffy cranky old man who lived next door but one, came across as a chancer in his time, who some say once had a wife but she was long gone before I took up residence in the neighbourhood. Many fishwife tales as to his behaviour towards his wife which forced her to flee, it dread some say but no one knows for sure…apart apparently Miss Higgins, the local oracle in the Monday post office queue… quotes regularly “There is something that don’t meet the eye?...there are them and those who knows, but feared with the knowledge!”

I never knew the old bloke’s name, or his good looking daughter’s name, for I was never introduced to the latter, although it was public gen her name was Kate, who had returned from some university or other around four years ago. The few times I saw the girl in her back court, she was being herded by him overshadowing her, not protective but in a possessive manner… and she was apprehensively timid to say the least. There was spoken by the post office oracle, he was being less of a dad and more of a metaphoric predator with unnatural diversions…whatever that meant.

Nothing else would have happened or been discovered if I had not returned unexpectedly home a day early from my holidays in Saltcoats, Glaswegians Riviera. That night, after a few beers while relaxing in the back garden, there was a rumpus a real brawl, with a girl’s agonizing shrieks after echoes of breaking glass, coming from next door but one. ‘It would not be right to ignore it’, I told myself… and anyway the whole street was deserted due to the fair fortnight. Walking round to their front door, an eeriness of quietness befell outside while two strained voices wafted from the half ajar door.

Pushing to door almost full open into the hall, the swinging light showed flashes of a scene of carnage and struggle with bloodstained walls and a foul disgusting odour I had never detected before…having no wish to ever repeat the experience. Crouching, almost chameleon like, on the first two stairway steps was who I believed the old man’s daughter, bawling and crying hysterically while he was lying on a bloody carpet, saturated from red stuff oozing from the abdomen, obviously punctured with a massive jagged piece of glass.

Desperately clasping some clatty towel, the old man was trying to stem the constant flow and halt the inevitable end. Within moments he let out an unnatural gurgling sound and deceased….just like that. Moving forward to the now limp body, it was then I noticed the mobile phone, grasped in his other hand…and it was on ‘record’.
Wedging from his iron grip I managed to obtain the machine, press replay to hear those terrifying dreadful flashes endured before I entered this appalling house.

The hallowing soundtrack began; it was him bullishly questioning her if his money and love for her was not enough… she, with spitting verbal daggers replied, he didn’t know the meaning of love … only sought to own her…it was then the murky truth of the past came crashing out, as she continued ‘I only married you four years ago out the sheer pathetic pity!...and after hearing rumours about your first wife….I don’t want to land up the same way…I’m leaving!”. A inaudible kerfuffle followed … then a dog like yelp of revulsion calling her a blasphemer…as his first wife was with him every moment of every day.

His tone changed instantly to a raised thunderclap demand… bawling out in full force “if ‘It was pity you had for me…. and now you ask for my pity when only love I have for you…then be dammed for no one else will know your pity”
All the time of playback, she sat curled up without a move or sound or reaction to the message as it signified an inhumane struggle, ended with a sudden cry of utter pain which would shake the dead…then silence…. only broken with the ear-piercing creaking of a door.

After police extensive post-mortem …the old man was cremated with few mourners which I was not one. Did she attend I do not know but afterwards there was a trial which her lawyer successfully pleaded self-defence and she moved from the district never to be heard or seen again.

The house was totally renovated, leaving it fit for purpose, and after a while a family moved in. Strangely there was coldness about the house even in the sweltering heat of the following summer and the drains played up. The plumbers and the like could find no fault, but decided to put a new piped drainage system adjacent to the back door.

Digging down quite deep when they came across what seemed to be….human bones…been there for some time…the police are currently investigating

Posted by: peter.howden 28th Feb 2016, 10:21am

My Chronicles 28/02/2016

You would think the scourge called rickets would not exist in Scotland today but was unfortunately very prominent right through the ages due to lack of vitamin “D” and lack of wholesome food. Predominantly being a curse in the wynds and alleys of slum areas of major cities throughout Britain, due to constant starvation, especially children unable to form a natural bone structure. Sir harry Lauder sung fun at the buckle bandy wee man, but for ever so long in history, the people who suffered this terrible infliction saw little comic in being so formed.

Over the years driving to Haywood Street I have witness a few bowlieleggit old men, nearly always way short in height, usually wearing a suit and bunnet… the guys themselves are a cheerful lot ….making them big in stature. I am not picking on Possilpark… however apart from our own district…. it is the one neighbourhood I see the most, coupled with Springburn.

One fella’s back is bent as a right angle making him parallel to the pavement waist up and having waist height vision all the time. It is a strange sight indeed but from my observations alone, he is rather worse for wear returning home from the pub….even more bizarre combined with being slightly ludicrously humorous… if I’m honest .he is a well-known character around the area having the determination not to allow obvious hazards block his refreshments

My plucky lady, ‘She who must be obeyed’ has been laid out, for the last 10 days, in bed by a monstrous cold, which in it itself would be hard to shake but due to Rebecca’s long suffering blood disorder ,or reputed Takayasu disease, confined her to bedstead with near constant sleep.. I say reputed syndrome due to the hospital vets announcing there is now no trace of this rare complaint…yet; Rebecca suffers the exact same symptoms of severe pain, utter exhaustion complicated by breathlessness… as she has since 1983.

The fact they returned to the same medication makes it an alias disease.

What’s in a name? A rose is a rose is a rose. … I am not hinting Rebecca has thorns, God forbid, though I do admit I do have barbs. Rebecca has tenacity, loaded with willpower to overcome a believed given fate…a goal to be normal ….whatever that is… which is sometimes hard for me to swallow…thorns and all….so, I might be called a little prick…

I am reliably informed there is an amazing new pill out in the market …although I having great difficulty in tracing the origins or the shop or chain stores where it is sold. It is a single capsule, which once swallowed will allow a wife to think that her husband has done something right…wheesht I her her coming …If she has heard…..I reckon its scraps tonight and the doghouse to boot. If you don’t hear from me, say in the next week or so….then vengeance has taken its toll.

Due to Rebecca’s bedridden days I have visited Aunt Becky every day and the wee soul is steadily shrinking whilst in her own wee world. Her memory is not bad when she reiterates to just before the war but her recollection after that terrible conflict, is shaky and mainly made up from day to day with extras added.

Unfortunately one of her a distant relative has died and I informed Becky who admitted she could not recall her. Becky asked the age of the now deceased… and was astonished she was but 61. She said ‘that’s hell of a young….and I’m still here?’ I could not resist to adding; ‘it’s only the good that die young and you have still lots of damage to do!’ A broad beaming smile, from ear to ear, burst forward in sheer exultation followed by gales of laughter as she eventually replied ….’I reckon your right…and you too?’

All in all…. I reckon heaven is permanently out of my reach...what a state of affairs…and me being such a good atheist ….why is it not midnight when I suffer pangs of hunger during the night …am I out of sync with the rest of humanity ?

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Mar 2016, 11:13pm

Time is only relevant if we are all applicable

Purely by accident when studying the relativity of time itself, it was discovered for some reason, one day had been left out in the equations of time, and that day was lonely being left on the shelf. This may seem extremely unlikely to the cultured and educated peoples of the world, for all days had been accounted for…. ever since the practical individuals had worked out the time was constant for all existence. Even the riots in the streets of merry old Britain did not deter the boffins from doing the duty by marking time.

What they had let slip away so carelessly as they recounted their jiffies, juggled seconds, angled their minutes, was the actual magic day. Yes; that magic day on which no one can refuse anyone anything as long as it isn’t illegal or causes harm to another living soul. This was put in by the main maker, as a safety valve to any build-up of pure crappy bad temperament which, left to its own spreads without limit throughout any land, at a breath-taking speed to amaze the ancient Gods, especially Mercury who ran like the wind before he became solid?

It’s only Gods who believe they are special, in this fabulous world of existence, and we, by believing in them, become part of that structure, no matter how tedious that is. We forgot by just being here we were witnessing something else and while our words can be immortal, we are not.
The trouble was the mystic day had been squeezed out by greed and corruption of a massive scale and no one believed that anyone would do something for nothing on any day, including a magic one.

Now for this to work then all concern have to invest a wanting for it and of course a faith beyond certain mundane standards. The Gods gathered in Thee ‘Great Hall of Assembly’, discussing how, what could be done, and who to resolve this affair. The arguments carried on night after night (they could not use days until this pacific subject was dissolved or solved to suit all) dark hour after another.

It was decided to place the day into an enchanted cone…woven through by hope and determination. A lottery would take place and the winner would then decide how to solve the problem of the misplaced charismatic day.

It was drawn in secret, however the number that won the prize cannot be revealed in case the human populace, abuse its kindness. Then all the persons on power really started to argue, physically display postures of sever temper. What followed could only be described as a squabble of simple minds, and hands and elbows and feet and anything that can be used.

In the farcical confusion, plus pandemonium interludes of sheer madness, the sphere holding the precious day, became brittle with the heat of total conflict. So much so…. somewhere towards the climax of the hullabaloos, the fragile globule holding the special day, was tossed recklessly against the rock of chance, smashing into a trillion pieces. Those pieces shattered as they dropped into a further million teeny weenie bits of almost dust.

Now the persons responsible for this ghastly result where terrified they would be blamed for such an awful tragedy. They grouped together hatching a dastardly plan with all their powers together they hatched, a spell.

Meanwhile those multitudes of minute particles circled the earth depriving unusual time no real home to settle. So now a day if someone does a good deed and they do so out of the kindness of their heart and without motive or gain in mind, then they have breathed a particle of that near dust. But there is a problem…the spell, in reverse, also acts on all the people witnessing such an performance… they believe that the innocent person isn’t doing it unless they are gaining something for their troubles.

Breathe in deep…. breath in hope??????
It is only a coincidence the Gods meeting arena’s initials in this tale….. with Glasgow’s housing magnetic body G.H.A

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Mar 2016, 03:32pm

Forgotten day

That morning when Harold came down for breakfast bleary eyed as usual, after waiting till the last possible moment to leave the cosy marital bed, he was prepared for breakfast. Even in his sleepy state he recognized something away from the normal routine because of an endearing enchanted gaze of expectation echoing behind my beloved’s eyes. His wife was armed with a pleasant smile, broadcasting the arrival of the early daybreak banquet of unusual magnitude and the aroma of some personal perfume disguising the usual whiff of drying cloth horse full on knickknacks, wet pets and the last evening meal.

This is when Harold made his first mistake…. by enquiring if there was anything exceptional going on. Shock is not the word equivalent to the sudden coldness but angered hurt may be closer. Before he could add any other words, his spouse displayed being bemused while she controlled her emotions, closed her eyes tight…. reopened them anew followed with strained softness rumbling from her lips; ‘surely you have not forgotten?, was the question. She could see easily he was still in wonderland and without the mad hare. ‘Remember?’, she prodded; ‘When you betrothed your troth’

Harold struggled to come to grips with this newly born dilemma, yet the dates did not tie up in his still half-a-sleep noddle. Without thinking and for no sensible reason whatsoever he was about to quote it was not the anniversary of him losing his virginity in the summer of 1960… and anyway they had not even met, then luckily for him sense sort of returned …and he remained silent and looked dumb. .

Harold’s woman looked upset, even disheartened as if he did not care a fig about all the years they struggled together ….but low and behold he produced a anniversary card , which in all truth he forgot to post. He calculated wining brownie points by stating the post could not be trusted and it was too precious not to deliver by hand.

She was taken aback by her beloved delivering such a card, by hand…to her which instantly produced a loving twinkle in her eye….as love blossomed anew. They kissed… they cuddled…. then she opened her anniversary card with a fanfare of smiles which lit up the dull kitchen.

Harold had wrote sincere lines…. in hope it would forever keep them entwined ;As follows

Keep our true love alive,

By surprises we strive,

With decisions we makes,

Sugar-Puffs or Corn Flakes.

And they say romance is dead!

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Mar 2016, 11:10am

My Chronicles 07/03/2016

A morning Saunter….Food for thought

Occasionally I try some mornings to route a small dauner locally which can mean several things but in most occasions, to assist in my constitution. Unlike the modern trend, my steps are completely free of earphones or music apparatus, preferring to absorb my surroundings… in the raw. Though there is no way you could call me nifty on my feet and it can be a struggle, however lately I possess of a spiritual spring in my late season of life, purely because of the fantastic sunshine and the aroma of fresh air, complete with wild life. This allows as I tramp along to ponder loosely the meaning of life…and time itself.

Time is of the essence famously quoted, though there are spells when time robs you of such limited enjoyment, by vanishing at such a colossal speed beyond your mind, unknown to science… but more important, mysterious to the normal human mind. Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities, quoted with conviction by scientifically minded boffins, yet the idea of measurement of time is man-made calculations and therefore suspect.

Within my mind I horde wee individual globules of stationary snapshot of time, unpredictably mentally recalling in my head, giving as much pleasure, if not more, as the originally happening Personal time is a strange commodity, if it is right to call it so, complete with the illusion its bountifulness since the first sparked into existence.

My belief is time has a gorgon hair fetish for it steals from my scalp its lifetime ability in making curls…perhaps this has been happening over my head for donkeys, but just recently I have noticed, with alarm, the fading of my blond (grey) locks….I would for my part look into this mammoth problem but I just don’t have the time?

Whilst concentrating on my walk, I find it rejuvenating to explore over certain subjects such as change, if we notice progress in change or we grimly hold on to tradition and ritual as this is safe to protect…. not only us, but our families and today. On this note I wandered on to the existence of ‘God’ the almighty. I could swear a strange voice rumbles in my head; ‘Why asked me… things have changed so much since I began!’…. I headed home for breakfast.

Porridge I have each morning as it’s the staple breakfast for the sure and steadfast Scottish fowk, fond of great food to be served in so many ways. Rumour has it of old days, it was made once a week(never on a Sunday for fear of the Wee Free) and left to harden, placed in drawers and issued each day being cut with a heavy sharp knife. . The poor farmer would use a dirk ( Scottish Gaelic; Biodag) while a reiver reached for a ballock dagger to cut a slice, while the rich Sassenachs would command leaving his ‘occasion’ dressy ‘Sgian Dubhs’ in his socks.

The porridge has a history almost second to none whilst the English wish sugar turning it into a sweet while Samuel Johnstone quoted ‘ Oats; a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people’. The kilted brigades have always enjoyed their oats and the traditional dress allows them to be ready at any given time for Scotland’s national dish, whoever she is.

There is a legendry old-style way to make the oats food for the |Gods (as long as they have the Gaelic) and the secret answer to ‘Ambrosia’.

I have been supping the nectar since I was knee high though my preparing this first of the morning feast has changed. Before no matter what I did I was always left with a sticky hard to clean pot. Now with modern Tec knowledge I am able to defend against such cores

Thank God for the microwave…saves a hell of a time.

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Mar 2016, 08:58pm

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie (A);

The Scrubber (1)

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Is a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln but then again he may not have come across some council workers. I am certainly not categorizing all workers from councils around Scotland but observation from one particular district council department had a few loose cannons This did apply to one such worker baptized ‘James’s of a District Council; Baths dept.

The boyish man was no walking fool but fooled everyone I ever met, who had met him. He may have been a accident prone mobile disaster, plus pretty slow in the uptake; however believe me, he no fool. James’s was a Zen Buddhist (sort of) without having the knowledge of it, or actually being Zen or a Buddhist, or forming a thought pattern anyone would recognize in a far off belief.

In ordinary life, he could receive training one day, then loose it basics of the instruction quickly without knowing consciously he had been taught at all. His burning ambition was to be a swimming attendant in the real Olympic styled pool which would take qualifying certificate of a Beach Life guard.

The council building James worked from was primarily an old fashioned washhouse which also had a pool which was only used for schools during the day and the Glasgow club of swimmers of an evening. His employment really was as a dog’s body and general cleaning linking everything he did as duties. His understanding of chemicals and their dangers deriving from miss use… minimum at best.

James was ordered by thee superintendent of that area, to scrub the concrete surface of the entire floor of the wet and dry area with Phosphate. Perhaps to the health and safety conscious of today this was a tad unbelievable yet it was common practice in the 60s. to whiten and disinfect the whole working area of all Steamie’s . Phosphate’s fate was it was a white powdered dangerous compound which had to be handled with care. Deadly gas fumes formed if mixed with water at the wrong ratio. Whereas its recommended quota was in the region of a small teaspoonful to a large bucket of water…very scientifically done

To apply this hazardous mixture your attire, even in the 60s, individual were kitted up with a heavy duty mouth mask, industrialized overalls, rubber apron huge industrial rubber, gloves and right down to massive firemen rubber boots. If neglect on the part of the operator in applying, this wreaked havoc to the throat and nostrils while making the inhaler putrid sick, at best though could seriously damage lungs and tubes…even to the point of being lethal.

James’s had been sent from another district Steamie, by mistakenly over-boiling patrons washing. To be honest it was a very easy thing to do in a true steamie. Three pipes led into the huge washing machines (piping hot, cold and the naked steam) making the attendants job more alert. Most attendants did boil washings by mistake but had the gallus patter or good sense to talk them out of the problem. James’s just stood there with a glaikit expression on his face, so naturally every one took advantage.

He was not the only one in the baths structure to make mistakes, by no means, but he seldom had the quickness to cope… or was it the wanting to do so. The more I think of it the more I am torn to the latter.

James’s was drilled about the procedure the night before, then once again in the morning as the Steamie was closed for the day. The wash-house gaffer made a dreadful error of judgement handing James the keys to the store. Looking back, this was a wrong decision by management and I believe they should have shouldered more of the responsibility for the catastrophe and what actually happened next.

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Mar 2016, 06:50am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie ;

The Scrubber (2)

The forthcoming calamity first became apparent with the front cashier’s office of the building, she noticed a foul lingering smell (parallel to a ton of smelly socks)... I really don’t know how this comparison of whiffs can be imagined but it’s nothing to be sniffed at. Now reeking washing was common day stuff, although normally confined to the back of the baths, coupled with different chemicals, wafting through the pond side of the building.

The gaffer raised an eyebrow or two breathing uncomfortably his way forward while noticing, with growing alarm, the odours was starting to penetrate his nostril, the closer he came to the obvious source, causing his eyes to weep near uncontrollable . The source became obviously…being the washhouse.

He found James there, with a water hose in hand, at full pelt jet, swishing down the large area covered in a white powder. James had denied himself the protection needed and advised for this operation, clad only with a tatty old apron and wellie boots His eyes bulging red raw with pinhole pupils in Zombie/Dracula fashion, added with gritted teeth with determination or absolute agony. . . No one could make out, afterwards in the aftermath, wither it was extreme bravery in the line of duty or just pure dumb. To give the gaffer the credit, he realized the severity of this emergency straight away into action station alert.

The foreman physically removed the now crazed intoxicated attendant from the scene, taking quite some force as he was a huge lad. Swiftly the supervisor closed all entrances and exits, followed by immediately evacuating the whole of the building. Being so early in the morning only a skeleton of staff were clocked in and once he was assured closed the baths completely. A special squad appeared, as if pre ordered turned out almost instantly clad in insulated Quatermass apparatus from head to toe… including breathing tackle.

It took hours before the news was broke….the premises where permanently shut and no one, bar their team, was allowed within for the next 7 days…and so they did.

The reason for this mayhem brought on the punters and staff alike was quite simple really….It was James inability with arithmetic and consistent memory. He was verbally instructed the night before and at daybreak the following morning…yet just a small adjustment in the math’s department in his brain…. And a shortcut… caused whitewashed the washhouse.

The vital instruction was… a small spoonful in a big bucket, and scrub… whereas James brilliant idea worked out/… if he sprinkled the powder on the concrete…leave it a hour, then washed it down it would be easier and quicker. He then took the drastic decision to sprinkle three barrels of the stuff all over the place giving it Christmas scenery of fallen snow, layer on layer…on layer across the washhouse.

The big question was “how had he managed to survive such a dangerous episode, the question is still in my mind.

After the seven days the traces of the deadly vapors had all but disappeared allowing the normal functions to start once again. Did James suffer in any way in the course of a lecture, wages lost or put on suspension from work….no deal….there is more to tell…unbelievable though it may be.


Posted by: peter.howden 15th Mar 2016, 12:24pm

My Chronicle 15/03/2016

All last week or so, involved two separate incidents with one drove me almost round the corner to irrationality…nay, near close to bedlam… while the other occasion swooned me in perfect clockwork …but both were unforgettable journeys…for separate reasons.

The marvel of the computer coupled with cyberspace, blows bubbles in my mind while hanging grimly onto the coattails of this phenomenon, with its continuous advancement almost beyond belief. Each decade, each century have had their own prodigy, stimulating the minds of those days, but few… apart from the printing press have affected almost the whole population of this entire sphere.

I manage to persuaded myself to purchase a new router via’ Virgin Media’, instructed apparently to preform ‘Traffic Direction ’faster to reach direction node…whatever that is. Dead easy to install …even for a novice was wafted through the advert however …I am in awe of the computer while being inwardly completely terrified as to its setup, but particularly its everyday language….and abbreviations of computers and Wi-Fi connections is my ‘Achilles Heel’….or my dunderheed brain.

My recollection of ‘Rootin –Tootin’ was a cowboy film shown on Saturday’s cinema A.B.C minors, not for a senior citizen of my calibre, to find out its actually spelt as Router and I have no idea what its ‘IS’ address is… I was just getting to grips with the Marconi theory experimented and demonstrated in ‘Poldhu’. I had once a tendency to believed in fairies but now I believe in jinxes which utter frustrated my brittle mind because of knowing I was doing something really silly and stupid…but failed to deter me….just angered my wee soul to pull out my precious hair….and there was so few strands to do so..

I was so far behind myself, I couldn’t see in front of me, as day after day failing to resolve contact with the internet until it became a maniac drug struggling hopelessly for success while slowly sinking into a mire of catastrophe. The wrong dot or capital letter or something was almost the destroyer of my sanity, compelling to ask main man Fergus (computer wizard of the family) to aid this crippled situation.

During these self-perpetual days of torment, I took time out to carwash the old jalopy and get petrol, preparing for a weekend down in Peebles, at the annual conference in Peebles, run by the ultimate S.H.A.R.E... Sitting in the carwash, all of a sudden a rainbow display due to the angle of the sun and separate sprays of water and cleaning fluids gave me strength to continue the struggle.
At the last moment a miracle… a virgin man arrived and confessed my cable was …warped. Now I can wirelessly wave wireless or use old Marconi method.

The Peebles Hydro is not only a welcome places for your weary head but a perfect picture to drive to and from via the raw makings of the world famous River Clyde…complete with stunning varied scenery which vacuums your eyes regardless of weather conditions. To meet old friends associates and peers stimulates the mind and puts a spring in my step. Driving homeward bound, taking leave to stop in Bigger where my nostrils breathed the aroma of surrounding landscapes prepares its soil for summer growth.

Another small detour hopping over the M74 towards ‘Moffat’ and the alluringly stunning ‘Devils Beef Tub’ …bloody magic…much enhanced with music from the ‘Dutch collage swing band’ possibly the best trad jazz band ever formed. After a rollercoaster run of backdrop I re-join the motorway while playing ‘Roy Orbison and friends…black and white night live’ what a belter. Home to the much missed “She who must be obeyed”

We are off to rekindle fond memories in North Berwick and Dunbar this Thursday

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Mar 2016, 03:05pm


It would be interesting to know just how many people par a personal name to their car. “Well no, not really!” although this was exactly what Rebecca, my wholesome missis, did with our first brand new jalopy. The name for this wonderful, bright red Ford Fiesta was christened “Wiggy”, a happy appearing tinny motor which purred with innovation as it hurdled along any direction.

It was not I was ashamed of the vehicle, or any minded anyway at all with it, for it never answered when I called, even when I practised an extra whistle so it would know who I was, echoing the kind of chap I had become. The new car gave ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, freedom beyond imagination, we had not experienced before as a couple, for we only saw the real country side on holidays, buffered by work. I have memories long ago when young…. of golden days crammed with fun and astonishment…but to a lad all times were magic.

As a boy of ten or so somewhere along the line, I had received magazines, along with comics published and sent from Canada, regular by my sister Margaret and brother in law Easton, who both had emigrated in 1953. These very colourful journals, displayed a world far removed from ours of the day. They had comics complete with bright adverts as common place showing huge cars of Hollywood statues turning my innocent head way around. It was a different planet over there as we were still grey everywhere except for Glasgow Green and Queens Park lending their touch of green and reputed nature..

Within these treasured Canadian magazines was boundless open country till it was coming out their ears, lakes lapping on forever, rivers flowing to eternity where canoes would not shame the native Indians but what was most impressive… everyone had a car as normal if not two or three. For a few dollars more, promises of ever day an adventure and paradise, while Scotland, it was a mere grey existence for many, totally closing down on a Sunday unless consumed with religious fever.

Surviving each Sunday with all your marbles in place was a novelty on its own Elders where… but children not allowed snoozing with boredom. The famous Barra’s was a rare treat with all its razzmatazz with pure Glasga banter and selling patter having to be heard to believe. Yet even here there were eccentrics bawling their saviour’s message. Thumping a battered Holy book time and time again, bawling how they fornicated and drank the devils brew. I wondered if they were boosting or complaining

On Sunday afternoons, I moved about the motor bike circle seeking adventurous experience as a back pillion as the bike hit 100 and over M.P.H going up the old Parliamentary Road….which on a Sunday was always deserted. We all holed up in a café at the corner of Calder St and Pollokshaws Road… the sight of around forty leather jerkin clad fellow’s inside with only two whole bikes outside parked in the street will never leave me. We were not quite Brando or even his weak sidekicks but o we wanted to be so much!

The tale now follows with…’The Glorious Shooting’…and the part “Wiggy” played in it…..

Posted by: big al 20th Mar 2016, 11:30am


Found it hard not to keep laughing at The Scrubber and the tale of James - I worked beside someone similar many years ago and he did the same kind of thing without any real thought or concern for himself or others - over time Harry eventually became a H&S assistant in an engineering company - they eventually went bust but I'm not sure if Harry had anything to do with its demise but you have to wonder!!!! Keep up the stories

All the best


Posted by: peter.howden 20th Mar 2016, 07:07pm

Big Al…..
Thanks for the encouragement and your tale of Henry …I will try my best to keep scribbling with a couple of ‘Auld Steamie’ stories shortly….it may be hard to swallow some of them but they are all true…

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Mar 2016, 12:23pm

August 13th THE SHOOT(2)_

Years previously I camped twice in Whitesands Dunbar while still in the Boys Brigade, and then with My mate Jim, illegally camping just outside North Berwick. We both gained the knowledge; Haddington was the centre of the least around those parts
Rebecca and I received the car in just the right moment for a holiday to North Berwick the following week, to Gilsland Caravan site at the foot of the “Law”….Berwick Law. We decided to use our brand new magic carpet, with wheels to investigate the inner lands.

We had just left the rugged and quiet Duns heading for the centre via the moors road .the country side witnessed could compete if not surpass what Dartmoor does for the eye. The date was the 13th of August…one day after the glorious 12th.

It turned to be a absolutely horrific experience, if not terrifying trip, I hope I will never have to repeat. It all sound fair enough how people with loads of money spend the stuff by going out with beaters, dogs and guns to shoot fleeing grouse, pigeon or any bird, including the Scarlet Pimpernel of the bird world…the elusive Ptarmigan. It does not fit at all right …we as a society have turned a blind eye to its created cruelty, accepting barbaric practise as tradition, although it’s the hob knobs doing the business…does that not take the biscuit.

We had no vision as to the suffering of these birds and could not contemplate how it affected all the animals in the vast area of the moors.

Driving our wee red car down a ‘B’ road through the middle of the moor, we stared in disbelief as to our blackened path. The highway spread thickly with dead squashed animals…every sort of fur and feather lay there making it obvious as to what had happened.

The din of noise deliberately created by the beaters for the shoot had caused a panic in the animal world. So much so they fled in terror away from its echoing deafness, straight across the busy country road.

Now the shooters, who bravely stood behind their gun line, must have started to blast anything fleeing to the open sky, not flinching in the blood duty handed down through pointless generations. The brutal fact was birds; beasts and crawlers didn’t share in the ability of dating a calendar, the dammed poor fools.

The ones not shoot out of the air were however mowed down on the roads leading through the fern landscape, by multitudes of locomotives attending such events as part of country etiquette or protocol. These wee sleekit cow’rin tim’rous beasties plunged out of the safety of the darkness of the fern…just to be squashed by oncoming traffic. The hares, rabbits, stoats weasels, foxes needlessly slayed by machine, guns… man or dog. For a’ that and a’ that, the brothers of gunpowder kept blindly pounding in a thin dark line.

I know that the law of the countryside and reputed human nature is cruel in its own right for survival is the name of the game but I ask you what name you can put to this so called sport…not humane

The next brutal fact was we could not stop or reverse as a line of single impatient traffic was cued behind us…we could not escape the vision of carnage.

Mile after mile, bodies of assorted lifeless disfigured creatures …spread in anarchy view for all eyes. Even going slowly in a mark of futile respect seemed to make it worse as the wheels suspension took the strain and bumps caused by them

What a callous and shallow call is the glorious 12th? Lucky for the local population… animals can’t talk…to give the game away…..

Posted by: peter.howden 28th Mar 2016, 10:28am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie©
James makes a splash

The accident-prone James had been sent from the one council building to another for mistakenly over-boiling a patron’s washing. To be honest, it was a very easy thing to do in all auld washhouses being true to the meaning ‘Steamie’. Three pipes led into the huge washing machines (cold, piping hot, and dreaded naked steam) making the attendants job more alert. Most employees did boil washings by mistake but had the gallus gall or good sense to talk out of the problem. James just stood there with a so natural glaikit expression on his face; every one took advantage of the soul.

Upstairs in the hot bath section…he not only lost a punter but had a dead one without knowing. The man’s ticket was for nine in the morning…around tea time, (three in the afternoon) a missing man’s sister, was in to check if he had attended as a casual suggestion he might. An extensive search took place discovering his body in one of the large zinc baths.

Now you may think I am being petty or quirky natured towards young James, however for strict health and safety reasons, aides were directed to physically check each door every half an hour.

The excuse exercised for this tremendous lapse of protocol duty was…. the dead man had demanded extra time so he could give his nails a good scrub. When eventually found… his nails were spotlessly clean right enough…. but we could not tell if he had done so before his demise or the long soaking afterwards did the trick.

This setback did not deter James’s main ambition being a fully pledged life guard. To this end, one area superintendent, knowing it was a raw challenge, took him under his wing with extra tuition during normal working hours. For more than several months, he constantly allowed James time off for training as the big day approached for the ultimate test of Bronze Medallion.

The special day came weeks after intensive training. Being a strong swimmer he cruised all, bar the final trial. The closing assessment may sound complicated although it’s relatively simple…in practice. Two men in the pool…one at the deep end playing exhausted, while the one in the shallow is pretending to be unconscious. The trainee stands overlooking the pool at the middle edge, with equipment as follows; one float, one ball, one rope and one 18 foot wobbly pole (bamboo in those days)

The routine is to shout to the fella in the deep end, toss the ball or float with instructions you will return. Walk swiftly to the nearest point, straddle jump into the water, swim to the comatose victim, and proceed to remove him from the pool as taught. Leave him in the recovery position. This is timed for two minutes.

The stage was set and James called he was ready and the whistle blew. He just stood there with no hint of movement as the judge blew his whistle in frustration. As a personal act of kindness beyond what usual for the superintendent…the test reset. The supervisor ran up to his prodigy strongly emphasized… there was a bloody ball, an F…in float, a rope and a pole. James irritatingly maintained he knew what to do. The final whistle blew…he sprang into action.

Unexpectedly grabbing the 18foot pole, he ran up to be adjacent to the weary guy in the deep end, jumped into the water with pole high in the air and crashed with considerable force into the blue. The aftermath became clear as the bamboo cane smashed into the actor swimmer’s head with a fearful crack and almost rendered the victim truly unconscious. The judge’s toot was going ten for a penny, while the superintendent was bawling at the top of his voice. After the unpredictable shock, the stunned swimmer furiously cursing made a bee line swimming towards the floundering James.

James realized very quickly he was in trouble if he remained where he was and bolted like a bat out of hell…in water. Lucky for him the fury man was held at bay as James complained bitterly to his trainer that he had not instructed him in this particular maneuver.

Now the worrying fact is, James has since past this crucial test…until recently working at one of the metropolis swimming pool. This may not sound much but when you add how the named person passed his bronze medallion ….outside sphere of activity…. With unidentified witnesses

Posted by: peter.howden 31st Mar 2016, 10:19am

Captured visions

Once in a while in the enchanted spell of the mind gives birth of a special yesterday moment, creates a brief window into time without end…. waiting to be grasped…not forever but as long as you hold breath to take comfort in its fairy-tale existence This magical moment drifts in and out of the conscious awareness, without concentration or wanting thought…but a mere aroma, a recognized vision or just one simple word resets the event back into on the spot memory.

Perhaps within my mind millions of connections of the past, all shoving and bumping to become prime spots but the actual diverse extraordinary almost hand-picked moments of life lurk in unknown corners waiting the right touch tab…they spring instantly before me…anywhere I look or seek….to enjoy the happening again and again unrehearsed In my experience these cherished goblets of utter pleasure visit in a ‘Will-o'-the-wisp’ practice, not to be caught intentionally but so pleasantly come to conception via nothing at all.

The variations of these “captured visions” clear as a bell no matter how old the original spectacle was fashioned… and I would presume the researchers professionals and boffins can rationalize this personal phenomenon all they like….but simply… just blow my socks clear into the next room.
A striking unusual image or a particular sunny day walking with a dream … a happening in the School ground….old friendships with an oath… a song with words spearheading the action of a heartfelt day…. the first actual kiss meant on purpose….holding court with a rambling daydream…a gesture or present giving out of pure kindness or compassion and its many avenues…all these and many more lurk just under consciousness wanting to surprise…and I wait patiently

Falling in love, with all its ecstasy and aching…time and time again…. is a definite special moment being the easiest thing to do at the drop of a feather… but such instant passions are rarely created forever….It has to be worked at….the ones who make it last while looking so easy and natural….are the ones who work hardest and keeping it alive… and so worth while.

My human failures are so many however I fail to see the changes within me but curiously can detect easily those of others especially the love of my life …known as “She who must be obeyed”….but hey….I never said I am perfect

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Apr 2016, 08:18am



She came out of nowhere, or that is how it seemed as I was concentrating on the awkward green wheelie bin. This was part of completing this weekly chores, wearing a make do sleeping shirt which my missus had bought for Christmas, the phantasm like form was hooded up against the bitter cold wind of the morning. Making her way through the well-used common footpath running at a right angle next to our home…. though usually at that time in the morning…. not a soul can be seen.

Calling out a cheery ‘Good morning’ to her, she immediately turned around, replying with warmth with a smile. She walked a little closer, then closer again as I battled with my wheeled monstrosity. The visible vapour flowed from her mouth…. wafted around the cold weather then disappeared altogether as she called again wishing me a fine morning in a clear and noble fashion. It was unpleasantly cold and my slippers were sliding uncontrollably as I attempted gingerly my way down the driveway gripping the mobile bin while heading for the street.

She had a violent cough as cleared her throat to call out not so loud this time as we were pretty close by now and only separated by a hedge…. “Excuse me but do you know the time?”. Having a fair idea I had heard the 6.30 news start just as I was coming out I added “I would think it must be somewhere near twenty five to seven!”…. “What time does the shop open?” she asked rather craggily than before…. then a slight pause, she followed with “I know it is 7 of the clock” with a quirky hesitation in her voice. She asked and answered the question herself, then slurred something before repeating her question and answer. It was as if something inside her thin frame had awaked and caused her great concern.

By pure coincidence my security light sprang into action as she stumbled closer to the hedge. ..Instantly recognizing sadly how cruelly she was past her sell date…not because of her age but due to her condition. More than a putrid whiff or strong odour of stale drink clung to her person, even in the severe cold conditions as that morning. Perhaps in reality a youngish woman of maybe 40 or so, however her face was haggard and drawn with a yellow tinge and though one was not there I felt a wart on her chin or her nose would be appropriate for her appearance. Perhaps you may think this as terrible and disgusting of me, to judge a fellow human being so but that is how it was.

Apart with me silently judging her so harshly, she thanked me kindly and turned around to retreat where she came from. Her close of her abode was right across the spare ground where the wee library once stood. The housing association had plans to build new homes there but it never happened for one reason or another. The main door shut and after a wee while a small light lit through shabby curtains in the house above as a lonely figure stood at the window staring out into the bleakness beyond any safe future.

You may call it guessing or a terrible cast on her character but the lady was later going for her swally…as it was her giro credit day. She is well known locally for survival via alcohol and supplying a place for peoples in the same position to meet on their Giro credit day.

Her scanty abode was hoachin…. Mingin in fact…. But a “Empty” or alky’s abode… ‘Country Club’ is the Glasga Neighbourhoods colourful title

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Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Apr 2016, 07:39pm

My Chronicles03/04/2016

There are times I wonder how much befit, or who gains the most out of our wee hurls in my trust jalopy when I phone Aunt Becky and tell her to ‘get her F------ sannies on’ as code we are going out. Am I doing it for sole benefit for her or more likely I need a shot of this particular countryside for myself.

It may seem harsh even showing disrespect towards an old lady but it not only encourage Aunt Becky to be ready but she beams with delight when telling others of our code. Becky can be ready and willing within minutes just after such crude instruction…raring to go. Sometime she fails to hear the phone even though it is at arm’s length.

Entering her home she now is more include to be snoozing so with a gentle cough she awakes as if only seconds have passed in her 40 winks. Other times she is holding a trusty paperback, penny farthing novel romance! …forgetting what she has read….if any I ask her if she wishes the normal run or deluxe tour. She claims she does not care and I explain….the normal run is she runs behind the car….the deluxe she is allowed inside hurl. She claims she will kick me in the goolies?

While walking to the car and once in it throughout the journey her responses verbal wise is always the same, however Becky repeats it as brand new. Once on the road and the Scottish top twenty belts out the vibrating g speakers she is so in her own glory, tapping her feet and singing every word with vigour. Sir Harry Lauder is a naughty boy and we are both rebel clansmen singing ‘Flower of Scotland (her favourite).Our wee joke is ‘she isn’t listening to Vera Lynn.

Once on the open road and just as striking diverse magnificence’s of the Kilpatrick hills first hits the panorama view in front of my tin lizzie the mood moves up a gear or two as the pride of our Scotland burst forth, both of us singing in our pathetic voices….but we don’t care a fig inside this travelling music booth. We have a continuous changing view of this colossal range of hills and countryside worth dying for….as most Scottish tunes embrace…along with we keep looking for A Charlie….proper or not?

Back home and served with hot tea and a marmalade sandwich (I call he Paddington bear) she is quite happy to tell Rebecca over the phone …of her outing…how long can we continue….heaven knows

It is true the wee soul has Dementia, not Alzheimer’s, though creeping inward to herself within the comfort of world of her own only opening a window, now and again, to talk of happening throughout her early life….each time slightly different depending on her mood.

Returning to my home via the hills again I play Rolling Stones, or Queen or the Blues and I know I gained more out of the whole trip….it’s a drug….


Posted by: peter.howden 6th Apr 2016, 06:13pm

Spoils of the admirable booty (1)

It was a chilly day in the fair city Glasgow, no longer classified as green but totally dry. Situated in the outskirts, the magnificent building of space emporium world centre since 2063, for the whole known galaxy and beyond due to one precious, most expensive chemical compound known to man…in its pure….solid or liquid state. This is my hub of action, as overseer the prevention of illicit facsimiles flooding the black market with the potential to curse millions upon millions both in people but more important….pecuniary stability…

Trying to imitate the world’s most profitable component …… all types of organizations desperately placing systems and loony efforts are applied trying to smuggle this of the wall Contraband… in such loony scheme was welding two steels drums and fitting in as a makeshift converted submarine, carrying with one poor bugger at the simple levers as controls ….making its way up the Clyde until discovered. The value of the concealed cargo was never disclosed… but destroyed the reluctant captain forgot he had to breath….and almost died.

This proves the depths many criminal organizations will attempt just for an idle weight of this out of reach article of trade…and I believe I have knowledge of most of those scams. Like the lady who came through the crowded space emporium, smuggling a load secreted in her wooden leg looking all washed up as she attempted to lumber, while limping with a deprotonate heavy weight….looking knackered and so completely sad at the last gate… before being caught….red handed so to speak. This amount was estimated at well over one million pounds for such a drool amount…a drop in the ocean.

A children party playing cowboys and Indians, complete with half a dozen water pistols, hiding the real McCoy throughout the firearm forced customs being recognized as mini mules ….because the little urchins never squirted their pals no matter how excited they pretended to be.

All the sophisticated scanners and machinery are at hand to detect the slightest micro out of place in luggage or transporters and raw cargo…the slightest sniff from our trained dogs will set the alarms and total scrutiny in pinpoint is not uncommon some Coffins…. with government official documents, insisting the late dead wishes were to be buried in his native city padded and lined with pliable elements illicitly chemical compounds manufactured.

Detection of false bottoms…latterly false bottoms are dressed around people’s rear ends…. but have the tell-tale signals or over-wobbly arses…no technology needed…and all for the wanting of the genuine article worth millions for just a few drops.

Since the last terrible conflict, fought with terror weapons of utter destruction, over greed as usual but blamed on principle… burst the delicate balance of earth causing geological rupture generating acid rain almost everywhere. The weather patterns change badly for most of the world but strangely Scotland and a couple of other mountainous regions escaped this punishment enabling them to collect purest rainwater far above the contaminated level….liquid gold…often frozen.

Scotland fashioned an advantage by making money from the basis of life….water …as clear as the mountain spring….Strange how the future can change….

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Apr 2016, 11:32am

Parable of the unjust Glasga judge

‘You kept annoying your neighbour’ hardheartedly quoted the judge, continuing with ‘family of eleven, whose abode was a single-end, at midnight, demanding several slices of Pan loaf no less because your company of drinking buddies wanted a piece and jam, and a couple of snout(cigarettes) when your neighbour played ‘Pan Deef’ to your outrageous request’...’Remind me...What is your plea?’. . Asked the unsympathetic judge... ‘.the court has had the patience, for three hours, listening intently to your nonsense petition!’

‘Not guilty’ came the haughty reply...God almighty....I am suing the defendant, for not being a true compassionate Glaswegian! For he knows I only eat Mother’s Pride! And I was desperate for a drag(smoke)’ The rueful magistrate harped ‘God or any other ‘Divine being’ does not have any bearing on this case .... he boomed heartlessly ...’I have a good mind to sentence you to a week in Barlinnie for wasting the courts time’

‘You canna dae that Your Lordship ....I have a allergically indisposition to all bread loafs, handmade...plain or otherwise, served in the clink’…. squawked the plaintiff...adding swiftly; ‘I’ve a doctor’s chitty!....’Christ!’ Carped the extremely inpatient magistrate; ‘The medical profession will sign off anything these days, grunted the displeasured judge.

Now; now…now may not be in my place... but you should not take his name in vain!?...I pray’, squeaked the plaintiff as the defendant nodded in agreement.

The magistrate thinking inwardly....’this is a wee twerp before me, a runt and though I fear no man or spirit, but if he carries on this will not only bother me but scuttle my already altered schedule and I can’t hang around here all day(excuse the pun). He then boomed. ‘I could find you for causing a public nuisance. But I will be off with you both before I introduce you to the turnkey....and he…for your information … does not smoke. .

The plaintiff and the cheery accused, walked arm in arm as the petitioner commented...use your loaf….it’s amazing what a little appeal can do?

Posted by: peter.howden 10th Apr 2016, 06:33pm


“Dreimire” displays a good old country hamlet feeling about its settings, and of course, when the festive season returns once more, as it seems to do each year on Christmas day, akin to any other city or town throughout the land, Dreimire will be geared to satisfy all shoppers’ whims. We have round the year poultry farms dealing with a mixture of wild birds (if you were being shot at, you would be moody) looked after by professionals dedicated to their flighty trade.

Dreimire is by no means a one horse town…certainly defiantly no Sir …we have plenty of sheep, few pigs and many a cow grazes just outside the village boundary…just out of reach of the few bullocks and a large livestock with curious antlers. The elders of Dreimire thought this magnificent beast was the true noble ‘Monarch of the glen’ until the butcher owned up it was actually him. How he manages to perform such odd actions, especially in the rutting season…. is still a mystery.

Mr Mac Dabble the practicing Veterinary (you would think he would have got the hang of it by now…would you not) approached with his every ready arm, however he had his wicked way with the cows and the bull looked rather pinkie one morning, come to think of it

There is old Angus Mc Duff our local homemade amateur Taxidermist, and what he does not know about stuffing, is not worth a poke in the eye. He has been known to stuff all sorts of birds out of season, just to keep his hand in or any tool needed. It’s the redness of the cocks from over excitements that most raw recruits cannot handle, though it don‘t seem to bother an old codger of the likes of Mac Duff.

A real trophy is blind Jock Mc Bates though he is too old to catch the birds…or hens, so he just sits there and makes flies, for the fishing, a skilled master…baiting to line his own pockets. Before losing all his sight, he would just handle the cocks before dead heading though some nasty rumours were spread around how a couple of times he missed his mark and decapitated the wrong thing, though I stress this is just naughty whispers and has no bearing on the choirs numbers on the increase… particularly male sopranos.

Jock himself has never married so I suppose this makes him no flash in the pan but a man with a lonely mac. He certainly has an uncanny knack, regardless of his sight handicap, of being able to put his fingers on any fly. Amazing.

The problems start when the volume of work, during the season, is much too much for those gentlemen, already mentioned to handle. Some part time labours are needed to be employed which can cause such problematic behaviour. There are always a larger number of applicants, wishing, above heaven and earth, to stuff any kind of bird…than is healthy available. They may be tremendously enthusiastic apprentices, exuberantly highly strung with the whole thing…. they go stuffing birds while not fussy in the least if feathered, dressed or in the pink.

This can cause great distress for the young ladies who happen to be wandering past Mr A Mac Duff’s establishment at the time. Some young mistresses have to accidentally pass some dozen or more times before being surprised by those inexperienced stuffers

The residents of “Dreimire” have not got their heads in the sand and realize the practice of the oldest profession takes place in the lure of the night when hot blooded young men…and women… seek more enticing things to satisfy their particular needs. We have Dolly the sheep tied up every second night without an “R” in it, as our mobile sex shop. Health and safety always comes first, with a notice secured in an obvious place, of the dangers of whiplash. Also a selection of blow up wellies, blow or suck to your own size, with tempting and tantalizing flavours to hid the taste of Dettol. It certainly makes the eyes water and the privates red if no the sergeants as well.

Dolly; a carbon copy of the original ‘Call sheep’ (Just whistle….all you have to do is put your lips together and blow) for their has been a few Shelia’s before and a Morag if memory serves me well, though after the high jinks of a Friday night and fish and chips plus a bottle of ‘Vimto’ then anything can happen, making you blind to trivia of who is who. The girlies are not left out for there too is a couple of candles for the ladies use…. though they blot out the time of day quite often and a way for them to get more out of it than they put in…… ‘Ambrosia Hardly Mc Deed’ keeps a red light ready for any emergency, as her shedding candle frolics came to a sticky end, and she got on all the girls wicks by sponging out time..

To our shame it has to be admitted like all towns even through the place called Europe; we have a dreadful Mc’Donald popping up all over the place….and no oats to show for it. Presentation off those horrible greasy buns…complete tell-tale signs of depravity, will be Siobhan Mac Donald (the management copied down her name wrong, for Siobhan “Lily of this valley” had always been a McDougal). No expense is spared on those satisfying fillings as all droppings are used disguised by scientific sauces.

Everyone in the Highlands will tell you that McDonald’s hoose’s… are full of shit

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Apr 2016, 10:17am


Jim stepped down from the train with a haunted memory of her, locked… burning in his confused mind beyond his control. His private letter scribed in her own hand, safe in his secret pocket. Whatever he did or thought about, or arrive, she was there melancholy his every movement. He carried a one of these new fangled things called “Image Photographic Phantasmagoria” though Jim had no need of it…while each curve and delicate feature was imprisoned in his awareness. So much so, he had little time for anything else.

Over and over he would silently scorn himself, “If only I had not miss- read the message” I would be a happy man by knowing where I stand. Recalling all events as clear as if it just happened that very moment, he felt total despair, crawling almost in the depths of depression where unwanted happenings happen.

Jim looked around to find himself at a railway crossing somewhere in the middle of a desolated wilderness. No buildings, no trees or bushes, no shelter, nought…only the rail track, stretching long distance in both directions, He had been so “Caught up” in his conclusions, disremembering any map or asking for directions before leaving…so hastily on this particular journey.

He tinkered on the idea of the Foreign Legion again ; though thought better of it as he could not stand discipline for while in that vast barren region of the land years ago, he had taken up a sort of verbal local dialect and with a few words of rusty French, pronounced near Arabic , he was able to get by but just

Jim reckoned, as his senses swirled around, his fate was to have her memory deep in his mind constantly disturbing his way of some kind of life. Back to his present position; he did notice a sign apparently pointing roughly forty-five degrees away from the rusty steel rails….though there was no obvious trail or pathway but a few footprints mishmashes into each other as if the previous footprints could not make up their minds in which direction should be taken.

As Jim slowly analysed his predicament, he could remember being told by someone or other, the locomotive only ran once a week on this particular stretch of line…. as there was no call for it.

He reasoned he would have to wait, four or five days, with no shelter or food, for it to return going in the opposite direction. He had no wish to return to were he came from, so the obvious choice would be to go forward…and as there was only one sign…no use tossing a coin …go with the faint route.

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Apr 2016, 06:06pm


Lost in his own little world by ruse from his past, Jim’s weary eyes strained to read the sign but all he could decipher was ‘his way’ no mention as far as he could make out of distance or destination. The rest was a jumbled assortment of foreign symbols while the height of noon extreme heat was approaching….fast Somewhere, from the back of his conscious, he dug from his mind, seeing movies where the desperadoes to stay by the railway lines, moving towards reputed civilization. He reasoned he could do without people… but not water…and where there a people….

In a confused state of mind due somewhat to denigration ,it make sense to a point but that was in the movies and this was real life and anyway, why has a sign pointing hazily in a direction towards the horizon if not a town, if not at worst a few dwellings. Anyway why would a train stop there if there was not a small township to serve?

Jims mind recoiled right back to why he found himself out in the desert and suddenly, her imaged face so beautifully dominated his thoughts. “I wish I had read the letter properly” he said to himself and continued “If only I had slowly read all and I would be caressing her tantalizing curves, serving her love from dust to dawn”. He cringed at his stupidity. The pen directed by malice, wounding deeper than any dagger or rapier in full strike, although a mind distorted by “miss quotes”, cause living death if not a welcoming for early demise

Back to the present he decided, with glee, he would waltz and dance his way to whatever was over the horizon and in this way he could keep his spirits high and blank the ghost of her face from surfacing while he treks. One quick look at the rickety wooden sign and though the words were well faded it defiantly said “this way”, So this way…but without a drop of precise water.

Jim tried his utmost to keep her out however it was useless as she was everywhere he may be looking. Hours passed and no nearer the horizon ,but defiantly away from the rail track, as not a sign of poles or anything could be seen as from time to time, he squinted backwards in a slight hope he would see something… anything.,

Before he had time to gather his wits it was dark, pitch black in fact but it was the cold that penetrated. All he could do was to stop and pray, wait until morning when he could review the situation. His mind would not stop brooding while his mouth and throat where bone dry…drier in fact… as is tongue had blown up to big for his swollen mouth. He dug into the sand in a unsuccessful gesture to keep warm.

Lying flat out, gazing up into the endless black with millions of prickly waving stars way above, immediately Jim drifted back to his one and only subject; Her. What actually had her letter said he could not tell as he had read it with the idea of it being a “Dear John” letter? Other outside things had confused his understanding of the true meaning but it was all too late. She had been his reason, his life and now they were both gone.

Next morning almost delirious, he stumbled as best he could upward of this huge dune of sand, there was no turning back. Reaching the top, he saw in horror just in immediate distance, four or five run down shacks complete with dust and sand filled gardens... it was obvious no one had lived there for donkeys. He squatted down on his knees, with the full force of gravity

His fingers creped to the inside pocket where the document lay and for a brief moment he lost control by preparing to open and read its contents. A few deep breaths and he retracted his thoughts, withdrew his hands position and resumed his state of mind. He woke the next morning after exercising what were once sweet dreams but now just agonizing nightmares.

His body was sore and ached on every inch of movement. Taking a swig from the reserves of water, Jim realized its contents were far lower than he thought. “Nothing else for it”; he thought as he still debated loudly into himself, as to his foolishness believing what he thought he had read, in this crucial letter, from; her…which changed his life forever

What Jim did not know was the railway sign warned any person going West there was only miles of hostile terrain to get lost in. The words were in English, so was it Jims confused mind or his obsession which had failed to get the message through.

No more water and no shelter as he felt the first bites of sheer cold creeping into his drained body. After reading the letter…again….and again, he clutched it close to his chest…so not to lose it…and in a vain delusional attempt to ward off the cold?

Jim closed his eyes! It would only complicate things otherwise … and anyway, tomorrow…Tomorrow…never comes

Posted by: peter.howden 15th Apr 2016, 11:05am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

Graham Steaming;

In one district of a mysterious metropolis, a council building stood out as a monument of Victorian public service and the tradition carried on well into the 90s. The whole establishment held a steamie, three swimming pools and huge hot baths upstairs for the working man to relax after a hard toiled day. The jewel in this establishment’s crown was the Turkish suite, ran most days by a walking bulk of a man, built like the side of a house, with hands like shovels….in short, a John Wayne stature….his non de plume; Graham

Graham was not the quickest animal in the farmyard, but was the baths answer of an ultimate weapon only to be let lose when all else failed and then you just closed your eyes and prayed. Woe betide any customer who dared to question anything to do with the service he provided or supposed to give, in a different light it was a service he deemed they should have. He had quite a phobia about the steam baths and how it may be a magnet for gay guys, which could cause a ‘Pilleurichie’ within his thinking …akin to the film actor….rather narrow minded.

Big Graham, as his wanting label was, had a moral code, and a kindness of surprising quality. Once when a regular punter had lost his wallet, unknown to himself, Graham found it just before his shift finished and decided to keep it… knowing to whom it belonged to. Rather than handing it in, which the strict regulations demanded, he drove twenty miles out of his way to return it safely to its correct owner, simply because he was an old man and the big fella liked him. Not for any reward but just for what he felt was right.

Another occasion, the gaffer of the baths came to tell Graham, how six of the local hoodlums causing a stooshie while using the swimming baths, refusing to pay even. Right at that point they were in the changing cubicles, right next to the Turkish exit to the pool. These cubicles had swing doors…. something like the ones you always see in the cowboy movies when they shoot the saloon scenes.

Graham stormed out to the poolside, with a small towel to hid his modesty…suddenly physically grabbing the first bloke who happened to be… and growled the question” have you paid”. Before the guy had a chance to answer, Graham stoatered him right square in the face. Quickly moving to the second box asking the same question… and again he left no pause for an answer and again the fellow received the same type of blow… if not harder.

By this time the rest of the wild bunch realized something was going on… the third fella, hard man or not, decided that a quick exit was in call while clinging to his hurried collected cloths, and was about to dash for it as he opened up that swing door. Graham never asked him anything…just swung straight at him without thought forcing him to land straight back inside and on the small ledge used as a seat. Joe the gaffer had been wrong, for there was seven of them and they were now behaving much below the par of the Magnificent Seven.

The remaining four beat a hasty retreat down the long passageway leading from the pool to the main door. They were in various states of dress but all were fighting mad to gallop, dropping some attire in the process and leaving it, as they raced in a gallop for the outside horizon .

Graham had more in common with that man who bore the names, Marion Michael Morrison, the three M”s, other than build. One main persona was… most people, with any kind of brain, were respectful of Graham powerfulness, if not in fear of the man, which came predominant one Friday night on one September week end.

The shop steward had just left four gaffers, two area managers and a district superintendent, the real brass law maker. The news in the building was the workers were not to be allowed to work, at treble time, during the holiday week end as was the baths tradition.

No sooner had these words spoken to Graham…he jumped into action, again with only a small towel covering his potential; he proceeded to march into the office where they all were and slam the heavy door. Some thirty seconds later he returned to the hot rooms and declared all would be working at treble time that week end… but he could not since he had other plans. This does not glorify the unstable man… just point out his uncontrollable manner and how other people saw him and behaved accordingly.

Just one final point was reputed he was accused of allegedly robbing a bank of £657,000 on his day off…as a result served 11 years of a 20 year sentence, which he strenuous and arduous, denies he was guilty, but that is another story.

Posted by: peter.howden 17th Apr 2016, 11:12am

My Chronicles 17/04/2016

The game’s a bogie

Technology today is so fascinating and bewildering to the older inhabitant of this land… especially for me…yet I reckon each era is amazed at the giant steps taken by industry and science making the previous era seemed old hat and out of fashioned at best. Walking along Hallhill Rd next to Glenduffhill Cemetery when two floating figures soared moving forward with flashing lights. Astonishingly this is the latest of the latest moving vehicle for youngsters moved by batteries. They stand astride on a platform and glide along without touching the ground….pure dead brilliant.

Immediately my mind zoomed back to the fantastic Boys comic ‘The Eagle’ and Daniel Dare…a hero typed as ‘Biggles in Space’ and he was a true McGregor. Dan Dare pilot of the future his and mankind’s green Nemesis….Mekon levitating mastermind of the treens on Venus, whose transport was in a floating gyroscope. Under the bed blankets my torch was burnt to extinction, each night after this comic was bought.

If you were lucky, and boy was I so plucked with luck, having an older brother who built a giant ‘Crystal-set’ to listen to Radio Luxembourg….where a young lad’s imagination spun to wondrous life, bring to life what the comics missed, calling out ‘Starships away’… sponsored by Horlicks…15 minutes of sheer intensity.

Although amazed, a feeling crept in of how these kids missed out on something more mentally tangible, the fun, the pure spanking pride we had as kids…making the almost indestructible ‘Bogies’ the transport the imagination never ran out. We scoured all streets, and lucky bins, searching to find anything to help its construction. Old cans to be battered flat to fix the axil and rusty screws banged in with a brick or anything coming to hand….searching high and low for the holy grail…the framework of a Churchill Pram.

A trill of trill when finished taking the (MARK1) to the steepest hill in the district and the raw pluck fed by adrenaline rushing through as we hurled down cobblestones into the unknown….challenging tramcar lines, tramcars, trolleybuses, when the home shift brakes refused to work. It is an emotion which has never left me and nothing bar nothing could compete… for this grey haired man .

The other day the fact there was a slow puncture in one tyre of the old jalopy, so I decided on Saturday morning to change the wheel. Bright and early and raring to go I prepared all tools needed and striped the boot. the car is a rather old Cleo, with winding windows and on frills with a curious apparatus to release, and drop the spare wheel onto the ground beneath. I did remember there was a knack in doing so…could I do or find that f---ing knack…no sir.

After some twenty clammy minutes I decided… to hell with this, I’ll phone ‘R.A.C’…even pay for the bloody thing. The gentleman was there in minutes and took even less time changing wheels, plus testing all tyres pressure and inspecting the oil.

He was about to leave as I asked if any forms to sign or moneys to be paid. ‘No Sir’ was is polite reply and added….We must help the older generation with their wheels!...I thought …

Come oot, come oot…Wherever you are… the game’s a bogie…the man’s in the lobby….eatin choc’lat biscuit….

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Apr 2016, 12:19pm

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

A sniff of ‘GAY BOB’ (part one)

What ever anyone imagined went on in a steamie ,or seen the excellent play by Tony Roper, just skims the surface as to what actually occurred inside a normal day of these wash house of different statue throughout major cities of Scotland. They may have had a slightly alternating service but the rules were the same all over for the operators of the machinery within all wash houses. Every one of them had a reputed skive of one thing or another. This was not taken lightly or with any degree of demand, it was a hidden social thing that few told each other.

Allegedly many may have extra bonuses called “Buckie’s”; short for buckshee, as workers recognized as legitimate…however was kept a closed secret. This was smash on its own but grew into a tidy pocket by the end of the week.

Every boiler man was either British Railways or Merchant Seamen who enjoyed wee refreshment, some more often than others. This is not meant as a criticism…only as a matter of fact. They nursed their “baby’s” through thick and thin with tenderness of an oil can that may shame the most caring mother.

The money takers (cashiers) were more often than not hard Victorians that kept a strict ship… acting as female “Mr Mannering”, of the Baths department, as unofficial controllers and straight laced moralists. There were exceptions to the rule but mainly employed way over 60years of age.

Like all places of work, there were good gaffers, working up through the ranks…and bad boss’s and right bastards. If you had a gaffer staying constantly gruff, it mattered not whither he was strict bad tempered or manners, you found a way around this with little difficulty. It was the blue handshakes quick promotion supervisors who were true bad bandits. There is no official record of this happening of but I can assure you that it did. Andy Pandy was such a manager….but that is another story

Most of the managers worked up through the ranks, even the four area superintendents, well versed in all the dodges down to a tee. If you completed what they thought was a good days work… they tended not to look too closely at anything else. Good practice or slack performances stuck out a mile, and they knew the score while having the ability to influence the workforce without insult or break anyone’s back. The troubles really started when the halls of power decided written qualifications and degrees would be the new agenda for management staff. Theory will always have stumbling blocks called practice.

One instant made up was a fellow called Cooper, constantly seeing dodges in everyone even when none were there. In simple terms…he was a prate tell tales… mostly made up, to enhance his career. Everyone had a nickname his was the ‘Brillo Pad King’. King he was not for he had not a sausage as to how to treat people or anything to do with a pool. He just saw it as a hole filled with water. He insisted everything had to be cleaned with a steel pad ?

On day Cooper demanded the workforce to wash the water level tiles with steel wool. This, as any experience attendant or decorator would know, was a disastrous thing to do as it takes off its protective surface.

The workforce refused to a man, without telling him why…so he sent the entire team home…warning them the very next morning …they would have to face the superintendent. This was to be Alec who had rose through the ranks. The next morning the whole team shuffled into the wee brown timbered office to be told all would be paid for yesterday’s shift and there was no sign of inventive Cooper who was not only was moved to a dry sports centre, he had been given a right bawlin from Alec, the superintendent .

It may seem cruel, if not a tad unhelpful, by not telling him first time around…however the man made everyone’s life a misery, reprimanding workers for the pettiest of things, so hell mend him.

Posted by: big al 22nd Apr 2016, 09:59pm

Hello Peter - once again I have read and enjoyed your stories - particularly like the games a bogie - took me right back to my childhood days - remembering the Eagle comic - one of the best.... great yarns - keep them coming


Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Apr 2016, 09:57am

Thank you Alan....The games afoot....not 12 inches

Posted by: peter.howden 25th Apr 2016, 10:06am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

A sniff of ‘GAY BOB’ (part two)

There are certain old historical buildings, dotted all over the industrial cities of Scotland, which for decades serviced the needs of its working class community where there was a lacking in amenities within their homes surrounding the Victorian structure. Most of them have gone but a few deemed treasures are still standing though used for an assortment of deals of commerce….but then again still convey precious memories for the few.

One such place today, hovers close to demise due to much needed house building in the area. Now sadly it is just a shell where once it held high esteem magnificence within the local zone. It was classed in the late 70s as only had a wash house and hot baths facilities which did not warrant a supervisor or superintendent...

Each Friday after high noon, the cunning workforce would club together buying the charge hand, a bottle of the golden. ‘Water of life’ somewhere just after lunch. He would slowly sip his tipple and mellow... ready to always finished work around three of the afternoon clock.. This left the place wide open for skives and the like…plus monies made outweighed the expense in spirit by tenfold or more for each individual.

They conducted a special service to a packed clientele, all Friday evening and Saturday mornings to do as we pleased. It was in our interest to run a good trade, acting professional ,while half the tickets sales went to the council’s purse… and the rest slipped from grace one or two times.

The invisible powers of the city assembly, due to unforeseen questionable pressure, closed the thriving premises, leaving it in tiptop working order for a month, then for a peppercorn rent of £1 per year… the whole lock, stock and barrel… to a private concern company of industrial cleaners”.

Four years later within the council’s head office, an enquiry about a coal bill brought more to light than they dared to contemplate. It turns out they were still paying all the fuel bills (including thousands of tons of coal) and electricity to boot. They were sending engineers and technicians and tradesmen, free of charge, to keep the place running, including having the whole gigantic building painted,..twice.

When the realized the error committed they organized a bill for past services given. Rumours spread like wildfire giving some individual time to cover their tracks…and that same very one day, the privateer sold all the machines and every scrap of copper and lead (a considerable amount in a building of the Victorian pattern), duped someone else into renting the lease and “done a runner”

No one was brought to task for such shenanigans

Now that was a buckie!

Posted by: peter.howden 1st May 2016, 11:39am

anecdotes from the auld Steamie

A sniff of ‘GAY BOB’ (part three)

‘I disapprove what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ supposedly a quote from the late Frenchman ‘Voltaire’ who, or is it whom, despised martyrdom however this may be a burden his memory will have to endure. It is now claimed, these words were not uttered by him but a liberty taken by putting this deliverance into his mouth by one of his many biographers. Could this prove history is more than just unjustly? …but a tableau of crimes and misfortunes, shadowed with untrue misquotes. The following lines are as near the truth as stories can be.

Throughout many metropolises in Scotland, community service buildings housing ‘Steamies’, worked roughly the same way. Nicknames were commonplace, to be used for adolescent game-man-ship but mainly to confuse management. In the 80s; one such nom de plume was ‘Gay Bob’ an employee working as a pool attendant, who’s lack of personal hygiene was way beyond bowfin or approach without the boak… concluding with his far off stretched stories. Where they came from is a mystery and why he stretched them was suspect, however it was though it was a clutch to be accepted by his peers.

Whiffy Gay Bob always had achieved whatever was being talked about…not only so but completed better and distinguished beyond approach.

It was joked at the time I knew him well, because of his features weighed, 25 stones some may say jokingly, or even quote, he could be used as emergency plunger for emptying of the public pool by just dropping him from the upstairs balcony. This was rather cruel for he could have hurt himself by doing such a thing… though the theory was never delivered to the test

On attendant Captain Kirk was talking about doing a parachute jump for charity and the usual wise cracks were being spun around and perchance some admiration was oozing from his comrades. It may be conceivably the reason which turned Gay Bob’s mind to introduce his supposed experience on the subject. His primer was Hand gliding which excited the very pours, creating the wonderful feeling of freedom gained by this much misunderstood sport.

Being the porky size he was did not alter his creative outline of the trills of silent flight. It had escaped his attention that perhaps his size may bar him from such a physical and elite endeavour. He seemingly truly supposed the audience all swallowed every word he uttered however he certainly a expert about sweating and pours, due to his proportion and aroma.

He continued to relate this fantastic tale by adding he spotted his father’s car in the private parking, lodged at the edge of these devil dare activities. Catching Gay Bob’s eye or so he wanted us to believe, was not the colour or indeed the model but he had managed to read the licence plate while soaring over the hills and fields.

Another illustrious feature of this family car was, he and his brother had installed a aeroplane’s Rolls Royce engine under its tattered bonnet. He further claimed they never used the full throttle or released the engines true potential in fear they could not control the outcome.

Scarcely giving time for a fresh air gulp, he leaped into his adventure of a jump into the unknown, for charity. It was not from a plane but from a balloon. They needed breathing apparatus long before the jumped due to the fantastic height this silent glider achieved. The length or timing for the decent, Gay Bob could not relate… but he knew it was close to a world record. Precisely where or when this marvellous feat took place was also unclear but you can certainly rest on my word. So Gay Bob quoted.

He was unable to control himself just a fibber never showing a beamer while taking great joy in relating his tale ‘Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities have the power to make you commit injustices’ is a genuine quote (near enough) from ‘Voltaire’ famous French philosopher, so just maybe this tale is an injustice on ‘Gay Bob’.

Shangri la can be possible……if you believe …all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds….but Voltaire did not whiff the honkin of ‘Gay Bob’

Explanation to follow in the next chapter

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd May 2016, 06:26am


It all started innocently enough with an simple itch…one of those kinds you can’t put your finger on but even when you think you have achieved its location…it’s never seems to be satisfied with just rubbing. Where it was I can’t or won’t recall or release but just say it was a private irritation in the region of my bahookie.

The problem was basically it was in a place where it would be deemed impolite, certainly raise eyebrows of the company present, to scratch in public. Right from the beginning, I could sit down, be reasonably satisfied attempting to rub my limbs together as I crossed my legs from one side to the other.

The problem escalated because the lasting time of satisfaction diminished rather quickly, forcing me to a corner or a toilet to have hidden buffs…which I have to admit…not only became pleasurable but pure delight almost ecstasy …my mistress yeukie craving relief. One day walking past a mirror I noticed I was clawing myself rather vulgarly…I had no idea until that shocking moment.

The real problems started when simple rubbing, had no effect, losing its release from the itching sensation and harsher scratching took over as I dug my fingernails into the raw area …increasing in force as time marched on. The fervid and become painful as I noticed blood oozing from under my nails as I feverishly attempted to be released from what was now…way past human endurance.

Now becoming desperate at night, for this was the unconscious time in bed when self-inflicted damage to my body multiplied. I placed men’s mittens on my hands but the fell off easily, moving to leather gloves but again they failed to stop the now frantic clawing and tearing at the large open wound bearing my inners. The pain now reached unbearable when I came to the conclusion I would have to stop or it would be the end of me….slayed by itching.

I tried drugs and booze but still my unconscious mind persisted to shred my inner workings until out of sheer desperation I tied my hands to the brass headrails of our Victorian bed.

Awakening the next morning to a sweet smell in the air… then in horror…discovering blood spread right across the eiderdown and sheets of putrid sticky red…with one hand spontaneously clawing inside my body. Around my free wrist I witnessed bare bone holding my moving hand ….somehow I had managed to grind the rope freeing it from its holdings.

Here in hospital, I am restrained from moving my arms even an inch or centimetre, heavily sedated to avoid sensing excruciating agony, little left inside, as the doctors and professors and ‘Mr’s’… hold no hope because of the damaged self-afflicted…a small tear of disbelief falls from my eye…behind my lug…. Going doon the brae…feared with the knowledge….all due to the scratch of death

Posted by: peter.howden 6th May 2016, 09:50am

My Chronicles 06/05/2016

There is something extra special about having a garden, a small treasure of land, just a step away, opens up a fantastic wonderland of nature, displaying how the changing of the seasons just blows the notion of it all…to rattle around the mind. Although Glasgow is well kent as the ‘Green City’ with such a varied abundance of public parks and the like…not everyone can have a garden. I do appreciate exactly how…‘She who must be obeyed’ and I are among the lucky ones.

There is no way I could ever be classified as a dedicated gardener, landscape or otherwise green fingered; (unless they have been somewhere they are not supposed to be located…the mind boggles)) but a tree stretching, a flower, blooming, a bush budding… or just the tenacity of grass and so called weed family, just mystifies my very existence. We take so much for granted how one clod of earth holds a phenomenon undiscovered mini universe just makes my brain curious, of the utter complexity, in what way simple communication levels transfer across the entire cosmos…not only but especially when the sun shines in its glory.

The future of the world has swiftly unexpectedly caught up with myself and society…taking no prisoners or any chance of retribution. Adjacent to Glasgow City Chambers I had to park next to John St, to pay my council tax…like all good citizens. Parking the old jalopy I looked and found a parking metre. Unfortunately it would not accept coins of the realm, stating plainly, ‘only mobile phone use’. Obviously I had missed the directive stating the centre of Glasgow is now only in ‘mobile use’… but hey I still think switching on a computer is an achievement…and what the hell is an app….bad communication.

One day, not so long ago I dared to purchase a wooden cased Digit radio through the internet. My prized possession, given to me by Toni and Fergus many years ago had deceased, and this was to be a replacement. Arriving safely and causing something of an inner excitement for the electrical item would allow the stations of the world to be heard, right in the privacy of our home…? I looked for the instruction leaflet how to connect to the world…the guidelines where there…but only in the German language …unreadable communications

Our communication with wee Aunt Becky is now very limited as her concentration is slipping gradually unable to remember anything that has been said just after a minute or two. Becky can answer the phone but has forgotten how to phone us…even with it being one button to press. She is surrounded by book but the reality is she is lost in a circle of daily routine happenings, stating things exactly as they were said the day before. Just once in a while there is a fleeting glimpse of the old Aunt Becky, which has a curious affect when it happens….in-between joy and sadness…jagged communication.

Last night visiting the Barlanark church because a induction ceremony was to take place with various precious ministers taking part. One such preacher was David Locke…a past pastor and a very likable man…to meet the man was my primary reason for attending.

I am not a religious person though in early years I did attend church and actually became a Sunday school teacher…The ceremony was interesting and the peoples were welcoming after the private event ending with a few minutes taking to David…As for hearing the lord…lost communication

Posted by: peter.howden 7th May 2016, 05:28pm

Desperate … ‘The Giro’;

What the hell can I do now…. guess putting the kettle on is better than nothing? All the good it will do with my pathetic teabag The trouble is the tea bag losses its strength after 5 or 6 times in use, even if you use the toffy ones that came in that fancy box, I won in a wee competition run in the community hall…it’s the last teabag Let me see now; it must have been all of 240 minutes since my last brew!.

It was not really a competition, no one competed but there were some thirty odd blokes down at the soup mission just under the Midland Bridge and the Sally Ann were running a Seasonal fair.
A couple of extra songs of Jesus saves, gave the usual bread and soup with extras and Christmas came early for the organizers whose true title is 'Christian Mission to the Heathen of our Own Country'; and are now worldwide… a far cry from the tent in Whitechapel.

Anyway; the classy tea bag left is well drained of flavour and there isn’t anything I can do. Wish I hadn’t given up smoking? At least I could have a drag from last week’s dowt. There must be a butt end under the bed perhaps for I can’t have taken all my doubts to Jesus. It stands to reason after a lifetime of mine I could not remember all the bad that I’ve done. I’ve managed a few good things though I don’t think it will balance the scales of existence in the afterlife. Wonder who is right but the only question is……….. Who’s wrong?

There is bugger else to do as I’ve checked the post four time. A pathetic waste of time for the Giro is not due until next week. Bugger all real snout…some minute flakes left in my jacket pocket are fine but too few. If I dry out the old teabags; and mix it with the shag of my pocket it’s a smoke at least; of sorts …… calm my nerves……………..they must be near the top of the bin?

It’s bloody cold in here…maybe hit the sack. Tried to fix the electric meter… nearly blew my arm off… sent me clear across the room……..lucky I have little furniture….sold it for the comfort of booze. Wouldn’t mind a slug electric soup…….or anything but I’m no alcoholic…..could give it up…….anytime….but what for?

Where the hell is the sleeping bag I got from somewhere or other, keeps out the drafts but it don’t protect me from those thugs if they, or when they decide to break in again and give me a tanking…I could not go to hospital for I had no clean underwear. My mother taught me that?; she was always on at me every time I went out… Wonder what day it is?

I nearly missed my giro because of these bastards... their stronger, and younger than me. I must be there when it’s delivered because they stole my last one. I’m their mark. They nicked my radio, the one I used to pawn when I was desperate and I am f---ing desperate now, but these bamsicks have my radio. The new-fangled pawn shops won’t take it anymore anyway; beneath their price range of something. Didn’t work but it looked good….fooled them.

What is that stramash in the stairway, these hooligans at the door again…no wait a minute………….they are kicking the living hell out of the man down stairs cat ……..they’ll get bored…..they stole my last cheque but I cannot prove it and I don’t think I want to…………..I won’t tell; no I will not shop but I can’t take it no more……………I’m shittin myself?


Posted by: peter.howden 13th May 2016, 09:20am

A sniff of ‘GAY BOB’ (part four )

Due to storm damage, many homes were wrecked when roofs were torn off like mere cardboard, leaving the occupants and there worldly goods to the mercy of constant wicked weather. Industrial metropolises realized how multitude of households, in different degrees; had severe filthy water damaged or near completely washed out. The powers to be decided; ‘Auld Steamies’ were ideally situated to dry out hundreds of carpets. For some weeks the wash-house buildings were closed for public business… endeavouring to save tenants property…a honest but futile effort…

Now; within one such establishment, Gay Bob was employed storing constant shipments of saturated carpeting as whole team had long 12 hour shifts to try and clear the back log. The main problem was simply most were not only drenched but starting to ‘reek pure boggin’ up the nostrils as quickly the place became one massive pong. .

While this emergency was going on and although it was heavy disgusting work, the actual labour intense time was small. Even with the Steamies massive cloths horses, there was limited space to hang the flooring coverings, so when all that could be done, was done, the workers rested for as long as it took for the rugs and things to be reasonably dry. Not putting a mercenary tinge on the crisis… but the workers were not working due to humanitarian reasons…it was for triple time and wages they could only dream existed

Working some 14 hours right through the night, that shift stopped at 6 of the morning. Striping all their manky cloths worn while working in boggin conditions, then near boiled them separate hot washes, while meantime have a hot bath, followed by a nude swim. A mug of hot something, it was time to head for home and a quick shut eye then start all over again.

Not gay bob.
He would wear the same clothing for working in as he came in with and all the time working in mawkit conditions…he never volunteered to change his clothing. Not only that he had a hot bath then put back the attire he wore that night. In other words he was manky.

There is a high chair in most swimming pool areas, used to observe and oversee the punters in the pool. Because of the fumes from the chemicals in the pool, anyone sitting there can only officially last 20 minutes. The staff would refuse to sit in the overseer seat, not because of the fumes but for the meek reason ‘Gay Bob’ had just come off that very seat. If you have seen the drawn character in ‘Peanuts’ with dust always following him, then you will get the picture. ‘Gay Bob’ not only just whiffed…he internally stank to high heavens.

More dirt to follow …then Andy Pandy

Posted by: peter.howden 18th May 2016, 02:09pm

My Chronicles 17/05/2016

Having not travelled far from Scotland but whenever I gain the chance…I’m goggled-eyed with some spectacular views and panoramic scenes, bending my appreciation of the terrain, followed by the customs of the country I’m in, surrounded with pleasing peoples of generosity way beyond expectations. Many of my associates, friends, have explored a vast number of countries, with a couple of pals even more, with one such friend travels as a way of occupation in life…truly endlessly exhaustingly working all hours on or of these boundless plane journeys jetting around the globe

Some outsiders looking in, may call him a modern-day ‘Mercury’ but he is more like ‘Hermes’….having winged sandals permitting him to travel the four corners of the earth, allows the prospect to take different breaths of air and fragrances in diverse countries and continents as if second nature. What often amazes me is how ignorant we Scots are of our own country and how ruggedly diverse and utterly stunning it is….second best to none.

Then there are the Kilpatrick hills …a class of wonder of their own. As if shaped from the very first spark of life itself, pretty close being 340 million years of proudly upended, undeniably outstanding geologically as a a silent wonder of the world… overseen by Duncolm the soundless heart beating though the prehistoric hill.

Every time Aunt Becky and I, are enjoying our special hurl in the old jalopy, guided by the A 81… a sudden turn 90 degrees…now we are facing the magic enormous hills head on, as if they were ordered to look so alluringly symbolic of the auld clans. Instantly I had the emotion to grab hold of a highlander’s trusty Claymore…a Target as my chosen shield, and the black Biodag in reserve, independently rebellious to keep the hills forever for our nation.

With two loud plays of ‘Flower of Scotland’ blaring away through the speakers of my banger…may have been a starter for ten….

I cruised my automobile to the motor hospital in Shotts, to be left in capable ace mechanics hands with the ability to cured various problems, probably suffering from my bad driving…all I knew was the operating was to last some 4 hours….or even more if complication arose.

Filling in the vacant time by catching the local bus to Hamilton… (Gateway to somewhere) to see the area in comfort. Traveling past hamlets I had no knowledge existed, plus being amazed with each turn of the road, the range of pleasant roving fields alongside wooded gullies filled with mysterious bits and pieces. Surprise after surprise followed my voyage by coach, trying to grab each bit of the rural picture I could, the hour or so travelling past so quickly.

Arriving at the destination planned, I can’t say Hamilton is the ‘source of the universe’ or indeed anywhere near… It lacks the quaintness of surrounding homesteads. But I sympathize because…like all small towns around Scotland had to contend with hugh superstores. Now all cities, towns, villages and hamlets shops, battling with hidden forces willing and wanting drastic ways of spending called… ‘The Internet’….with theoretical free delivery.

The journey back to Shotts, being jam-packed with interest abundant, almost made the excursion a joy. However; anxiously treading the path towards the garage was unmeasurable, as my mind raced ahead hoping no hidden chronic damage was discovered while the doctor mechanic was under the bonnet…and the car would have to stay in for further tests.

Joy of joys as I saw old faithful outside in the sunlight…sparkling. To the hospital garage, I gave out a few precious pennies… worth it for the confidence given seeing the car shinning and quietly parked there…waiting for his partner.

P.S. Shotts was worldwide known for its Iron Ore which nearly every country bought …just a footnote as well….it’s the home of 2015 world champion pipe band…Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia pipe band

Posted by: peter.howden 20th May 2016, 12:04am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie..

A sniff of ‘GAY BOB’ (part five )….this tale might be deemed slightly naughty…

Being employed in such an establishment, it beggars belief the reasoning behind ‘Gay Bob’ having such a disgusting aroma which totally baffled the staff…other than Gay Bob’s nose was above being able to trace such fragrances. Then this would explain his girlfriend who also whiffed a bit…but not so much. She was also rumoured to be quite carefree with her enchantments.

One particular day the couple had just finished swimming when he informed her it was imperative to hurry as he had an appointment he must keep.

‘Gay Bob’ moved inside the swinging door of one of the cubicles around the pool. His girlfriend hurried up the stairs, supposedly to be doing the same thing. Captain Kirk, (a nickname) was hosing down the balcony just prior her appearance. Gay Bob was calling up affectionately, that he was ready to go. His lady was calling back down how she was not quite there yet. All the time Captain Kirk was helping himself to her attractions, as he was behind her, doing an impression of a dog…with little concern of hygiene.

She always insisted to poor Gay Bob, how she was saving herself for him, so if that was the case, what part was she saving while Captain Kirk was testing the waters. Captain Kirk was so named because he boldly went where no man had gone before…quite apt on this occasion. Gab Bob repeatedly called out with anxiousness while she kept replying breathlessly …’I’m hurrying….I’m coming!’ with authenticity in her voice.

A couple of months just before Christmas, ‘Gay Bob’ as his now fiancée what would she like for Christmas. A Ghetto-blaster was the smart answer…so he took out a provident loan to purchase a boom blaster. Two days before the big day She informed him that her sacred locker in the Co-op where she worked was broken into and all her presents for him…had been stolen.

Reassuring on her honour, she would not falter until she had bought replacements for her dear fiancée (whiff included) before the bewitching hour. On the magic morning ‘Gay Bob’ gave her the prized Ghetto-blaster so wantonly…she presented to him a small parcel. He opened it with glee …then struck dumb… realized she had bought three blank cassette tapes she could use on the ghetto-blaster.

Before the night of the bells, she tearfully dumped ‘Gay Bob’…saying…she could not put her finger on it but something coming between them…and ‘Gay Bob’ was left mournfully with the provident payments

Posted by: peter.howden 23rd May 2016, 11:22am


Sitting on the highest sand dune of the beach, appreciating the moon, whose silver performance could not be outdone that night, shining on the soft sway of the sea, relaxing almost enchanting. Decided to light up a cigarette then take a small swig from Uncle David’s silver flask. The flask always reminded me of this basic simple man who I missed his company on so many an occasion.

Just as I was about taking a whiff from the cigarette, an resonant voice of non-other than ‘Peewee’, the mystical, magical first pigeon of George square, peeped around one or another sand dune, all of which separating Saltcoats from Stevenson.

The strange thing about ‘Peewee’, apart from seemingly only talking to me, was he always holidayed at Saltcoats almost exactly at the same time my family decided to have such a break.

Now all my family knew about this amazing air acrobatic loaded with special powers, unsuccessfully my children continuously looked for the esoteric feathered ‘Peewee’… disappointed is not the word may I add. Yet while I was alone with the strength of “The Water of Life” he popped up with consistent regularity. Strange though it may be… you can’t argue with the spirits.

Peewee strutted nearer though kept his beak on his coupon, as far away from the smoke his frame would allow, uttering “you do know’ said he; ‘Glassford Street, Buchanan Street, Virginia Street, Jamaica Street, all the city of Glasgow, all are named after either tobacco merchants or the colonies,” he chirped in a tone of disapproval. He hastily carried on while his tone fell further…“but they should have all stood for Slavery, as in the centre of our beloved city there are monuments of this frightful trade still standing”.

He twisted his head as some times when on his high horse, he customary did, and then continued in coldly deliberate nature… ‘Glasgow is not alone, by any means, in hiding its shady past, deemed at the time good trading; by a former three times Lord Provost Andrew Cochran who should have known better and I tried intensely to advice against it’ I was thunderstruck by his manner, so much so I took another slug from the welcome flask

Staring directly into my moon struck eyes he professed ‘It is hard to tell when the sniff of profits heavily outweighs the prick of conscious but when it does all man made paths lead to sainthood. The triangle was set…with goods out to Africa; slaves to the colonials, tobacco and the like to Glasgow.

The tale gathers memento in part two

Posted by: peter.howden 24th May 2016, 02:46pm


Standing almost in a regal pose ‘Peewee’ firmly continued, not in a rant but as official information; “In the whole of the 18th century fewer than five slave ships sailed from Glasgow however, although black slaves were never auctioned there, Glasgow benefited immensely from the slave trade. Peewee spoke with regret when adding “James Buchanan was a strict religious Provost and I felt he would act when I displayed the folly of such an action but he stooped like all the other sheep and soon the banks of the city were controlled by the tobacco… then cotton”.

Seemingly not even taking a well-earned breath, ‘Peewee’ carried on; “None of these colonial merchants traded exclusively in tobacco, expanding through sailing winds of the triangle. Land was a good tangible investment, also conferred social status and power. Minerals in the merchants' land were exploited--coalfields existed throughout the Glasgow area. By the 1790s the colonial merchant James Dunlop was the most powerful coal master in the west of Scotland”.

I was feeling quite oozy with either the facts as they were being laid down or the fresh sea air surrounding my alcohol and smoky breath, doubling its affect, but still had sense to protest the following “Surely Peewee” I said trying to appear astute, “Surely you recognize the whole of British economy depended on such evil trade and Glasgow could not really interfere”.

“Certainly not” boomed the imposing bird; “After all… the Scots had been made slaves in all but in name by England…we should have been more compassionate defending all peoples rights till but a hundred of us were able” “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom for that alone ,which no honest man gives up but with life itself

Slavery had existed long before, but, by integrating it into the new capitalist mode of production, Glasgow and its chambers was to raise it to new heights of obscenity. To justify this modern form of slavery a whole new racist ideology of white supremacy was developed and expanded…which sadly still lives today.

The slave trade was abolished in 1807 causing the Glasgow slave trading firm for Alexander Grant & Co to go bankrupt. Slavery continued in the British empire until 1833, whereupon the slave owners were compensated with £20 million. The slaves themselves were generously and graciously compensated with a further six years indentured servitude.

“If these Gentlemen had helped their fellow man or tried sincerely to bridge the gap of poverty” hissed Peewee with a twisting his beak in repugnance “Or had heeded the ‘Decoration of Arbroath’, then the common good would have prevailed but?” and Peewee suddenly ended his spiel there…slipping away into the blackness though I thought for a moment I could hear a echoed stifled whimper.

I put out my cigarette… almost immediately…and recapped Uncle David’s silver flask….

Posted by: peter.howden 29th May 2016, 07:31pm

anecdotes from the auld Steamie

Andy Pandy. The live wire

In a certain mighty hall of the washhouse, stood ‘Andy Pandy’ (so called for you could pull his strings by being derogative about Rangers…example; ‘I hear Ranger’s did the lap of honour…they won the toss!’) who was not just another, pain in the arse gaffer, he had come into service via the blue hand shake. His pompous boast, to his Superintendent…’no buckie was done on my shift!’ to which the senior boss, who had worked his way up and rose through the ranks of the workforce…just shook his head…and muttered to himself.

The thing was… almost any among the labour force could do just that, right under his nose, even ask him to watch the washing and he was oblivious to the monkey taking. The trouble was that he thought by shopping workers by the lorry full.... he would increase his chances at promotion. If you were a minute late he would dock you or if you bent the rules or did not ask for permission for something, he would report it. His worse habit was being there all the time, as insecure people tend to do; his real nickname was ‘night & day’….but certain peoples still refered to him as ‘Andy Pandy…it suited him.

The work carried on down at the steamie/swimming baths, famous for the overalls from the docks. The state of the gear, carpets and mats and bedding was deplorable yet it was deemed the best thing to do after the great flood of the year. No matter if we managed to dry such items of tenants’ homes…the stink would not shift. Everyone in the building, including gaffers felt it would have been more charitable to give a one off payment…and dump the stuff. Yet we were under orders working twelve hours a day and many a times plus.

We were attempting to dry soaked carpets of the victims of this disaster. There were hundreds of different shape and quality carpets waiting to be dealt with. The longer they lay about the more rancid they became and before this contract were finished, the last carpets had been lying around fermenting for seven weeks and the pong was awful. One night as Benny (nickname from Crossroads) was struggling pulling up a big carpet on his own, over the high railings of the boiler.

Arrogant Andy Pandy, as usual, giving senseless orders and direction, while underneath the railing next to the horse dryers. Benny thought Andy was giving him jib… so he leaned over and was sick all over him.

Benny…though usually slow, was quick with genuineness, quite innocently blamed the pungent stink from the carpet giving him an uncontrollable feeling of the bile…forcing him to vomit…

‘Andy Pandy’ near in a rage with his suit covered in the vile mixture… but he had no choice to accept this as true. If you can fake sincerity …you’re made. Benny confessed later, in the safety of the staff’s bothy….’I made no effort to stop it. He just gave me “The boak!”

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Jun 2016, 11:28am

My Chronicles 02/06/2016;

Two special events happened in the past few but for vastly different reasons and results.

The first indeed was my regular social call to ‘Burn’s country’ Ayr, for slight refreshment,(known in Glasga banter as ‘a swally’) with my China Mr Jim Hendry’…Jim has a photographic memory of political outcomes over the last 6 decades, easily quotes from obscure political statements labour has ever produced. Being under the false allusion I am of royal S.N.P stock which leads to rowdy debates, but in truth I feel all politicians(bar a few extraordinary exceptions) are on a level where common sense and their rhetoric seldom meet….then again thither does mine.

I treasure these visits via letting the train take the strain and as a means to talk a lot of bollocks, debating a load of nonsense, other than government related, but be secure in the knowledge nothing but laughter will echo around hidden beer barrels raising up amongst the auld rafters of ‘Thee Auld Church’ behind Fort St… in Sandgate….now flowing spirits and giving rests to the weary traveller… “Slàinte mhath” Weatherspoon’s.

She who must be obeyed’ took wee Aunt Becky travelling down to Saltcoats, an annual occasion made possible by Salty, my merchant seaman brother-in-Law, who now owns Thee comfortable all mod cons chateau down at Sandylands. It is more than likely this will be a swan song as poor Becky can’t recall day to day happenings via her Dementia taking a further grip in her confused mind. Most moments or visitors, who come to her home, slip into a vacuum…nevertheless she is a cheery person, seemingly comfortably locked in her secret thoughts. It was obvious she enjoyed the trip and the change of scenery though quite a hard undertaking for Rebecca.

As a family; we did have vocation down in ‘Dynamite way’ in Stevenson, then Sandylands Saltcoats while David was away at sea. With limited funds it was a grand boost. Over the years still sends sentimental feeling flowing easily through both eyes and mind while we walk along Hamilton St and the likes, with the amusement arcade still at the corner from all these years back while strolling we peek and poke to see changes and attempt to recall what was there before.

One thing that is always there is the voice’s ghost(Nancy…my mother-in-law with a loud vocal sound, Becky’s rival sister)Nancy came almost every holiday we had in both towns and we see, in a distance, walking replicas almost daily but find another wee woman when we come close. Nancy smoked the great wee fag called ‘woodbine’ all her life which gave her a irritating coach. She would rise every morning, almost at dawn, with the first thing she did was take a drag of a fag…then cough her lungs up (well it sounded so). I do miss her and if I concentrate…I still hear that cough.

Yesterday I came in very early to Glasgow, to attend an S.F.H.A. Conference, meeting old friends. The reason for being early was simply to grab a parking space close to the Hilton hotel…an area chock a block with automobiles by commuters. To pass the time a wee lazy stroll around the city centre was on order. The building work being erected was amazing which must add esteem to Glasgow and Glaswegians, the new surround by familiar buildings used for all sorts of activities away from the norm…rock on Glasgow…you have a right to be proud

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Jun 2016, 11:55am

Dance Date

She oozed with charisma, amply supplied with serenity, bearing a little girl innocence atmosphere though you sensed a hidden natural fertility in her walk and movements , complete with generous elegance of a swan, languorously circumnavigating a peaceful pond, as she glided around the dance hall for slightly more mature people than her appearance gave. She had such inner beauty radiating her perfectly trim frame, holding a flashing smile which could dim the spot lights…often focused on her. In other words she was the bell of any ball, thee humdinger honey Queen Bee.

He looked on so enviously of her privileged partner as they cascaded, whirling and swirled effortlessly with refinement, almost poetry in motion. Since joining the club several weeks ago, his aching heart pinned for the only lady he had sought with such passionately desire, but because lacking of dancing technique, he was regulated to being a solitary wallflower, second class. He had asked her once, if he take her hand and accompany her to the dance floor. With polite distaste, she motioned to her dance card and without a word spoken, dismissed him outright.

Deciding this would not happen again the next time he entered the mixed crowded hall, he would have mastered the waltz, which up to now deluded his efforts but, on his return, would equally enhance her performance. ‘The one problem you have’ said the small French dancing instructor he was paying a small fortune to teaching him the rudiments, ‘is your un-natural rhythm and your two left feet, if I’m being blunt…Désolé honnête’. The eager student face collapsed as he could feel his dream disappear with those short sharp words. Just as instant hopelessness took hold his wee tutor came up with a strategy, more for the money than for the pupil.

He stated gingerly; ‘acting in accord of an army ‘Percer le sergent (drill sergeant),we will concentrate and I will drill you night and day until instinctively you can perform in your sleep exactly as taught this waltz’ adding a curiously note ‘Now remember…this will be the only steps you can do imitating a dance’.

For ten solid days nearly without sleep, denying sustenance, he devoted the hours god gave to this one goal. Perspiration flowed freely while bones and muscles throbbing persistently, with utter fatigue being the cost …but he knew it would be worth every second, just to be able to have her arms around him.

Torturously it carried on without a break, until at last his waltz footwork would be parable to the all-time great Scottish debonair man-about-town …’Jack Buchannan. Victory was within his grasp, appearing as if by magic, dressed in top hat and tails with the all-important white gloves, elegance personified, to the utter astonishment of the throng of the hall. Before the very first note of music was struck, he slid across the empty floor, bowed in front of his exquisite quarry. Uttering the very words he had dreamed and pinned for the confidence for so long, ‘Can I have the honour to escort you to the dance floor for the first waltz’.

Abruptly, he sensed uneasiness coming from the immediate company, as usual surrounding the lady, who gazed surprised at first…but showed shadows of near contempt posturing from her lips before she spoke. ‘Are you an ignoramus imbecile dressed up Jessie?’ she bawled out as if intending for all to hear. She followed with a verbal spear penetrating his innocent heart; ‘This is the Latin season and the Buenos Aires Tango is the dance we dance!’

She could have been kinder but her true nature surfaced for all to witness.

To seek his own made heaven , he reached for the stars… then came crashing back to the bare earth………………………he crept away in silence though some say they heard………tear-jerking pitiful sobbing.

Posted by: peter.howden 9th Jun 2016, 12:39pm

Dreimire 3;

A new service has been created, for ‘Dreimire’ the jewel village, a mirage seen through the smizzle midst enhancing the true heather. Our village have a progressive attitude but on this occasion was forced to dismantle the scheme which would have proved to be popular with the inhabitants… nonetheless… due over zealous enthusiasm having spilled the oats.

The innovative ‘Home Delivery’, was taken literary by R U Mac Deed and his three wee pals “Tam (the Bam) and Elk (because he’s always in a rut) and Calum who all had just finished school. They had being given job experience, by the very fine local Co-Op, renowned for their over generous “Divvy” throughout the year. Three addresses had been issued before the Manager Divvy McCallum…no relationship to young Calum (who has one “L” missing) no Nepotism allowed in the mighty Co-operation halls).

Unfortunately, certainly due to a communications breakdown because the three lads had been remembering the last history lesson in school which was the fall of Troy… sort of listened to the instructions from ‘Divvy’… the three were reacting the history by means of wooden swords …Tam as Hektor, Elk as Achilles, the ancient warriors… there was still a gap of knowledge… All instructions waved over the keen helpers who took the phrase ‘Home delivery’ literary and set to work like the heroes of the mystic past while delivering the foods of the Gods… hence the spilled gruel from the black cooking pot…over steps, gardens, hallway doors and the like

Like any up and coming village, there are choices where or what to eat, either local delicacy of a starter Bawd or Partan Bree …followed with potatoes and herrings, rarely smoked cooked to save on fuel. Another option is clapshot…with extra turnip…or the exclusive Clootie Dumplings, not only for Christmas The good old standby of thick texture porridge, being served from the drawer, having its roots at home…so it is not profitable to compete with every mother and granny in the valley The woodlice makes a pleasant find and as far as I am led to believe, very nourishing (whatever this means?)

Two doors down from the red light district, there is a first class outsider’s restaurant in the centre square of the village, which perhaps I have mentioned before but good publicity can do no harm. They serve this new-fangled Spaghetti Bolognese, where believe it or not, there is no need for oat meal. Hard to believe, I ken but it is so. The meal takes a long time to prepare. The bolognaise (I’m not acquainted with the spelling) is fast food and all in half a sheep’s clipping but the spaghetti takes patience and time

In the kitchen ‘A Wally’… the Cook was trained in some big cosmopolitan city of Glasgow, and by a person with a rare sense of humour. He asked his tutor, the best way to cook this fangled spaghetti while his master took a strand of this Italian passion food, dipped it into boiling water, for four and a half minutes and drain. The trainee cook was asked to follow precisely. From then on he has done exactly as demonstrated. The problem is dipping them one at a time; it takes 6 and half hours for each meal. No one has dared to ask for a rice based meal…….

Within this fine diner, be prepared to sample a liquid nectar out of this world…crushed by feet as the Ancient Greeks preformed. Dreimire being up to date with hygiene and health regulations… the workers ware wellies to perform the ritual. The wellies are supplied by a farmer in the neighbourhood who assures all and sundry they are washed after milking and before handing them over to the crushes.

The leading fathers of the village do realize a danger we may be flaunting Euro regulations because the grapes are bought at the local shop.

Dreimire are privileged to have a onetime Benedictine monk whose abbey was at the bend of the River Dart in Devon. There are vicious if not scandalous rumours that he was de-frocked for unbelieved happenings amongst the barrels store there in the vaults…. but these are based on tittle-tattle …and the Deans of our village believe his special knowledge will only help to buck up sales…fast

Posted by: peter.howden 12th Jun 2016, 12:09pm

My Chronicles 12/06/2016;

In my opinion every millennium, century, decade, and year are unique in bringing on the “In” things to be, while from the very start of a new phenomenon, we struggle to be part of that ‘In’ thing. For each time… a new sensation takes place there are those deemed to be with-it and those who are not and strangely it is usually the elderly of our household or communities society. Do I recognize this more so now age is hastily taking over my functions of life…or somehow I’m more observant …I doubt the later.

When I was reputed to be young… almost every Tom, Dick, and Harry wished to be non-conformists, clearly to be different…yet all the same rushing out buying, by fair means or foul, exactly the same attire as their mates… from head to toe…. not to be so was old hat… to be not the same was bohemian….avant-garde. The true purpose of such informal artier being chic in ice blue jeans … Levis or my preference Wranglers…serves as a symbol of rebelling for each decade I can understand because it’s the animal pack instinct in our D.N.A genes…for survival.

The current dominating world overtaking marvel, or should I say absolute wonder…is the computer and internet, receivers of this now can fit into the size of a matchbox. Now phones are walking, talking communicators… beyond our wildest dreams way back in the disobedient 60s when the Rolling Stones were singing “(I can’t get no) Satisfaction” …even with the Beatles. Now everybody and their Granny have at least one type of computer but granny has no idea how it works and cares not as long as she can talk to someone while in Greggs the bakers.

I have reached my time of life when swimming and walking are the best use of my muscles, though any exercise is beneficial yet the wish to partake is sometimes a mental struggle for such a lazy bugger. I admit though I am not bad at swimming, in my peculiar style…I become fed up after say ten minutes swimming up and down a pool.

No matter what I do now, exercise or not, real bloody pain is lurking around while stiffness is not far behind. Walking at a reasonable pace still produces discomfort but it is a good ache, hitting high notes of achievement and contentment. Using gyms is not for me as they are heartless no matter how swish they may appear… but walking along any road or lane or street, town, village or countryside just takes the mind into a wondrous state of presence…each step seeing, hearing or discovering something unexpectedly novel or even freshly strange…

Having a surprise opportunity of strolling around Queens Park on sunny Thursday last gave me the chance to travel back to childhood times when I was 6 or 7 years old. I actually could see me swinging on that swing adjacent to the old kirk. My dauner took me to hill 60 where on a good day you can see ‘Campsie Fells’ but my mind was not there…it was decades away playing cowboys and Indians and galloping around on an imaginary horse.

Strolling forward seeing the ‘Langside Monument’ commemorating a battle between hackbutters which lasted all but 45 minutes….akin to Culloden, but recalled because the Victoria hospital adjacent was where my mother-in-law Nancy (the voice) died in 1993.

Rolling back towards the main gates within the safety of the parks railings many happenings of my childhood and adolescently wandered through my opened mind as each corner opened its own page. As a young scallywag white hunter searching for birds eggs, or playing chicken with ducks while giving swans a wide berth as their flapping wings could kill you…any fool knows that? I had a sailing boat spending hours around the big pond next to Pollokshaws road… Marywood Square where Ross and I shared a basement flat…wow…abundant magic moments still alive with just a simple prod…

What I find so hard to fathom is how peoples taking outdoor exercise walking while having earphones glued to their lugs seemingly totally unaware of the outside world they are tramping through. Apart from being questionable in health and safety matters of busy highways of motorists they are missing out on natures gratifying sounds…a lone cell oblivious of billions of undiscovered cells around…so sad.

Posted by: peter.howden 13th Jun 2016, 07:09pm

anecdotes from the auld Steamie


Most Victorian buildings built in Scotland for the purpose of a wash-house, swimming pool, hot baths, several of the cities grand structures, being situated in deemed slum areas, dealt with the less fortunate which some mistakenly considered as tramps or down and outs. In this nomadic social order, there is class structure with genuine gentlemen of the highway considering the great outdoors as their home, but the halls of power do not recognize the difference …just treat them as a social ailment

It was, and still is true, some vagrants wandering on the streets not paved with gold, just open to deceases, danger, dampness and nightly habitats no more than deserted hovels, having what could only be termed as curious habits in attire while consuming almost anything…solid or liquid …. Coke and hair-spray… But society is only as good as the weakest link…these links few want to join.

In one such building in one such metropolis, there was an employee ‘Ben Gunn’, not his real name but an alias, due to the fact he bore a uncanny shabby appearance visualized in the marvellous created character in ‘Treasure Island….not too sharp on top and a liking for pieces of eight…or any coinage. His duties within the establishment, to operate three massive machines, capable of washing the entire stock of towels used in the city’s corporation empire. Sounds grand but all this entailed… pushing an old keypunch data card into the slot…automated the enormous apparatus. His other duties were rather imprecise but a general dogsbody comes close.

Within the antiquarian building, a massive coal boiler to serves the cleaning of the towels and six special hot baths were used to cater for the nomads. All their clothing were removed, destroyed or burnt, then they bathed, with special cleansing disinfection added, when complete and finished…. a set of clean clothing and shoes provided …no measurements taken.

Due to holidays, the employee who normally took control of the hot baths was indisposed…so out of desperation Ben-Gunn was asked to take over the detox duties. Some verbal instructions were given… some were well known ….nonetheless they were rather indefinite. On the next day all was prepared that could be thought of until it was reminded about the vital part of the whole operation…and this was supplying each hot bath with the disinfection. Quickly this was remedied as the first of the poor wee souls entered the bathing quarter.

One after the other, in sequence gave out a trembling whimper followed by many muffled echoing yelps…then total silence other than a silent splash. . A few groans followed after this a nervous silence. When the bath doors were finally opened it was perfectly obvious, even to dim ‘Ben Gunn’ something was amiss with the colour of each man’s skin being close to pinkish….and each set of eyes blared through a fallen red circle ringing the eye and the soft tissue there in.

They had been instructed verbally..... they must submerge completely to allow the treatment to be effective …and by god it was.

In his haste to complete his task and follow written instruction to use a mug full of the dreaded stuff for six baths….Ben Gunn realized he erroneously had delivered a full mug of this lethal industrial delousing…to every hot bath that morning…the men painfully walk slowly towards the exit… as their cheeks and thighs rubbed together ….just hoping their Arses would not go on fire [size="5"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 20th Jun 2016, 05:46am

The Maltese Cat; (Part 2)

The lady of the house noticed the visitor being quite vexed about something or other and answered the unasked question while looking at her prized possession, ‘I though he was a descendent from the Carthusian monks called a “Chartreux” for we went through all the rituals and ceremonies demanded by the primeval book …but he is a singular beautiful Maltese Kitling’. ‘We have a rather valuable statue of him you know.’ With this information given, she departs into the other room followed by this well feed furry beast.

It was another sign how the old woman had succumb to ether very senior moments or she was flipping with another coin… was this low-life’s belief while his eyes darted around, with tainted talent looking for spoils. Once again his focus was directed to the big freezer humming away on its own accord. There was no one about and he could hear the little woman talking to her cat, calling it ‘Mr’ if his ears were not deceiving him. In his chosen criminal career there was little chance of that.

Tiptoeing carefully and observing not to knock over the glass case holding striking butterflies stretched out as if in open flight or crucifixion. Along the walls there were portraits and art of the highest standard if not higher. Carefully positioned on a table to his left, was perhaps a Ming dynasty vase from the Xuande or Chenghua reign. The villain felt his blood expand in sheer enticement as once more taking chances way beyond the pale. The heart takes up little space though beats beyond any circumference.

Finally he reached the freezer, burst of pure anticipation; he lifted the heavy old lid only to discover the box totally empty and unsoiled beyond cleanliness. Disappointed he then lowered the lid only to uncomfortably notice the cat keeking its massive head around from the other room. It appeared to be scowling while the sound vibrating from the grimalkin throat… could not be accounted as purring but more like growling. The villain almost dropped keech but fortunately it turned out to be mere panic of loud wind.

He heard the footsteps of the lady coming closer as she called out for her cat and again she used the title ‘Mr’. The scoundrel gathered his wits, by preparing for his final swoop…to take the old woman by surprise and oft with his ill-gotten loot.

Posted by: peter.howden 21st Jun 2016, 06:32am

The Maltese Cat; (Part 3)

Almost like a unsprang spring the rouge felt ready to meet his foe with anything, having the ability to handle the verbal chase no matter where it went , so the games afoot. A rattling of a tray with cups and saucers plus teaspoons ricocheted through from the other room as the bright old maid’s voice called out ‘you would not mind having a cup of tea with an elderly lady and her loving cat?’ Before a word in reply could come, the voice added ‘we get so little company from year to year, it would be an honour and you will certainly fill the vacant gap?’

This could be his bumper harvest, thought the ruffian, so he answered politely he would be indeed privileged. Moving towards the parlour door, the only individual barring his way was the cat. It stood and stretched its full body, which now looked like a black panther and pretty close to size and proportion. A look of distain appeared across his face not hidden by whiskers. “How does it do that?”, the crook thought as his steps hesitated to allow the creature its path.

He cross the threshold to the room and could not fail to see ‘Aladdin’s Cave’… or what he pictured its twin would look like. The old lady smiled pleasantly pleased to see him as he sat down into the leather couch when the black devil pussy black sprang up on the other seat unoccupied. Its eyes pierced the man’s very soul leaving him agitated and curiously thirsty. The old maiden smiled perfidiously while handing her guest an offering of tea, served in the most exquisite ceramic. He had tried hard to have good manners but his thirst disappointed his etiquette…he gulped the liquid and not one drop was left in his cup.

His vision curiously became blurred though still able to almost see, his body froze yet not cold but barely a muscle could move. He just lay back as the old lady, without a word, picked up the entire chine service and disappeared before returning empty handed. He became aware of passing out and then back to the now nightmare as the villain watched her bringing round a hidden trolley of the size and structure found in hospitals. She was now dressed in green gown and rubber gloves. The enchantress was now preparing to operate…and it was obvious to whom she would operate on.

He could not move even his eye balls as she spoke to the cat, ‘now, my little panther, we do not want him deader than a doornail or any other nail come to think of it; do we?’ She was now holding a syringe and handling it professionally as if she had done this action many times before. ‘We have no idea when manor will come from heaven once more and drop onto our laps, so……… must keep him alive as much as possible…again’.

She continued speaking cheerfully, ‘all the training in my young days to be a surgeon has served me well, and my only real disappointment was my cherished husband dismissing me to specialise in this male dominated field. I must admit, he did last longer than most of the young men…and you Mr Radcliffe especially liked his tender parts…yes indeed?

More business like she expressed, ‘now we must scrub the concealed compact but authentic abattoir, right behind the freezer… for this young hoodlum will be staying there for a considerable time, as we dismantle him piece by jolly piece…there is nothing better than fresh meat for my little precious…but you mustn’t be greedy!’’…when there are no more meaty parts left…then we dispose of him in the usual fashion. The cat looked vexed… if a cat can express itself in such a manner

A frown posed on her happy features as she called out, in a determined manner, to the droning moggy…’I’m sorry Mr Radcliffe I cannot allow this wretched human to be immobilized, then placed in the sacred freezer. Have I to remind you…. my sweet dear husband was the only man with panache to take part in such a honourable tribute… the freezer is an empty testimonial tomb, his living shrine until the last morsel tasting so sweet had gone…anyone else will only desecrate his last resting place….

Like switching on a light she once more looked radiantly angelic while moving towards the villain’s body, ready to do her worse, as he feverishly cried out with unheeded petrified screams. ‘Not as big or fat as we are used to’ murmured the old lady…. ‘But beggars cannot be choosers can they indeed Mr Radcliffe, is that not so?’

The huge tabby just licked its lips….[size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Jun 2016, 07:48pm

Alternative ending

The Maltese Cat; (Part 3)

Almost like a unsprang spring the rouge felt ready to meet his foe with anything, having the ability to handle the verbal chase no matter where it went , so the games afoot. A rattling of a tray with cups and saucers plus teaspoons ricocheted through from the other room as the bright old maid’s voice called out ‘you would not mind having a cup of tea with an elderly lady and her loving cat?’

Before a word in reply could come, the voice added ‘we get so little company from year to year and it’s my 90th birthday and Mr Radcliffe 85th birthday, we would both be an honour and your appearance will certainly fill the vacant gap?’

Inwardly and without changing his facial expression, the larcenist thought, ‘she is certainly going doolally and this is going to be a cakewalk….this could be my bumper harvest, even my retirement though I would miss the challenge!’. He answered the wee old woman politely, saying almost in a posh voice how he would be indeed privileged. Still came the chilling thought through his mind… as to this 85 year old cat…he was certainly no pussycat being so big….I wonder what she feeds him on.

Taking casual steps, so not to arouse suspicion, he strolled around the rather large room, to see ‘Aladdin’s Cave’… or what he pictured its twin would look like. The old lady smiled pleasantly as he sat down into the leather couch. The black devil pussy black sprang up on the opposite seat, its glaring eyes piercing the man’s very soul leaving him agitated and curiously thirsty.

The old maiden smiled perfidiously while handing her guest an offering of tea, served in the most exquisite ceramic. He had tried hard to have good manners but his thirst disappointed his etiquette…he gulped the liquid and not one drop was left in his cup.

His vision curiously became blurred though still able to almost see, his body froze yet not cold but barely a muscle could move. He just lay back as the old lady sat down beside him. ‘We are so pleased you have come, an answer to my prayers’ she spoke softly as he tried to move his head but failed.

He could not move even his eye balls as she spoke to the cat, ‘now, my little panther, we do not want him deader than a doornail or any other nail come to think of it; do we?’ She was now holding a syringe, handling it professionally, as if an artist who had completed this action many times before. ‘We have no idea when manor will come from heaven once more and drop onto our laps, so……… must keep him alive as much as possible…again’.

I trained under my dear father as a chemist and with my husband who was a much respected surgeon, taught me in his field. When I was five my father used a small cat for experiments on eternal life. Eventually he discovered a molecule in human flesh, coupled with a secret compound gave extended life. The only obstacle for it to work was the patient had to be put to sleep then frozen for an extended period. With continued experiments on the growing cat proved positive and the freezing time was cut to 46 hours …precisely…so he became ‘Mr Radcliffe’.

She continued speaking cheerfully, ‘all the training in my young days to be a surgeon has served me well, and my only real disappointment was my cherished husband dismissing me to specialise in this male dominated field. I must admit, he did last longer than most of the young men…and you Mr Radcliffe especially liked his tender parts…yes indeed?

More business like she expressed, ‘now we must scrub the concealed compact but authentic Abattoir, right behind the freezer… for this young hoodlum will be staying there for a considerable time, as we dismantle him piece by jolly piece…there is nothing better than fresh meat for my little precious…but you mustn’t be greedy!’’…when there are no more meaty parts left…then we dispose of him in the usual fashion. The cat looked vexed… if a cat can express itself in such a manner

A frown posed on her happy features as she called out, in a determined manner, to the droning moggy…’I’m sorry Mr Radcliffe but we must go through the procedure again …and the freezer is in pristine cleanliness.

Like switching on a light she once more looked radiantly angelic while moving towards the villain’s body, ready to do her worse, as he feverishly cried out with unheeded petrified screams. ‘Not as big or fat as we are used to’ murmured the old lady…. ‘But beggars cannot be choosers, can they indeed Mr Radcliffe, is that not so?’

Posted by: peter.howden 24th Jun 2016, 08:53am

Lonely old man

What the heck am I doing here, among all strangers with yellowish false teeth and a glaikit expression beyond belief…but what I want to know is…. how did I end up in this abyss hole? It is true I’ve lost some of my sharpness and my memory is taking some time in catching up with names, even places and my senior moments are most regular but I’ve still got my marbles roughly intact.

I think my well-meaning the offspring must have something to do with it. Due to their commitments they tend to believe the social services quotes and mealy mouthed… “He’s getting on a bit….needs qualified care!” I need my independence …and that’s a fact!

I had loads of friends you could depend on. If you were skint somebody between my cronies would help but especially my best mate… what a bloody charmer…could charm the birds oft the trees, …oh bugger what’s his name; it’s on the tip of my tongue….the guy had glasses like the film star, you know the one and not many people know that.

My lovely woman passed away not so long ago but I can still look after myself… must be ten years now… Gregg’s for me unless it’s an important guest and I’ve not the time to bake. You can’t bake in here…certainly not, something to do with hygiene or health and safety … which is flaw for there’s not many healthy people in here. I miss her quite a lot. I often amazed my friends as to how good I was in the kitchen.

My best mate always said, “You’re a man’s man but you aren’t half good with a baking tin. Bugger it….what’s wrong with me this morning, I can’t for the life remember his name…….horned rimmed glasses he wore

Were the heck is all my children ….four of them though all different with the youngest a pea and a pod like my wife used to look ….spitting image. Surely they would rescue me from all these old people who smile as soon as you look at them but talk a different language..,… they sleep a heck of a lot………Out cold like corpses to boot .

There is my so called personal room but that’s all I have private …no keepsakes and just one photo of my woman. I cry when I see it or when I can find it ….last time it was in the drawer along with my underpants…..she would have laughed at that.

They never come you know…….the children I mean.

Oh keech* what was his name………the actor was Carter……no that was the movie…..It was Michael Caine; he played a Zulu chief in a flick; but what a stupid ending with him balancing on a bus hanging over the edge of a cliff…no… wrong film but it was Michael defiantly Michael…the actor not my best mate…I must stop thinking and it will come to me as easy as pie. .

What day is it…..Monday….oh God blinking mince again and I bet it will be shepherds blasted pie tomorrow………it always is!

Oh Christ… here comes that smelly woman again …………..who the hell is she?

Posted by: peter.howden 26th Jun 2016, 07:22pm

My Chronicles 26/06/2016;

Slightly later on in life, I am learning things which just astound my way of thinking, demonstrating how little I actually knew when I thought I was intelligent…nevertheless now still unable to propose appropriate grammar or spelling. When the mood takes gazing up in a clear silent night to witness the stars and a couple of planets, I’m flabbergasted at the simple wonder, but aware this is just a pinhole glimpse at the whole known universe.

This phenomenal development is reputed to be fashioned by a big bang, seconds later quarts start forming infinite expansion far-reaching through billions of years, fading stars thrusting out glowing cosmic dust collectively fashioning new planets and stars to being born… and my very being and body come from stars….wow.

Standing in the sands of Saltcoats, staring at the night sky crossing over the horizon, no words can express the inner sensation of muddled joy, pride and bewilderment how a puny wee speck such as I could look onto the wonder of creation, which happened 10.7 billion years ago…with protons and neutrons bursting to create… just jangles my brain cells.

Taking the existence of another time dimension, way beyond our ken…If the big bang happened to spread billions and billions of molecules of one or two atoms, then walking along the sand could be the start of all creation…but for now I will keek at the miracle of it all, just standing at the shoreline, I can understand why Peewee comes here to meditate.

The sad truth of the matter is, over the last couple of years, I rarely stride along the sands while visiting the seaside town of Ayr. This is due to meeting up with china ‘Jim Hendry’ and the Witherspoons welcome. We share a glass or two while catching up with life, talking absolute rubbish while laughing at ourselves more than a lot.

Last week’s visit was trying helping installing windows 10 and loopholes in his computer. It was like the blind leading the blind, but somehow we managed and of course arrived at our favourite hostelry for slight refreshment.

A special occasion was on the cards for Friday evening, when I can say both ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I were honour to take part in the reception festivities of lovely Tracy and Peter, the couple just looked intimately happy …pure magic

Yesterday, I finalized plans to visit France, completing the expedition and the highlight of the trip, by staying with my friends abode, a braw couple who live near Carcassonne. The small village, where they reside, has a quality of tranquillity where I do nothing other than eat, drink and be merry with the hosts …what more could a traveller wish for…clear skies to fly back home

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Jun 2016, 08:25am


Like all tales and stories, it is harder to figure out where they actually start rather than when the finish…or if they ever do, debates if these accounts have any hint of truth or are just fables can cause friction between readers or listeners; however I know exactly where this one began… and what truth it holds.

In the past, my employment took me into different and strange surroundings, because my chosen line of work was as a self-employed upholstery cleaner, relying on the ‘Word of Mouth’ to obtain servicing a variety of homes and businesses. By chance I was given instructions to revamp a particular fascinating old crumbling house, which stood alone, away from any other signs of civilization, situated way back from roads between Glasgow and Edinburgh, though in the general direction of a certain chapel. The large abode included a Victorian styled library, filled with the usual stuffy aroma of bindings of all ages lying or standing on ancient carpenter crafted wooden shelves.

After completing the hired tasks, the owner, who was rather frail at the time but has since died, insisted I took any one piece of litterateur or artefact I cared to have… as a thank you. While searching row upon rows of books with their interesting and varied covers, there was one particular book, seemingly ancient manuscript, which caught my eye, for no matter where I was in this elaborate reading room, my glance would return to its bindings, made of medieval hide leather, with perhaps traces of embalmed singed gold.

On closer inspection, the manuscript was certainly many centuries old with the gold styled writing on a tattered faded red binding called “Knights Templar”. Having been always been interested in this far oft cult order of “Warrior Monk Knights”, its swift decline or as some saw it; total ruthless demise, I was more than intrigued. The owner of the household bid me farewell by congratulating me for choosing that particular book, saying he had not quite got round to flipping through its delicate pages and wished me, ‘God speed and a long life’.

On returning to my own abode, and headed for the adapted office…come den, laying the book cautiously on my desk. Almost at once sensing antiquity as I gazed on amazing skilful text and reasoned the book itself was much more than just pretty old, the writing was parallel to the scribes of the monks did in the dark ages. Opening up at one page, it revealed inserted between pages, several pieces of separate chapters. Lodged inside those, a smaller piece of parchment…by appearance had been there for some considerable time…perchance behind solid walls of some abbey

I gentle unravel its folds, being well aware of its fragile state and it was not too willing to release or open its contents. Once the grime of minute speckles settled down, I wondered what was before me. Three delicate leafs of brownish heavy paper, writings of two separate styles though it could be as old for the scroll had similar texture. The first and the smallest parchment on the desk was a diagram of a building in several dimensions, some instructions and a map. The second and third script contained only words. I was hooked. It became plain, by the little I could define; it was a letter imitating the prospect, and knowledge, where great fortune lay

I feel it to be my duty now to inform you, the message and contents in this tale, hoping you gain knowledge and wisdom, a verbal vision of greed resulting in its undesirable consequences


Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Jul 2016, 10:32am


Though painstaking toil it was imperative being extra careful with the parchments but then again the pure magic of possible medieval scriptures was mind-bending and, though the meaning of the words were partly lost to me, apart from the odd heading, and some, I managed to decipher….the opening paragraphs where a set of instruction….and I knew at once where these instructions would send me

I have no choice but make it a vow here and now, I will not reveal certain findings, or indeed the vital clues, as to pin point exactly where all what was going to happen, happenings that happened… as it would destroy the sanctuary of the holy place,, causing mayhem as other people finding themselves investigating. Holding no religious beliefs myself, or even spiritual minded, nevertheless…the singular historic building is a practicing shrine..

Hidden in a siccar garden of stone roses, is the one rose, supported by broken leafs, to uncover the secret. “Grail hunters” would go to global lengths for such cryptograph, totally astonished as to the incredible discovery, well on hand to eclipse the true reward from the ‘Apprentice pillar’. No more detail dare I revel other than… The smaller tanned parchment, translated the following astoundingly message;

‘My name is Johannes de Houden; I was born north of the river Clyde, close to the Clamachie burn, in the hamlet of Bar-lenerk (high clearing of the forest) lands belonging to the Archbishopric of Glasgow, in the year of our lord 1457, my age penning this proof, three score and ten’…other instruction followed, nonetheless the details I will not disclose

If my time was to be served again, I would surely conquer temptation and deify to follow the same path that sorcerer’s map maneuverer me…promised by the document’s spiritual serenity, wealth far beyond imagination complete with having in my bare hands, the Christian meaning of true destiny. Greed and sheer lust overtook any horded sanities while hypnotized by the burnt authentic words…and so, throwing caution to the four winds, this quest was to be my inclination

Analysis the orders on the map until I could recite, word for word perfect the instruction on the map, informing the reader of the imperativeness of being at a certain spot mid evening on the 12th October for this was the only time the spells protecting the telluric-ley lines at Princess Pillar, would be released. Timing was of the essence.

I bade my son Christopher to journey with me, not only for his physical strength, also his natural camaraderie while travelling, as the way would certainly be rugged and sometimes darkness would be my only companion. Many a footpad would be abroad whither night or not. Though being flesh and blood I demanded my heir to swear an oath of silence on what we gained, witnessed and our daring.

We spoke not a word of our departure, or indeed gave any hint of leaving the safety of the hamlet with its protection by the grace of the Archbishop. For swiftness our provisions cut sparse to essentials as we set of unannounced. Travelling incognito while soon it became obvious my son’s stride was greater than mine…causing fair amount of pech…pech, so to disguise the fact, I stopped regularly, taking bearings, though I knew precisely where we were heading. We struck cold camps, so not to attract the villains and vagabonds common on these highways where no one was safe but for their wit and cunning.

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Jul 2016, 07:44pm

I'm really sorry...but I forgot to post this first part

The Maltese Cat (Part 1)

After softly chapping the front door then cheerily invited in by the mature inhabitant , the knavish entered could not help but notice how, taking pride and place, in the corner of the tiny hall, the deceiver had entered, was a gigantic freezer proving odd to have in such a small dwelling. It had the appearance of almost shrine like… as it was obviously receiving constant care and attention, gleaming pristine condition though the model was pathetically ancient. It was as if the old dearie that lived here was slightly losing her marbles

This certain scoundrel had done his homework most diligently and picked this particular person abode because she was old, probably frail, living alone apart from her cat. He picked his prey by going to the library and checking the voting records where it is amazing the information it gives a stranger. The lady who was Scottish had been widowed some twenty five years back, which had left her not only comfortable but extremely rich because her husband had been president of one of the major banks of this land. The shyster reckoned the old buddy must have lost it a bit, as she refused luxury care home some 15years ago and all due to her devotion to a feline. In the knave’s twisted mind she must be an idiosyncratic old bat.

Though having a pleasing pleasant outwardly appearance, completely opposite to his true vacation being deceitful con man of the worse kind, and proud of his questioning successes believing he was smooth, suave and cunning…but the truth of the matter being… he was a sordid little creature devoid of emotion. This particular mark, for this is what the old lady certainly was, would be skinned alive and pick her bones clean without even the hint of wretchedness or wrongdoing entering the old lady’s mind. Every penny would be screwed from her hiding places for her nest egg he reckoned must be quite substantial. All statues or antique of assorted knickknacks would be bagged before the afternoon clock struck 4.

There was nothing outstanding about the little old lady for she much resembled most of the rest of the suckers… this human crow deceived and feed from. The routine was down to pat as was his forged badge of office from the town clerk passed the eyes of his victims without a mummer or question. As usual he knocked the walnut door delicately so not to cause any unnecessary stress to the occupant. His smile already painted ready for the opening of the front door. Checking his shoes were shined and giving them a quick buff with his trouser legs just in time as the door opened.

‘Good afternoon madam; have I the pleasure in addressing the lady of the house, Mrs Radcliffe?’ The fraudster words flowed like honey as his smile beam pearls between his screwed up lips; ‘I am from the Council and here is my badge of authority for you cannot be too careful!

Like the slimy serpent he truly was, slinking in almost without the resident’s noticing his well-rehearsed precision, he carefully put back his false I.D just in case the old biddy what’d a closer look, whilst spinning round to be ahead of Mrs Radcliffe. Accurately this is when the freezer became obvious to the demon visitor. Something happened at that moment as if the tables were turned on him because the occupier of the home was in front of him . How she managed it…he could not tell… but he could have sworn she did not pass him.

Next moment was when he saw the moggy for the first time. In saunters this large cat into the hallway with the deliberate confident manner of ownership and he was big, really big beyond any prediction what a tabby should be. Depending how the light caught his squinty eyes, the crook saw a slinky blue or a velvet grey pussy. The shadow of a frown was on its face yet how a cat could show emotion was beyond this scallywag. However he had other things on his mind to be too bothered about this overgrown tabby.

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Jul 2016, 05:46am


Our travels took two whole days, then bitterly cold nights which buried deep in our bones, as it was not safe in my judgement to be seen, even if we were carrying the cross of our lord... the parchment was well concealed in my attire, though cutthroats thought nothing in slicing travellers inners in case the cunning adventurer swallowed his valuables. We tramped very early morning and dusk while in daylight, rested well away from the main footpath.

To keep us from dozing and wakening up with our throats cut, I related stories to my son of being called to arms, though not gained good fortune for my inflicted wounds nor held in any esteem though .billeted close to the main thrust including the Knights Templar whose monastic order was cruelly annihilated by devious forces

It was whispered common knowledge how the Knights Templar had travelled to Scotland in great haste, if not for their very lives, along with their treasures and enlightenment of supreme pious devotion, guardians of the Holy Grail, “holder of Christ’s blood was in their keep. The order of poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ, Temple of Solomon, was anything but poor or wanting in the riches of life.

They alone could guarantee safety for any pilgrim to and fro Jerusalem or indeed any Lord or fellow knight, from any order and their valuables while travelling across the wades threw world. Their lance, their sword reached the furthest field known to man. Their shield’s escutcheon of pure white and the Red Cross ready to defend the Lords bidding with the “Truce of God”

It was clandestinely alleged, among the learned elders, the King of France, in league with Pope Clement V; scorned untruths accusing falsely the honourable knights, mainly for voracity and gathering power.

The journey was a gritty ordeal in itself, but what was to follow few tongues could or would tell; though I wondered why we were so curious in our foreign wanderings. Truth be told at that moment I had no way of knowing what depths I would plunder for the cravings of fortunes.

Travelling amongst such peril was courting dread, as many a rouge exiled clan member became “outside the law” of the chieftain and would fall barbarically on any unsuspecting traveller. No punishment deters them as they answered to no one except one more utterly ruthless than they. I had mentioned before, in my youth, being in service but of a different kin to knights. I was a strong hand for Mr Andrew Otterburn of Glasgow, as a protector…though this will remain in the darkest of secrets.

The confusion of the clans had been handed down from when Malcolm and Saxon Margaret married giving clan’s lands at whim to all and sundry. Under the feudal system, the king claimed land and he decided who to give it to and the Roman Catholic Religion had replaced the ‘Church of Culdees’ …this is why we strongly believed in the oath of the knights.

New orders were being created as “Order of the Garter” in merry old England though I can tell you nothing merry about it and “Order of the golden fleece” in Burgundy but for true pious servitude still lay with the Knights Templar no matter who blacked their name. God be the judge [size="3"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Jul 2016, 05:52am


On the second day, we sheltered through the night until the darkness of twilight fell, resting and communicating more in a these few hours than we had for our whole life span. My heart opened up and my wisdom found a home. Alas my son, or my kinfolk, had no knowledge of my blood thirsty bygone days but quickly called on my experiences as a sword hand, with an excitement and eagerness of the inexperienced young.

I tried hard to explain the harsh realities without revealing some very dark closets of my life. I spoke of Jacob’s pillow, known to true Scots as “The Stone of Skoon”; the making of Kings since Dai, Riata Gaels, buried on the slopes of Dunsinane Hill.

Qualms of shivering guilt heard me telling, my flesh and blood, how I desired unearned gifts from the ancient gods, knowing the coming of ‘Judgement Day’ I would have to confess and the answer will be there for eternity. Until only two days ago I was endeavouring to make amends with my family but mostly with my own squawking demons….now I voiced my history

All the clans in Scotland had followers termed ‘Native men’ and Broken Men. The Native men were borne of the clan. The latter were from outside clans asking for and willing to serve as protectors of their adopted clan’s Chief; Tanists; the chieftains and captain; “The daoin-uaisle” (gentlemen) and the body of the clan I was a broken man from the Clan Graham.

Many years ago as an insult, a visiting Munroe’s clan members cut the tails off the horses belonging the Grahams while we slept and so, I was obliged to respond more ferocious than they had acted. Now the entire clan was traveling far, laying waste and scorching the Munroe’s lands as we journeyed unopposed. We killed all before us, and then rustled livestock as booty.

Crossing boundaries we paid our road Collop (tax for travelling through other clans land) though this is where the real clash started. The clans demanded more, forcing our chief to refuse and so other men gathered to peruse us, as we the true Scots acting as barbarians, slaughtering atrocities over our own lands…which now are best laid to rest.

We called the English deceivers, as they cheated the Scottish gentry with the treaty of Northampton. I spoke of 1320s “Declaration of Arbroath”… how every man armed or without weapons, meant every word.

I left the service of my espoused chief, came to Bar-lenerk to till the soil, pray for my endless evilness done while seeking the hand of the lord, for help recognizing my fate, until this per chance I gained this route to riches in the guise of this map. The custom how I obtained this hallowed document, I will not disclose as it is by furthest the most wicked thing from my life.

Taking from my neck the small leather pouch I gave it to my heir. He recognized it to be my most treasured possession, powder emeralds warding of the black plague and any evil spirit abroad. I revealed to him I had stolen it and how ashamed I was of myself.

My son asked why I still wore it if it was truth of my wrong doing. I described being scared of the grim reaper, and the evil spells, which had roamed this land since the Scots army came back in 1349, from plagued England and the darkness followed proving a national curse.

There was a dire need to inform my son how his father had led him to this holy spot and the truth was not kind


Posted by: peter.howden 8th Jul 2016, 05:40am

My Chronicles 07/07/2016

There is a sense within how I may be starting to lose my cherished second childhood, worrying slightly as I believe this anchor keeps me sane in a less than compos mentis world. Within the sanctuary of my wee homemade den surrounded by nick-knacks sheltered from three decades and ten, many dinky toys of special favour, classical tale books, toy soldiers guarding a variety of abstract treasures but more important… my stability. A few steps away, in the bathroom, siting still, are the brigade flock of yellow plastic ducks, from various parts of the country, add to the safeguard a second juvenile haven.

A soothing comfort waffs memories instantly as the needle of my music machine lowers on one of many L/Ps….taking the mind down celebration lane, to dance o'er Slade’s “Mamma weer all craze now” or Rolling Stones belting out ‘Down Home Girl’ or just listen to blues Sunny boy Williams. All these distraction persuade reality to take a back seat even for a short while as I cherry pick thoughts and illusion….just for the heck of it. As for my aging fitness….my body is a temple….but crumbling.

Another exercise taking my precious mind into safety mode is Aunt Becky’s hurls in the old jalopy, especially when we are heading for the delights that the Kilpatrick Hills can offer any traveller. Apart from knowing almost every word in a musical excursion of ‘Top twenty Tartan hits’ the ancient colossal setting just blows cobwebs out of existence. We have to try more trips during the summer as wee Becky is slowly lost in an inside psychological mist. Still she has her moments especially when she threatens to kick my jewels if I dared buy her ‘link’ instead of square sausages from her favourite butchers in Saracen St Possilpark.

Another escaping hatch is in the shape of a train, clattering down the tracks heading for the seaside town of Ayr, and the good company of an old chine…Jim Hendry. Jim is sensible compared to me but somehow the chemistry always creates an invisible dome of raw crazy fun as we verbally kick each other, laughing profusely at the result. A few hours just sticking out our noses at sense or sensibility and the heck with reality…except when Jim climbs on to his makeshift soapbox…then I go for a widdle….

Meanwhile in the world throughout is where the halls of power in each and every country, state or regimes in so called republics, all waltz around merry-go-rounds of their own creation, manufacture the same mistakes as their forefathers foolhardily did so dangerously having fake confidence because it was deemed modern times, whatever century it happens to be, trusting they were real intelligent, far too cunning and smart to be caught out as history predictions …how dumb could they be….and still are…. ‘in a modern way’… relived.

Essay of a hopeful clown [size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 10th Jul 2016, 11:52am


Speaking in a sombre voice the arduous tale of my past began…while I was in service of Mr Andrew Otterburn, then lord and master of Glasgow, his imbursement deed, to slay one cowardly traitor knight, who after the ‘battle of Redemore’ in corrupt ceremony, threw King Richard on a horse, as a dead soiled bloody cadaver, allowing royal privy parts plainly displaying free sight to all the kingdom, then learning Henry Tudor’s wrath … fled misguidedly to hide in Glasgow’s wild domain boundary.

Whatever agreement Otterburn made to the English Tudor, I was not privy to know, but I alone was the hand to send him to his maker. To my eternal shame I fell upon him while he was at his morning ablutions, allowing no means to protect himself. Unchivalrously he pitifully begged for his life, proposing some gold coins and a ring, in return for his existence, pleading how the ring itself was worth a king’s ransom.

It was then I caught sight of the pouch. I looked inside while my captives face turned peely-wally thinner than a drunkard’s piss. I knew exactly its worth without this excuse of a knight’s help.

The ring means was pittance , maybe some silver groats or one sovereign , however the pouch held a treasure with no match not be measured by all the Unicorn coinage dispersed by misery James Beaton; Scotland’s treasurer for James 1V.

Crushed Emeralds were known throughout the world, as genuine ward against the plague or spells of any denomination. I told the retch I would spare him if he freely gave me the pouch. He would not agree even in his terrified state and said he may as well be dead. So I obliged him and held onto his possessions. I vowed the pouch would not leave my person until I deceased…and did not till this day.

Barbers letting blood trying to evade the ravaging plague or boring holes in the scull and lords and masters sitting in sewers hoping the smell would force the plague to bypass. All the leapers being slaughtered while flagellants flogging themselves and each other, for 33.3 days because this was the number of days the lord Jesus Christ was on earth.

All of this was futile though the bishops prophecy preached the Armageddon to be recompense for evil done, blaming the Jews to be the cause of unholy apocalypse… were to be mercilessly hunted, hounded and killed… like pack animals. My blood-spattered hands…and avenging blade had been in these actions.

I was confessing these inhuman deeds, to my kin in intimacy for the first time to another living soul. Was I looking forgiveness and attaching it to the innocence of my first born or was this a last ditched attempt to justify my action. Rough and unwilling times bring rugged and uncharted behaviour. I hid my true conflicts within my genii… my less than moral actions.[size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 12th Jul 2016, 01:22pm


We arrived at our goal, bursting with great expectations, though we were ill equipped for what fate had in store. Keeping a secret of the written ritual instruction by preforming them, away from my son’s gaze, precisely to the letter as inscribed, and then waited while the moonbeam wafting beam lit the immediate surroundings. The chain of events was just about to start. We had reached the ultimate crossroads…now we had no earthy choice…the die was cast.

The night’s coldness buried deep into our exhausted bones though it did not deter me from my expectation of great multitudes of wealth, promise in the parchment now hidden around my person. I did not know then but this is almost the starting point where total greed took possession of my simple mind and soul.

I cannot clarify the site of this fearsome event, in case I tempt you to look to where exactly we had found ourselves, for I could not bear any human to witness the indications of spectre distorted thru excruciating pain while hovering beyond death, where no human hand or belief could help…and if anyplace was the crossway between heaven and hell…. this must be one of the most devout surroundings in Christendom.

The tautness forces me to observe the stark surroundings, darkened by many clusters of stone carvings of the highest standards, the sight cold exquisiteness and immeasurable compelling. Rising from the very foundations to the roof, glorious covered by heavenly objects of angels inward with the wraths of hell Gorgons outward. Many a shape with weird portions never seen by me until that very night, and pray not the want to visualize ever again. We both trembled as we tried, unconvincingly, not to see the deepest blackness fluctuating from within the enclosures, bleak as eternity itself.

The sheer Silence was deafening as our tiny lamp (the only salvation) flickers precariously in threat to extinguish, immerge our feeble bodies in the blackness of the unreal hours of darkness. The west wall of this consecrated dwelling was the spitting image of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and I know this to be as fact.

My knowledge of this land comes from the tongue of a righteousness knight who served in the crusade against the Saracens. We had talked, in quiet moments, while he was recuperating in a hospice on the grounds of the glorious Glasgow cathedral He, as his fellow knights, had taken a personal oath of poverty, chastity and obedience before entering the Order knights Templar, so his words were unchallengeable.

In the dancing light which could be possible swayed by the music of the devil, we could see many pillars and stone woven boxes with such beauty they looked out of place in a devout and pious temple of the Holy Ghost

All this time, my son stood by my side, without question or reasoning. Was I right keeping certain authenticities from him, or the parchment from his gaze? Was it for his protection or was it gluttony which the good book warns all travellers of the life cycle. I did not know the answer then but now I do… to my everlasting shame.
No more tales till I return from a break in Bordeaux and the sublime Saissac

Posted by: peter.howden 24th Jul 2016, 06:35pm


The parchment calligraphy was scribed in a vanished code derived in the dark ages, from Latin, Middle English, and Anglo-Norman added mindboggling complications to decipher, yet, I managed sufficient commands to recover, an medieval crafted ‘Granite Clavis’ by byzantine directions faintly scrawled. I warily placed the key into a clandestine slot encircled by the stone rose, then taking the precaution with several backward steps…at that point held our breaths.

Unexpectedly a horrendous thunderclap rose from nowhere, bewitchingly powerfully sounding as it came from ‘The unseen one’ abroad below, with vibrations shaking the crumbling ground itself, leaving us both in unquestionable dread.

No sooner recovering from the first jolt, as if a mighty evil spell was at work, the massive masonry close to 50 feet high …instantly one solid section after another fell inward, then miraculously replanted vertically, until totally enclosed in a complete circle of stone, making us now unwittingly imprisoned, blanking out the any visible sign of escape.

Once the grime and dust haze settled, strange illogicality in eerie hieroglyphic outlines, hither and thither, as if scattered by chance in creation. Strong Petroglyph figures of ‘Osiris’, an Egyptian deity of the underworld and arbiter of the dead dominated every column encircling were defiant prominent knights Templers. Carvings of three tied horses, a emblem of knighthood All around the pillars, the coats of arms dictating great knights dressed the walls with the shields of white and red cross superb on each section. This was truly thee triumphant monument of the bride of the lamb… also a insignia of nobility,

Secret gestures on every colossal stone posts, along with trisect compass and drawing apparatus displayed for us to see the art of stone masons and their craft were woven into the brother’s order as they built great fortifications throughout the lands here and across the seas. Druids and soothsayers, complete with their mythology embedded underneath scriptures which were undefinable, but to me the message was clear even through unnatural brightness

Strangely there was no difficulty with sight…still… where this deceitful light came from, I did not know, or care, taking no time to search for its source. We should have been scared out of our wits but sheer exuberance repelled such an emotion as fear evaporated whilst craving power, as promised, paid halt to any redress in me, instead, an impertinence over took any practical reasoning and smashed it against the rock of sanity…and the bait was being on the threshold of riches unimaginable wealth.

It was the olden parchment prophesies specifying that fate would come true… how I alone would succeed…no matter the perils to endure or the depths of depraved evilness I had to do… my own holy grail… this booty. At that precise moment I was unaware of mentally locking out from mind and body… everyone together with my first born son

Posted by: peter.howden 27th Jul 2016, 06:50pm

My Chronicles 27/07/2016

Eight day week in France

Grateful to be arriving in Bordeaux, though slightly concerned as it was later than scheduled, near midnight, heading for the Ibis hotel close to the Gare Saint Jean. My anxiety for my booked accommodation was vanquished into eternity with the beguiling smiling receptionist, who swiftly had everything in hand. Once checked in and just before taking my wheelie-case up to my charted abode I request at the tiny bar, a cool…cool beer simple my mouth was dry served with exuberance, regardless of the lateness of the night.

Alone at the bar, swivelling around as they do in the movies…I caught sight of what I thought was a forgotten iconic character standing annoyed and flustered at the opposite welcoming counter. She was five foot something, bleached blonde with cloths which always seems out of fashion, and those characteristic leopard skinned high heels…all supporting a plump wummin some 50years old…rolling Chewing gum in tangent with her china, both revelling poo faces and gapped mouths overdone with lipstick, echoing repeating rasping voices of their displeasure … the ancient classical ‘Wee Glasga Hairy still lives’…along with her ever present ‘heid the baw’.

They had been informed pleasantly but keenly there was no room at the inn…or indeed locally.
By this time it was way past midnight and for ten odd minutes, the lady and her companion, in broken Glaswegian; repeated the same massage, time and again ending with …’ By-the way…canna ye get it inta yer napper, the bloke on the phone clocked us in…were no daftie; ye kin? You’ll get hee-haw money aft of us…. The young administrator asked for a reference number but they had no such thing. The girl then rang around all the hotels in the district, to no avail and great displeasure too the two females. The wee Glasga hairy added with intended threat ‘I’m cauld massehl…near greetin mental…anaw gessa yon grievance form!

The French assistant gave her a form, asking if she would like her to phone for a taxi…to that the wee wummin replied, ‘Are ye paying?’ As the girl behind the counter completed her task, the two ladies walked towards the entrance, for a fag, and they spotted me sitting bemused. The Glasga icon wobbled up in her stilettoes and asked brashly…’Kin we bunk up with you’…they were not pleased with my polite but firm reply…the real French connection.

There is certainly variety in such a culture city with a mix of population contributing for centuries giving the visitor visual treasures. I prefer off the beaten track which can see just how the citizens of a city dwell. Travelling in outer district on a almost over-crowded tram’s, a man maneuverer’s a bicycle into the throng taking some 40/50 seconds to allow the electric doors to close. No one could move with wheels all over the place, saddles, bars and chancels perturbing,… my French is virtually pathetic but I could see most passengers were grimly looking at him, muttering far stronger words than…”Get on yer bike |Jimmy!”

Something about meeting friends, in person, you have not seen for a considerable time, is unexplainable in the warmth of the first few moments bursting in a melody of incredible emotions…followed by a comfort my words can’t do justice. This is my experience in Saissac…and my hosts who have a neat way about them
There may be a few more recollections about my experiences while abroad but they will surface by and by in my Chronicles of the future.

While boarding a plane, to return home via Carcassonne Airport, I was keenly looking for my seat when this gentleman, sitting in the aisle seat assisted and directed me to my booked seat at the window…the middle seat was unoccupied. Almost instantly I realized the chappy was a male of the opposite sex and he was attempting to flirt …with me…I was not shocked or concerned…just a tad surprised as i’m past my prime(sell by date according to Aunt Becky)…on the other hand he was no spring chicken(wouldn’t feel right calling him a cockerel)

It turns out this retired gent of 66, has a house in Scotland by the sea and now acquire a holiday house past Cazilhac, lots of spare time to learn French and so on. All this information was related in a very intimate manner while the plane filled to capacity with the only free seat in 2B(to be or not to be) …between us. A slight disorder occurred as a guy with two young children was trying, with the Stewart’s help, to relocate seats to be together. The result was this huge fellow volunteering to relinquish his pew and plunked down on our available seat.

The conversation halted immediately with the retired gentleman sending furtive glances( no more come fly with me) as I conversed with the big man ....I am thinking of suing ‘Ryanair’ for crushing my love life.[size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 31st Jul 2016, 09:03am


All around us the masonry was carved figures, unknown to me either in meaning or manner, all the same I had seen similar workings yet nothing so elegant and grand…so compelling. The spells of all spells secretly began to spread from the bare masonry base rose a stone water-well… seemingly an impossible illusion but dense to the touch….before our very eyes it manifested itself until it was evident it had ceased its bounds.

Looking at each other utterly bewildered at what had taken place though all had been forewarned scribed in the parchment; taken from the darkness of its depths and was the very reason of our quest…which I still hid from my son’s eyes or knowledge.

We stood above the edges of the phantom stone well looking over the hard rim only a black abyss, seemingly endless except for expected hell at the centre of the underworld... but Greed-blinding pulsating was false courage into my heart.

I had my son hold a secure tight rope while he lowered me into the stone circle of the well. The rope cautiously inched gradually down into the complete blackness swallowing me whole with no comfort from my view. All I could see was eerie gloom, apart from the torch flickering frantic revelling glimpses of hard solid granite at the slightest touch and on any contact ripping both cloth and skin.

The deeper I went the more inconsistent the light and real danger of it being blown out. I felt with dwindling passion, I was indeed alone and would be forever

Slowly being lowered while looking upward, all for me to see was a minute pin hole, which was but a shadow reflection of the beacon above the entrance to the fount. Each jerk of the cable bolted my thoughts, to why I was so keen to throw all caution to the wind in such a mad gamble. The built up twisting of the rope spun me around depriving any control however the walls revealed long forgotten sketches mentally transfixing my mind, with such realism I drifted back to almost reliving there perceive moments of time.

The selfish and senseless battles; where the lords and Chiefs sacrificed the life of clansman, just because they could. The fights of honour; which were just a concealment, for being, ether a bully or a cheat, or both were common place and as likely as the coming of morning. I had been involved with clan bitterness between Cameron’s and Macphersons, though no kin to ether, other than bought sword, and the slaying almost to a man on the hill of Glenbenchir.

Being summoned on the Monday before Michaelmas, by King Robert 111 was an honour until the witnessing of the outcome of Macphersons and the Davidsons. I laid my sword hand down…for ever. They were no wilder than any other clans in the highlands, but held in common the ignorance of chivalry fashion, left from the Norman writers.

Unexpectedly something struck at my right eye, a loose stone perhaps, immediately gathered my wits I returned to my endeavour. Amazingly I was somewhere at the bottom and I moved slightly to the right of the rope and stepped crunching something brittle but sharp. Lifting the torch head high to my instant revulsion witnessed skeletons strewed gawkily in mishmash though appearing entwined in a last desperate dread to cling to life.

Such a horrific sight, through a eerie flickering light from my torch, held with a shaking hand, spread instantaneous terror clutching within my panicking heart…sweat took hold of my physique clinging clammily moist compelling my garments to bind to my now trembling body.[size="3"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 1st Aug 2016, 01:24pm


Peering down while bringing the unsteady taper closer to the ground, the sight I saw was pieces of brittle bones sticking out, 'higgledy-piggledy all angles and size, crumbled and crunched at the merest touch, circulating and covering white-powder gloom of the hard granite walls. One solid block was protruding outward, just over waist high, etchings were just visible due to the dim light and my new found curiosity keeking paramountcy over my fears.

Standing over this grit stone, rubbing off the white ash I could just about decipher chiselled words, reading Quote ‘I’….Do professes and promise chastity, giving up all property and obedience to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary and to you Brother ‘.

I thought I knew the opening sworn oath was of the Knight Templar, though I could not be sure if the Hospitaller knights took the same allegiance. Touching the description in awe of what it stood for, strangely feeling secure and comforted by them, I whispered and touched the words “Virgin Mary”, gingerly with light fingers. Abruptly the trembling floor forced the massive carved stone to be eased back into the foundations of the wall. Nevertheless it did not stop but continued opening up a secret passage, of its own height. At that defined moment, I heard… in my head, angels singing so sweet… it made me cry

As abruptly as it started, it stopped with no sign how, no ropes or pulleys or obvious trip wires I could observe, leaving me to wonder what to do next. Checking to see if the means to escape was still there secure, with little hesitation, I decided to go forward or where this unknown entrance would lead. This may be seen as an act of bravery though I can assure all and sundry, it was an act of desperate compulsion, but far more important… voracity at its wildest edge.

Within several crouched hesitated footsteps, an opening of a brightly lit chamber was just ahead. Once in I rose to my full height, then realizing this ability to see was almost akin to daylight. I dubbed my precious torch while confused to where light came from as I was certainly leagues underground, however the exhilaration of my unique quest was burning deep paying no heed to such trivial things.

Revolving round to the side of the tunnel, I felt cold fear to see a skeleton vertical, in full mail armour with a Heater shield, guarding something unseen. Along aside this ridged body of bones stood another, almost as tall baring a sword, the biggest I had ever come across in military service. I had heard the guardian of Scotland, named William Wallace from Ellersie, owned such a fine weapon though in all my fighting experience never had to face such a formidable weapon, and thank the ‘Lord’ for that.

As my eyes slowly focus right around this bizarre chamber, a foul smell of death became apparent, rising so prominent, it choked the air I breathed but the mind’s eye vision was so compelling, I stood still for a long time. At least a dozen more such figures appeared as if by magic of some kind, paced right around the skirt of the wall.

They were indeed the recognizable knights Templar. They were, of stories and legend, told on cold nights around the fires of the land, as the guardians of the biggest prize in Christendom. Whilst some cynics dismissed it as being poppycock…I believed, like most, who had heard tales of the Knight’s …of their power…its glory…and its road untold wealth.
Two parts to go....hope you enjoy the ending....not because it's ended

Posted by: peter.howden 2nd Aug 2016, 09:30am

MIDAS TOUCH;(Part 10) final chapter …by popular demand

Witnessing such magnificent armour fuelled the already compulsive germ of greed cancelling all demons which may lie before me. Being there was a mark of perhaps just inches away from the most prized symbol in the whole of Christendom….the Holy Grail. The battered shields protecting the once living knights, was testament to horrific combats under temperatures of hell and beyond….when something caught my eye.

It was a solid ring alongside a Gauntlet, both levitating unaided in the centre area of the chamber… not a thing touching. This evoked a memory of something carved on stone quoting ‘Thee ring of fire will enrich all you touch and a charmed glove will cease turning gilded’. Bending forward, and with immature impertinence, placed the gold ring on my right hand finger… and waited.

Nothing happened. I move one of the bones out of my path and instantaneously the piece of carcass turned to gold flake, crumbling before my eyes. As the gold dust crumbled towards the floor, memorized I touched another bone, but this time a larger one, and straightaway formed solid gold. I could not grasp what was actually taking place…so with an suckling mentality was dammed to test it again and again….and again until I was surrounded by gold.

Now the pieces were falling into place as I was starting to count my good fortune. This must be the ring of King Midas. Many folklores spread in hamlets throughout the land, how incredible treasures was hidden in a secret whereabouts, here in Scotland and in the Cather village of Saissac….embedding a seed for sanctuary of the ‘Auld Alliance’

Among those whispered, was the ancient ring of Midas. It was not the sacred Holy Grail but as a mortal how could I deem to hold such a hallowed vestige… but with this; I could be the richest man in Scotland… nay the richest man in the world.

Placing the leather glove on my ringed finger, of my right hand, touching a bone where nothing happened. So I reasoned this was a mystic sheath to prevent the ring doing its magic. The knights Templar must have brought this enchanted band from France while fleeing King Philip IV religious retribution, masking his desire for their magnificent wealth.

How and why it was in the well escaped me, but they were a powerful order and they held the Holy Grail, anything was possible. I was deep in mind when I heard my forgotten son hailing echoes on me. I put the glove on not to turn the rope to gold, clutched converted bones, crawled carefully to the inner circle and tugged on my lifesaver.

Slowly being hauled up, clinging desperately to my booty, I became unbalanced which made the rope swing from side to side uncontrollable while frantically I endeavoured to hold on. The golden skeleton scull loosened from my grip, gradually slipped from my grasp. The rope by now was hitting the walls as it rotated overpoweringly. There was no choice but to let go of my other trophies and hang on with all my might.

Almost at the lip of the well, the rope shuddered and Christopher; called loudly for me to grab his hand. Without thinking and instinctively, I reached for his powerful hand, locked tight with my left hand.

Now sweating profusely while my son’s grip was secure, mine began to slip. In all innocence he shouted for me to grab his arm with my other hand. Christopher called with all innocence and urgency “For almighties sake father… drop whatever trophy you have found and save your very life”

Fragments of the wall were falling alarmingly on the bulwarks surrounded me. The dust from all this commotion became unbearable to breath. Christopher called again “Reach for safety; father” as a stonework fell between us
For a moment, all time stood still as if a melancholy plays unfolded before me. My right hand was still gloved, protecting all against the power of the ring. If the glove was allowed to fall, there was a chance the ring would plummet with it, never to be recovered. The glove was slipping on its own accord as I felt the ring tighten around my finger in an act of enchanted self-preservation. The glove fell downward away from my grasp…to seal my dilemma.

My neurotic greed had brought me to almost certain death … but if I reached to save myself, then my beloved innocent son would forfeit his life. I would have gained all the riches of the world but lost my only future….

What was I to do...there was no choice…….

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Aug 2016, 03:49pm

anecdotes from the auld Steamie[u][/u]

The lucrative Turkish Suite;

Throughout Scotland in the not so good Victorian years when it was a priority to construct buildings to house Public swimming pools, complete with extra amenities, such as wash-house (the Steamie), baths and Turkish suite. From the very start the Turkish baths and its attendants, were of a class of their own, simply the halls of power reasoned a higher class of clientele frequented its premises.
Other employees including gaffers and shift managers looked on rather enviously at the flexibility and slack rules which Turkish personnel enjoyed but mostly because the gratuity they received from the reserved patrons.

Within one such Corporation Baths dept. establishment, one such employee nicknamed ‘Humphrey’, had been engaged, alone, in the above mentioned privilege position of ‘keeper of the keys’ in the Turkish area. The volume of clients rose steadily over several years with on suite hot and cold drinks, a variety of filled rolls and specialized eats, plus knickknacks and the primary body massages and rubdowns…added with a tad of the banter, jovial conversations insuring gratuities were substantial, more in keeping a private club.

In the spur of the moment, it is amazing how something so ridiculous can be believed by most peoples if said in a strong dignified tone coming from the mouth of a sincere trustworthy face. The plumbers had been in the previous day to install new showers and the old antique semi circled ring shower ( from floor to just above head high, at intervals of one foot measurements, five parallel spherical holed pipes at intervals of one foot, sprinkling the whole body horizontally), was left in one corner of the dry area suite.

During the morning several of the clients asked what this equipment was, so grabbing the moment, naughtily Humphrey instructed them this was the brand new dry cleaning apparatus and this establishment was the test area for the future. Three or four customers swallowed this and stood individually, while totally naked, for five or more minutes, and professed afterwards how marvellous this was… how exuberating the whole experience had been…. with one actually saying….”its saves drying with a towel”.

With personal massages came the real reward in monetary matters, far outweighing most perquisites, and again although the rubdown was important the verbal reassurance went a long way in encouraging clients of the magic in the fingers and hands.

Once inappropriately, while distracted Humphrey conversed with someone else, he accidently rubbed in a portion containing very strong heat treatment lotion and toothpaste on the client. The diabolical mixture came apparent when Humph’s hands became almost red hot, to then discover the client’s shoulders had achieved the same redraw state of affairs. Leaving the table Humphrey insisted the client should not use the showers at all, but alas, some minutes later he had ignored the dire instructions.

An enormous cry of agony was heard by everyone in or out the whole baths building. Fearing the worse the attendant gingerly looked into the wet area only to be confronted by the client still showing visible signs of pain…”best rubdown I’ve had for years “he says… and later, the tip was a bumper.

The rest of the staff looked on the Turkish suite as the ultimate position; especially Humph’s…and their antics will be revealed in other episodes

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Aug 2016, 03:07pm

My Chronicles 07/08/2016

Where ever I go no matter how great it was or how I longed to meet certain company it’s great to be back home especial our own bed yet a few memories linger. While staying at the Ibis hotel in Bordeaux I noticed a shopping trolley, with cardboard boxes folded, in the furthest parking spot next to the main railway bridge across the La Garonne. Around noon and 8 pm each day, two gentlemen of the road would appear using the cardboard as mattresses watching the world go, late evening retreat into the bellows of the bridge.

Curiosity captured me as on my last evening I decided to stroll past their abode. Under the bridge was a home away from home with chairs bedding and even a seat marked ‘Visiteur’ and even with my pathetic French….understood what it meant. The gentlemen spotting me asked if I was English, to which I denied, adding I was ‘Ecossais. They gestured me forward and in broken language managed to convey some sort of conversation with me being placed on the visitor’s chair. I had a few beers with me in my haversack, which I shared with these kindly gentlemen, they sharing wine…from glasses and bread, touring France for seasonal work…if my deciphering was correct. I had a superb couple of hours, just enjoying the company…bloody magic.

Flying home the was no mistaking the Kilpatrick Hills, Campsie Fells, breath-taking at such a height and different view and just plain something else …wow. Within the next couple of days, phoning Aunt Becky (to get her sannies on) before taking her a hurl around our usual run, which I confess gaining more from than the wee wummin does. While rolling along in the old jalopy, we have the Tartan top twenty playing away with favourites such as ‘Scots Wha Hae’; ‘Dark Lochnagar’ and of course ‘Flower of Scotland’ which we join in with absolute gusto. At the end of this song, Aunt Becky always says…”Were twa old rebels!”. While on the way to her home, then back to mine, II play loudly, with the windows closed for privacy and sanctuary, the Rolling Stones and the magic of Sonny boy Williams…unadulterated magic

After a few day home it became apparent something untoward was happening to “She who must be obeyed” for she wanted a hot water bottle while in this clammy weather. Rebecca was feeling extra tired and rather down for the next few days until one morning she woke chittering and freezing inside her actual body. Because of Rebecca’s past medical history I’m used to her fatigue coupling with long sleeps in the dark but this had symptoms ominously diverse. I phoned the doctor, who came and did a thorough examination. We were more than pleased when Rebecca was diagnosed having some kind of virus and to stay in bed till mended.

The weekly Saturday arrives and though feeling marginally better, the normal home baked scones were off the menu from our regular kitchen table rendezvous. By Monday evening, Tuesday morning, appearing to worsen, went to the clinic where Dr Smith stated the virus was still afoot and the length of time to recover unknown. Today it appears Rebecca has lost the wooziness and sore throat is almost back to normal….whatever normal is.

“She who must be obeyed” found it problematic to speak through this frustrating episode…but she was still able to direct me to exactly what she wanted…and I thought….pure magic….

Posted by: peter.howden 8th Aug 2016, 08:14am

The Sixth of August;

I reach out and touch a piece of cloth you once wore, so selectively sensing a certain aroma traveling towards my consciousness that’s not a stranger….how long is forever… for this we promised every day we lived secretly each other’s breath…. Just captivated how one could love so intensely, almost agonizingly wonderful….with every meeting creating an emotion volcano overflowing within us both

I have this photograph, in silence, I gaze with affection which knows no edge, no distance, no time other than dusk… but desperately wish for you to talk back, or show a sign of anything. You have not aged since the day I took the picture… I have with wrinkles and lines of oldness … but you are somewhere other than my heart, my pulse or my mind….I just don’t know where.

The slightest jolt, the unexpected whisper, a memory from the kitchen sink, mysteriously inspires you to appear vividly in my mind, creating mixed and conflicting passions exactly as it was when our eyes collided in debating conversation or in temper. Our feelings grow through good and bad which strengthened the need between us… although we were always worlds apart….sometimes in true excellence beyond any imagination or limitation … they collided in utter brilliant chaos

We never said goodbye

Posted by: peter.howden 16th Aug 2016, 02:51pm

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

The powerhouse;

Throughout Scotland metropolises, the most important occupation in the whole structure of an auld Corporation/Council baths department building was the firemen/boiler men….for without his essential skills…the whole hub of socials services for their areas would fail to function. These very imperative responsibilities were usually held by X- merchant seamen/ footplate railway firemen, commonly called a ‘Stoker’ operating a marine boiler

These dedicated men being the safety value in case any problems arose which rarely occurred…and although the commencement ignites/ the end shutdown, of their shift had a high concentrated level of acute duty, the continuous running of the system was relatively easy and a tad boring. With this in mind and individual history of 30/40 years at sea, these pioneers had a sailing taste for slight refreshments

In one such premise’s of the Auld Corporation, worked such an old stoker nickname ‘Al Jonson,’ due to his liking habit of singing the famed singer’s songs, with different gusto, measured by the amount of liquid gold he was or had consumed, all in all he was a rare chanter in a desperate struggle against tedium. There was a sure fire way of comprehending his partiality of the day was. The tell-tale sings was on his table layout in the powerhouse bothie.

Coming down the metal steps Al Jolson could be observed sitting at a clothed table used by engineers and firemen for lunch/tea breaks. If only a tea caddy was situated on the centre of the top meant he was drinking beer. The caddy was just above the height of the bear glass. If per chance a biscuit tin was on display in meant a half was being consumed…and if both…this ordained a ‘hauf and a hauf’’ was regularly his chosen tipple…usually on a Friday.

If per chance he wandered around away from the comforts of his bothie… if he talk nineteen to the dozen, chit-chatting the legs of a donkey in such a vocational fashion of a hifi record needle…he was fu. Somewhere across the busy city worked a superintendent, known as the sacking gaffer, had phone urgently for Willie’s services (this was his real name) as his man was sent home…for being drunk…before he even touched the water boiling cauldrons…

It was sneakily manged to keep Willie away from the ‘Sacking gaffer, simple because he was slipped in via the back entrance to the boiler room and no self-respectful superintendent would venture down such a greasy hothouse, Willie on the other hand, could prepare and kindle a boiler in his sleep, so things seemed normal. Once the big cheese left for home…the shift supervisor discovered to his horror… the continuing problem was…Willie was more blotto than the guy they sent home…
In the deemed ‘Mean Town’ shipyards areas, in any metropolis, the clandestine alcohol are in a league of its own…blew your brains out.

It was believed when liquor illicitly came into the docks, in these vast vats, after they were released of their valuable cargo, these containers were steamed cleaned releasing raw alcohol and this was run off and bottled, sold and drank by a mixture of personage through a wide areas of the housing and so called country clubs( made speakeasy’s sound tame) around dockyards.

An experience better tried once and once only

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Aug 2016, 07:54pm

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie


In different Scottish metropolis, within areas of those metropolitans, a sense of pride amongst the Baths Department council workforce, a certain principle was, and is inherent, almost mimicking the infamous mafia (if it exists) as unspoken code of accepted ethics to be followed to the letter. The most serious of these silent morals is… never to grass (tell tales) on workmates known workers from any other establishment in the city.

No matter how the unofficial union scrutinize …there is always someone who will do just that…either out of spite, wishing to be notice when promotion is in the air, so called night and day workers…or just bampots*. For some insane reason there are peoples who take an unhealthy delight by being such informants almost in every works or establishments, just the hell of it…

In one such premises there was such a snitch, we will nickname him ‘Jim’ to preserve his individuality while named ‘George the untrue’, who had the audacity to inform on Big Ben, employed causally in the Turkish suite. He was called big for that is what he was, possessing hands like shovels when open and sledgehammers when closed…especially when angry. He was dubbed ‘Big Ben’ for it was known he had done some serious time, by request of her majesty…though nobody knew what for. This tale is using nicknames to defend the innocent…but mainly to protect the author.

When Big Ben discovered he had been stitched up by this naff, he stormed through to the works laundry where all the towels and the like are washed, dried and bundled. Jim was caught off guard as Big Ben bodily grabbed the nark and tossed him into the drier…locked the door and turned on the motions that driers do. Jim was now an authentic squealer…which was heard all around the old building…no-one dared to rescue him until the shilling ran out…anyway it was on cool air function.

Though it was unusual, Big Ben did not turn up for work for a week or so leaving the gaffers none the wiser why? He was always on time also being known for his honesty, above board, trusted and frank. Whether this was due to his massive frame with height over 6 foot 6 inches, he was truly daunting, but It was not the first time Ben handed in money and possessions, perhaps left by a forgetful punter There was a visit from five local C.I.D. who requested, records when Big Ben worked, and to search Big Ben’s lockers and the whole of the prodigious Turkish suite to boot.

As they turned the who place upside down it was unclear what the plain cloths police were looking for until one of the gaffer’s actually asked. Replying in serious manner tones he was informed the purpose was to search out any lose money unwarranted for such premises and circumstances. It was then the shift supervisor retorted in his Scottish vernacular, he certainly wished not to be a stoolpigeon but Ben Gun earner extra money in the shape of perquisite, not declared in his taxes, and a fair amount of overtime.

There was a certain half-baked snigger from one of the C.I.D men, as he nonchalantly addressed to his college that this would go a long way in explaining how £20,000 was found in Big Ben’s home after he had been arrested on last Tuesday.

Carefully and innocently, complete with a tad of curious concern for one employee, the same day-manager added… “Tuesday is Big Ben’s day off….why and how was he arrested?” The law enforcement agent quickly comes back “Along with a couple of living stooges a robbery took place, at a bank in the city, the thieves made off with hundreds of thousands of pounds!

The gaffer was flabbergasted…and surprise in his voice….”on his day off?”

Posted by: peter.howden 21st Aug 2016, 11:06am


Not so long ago while on a short break, I strolled along the sands of Saltcoats, after a few refreshments in a local tavern, being a chilly night but so enchanting full moon displaying my way to the holiday caravan owned by Salty (David my brother-in-law).Stopping to take another few sips of ‘the water of life’…for medicinal reasons , neither the Christianity vision or Brother Grimm’s fairy tale, but liquid gold from a true Scottish distillers .

With such a clear evening memorized by the distant Lamlash, Isle of Arran, almost as if you could touch her. Turning around to the direction where unfamiliar noises were drifting, when a welcome figure arose out of the shadows. It was ‘Peewee’ as everyone may ken by now, supernatural and magical pigeon guardian of Georges Square, self-made protector of the Lord Provosts of Glasgow, before time was measured by a ticking clock.

In a serious temperament he spoke “In 1794, a certain incident took place, which could have tore the very heart out of Glasgow and perhaps had started another uprising pitching Scot against Scot!” Continuing with precise dictation, “The military authorities were nervous due to the auld Alliance and the state of France! A highland regiment named ‘Breadalbane Fencibles’ billeted within the Glasgow walls.. A guard was duped into allowing a prisoner to flee was to be hanged…the soldiers protested and the authorities declared the men to be flogged”

The rebel soldiers felt disgrace had been bestowed on their honour, so a small group did rescue their companions from the jail. They demanded their fellow fighting men to be released and when refused, took them by force and refused to hand them back, no matter what the officers ordered .

This became ugly as the rescuers, having returned to normal duties, they themselves were confide to barracks, where in several days would be sent out of the town, Musselburgh sands no less, to be shot for mutiny . The common folk of Glasgow were well aware of the unfairness dealt to all the soldiers and so a mob started to riot at the Tron toll. They ambushed the very officer who had called for the unjust sentence on the wrongdoers and their rescuers. The mob was ugly and had the officer plus his batman held in a house close to the toll.

The Lord Provost at the time Gilbert Hamilton was in a right panic, requesting me for advice how to deal with such a volatile situation. With this he wrote to Lord Breadalbane Fencibles, to whom this sad affair had started, and then demanded release of the accused and disciplinarian. This the methodical militaries did without question knowing they were sealing their own fate. Their honour was more important than any argument or punishment bestowed proving trust was well founded. It was successful as all returned to where they were billeted and all soldiers were released from their sentence but sent to the four corners of the known world…. one escape goat named Alexander Sutherland was hung.

Provost Hamilton took the ideas of action to be his own and warmed in their credit. The reason for the last moment reprise was not honour or duty done but the fear of full scale uprising as the likes of France. Peewee then added with a hint of distaste; “So many loopholes in some government legislature, council decisions and bills, lots deliberate that you could use them as verbal sieves…or how to make simple words mean a thousand ways!”

Peewee looking at me as if teacher to pupil and then surprisingly added before disappearing …”You can’t always get what you want” leaving me with a conundrum …was Peewee a Rolling Stone’s fan...I took another snifter from my bottle and I guessed the answer was.... Yes….

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Aug 2016, 01:35pm

The Plague beyond salvation

It has been long thought, by scientist and boffins in the field of physics, the first living thing on Earth were single-celled micro-organisms deficient of a cell nucleus, around four billion years ago, some hundred million years after the construction of the Earth itself. The geniuses are completely ignorant of the dark facts of the whole creation structure…or why the universe is here.

The architects are living forms in a time structure way beyond human ken, where billions of light years superfluous shadows in their cosmos. The simple answer is it is an experiment, in a control environment, by them to adapt basic life to different atmospheres and chemicals. Our whole structure surrounds 94 elements…we have two yet to discover. The plan was to inspect any such life forms produced by opposite proofs and conditions and where that might lead to in a relatively short phase

A safety valve was installed by having a special beginning, a one off ‘Amoeba Archaea’ in case something uncalculated or distrustful was to take place. This had a positive/ neutral disguised atom was separated… the neutral was installed in the very first living female organism, hidden and obscured in the females D.N.A. of the progressive top predator being. The positive half was buried undeveloped into the top predator males D.N.A

While closely monitoring their progress in their studies and premeditated stages, which include anticipating a struggle for supremacy between species…domination by one species became inescapable. What apprehension there was … when one such dominie becomes so indifferent to irreversible consequences for the survival of the planet…then the experimentation would be terminated immediately

When assessed to be, with the press of a key, will instantly activate both cells…destroying all of humanity [size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Aug 2016, 08:06pm

Joe’s discovery

Taking a shortcut home through a wooded area near his home, Joe stumbled and fell over a unseen object, banged his head on the gravel pathway also grazing his knuckles.. Murmuring curses and being embarrassed, Joe began to pull himself together, looking to see if anyone witnessed his stupidity. In the dim light available he saw what seemed like a fancy raincoat, puffed up and spread across the pathway but taking a closer squint he began to panic…as he saw there was a crumpled body in the expensive coat.

The horror spread like uncontrollably wildfire in his confused mind, darting to and fro from reasonable sanity to fragments beyond dreams as he cautiously moved closer to the victim, swithering whether to move the body. Joe had seen many murder mysteries of the box to know the police don’t like the public to touch anything but especially not to move the body. Racing through is mind was the thought ‘Is he dead?’ Joe inwardly thought ‘he might be alive and needing help?’

His mind spun…’If he’s dead and I buzz the polis…I’ll get the blame… no doubt about it with my record…no one here to tell them otherwise…the bogies won’t believe me…that’s for sure!’ ‘The body hasn’t moved at all …then again he may be wounded. Joe chose to investigate with care… turning over the limp body which let out a very faint sound…no more than an unconscious murmur.

This unknown smartly dressed man with a bow tie and silk shirt and all the evening dress clobber… nevertheless ….over the front of coat, blood seeping at an alarming rate… staining Joe’s tee-shirt. Joe now was not scared…just bloody petrified, because almost instantaneously the damp gooey liquid dripped as if wet across his ice blue jeans….his brain worked overtime…

“Christ!” he shouted without thinking…. Then silently said to himself…‘If I do a runner I’m still marked, how the hell do I wash the crap off without that nosey bugger of a landlady knowing?’. Joe’s reasoning was now grindingly clawing for an answer …. The body just lies there creating havoc in its possible last moments …if he dies I’m defiantly stuffed…if it was ever possible he survives…he most likely unable to remember what or who happened….then I’m truly stuffed…I can’t even change tailored suit and fancy dancing shoes

Precipitously for a moment he relaxed as if saved due to remembering ….the dead come out in their Sunday best…. as the drunken poet writer once wrote…. Then realizing he must be nuts thinking so….

He covered the body as best he could trying his best to make it invisible to the naked eye….….he took all his cloths apart from his vest and pants, luckily the were trunk shaped and before burying his cloths in a separate hole….with a small branch scribbled the number 42…once all completed …walked as if exercising in a race…while remembering the number 42… is the meaning of life….

Posted by: peter.howden 24th Aug 2016, 03:45pm

My Chronicles 24/08/2016

There are certain conditions within life occur regularly happily expected but then again there are unqualified circumstances which causes consequences on no time dreamed would arise. The main change was learning to accustom aging…more important, how it touches my family, affects our lives… and me.

Our Aunt Becky while managing to reach 90, old of age is not the real factor; on the other hand diagnosed with Demetria progressively chronic has affected all who care for her. In her own little world she appears reasonably happy reading her precious books and the occasional cowboy film ‘John Wayne’ of course. Unfortunately she has forgotten how to switch the telly on, never mind changing channels, and her concentration reading books although eager to achieve…last about 5/10 minutes at best.

When assessed by the professional peoples from N.H.S, and the like, they depend on basic facts and financial restrictions, while ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I are to close.... Yes… she can make something to eat, always a piece and marmalade (I call her wee Paddington) or a half cup of tea she has forgotten she has made and makes another and another.

The authorities state she is safe which I am rather dubious about but she spends 21 hours alone….to us …this is not measuring up to a quality of life while the authorities are determined to keep peoples in their own home mainly for just financial reasons…. not the worth of precious life …the simple qualified consequence is …we feel inadequate.

I am lucky to have a couple of ‘China’s’ who are around my age, while the precious thing about these mates is simply knowing they are there. One China has had relatively unexpected consequences placed on his life. I may be lucky to visit once a year, which is an event all of its own. My other China, like myself, has steadily realized we are growing old. with my enjoyable trips, I see roughly once a month Jim Hendry…an Ayrshire man. He is taking a well-deserved holiday in November, after funding his trip, will cause perhaps an assessed financial consequences… with unrehearsed consequence of sleepless nights on his mattress being a wee bit lower in height.

Rebecca and I have had one tragedy with the sudden loss of ‘Toni’ our daughter ,almost destroying all of us and still does deliver instant aching at a moment’s notice, due to uncontrollable unqualified thoughts …though the pain now is slightly bearable with happy memories of her life… peeking in unannounced.

With my heart’s partner ‘She who must be obeyed’, Chris and Nikki who care and loving, three oddball grandchildren, Toni’s main man Fergus… plus Paddington(Aunt Becky) all in my corner and for me personally…my whole life has been one heck of a zigzag, up and down, but mainly fabulous ‘once in a lifetime’ trip….I have just purchased a new badger/hair shaving brush….I hope the badger does not mind me having a few close shaves …wonder what comes next [size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 25th Aug 2016, 01:07pm

Desperate 14;


22b stubbed out her filter-tipped hand rolled fag, made from doubts of previous cigarettes, through necessity rather than conviction. She had only been invited next door, 22A, just twice before; her hands were shaking for it was like stepping into another world. The neighbour delivered the invitation when they met in the post office while 22b was collecting her meagre rock bottom allowance from the state. Her next-door fellow citizen was dispatching some correspondence and early Christmas gifts abroad. 22A said you had to post early to make sure of delivery ….in time for the season festivities.

Celebration; what calibrations were going to take place in 22b. Bugger all…and that is God’s honest truth. In the empty shell of this address was puck all; apart from hand- me-downs of a small single bed, a chair and a wobbly side dresser, completing the set an old telly which only worked at night because the picture could not compete with any form of sunshine or daylight. She had tried to tape an old cardboard box around the screen to block out unwanted light but it was bloody hopeless

On her last visit to the abode the well-off owner’s abode of 22a, the host surprisingly gave her an automatic tin opener. What the France was she going to do with that? One tin of old corn beef and a tin of Heinz whatever kind of soup, and that was a pull can. I guess she can give presents with impunity, because she has carpets……in every room. Anyway the visit will pass the time.

Next door greeted her with a welcome of sheer delight though such joy and reception was lost on number 22b. Noticing her guest was rather vexed, the lady of the house decided to show her the flat’s new bedroom suite, bought with some monies from an inheritance left by a relative. The only inheritance 22b could look forward would be double monies at the fair and Christmas. The only difference was she was totally skint for three weeks instead of 5 days.

The phone wrung shortly after the private tour introduced to the bold four poster bed. The lady host excused herself and left the boudoir. The lass from 22B skits around with wanting eyes until they come transfixed on an enamel jewellery box. Peeking inside was as if it was King Solomon’s mines or Ali Baba’s ill got gains . One precious piece stood out from all the rest, within the blink of an eye; she palms it…drops it into her blouse pocket.

When 22b returns to some small talk, false smiles leading shortly afterwards with 22B back in her cold bare custodial flat. With great electric excitement jumping through her body with speed faster than light 22b takes out her purloined jewellery she had stolen with such ease in craving and desire personification, she released the stone out of its hiding.
Graspingly glaring at the ring as it shone so brightly in the dull surroundings of the shabby painted room, she slipped it on her poky bony finger as if it was made for her purpose alone.

She knew no one could witness her adorning the stolen treasure and if miss have-it-all came to the door; 22b would just deny all knowledge. She toasted her conniving cunning with a slug of flattened ginger. 22b was in a mood to celebrate and decided to open her long awaited corn beef.

As she prepared the electric can opener a shaft of light bounced off the diamond on the ring’s setting and caught her eyes, forcing her to lift one hand to shade the glare. Just that precise moment, the gifted automatic gadget lunged into operation catching her ringed finger with the sharp mechanics. The exquisite ring squashed into the flesh causing tremendous pressure to squash fragmenting the very bone, almost wrenching it from the hand, hot blood spurted in all directions, instantly turning cold when landing on foreign flesh.

22b panicked, racing around as a headless chicken making the heartbeat faster, producing more escaping red serum. The moment’s vital force was seeping away. as her spark of life drifted .

Some miracle happened, 22b didn’t know what, but she woke up in hospital as ashen faced doctors mumbled seriously over her. She felt nothing but anxiety to see her ill-gotten ring, trying to utter words but somehow they made not a sound

The doctors were holding up an X-Ray and uttering there was nothing that could not save the hand or the arm and the critical condition was caused by gangrene. They assumed this appalling act, most likely was caused by a dirty cutting instrument, because she was in the kitchen at the terrible scene.

The medical persons agreed unanimously that the patient had a fatal complaint

The ring lay in the senior nurse’s cupboard, unclaimed to this day and perfect in every detail.

Posted by: peter.howden 29th Aug 2016, 03:05pm

The little princess

The little girl was indeed a picture of virtually divine prettiness right from the start, being told to one and all almost every day, by those who saw her but especially her dotting mother. The mommy bestowed many other praises on her ‘Little Princess’ at any opportunity, or excuse, or moment she could derive to do so. From the child’s cot onwards, when grandiose fairy tales, such as ‘Snow-white’ ‘Sleeping Beauty’; ‘Cannettella’ and of course ‘The Flower Queen’s Daughter’ all read before climbing the wooden stairs to slumber land, and the child being dictated to these fables was based on her, as she was ever so special preparing for the rosy future being the bell of the ball, to marry, someone no lesser than the royal circles, even a king.

From that precise moment of time, each growing step, the little girl was drilled in strict decorum posture complete with perfect diction. Respectively mornings were dedicated atomized routines preparing her face, body and dress for that particular day…always being referred to as ‘Princess’. This was physically followed by tuition how too graceful in sitting walking and tone manner allowing someone into her presence

Her father, being male and just barely tolerated by the higher female matriarch, had little say in any matter, apart for adding the term ‘Precious’ after each sentence communicating with the child. Money was no stumbling block, so nothing was too good for her prized offspring, best of best of everything, from head to toe in cloths and accessories only ordinary girls can dream of. There was rarely conversation…just gruelling instructions interwoven with total admiration bestowed on their living doll. What was totally forgotten was to encourage individual personality, complete with separate skilled qualities.

As the years progressed the young child change into a girl, then cool controlled young lady, imitating a top film star’s magnificent image, with her looks and profile knowing no bounds, but on the other hand…. Outwardly, ground impression of being cold, aloof, haughty taughty female whose panting suiters, attracted by the illusion, very soon after introductions flew away without daring being verbally or physically Intimate

As the ages past, the older woman still held such grace and elegance, wearing cloths which suited her every move which others envied, as some seriously wanted to be like, but she was terribly alone and an all cried out wallflower…living completely alone. Her parents had tutored her especially well and now there was no other way to behave. Now distant memories just exploded into agonized thoughts of depression, so dark it was frightening …but more frightening when they were lost in the hidden allusion of the mind. Inside her heart, she would give her life tomorrow… just for a night of loving, with any male company, and above all…honest warmth to last until dawn

There was great wretchedness deep within the soul, simply because the living doll could only be a subject to look at…admiring her contour perfection

Posted by: peter.howden 30th Aug 2016, 10:34am

High tea in Milngavie

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I were invited to meet the Family of ‘Kirstie’ before the wedding between the lovely Kirstie and Chris, our son, due to take place on the 23rd September. They have been going steady, if this is the correct term, right from the first moments they met and continue beaming pure delight and contentment whenever just sneaking a glimpse of one another…they are as one. Charming and nice are overused words but together they both fit the bill of the pure joy they share and just a few weeks ago they announced, to prospective families, their intentions of being wed.

Now; for two unknown families to meet under such circumstances, in my experiences, can be a tad awkward to all concerned or at least… daunting. With this in mind and the bursting enthusiasm displayed by the lovebirds it was agreed Rebecca and I would travel to the home of Kristie’s relatives in Milngavie. We were not completely in the dark because on two occasions, we had kept company with Kristie’s sister, Yvonne who visited our regular Saturday kitchen table family rendezvous. When it was mentioned the theme would be ‘High Tea’…of course, I was guided by ‘She who must be obeyed’ to be on best behaviour, which I promised to endeavour to be just so.

On the day while motoring to their home, I had a slight mixture of raw excitement, plus a niggling worries and hope both families would not take an unfortunate unplanned irked with each other, for these things can unfortunately take hold regardless of the efforts of the families concerned. Kristie’s family were absolutely pleasure to meet in their home surroundings, proving the High Tea setting was pure magic to put all company at ease. And what a spread of homemade scones, cakes and delightful bites just so tempting.
Each and every one of Kirstie’s family made us both feel comfortable and important with all looking forward to the big day.

The big surprise was when Kirstie asked if I would be honoured to give her away to Chris…giving me moist eyes and on the spot pride. All too soon we were being waved away by a heart-warming family… from High tea in Milngavie.

High teas where no strangers to me although in distant memories way back as a tyke youngster, when my mother constantly coached me in the three-layer etiquette…known as manners. It was not polite to dive in at the cream cakes or buns, first you sampled dainty pieces of bread, from the bottom layer, with butter or jam…not both which I liked. Then after asking politely, a scone, middle layer, could be placed on your plate, again butter or jam…but woo betide me if I used the knife instead of the tiny spoon supplied for that very purpose…and this would be excessively embarrassing for mother. Once this structure had been heeded then a cream delight was mine…except it was to be cut in small pieces to fit the mouth. The best part of eating cream buns or cakes was having the cream all over your face and liking it off with the tongue…not acceptable at high tea.

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I are spending this weekend down at Saltcoats, in a chateau, thanks to the generosity of Salty (my Brother-in-law… the looser of Alcoholic chess) but a dollar to a penny…he has not laid on High Tea….[size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 4th Sep 2016, 01:42pm

My Chronicles 04/09/2016

‘Actions speak louder than words’, is a quote I trust to be true, on the other hand, I may be wrong because the style of writing words can hint of the true character of the author. Within my scribbled compositions, displays my ‘Primeval atom’ actions, both physical and literatures, ranging through foolish …silly and categorical daft…with just a glimpse of triumph peering through the word haze. Some ask if they can give ‘constructive criticism’ or another ‘with respect’; they only mean they don’t agree because you are not preforming to their reputed standards…in fact being rude.

How this affects the occasional reader I cannot tell, but the continuous flouting rules of grammar, merged with childish spelling, total ignoring the English language, is not down to being a proud ‘Scot’ but the amateur urgency, of pure excitement, to scribble what is inside my mind…trusting it is legible. The truth… it acts like a release valve evaluating my temperament with the bonus of the finished article…which I seldom change.

The proof in my bodily cavalier attitude is tangle up with several actions taken lately, which some may say fool hardy and collectively I may agree. Several months ago, a charming friend who owns a hardware emporium, had at my request, ordered a huge bag of peanuts for our ‘feathered friends’ in our garden. Arriving at the shop, I struggled to place the extremely heavy awkward jute bag into the car and home. The strain of it all did not hit back until two days later, when my body objected with pain, from every muscle limb, fingers and torso’s every simple movement for some weeks ahead. Did it teach me?

Perceptibly no, for just before my planned trip for France, while entering her abode, Aunt Becky missed her step over the thresh-hold and fell inward, landing luckily unharmed on the carpet. After checking she was O.K. I attempted to lift her from her now obvious embarrassed position sitting cooried on the carpet. We strained everything until she grabbed my right arm, instant pain riveted me, then with combined effort, we managed to raise her from the floor. Becky was neither up or down but unfortunately my muscles, rebellious with pain, electrifying pins and needles reproducing joints, muscles and tissues contending to be the supremo inflictor of pain’s awful aching from the previous mishap, which did not ease until recently …did I learn or take heed?

Obviously not, as just last week arriving at B&Q, with intentions of purchasing just a small box of Evergreen grass treatment granules, avoiding the pay trollies since superfluous to requirement. The price of a small box and a larger bag where the same…and being a canny Scot, I choose the later not taking into account how far away the pay desk was. By the time I reached the car, clumsily bundling the fat plastic bag into boot, I felt a worrying weird, growing shoddier on the way home.

Everything in the previous mishaps was combining to work against my now painful body. I took the harsh advice from ‘She who must be obeyed’ retired to bed and stay there almost continuously for three days. Recuperating gave me the chance to ponder over my obstinateness in admitting why my mental age and now… are both prime numbers…with me being the one. ‘She who must be obeyed’ states ‘I’m the one’ but with dissimilar connotations.

My reality, bodily and rational, activities achieved in a spectrum of ‘Gung Ho’ brashness, thru to frequently ‘Will of the wisp’ mind of a 17year old, now in the body of a relatively 71-year-old man…not what the scientific genius; ‘Einstein’ had in mind when quoting ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’.… but just as curved when attempting to keep my feet on the ground …rationally as well as bodily.

Throughout my life, there has been recognizable stages where noticeable changes in personal abilities, adaptions accepted, avoiding physical glitches or hell bent into destruction …will my scribbles change to good old fashioned spelling and English…. I very much doubt it. Once or twice I was told by a couple of teachers, ‘for someone reasonable smart, I was rather puerile’…. God knows where they reckoned ‘Smart’

Posted by: peter.howden 5th Sep 2016, 02:56pm

Wandering date

‘It is a lovely day’ he thought as he strolled around ‘Queen’s Park’ which held magic moments for him, and his lovely ‘Beth’, cherished every day since they came together. Sauntering all the way around, then stop at ‘Hill 60’ and meditate the famous history of ‘Mary, Queen of the Scots’, and the renowned battle of Langside. As a couple they had no mind whether rain, windy snow or even once through a blizzard, they took those familiar steps. For uncountable years they were dedicated to each other

Few words passed between them hiking around the old bandstand, for they knew each other so well, conversation was not necessary, though loving eye contact was a prized delight for both, and showed. Today was different as he had important information to tell his beloved and had no idea how to go about the delicate subject, or how she would react at the news. His heart was bursting with mixed emotion, being terrified for his lovely ‘Beth’ having to face the world alone if anything happened to him.

He watched through watery eyes as he saw her just being herself, busily enjoying the fresh air, enhanced with the scent of newly cut grass as the park-keepers preformed their regular duty, keeping the hill neat and tidy. Over by on the right was Queens-Park famous football ground, where the Hamden roar given, not often, by passionate football fans, for the national team while playing and winning the battle with England,

They both deliberately stopped at the spot where they could see all they surveyed… the view was more than breathtakingly stunning. It did not help him to produce the words of sorrow, for he just could not do it. He had had a few serious things going wrong in their lives but this was the worst and hardest. He had been going to the Victoria hospital and the Doctor had told him he must have an operation but even worse news came the following week. Time was not on his side. the hurt knew no boundaries and the pain of knowing what was about to take place, was internally destroying him

’Beth’ on the other had was just as beautiful, full of life and total unaware of his concerns. They walked together through the massive green iron rot gates, around to Langside Rd to the place he had been regretting since the medical gen was discovered, without any alternatives available. He stopped and gave ‘Beth’ a looking look without a word, then walked through the medicinal establishment.

All white coats met them both and he gave a nod as permission as the vet led ‘Beth’ his cherished Labrador through swinging doors for the last moments of her life. Then he could swear she looked around and seemingly had a tear in her huge brown eyes……then disappeared. .

This was the last walk for master and dog……….together;

Posted by: peter.howden 7th Sep 2016, 03:36pm

The little bashed pot

Having been laid down, unceremoniously without thought or fortune, lodged between other already washed dishes, the little bashed pot settled down too dry. The time this took, depended on the heat within this demanding kitchen, or in rare moments when someone would use a dish cloth, then place it on the usual shelf ready for the next time.

The wee battered pot was not a castoff, for it had been brand new, at one time in the past many years ago, bought for purpose of everyday cooking. It was a very popular saucepan because of its size, while the bashes and scrapes told the tale of constant usage. There were even abrasions when one visitor to the kitchen, volunteered to do the washing-up, used, of all things, an old fashioned brillo pad. A no-no as all good cooks knows to their peril and pots and pans dread.

Unknown to the little pan, he was being ogled by a self-professed beautiful crock, in prestige condition, whose resting place was in an all glass display cabinet...reputedly but never substantiated, built with him in mind. The ancient pot was a downright snob, who had never been washed, so commonly, with suds as the rest of the utensils in the pantry, as he knew he was special being massaged with olive oil and a soft cloth.
When he had arrived, handled with kid gloves, hands delicately used a small brush and a blow dryer before being carefully placed in his resting cushion enabling him to gawk at all around the kitchenette.

Once the humans had left the scullery, silence fell except for the drip-drip from the tap, its washer had been wasting away for ages. The bad mannered would be toff, scornfully quipped down to the wee wet pot and cursed it with a sting, calling him a common pot rough ware. The little pot was not completely upset by this unnecessary hurled abuse, quickly quipping back, how at least he had seen life with constant use, learned a few things by meeting all other utensils...and been loved in a particular way.

On the whole, the show-oft appliance grumpily stated he was of the upper order of the social scale as he was an antique, having been kept in unspoiled condition for all those years, more than he could recall. His last quip rang out ‘I must be worth an exceedingly high amount because everybody wants to hold me and kiss me’.

The little pot, with a glint in its well-polished bottom, whispered this rye twist ‘Where you are, you’re definitely not ‘suffice to purpose’ for my boastful fellow, you are a Victorian travelling commode; Yes ... A pee latrine’…known in Glaswegian as a Pish pot

Posted by: peter.howden 11th Sep 2016, 06:58pm

Foreign Date

Finally, he plucked up nervous courage to phone her personally. Each time he wandered passed a phone box or looked at his mobile, he would start the dialling sequence only to bottle out at the final vital digit. Naively he knew so little about her, apart from her stunning gaze with such seductive eyes …staring directly at him each time, while exhibiting a curvy feature, pear shaped film star pose. She was foreign, but what city exactly, Paris perhaps, he was not sure but certainly she was French. Ah yes; he knew her number off by heart and without doubt, she was what he desperately needed and yearned for a time with her… absolutely her alone…for the future he had inflexibly planned.

The memory of her voice haunted him as being soft, while she declared the day she was available, the time… in addition place where they could meet for the very first time, sounding not only sincere for him asking, but expressed so sweet all her responses. His head now was spinning with great expectations as to what future he had, for she was fundamentally important in his life now and the foreseeable forthcoming. He could hardly believe his luck at finding her.

For the next few days he was walking on cloud 9, for his dream was now becoming a reality. He wondered if he should bring chocolates while just try to make a good natural impression of his intentions would be a better start.

The very day came after a sleepless night of torturous thoughts of him being a failure as far as she was concern. He was washed and spruced while checking Google Earth to check, time and time again, exactly where the address of her abode was. Hours before the rendezvous, he rechecked from head to toe he was just right for his first meeting.

Now he was on the actual street, rather run down and not what he imagined it would be, but he did remember the saying of old, ‘never judge a book by its cover’. His other concern was…if he would come up to scratch.

His mouth was parched like a desert as he pushed the manky security button at the main door, then the sweet voice of the lady in question murmured for him to ‘Come up!’ The flat door opened as simultaneously his jaw dropped standing dead still almost with shock by all accounts. She was skimpy dressed, for such an affair while what she had covering certain personal parts where of see through material. Her lips were red as red lipstick could be, and the shady apartment aroma was of cheap perfume. All in all, his obvious disappointment was completely unable to hide.

Gawking at the frayed card, with her photo adjacent; he had carried around for so long. The card he acquired from the public phone box at the city centre…close to his abode.

With a lump in his dry throat he forced himself to ask; ‘I am going to Paris soon…are you the young lady with the pseudonym, ‘Madam’…who gives French lessons?’
-=-=-=--=-=-= [size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 14th Sep 2016, 06:10am

Anecdotes from the auld Steamie


In almost every thriving urban, town or industrial metropolitan within the coastline of Scotland, during the last century, local councils attempted to deliver a true service of well-being in the shape of public parks, museums and washing and bathing institutions, for working class within manufacturing areas. Those establishments appearing prime and strict appropriate training for its disciplined hand chosen staff… this rule did not apply to Clark (nom de plume; for disguised superman) …or quite a few of the staffs of such establishments

Clark for a better explanation, was rather slow on top, which now is not politically correct but still exists all over the land. This was not to say he was witless, on the contrary he was crafty and keen with money. The young lad was no walking fool, but fooled almost everyone he encountered, or had come across him. He may have been a walking disaster, pretty slow, in parts in the uptake; however, believe me, no fool.

In his ordinary life, he could receive instruction one day, and then loose I the jiff quite quickly without seemingly knowing consciously he had been instructed at all. A tad on the lethargic side, though his burning ambition was to qualify being a swimming attendant in the swimming pool. His Victorian building was a washhouse which also had a pool, only used for schools during the day and the town club at night. He was employed as a dog’s body, cleaning anything and everything was his duties.

In those days all workers received a brown paper wage packet, delivered to their places of employment around 11.00 of Friday’s morning clock. With such an advantage the late evening staff bought special dinners just in this one day, while feeling financially flusher than the rest of the week. Owing to the factor the building was right slab dab at the edge of ship building yards it was a busy place with a staff big enough for the compliment. Clark collected the list and monies for the food carryout’s around 4 pm those afternoons.

One particular Friday when an extra bonus was paid out, virtually the whole late staff ordered extravagantly over the normal helpings, saying to Clark to buy whatever he wished…as a gratuity. The usual exercise from start to finish took perhaps ¾ of an hour most time taken waiting at the counter of the chip ship. Five of the clock past without any sign of Clark. Another half hour went by and no delivery. The clock struck six in the evening and still no sign and the staff genuinely became worried if something had happened to the lad as the district on a Friday was renowned for drunkenness and punch-ups.

Concern grew as they were about to send out a rescue party, when Clark loaded with hot and cold goods, plus fags for the smokers, cheerfully entered the building. Quickly he dispatched the awaited goods for each person’s order and then disappeared. The lad only appeared when he had scoffed his Ashet pie and chips plus a bottle of the famous Irn-Bru… made from girders…as advertised.

The late crew obviously asked for their change, as they had given the young Clark. either £5/£10 note from there wage packets. Astonishingly Clark replied there was no change for anyone as he was told to buy anything he wished. Astonished if not with growing anger…the workers demanded what happened to their money…

Clark explained he had bought two shirts and a pair of jeans with the collective tip. There was deep resentment for some time, totally aimed at Clark…and he never got keeping the change ever again [/size][size="3"]

Posted by: peter.howden 15th Sep 2016, 09:51am


Wearing a make do sleeping shirt, which my wife had bought for a Christmas present years ago, I was completing this weekly chore concentrating on the awkward green wheelie bin… she came out of nowhere, or this was how it seemed. The apparition, hooded up against the coldness of the sessional morning, making her way through the well-trodden common footpath running at right angles next to our homes... though at that time in the morning it was surprising to see another soul.

The chilly air of the morning caused vapour swirling around my words ‘Good morning’ echoing further than intended, perhaps sounding sharp, as she turned around and replied in a soft deliberate manner. Battling with my wheeled monstrosity, she came closer as she called again to wish me ‘good morning’ in a clear and upright fashion. It was awfully cold and my slippers were sliding, making my way down the pathway, almost in control of the independent minded moveable bin heading for the street.

She cleared her throat, calling not so loud this time, as we were pretty close by now and only separated by a hedge “excuse me but do you know the time” I knew it was 6.30 am as I had heard the news start just as I was coming out. “I would think it must be somewhere near twenty-five to seven”. I replied trying to be helpful “What time does the shop open” she asked rather craggily, then a slight pause, followed by “I know it is 7 of the clock” with a hesitation in her voice. She asked and answered the question, then mumbling something incoherent, repeated her question and answer

Now in full street lighting, it was then I saw her quaking and displaying evidence of a harsh life lived, past her sell date but not because of her age but due to her condition. The whiff or strong odour of stale drink following her, even in the severe cold be located about her person A youngish woman of maybe 40 or so however her face was haggard, weather beaten with a yellow tinge, and though one was not there I felt a wart on her chin or her nose would be appropriate for her appearance. Perhaps you may think this as terrible and disgusting of me, to judge a fellow human being so but that is how it was.

Even with me judging her so bleakly she was unaware and thanked me kindly, then turned around to retreat where she came from. Her abode was next to spare ground where a wee council building once stood. The housing association had plans to build new homes there but it never happened for one reason or another. The door shut and after a wee while… a small light went on in the house above and a lonely figure stood at the window and stared out into the bleakness.

You may call it guessing or a terrible cast on her character but the lady was going for her much needed refill swally. She is well known locally as holding a boozer house… in the vicinity country club abode, where alcoholics met sharing, when money is available, various forms of liquor…. called wine-moppers….

Posted by: peter.howden 16th Sep 2016, 07:36pm

Powerless to translate

I wish I could rid my inners of this tight foreboding, which lodges every time since I unsuccessfully read stories, plus traditional fairy tales to our children then our grandchildren. Kids being kids especially toddlers need the security of chosen tales, they know off by heart, to be repeated to them, word for word, as a comforting blanket, preparing them to sleep. My crucial fault was, and is ad-libbing, taking this faithful fiction into another direction. Our offspring and grandkids would complain and I would have to devilishly concentrate, to resolve their anxiety.

This was controllable, or retractable in the comfort of our, or their homes, however now in the small activities I take part in, finding the increasingly difficulty has become a major problem, bordering on the impossible, to speak clearly, precisely what is written down, conveying to the audience a simple message intended.

On the day selected for broadcast to an audience, my abdominal tightens the closer the hour comes while d my imagination touches a nerve, then overdrive towards the actual moment to begin the carefully crafted words, by others, which I have to translate into vibrant dialog. The fear I will either dry up…or more likely my trusty eyesight blurs failing to transfer what it sees, or stumble over the simplest of words I am somehow unable to decipher. The terror is the stone I cannot pitch or overcome

It is not only one of my Foibles… but a catastrophe waiting to happen…now tonight…reviewing this scrip, uncontrollably dread has taken grip since having to read, a short well’ black and white’ script, without deteriorating into almost verbal dribble with the first uttering word of the simple paragraph.

I can with careful planning, pick four/ or six words, to use as a pilot to progress and identify, all what information to relay to an appreciative audience…reasonably well or in the Morecambe and wise theory …. the notes are all there…. but maybe…. not in the right order

Posted by: peter.howden 18th Sep 2016, 06:15am

Philistine thoughts

it all started with a slight earache followed by a peculiar humming din within my head which took donkeys to stop. At first I thought it was Tinnitus, as it could be mistaken for a ringing tone, no real pain felt, but strangely, it seemed to dominate when rising from the bed. It was as if I was disturbing something eccentric echo or strange enchantment within my head. I laughed having harboured such bizarre notions more akin to comic books, or horror stories to frighten the innocent …not realizing the terror ahead yet to occur.

As the time past into dreaded days, then lingering weeks, this annoyance was beginning to hurt and sometimes after raising from my slumber, each day several spots of blood could be seen on the pillowcases, increasing to larger quantities as the days past. My wife, my poor suffering partner stressed how I thrashed calling out throughout the dead of night, were as before only occasionally would I toss and turn. The occasional twinge was now a constant throbbing, spreading to chronic aching was alarming in speed and time. Most of my day was alarmingly consumed trying to relieve this invariable pounding spasms becoming spontaneously frequent, too relentless

the now distinct rhythmic ringing near musical sound of ‘tapping feet’, was replaced by the constant tick of a pendulum, found in the old fashion time pieces. This was in a small way fuzzed with a rocking sensation, to and fro deep in my mind. I attended my local doctor, who sent me to a psychological specialist. Something about this man made me reticent, who methodically explained these sounds were benign where 25% of the world’s population have this musical interlude. This in no way helped my situation, for as time passed my so called Tinnitus became almost unbearable with very little relief from the complaint.

While sleeping with eyes painfully awake at the same time, dreams entered my concentration explain what the quack could not. I was taken into the very heart of my brain, floating and observing every nerve message carrying the secrets I was not aware of. The messages carried was total recall as my mind was crumbling within…ready to implode.

This did do nothing to quell the mounting pain, as it progressed to almost every waken moment, my only solace was snatching rest-bites created due to moments of sleep. I tried dousing my mind through consuming alcohol, which only acted as a distorted amplifier creating terrible hangovers of attentive magnitude. Then one night, out of the blue, came the horrendous discovery of why I was now in unquestionable distress.

In pure desperation, placing a small mirror, with a magnifying glass attached, to attempt looking down my ear, because the scrutinising agony became almost impossible to bear as my sanity was close to collapse . Now while in a semi conscious state of near delirium, I observations caught this feeler coming from my ear drum. Within seconds a fully formed ant like creature emerged with what appeared to be larvae, proceeded to prune both it and itself. I had the presence of mind to take a photo of this ghastly phenomenon while being spell bound. Later I possessed the results into my computer and this is the dreadful truth unveiled.

A certain species of foreign Queen Ant; probably from Australia, had transported, then borrowed into my ear and further beyond. On the screen was the name Irdomyrmex purpureus known as meat eating ants who survive in nests around 64,000 years.

My immediate problem was remaining relatively rational while meat eating ants designed a layer for them to progress their nest expanding whilst they do so, while I inflicted with increasing intolerable agony…. going mad buggering bonkers. Will I become a walking automaton before they break out from the core of my brain, increasing their nest to immeasurable sizes?

I am alone, in a lurid mass of sweaty dread… wishing someone will come and blow my brains to smithereens, freeing me…. For God’s sake…this nightmare started with a slight earache…….[/size][size="4"]

Posted by: peter.howden 19th Sep 2016, 07:19pm

Benghazi Bye-Bye,

When you are of a different age, there is no one warning how hard it is to grow old. One moment you are looking through very young eyes, seeing only youth thriving, and grandparents and the oldies likes, the next jiffy you are the oldies. Yet no one counsels you concerning the struggle from one stage of development to the other. If I had been warned of the pitfalls of destruction, depression incorporated into my life, would I may have acted any different…I doubt it?

The purpose for Stonehenge seems to have been primitive reverence, of one kind or another, complete circles once upon a time however, the decibels of joy once cherishing their magnificent stones are lost forever… yet this does not diminish the original service or re theories, regardless thesis or deity praise of one kind or other. An obligatory dream or verbal opium perhaps for the masses, or so it has been said, but not by me…. but the dead were remembered

There is something about life which makes you want to live beyond imagination…fuelled simply by what your eyes see, at any particular moment,

Humanist funerals have a knack way about them, celebration of a life’s reality check of the individual human being honoured. A fanfare of information to remind the guest congregation just how much we enjoyed that person’s company through the journey.

One such service was recently held for one fully paid “Benghazi Mice Mark Two” member, who will be missed for some time to come if not for a lifetime. Tommy was a unique man, for all men are unique in their own right. He could be grumpy, sometimes even a pain in the butt, but he was also a warm person who tried to relish life to the uttermost fullness. Not wise is some points but sincere in what he believed. In other words, pretty well balanced human being, who’s want was coffee, even if it is a double edged sword

Tommy loved wee refreshment, plus a good cigar and talking total ballocks along with other members of the “Benghazi Mice Mark Two” We are unauthorized group of men meeting up at the Turkish baths of a Saturday morning. The routine varies slightly, depending who turns up, however we solve the world’s problems in three easy lessons, and then talk unqualified verbal diarrhoea to which he was a competent expert

Many believed Tommy careful with money, yet those who knew him well would ken this was not so, though he kept his benevolence well hidden. The Benghazi Mice knew this to be the truth, for Tommy helped many an unfortunate without announcement. Tokens of affection were given to all in the group.

We gathered together in the waiting room of the crematorium chosen by Tommie adores family. Before the actual service we recalled happy times spent with the gentleman and all agreed that if he was in the great Sauna in the skies, then he would be demanding more steam We were the real lads from ‘Last of the summer wine’ with just as much dignity

A personal memory was not mentioned in this tribute private ceremony, which I recall all too well. Once, while I was in spending a penny …Thomas entered and joined me in the adjacent Shanks receptacle. Squinting over he murmured ‘Not exactly the Scottish future your holding there but it will do the job if your pissed again?’ I took it as a shaky compliment.

If there is life after death… I will need to remember to tell Tommy… I did enjoy his funeral [size="4"][/size]

Posted by: peter.howden 21st Sep 2016, 01:33pm

The reckoning reality

The year was around the mid-fifties; the boy was an ‘end of the war’ child, living with his mother, in a reasonable respectable part of the town. The mother had known better times, somewhat above the upper middle class, but like lots of people throughout the land, the war and time had taken its tow, though the rationing had stopped with meat and bacon restriction lifted. Still there was little in the shops to purchase and dam little money to pay for the privilege.

Her 2 room home, plus kitchen, bathroom was much smaller than their previous abode, due to the awful war, and unforeseen circumstance. The mother would walk a mile just to purchase sugar a penny cheaper but pride insisted she make one a sitting room, for visitors and Christmas, perhaps Ne’erday, regardless how the boy slept in the cupboard of that room. It was big enough for a small single bed, chair and shelves right around it…and two pegs inside the door. The mother, as was common in those days, gave more credence to duty rather than love…though this may have been not quite correct.

The war was over but certainly not forgotten as most households used army surplus in one form or another with people still suffering from its terrible hands, both physically and mentally. The population were proud not only to have won and pulled through but filled with pride for the fighting lads, and husbands, who made the victory so possible. As a ten-year-old schoolboy, he used an army stores Khaki kitbag to carry his school books, like most of the lads. The boy was ‘proud as punch’ about his missing dad, having been a major in the army but tragically killed in action as a hero. The lad told everyone he met the facts related to him…bursting bubbles with admiration for his father.

Many families were in the same situation but one terrible night the boy found out the grinding truth by eavesdropping on his mother conversation…. then bitterly confronting her. She informs him, his father was alive but knew not where and his father was a constant drunk, stealing all her money and possessions for alcohol, then left her when he found out she was pregnant…with him. In disbelief the boy’s teeth were grinding furiously as his mother continued; ‘he was never in the army, nor a major but a scheming scoundrel who led her to almost destitution’.

For months and years, he blamed his mother for everything… as she must have been the cause, cursing her for telling lies about his father, he became a right wee hoodlum, and Bampot, in and out of the house, using language fit for the gutter. But the worst action for his mother was his unceasing loathing for her, and surly broke her heart…. she died without him being at the graveside…still the black sheep. Years later, after an assortment of crimes, endless hooligan fighting, trying to prove some unattainable point, he met his father and realized very quickly his mother was right.

The very next day, the now young lad made three vows to himself…not ever purposely hurt anyone, if at all possible… try his hardest not to bad mouth anyone behind their backs, face them…and though having rudiments of an atheist…desired urgently to see his mother, just for a few minutes or moments to explain to her just how sorry he is…. he knew it is not possible.

Every day since, he’s recalled just how cruel, and despicable he was towards her…right up to this very day….and knows it will continue …but now he cherishes these dark thoughts…Its all he has of her….[size="4"][/size]

Posted by: big al 22nd Sep 2016, 09:58am


Once again I have enjoyed reading many of your tales - I like the Chronicles for some of the insights and thoughts you provide as well as some of the humour therein - particularly liked your choice of the Rolling Stones and Sonny Boy Williamson - also enjoyed your story on the flight on Ryan Air - appreciate what happened as I have been in that situation as well.

More power to your story telling elbow - keep them coming

To those who have not read any of these tales try them once and persevere - you'll get a lot of pleasure out of reading them....

Posted by: peter.howden 22nd Sep 2016, 01:49pm

Big Al…I’m chuffed to bits you have not only savoured my scribbles but were good natured enough to tell me…. They are a safety valve for me and much more because some peoples quite like them…I will do my best….thank you

Posted by: big al 23rd Sep 2016, 09:29am


thanks for your response - I like the thought of your writing being a safety valve - in these times it is better to put your thoughts down in writing as you have done - it makes more sense to read your tales than read some of the rubbish that is produced on some of the other parts of this board - I hope more people read your postings and comment on them as well to give you encouragement and to thank you for making them laugh or cry or whatever - keep up the good work



Posted by: peter.howden 23rd Sep 2016, 11:40am


Posted by: peter.howden 25th Sep 2016, 09:30am

My Chronicles 25/09/2016

A celebrated Welsh poet wrote a line of poetry at the start of the last century;’ “What’s our life, if full of care: You have no time: To stop and stare? How profound those words are… as more and more we allow bloody miracles to escape from our inspection and attention

There is something about things happening in life, which makes you want to live beyond imagination…powered simply by what your eyes allows you to understand, awareness within your brain, qualifying the space in a particular second, gaining untold privilege of being truly alive. The peak being an explosion of complete delightful amazement.

The other week, when the brightest of brightness harvest moon rose through the creeping darkness of the evening, slowly inching upwards over the slated rooftops of the homes across the square, reaching towards the blackness of the heavens, became such a magic connection between my brain receiving while my eyes stayed glued to the fabulous event. Obviously, it was physically out of this world, but at that moment of time and for many moments after…it was wholly wonderfully, pure dead brilliant, to witness beyond my imagination.

Other moments in my life, good and not so good, stick above the normal memory, due to the simple fact I deliberately took time in the original happening to observe all the goings on. Family affairs surrounding ‘She who must be obeyed’, our children and grandchildren are obvious special moments protected together with a variety of outside interest to pleasure my memory box… Friday there , another marvellous occasion takes its rightful place among the very exclusive unique.

Taking part of a jolly humanist service, our son ‘Chris’ married his sensational sweetheart ‘Kirsti’, leaving most witnesses, and guests with a lump in their throats, or at least moist eyes out of nowhere. It was obvious, to all and sundry, this was a love match, linked by ‘Kirsti and Chris’s’ eyes, struggling to contain their overwhelming pleasure throughout the entire ceremony, of just being together glowing with raw emotion. Their radiance personified all through the private dinner for both families, our mob and the very gracious family of the bride, and friends, thru the gay shenanigans of the ceilidh …towards utter exhaustion but still rosy with happiness.

Utterly delightfully…each and every moment holding hands, was filled with a lifetime love affair, where time takes second place….and heaven was within their grasp. Perhaps my account is bias, yet… each guest and spectator took delight in their completeness. Both Rebecca and I have private wishes for this now charming married couple with special memories locked away, to peek at…when the occasion arises.

The Ceilidh was just 'tickety-boo' for the whole company, likewise thought inspiring for me, recalling being forced by order, taking part in the ‘Canadian Barn Dance’, also the ‘Military Two Step’, way back in my school days at Shawlands Academy. This time I certainly wished to take to the floor, but remained absent from taking part due to aching muscles from the strain just a few weeks ago…though tapping the floor to the time of the fiddles I did enjoy. All in all, it was a rare tear.

(P.S)I have tried to convince Rebecca, how my arm is caused greater annoying pain when washing/drying the dishes …but she won’t wear it…that’s the trouble when you’re not henpecked but just want to live……wheesht …she is coming up the stairs

Posted by: peter.howden 29th Sep 2016, 10:54am

Suburban living

Yes; you are right, it is a lovely property but I virtually had to fight to gain possession of it before getting my feet across the door to enjoy the threshold. This location is in such high demand and to be utterly honest, no matter what…I would have crawled, on my knees, or done anything, even killed, to obtain such fashionable selective shelter., a lot of the neighbours are an unexpected mixture making unconventionality plans intertwined with exceptional careful scrutinizing to who they allow within the locality. Some of the older residents displayed strongly to my admission locally…on a few occasion taking physical confrontation as a demonstration of displeasure.

Sir Walter Scott quote, from a poem, about an infamous Scottish battle; ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practise to deceive’

I myself have stooped to questionable ethics, including some sticky moments with these hoity-toity snobbish attitudes of inhabitants, who perceive themselves far too superior to show respect to any newcomers. Looking back, I would admit there were certain actions I cultivated which may have been tailored better, preventing snap decisions been taken adding up to the wrong approach for this tacky affair. On reflection…although only a few were high and mighty, they were indeed common and as the saying says, ‘you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!’.

Yes; now I am the lord of all I see, which, I don’t mind telling you, is a grand feeling worthy of all the effort. A fantastic abode with views to die for…hopefully not in the near future Plenty of space for one to move at leisure, and decide when to lunch or dare I say, quench my thirst. As for past hostilities from local residents, that is all in the past and I welcome, one and all, to share in my good luck, some more than others I would put up fresh net curtains to invite them in.

Yes; I would add how gracious I have become in my dominating location…’what the F---ing hell is that blazing light?’…. we are bundled and abused…manhandled by the unknown creature putting a cloth or rag huddled over my many eyes…I can’t see who would dare… we are being forcibly evicted…. out the front portal…like some undesirables into the freezing night.

The main door quietly closes, as the occupant of the house is heard mumbling to themselves “If you let them these creepy spiders will take over the place!”


Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Oct 2016, 09:32am

My Chronicles…03/10/2016

Today is our Anniversary of having remained married for 47 years, at the pricy sum of 7/- 6d(three half dollars) and I have been extremely fortunate, to gain my money’s worth, while believing ‘She who must be obeyed’ is of the same mind…though in truth our span is mainly due to her. I believe the cost of any matrimonial, though important, is not in money terms only, but all nuptials shed varied physical and psychological intervals throughout, giving good and bad, sometimes terrible times.

While love firstly burst into intimacy, you sway or refuse to see any foible within your chosen sexual partner… as all is just way over the moon. As time progresses, these limited faults, we all have in variation, become more evident, if luck has disappeared, grows bigger than the need or want or lust you have in togetherness, forcing a comprises or destroying the precious gem. If both partner’s windfall is prosperous, you accept those faults, emotionally embroidering as part of the basis of your devotedness. It is love, which has matured through the timespan, creating an essential want for your partner…Happy Anniversary Rebecca….

The event of the year for us must be the wedding between our son Chris and his chosen partner, lovely Kirsti. Since they first met, their radiance when together is impossible to miss the most sceptic eye, for Rebecca and I, it is so good to see Chris so obviously besotted and truly happy. The wedding was of a ‘fifties theme’ and just pure magic… but then again I’m bias. The marriage ceremony, Kristi’s family, the dinner and speeches, the Ceilidh in the evening were all just pure dead magic.

Personally; the only hiccup was me being absolutely terrified, and show it, while giving the bride away. I have done a few things in my life which may have been hair-razing but that single minute walking towards the service, just made me rigidly petrified. Perhaps the fact I have little hair left to raise which froze me. Rebecca and I wish the happy couple, a fabulous future ahead.

Aunt Becky is slowly moving towards a world of her own but I hasten to add she seems quite comfortable with it although the conversations fall into just the odd recognition of her understanding what is being said. Becky appears to hold no anger, though slightly confused as she skips between a paragraph in the daily newspaper, with the odd comment, then picks one of her books for five minutes or so…then back to another newspaper, old or new. We still have hurlers around the countryside around Strathblane and the historic Lennoxtown, however it could be anywhere while she enjoys the music of ‘Tartan top Twenty’, singing, swinging and marking time as we putt along.

Illnesses are a scary thing, causing worry to the helper rather than the patient, but when other ailments and conditions are present, can complicate how a carer can cope. A very old mate of mine; ‘Dom’ has ‘Dementia’ and ‘Parkinson Disease’; the later for some 20 years. Janet, is wife, is exhausted trying desperately to cope, simply because Dom is her man. We are trying to persuade her to take a rest bite. Dom on the other hand still jokes about his problems. When he first realized is shaking he jested; “I knew it was Parkinson Disease’…I kept having the urge to interview people”

He told me at my last visit, though we knew for some time, he had ‘Dementia’…. I asked him…how could he remember he had it …we both laughed.
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Posted by: big al 3rd Oct 2016, 03:40pm


I just finished reading your latest efforts - really enjoy them - finally decided to print out all of your submissions so that I could put them into some kind of order (to me) and to get a bit more continuity - managed that and then laughed away at the story of Ill Omen and Tabby - also Animal Vote - you and Edward Lear would have have fun writing together. Also love the continuing stories of Jim - your imagination and style are very very good - keep it up! Still love the stories of James - what a character he was....

regards Alan

Posted by: peter.howden 3rd Oct 2016, 07:44pm

Big Al..….

You do me a great honour taking time and patience to piece all of my scribbles together …in an attempt to make sense of them…if you did succeed you are a better man than me …but I am chuffed beyond words and I thank you sincerely for such a compliment of the nigh impossible link with Edward Lear…quite a chap and cla