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> Home Made Tales, The journey
peter.howden
post 20th Jan 2019, 08:11pm
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My Chronicles 20/01/2019



I would surmise, time is our most precious entity we have, along with memories, good and bad, joyful or hardship, build and shape personalities, changing tolerance bearings on our own private world’s perception. We seem to be lacks when it comes to individual mortality, so busy generating plans, what we will or can attain. Only an unexpected demise within the family, jolts us to reconsider how fragile our own existence is, clouded with uncertainties of our peculiar mortal coil…unless in a Shakespeare play.

The latter conclusion is only a supposition, based on personal experiences, thru so many lovely people, with us no more. For Rebecca and me, the premature tragic death of our daughter, Toni, slashed through unquestionable emotions, way beyond simple words…yet, I truly believe, if it was not for the close family, around the old wooden kitchen table, on Saturdays, my individual assessment would produce a script with a different conclusion. Nikki, Chris, Fergus, the Grandchildren, played their vital part, through hard times for all, kept Rebecca and I, skittery on the rails of life, reasonable rational under strenuous circumstances.

A few close friends, one special lady, super acquaintances, many unknown people, giving sincere support, unselfishly and caringly. Aunt Becky spoke plainly, acted with old-fashioned decency, always fresh, throughout all the years I have known her. She and her brother David nursed their mother (Rebecca’s Gran), until she died. Over the final year, the matriarch was confided to bed, feisty in a relentless cantankerously manner, making it really hard going for the two of them.

I shan’t forget how we had only been married for a short while, when Becky, traveling on two bus’s, there and back, arrived at our home, very early every Sunday morning, to help clean the house, wither we wanted it or not. She never asked, just took it as her duty to look after her niece’s family. Her personal loss, as indeed with us, was Uncle David, in 1997, when she applied the same solid philosophy. Did she cry while alone, we do not know, but I reckon she did…for years?

Aunt Becky is the last in the line of her once large family of 17. Sadly, in Becky’s twilight years, she has lost the gift of recognizing time, in its place is a vast empty space. The minutes, hours and days, roll by, with little recognition of them passing, as her thoughts, and dreams, are locked within, seemingly only peeping out spasmodically. Becky is in a dementia home, being cared for by a mixture of enthusiastic staff, and more important than anything…she is safe.

It matters not if she doesn’t recognize us, or the family. It doesn’t matter she can’t remember a minute ago, while walking around in a daze manner, sometimes gutsy, Becky certainly isn’t unhappy, or fretting. Becky enjoys the hurls we take, being entertained with familiar Scottish music, oozing out across the Kilpatrick hills displaying all their glory. Sometimes I wonder, who relishes it most…. her or me?
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peter.howden
post 25th Jan 2019, 12:17pm
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Anecdotes from the auld Steamie;

TURKISH MOMENTS


In the past eras, in many Scottish cities, mainly located in engineering, labour-intensive communities, the Baths Departments of each metropolis, held the responsibility of providing much needed amenities, as Wash-houses, (affectionally known as ‘Steamies’), hot baths, swimming Pools, Turkish suites, within impressive purpose-built Victorian buildings. in one such establishment, Ben Gunn (nom-de-plume) ran his Turkish baths domain, providing extra facilities, out with the usual run of the mill service, provided by the local city’s Council

Certainly, more like a club, with extra facilities, such as rubdowns, massages and the like, which produced extra gratuities. Many customers had exclusive qualities seldom know to the outside world.

One such patron, deemed a regular, was nicknamed ‘Harry-Murder-Polis’, a true relative of a celebrated female actress, Harry boasted connections in the worldwide musical trade, including Sinatra. Meeting regularly with a certain clothing magnate, Harry insisted he could clear, the unfortunate background clamour on a scratchy tape, recording, of the entrepreneur’s number one son’s Bar Mitzvah. Remember, this event is the most important in a Jewish boy’s life, but much more precious for the father, and can never be, or could be, repeated. This dubbing would cause utter friction a rumpus between Harry, and a very successful Jewish businessman

Harry-Murder-Polis did manage to remove the background crackling noises, but inappropriately wiped the whole tape clean… eliminated everything. He did not tell, or try to explain, while handing over the irreplaceable tape, to his fellow patron, before he left the building.

The following week, the mercantile, returned to the Turkish suite, making a bolted beeline for Harry’s throat, as all hell burst loose. It took four burly naked men to keep the two separated, while Harry squealed “he’ll murder me, will you phone the police?” Harry was swiftly dressed, then taken though to the pool, down the stairs, out to safety by the boiler rooms exit. Apparently, they never spoke to each other …and their first question on entering the premises was, if either one was in?

Harry always wanted to give a good impression or put on a showiness display. When the first mobile car phones came out in this country, he glued an ordinary disconnected mainline phone to his dash board, attached a bike bell underneath, and phoney an important call.

One day, a young brash well-built fellow, waltzed into the sauna. When undressed, he was a mean machine, built with not an ounce of fat in his entire body. Exhibiting an attitude of superiority, he snapped, ‘Do you know who I am? He continued to complain about the state of the towels, the locker room, generally bugging until Ben had enough, sternly asking him to leave. He left with a mouthful of abusive verbal diarrhoea.

With a wry smile, Jack the bookie (one of the regulars) ask Ben if he knew who he was? Ben admitted he had no idea. In a slow drool, Jack as a matter of fact, mentioned the fellow was Jacobs; the light middle weight boxer. He could have made mince-meat of Ben …with one punch.

The combatant returned the very next day, profusely apologizing, if Ben would allow him back again. His simple explanation being, he was flying out to America at the end of the week, for a world title, and wanted a relaxing bath or two before the big night. He also express regret for his previous behaviour but put it down to pre-fight tension. He lost the contest in New York

His uncle, who had recommended these suites to loosen up ready for the big match. His uncle was the inevitable … Harry- Murder-Polis.
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peter.howden
post 29th Jan 2019, 01:22pm
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Uncle David

There is a credence, we are all unique in manner, actions and thought. This might not be quite true, because no one is an island, however… there was Uncle David.

What can be said of the man? I met Uncle David in 1967, though at the time, I hardly grasped the truth of the man. This I did achieve, mostly around the last ten years of his life, maybe slightly more intense just before he died. Uncle David was a plain man, aware of his limits, basic in his needs. He had a modest theory of life, always help someone in need, when you can.

Working as a laborer for Glasgow District Council, as a result of long hard toil, was strong muscular body, massive hands, but possessing a deep inner immeasurable strength. Uncle David and his sister, Aunt Becky (both never married, due to commitments to their mum) worked all their lives, supported their mother right to the end. Thereafter, stayed together until Uncle David lost the battle of life. He had what seemed a simple accident, falling off a chair outside while cleaning windows. He landed awkwardly on his knee and leg, had operations which developed into severe Dyskinesia (uncontrollable muscular disorder) …a blow for a lifetime active cyclist

Having been a soldier right through the Second World War, he rarely talked about the horrors he had witnessed, even when taking slight refreshment with Salty and myself. In his final year, he did volunteer glimpses of the terror of combat, the ultimate boredom during huge areas in-between. His friend being shot, but unable to recognize him, as the face was no longer there. The dreadful atrocities, on both sides, in those abysmal years, stayed in his consciousness, the rest of his life. The bone chilling coldness of digging in, the combats he took part in, was not stated as a boast of his bravery, or even with pride. He told me so I would know.

Until the accident, being keen cyclist, thought nothing of jumping the saddle of his trusty bike, heading for the hills at dawn, returning well after dark, with 200 miles whisked past during that time. A quiet man who listened to people’s problems. A biased man …though who is not?

He had a stutter, which, after a few drams, magnified his attempts to explain something. Salty (David the seaman brother in law) and I, along with Uncle David often stole time in town for a refreshment, or two. If a little fu, we would ply questions to Uncle David, he would reply “Now, now, now, peter…now, now, honestly speaking, now honestly, peter, now, now honestly speaking!”, depending how many wee nips were consumed.

Small things amused him, having a laugh, which started as a schoolboy style giggle, progressing to a constant chuckle, making it compulsory for us to join in, for he really enjoyed his own joke, or someone else’s comment.

Both Becky and David would conspire a tale to tell, the listener would join in with a host of utter laughter, lasting for some considerable time. My problem was, while laughing with them, I had no clue what their punch line was. He and Aunt Becky have helped, in both time and in money, everyone in their growing family, from brothers and sisters (17 in all), their nieces and nephews, and all their children. The real sadness was, when they needed help… few came to call.

It was the last year, muscular spasms took full control, creating chronic pain throughout his now racked body. Uncle David was given pain killers but stopped taking them as they made him spaced out, as he said, like spider man, creeping up the hall, holding on to its enclosed walls. He insisted, pain reaches a certain level, then stays, becoming normal…for him. Then, I could not fathom his reasoning, but I do now. As time moved forward, so did his spasms become almost unbearable to watch, but he was something else… just taking his stride, as his life would allow.

I will remember Uncle David, with far more than affection, with love… hoping I can, in my own way, have his attitude of thinking about life. I have known a few people I personally revered in this world, who have died, the list was small but sadly becoming longer. They were John Morgan, Mr. Swan, Archie Clark, Archie Young, Jack& Pam Honey, Callum McLeod, Gerald Doman and David Donnelly
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peter.howden
post 31st Jan 2019, 11:47am
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The tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce’

Marywood Square Suite

Right from the very start of sharing a flat, instantly bonding between Ross and Hector, became regular China’s, (Francie& Josie quotes). Hector liked the Rhythm & Blues, while Ross, swung with la-de-da pop stuff, everybody to their own swing? Along with, ‘The Bruce’, Hector’s best mate from some years earlier, they were, the three musketeers, taken from Alexander Dumas thundering thumping grand tale, or so they believed.

All three often enjoyed, long debates into the black darkness of a night, engrossed by theories of ‘The Occult’, under a swinging 40-Watt light bulb, added to the room’s beguiling eeriness, as chilly airs loitered well into dawn. Dennis Wheatley ‘the Devil rides out’ and ‘They used dark force’ conjuring Satin dark murky forces, fusing his malicious bidding. For three guys, who thought they were wise…the next was just way out of this existence… unbelievable.

To investigate ancient ‘Beelzebub’ philosophies, the boys cleared the spacious basement flat in 21-a, Marywood Square, then with white chalk, drawing on the wooden floor, an almost perfect circle, placing Ross’s sacred hat right in the middle, sketched two small circle around it. All three cavaliers now stayed inside the main circle, with only a candle light flickering awkwardly due to the draft from the two windows.

Marking four measured sections, crafting rough icons, cryptographs, including Lucifer’s numbers, in separate triangles in each segment, taken from one book or another. With a trusty compass (issued to Hector, by the Boys Brigade.) carefully calculated reference points, North, South, East and West, in each Cardinal Compass point, a rough crayon sketch of a black dog…so the ‘Prince of darkness’ could not enter.

At last, concluding their labour, Ross, Hector and ‘The Bruce’ stood near perfectly rigid, to say the least, proving rather difficult as they had many slight refreshments, while preparing this Mephistopheles alter. The flat next door was inhabited by a fish monger, on summer days the smell of fish not only lingered but took up residence. Unfortunately, this was a clammy night, enticing the odour to enter the noses of the three comrades, standing vertical in Satan’s circle, left with no protection against such pongs. Then to top it all, unaspiringly, the candle flickered then ceased to give light…. Procuring a passageway for phantom diabolism.

What happened next was a mixture of imagination, Street lights, and the wind, causing shadows of large tree branches, weaving and stirring, embroidered while teeming through both open windows.

It was at this darkest moment, a loud noise… nay… a grotesque echoing clamour filled the pitch murky apartment, causing the room itself to shudder…then shudder again. Somehow Hector managed, to some degree, keep his wits, though in the aftermath, admitted to being coldly shocked to the spot. Looking through a mirror, seeing his friends, and himself, unconditionally terrified out of their skins, similar appearance drawn as seen in, ‘Tom & Jerry, and Duck cartoons.

The spell was broken when, the door unexpectedly opened, and the hall light ablaze behind Sonia, the girl from the flat above, investigating all the turmoil. Ross, Hector and ‘The Bruce’ decided to give away their Dennis Wheatley books…not in fear…but just in case?

They kept their collective book called ‘Hordes of Dirty Ditties, from around the world’.
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peter.howden
post 5th Feb 2019, 11:30am
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Bah-Humbug…Ramified


I like and enjoy Christmas, although I am not religious, its true meaning of caring, love to your fellow man. Relatively unscathed, we Scots, can find any reason at the drop of a hat, to grab a chanter, blaw a drone from the pipes, raise glasses with ‘the water of life’ to celebrate good old distilled Scottish spirit. What journeys combatants take during a ‘wee refreshments’, varies as do the drinkers?

Surviving through a tunnel of food and drink, I’m no longer 12 stone, gong on 13stone, but a slim 11 stone 13 ½ Lbs, back to what was once called “Normal”, whatever that is? Away from this abandoned stretch of time, known foolishly as the ‘Seasonal Holidays’, which rolls on to almost infinity. With watered down eyes, and laps of memory, what is recalled as ‘the good old days’, Christmas was celebrated, just one whole day in strict Scottish Presbyterian ritual, trailing a poor second to Hogmanay… Ne’erday for true Scots.

So now our simple Christmas, lasting day after day, week after week, pounding peer pressure on young parents to expand from last year’s contribution, making it almost impossible for such a simple person such as me. The hours, the days between those important days, no one has a clue of how to behave, or indeed exist with clear consciousness, through such man-made trauma.

At the ending of the revered ‘Ne’erday’, my wholly haunting wish is, a courageous host will present, just a cup of tea, perhaps some sugar to stir in. Instead…in celebrations float by, overhead the kerfuffle for food and drink aplenty... above all else, the familiar loud call, “who’s bloody mince pie is this anyway?”

People are forced to be visited on, or become the dreaded visitors themselves, carrying, and delivering hastily made up presents, stolen and galvanized from a multitude of small gifts (made up creams, small unknown aftershaves or red mittens,) received unwittingly through the earlier part of the compulsory festivities.

Quickly forged Greeting Cards, rearranged hastily written messages, to suit the moment, are thrust forward into the door opener’s hand, as the bodies multiply with whimpers of “We were just passing”, which means at least three hours of obligatory conversation. Once again, attacking on the mountain of leftovers plucked from the safety of the fridge. Is it my age? Or do these overextended merriments, reaches parts where others fear to tread.

Perhaps what is causing the most concern personally …last year’s festivities are just a short memory away…but due to outside pressure, I will probably have to start planning for this year’s glorified Christmas Spirit… buying wrapping paper now, in case it’s all sold out later

P.S
The north American Indians, follow a belief called ‘Peyotism’, centred around their great Spirit , with part of a cactus which produces hallucinogenic effects(sounds like Tenants ‘Super, or the old faithful Champers, at the Barra-land) or the Glasgow Cross tollbooth, swigging Spirit on Hogmanay [/size][size="4"]
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peter.howden
post 9th Feb 2019, 04:21pm
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JIM STEPPED FROM THE TRAIN

Jim stepped down from the train, attempting to remember, when he boarded, and where or what was his actual his destination. This locomotive depot did not seem familiar and the entrance to the hamlet, or settlement, was alien to him, no landmark helping him to decipher just where he was going. The porter vanished, the moment he stepped onto the platform, and as far as Jim could tell, no one else had enlightened off the train. He could not work out if he was dreaming, or not, or whether colours stood out, being a sure test of reality, or not. It was obviously dusk, the way the light dipped away from the eye, out to the dusty street to the distant something. As he was thinking, he steadily moved towards the hub of the colony.

Something caught Jim's eye as possibly familiar, a tree bent at a strange angle to the ground, though the one he vaguely recalled, was bigger, more mature, with huge branches, however, something annoying niggling his brain, he just couldn’t put his finger on. Lost within his thoughts, he failed seeing a boy springing out of nowhere, scared in haste, a bat out of hell. Almost stumbling as he whizzed past him, something grabbed Jim’s attention, a stud badge on the boy’s buckle. Jim only had a brief glimpse to identify it, yet, he knew he had had one exactly the same, given to by his grandfather, when he was a boy. He was wondering what he did with his buckle, when the stripling, tripped and tumbled uncontrollably across the street, to land some feet away from the kerb stank, which had caused the youngsters accident.

As this split second happened, the unmistakeable clatter of a full cart could be heard to be just inches away from the youths grounded position. It became pathetically clear the boy had injured himself, compelling him to the ground, while the injury kept him glued to that very spot. As the hooves of the horses, now galloping forward in pure terror, with the peoples making all sorts of loud noises, trying desperately to swerve the beasts away.

Without fear or wonder or any thought at all, Jim leapt with huge strides, just in time grab the lad from the clutches of thundering horses’ hoofs, whisking him away to relative safety. This spontaneous act surprised Jim more than the few onlookers. The lad picked himself up, giving a massive grin towards Jim's direction, while also holding out his unstable hand. In a loose Texan drawl, “Thank you sir,” in the way youngsters were taught in a previous era, to be polite to their elders. The wagon sped way into the yonder distance, as individuals sprinted up the dust filled street, either 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, gazing at each other with different senses of relief. Jim's eyes was again directed to the buckle of the boy's belt.

In a fury of thoughts darting around his head, he managed to catch one, and hold on to it. He knew now it was identically to the one he owned, which puzzled him. Jim had always thought his Grandpa' had forged it from virgin metal…there was not another one in the whole world. At last, the boy spoke again, this time with his own feelings bubbling out in true sincerity. “I thank you kindly, I’m deeply in your debt, I now realize the true danger I was in”. My name is Sam, but everybody calls me little Jim; after my Grandfather, the towns Blacksmith.” I think when I grow up, I will use that name, as he is a great man”. He made me this hasp, all by himself…I have promised to keep it throughout my life…so, I will always remember him”

Before Jim could make any reply, the immediate area was swarming with bodies, all enquiring what happened, was the boy all right. The strange thing was, Jim could remember vaguely, of some incident happening to him somewhere roughly around the lads age…and the tree started to puzzle him.

Slowly turning his head, he found himself back on the train, sitting alone, with just the hint of dust. He began to ask some pretty awkward questions… did it happen at all, or had he dreamt it. When he was a youngster, his name had been Sam… and that bloody tree, was it just an illusion, or coincidence? Could it be possible he saved his own life…somehow transporting back in time?

One thing was for sure, his hasp had disappeared many years ago, whether in a card game, or in a pawnshop, or just plain lost. Jim reached in to his pocket for a hankie to wipe away the sweat gathering, for the temperature of the couch was making his brow perspire profusely,

And in his pocket, as he drew his big hand out… shinning as new…was his buckle????

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peter.howden
post 13th Feb 2019, 08:30pm
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Alone

The elderly diminutive female, gazes down adoringly at her lethargic, but marvel of a hound. They have grown old together, and his company means everything to her. Her whole wide world, surrounds taking her spartie-leggit friend out for ‘his’ essential constitution, four, or sometimes five times a day, giving the lady enough exercise, so not to stiffen up aching with arthritis, or at least slow down the process.

Mavis, is by no means a nippy sweetie, yet, the fact she has not spoken to anyone for days is not unusual, though, she did have a few words with the corner shop keeper. Mavis, could not find the fruit cake, so she asks for two soft rolls as she finds it hard to swallow these days. In compensation she has endless conversation with Patch, an odd name for a dachshund, or known comically, as a sausage dog.

It’s the day after Ne’erday, though little of the festive season is shown within the four walls of the quiet home, two room and kitchen, she has shared with her pet for some 14 years. There are three Christmas cards, sitting proudly open on the mantelpiece of the scullery, which is used constantly through the winter months, due to the expense of heating. One card is from the Housing Association, sent annually via a computerized selection of tenants. The second is from her church, decorated with a hand painted ‘Jess Evens Hen Dy Cwrdd’ painting.

The third, and most treasured, is a personally made one, from her, to her four-legged precious friend. In the distant pass, Mavis did once put up a small decorative tree, with small bangles and the like, however, through time it just vanished. While leaving for their walk, the small radio was softly playing carols, from around the world, which invaded the dark corners of her flat

The only other room used, apart from the scullery, is her chilly boudoir, along with an old rubber hot-water-bottle, when they both retired for the night, sharing the bed. Mavis has been told, many a times… this was clinically an unhealthy practice, sharing sleeping quarters with a hound, but she could not care, because ‘Patch’, was and is, her reason for existence. No one else had past the threshold of the house, unless you count the electricity man, to read the metre, before the end of the year.


Mavis hides her multiple physical pain, as she slowly, quietly closes the door, and locks it for security, so not to disturb her neighbours in the close. The lady herself, was born a single child, in the beginning of the last century, a rarity for her day, but was instructed religiously in Calvinistic Presbyterianism. Her weekly visit to the kirk, is the only time she leaves the dog.

However,the Christmas annual festivities, gather melancholy waves, not of depression for peoples of her class in society, but her worry what will happen to Patch, if she is called for. She carefully lifts Patch onto her knee, stokes him gently, as they pass the hours away… in silence
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peter.howden
post 15th Feb 2019, 10:59am
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My Chronicles 15/02/2019

During the last couple of months, due to Aunt Becky’s health, or weather conditions, I have been unable to take her for a Scottish musical hurle around the Kilpatrick hills. We both enjoy these trips, and If I use a bit of imaginations, Becky gives glimpses of knowing who I am…however, at best… she seems to be comfortable in my company. The staff team do their very utmost, to make Becky’s stay as comfortable as possible. A new residential home, for pensioners with Dementia, is almost complete, and with luck the move is intended for the end of April.

On these trips, I do have concerns, because, Becky is shrinking in statue, obviously very fragile, causes her physical abilities to be flimsily unsure. Aunt Becky is more than unsure, almost scared with the two steps onto the walkway in front of the residential old folks’ home. Also, she feels instant cold while rambling unsteadily to the old jalopy, then... once inside the automobile, purring along the tree filled routes…it’s a strange sensation for me…and as far as I can tell…for her.

In our home, ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, proudly display two wall clocks, once amongst the many timepieces in Becky’s Possilpark house. Their chimes were not only loud, but at different intervals, and now we have discovered why. The hand wined clock runs true to form, as long as I correct it every morning, with the time displayed on the television screen.

The second battery operated clock chimes, however it makes 5 o clock chimes 12 times regardless what we do. Depending how many glockenspiels, the accurate time is either calculated, +plus or -minus… Five. I think we could have them both professionally corrected, however, they comfortably remind Rebecca, and myself, how curiously eccentric Becky could be.

There is a medical theory, a certain dottiness creeps on the aging persons. In my case it is galloping out of control. With Aunt Becky, it’s quite obviously, sneaked in snuggly, while she stayed alone. Not all that long ago, as a family, we all attended a funeral in St Agnese chapel. While the priest was conducting the sermon, Rebecca, Becky, and I, sat in the centre of the sombre congregation.

All of a sudden acoustic of the fine huge building, emphasised, and echoing loudly, with repeating words of “Boring, Boring…Boring”. Its needless to say where the source came from, but the priest looked disapprovingly down the middle of the chapel.

Worse was to come…somehow, it entered Becky’s head, while capturing a glimpse of wee Anne (one of her nieces) to urgently ask her, in full volume…if she had been on holiday. When I was young, I had been taught, how God was infinitely forgiving, unfortunately the priest could not evoke such an emotion instantly, sternly glaring at the three of us. At the end of the service, the priest did manage a smile, as we three left the sanctuary…perhaps he had a Jiminy Cricket moment?

Once again, I let the train take the strain while heading down to Ayr, meeting up with ‘China’ Jim Hendry, for a slight refreshment…or two or? Ayr, like so many towns cities and hamlets are going through a radical change in shopping habits, due to the internet’s deliveries, taking away the stock and trade from shop premises. Some parts of this historical town have suffered greatly with more shops closing, as I make each trip down to the seaside town.

As usual, between Jim and I, the conversations wander all over any unexpected subject, but one thing is continuously fixed, the humour and laughing at the drop of a hat. Whether its down to us totally…or the free-flowing alcohol …who cares? We don’t.

Good china’s are worth their weight in gold…I luckily and preciously, have long standing, couple of ‘China’s’…how privileged can I be?
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peter.howden
post 19th Feb 2019, 03:15pm
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RETURNING HOME;


My plain view has always been, once you add all the add hock prices charged, the margin of savings alters quite dramatic, however, ‘Ryanair’, is perfectly all right for roaming from ‘A’ to “B”, This is the elementary purpose of air travel, in fact it’s a cherish boon in some cases. It could be called, “Woolworths of the air”, no swipe at their esteem. On the contrary, you see nearly what you get for your money. I have constantly observed, snotty nosed passengers, turn into snobbery carriers, using such a cut-price cloud-trek, yet… they continue to sneak on.

These Spalpeen’s, emphases the word ‘such’, as if it’s some sort of medieval decease forcibly borne, or unwittingly find themselves travelling with unkempt scruffier companions. What appears to be, just a simple loud-mouth manner of defence, certain personage will acquaint the whole queue, with intimate knowledge, this being their first flight with such consortiums. The cunning airline charges extra to board the plane first, to ease such customers pain by making them special…bringing in a few extra bucks.

Throughout the many years partaking in journeys to Carcassonne, I have seen stewards, ladies and gentlemen, worked hard to pacifying the good, the bad and the ugly. Observing the seating being neat for individuals’ travellers, it’s surprising, quirky Michael Kevin O’Leary, (The ‘Jackanape’) has not charged an extra deposit on bulk weight of individual passengers, as this would be plus earner.

On most airlifts, I’m in awe, daydreaming in the blue skies as white floating palaces, constructed by the Trade winds, moulded into curious shapes and wonders, just drifting… apparently aimlessly. Ryanair transported myself, to friends in France, then returned my body to the bosom of my family, safe and well, mostly landing in Prestwick. It was good enough for Elvis…it’s O.K for me?

The last year of the Prestwick run, I arrived at the Ayrshire terminus, on an exceptional sunny afternoon in early October. The bus journey to Glasgow, was most welcome, I sat comfortably soaking in the countryside, pleasantly surprised at its raw attractiveness as we passed Whitelee; Eaglesham windfarm at the outer borders of Glasgow limit
From then on, just delight after delightful land marks, of places I had gone many years ago, as an awkward haughty boy, testing wildlife long before Autumn-watch. Being no twitter, but practicing the barbaric pastime of collecting bird’s eggs, a hobby for us impish youngsters, unaware of the awful consequences for nature.

As each mile closer, blew away the cobwebs of grey enclosed memories, when Glasgow smoked in all ways imaginable, both legal and illegal, for the devil shoved a pitchfork up the backsides of the working class. Even the event of spring brought no comfort to working families, usually meant one more mouth to feed, a result for filling in endless nights during the cold winter

Then; Wow!... a remarkable miracle, as Glasgow appeared in front of the speedy vehicle, displaying a pleasing panorama Technicolour vision of ‘The Dear Green Place’, which blew my mind, delightfully with true enjoyment of passing views. With authenticity joy, then heading for the centre of this famous Metropolis. Was my mood tempered by the grand holiday, I may have been, or because I was mellow or was it real.

On entering the last miles…was a vision of picturesque postcards scenery, casually dotted around each street corner, with obvious signs of prosperity and a grip of life. Clean buildings, smart walkways, coupled with thrusting pedestrians all going back and forth, with determination. Outside, feet away from the kerb, cafes and inns serving customers with pots of tea and fresh aroma coffee. This, I thought, could challenge any city in Europe, and still come out triumphed.

My heart was bursting with pride…for being happy Glaswegian.
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peter.howden
post 20th Feb 2019, 06:32pm
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The Journey

Jim stepped down from the train, instantly knowing where he was, thinking to himself, “I’m dam well sure, this was not my original destination when I boarded the carriage… but I definitely know this place”, he thought inwardly.

Breaching his concentration, a guardsman hollered, how the train would stop here, for exactly two hours, while they repair a vital part of the locomotive, but not to worry folks…each person will make their original destination, as printed on their own individual ticket. Jim knew the place, as being his home town, the community 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, which had been in his family’s ownership, almost as old as the township itself.

The building’s appearance was in a tumbledown state, but Jim had seen it as its prime. He remembered leaving the tiny enterprise, while the depression crippled such trades, forcing his parents into desperation, and near starvation…but he desired to “Get away” and make his mark. Jim recalled, he might have stayed, yet, the lore of the bright lights out there in the world, dictated his departure. His father suffered a stroke shortly afterwards, which his mother never recovered from, plus the gruesome labouring struggle to make ends meet. They are both gone now, 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, used for all religions, and traditional ceremonies within the tiny community. Now, the unwelcome past crept back into his mind, of his youthful girl, Jane… to be precise. The result of this unbridled fancy; a seed of life created by embraced love, made the need to marry. He swore to keep his beloved’s reputation, not to be torn by prejudices the straight laced ladies of the district….he promised a hasty elopement..

Not only did he take cold feet at the last possible moment, but disappearing without trace or a word, as Jane waited at the hall door; leaving her to face the disapproval from the righteous bible brigade, scours every community, hamlet or city of this confused country. Now standing, just inside the makeshift narthex, Jim could swear hearing the organist playing, rather badly, as she always did, but with gusto, and heart. He was almost sure he caught a glimpsing shadow of his old sweetheart, but gnaw, it could not be. “I wonder what happened to her and my child”, Jim silently moaned to himself. In fact, she left town, just as the gossips weaved their distasteful tales, and gave glances that are 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, while struggling against two possible runs on the bank, which were common for that period of time. One thing, above all else, kept it going was it belonged to the people, for the community trusted everyone for they were all in the same boat.

Times were desperately hard; the silver dollar was but a dream, and Jim had so many dreams. This was the very reason he chose to scarper; however, the town would have not given this random action any thought, had he not taken $2,000 of their money with him. He persuaded himself he had to get out of such a dreary place, make good of himself. The trouble was…he never did.

Perhaps rare 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, was the past, and after all, it was where he was raised, then became a man he was…. yet, oddly, no-one recognized him?

The train’s guard, on the P.A system, calls for making haste, boarding the now ready train. Jim jumped on Pullman, as the locomotive was off like a bullet out of a gun. As the train tumbled along, the faceless ticket collector, was high above Jim, while he slunk on the couch of the carriage, wondering if he had been dreaming, unable to remember where his journey had started, as he had been sleeping almost all the way. Jim was just about to inform the steward of his destination, when his ticket was punched, handed back without a word being spoken.

Jim glanced at his ticket… seeing the words printed boldly; ‘One-way ticket to Hell’
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peter.howden
post 22nd Feb 2019, 03:57pm
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DESPERATE;

Forlorn;

The dilapidated building was once a proud grand structure, but since being neglected of vital repairs, now hides where poverty exist. A century before, a city residence for upper-middleclass family heritage, then later, forming dwellings for good honest hard-working, home-making Glaswegian families. The now condemned slum, should have been razed to its foundations, not divided up, for a desolate family in every damp room available, by absentee landlords squeezing every penny out of the shaky system. The dark vipers hold no humane feelings, just modern day sly ‘Scrooges’, having no qualms misappropriating public funds.

In one such neighbourhood close, gives the visitor a horrible sense of apprehensiveness, as the actual front door lies tilted insecurely on its hinges, showing a clatty hallway, following everyone who may have knocked the soiled door on purpose or by accident, witnessing such overpowering squalor. In the far corner is another open door, inside can only be described as a midden, sat a cast-off Trollip to the world.
But this soul had a name, her name was Kate, or Cathy to some, though for spells through her staggered day of neglect even she herself may have forgotten.

A sweet suffocating fusty odour of rotten mushroom prevailed, with everything touched had a tacky coating. No sign of cooking, though a couple of empty MacDonald’s take-ways lay in no order on couch, with one perched up in a corner like a motionless pet. The staleness of smoking was not only caustic on the eyes but invaded the nose

Kate must have had a recognizable female form, 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 her real delirium, then scripted as “blooming bastard” over and over again. In moments of sanity, her mind was frantic with half-baked ideas, or languished in recollections she alone toiled with.

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

One thing was accurate, she never stooped to prostitution, for she was not a gal like that, even though she had kept her looks, but this fantasy was only in her mind, not in the mirror. She had slept with strangers she met 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 real conception of time, just being awake with sweat and aches, while searching her abode, for a drop of something alcoholic.

Blacked out periods she had no idea happen.Religion was lost, apart from the occasional hand-out, devoid of meaning, but with annoyance for having to mumble three verses of “Jesus saves”. The room was deemed as a ‘Furnished Flat’, because bought from Paddy’s Market, a smelly mattress bed, a dog-eared wardrobe, set of drawers, with fungi inside each drawer, a thread bared mawkit rug. For this accommodation, the Social Service pay blood money to the cockroach of a proprietor

Just last week, the authorities were forced to open the dingy den, there was complaints of many smells, rats running lose in the room Kate’s door opened revealing over-pungent wicked odours, darkened fleas-crawling 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 grimy door is closed over.

No one came to the funeral…. Within a heartbeat, some other poor desperate lost soul…moves in the accommodation of Kate’s old dodgy flat
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