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> Home Made Tales, The journey
peter.howden
post 15th Feb 2021, 11:23am
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George(The Polar Bear) Part four; No T.V star

As you may know by now from previous reports,’ George’ the Polar Bear, arrived at No12 by the means of Glasgow’s 41 bus some time ago. He is a sucker for our extra-large fridge, which allows him to wallow away a few hours, whilst dreaming of home in the sandy beaches of the Sahara Desert. He knew fine well he did not come from the Gobi Desert, for this would have be only plain ridiculous. Who ever heard of a polar bear from the Gobi Desert? What springs to mind is, you’d be a right ‘Lo-Lo bampot’, to contemplate the enigma , anyway, the number 41 bus doesn’t stop there?

We tried everything to make him feel at home, yet just one or two occasions when the genuine article could not be found or gained, improvisation was indeed the necessity . Filling the bath and chucking loads of ice-cubes to authenticate a polar bear natural surrounds, tossed in a few penguins, however, with insight, we would have been better taking the wrappers off. One better idea was the sardines and pilchards (John West; none of your rubbish) from the tin, into the swally, but even that did not help either?

George just said this was all foreign to him and a place with tons of sand may help his mood. The decision was taken to trip down to Saltcoats, but it turned out to be the wrong type of sand. Apparently, there are distinct kinds in Sahara or in the dunes of Libya. Saltcoats dunes were there, even the sun popped it’s head around, but something was missing. A quiet grumble tumbled through my head; ‘No Arabs here,’ was my Non- politically correct murmur.

Strange enough, on the way down, one of the passengers on the train pestered him by staring and proclaiming vaguely knowing George, perhaps as a celebrity on T/V, or something else. The man racked his brains to remember until he cried ‘Eureka!... your that bear on top of the Foxy mint’. The man laughed though George barely smiled, turning away to look out the window. Later near Paisley, George confided in me, “I would not be seen dead in a commercial, it’s not cricket or theatre, is it?”… Noel Coward never soiled his lips, well not with adverts anyway, for the nearest was a mad dog of an Englishman.

The final stroke of genius was to join George in the bath. I must admit, the way he gashed at his food in the tub, did make me feel a little nauseous, with the mess after a simple bowl of spaghetti, far more than you could imagine. George just ruined Sherbet Dips, however, he has a winning way with him in the bath after lots of toast… magical butter with beans… created a natural Jacuzzi for as long as we liked, until we fell fast asleep…or whatever came first.
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peter.howden
post 21st Feb 2021, 08:47pm
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RETURNING HOME;
Not so long ago, but way before traveling was illegal, once you add up all the hock prices charged by all airliner companies , the margin of savings altered quite dramatic. Although frowned on… ‘Ryanair’, is perfectly all right for roaming from ‘A’ to “B” to certain destinations , 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. . Ryanair transported me 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.
Constantly observing snotty nosed passengers, turn into condescension carriers, using such a cut-price cloud-trek, yet… they continue to sneak on. These reputed dandies emphasized the word ‘such’;, as if it was some sort of medieval departure, forcibly borne, or unwittingly find themselves travelling with unkempt scruffier passengers . Throughout many years partaking in journeys to Carcassonne, I’ve watched male and female stewards, worked hard to pacifying the good, the bad and the ugly. Observing the seating being challengingly 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, wide eyed floating along with white cloud palaces, moulded into curious shapes and wonders, just drifting… apparently aimlessly yet constructed by the earths prehistoric Trade winds. Although inside the huge cigar case plane, is rather regimental for the air staff. if though fortunate to be sitting in the front row ‘A’, possessing the naughty knack of eavesdropping, some of the passing mumbled remarks to their colleagues are to the sanity of some punter, even questioning the parentage, of certain commuters, always made me smile.

The last year of the Prestwick run, arriving at the Ayrshire bus terminus, on an exceptional sunny afternoon in early October. The coach journey to Glasgow, I was mesmerized within the countryside, eyes investigating the raw attractiveness as the wheels passed Eaglesham’s wind-farm ‘Whitelee!’ on outer borders of Glasgow.

From then on, just delight after delightful landmarks, of places I’d wandered through many years ago, as an awkward mischievous 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 cobweb of mindful recollections of dirty grey dwellings tightly squeezed, enclosed in filthy manky smoke-filled Glasgow streets, in all ways imaginable, both legal and illegal, for the financial devil shoved a pitchfork up the backsides of the labouring class. In the early 50s, 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 winters.

Then, as the coach navigated a stiff curve on the motorway…. Wow!... a astonishing miracle as Glasgow appeared in front of the speedy coach, displaying a pleasing panorama Technicolour vision of ‘The Dear Green Place’, which blew my mind, delightfully with true satisfaction of passing views. With authenticity joy, then heading for the centre of this famous Metropolis. Was my mood tempered by the grand holiday, it may have been because I was actually relaxed.

On entering the last few 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 soul was bursting with pride…for being a happy Glaswegian.
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peter.howden
post 22nd Feb 2021, 08:27pm
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 1/16

The beautiful blonde beckoned James forward, disregarding her saucy cloths as if they had just gone out of fashion. The reddest, roundest, fullest lips a mouth he had ever seen, panted for his favours. He closed in just moments away from sensuous bonding… he awoke.

He’d felt restlessly, uncomfortable becoming aware of reality, from a uneasy sleep after the night before. A thumping head hinder his eyes focusing, leaving just a dim blur, but worse, far worse, his mouth was a stone dry, Sahara desert’s portable toilet. Now James could not escape a weird fuzzy picture, enclosed his confused mind, of attractive blond girl, with some special curves. Abruptly, he became aware of a deafening unnerving silence, which should not be, so, for the guardian of the flat…his mutt, usually is all over him by now.

Slowly rising out of oblivion, not the land of nod, just out senselessness for some hours. James could recall swigging back some mysterious alcohol, as if tomorrow weren’t related, anyway, he told himself, no work in the morning. Who was he kidding; no employment for some time, no inquires for his agile profession, his manner of expertise? Glancing around with a head still not connected to any brain, wondering when he had come home… and how. He hoped he had not driven. First thing obvious, he was fully clothed except for his cowboy boots. He rose and in the dark, moved to the kitchen to find cool fluid, any liquid would do, even water, to quench his thirst.

James had no idea what he frantically gulped down out of a tatty old carton, but instantly solved his immediate dire thirst, shocking the system as it went…but the hairy tongue soon came back. His mind raced back to where was his dog. It had been with him for some time, then his curious habits made a perfect sentry canine. The mutt would let anyone in, even if they busted in, uninvited… the hound would not let them leave, in any manner…then came terrible retribution

Flashing back to the night before, straining through the unknown. It had been a 60s night, tried to pull on an old pair of flower power brushed denim flairs, however there was no way he could haul them past his knees. It was calmer to go as an easy riding cowboy, close to the ‘James Dean’ look; brilliant white tee-shirt, tight jeans, and a cowboy hat, though he could vaguely recall, some joker cruelly baptised him; as ‘Pearl & Dean’.

Doubting why he was sleeping on the smelly old couch, (for that is where the crossbreed napped), instead of his king-sized bed, he bumped into some sparse furniture, almost falling back into the couch where he played knocked out. Just managing, with great exertion, to reach the light switch. He turned on the power… to find chaos. The room was in ramshackle turmoil, books… records strewed all over the place, while his cherished couple of seats overturned and broken. The whole thing would not register, this could not be real…so instinctively he switched the light back off, standing in the dark solitude, impassive. Still, the image of this good-looking female would not leave his mind

Slowly moving to the kitchenette, put on its light then immediately switched them back off as they were far too bright straining his crippled eyes. Opening the fridge, his eyes tightly avoiding the glare from the inside bulb, reached in for a can of juice. He had no idea what kind, but he was not fussy, just desperate to rid himself of his furry tongue. Gulping the cold fluid quickly, then pushing his head back making it hurt more than before.

Aiming the empty can for the bin but just missed, bashing against the wall. James forced his eyes open, flicked the light switch again, realising even a bigger turmoil mess in the now upside-down kitchenette. He could not figure out why?... was this a burglary …but what were they looking for? Cautiously moving back into the room, switched on a sidelight. What a bloody mess, a real turnover…the bampots, whoever they were. He then instantly checked the front door. No sign of a forced entry though a slight noise from inside the master bedroom, alerted him to almost being sober.

Grabbing the first thing at hand, which happened to be an imitation miniature statue of Rodin’s “The Thinker”, silently proceeding, checking every step he made, as you would expect from his disciplined speciality, moving towards his boudoir. Glancing through the ajar door, he entered the doorway. Prostrate, naked on his king-sized bed, was a young attractive woman, with blood down the side of her mouth, now congealed. There was lots of it being highlighted by the bright yellow silk sheets. Pools of blood, spread on the rug and flooring, some on the far away wall. It looked as if she had put up one hell of a fight.

She was the very image of the girl in his mind since the moment he had come to life…. She was dead… but lying motionless beside the bed, tongue flabbily on the floor carpet…. was his dog!
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peter.howden
post 24th Feb 2021, 08:41pm
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The tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce’
The Folk Scene



Hector invited the Bruce to the late-evenings, early morning, folk music extravaganza, held each Saturday, on the whole top floor of an auld tenement building at the corner of George St/ Albion st, alas ….folk music was not the forte for The Bruce. The events were well worth the entrance fee with such a variety of big names such as Matt McGinn, Hamish Imlach, Josh McRae (the trio alcohol connoisseurs), the incredible string band, and many more. Hector enjoyed a free pass as a dogsbody helping with anything, putting up the seats, and on special occasions filling up time between acts, asking the audience to shout out one word, which he would make up a prompt four-line ode.

A special concert was being set in Jordanhill College, with two of the famous entertainers, plus local talent attending the renowned teaching establishment. Hector was really chuffed to be part of such an elite company….although just a hyped gofer. The evening began with a resident music teacher alone on stage playing his as if the strings were talking…absolute complete magic.

When booked for a showcase, the main vocalist had a habit of performing six songs to end the first half, leave to find a local hostelry, taking slight refreshments while singing six odd songs for nought. Return to the audience packed venue, closing the show with six more superb compositions…for his fee. Sadly, for the organizers, the second half had almost reached the vocalist cue without any sign of the great man.

In pure desperation one of the other giddy performers suggested Hector to ‘Do’ his wee turn…just to keep the payees unknown of the dire situation. Now in the dim lite folk club you could hardly see perhaps 60 personages, but there in Jordanhill Collage open stage, in front of a much larger visual audience was cagey to say the least.

Hector apprehensively stood up to the mark, inviting words to be called out, so he could make up a 4-liner sonnet. After two shaky attempts, in desperation he spurted out a joke, which got a laugh. He spurted out another, receiving a slight bigger laughter from the punters. Becoming more self-assured, so began his only solo humourist act. The signal was given that the main man was in the building…Hector told his last gag…then total silence. Some eery seconds went by…when the clapping began…expanding way into a long thunderous ovation.

If Hector was hear…he’d tell you himself… it was almost the most sublime natural stimulant high he ever experienced…that he could ever again compete with
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peter.howden
post 26th Feb 2021, 07:18pm
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My Chronicles 26/02/2021

The diligent team of the home, which Aunt Becky resides in, phoned with a update the other day. Becky is to receive her second virus jag on Monday and of course we gave the necessary permission. They are comfortable about her health and well-being, plus Becky is eating appropriately. Apparently, she still whizzes around the spacious inside, but the staff always makes sure she has shoes on, never slippers as they tend to be the main culprit when she trips sometimes. Next month they are arranging a visit. Both Rebecca and I will drive up…but we will choose on the day who will go in. will not matter to Aunt Becky…she doesn’t recognize either one of us, but it is always special to see her.

Our house has set out to intermittently groan, followed with unexplainable noises and bizarre creaks grumbling throughout the daytime. It’s unable to relax in blissful peace, in its own abode, because being bamboozled with us inside all the time. This incredibly early morning, the sun shone liberally, we could not help reaching for outdoor clothing and rushing out to the garden(being green is its only qualification being called a garden). Fortuitous ,or possibly the bird feeders on the tree attract a variety of wild birds, coming and going several times of the day. We watch them and make believe this is natures raw treasure, however the grizzly truth is the pretty birds are fighting for survival…with the wee Robin the most antagonistic, while the magpies are bullies… seemingly just for the hell of it!

I know it’s said you should never interfere with raw nature, however I spotted a puffed-up pigeon just resting near the bush and the tree, while all the other feathered friends were pecking seeds and peanuts. Each time the pigeon attempted to move towards the fodder, it sort of wobbled as if it had a stroke. Later on, it was under the wheelbarrow against the house wall, sheltered from all. Leaving a small forage as near to it as possible, I stood back and waited five minutes while it pecked like a drill, and the other winged creatures stayed away.

Later returning from an exercise stroll around the neighbourhood, ‘She who must be obeyed’, said the unauthorized patrolling black cat had been in the garden, causing a rumpus with the other birds. Fearing the worse for the injured birdie, I search the whole garden, but alas no sign. Perhaps I thought it may have been total panic into instinctively muster strength to fly away… but heck odds against…most likely not!

There is a haunting bright moon tonight, perhaps it’s out looking for the black cat…that’s if you believe in darken fairy tales?
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peter.howden
post 3rd Mar 2021, 12:26pm
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Surprise Unique moments

For me life has always been a mixture of real pleasure beyond anything, and a few deep sadness’s, away outside imagination, only some clandestine regrets, yet in all… life has given me a bundle of wonders, with diverse moments…. and still to this day! As the years followed, more than a few aching passions burnt into my romantic psyche. Unknown daring excitements exploded for me to tell the world, yet, so inwardly intimate… demand them to be kept a secret.

Owing to the lockdowns, we have both longed for the much-awaited cosy meeting of our family, and very intimate friends, which will be planned with care, for bygone birthdays, Christmas, and anything… just to see, hopefully touch…is beyond a dream. I must admit owning a kangaroo brain, darting from one thought and another, while my mind is losing its already shaky memory, hindering some of the past pleasures. Lately though, thanks to the lockdown, there has been a couple of pleasant singular reminders of times gone by .

Having a total kitchen clear out cleaning places seldom reached, I discovered a glass E.V.H. mug given at one of their grand conferences. It was always a huge meeting place from all over Scotland. Another high cabinet we came across a posh picnic wicker basket, raffle winning from S.H.A.R.E. Each forum attended along with Calvay Staff and committee, brought back memories. The other night, a wee nip was in the air, so a wee half would be just the thing, In the booze cubbyhole, was a treasured bottle of whisky, given to me by G.W.S.F, when retiring as the board realized I had misplaced my marbles . Enjoying reminiscing from the past with every sip…magic team.

Just yesterday, clearing out the old trusty chest of drawers in the bedroom, came across an item, totally mistaken buying and giving. Over many past summer's I travelled around France, kitbag on my back, then wheel trolley as I grew older. The second half of the holiday was in a medieval village near Carcassonne, home to a smashing family, wonderful food, good company, drink, and laundry included. For ‘She who must be obeyed’, usually at the last moment, the hunt was on for an unusual souvenir. One trip proved difficult and in frantic ploy, I entered the village cute jewellery premises. I thought one lady’s petite curio was unique… just perhaps slightly expensive, but I was desperate, as nothing else caught my eye.

Returned home and presented my hot gift of a miniature windup traveling watch, which I thought was put away for safety. Just yesterday I came across this precious gift, to learn it was not for a female, in fact a man’s pocket watch, with a painting on the case of early 18th century, three French cavalry officers…on horseback.

The question remains…was it lost passion, being desperate…or only plain intoxicated?
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peter.howden
post 10th Mar 2021, 07:58pm
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Out of Date

Long before any lockdown

Was being arrested for flashing, squarely in full view of the outdoors, unfortunately, I was suffering from a very senior moment, not remembering to close the front door, however…. let off with lack of physical evidence. I decide to go to ‘The Bridge’ to help my mental fatigue through this ordeal. The written word was the best way to lose yourself into another world.

Having always a hankering for the printed word, searched high and low in the library to offer Amalgamated publishers by writer John McCaill, or some religious guidance by ‘Anvil Parish periodicals ‘author Marcus Morris or ‘Kartzman’ for Alfred E Neuman, with French…but all to no avail. Slightly lowering my scale, something comical, but there was no ‘Triumph’ or ‘Eagle’, or indeed, the man himself, ‘Dan Dare’… Pilot of the future. With Britain’s interpretation of Superman not to be seen, no ‘Mad’ magazines available, no dust collected where they should be, but, no ‘Puck’, no ‘Judge’, or high-class witty cartoon stories to ease the embarrassment.
I decided to look for lighter reading, but equally disappointed with a total absence of the Scottish lords of this discipline, such as ‘Dandy’… ‘Beano’…. ‘Rover’…. ‘Wizard’… ‘Hotspur’…. ‘Skipper’ connections or the ultimate reading for a dull rainy Sunday afternoon, once your parents had thumbed this riveting reading, “The Broons” and Oor Wullie”.

What can I say, what can I say other than deep disappointment let down in my hour of desperate need? Can you picture it, a library with not one animation illustration, just rows and rows of words falling uselessly all over the place? No…. I was wrong, for there was ,‘Charlton and the Wheelies’, along with ‘Thomas the tank engine’. I would have taken them out on loan, and not cared a fig about leaving the children’s section , but on the other hand…….I had read those deep scholastic books… just a couple of weeks previously .

I exited the building housing ‘The Bridge’, knowing less than when I entered the automatic doors. Another calamity for Education within… if it weren’t so humorous.
-=-=-=-=-=
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peter.howden
post 12th Mar 2021, 08:16am
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The lost hot water Bottle

Some may say, or even argue very convincingly, I have lost my marbles, but I know for sure, this is not the case. In Toni’s room, top shelf, displaying in all glory is the very pouch my jorries are in…except one, particularly used to rotate down, and clear the vacuum’s clogged up air tubes. Keeping my jorries in pristine roundness ready for the day I can fulking Cat Eyes, or Micas Snowflakes in the British Marble Championship, held yearly at Greyhound Pub, Tinsley Green on Good Friday… I’ll be rolling in it.

For those who can be bothered to read on, there was a true mystery as one of four hot water bottles…just disappeared, absent for three whole frantic days so you could say I lost my bottle. ‘She who must be obeyed, was in the same pickle, yet still blamed me wholeheartedly. I can tell you this…no one is getting her hands on my pure ground marble, or a game of ‘Omilla’…I’m not nuts.

The mystery began last Sunday evening while preparing the night bed for ‘you know who’…there was no sign of her favourite hot water bottle, usually rapped up in a dark brown pillowcase, so not to burn the hidden nether regions. There was little reason to be concerned, for it would not be the first time it had been mislaid, so a second bottle was chosen to the bed honour. The following morning possibly due to mental fatigue, caused by long lockdown, I began the search for the missing bottle, however, due to increase frustration, soon became the unholy quest. At this stage of the bizarre tale, pointing out our home is above fairly tidy, clean, also to insist…I’m not daunted by, ‘She who must be obeyed’, I just wish to live!

After looking in every nook and cranny, soon the ‘looking for’ the missing article became personally lodged into my thinking. My probing developed into a obsession near absurdity, reasoning it never went AWOL before, even worry it may be hiding…deliberately bestowing three days of mayhem. On the forth morning, ‘She who must be obeyed’ called downstairs that the wanderer had been found, lying on the dark red carpet, in the corner opposite the bed.

What mysterious manipulating power had been lurking, and scurrying within our home, perhaps will never be known…yet …strangely…there is one step further into the mystery…the missing sock?
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peter.howden
post 15th Mar 2021, 07:23pm
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Timing

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) …or quite a few of the staffs of such establishments

Clark, for a better explanation, daft 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 being crafty and keen with money. The young lad may have been a walking disaster, pretty slow three seconds behind everyone else, but no walking fool in his ordinary life. Receiving instruction, he would lose quite quickly, not seemingly realizing he had been instructed at all. A tad on the lethargic side, though his burning ambition was to qualify being a bathing instructor in the swimming pool. His Victorian building was a washhouse, also had a pool, only used for schools during the day and the 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. The evening staff bought special dinners 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 carry-out’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, plus telling Clark to buy whatever he wished…as a gratuity. The usual exercise from start to finish took perhaps an hour, most time taken waiting at the counter of the chip shop. Five of the clock pasts without any sign of Clark. Another half hour went by and no delivery. The clock struck six, and still no sign. The staff genuinely became worried, in case something had happened to the lad, for 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 resurfaced 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 a fiver or 10 note from their bulging 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 procured, two shirts and a pair of jeans with the collective tips. There was deep resentment for some time, totally aimed at Clark…and he never got keeping the change ever again.
-=-=-=-=
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peter.howden
post 16th Mar 2021, 08:07pm
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GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 7/16

James Making his way down to the famous river Clyde, cutting through Bridgegate to reach the berth of the Carrick sailing ship, stopping to observe the floating time piece, a belter of a tall old ship. Sauntering along the river side, passing Broomielaw heaps and piles of small stones and sands, grit, and earth, sitting like weird small pyramids right along to Commerce Bridge. He tried to make sense of it all, the dead girl…gave him the willies from the moment he pulled out from self-induced liquor trip, away from reality. He had no problem with booze …although some others may argue, citing how constant strong beverage punishes the body …if not the soul.

Belonging to the railway until recently, their hired out arche was the club was In the middle of Midland Street.. No public queuing in the street under the bridge, far too early for the ravers. Witches entrance was a large arched wooden frame with heavy cast iron hinges. At the right side was a smaller door, which happened to be slightly ajar. Had the occupants been warned…was this rather dicey? James knew the answer to both questions. Cautiously opening the door caused a chilling creaking, heightened by the arched brick acoustics acting as an amplifier.

The toatey place was a baltic manmade cave in deadly silence., yet deemed to be the hottest club venue in town. Turning into a hidden corner, James was abruptly struck dumb by seeing a female, nigh identical to the murdered woman in his flat…could this be possible rattled around his mind. “Who the hell are you?”, she continued in an screechy vocal, “Are you here to see the boss, Charlie?”. James was reduced to a awkward nod. The un-named doppelganger waddled towards the door, motioned James to enter. He struggled passing her, as she leaned further forward, whispered, “I want to see you before you go…don’t tell that wee nyaff”.

Squatting behind a walnut wooden desk was a shifty character in an ill-fitting suit covering an unfit body. A large cigar flaked in a marble ashtray, while he sipped whisky out of a crystal glass. “Nectar from the gods, called ‘Tears of Angels’ in the Gaelic!... I heard you were looking for me ?”. In a mocking way, “where are my manners for I have heard you like a drink or two…what’s your pleasure?”. The big desk kept people at bay from the wee bachle…shit looks, shit is

James refused, but asked how he knew him since they never had met. Once again, the one toned man spoke “We have someone in common, you and I as I knew your Uncle…by the way how long has it been he has been gone?”. Before James could reply the sleekit bufter added, “A few people just vanished, and I find it harder to bare the pain, when a few of my very good friends have disappeared also…funny that isn’t it?”. James remained silent, didn’t take a blind man to hear this raw threat. He saw the creep as he truly was, a two-bit villain having money to buy muscle to do his bidding.

“No hard feelings now… but remember, just because you know a few powerful citizens, and you talk to the real big man, this will not protect you from some silly accident…now come on be a lovely man…just forget the whole thing?” Charlie coughed uncontrollably while lifting his generous glass and took a big gulp. James swallowed hard to stop him saying what he really thought… “Look Charlie…can I call you Charlie….could you tell me who the girl was?”

This took the runt behind the big desk by surprise, “She did work for me some time ago… but left, and apart from that…. I’m as wise as you”. Before a moment passed, the prickly boss rung a hidden bell…the door of his office opened up wide by a loutish thug. “Just get smart James ”, came from behind the desk.
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peter.howden
post 21st Mar 2021, 05:53pm
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Dear Diary;02/06/11

Attempting to obtain fitness yet still out of breath even with simple things like opening pickle jars and the like. Perhaps I should exercise my mind, keep it in check whilst waiting for a sign of encouragement in the physical faze .

Art, yes this is the answer, art is where my Bohemian mind flowed when memories of the fifties(late fifties that is) rushed through with images of Rodin’s thoughtful Thinker and the voluptuous Kiss. Letting my fingers do the walking, the internet the vehicle of purchase, hastily ordered canvas ,paints, mediums, Artist brushes of all sorts, an easel or two( in case a senior moment pops up misplacing the first tripod ) stencils and palettes along with a super Liquitex Palette Knife no 1.

The thought of starting at a nude hour, I arrived inside John Wheatley Collage, tripping over my easels, risking life and limb climbing the stairs, clinging onto my portfolio like a disturbed politician. Through the grapevine, hearing saucy songs about coming home to look at etchings… or rub my brasses. What could the back end of Easterhouse offer this poor wretch, bursting forth with excitement, raw drawings with crayons?

Placed in front of a mirror, the artist tutor encourages me to draw what I saw. My trouble was my model would not sit still, in fact it kept holding, his thumb and brush straight out in a dreadful montage manner. Artists have to bare their souls for the love of pure art, so, with strokes of fire and passion I laboured. The instructor could not tell what my soul had displayed for the world to witness.

A suggestion of moving on would help my creativity was pleasure to my ears. It was added I, and I alone, would be doing a life in the raw. Real life which surrounds us all with nakedness the gods would worship and a want to bite. Taken to the darkest part of the studio, well hidden from prying eyes, left alone waiting for my structure model to appears. Would she be blond, dark, curvaceous enchantingly savage, or prim oozing innocence?

At last, a silent fanfare as the curtain was yanked back, revealing… an apple, peeled and spotlighted. Feeling abused, used, and under-appreciated, I left the studio for the last time, abandoning my equipment for lesser aptitude persons. I could only come to one obvious conclusion, which now I face with a newfound bravery…being too talented.
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peter.howden
post 28th Mar 2021, 07:42pm
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The undying urge

I’ve been smoking lung darts since coming home from school, taking drags out of a single, acquired from the local newsagent’s…almost all the kids bought singles…sometimes with extra pocket money, purchased a five packet of ‘Bristol’. Don’t care what they say about health and all that…I need a bloody fag…a drag…I want a fag…for sanity reasons I need a fag…I deserve, but canny get a smoke…all because of this f---ing lockdown, imposed by wee Nicola Sturgeon. Wish they’d stop the stooshie between her, and the impish Salmond, return to normal…whatever the hell that is? Maybe they both could do with a drag…or two?

it was bad enough before the lockdown…treating us smokers like reekie aliens, I’m stuck here, housebound, no randan, unable to relish the aroma of a ciggy or roll-up…because of this ugly virus. I’m haudin the whole shebang, two packets of fags, a baccy tin full of snout, rollup papers , but the fly in the ointment is…fag lighter pathetically out of petrol, not a single match, no means of igniting my first puff inhaling a trip to utopia. Bugger all option for donkeys of a smoker’s randan …It’s all this enlightened total electric household, no means of a naked flame… that rips ma knittin'.

I’ve nervously raked the scullery drawers every bloody day, trousers/jacket pockets, under the bed, the bin bag, even a swatch down the lavvy, bugger all. Last Thursday was my final drag day, a dowt with a pin…burnt my lips. . Probing the dough-heid postman if he had a light, what a waste of space… the dummy glared…wired tae the moon…the nyaff pissed off…. Bastard…nae Christmas tip next year!

Now we are instructed to wear a mask, not to protect ourselves but other people…and quite rightly too…but if I leave the house and I’m lucky enough to meet a fella with a lighter, how the hell will he allow me to lower my mask while he hauds it ?
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peter.howden
post 30th Mar 2021, 08:37am
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Illustration

The endearing name of ‘Carrot Top’, was given to me as a child in hospital, by various nurses who would read from Children’s books available, classic fairy tales such as Cinderella, Pinocchio but most of all ‘Sleeping Beauty’. For some reason I can’t recall, but, was informed this once I came home for good, by family members. Later, I was taken to the cinema, to watch animated film versions of those traditional fairy-tales, consumed in sheer wonder fascination.

In school, being not too bad at story composition, encouraged by the tutor, in reading original titles including Grimm’s versions and the real historical writings behind them. These children’s fables were an eye opener to what each generation thought was suitable for pre-schoolers’ ears and minds, particularly ‘Sleeping Beauty’,( original title…the Sun, the Moon, and Talia,) and what light transmission reflects.

Now during this relentless lockdown, growing weariness of what this wall glass chooses to display is incredible deception at its worse. Sometimes, while taking a peek within its world, the reflection is obviously hideously untrue. Does it possess a clandestine task, to cast worry and uncertainty throughout my domain? Where once stood a positive alert human being …is just a shadow of former glory…I dare not call out the magic words; “Mirror… mirror on the wall… who is the fairest of them all?” I could not take another rejection.
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peter.howden
post 5th Apr 2021, 04:09pm
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My Chronicles 05/04/2021
Aunt Becky

On the 2nd of April, , at two minutes to eight of the morning, Aunt Becky past away peacefully without pain. Rebecca and I talked to her, in a constant state of jumbled up sly emotions especially when the attentive nurses popped in…asking, “are you all right, can we get you anything?”. When Becky’s demise came, for a few moments the atmosphere was a quiet nothing, until we cuddled, then feelings and tears overflowed uncontrollably. The staff were brilliant, guiding us through the whole precious time before leaving the hospital, into very cold morning, ready to drive. While travelling home, the mood was a quiet dullness, occasionally touching on a private grief, also a curious sense of relief. Sometimes, its overlooked, when we all were younger, Becky helped each and every one of us in the family.

In the last 15 years, Becky named me, ‘Nephew in law’, so when if asked about money, she replied swiftly, “You’ll need to see peter, he deals with all that !”. One day, Chris while in her house she asked, “Who are you?”… ‘I’m Peter’s son’ he replied. Becky shook her head, rebuffed; “ Don’t talk to me about that bastard! Rebecca and Becky were holidaying in David’s,(Salty) caravan. Late one very dark night, Rebecca was aroused by a noise, finding Becky in the nude, she always slept starkers, stating she was too hot, ready to open the main door. Rebecca called out not to go out, but Becky innocently replied; “Its pitch black as coal out there!”. Becky opened the door, took a couple of steps out to the porch…then all the security lights at the front door…. lit the whole area like a football pitch…Wow.

Sometime later, Becky and I were walking down Allander St, Possilpark when a old fashion siren shrieked open. Becky stopped dead in her tracks, shaking nervously, apparently unable to move. This siren’s screeching lasted some 25 seconds as I held her hand, in a puny effort to help. When it finally stopped, with some encouragement, I managed to take her around the corner to a cafe and strong tea. The siren reminder her of the wartime, and for some moments had taken her back there. The first real signs of dementia was when attending a funeral service in a chapel, while a priest was conducting his line of verse. Becky was between Rebecca and I, when she shouted out, “Boring…boring”… Catching sight of her niece, she then called out, “have you been your holidays Ann?”

Over the last 3 odd years, Becky suffering from Alzheimer’s was being looked after by the caring staff, firstly in Rannoch house, then the newly built Victoria Gardens home. Slowly she totally forgot who we were, in a puzzled state of mind, but took an instant shine to assistant Gordon…she always liked a face with a beard. She is the last of 22 siblings, but there is a host of comforting memories Becky has left us…Thank you Becky
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