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peter.howden
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
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peter.howden
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.
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peter.howden
KNOCKING ONCE MORE;

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….
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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!
peter.howden
The last story 'Knocking once more' .... It is written as a l belived a bigot old man would think…not by a bigot writer
peter.howden

HONEST FUNERAL


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.
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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?
peter.howden
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
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peter.howden
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 ?
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peter.howden
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??????
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P.P.S
It is only a coincidence the Gods meeting arena’s initials in this tale….. with Glasgow’s housing magnetic body G.H.A
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peter.howden

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!
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peter.howden
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.
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peter.howden
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.
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peter.howden
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.

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peter.howden
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
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peter.howden
THE SHOOT

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…..
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big al
Peter

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

Alan
peter.howden
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…
peter.howden
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 universe...at 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…..
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peter.howden
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
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peter.howden
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
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peter.howden



Desperate


Forsaken



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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peter.howden
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….

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peter.howden

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 precision.it 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….
peter.howden
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 sir...it 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 not...so 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?
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peter.howden
THE VILLAGE; DREIMIRE;(3)

“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
peter.howden
Flight(1)


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.
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peter.howden

Flight(2)


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
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peter.howden
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.
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peter.howden
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….
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peter.howden
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.
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big al
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

Alan
peter.howden
Thank you Alan....The games afoot....not 12 inches
peter.howden
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!
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peter.howden
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
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Scratches

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
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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
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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 ……..to 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?

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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
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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
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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
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ADVENTURES OF PEEWEE; UP IN SMOKE;

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
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ADVENTURES OF PEEWEE; UP IN SMOKE; two

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….
peter.howden
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!”
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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.
Lastly…

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
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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.
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peter.howden
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
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peter.howden
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.
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peter.howden
anecdotes from the auld Steamie


HOT BATH


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]
peter.howden
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.
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peter.howden
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]
peter.howden
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?’
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