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peter.howden



Five loaves and two fishes;


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

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

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

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

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

She knew her drunken husband was the only bairn.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With these last words.... The man died.... leaving Jim……..
-=-=-=-=
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peter.howden
Any similarities or likeness or connection to any person, or animal or fictional character, is by coincidence, especially “The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea”?. The essayist takes no responsibility;


ILL OMEN&TABBY

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




Lost

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



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

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



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

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

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

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



The owl and the pussycat,

Met in a tree on day,

Said the Owl to the pussycat,

Stay with me and play,

Said the Cat to the Owl,

With a sleekit smile,

Yes; let’s stay and play,

Least for a little while,

Cat naughtily swung his paw,

Ruffling feathers of the Owl,

Hanging grimly with a claw,

Then let out a horrid howl;

The Cat lost its balance then,

Tumbled straight on the root,

It’s lives spent were ten,

The Owl cared not a hoot
peter.howden
The right Time;



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
THE BIKE WAS A TANK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SIZZLING PASTIES

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
A Date;

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

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

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

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

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

Turning around he is secure in the knowledge... fate will make their meeting...it’s just a question of when…………perchance next Saturday………………….
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peter.howden
The little bashed pan

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

John chose for the last piece of ground… carrots.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

-=-=-=-=-.
Dylan
I read your stories every day Peter.

They make me smile .
peter.howden
Good morning Foster..........I am chuffed you not only read my scribbles but took time to send such a kind message............thank you
peter.howden
Short and Unfinished;

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Train


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puppet had no way of knowing he had landed on builders Skip....but
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peter.howden
A Christmas miracle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Cratchit’s.....I just want to live……
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peter.howden
Not easy forgotten


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It turns out his young lady also received the heavy duty magnetic procedure of the gums, to replace decaying teeth.... rotted by eating too many sweets. What they both did not realize was magnetically they were Poles apart……….and that was....he was North.... and she was South.... of Earth’s core;
-=-=-=-=-=
[size="3"][/size]
peter.howden
Care;


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

-=-=-=
peter.howden


THE TRAIN(3)


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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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



And in his pocket, as he drew his big hand out, was the virgin buckle????
peter.howden
A day happenings

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

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

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

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

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

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
peter.howden
Peewee’s surprise;2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-=-=-=
peter.howden
The shore date; (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-=-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden

A day in the life;


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

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

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

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

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

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

A text on the phone informs me my wife has had her blood taken and is hoping when the Doctor does the rounds she will be allowed home....I’m not henpecked for I refuse to eat trill...no matter what the circumstances are. Yet I better complete the ironing before ‘you know who’ returns

-=-=-=-=-=
Dave Grieve
Lovely stories Peter, I don't always have the time to read them now but enjoy them when I do, you have a talent for telling a tale. Have you ever tried wattpad?
peter.howden
Good morning Dave.........
Enormously kind and generous .comments ... however in my internet or technical skills are narrow if not exceptionally limited...I have no idea what a “WATTPAD” is........ the mind boggles ...but....I would appreciate if you could throw some data my way.

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

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

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

Peter


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

No offense meant to the Board or its members but www.wattpad.com will have a much larger readership for you.
peter.howden
Good evening Dave;........I thank you once more and I will follow through and see what happens....I do send my Scribbles to Glasga Pals...as well as this board who were kind enough to give advice and encouragement way back in 2005/6, so I will be loyal and keep them posted as well.

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

Thank you from Scotland
Anon
peter.howden
The Shore date...2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Kelpies
peter.howden
Son... the Pencil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Peter , I guess he was as full as a Fairy's phone book . yes.gif
peter.howden
Thank you young lady for reading my scribbles......your an angel ..
peter.howden
BAGGPIPES &,KILTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I miss my Hielander for he is missing beyond reach.

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

Bagpipes are not only for Hogmanay or Ne’erday’s and the kilt not for weddings only
peter.howden
-=-=-=-=
My wife and I

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-=-=-=
peter.howden

THE GLASGOW PARALYTIC GAMES (part one)



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



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



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



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



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



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





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

-=-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
Trademarked pain…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

One day Henry entered this unusual home with many a thing left as if the household had left in a hurry. Sitting lonely in the corner was the big baby’s bath. He was about to leave when he thought about the coal dust plastered on to every part of his skin whether covered or not...so he lumbered it home.

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

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

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



An old but new medieval tale (1)



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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

An old but new medieval tale (part 2)




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


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


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


It was a shabby closet sized room with a single bed and a paillasse full of holes and straw sticking out every worn opening. What appeared to be a rag was the only other thing on the bed apart from me. Everything gave the impression to move in its own vocation throughout this homemade mattress, as I swung my leg unsteadily...then with great effort rose to my feet. I did not help .My sense of smell had not disturbed me and by the appearance of this hovel, I was particularly lucky for this one grace.


Looking around, it was obvious this was a shabby manky odd room where everything was covered by dust and cobwebs at every single corner or gap. The door was just straps of old pieces of wood nailed unevenly together showing there was some kind of light coming from outside. I managed to fathom this is why I could scarcely see what I could see. To my right, there was a cracked mirror. Clumping my foot forward I managed to reach it within a few steps then tilted the mirror to gaze upon the reflected image of my face.

What I saw………… no sane person should be allowed to witness…………… for..... Imitating back at me……….was not me………. but somebody else’s forbidding tortuous face
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peter.howden
An old but new medieval tale (part 3)

Totally bewildered with an uncountable reaction, I grabbed the mirror, tossing it violently across the filthy tiny room. When it landed on the mawkit paillasse, it still broke into fragments because it was already cracked. How long I stood there, not moving a muscle, is uncertain... however my stumer of a brain raced around desperately but creating nothing other than incomprehension, and heated terror as mentally I stepped off the edge of the real world to reach for comfort in unprofitable thoughts but land with the devil knows what or where or how………. but too hot to handle ……………

We are wholly mysteries to one and all with the way the wheels come around, for we recognize not what would change us in the twinkle of an eye. I now find myself unable to use common sense or have psychological boundaries, creating a thoughtless leaking bucket spilling all over the place as I cringed and huddled in a corner, near petrified, gawking at the mysterious broken looking glass.


What pain we try to bury or create a façade of ignorance, rendering a melody of a lost life, striped of the certainties... but cursing the door that closed so loudly. I instantly feared my world had collided with another unknown sphere of existence or mirage madness dancing in the wind, where the evil spirit uninvited joins the party and he pays the piper with torment

From some nameless urge, I again took stock of my surroundings...unfortunately to see little else than from my first fleeting look. A tatty badly home-made chair was in the last corner but nothing else but the awareness of the filth covering every nock and cranny, becoming increasingly obvious as the ability to inhale smell took hold.

How it happened or when exactly it did is not known but I now was instantly alert I was wearing not what I expected or what could be named as clothing in any manner but filthy rags of unfamiliar origin caused total distress to follow.

Crawling across the rough wooden soiled floor to the straw mattress on the jagged bed, I took hold of the biggest broken piece of glass, calmly though perspiring with a chilled secretion all over my wreaked body, slowly raised it to my blinking eyes. The same unknown ghastly face stared back at me although this time was seen with pure disbelief terror.


Straight out of nowhere was pounding sound of something outside, and perhaps someone walking towards the door. The flickering light moved nearly eclipsed by the door and a shadow appeared from between the wide gaps………then instant darkness ….and silence


I cursed myself for not calling out but I was scared as never before……….but?
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peter.howden
An old but new medieval tale (part 4)

Fear does such strange things to the awareness when astride in the unknown darkness, fetching and delivering sheer almost sacrilegious dread within a whiff of treachery. Even though I wanted to yell out... in that very moment, not a single murmur forced its way through as my voice suddenly froze and my mouth became dry, and sand gritted my tongue. My brow sweltered as if someone had drenched me with sticky reeking water while all my terrified mind could think of, was... I did not want to plot against whatever had brought me here, where here was……… I knew not.

With not even the flimsiness flicker of light, the darkness became a blackness forcing time to be lengthened beyond meaning of existence, causing me not to move and stay rigid, in case I was discovered. There was a slim chance what wandered earlier around at the other side of the locked door was unaware I was there. so fearful was my desperate predicament,I nearly keeched my pants, unaware if the dirty old door could be death’s door or my salvations barrier.

Uncharacteristically; even in the grip of some kind of sorcery, somehow I fell asleep, soon to dream a dream of dark magic taking me to a new level of horrid bewitchment. I found myself staked out in the blazing sun which scorched my hair as it blinded me into whiteness,. I could hear what I believed to be water, slowly dripping so close; the merest minuscule splash touched my red hot cheeks as if by a sharp rock, before it evaporated to infinity. Each drop brought unwanted agony creating cracks and the rawness of my red burnt skin. While I cursed every single droplet while every globule searched out every inch of my seared skin, to dance the dance of agonizing cruelty.

How long I lay there is unknown but I became aware the sun had somewhat rested and in front of me was a huge open gateway. Again how or why was faceless yet I had the sense to realize, as I lay untied but aching, this imaginary vision was utterly unnatural. Whatever this was, it was but a trick for an open door is no freedom.... if you dread what is beyond. I was tempted if I could, to end it there and then, and end the abnormal torture but somewhere, deep inside, instinct to survive took over and conquered the blind numbness.

Without any warning, I was back inside this cramp mancky den but now there was a glimmer of light flickering underneath the uneven door’s frame. With this shaky lowlight I was able to focus once again without being deceived by the unknown and found all was the same as before …………..except for the mirror…………. no more was it in pieces all over the filthy paillasse………. but whole except for the crack, hanging back of the wall to the right of me……… #


I also could hear muffled voices and some kind of footsteps becoming louder as I attentively listened. What secrets held me here and what was to happen in this witches hour………………..for now.... there was no doubt this was skulduggery………. of bewitching entangled destiny.
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peter.howden
An old but new medieval tale (part 5)... one before the one before the last



All the way through this unwelcome torment which now befell upon me, abnormally chilling my very bones, I felt someone or something persistently observing me...but where from I had no idea. Now, I was first quaking beyond control then gawking at my feeble surroundings in disbelief as to how I had returned from my unpredictable prison, for now there was no doubt it was a prison

Eventually managing to focus on the closet room, for the want of a better description, reasoning this was the only constant thing in this nightmare apart from the stuffed paillasse and the manky blanket. Nothing had change except phenomenally the rough woodened framed mirror. Had I not shattered this object into bits after the reflection, reproducing a face which certainly was not me...so how did it happen, how did a strange repulsive appearance follow my lines, duplicate every movement of my skin and create such bulging eyes, then disappeared.

Would the same image return if I stole another glance through its reflection? I presumed this ugly featureless image was not me but how could I tell? For how long has these misfortunes been taking place ...there was no means of telling. Was it now me or a doppelgänger who mirrored my distress? Again no knowledge whether this was enchantment of the blackest kind or demons I per-chance released to torment me ………. or my mind had accidently flipped into another dimension where the doors of revenge had opened and chosen me as a special guest, now loosing what little sanity I had once possessed . There is something about inward panic which not only rips common sense to shreds but creates fear-provoking alternatives for the mind to wallow in and dismisses what actually perceive.

I decide, after a hard course dry swallow, to investigate by blindly closing my eyes and feeling my way, slowly approaching the mirror, then standing stiffly in front of it, ready to face my existing nightmare. Why blind? But this was my way. I blinked open just to see a shadow of the ugliness I had seen the last time. Gradually I released my eyes wide and saw a hellish loathsome foul face imitating my every move.

Again creating such unbelievable shook, I trembled violently then threw the looking glass across the shabby cell and witnessed it strangely silently, smash into little pieces leaving one sort of large piece almost unharmed, lying on the soiled straw mattress. .

All at once, what sounded like a brouhaha commotion outside the entrance to the cramp chamber, stole my attention, quickly followed by loud but unintelligible screeching voices, then screams above inconceivable shrieks of sheer terror , causing not only instant dampness from top to feet by the bucket full, but repeating frozen shivers right down my back and staying there. While this unrestrained ruckus went on...what seemed indefinite, I tried to hide in the furthest away corner. ………………..while feet scuffed and hands or bodies bumped against the door.

Was this a hellish dream………. for if it was…………..it had the devils clawing fingerprints all over it………….. ending my known world?

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peter.howden
An old but new medieval tale (part 6) Penultimate

I craved total oblivion, nothing more nothing less, which I wished with each slug of awful decayed air I breathed. Fear had found a home...created by fiendish demons haunting to bewitch any soul and with not control or choice ...the soul was mine. No reality behaves in such a way and now nerves have gone leaving me utterly defenceless, beyond reason or hope and numbingly petrified.


Now, behind this feeble but grim door, a contest to end all contests, creating sheer bedlam of a battle of some kind, by unknown beings fighting for life which I had seen no evidence of existence. Each moment it seemed the frail door would give way from the pure weight of the combatants.... but each clawing second it stood the pounding and clamour ... which became louder and louder


Oddly.... out of this evil sounding din of a abyss, as the agonizing all-encompassing blare reached a pitch virtually unbearable to human lobes... I remembered…I heard not a peep, not a cry, not a gulp when I held the looking glass. What happened next I have no awareness or acquaintance in the slightest but one moment there, next instant somewhere else, where I had never been before?


Before my startled eyes, the dimness did not spring on me or arrive with the click of a finger, for the workings of my mind made just one moment... turned around and it just was so. It certainly was not complete blackness though a hint of bleakness weaved and oozed almost out of the moist ground beneath my feet...still trembling uncontrollably. My new prison had no scope but again a strange place with just, trees upon trees, with no sign of bushes or natural shrubs…… green or otherwise but totally grey.


Because I was certain I was somewhere, I needed to find shelter as the bleakness of above gave warning, even to a frightened wee beasty as I. There was no noticeable trail anywhere but I raised my foot and placed it down, to my astonishment...a path appeared. I placed a canny foot to the right and another path appeared and the first disappeared. Paths stopped and started where I placed my heel and toe. The aroma of Scottish pine cones became atrocious yet no such tree was there, so my homeland this was not, but weeping willows galore and curious man shaped trees with over expanding branches. Something unseen in the unreachable darkness, unseen but ……. Stirred!


Around every grey drab tree was an unclear mystery, for although the trees defiantly did not walk… yet they appeared to move a few inches in appropriated moments, then feet in several seconds without signs of the roots clawing or uprooting.



Had the whole nightmare now control mind body and soul? Had the unseen stolen my inner spirit and played dice with my senses? I stood perfectly still...my shaking spine, legs and feet suddenly were solid as rock. Then and only then the truth was...these abstract trees... were alive and placed to hunt me.


With every effort from my spent body, I broke free from the statue spell...or so I thought, as my legs struggled to run at any speed but like being in slow motion they just moved and no more. The tree rid themselves of their sculpture disguise, shredding from the very earth and stone and ground to move with a speed fast and fury struggling with each other to be first to catch the prey………which was me.


Those roots so presently in the ground moved without anything to bar them, flicked and twisted to trip my fleeing feet carrying my terrified body. The branches of all kinds grew and grew to aim for my crumpled body and head, as my heart beat a petrifying pulse. Each step brought a path in front of me but the trees needed no such guides making dismaying gain. My only hope was their habitual habit to overshadow their adjacent tree, pushing and propelling to be ahead.


Salt seeped from my nonstop sweat, stinging my bloodshot eyes... as I ran for my very existence ...as never before from hence which claimed to foul my brain. In no time I was halted physically and now mentally as two or three roots, first hindered then stopped my run. With no waste of time branches wrapped around my aching body, immediately began to squeeze tighter and tighter. Other branches reached my head and striped the flesh in a rush to capture. Within no time I was captive to the will of this venomous wood. All allowed of my body to air was my crippled eyes.


Black clouds twisted above, stealing away the skies with scary thunder, producing lightning bolts flashing towards an unseen chasm, taking me unwillingly back to psychological nightmare where the dark side wanted to steal my soul as evil spirits dancing a dance of cruelty, thieving all what was once kind within me.

They knew...whatever or whoever...“They” was or were... I had wished to be a pilgrim of oblivion, yearning near total nothing in every dream before which the man underneath this vine capture wished for in every stolen breath.


The last conscious moment I knew was being deprived of air as colour lost its way around my face, while the blood squeezed from their cells until about to burst……………………then blackout.
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