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peter.howden

My Chronicles 20/01/2019



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

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

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

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

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

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

TURKISH MOMENTS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His uncle, who had recommended these suites to loosen up ready for the big match. His uncle was the inevitable … Harry- Murder-Polis.
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peter.howden
Uncle David

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce’

Marywood Square Suite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They kept their collective book called ‘Hordes of Dirty Ditties, from around the world’.
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peter.howden
Bah-Humbug…Ramified


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

peter.howden

Alone

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good china’s are worth their weight in gold…I luckily and preciously, have long standing, couple of ‘China’s’…how privileged can I be?
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peter.howden
RETURNING HOME;


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My heart was bursting with pride…for being happy Glaswegian.
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peter.howden
The Journey

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

Breaching his concentration, a guardsman hollered, how the train would stop here, for exactly two hours, while they repair a vital part of the locomotive, but not to worry folks…each person will make their original destination, as printed on their own individual ticket. Jim knew the place, as being his home town, the community he grew up in. Though Jim appeared to walk aimlessly, his feet took on an agenda of their own, which led him to an old run-down shop, which had been in his family’s ownership, almost as old as the township itself.

The building’s appearance was in a tumbledown state, but Jim had seen it as its prime. He remembered leaving the tiny enterprise, while the depression crippled such trades, forcing his parents into desperation, and near starvation…but he desired to “Get away” and make his mark. Jim recalled, he might have stayed, yet, the lore of the bright lights out there in the world, dictated his departure. His father suffered a stroke shortly afterwards, which his mother never recovered from, plus the gruesome labouring struggle to make ends meet. They are both gone now, he could not remember being at their funerals. Sad, how things do change without warning, especially when there is a wanting not to.

Another unexpected stroll, left him standing outside the church, used for all religions, and traditional ceremonies within the tiny community. Now, the unwelcome past crept back into his mind, of his youthful girl, Jane… to be precise. The result of this unbridled fancy; a seed of life created by embraced love, made the need to marry. He swore to keep his beloved’s reputation, not to be torn by prejudices the straight laced ladies of the district….he promised a hasty elopement..

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

Somehow, as if by magic or some mysterious force, he was standing in front of the bank, or what looked as the bank was back then. It had managed to keep its business head just above water, while struggling against two possible runs on the bank, which were common for that period of time. One thing, above all else, kept it going was it belonged to the people, for the community trusted everyone for they were all in the same boat.

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

Perhaps rare nostalgia, or time had placed soft sparling coating over his eyes, for the township look good… warm to his thoughts…. for whatever he had done in the past, was the past, and after all, it was where he was raised, then became a man he was…. yet, oddly, no-one recognized him?

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

Jim glanced at his ticket… seeing the words printed boldly; ‘One-way ticket to Hell’
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DESPERATE;

Forlorn;

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

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

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

Kate must have had a recognizable female form, hidden for years in dowdiness and neglect. Her children had long since flown the nest, and no one ever heard of a mention of her man, except in times of her real delirium, then scripted as “blooming bastard” over and over again. In moments of sanity, her mind was frantic with half-baked ideas, or languished in recollections she alone toiled with.

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

One thing was accurate, she never stooped to prostitution, for she was not a gal like that, even though she had kept her looks, but this fantasy was only in her mind, not in the mirror. She had slept with strangers she met at the local country club, but that was just for an extra swally. Now, even the cattiest bloke demanded her to wash before he would entertain a fumble never mind sex. Kate had no real conception of time, just being awake with sweat and aches, while searching her abode, for a drop of something alcoholic.

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

Just last week, the authorities were forced to open the dingy den, there was complaints of many smells, rats running lose in the room Kate’s door opened revealing over-pungent wicked odours, darkened fleas-crawling corners, even when they don’t exist. She lay slumped and oblivious in death, as she was in life. A lone anxious voice says this should not happen again as the grimy door is closed over.

No one came to the funeral…. Within a heartbeat, some other poor desperate lost soul…moves in the accommodation of Kate’s old dodgy flat
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HOT AIR;(1)

Once upon a time, there was a little balloon, though he had parents, his every breathing movement was lonely, he often felt he was the last balloon in the world. One cold evening while he laid in his cot, he decided to visit his parent’s room, just for some needed warmth and cosiness.
He did try awfully hard to squeeze into their marital bed, but just could not manage.

Due to the varied vibrations caused by these in vain attempts, this woke up both parents. Collectively they blew hot air at such happenings, demanding the little balloon return to his bedroom crib, and try to discover his own Utopia. Their tiny balloon, quivering in his tight skin, had never heard of this place before, though felt he was wasting his breath, asking his father where this could be.

Alone in his bed again, slightly apprehensively chilly, the wee balloon decided to try once again to snuggle up with his parents, for they certainly looked marvellously comfortable. Once again, slipping silently into their room, he attempted to squeeze between them, with no success what so ever. The little balloon reasoned his parents were too big to fit him in. Then came an inspirational brainwave, the answer was to let some air out his parents.

He loosened Mama balloon’s pink ribbon, allowed a controlled amount out, then sealed it with a cute little bow. Turning to his father, he untied his heavy string, once again allowed a minute amount of air out, then closed the escapee with a sailor’s knot. Now, gliding into the adult’s bed, he had the space to snuggle up between both parents, and enjoy collective hot air.

In the morning both mother and father awoke first, were shocked to see their little balloon had deliberately disobeyed father balloon’s instruction. Consumed with inner anger, papa balloon wakened his offspring. Once out of sleep, the little balloon was barraged by his father, who grumbled bitterly of his disappointment, because his own little balloon had disturbed his “Utopia”. This was the second time; the little balloon heard this word from his own papa.

His father continued to scold the now cowering shrinking wee balloon. “You let your mother down and you let me down,” said his father earnestly. “I am banishing you from our family home… though you think it to be severe punishment right now, when you become a bigger balloon, and found your own ‘Utopia’, then you will thank me!”.

The little balloon filled, almost choking with regret, as he floated off from what he had known as home. His Papa had used this strange word “Utopia”, three times in one night, failing ever to mention this enigma before. Having lost all senses of direction, bumping into furniture, then the ceiling a few times, luckily bouncing back into his own room, where his spare piece of string was, and some mixture of toys. The little balloon landed on the chess table, right next to the white queen.

The confused tiny balloon had not spoken to anything other than his parents and relative balloons, when the opportunity arose. He decided this was not a time to be short of breath, asked the queen “Where, or what is Utopia?” “For me”, the Queen replied, “Utopia is when my king is not check-mated, but I am of the belief, there is a bigger and better “Utopia” out there…somewhere?”. The little balloon could not see the Queen pointing anywhere, only saw Her Majesty gazing upward, so concluded that is where the better “Utopia” was.

So, with no further ado, coupled with every bit of energy he could vibrate and muster, the little balloon took to the air for a wild adventure. Out through a open window, onward and upward, to the bright blue skies where he was sure, held the secret of the better “Utopia” … and who knows…Perhaps he would find it?
peter.howden
My Chronicles 25/02/2019

On Friday’s sunny morning, I travelled over to Aunt Becky’s residence, giving me a chance to speak to the hard-working staff, then took Becky on a wee hurl up through the Kilpatrick hills. Before we left, Aunt Becky was insistent I go at work in the carer’s office, as she had no idea who I was. However, once I explained I had pinched a motor, at no extra charge, a slight recollection, shone in her eyes, or maybe this was, just wishful thinking. Once inside the old jalopy, with Kenneth McKellar belting out ‘Scotland the Brave’, her tiny feet were tapping away to the music. Right through the whole journey, she mentioned how beautiful and marvellous this trip was…

Absolute magic for me, but, more important, Becky enjoyed the hurl, that’s the main thing. Back at the home, she was tickling Gordon’s beard, (an administrator of the premises) and I was out of her thoughts, and away. It is reassuring, how Becky is communicating with them, in her own way…

Night driving has not occurred since I gave up the housing committees, however, on Thursday, I drove inside Glasgow Airport, to a new diverted ‘Pick up’ platform, picked up ‘Nikki’, our daughter, then made my way, around a dim lit unknown route back to the motorway. Unfortunately, I nearly chose to enter into traffic coming forward, which certainly shook up Nikki. Now I can blame extremely poor lighting, and hard to see signpost, but I’m at fault. So, I will go to my optician, distinguished Mr Japp, and become a night specky…and crossed fingers…just to be safe?

On Monday, having long standing invite to visit a buddy (A Paisley boy), I checked Google maps to no avail. Tried Microsoft and TomTom, still with no result, other than crossroads Stock St, Neilson Rd…but no precise address. Having written down 500/01 Stock st as the abode, I presumed it was, at the base of either one of the high risers there.

Puffed off with no luck, phoned John, to find out I was standing at the close he lived. The number was 50/01. I reckon John did this deliberately, as it is well known, in the circles that count, Paisley Buddies have a peculiar warp humour. He never even offered me coffee! The lad suffered a stroke quite a while back, though is determined to improve his situation and independence, it’s a hard-slow procedure…hats off to him.

My luck is in this week, tomorrow, travelling by Cho-Cho, “let the train, take the strain”, down to Ayr, for a slight refreshment with China Jim Hendry, wonder if he will buy a round this time. Having been constantly in touch, but not seen them for ages, received an Email from my other China, pencilling in dinner, at the end of April, with Keith and Lizzie…’She who must be obey ‘and myself. Need to be on best behaviour…if I can recall how?

I am surprised with the lovely Lizzie…If my information is correct…being a true Scot…apparently, Lizzie has never been sightseeing in the city that houses ‘Glaswegians’ …astonishing!

Can’t get much better than this…. with the ‘Rolling Stones’ blasting my ear drums…pure dead brilliant
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-=-=-=-

Pitiful


It’s bloody cold this morning, it would freeze the dangles off a nervous monkey, if there were any about. This austere sub-zero front, would chill the bones from a corpse, putting both cheeks in the same place. What about that hellish dammed ‘Dawn Chorus’, every blasted morning, from any conceivable corner, chirping like bloody budgies who have lost their way. You know the motive, ‘I’m up so everybody is going to be awake…selfish buggers. The noise would certainly ruffle anybody’s feathers?

And last night, long shadowy night, no matter where I turned, there must have been a waft of ice-cold air, a huge draft, caused the wind to go right up my Jacksie’, , someone must have left the barn door wide open without any ‘by your leave!’… do they think their born in a field? Hey, I’m too old for all this, I should be resting, having my chick bring me breakfast once in a while, but for some reason, this is against nature…but who in the netherworld told nature it was so?

Last night, I heard the saga of reputed historical importance, might be based on fact. A long time ago, a brutal ruthless monarch, who was relieving tedium of the court, rather than gaining scientific information. The sovereign gathered round, two dozen of the Turdidae family, comrades, taken by force to endure excessive heat, just to test their musical abilities. This pitiless experiment was conducted with a mysterious mathematical number (π) Pi eyed squared theory. Due to ancestor’s inborn resilience, they all managed “The Great Escape” …whistling as they flew the coup…knocked the Queen for six!

Personally, I’m not asking for much to be content, just a peck on the cheek would do, before she flies off, but no… seldom see her during the day unless she is in a mood…what for I’m not sure. I have no gaberlinzie, no reserves, my only hope is with natures thermostats indicators, forecasting spring is due. Of course, this is another busy time, where the female of the species wants, and demands ship-shaped spring cleaning. …
All this… and I have to build, from invisible ***IGNORED WORDS*** indicators…a blooming nest?

A disgruntled Blackbird
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My Chronicles 04/03/2019

There is one occasion, constantly reminding me, just is how little I know, showing up my inability to collect simple knowledge, more important… keep it within my mind. It’s the family, ‘Radio Times’ Saturday quiz around the old wooden kitchen table. This basic fact never hinders my attempts to accumulate as much varied information, my heart and mind desires. I can’t say I’m proud of my acumen deficiency, but neither ashamed of being aware I will never reach academic heights. The strange thing is, I experience an eccentric buzz, each and every moment endeavouring such vain efforts.

The history of the world, and its people, never stop amazing and altering my perception to our existence. What I do know for certain is a wanting to recognise more. Nature itself, I thought I knew the behaviour of the four seasons, as taught in primary school, however, even this basic accepted and expected weather conditions is proving to be a state of inconsistency…especially this last 10 days, enticing a disbelief spring, hinting of pleasant unknowns of mother nature’s raw charms… if you dared to venture. The tick-tock of any type of clock, can persuade your mind to wander into unknown domains and dimensions …at the exact same time.

Aunt Becky’s ever-changing chiming clocks bring forward thoughts of’ Uncle David. His medals and personal memorabilia, safe in our home, including a special pocket watch, regularly clean and wound, acts like a travelling platform, with each clear echoing tick, drifting emotionally backwards thru time, but rarely forward. Uncle David, along with most of the family, apart from matriarch, saw me as a Glaswegian chancer, certainly cagy about any intentions I harboured for his niece. Lucky for me, their views unhurriedly changed over time, but for some…with reserves. Fluky for me, Aunt Becky and uncle David became close

During his almost bed-ridden last 18 months of life, he spoke softly, and precisely, as we talked through many nights of the events he encountered before and while serving through the whole war, including Dunkirk. He was a lovely uncomplicated man, possessing unlimited kindness. There is much unknown about his life, on the other hand the ticking second hand helps to fill in certain individual pieces. Most vividly, was the morning, we took Uncle David’s ashes, along the wee Rosentheath Rd, at Little Rahane, to be scattered off the shore of Gare Loch…his all-time favourite destination on his Sunday bike run.

It was a glorious sunny day, picking up Aunt Becky, upstairs neighbour Agnus, and the vital Urn, making an amazing pleasant trip to the very spot. Rolling up my trousers, I alone waded out as far as decency would allow. We all then said our goodbye’s, sprinkling out his ashes. Unfortunately, just at that very moment, the wind and tide slightly changed before the last few remains were released. The result, the already floating ashes made, what seemed a desperate effort to land onto the hairs on my exposed legs, while the remainder, to cling around my face.

Was this an omen…Uncle David having the last laugh…or was he telling me to… “Watch it”? We sauntered back to the car, drove leisurely along country roads, talking about the late great man, stopped of for a farewell toast in a local pub, and brought back the two ladies…It was a cracker of a day
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HOT AIR UTOPIA;2

The wee balloon had been no further than a few streets away from his mother and father’s little home, but to him it was a whole new horizon, exciting as well as nerve-racking, and at times almost taking his very air. He had been told, by a visiting Scandinavian spheroid, there were no vapour clouds in the sky. They were the brains of some giants and the sky was held up by four dwarfs called North; South; East & West. He could not argue though he could remember thinking they must be hell of a big dwarfs, and anyway, he was a friend of his papa’s and a bit of a blow hard. The same balloon mentioned a place called ‘Valhalla’ though the wee balloon was sure it was not the ‘Utopia’ he was searching for.

Travelling most of the morning, he had to admit of being puffed out, totally inexperienced for soaring so high, never able to stop because he was at the mercy of the wind. Now inwardly thinking, perhaps he had been foolish to leave the safety of his home, when, a gush of hot air, levitated him higher into the blue yonder, blowing his mind just how wonderful it was seeing other fabulous places. By now he would have to rest, after all he was quite small, so he would try to land.

Down below he saw a deserted football pitch, empty of dreaded human beings. So…the brave wee balloon, with hidden talent, managed to manoeuvre to hit the penalty box. Laying closely by, facing the goal, was a much bigger old rough looking bladder, who gave cover from a waft, which would certainly have whisked the young wee balloon to foreign parts.

After the niceties all balloons convey to each other, without humans catching on, the wee balloon asked the old bladder “Do you enjoy human company?”. “Well!”, said the crinkled ball, “When I was younger, I was taken home, tenderly cared for, but now… left out in the cold”. “Now don’t get it wrong, I have been whacked by almost every kind of boot. I got a kick out of being airborne, sadly it’s controlled by you know who, and it is never free-lancing,” grumbled the old ball. “I would give my laces, to fly free like you… but, Que Sera…Sera!”.

The wee balloon wondered if this could be ‘Utopia’ but judging by the deformed shape of his new friend, he doubted it. When asking his pal, he mistrusted it also. The wise old ball reasoned, if you were in ‘Utopia’, then you could not wish for anything else. Before they could talk any more, a large whisk of air took the wee balloon into the skies once again. The rising small orb, truly wished he had a chance to say Goodbye at least, however, he may meet the old bladder again

He floated up and away, to where ever the cruise would take him. Once more excited, very much hoping to find ‘Utopia’ and he was certain, he would know it, when he found it…for…Utopia maybe… just a breath away?
peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie;

Steamie Family;

It was the night before Christmas, all through the washhouse was not in the least, deftly silent. Affectionally known as the “Steamie”, housed in the old Victorian building standing in the centre of the hard-working community. Unlike the famous poem, it was a beehive of frantic, without a mouse to be seen. Amid the surge for the regular patrons, a hoachin scourge of so-called scrubbers ‘Once a year washers’, within the walls of the Steamie.

Amongst these annual intruders, ‘Wally closes’ snottery tenants, regarding themselves a step above all others in the area, would normally give a body-swerve, to such a common establishment. Others, chanty-wrastlers, one-off clients, deemed simply as manky clatty middins, because their bedclothes and curtains were just washed and scoured only at this festive time of the calendar. Regulars grumbled very loudly, “Gies them the boak”. how these glaikit hoachin parties, buckie-up the queue. Everybody came due to the ancient Scottish tradition, a total clean sweep before Hogmanay…spick and span for Ne’erday.

Even with the special hours allocated, attempting to accommodate everyone was a gigantic headache, because the ‘Honkin Mob’, not possessing the smooth rhythm the regulars bestowed. They held up the easy going routine which led to flashing hot spots, where many a stramash erupted, as deep and dirty as the Clyde. Male attendants stayed safely out the way, while hair and lug pulling, by mental hauners. The establishment or workers never witnessed a regular punter losing an intense laldy, or physical stooshie due to an unassuming fact …they outnumbered the others.

The typical weekly punters, if necessary looked and acted hard as nails, with coupons battle hard, filled with punishing life they were forced to bare. A lack of money being common place, complicated by dreadful living conditions, making the ‘Steamie’ their sanction amongst their peers. Their rough and ready appearance hid their true nature and natural banter, able to oust top comedians of the day. If anyone was in trouble, needing a helping hand, without words, they would bond together and remedy the problem...at true warmth kindness beyond description

Old Steamies had jawbox’s(sinks), Spin-dries, horses (15 gallus sliding railings, to hold cloths and fabrics, constant hot air pumping from the coal boiler) …with the furthest end unit used by the attendants, to store and enjoy a private swally of illicit alcohol brought in by the Girls. The women generously bequeathed gratuities on the workers, because of the help they gave during the whole year. In their minds, any worker bauchle who only helped for a tip, or lazy bawheid who just did not bother to aid wee elderly wummin…received he-haw

Since time immemorial, the Scottish race have been given unjustly, a mean reputation, alleging being tight, and miserable with money. When they had so little themselves…. these yesteryears braw housewives proved this as utter nonsense.

It was the night before Christmas, when all the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
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THE HONEYS

How we came to meet the ‘Honeys’ was in every manner of the words, pure chance, or as other people would have it, fate. Whether it was a combination of random happenings, or pre destined by a mysterious power, is of little importance to the event, but the pleasure full aftermath is, and still within our minds.

The story starts, not at the beginning as you would automatically think, but at the sort of middle for ‘She who must be obeyed’, and myself at least. We were made aware how somebody down south was trying to contact William Donnelly, who lived in London. Next, Nancy, my mother in law, received a letter from a family called ‘Honey’, maintaining, for one reason or another, being unable to meet up with William. Pam Honey was related through her mother’s marriage to one of the original Donnelley tribe, whose Matriarch in Glasgow was Rebecca’s granny.

The letter explained the bones of what was in her hopeful mind, wishing to meet all Donnelly’s, and progenies, who helped her sister Connie and her mum, and herself, during the appalling war. Apparently, they were evacuated up to Glasgow, residing with Rebecca’s distant family for a short time…thereafter, never forgotten the experience.

Becky was curious, though quite rightly, had considered whether we were the right family, and if we were, all the complications may be brought to light. She, Uncle David and Rebecca, talked it over, perceiving it was a good idea, in principal, but just in case it did not work out, it would make sense, to hold the meeting in intimate surroundings. I do know, Rebecca was always interested in the family wider screen, as strangely she had been working on the family tree for some considerable time.

Therefore, it was arranged everyone would meet in our home in Barlanark Place, top flat no less. We would make sure all available family would be there, but most important, Aunt Becky, Nancy and the old war horse uncle David. Like many of our country folk, we laid on a spread, including slight refreshments.

Most of the wide family did attend, with only myself left out due to me working that evening, for the Glasgow District Council. When I did manage to join the party, it was quite late on in the evening, but it was apparent by the jollity among all, all had a good time. I was introduced to Rebecca’s cousin Pam, her daughter Allison, and the infamous hubby, Jack Honey. My instant impression being, they were very pleasant people, more important, they gave off a glow, encircled everything, and everyone.

Some weeks passed, if not months, in each of my exchanging dispatches, the constant primer; “The Scottish Hordes”, presenting pages of very badly hand-written, mostly nonsense, Unaware at the time, my bulletins, were not being read in the usual manner. Discovering much later, once Pam herself had a stab at reading the pages, Jack would attempt making sense, with little or sometimes no success, not only defining what had been written, or what it meant…but why was it scribbled in the first place.

They would then hand them from place to place, friends and folks, within Freathy neighborhood, near their chalet on the cliffside facing the ocean, to see if the local team effort could help. I had no clue this was going on, and to what trouble they would go trying to decipher what, who, or how. Nice, is a word overused, often devalued because of the glib way it is brought into conversation…but the ‘Honeys’ were just nice people, in any tongue. Rebecca and I were invited down to Torpoint and Freathy, for a holiday, and chuffed to make such travels.

The day arrived as we travelled southward by train, near reaching Plymouth, a vital question put both of us in a quandary. Rebecca asked if I would be able to recognize Pam and Jack, as it had been some time since their visit. Rebecca became rather apprehensive when I piped in, I was relying on her, as she spent the whole night in their company. After a while, ‘She who must be obeyed’, comforted herself because she reasoned, quite correctly, how they would recall me inside a crowd, as most people did …for I did stick out like a sore thumb.

Next. The arrival to magic
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THE HONEYS( Arrival)

There are people with a magic knack for a visitor to feel genuinely welcome, with no effort at all, Pam and Jack possessed buckets full of this quality. Jack, a retired navy man, Fleet / Commander Master Chief Petty Officer no less, straight minded and no frills, used ordering personnel, being obeyed to the letter. I know I have a bad habit asking fool questions, without truly thinking about them, and for a man of Jack’s bearing, to pretend not to notice, what can be said other than being a lovely man.

Allison, their charming daughter, was in birth Down’s syndrome, very quietly spoken during the daily acute time routine, however, within the privacy of her room, Allison mind was a wonder maze, as sharp as any programmer producer, completely ruthless doer within her world, the mighty B.B.C network,, manufacturing severe ordering speeches to her underlings. Alison’s personal treasure, was numerous boxes, filled with years old radio times squashed to the brim, and odd colour numbered cards sticking out in seemingly random fashion, yet her filing system baffled me. Given a precise date, she would, within seconds…produce the wanted magazine.

Pam’s mum was residing in an old folks’ home, situated in Plympton. As we arrived, an old man, armed with a stick, shuffled along in slippers, slipping through the main gate. Some 30 yards away, two nurses in hot pursuit …like a page out of a Benny Hill farce. I thought “Escape Coldish as old man… foils cushy guards by shuffling…fast”.

We found Pam’s mum, charming and pleasant, but soon realized her ability to remember was impaired, but there was a sharp button underneath. Just as we were leaving, she held my hand tightly, sniffing while she explained no one came to see her, and she was always lonely. It was not true, as both Pam’s sister Connie, and Pam, visited every single day, but the old lady could make me believe her plight. As an actress she was on her own par…at the last moment, she switched her alert mind, asking for something to be brought in by Pam

Pam and Jack pulled out all the stops, trying to fit in as much of the rugged Cornwall as physically possible. Not only did they arrange everything but treated us to home cooking, Cornish style. The food was tantalizing to the palate. The company excellent, however the home-made beer took a long time to come accustomed to my palate, about three seconds. Travelling upwards to the powerful ‘Dartmoor National Park’, a beautiful brooding vision of a dream, unbelievably with rich wild life to boot. The people liked it so much, they put a prison there.

As mentioned earlier we found out by accident, Scottish and Cornwall nations had not only Gaelic in common, but a reputation of tightness in the purse region. This proved false, as far as our hosts were concerned, for we had great difficulty in dipping our pockets. So much so, I planned to pay for the petrol the first time the car landed in a garage, but it never did. They must have persuaded fairies to fill it up during the night, while we slept. It was a big Volvo car they drove; its tank could not be that big. Could it?

All I can say, it was a delightful two weeks, and fortunate for us, became a true close friendship bonded, also, we were invited to return the following year. Our correspondence increased under the same headline, ‘The Scottish Hordes’, with me totally unaware what hops they went through interpret the scribbles.

Next; The last Farewell.
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peter.howden
THE HONEYS( Last Farewell)

Following our return home, a host of letters continuously posted from both directions north and south, with the only differences being…north bound being easily legible. The old man at the gate, making his dart for freedom, inspired me to scribble a few postcards to Pam’s mum. These started with, the ‘Scottish Hordes’ would come down, and rescue her from Staleg 13. After a short while, rethinking the situation Pam’s mum was in, meant the daily nurses would have to read these communications to the old lady. I swiftly cut my stupidity by concluding script in such a manner, adding a flowery style. Pam frequently mentioned how Mum treasured her cards from Scotland

Our second visit down to Freathy, Cornwall, had us staying in Jacks self-built chalet, clifftop retreat, with its magnificent complete wall of glass, to view the everchanging sea. We spent many an evening after alfresco supper, just talking, and breathing the romantic air. In general conversations, it was clear that their lives together was not all sublime, for they had more than their share of heartache, and pain, but their plain approach drowned any self-pity, to make the very best of everything, with a twinkle in their eyes.

My last night there, I could not sleep. Around one in the morning, I ventured into the main room, poured a generous special whisky, sat for a couple of hours, sipping… just watching the moonlight sea, as it captures my thoughts…pure dead brilliant.

Jack lost his Pam swiftly through cancer, and she had no wish for anyone to see her during her last painful short weeks. Jack bought large mirrors, placing them all around the main bedroom, making it possible for Pam to see her beloved vision of the sea…no matter how she lay…through her last days.

When Pam sadly died. I attended the funeral, being introduced to most of the guests, not by name, but by my nom de plume, ‘Scottish Hordes’, being surprised how they knew who I was. Close friends and family returned to the chalet that she treasured. It was a beautiful day, the company tried to keep the tears away by talking grand passionate memories of past times, and what Pam liked most of all, swimming in the sea. It was suggested to go for a dip in Pam’s sea. Along with Andy, Bill and some others, supported with borrowed trunks that’s what we did. It is what Pam would have proposed. I may not be able to fill Jacks shoes, but I had a whacking time filling his shorts.

A word of warning for those who are not aware, being Cornish seaweed virgins. Do not go into the sea when there is ether a continent, or vowel in the month. It is colder than the sea at Aberdeen, especially with knitted swimming trunks?

Shortly after Pam’s tragic demise, his truly great love of his lifetime, I attended the unexpected funeral when Allison passed away. Later his mother in law also died, unfortunately I could not make it. All this in a very short 18 months period. He had heart operation at the tender age of 74. Several times I drove down just to see, and stay with him, before his own demise…sad and haunting.

A glancing thought, and Freathy White sands Cornwall is within me, along with ghostly voices of the past, filling the air with cooling smiles. This is the ultimate gift “The Honeys” gave us, and I thank them within my heart. I will not say they were a perfect family, but they have certainly enriched our family for knowing them…. and you can’t get much better than that, can you?
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peter.howden
The Pack

To untrained eyes, there were places covered, and protected, by unseen magic, where the reality is, it’s down to a whiff. Do not be misled by this phenomenal ability, the science of sensing…It was… and still is, beyond human comprehension, being superior by well over 10000,000 times more than any human

Not so long ago, when the discipline of time itself was dictated by daylight, the stars, and the weather, there existed a particular large wilderness terrain, offering meagre existence, and life expectancy. In the middle of such despair, due to exceptional climatic conditions, intensely within a secluded valley, occurred an abundant range of forage, encouraging assortment of grazing animals, ruled a family pack of wild dogs.

Through countless generations, the group pack’s endurance depended of intimate network communication, obtained by having a wild dog’s nose inhaling ability, sniffing complex odour molecules, messages through pee, different senses used through poo evolution, and sexual orientations.

Imperative for the life, or death of the close knitted successful clan’s presence, depended on absolute trust of each other’s individual capabilities, working as one unit, marking precious territory. The result of interacting was having entire knowledge of every blade of grass, each twist and turn of any escape route from danger within their domain…. knowing precisely where that dangerous marauding foes were.

Unfortunately, they lost their aged natural front-runner. Some may say the following is most unlikely… for in the balance of the wilds of nature even impossible… but it did happen…with absolute unbelievable hidden consequences. In the jungle, sneaky Jackals come in mating pairs. However, the incredible arrival of this devious duo was…they were two old insignificant spinsters. Due to the confusion in the pack, with deception, the yappers wormed there way into the core of the group.

Ominously for the bewildered wild dog family, a pair of stripped sibling Hyenas took over-all charge, not consulting with any dog, nevertheless, partaking intimate clandestine gatherings with the Jackals…. Which penetrated up the pack’s proboscises. The wily shifty incomers denied the pack, to operate any form of yakking networking… or they just willy-nilly urinated all over their specialized communicational scents.

A relentless urgent problem quickly arose, possible invasion domination due to the lack of genuine marking within their territory, and letting the outside world interrelate with them…on common ground.

Since the Jackals and Hyenas, were sourly oblivious to the necessity of wild dogs’ markings…Survival depending exclusively on the art of sniffing odours…quite simply… they didn’t smell right
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peter.howden
Young Ben…


Chance is a funny thing, it can happen with unseen casualness. At certain precise times Ben wished it had forgotten it’s unwritten duty, by surprising everyone concerned, even when it is far from being beneficially befallen to the main person. It springs in all directions for good, and not so good… it is that way we most remember its presence.

Per Chance, for a short period, 8 Gorbals Street, became Ben’s home, on the corner of Carlton Place. The house was large for the district, with three bedrooms, sitting room, kitchen and bathroom as it stood then, right where the modern Glasgow Court is now. Ben’s mother maintained her opposing way against liquor although she always had a fair measure of the “water of life”, complete with a piece of Dundee cake, in bed every night…. for medicinal reasons, she reminded the family.

Per Chance, much against his mother’s wish, Ben was placed in the special Hollybrook school, for disabled children taken, then brought back, in a wee grey van/bus, for all the world. A couple of those incapacitated children totally disproved the theory, all disabled children have lovely natures and cute in a funny way.

Per chance, a bigger boy, who used crutches, took an instant dislike against wee Ben, for ever break or lunch time, while in the playground, out of sight of any teacher, he tripped Ben up to land awkwardly on concrete. This behaviour continued until one day, Ben was told this was his last day at this school. The last playtime, Ben kicked the big tormenter’s crutches away, who then immediately blubbered loudly. Ben was branded a bully by the headmaster, he reckoned most people would assume this without knowing the whole story.

Per chance, across the river was Broomielaw, a bus terminal, but on the quay, for easy storage, was mountains of coarse sand, stone chips, pebbles, granite and bricks. This was a magic magnet terrain, enticing children to come from near or far, devising devil dare games, unaware it was really a horrible black spot for accidents, sometimes death for bairns falling into the water. No matter how they tried to secure the area, the kids managed in, with a mixture of innocence and mischief.

Per Chance, one day while playing slides, Ben lost his glasses case, went home without it, even forgot it altogether… until a knock on the door about six to eight weeks later. A workman, in overalls, came to return Ben’s glasses case, because Ben’s name and address was taped inside. It was his mother’s habit from the war, marking everything from cloths to underwear, in case something accident happened. Although not that often, the slipper came out, making contact quite a few times with Ben’s Bahookie…. because by chance, a man took the bother to return an item to its rightful home.

Per chance, one day while Jim Miller and Ben, walked to Cuthbertson Primary School, about a mile or so away from the Gorbals, they constantly used the money given for bus fare, on sweets. As usual, they passed the “Star Bar” at Eglington Toll. With great delight, found loads of coins lying in the street, which must have been dropped by a drunken man the night before. They busied themselves gathering this bountiful treasure, Jim picking anything coming to hand, while Ben was aiming at the silver stuff. When eventually they counted out the bounty, Jim was muffed because he collected, three shillings and nine pence, far more coins than Ben …. However, Ben scooped about, £2 and fifteen shillings… give or take!

Per chance, Ben’s family was awoken by firemen, in attendance to a fire in a garage right behind the home, concerned about it spreading, ordered the evacuation of their wally close. At three in the morning, finding themselves in the coldness of the street. Apparently, there was a lady worried a wee snout such as Ben would freeze, guided them both, up to her home which consisted of a very small hallway, with a single room, packed with people. Ben was told afterwards, he stood with his mouth open, then curiously asked…. “Were do they sleep?”. Ben’s mother explained, it was called a single end, this family of 11 people, adults and children, lived there, as best they can.

Later... Ben knew many families, forced, by circumstances, into the same type of accommodation. Per Chance… a valuable lesson learnt

Per chance, there was dark bits after school, when Ben, had to wait up to an hour outside the close, for his brother John, coming back from University. Occasionally, strange sweaty men would ask stuff and show things, but Ben came accustomed to body swerve them. Ben believes it didn’t affect him much… or hope’s not?

With the little bit of common-sense Ben managed to muster, he’s not as gallus as before in his childhood, and youth. The bottle has not gone, or indeed empty, however it seldom removes its cork. The older Ben becomes, he sometimes just takes a peek of a wish, not to grow one day older, with the real chance looming, of losing his most precious love he has toda
peter.howden
Little old lady

The elderly lady shuffles along the bumpy uneven pavement, heading for the traffic-lights on the busy road. She is in a rush for the shops, badly needing messages, and not to forget slice beef sausage, as Harry loves a bit of sausage, and bacon. Corn Dobbie for herself, makes a rare sandwich in the middle of the night, when she cannot sleep for worry. She thinks to herself, she’s being so silly, for Harry will keep her safe.

Reminding herself having no time for this foolery, for she had better get her skates on, hoping she doesn’t meet Mrs MacBride, a terrible chinwag, who bad mouths everybody and everything. The little auld lady, with keen eyes for her age, glances to and fro, steadily heading for her goal, the Zebra Crossing. All the time, nervously keeking behind her, relieved she is not being followed. She knows her Harry will call her daft when she gets back home. Once the key is secured behind the mortise locked door then both of them will be all right…. snug as bugs on a rug.

A wee laddie was at the crossing as she stops her four wheeled trolley from rolling any further, giving her time to gather her breath. He gave her a smile as she earnestly thought ‘he does not look like one of those hoodlums, who broke into our house, when I was out last week’. ‘Lucky, Harry was with me, or he might have been hurt, or worse, thrown out into the street’.

The place was in a real stooshie, the manky middens, even peed on the coffee table, really scunnered me…but I promised Harry, they’ll naw catch me napping this time’. I’ve bought a double drop mortise lock, paid a real joiner put it in. I said to Harry, ‘you can’t put a price on safety’.

The lights change, leaving the wee lad standing, the old lady darts across at some speed, like a hurricane, quick as a flash, she is inside the nyaff supermarket. She would much prefer to shop in the wee shops, however; the high street is full of sad empty premises. The family butcher, who Harry likes his sausages from, is gone somewhere, but not local. She scoots around the shelves, hardly looking at the well-publicized bargains, tempting the sodie-heid shoppers.

Racing through the till section, then marches, almost runs along the well-worn street heading for her home. She worries if she was right to leave Harry alone, in the flat, however the chippie said the door was like fort Knox …. Guaranteed. ‘I hope he’s right’ she thought entering the close…. her heart was thumping ten to a penny.

To her relief, the front door was intact, enters the home, calling on Harry, just to let him know she is out of harm's way. Locking the double- drop, and starts packing her messages away, then makes the tea. With her favourite slippers on, she sits down next to where Harry is, and relaxes. ‘Told you handsome, I’d be back in two handshakes and a jiffy, and so I am!’. With a twinkle in her eye, a warm tender smile, she carefully picks up, from the new coffee table……………a photo of her darling late Harry.
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peter.howden
Tales of Hector and ‘The BRUCE’

FAMOUS FOUR(1)

Jim, Alan, ‘The Bruce’ and Hector, four rascals believing to be true model characters from the intriguing novel, penned by Alexandre Dumas, ‘The Three Musketeers’. However, akin to the original writing, the close mates were not French military fighters, or swordsmen …. on the other hand, true loyal friends, glued to each other’s hips, ‘All for one, and one for all.’ ‘The Bruce’, would certainly be typed, Porthos; Alan persisted being Aramis, Hector animated Athos, while Jim had to be, D'Artagnan. They did not imitate their heroes, didn’t have to…they believe they were the Four Musketeers. Yet, the nearest they got to swords, was shaving bum fluff with Wilkinson safety razors

This was undeniably, one of the many happiest periods in Horace’s life. Comparable to the individuals scripted in the wonderful tale, they lived completely different lives styles apart…but on meeting, an unspoken bond existed. In the early 60s, one summer’s evening, on mere impulse the illusioned infamous four, made ready to travel southward into creamy Devon, simply since the pubs in Sassenach England, remained open for an extra hour more than in Glasgow.

In Alexandre Dumas, fabulous boys only stories, the ‘Three Musketeers’ always departed in a fury, defeating the cardinal’s men yet again, jumping on their trusty steeds, galloping like the devil into the sunset horizon for another adventure. No trusty stallions for the boys, but a chariot, a Gazelle sports car belonging to Aramis,.

Nowadays, perhaps adventure minded adolescents, would contemplate making a beeline for Buckfast Abby, just off the A38, but back then, fomented apple scrumpy cider, was thee mind blowing. The older generation forgets, how and what they did, in the name of discovery, though this is no excuse to downbeat the current brash behaving teenagers...

Camping on the way down, cut down on expenses, allowing money for needs and comforts such as booze, cigarettes, and a bite or two. Talent was an extra bonus but not essential. The voyagers arrived just outside Shrewsbury boundary, crossroad to this side of Birmingham. There was the typical English inn (whatever that is) with a sign stating camping allowed.

The snug friendly hostelry with a landlord allowing the now merry would be swashbucklers outer enthusiasm to overspill. Hector believed he was the ‘bees’ knees’, adorning his Canadian Sateen bright sky-blue bright jerkin, inside white imitation fur lining, spotted a uncompiled maiden at the bar. Casually introducing himself, with merry nifty patter, asked the lass to join with his friends.
The rest of the night was a ball, full of laugher and gaiety, until the last orders bell. The charming girl whispered to the boys, she was related to the owner, to just wait, letting everyone else leave. When the doors finally closed, the proprietor inquired what they wished to drink, refusing to take a single penny from the young travelers. This was their first try at a lockout. Staggering slightly, they left the tavern just after midnight, good and proper stotious!

The daredevils to a man, among them a Viking descendent, found outside not unpleasant, but blurred and confusing. Looking around for bearings, someone spotted a movement at the top of the hill, just left of the car park they found themselves in. Choosing to investigate, or thought they did, sort of followed the person who they trusted was in the leading the knights’ errand to the top of the hill.

Eventually making it to the top, to find a bearded Billy Goat tied to a small stump, restricting movement to a few steps in any direction. The wanderers decided to return to camp, grab musical instruments specially brought for the adventure, and returned alongside to the seemingly mystified goat. D'Artagnan strummed the guitar while the rest of the would-be paladins, blew out their kazoos

The goat on the top of the hill, did not like Porthos; He was a hard guy to get to grips with, so the musketeers never put any pressure on the goat, to change its stubborn mind. Don’t let anyone kid you on, how it’s easy singing to a goat, keeping in tune, if the dam thing is charging anything that moves.

The next morning, Aramis, drove away from the site of entertainment of the previous evening, with the rest saddened to leave Billy goat. Was the adventure all down to drinking scrumpy cider?. ‘Air mhisg’ as the Gaelic peoples would say


Next Going south conclusion
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peter.howden
Covert

Within a modern abode It started…perhaps around the bewitching hour of darkness, a weird noise exasperatingly awoke, out of a dead slumber, the resident of the house. Something vague from a uncomfortable dream, spooked him…left him sprawling in cold damp sweat, surrounded in complete darkness, apart from the wee blue light from the inter connecting phone

Overpowering imagination intimidated him more, by hearing a scraping jabbing noise, wafting odours of someone, or something just outside the closed bedroom door…but his interpretation he perceived may have been suspect. Then, nothing… until, if he could trust his ears…pecking at the door.

Usually anxiety was repugnant to him, yet, now intimidated by the unknown, he stood up, edging his hesitant hand towards the bedroom door handle. Almost steathfully opening the door, to revel a problem of the neighbour’s intermitted bright security lights, flickering through the stairway window’s venetian blinds, reflected a silhouette black/white striped impaired vision.

Before he had a chance to move forward ever so cautiously, oddly, a suggestion of a haunting swishing echo rebounded around the landing, The erratic source seemingly within the confinement of the walk-in shower room. Taking shaky steps forward within a second, eerie splashing noises drifted from behind the shut door. With cautious set in every slow step, towards the wet-room door, to discover the light failed to work, worse…the door was locked. Instantly induced bowel movements, because, if the door was locked, then someone was inside.

Separate walking by witnesses only recalled a noise of running water…and quite a few shrieks, so horrifically chilling… they supposed it was the telly
The tenant’s sprawling body, halfway down the stairway, was discovered the next afternoon, dripping blood from atrocious little stab wounds, some taking his eyeballs out, others to the throat…and many piercing the heart…. but what…who…or why remains a quirk mystery.

The only other living thing in the house…was a wee budgie…. Bizarrely still…it was found, in its cage…locked in the walk-in shower room…wet…but not hungry….
peter.howden
My Chronicles 05/04/2019

For one reason or another, I have been unable to take Aunt Becky for a wee hurl around Strathblane countryside and the Kilpatrick hills. A few times she was sleeping and once I had to postpone, then feeling rather guilty. The plain truth of the matter is, even though Becky gives positive signs of enjoying the whole experience, I reckon I missed the outings more, since the wee soul can’t remember almost anything, except for Becky’s beloved Scottish music played each excursion. Yet… just now and then, I have the impression, something I’ve said, or done in a certain way… there is a glimpse ’rings her bell’…but more likely…wishful thinking on my part.

The usual tour is from Great Western Rd, then head for Milingavie, squinting at the Craigmaddie Reservoir, next up the road leading to Strathblane, sharp left on the A891, which is near parallel to the dismantled Strathkelvin railway over the Ballagan burn. Then, just in time with a twist of the steering wheel, to witness the awa inspiring ‘Dunglass’…then stopping at a place known as ‘Car park in the sky’, which gives a breath-taking view all around…bloody magic. A hop, skip and Jump to Lennoxtown, but remembering to turn right at ‘Milton of Campsie’ crossroad. Always releasing a rare wee buzz, while heading to Torrance, then Balmore Road…and home for a cup of tea…bring us back to life, as Aunt Becky still quotes.

There is no fudging the fact, Aunt Becky is shrinking before our eyes although her eating habits have improved, however, it would be prudent wait until later, to take her out on a spending spree. The logic is, lock stock and barrel, Becky and the rest of the fellowship are moving to a brand new purposely built, up-market accommodation, near Yorkhill hospital. The complexities for the hard-working staff are enormous, plus the residents adapting to their new surroundings, will be testy for all concerned. I now wonder if a hobo wanderer like myself will be allowed in the front door of such a swanky establishment.

The main ‘Vet’ renders an opinion my arthritis is now becoming prominent which is more than just annoying. I’m forgetting quite a lot, unpretentious everyday things, not only slip my attention, but play hide and seek within my mind. It could become scary if I could remember to worry about it.

There is a plus side to it all, ‘She who must be obeyed’, although not so forgetful, is travelling the same road, so we both can become dotty together. Recording and watching telly is a chance game, with the odds slightly against us. Having chosen a film, viewing it for a short period of time, one of us will realize there is something familiar about it…then it dawns on us…seen it. What we can look forward to in the unseen future…we watch a whole film, not realizing we have viewed it before…several times…now that is value for money

Perhaps I have been mistaken in the past, by judging all the so-called individual exploiting company channels, who make millions out of regurgitating a hell of a lot of old crap television….only to attempt to aid the growing aged absent-minded customers, whose performances are wandering,… give them their money’s worth… AYE …and the ‘Pope’ is not a catholic…my awareness has certainly not meandered that far off the track

I am not really a pitiless grump…. Just I have an over extended middle life crisis every day
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peter.howden

Odds and Ends


Jim (Ayr) is certainly not well, having been in bed for the last 10 days. He spent a holiday somewhere in Egypt a couple of weeks ago. Ever since returning he has had painful bouts, coughing up blood, and short of breath. Jim can be a bloody idiot when it comes to health issues, such as the long running threat of prostate cancer, high blood pressure, plus dogmatic with medical personnel, while not taking doctor’s advice . Like most of us in the old bugger’s brigade, we can be single minded almost to the point of stupidity. What is the cause of his illness, or indeed what it is? But I will take a trek down Monday or Tuesday.

In the need to attempt some sort of exercise, early in the morning I am endeavouring a bash at deliberate walking to somewhere, however it’s a struggle to rise early…and a bigger struggle to get up. When I do manage to convince myself how it is a good idea, and out on the bound, the enjoyment of the saunter, over-rides the irritation discomfort which now potters around my physique. Only last week the spring flowers were blooming hardy daffodils, spreading along the pathway of the smashing wee park, just behind Gardeen. With this sunny vision, you would expect someone to think of ‘Wordsworth’ poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, yet what came to my mind, and I search for,…the lonely daffodil, carefully placed between the cheeks of Wilfred Hyde-White’s rectum, in the movie ‘Carry on Nurse’

Last week I managed to take Aunt Becky for a hurl, around the hills we both relish so much. This trip was exclusive by one single unexpected action on Becky’s part. Because of roadwork's, the car was halted for some three minutes. I sat there with my hand on the gearstick, ready for action once the lights changed. Becky, while looking at me, deliberately clasped her hand on top of mine, remaining there for the rest of the delay, until I moved to change into gear.

Becky has talked in a sort of affectionate way, also, I have held her hand quite a few times… but she has never purposely made physical contact with me. Facial wise was blank, no expressions what so ever, giving no indication why she chose to do so…it has become a cherished moment.
peter.howden
Football for a nation…


The day had arrived, the same way these critical match days always came, with complete dread of defeat. The countrywide event has radically altered, throughout its uneven history, when whole towns populations were the team, fighting tooth and nail to win. The consequences of defeat have transformed beyond recognition, since James V1; uttered these famed words, “Playing fut ball is forbiddis, punishable by ‘Four Pence’ fine”.

The old-style intense shindig repartee between spectators, was amiss. as a horde of exactly 400,000, government authorized ticket holders, despondent followers of their national team, marched into the colossal stadium. Hardly a soul on either side, embrace a skeptical optimism notion they will win, but in the depth of their pounding souls, each person is praying for victory, no matter what their walk of life is… the dreaded night will come… but will day follow it

As soon as the starting whistle shrieked into the air, it induced haunting memories of the original ‘Hamilton Crescent' encounter, broadcasting the urgency for utter victory in this bitter match. Nothing was unpretentious about the summoned revolutionaries, both sides seeking barbaric blood and guts revenge… with no mercy to the losers, being the toil.

Both teams, though held strictly to the official rules of the game, stamped pitilessly against their opponents, out of sight of the referee. Any contact was unrestrained as if they were in a combat zone, fighting for existence. The viewing crowd’s ferocious conduct only changed when a penalty was awarded, then complete silence as the preparations where shrewdly taken.

The final whistle blew just after the only goal was recorded, sent the victorious crowd into escalating wild emotional eruption, equal to a hundred historic ‘Hamden Roar’. The winning throng of precisely 200,000 left euphoric, almost stupefied beyond redemption, while the lost factions sat mutely glued to their seats, knowing their fate.

The world, insisting being finally civilized, came to a consensus throughout the entire planet, football games structured in the same manner to address conflict between nations. All the population, of all countries were compulsory supports of the national team. A special unrestrained tournament set, involuntary spectators ticketed to attend (failure to appear, ordained execution of their entire family and their family’s family)

The defeated team and their permit audiences…annihilated…painlessly…and the victors…took over their nation…good old Footie…the liberator of the world…football for a nation!
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peter.howden
Tales of Hector and ‘The BRUCE’

FAMOUS FOUR(2)


The Bruce, (Porthos); Alan. (Aramis), Hector. (Athos), and Jim, (d’Artagnan) homemade flamboyant ‘Three Musketeers journeyed down the Sassenach trail. Plain language was a limping annoyance, though proved not insurmountably at the next stop, surprisingly another pub. The Paladin adventurers feeling hungry, but not starving, requested a few sangwidges, as marked on the chalked blackboard.

Somewhere along the line there must have been a misleading understanding given, as a massive silver tray appeared minutes later, barely managing to hold mountains of top cut bread, covering separate fillings. Athos innocently inquired, “have you a poke?” …but alas, the poor mademoiselle just looked bewildered. Swiftly Athos added, “a Brown paper bag!” to which she still was stunned. Eventually, with magic hand signals, he managed to connect, Athos was presented with quite a few paper bags, to rescue those extra sandwiches.

A couple of days later, within a chip shop, Porthos enquired “Four tasty Ashet supper suppers please”. The staff appeared fraught, until one daredevil chippie, who didn’t understand the weird vernacular, suggested that the gay musketeers, must be from “candid camera!

Next day, with the trusty stead Singer Gazelle, smoothly roving through ‘The New Forest’ which looked ancient, then onward to the outskirts of charming Christchurch, heading for a public loo. Just outside the convenience, Athos virtually stumbled over a ill-fated mademoiselle, obviously spellbound with some drug. Her blue eyes were hauntingly vague on her cragged aged face, flumped in disarray on the pavement, incapable of movement, then howled like a banshee when the Paladin’s attempted to help…very…very sad. Hard decisions make inflexible conclusions, while some people would argue, you can’t make an omellete without breaking eggs, yet it helps looking at the recipe now and again.

The small band of Musketeers arrived in Bournemouth, reasonably dressed to visit the ballroom, where the entire atmosphere truly was cosmopolitan, with so many nations represented their country, in one form or another. Pathos’s mumbled French was not making him adorable to any of the Mademoiselles within the crammed dance area, chose to sip a slight refreshment at the dainty wee bar,

Out of the assemblage, a anonymous relentless screech “SCOTLAND! SCOTLAND, rebounded in the hall, Immediately the hall split, with a multitude on the right-hand side, against half a dozen, would be Cardinal Richelieu’s antagonizing clansmen on the left. It was not hard to work out who was who? A gormless brangster of the Cardinal’s, rushed out from between the crowd, lacking the musketeer’s inbuilt tenacity, pleaded with ‘Athos’ to assist (‘Hauners’ in Glaswegian), along with the other three, Porthos; Aramis, D'Artagnan.

The Tree Musketeers, and D’Artagnan, refused flatly and hastened to leave the crude mayhem affair…just in time. What occurred next they knew little except the ‘Police Nationale’ arrived swiftly, closing all the entrances and exits…plus apparent arresting those Cardenal’s hoodlums…however most important these ‘Knights Errant’ as they retired from the scene, homeward bound… their axiom lived on… “All for one and one for all”
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peter.howden
Shug & Eck’s Observations& Conclusions


“Shug, I’m confused, do you think there are many spirits, or demi god heroes, who look after our wellbeing?” “Eck! how many times have I expressed, throughout the ages, many great thinkers beyond our ken, have taught us, there is but one true god …so we simple creations, may receive the wonderful bounty provided”.

“But Shug, is there many supernatural beings throughout our existence?” “Eck! we have been tutored, by our peers, there is but one, although he has many helpers…plus countless ways to show his boundless benevolence.

“But Shug, I have heard on the wind, there are innumerable supernatural beings outside our area of experience…can there be more divine beings bubbling about, hidden from our thoughts?”. “Eck…how many times do I have to explain…the great almighty is the true provider, we must not doubt this, or question his presence, for although he is eternally magnanimous, there is a danger his wrath will deny us of his gracious protection…so we are obliged to follow, as others do!”

“But Shug, our neighbour’s question if he actually existence, or indeed if he is a he?” “Aye Eck; I know…but it all depends of if you want only discarded bread…or live in the ‘Garden of Eden’?”.

“Eck, just look around, our neighbour’s trust totally on being tossed a few moldy scatterings of bread, no fresh water, and what there is, bigger bullies steal for themselves, nevertheless… within a wilderness, we are delivered to a small haven, full of oatmeal, peanuts, special treats, an abundance of fresh water…for all our needs’, what more could we desire?!”

Shug stops for a moment, , turns to his feathered friend, takes a saintly breath …then continues, “ I have seen the almighty, replenishing our food, placing seeds in special protected containers, and Eck, I can say with all true conviction … he is a he…he has a stubble, and wears trousers!”

-=-=-=-=
No offence intended
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 29/04/2019

There is no doubt, Aunt Becky is continuing to shrink, however, we have decided it would be better once Becky moves to her new residence, in June, to buy her some new cloths nearer her size. Becky’s fragile appearance is a little deceptive, for although Becky, who is almost in another dimension, seemingly reasonably happy…if I’m collecting the right vibes, but she has never been a shrinking violet, possessing an inbuilt feisty and furtive nature.

Regrettably, this inner peppy has resulted into two incidents, where she has lifted her hands…struck out. Once with an unknown staff member, and the more sombre, with another resident. What actually took place, has not yet been determined, nevertheless, the injured residence for safety rules, was taken by ambulance to the hospital. The elderly lady later returned with no problems reported. In the next week or so, we will learn the next steps…fingers crossed!

I’m amazingly fortunate having such good close friends, plus two long standing, ‘China’s’; who I meet up with when time makes it possible. Jim Hendry, I can manage travelling down by train to Ayr near every month. Wetherspoons is our destination for the casual rendezvous …. For two old grumps enjoying beer, fixing the world in three easy phases, but mainly bursting into ridiculous instant laughter at the drop of a hat…and we care not a toss who’s hat it may be.

My other China; Keith…no longer stays in a lazy medieval village in rural France, (strong fond memories of yearly visits), both Keith & Lizzie now reside in Fife. The point about ‘China’s’ is simply, not the amount of times seeing them physically, but knowing they are there, for silly stuff and serious matters. We had not met for some time, as he, and the lovely Lizzie made plans to come home. Once established we arranged a reunion dinner, last Thursday in Glasgow. Rebecca and I, enjoying every moment of grand company, as the hours just disappeared from the clock…it’s good to talk with lovely people.

It is a special year for ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, as it is our 'Golden Anniversary' in October. When we were newly married, we did talk about growing old together, going to the post office, collecting our old age pension as a couple, however the rest of the fifty years we never anticipated by any means. I cant believe time has raced past so quickly, but one thing I do know, the success of our marriage is…Rebecca, my life’s, ‘She who must be obeyed’, and if I was whizzed back to the third of that month, in 1969…I would say…yes please….
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peter.howden
Benghazi Mice; John;

The ‘Benghazi Mice ‘origins were in 1987, within a Pollokshaws Turkish Suite, but Benghazi Mice mark two, rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the former. Within the safety of steam and hot water sauna, in Dollan Aqua, East Kilbride, sustained the loose band of cantankerous old brothers, sorting out the world problems in three easy lessons. The free membership’s theme and purpose did not waver, unless out in field manoeuvres under the disguise of day trips visiting Labour railway clubs

It was a normal Saturday morning when John, almost stumbled in, with a face of a man who forgot his personal ticket to a nudist ‘Mardi Gras’. Obviously touchy, he began ‘how could I have been so stupid with money’? looking around for some support or words of comfort, however, disappointingly for him, they never came. A voice in the corner called out these immortal words… “you crick your neck, while hurting your hand going into your pocket?” but no one owned up as being the author.

John let out rather bitterly, “It’s are right saying you will never be conned, but these guys were so authentic!”, making all the audience sit up and listen. “I was in the garden, when this Irish fella asked if there was any work needed done, it was obvious the man saw doubt in my face”, stuttered John…then continued his woeful tale….“He said to me; I’m sorry sir, I know there are dodgy people about, but we are here doing Councillor Rowan’s garden, thought we could obtain some extra work around the area at the same time”. Still in a rage John added, “the man was so bloody sincere…and ‘Rowan’ is the councillor for our area!”.

The big Irishman worker added, “it’s only right no monies cross hands until the work is finalised!”. With this assurance, John showed where he could do with help, agreed to a sum, £300 on completion. No sooner had this hand shake taken place, the Irishman, and two helpers, set to the job with feverish effort. John retired inside, quite chuffed with his negotiation skills. About half an hour later, John’s wife May, inquired if the workers needed any tea.

Opening the front door, He stepped out hearing a mobile phone ring, then parts of the conversation, which ended with the Irishman looking worried. The lead worker woefully muttered, ‘I have been really daft, I promised Councillor Rowan to lay an extra-long path, then repair her flood bridge work where I have no stores to do so’. ‘I never gave a second thought, he said almost in a whisper, ‘for I have no funds with me to buy the goods needed so my team can start first thing tomorrow’.

“All I need is a wee bit of time, just collect the gear, place it in Rowan’s property ready for the next day’, I could be finish with yours tonight if I worked a few extra hours!”, said all in one breath. John, firmly asked, why He could not give the monies to allow him to complete the two jobs. At first the big man strenuously refused… but seemed quickly talked round to John’s proposal.

John counted out the money carefully, at the worker’s request, then along with his mates, jumped into their old lorry. The head worker explained, he needed the other two as the purchases were heavy and he was not quick on his feet. Then they were gone.
The fraud worker was wrong… about the agility of his feet…as he, and his sharks were never seen again.

John looked so down, and self-hurting, cursing his stupidity for later it was proved, Mrs Rowan, never laid eyes on them. One Benghazi Mice explained, how easy it is to go to any library, look at the voter’s register, gain names from the target street, and a prominent person to be used as bait. Tell the police, was the communal advice, to stop some other person being robbed, but John was totally unwilling

Bobby, still wearing a ponytail, was the old hippy of the group. With a twinkle in his eye, called out… “Not to worry mate, you will be able to catch them next week!” The look of surprise, and astonishment, could not be hidden from the rest of the group, as John clutched at a straw for a drowning man.

‘How can I manage that’ inquired John, whose desperation was obvious, even in the steamy room. Bobby took a deep breath and said very clearly… “when they come back for the V.A.T?”
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peter.howden

Jon’s rambling words

As a young boy In the turn of the 50s,our family home was in the ‘infamous Gorbals St’, noted for being slum gang land territory, which the district could not shake off. Compared to other districts, it was enclosed by obvious poverty, rough schools, even flashes of brutality from all quarters, yet, there was dignity among most residents holding a sense of pride, making the best of very little they possessed, and this adopted personal credo, I have no intention shaking off.

Moving home, then to a posh school, appreciating the hard knocks reality of life for some time afterwards. A slight minority, outwardly charming, but devious tyrants together, inflicted malice in darken corners, where no witness could be found. Learning to defend myself, by any Spartan means at my disposal…regrettably, my etiquette is still rumbles now and then?

I don’t believe in being a Brigand,’ (Glaswegian Chancer) …yet this was my peers’ presumption, so I adopted the persona, ducking and diving around the edges quite a few times, scraped from one place to another! I bluntly confess my inability to shake off this façade…even from myself.

While young, there was no fancy of growing old, due to bloody silly dares, crazy macho imitations from a fresh adolescent, then pretty close to being bloody idiot, winding through the years, addicted to foreboding temptations life seemed to offer…in the dark side”. Misplaced moods. still hooked…nowhere to go. These enticements were stubborn to shake”

A few friends slipped through life’s short cycle, influenced by drugs & alcohol impaired their reason, one then swam in treacherous Loch Lomond…another dived into the Clyde, believing it was a shortcut to Anderson … lost forever…but these memories wont shake.

Today, summing up, it’s been fun most of the time, though now…It’s as if I’m descending into another party? “Perhaps the entrance fee is ownership of natural flamboyancy, keeping membership of all closet cells within the brain, however, right now, there seems to be a wary mental contortionist, unable to recall why the hell I’ve climbed these f…ing stairs in my home?...

If I shake a bit, perchance I’ll remember?”
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peter.howden

The healthy walk.

Being regularly informed by his peers, how he was in desperate need for healthy exercise, Angus seriously contemplated what was possible without too much perspiration, considering he was somewhere between late autumn, closer to winter of life. He had observed how every so often, the physical training fad, in huge ‘Gyms’, housing tortuous vessels of tears, obliged unfit customers to sweat… more than one way, as fees always sky rocket through the roof.

In the old days, no town’s high st premises, specialized in amateur bodybuilding existed, yet… few persons would be classified as fat, or nickname tubby. Angus remembered four pals in the B.B… one was always referred to as being ‘Tubs’, his actual name, could not be recall? Angus decided for the best of the best, (which just happened to be the cheapest) would be, sensible nourishment, plus, ‘Shanks’s Pony’, So he prepared hot malt Ovaltine, a chocolate rusk, then off early to bed to be ready for the next morning’s pathway to instant health.

Angus could be found guilty of daydreaming, yet very seldom having the ability to remember dreams while sleeping. That night, whatever invaded Angus mind, is, and was a mystery, yet, somehow corrupted a foreboding dream, so tangible lifelike. ‘The kingdom of hell’, illusion began with him walking towards a lane entrance beside the local chapel. Because of council work, the pavement was barred from community use, forcing the public to walk on the busy main road.

From the corner of Angus’s eye, a gang of four, maybe five ugly youths, furiously running towards him, bawling their heads off, waving various weapons head high. Closer and closer these marauders pushed forward shouting aggressively gaudy…suddenly he was awake, retaining every minute detail, in a clammy uneasy state.

Angus lay quite a while before taking a shower, then returning to kip. Next morning, just after dawn, feeling O.K, decided to take his first step to fitness, dressed and walked out the front door with no destination in mind. Sauntering aimlessly, he came across road workmen’s gear blocking the pavement, a sign telling pedestrians to move onto the road.

A cold moist chill ran down Angus’s back, seeing the left a chapel in front of a lane. More than slightly hesitant, Angus took several more apprehensive steps along the road, only to realize, out of the corner of his eye, a group of wild screaming youths, brandishing weapons, heading for him. He froze on the spot, totally scared out of his wits… then absolutely nothing…total blankness.

Next thing for Angus was waking up in hospital, with tubes everywhere…one between his lips. Bizarrely he felt nought, no pain…nothing. He lay, motionless, in a funny peculiar state of ecstasy beyond harm, with daylight peeping through venetian blinds.

A white coat female approached the bed, checked the apparatus next to the bed…leaning over, through smiling lips clearly said, “how do you feel?”. Taking his pulse, she kindly continued, “you were extremely lucky! if it hadn’t been for those young ramblers heading for morning mass, you could have been seriously injured, or even worse”.

Surprising Angus, she winked, then spoke even softer, “fortunately you saw them frantically waving their walking sticks, stopping you dead, as a big articulated lorry, on the wrong side of the road, would have knock the living daylights out of you!”

She smiled caringly …then sweetly asked…” the rambling boys are waiting outside…will I show them in?”
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peter.howden
Strictly Private

I confess, presuming to request for clandestineness with the knowledge of the ensuing personal information, may seem idiocy well over the top, by placing the following information into a social media slot, but before you continue to read this prior undisclosed document, you must swear not to broadcast a single word(consonant or vowel) within this message, even to your closest, sometimes dearest, especially ‘Her indoors’… she already thinks I’m a bit touched wacky… wheesht now, she might hear!.

Once concluded, delete every single line, and dot contained within the pronouncement. The following exposé, is in the category portrayed in the cult western solenoid movie ‘Winchester 73’, many decades ago, though more emphases on today’s manufactures enormous illegitimate monetary gains.

Throughout the world’s chequered history, marketing man-made goods has always existed, either displayed in public places, or word of mouth, if wished, the public could disregard altogether. Today’s adverts relentless promotion of all perceivable type, invading every means of communication, in or out of the home, almost in the air we breathe…ignoring such persistent pressure is nigh impossible.

The sour cream of the crop of faceless institutions, are promoting a incurable virus… way beyond public consumers useless contrary struggle with bare faced muggers akin to, ‘Life and property’ insurance brokers, calling each product as 100% perfection, better than all the rest, with guaranteed satisfaction, yet, none of those fashioned articles live up to their created reputation. Within a short span, they instantly generate a new miracle, claiming the exact same for the next life changing embroidered phenomenon.

Manufactures and their promoters, don’t wish anything they produce to be faultless, because of simple maths, having perpetual possessions is not good for business economically.

If they hear a whisper, of an absolutely perfect piece of equipment, the castles of commercial powers, by fair or foul means, will stoop to skulduggery regaining it, then locking deep into their vault’s tenure. To study the product, break it down its basic particles’ construction, learn in what circumstances, in global proportion, was allowed to happen…to make absolutely sure…this catastrophe will never materialise again

At this precise moment, protected by a purpose made pinny, what makes me feel of top of the world with pride, in par with James Stewart, is this once in a lifetime ownership of a piece of equipment exactness…way beyond imagination, which has lasted… nigh near 9 ½ months of rigorous use and abuse…my egotism personified ….an exceptional, green dishmatic exfoliator scourer
peter.howden

Locating cabin

Gradually I was coming around to some state of consciousness, yet motionlessly sensing entombment in a murky dream. Out of the dimness, somewhere within my brain, came the name, Dan. Immediately, a notion of having, for a considerable time, been pre-conditioned, what for? I had no idea.

Within an unmeasurable period, the ability to move allowed me to carefully rise from the invisible floor. Reality restarted with recollection of being part of experimental ‘Arch’, dubbed ‘Igloo’ for obvious reasons of security. My entire trip, induced hibernation condition, voyaging into vast vacuum of unidentified space, beyond the limits of our knowledge; arriving here, wherever ‘Here’ is?

Gazing in total wonderment, eyes blinking and darting from one wonder to another, it was impossible to take it all in, as the whole picture opened, revealing an entire extra-terrestrial city, which could be the last indefinite frontier alien civilization ? Earth’s most up to date, intricate computers would not predict entering such a gateway to anywhere, with our limited conception of the entire universe.

Almost immediately, my awareness of duties needing attention within this experimental craft, was first and foremost. This came instinctively, due to months of extensive training in a testing simulator, exact to the letter of the outward-bound greatest space vessel of our age. Now, how could I… “dare I say it…go where no man had gone before”.

All responsibilities completed, aware of the purpose, and why, this hazardous mission was desperately urgently complied by the nation presiding force of Earth. For many decades, uncontainable catastrophic atmospheric happenings, in weather, seas and air, the vital soil for sustenance, changing the life as we know it…our basic survival is raw and dubious. Or just beyond our minds

The main function of the ship’s processers, being programmed to search for a substitute planet, in other galaxies, for the whole population of Earth to evacuate. Now, info from the ship’s supercomputers was… some 46.6 billion light years away from the planet. This would place, as far as I could calculate…at the very edge of the entire visible universe.

All systems go, with data collected from findings on the processor, although in forward thrust, the capsule immobilized by invisible unfamiliar energy. Looking through the observation screen, apart from the phantom city… total torpor emptiness ahead, though familiar interplanetary combinations behind the craft.

Data warnings on the screen, invisible membrane detected… indestructible… unable to penetrate… Ribosomes comprising D.N.A…inner nucleus rouge cells… source infested beyond standard repair…must delete… further information…waiting for response…data… behind forward barrier… self-contained protected organisms exist,

The grim reality of the status quo, no matter how incredible it may be…I…and the total existence of the world, based inside an additional alive unconceivable entity.

I awoke, in a state of saturated cold sweat, wondering if this was a terrible nightmare … an omen…or possibly simple… before sleeping...reading Annual 1953 ‘Dan Dare, Pilot of the future’
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peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

During the late19th. Early 20th centuries, the working-class populous of manufacturing Scottish cities, were crammed mainly in overcrowded rife with disease slums, located within industrial districts crucial heavy-duty engineering. A few large metropolises, bordering coal mines, capable of feeding massive steel foundries, vital for the country’s shipbuilders, employing the large workforce living throughout cities and towns, keeping the heart of the British empire beating

The political sharks of the time, reasoned the need to increasing production many folds, set out a plan to eradicate the loss of manual hours, through sickness caused by repulsive sanitation breeding disease throughout the slums. Many purposely built Victorian structured buildings, containing such amenities as Swimming pools, hot baths, Turkish baths and the now beloved ‘Steamies’, cleaning bedclothes & textiles, giving much needed aid and communal comforts, to the labouring populous. On the other hand, day-to-day hiring and firing employment in these industrial marvels, was strictly down to the prejudice local powers, as families daily walked a tightrope of existence

In the late 1970s, Ben was employed for a spell, in such an establishment within a huge ship building area. His shift supervisor, nicknamed Andy Pandy, was engaged by the establishment, with a blue handshake, having no practical knowledge of the working procedures of such an enterprise. Each Saturday and Monday morning, several shady men hung about the entrance, talking to several women entering the building with prams, crammed full of washing bundles wrapped in sheets. One morning his curiosity made him ask Ben who they were. The explanation was simple…local loan sharks, exploiting the women’s basic frantic needs to be able to put food on the table for her growing family, in a futile struggle to make ends meet.

With ill-informed determination, Andy Pandy, affirming smugly he would put a stop to this habitual habit by notifying the police station, to supply force to move such cretins on…they soon would get the message and leave. Ben suggested this may not be, ‘the best scheme of mice and men’, depriving a desperate hand to mouth district of an illegal financial drug, also, those cretins who run such lucrative operations, have cronies who would certainly be rather peeved, ready to “Malky” him… at somewhere along the line, in the future.

Ben implied of a far more dangerously occurrence, resulting in such action, frantic furry amongst the women punters, probably knocking hells bells out of Andy Pandy’s manhood. Andy dropped his idea and avoided eye contact with the Sharks.

Curiously, another inept shift supervisor, ending his contract on that Friday, blatantly asked Ben to organize a money sheet, gratuity from the staff for his leaving. On Friday, Ben produced a badly wrapped small parcel, which the send-off supervisor keenly opened, to reveal an old manky tatty pillowcase. Ben explained, with a facial deadpan expression, “we had a whip round, but could not raise the cash for a sheet, we thought this gift was more appropriate?”

In today’s climate, shamefully there are still loan sharks in the frame of legitimized doorstep credit business’s, loaning money at shoddy extortionate interest rates, plus International Bank sharks’ deals, with their reputed easy peasy pay day loans, both incising the despondent public… into economic quicksand.
peter.howden

The Desultory fellow;

Tiny Tim, a pilgrim going through life, is very proud to have been associated with the fantastic community Housing movement, involved with their struggles, their triumphs throughout an undisclosed measure of time. As a reflexion of mankind, the movement consisted of a mixture of peoples of both voluntary committees, and professional staff, both partaking as genuine guardian patriots, career minded entities, listeners, boasters, banshees, ‘Over my dead body’ chair persons, and a couple of naughtiest, naughty people.

As a movement, each committee being the core, mostly volunteers, succeeded beyond all government’s expectations. One constant determination is regeneration within their, and other communities. Individually committees perceive their title role, to constantly achieve homes and living conditions, of the very best possible, under continuous growing government restrictions. Core Networking, through any means, is a vital lifeline to be successful

All work and no play make’s Jack a dull boy, was not for Tim. Back in the days when a little light humoured camaraderie, a bit of fun, was part of the atmosphere at meetings and conferences, assisting a better relationship between all involved.

Around 1995, within the boundary of the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, prestigious Inverness, a Scottish wide conference was held, debating a list of subjects. Each and every M’Ps, political speakers implied, even crowed, throughout the weekend, having read, and digested, the entire hefty government’s ‘Nolan report’ on public standards, though they all were conspicuously vague, even scraggy mentioning details…or actual themes contained within.

Ending the conference, the last open question of the entire session was given to Tiny Tim…who asked pokerfaced; “What have the Irish girl group Nolan Sisters have to do with building affordable housing in Scotland?”. Not a peep could be heard, within the crowded spectators for such a long moment, then the house audience laughed and cheered…stony faced politicians had no reply…The chair smiled…then closed the oratory session.

Three o clock of the new morning, in the swanky hotel, Annie Dougan and Tiny Tim, more than slightly sloshed, dancing to Tina Turner’s… “What’s love got to do with it?” …and ”Simply the best”… Wow, .the journey continues.
peter.howden
The Desultory fellow;

Logic of Language


Tiny Tim’s long-suffering wife, often critically stated correctly, how he was haunted with a kangaroo brain, which is not so good for a scribbler… or tale teller, possessing poor grammar, spelling as a drastic ‘want’…hopping from one theme to another, often in the same sentence. Regrettably for any person who may read my undoing’s, I’m rather stuck in my ways. If you are keen to search, it’s easy to find foibles before fortes in people.

History is not what took place, or indeed if it ever happened, it is a victor wanting to what befell. A Government’s announcement was its intentions to place £2 million, to combat any stigma, the term ‘Social Housing’ allegedly caused tenants. Perchance, if the halls of power, refrained from using the term ‘Social Housing’, replaced by ‘rented accommodation’, it may have solved their inhouse problem.

Senior civil servants, who advise the councils and government, issue verbal and written correspondence, which are always deliberately complicated. Even their memos take some deciphering, using reams of paper to disclose very little, artfully screening what the actual document supposedly spelt out

Many…many years ago, the B.B.C. Scotland, a planned stress-free,1hour radio programme, discussions on personal views as to how the Scottish house occupants benefited from tenant control, in relationship to previous Council landlords. The wireless broadcasters had chosen three layers of community housing theme, to attend. A senior minister overseer, (for the government), a distinguish director of a busy city housing association, (for the movement) and a community committee member, (Tiny Tim was a desperate last-minute stand in)

The overseer was a very polite, pleasantly spoken man, arrived with a secretary, trailing a hand trolley, loaded with small cabinets, full of portfolios. The sincere, astute association Director, armed with a small attaché case, and sensible viewpoints. For Tiny Tim, his first experience of a radio interview, though had been asked his opinion by newspaper journalists, brought a current ‘Radio Times’.

A nervous Countdown, then on the air as the host introduced everyone, turning to the overseer with a valid question, who, when on to great lengths explaining the political perception. Tiny Tim unconsciously continuously tap on his scratchpad, with the supplied pencil, not realizing the state-of-the-art equipment, picked up every single alien sound. Within a minute or so, behind the soundproof screen, an annoyed looking chap, with large earmuffs on, frantically waving his arms, nonstop imitating cutting a throat.

Unfortunately, each time Tiny Tim was asked, his opinion between Housing Association, and the conduct of the Council to date, he was unaware of using the term, “The Mob”, apparently inappropriately, as a reference to the council attitude. Yet…the behaviour, and service from the council, and councillors was inappropriate for Glasgow’s paying tenants

Just before the programme began, the lady interviewer asked him why he brought it. Tiny Tim…with a straight face reply… “I brought the ‘Radio Times’, to prove I don’t only watch the naughty misleading commercial television”.

Tiny Tim was never asked again?
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peter.howden
What’s in a name ;

Within the mind-boggling Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, launched a thousand ships? Believed to be rare beauty, though the lady must have possessed a lot of bottle to achieve such a deed.

Through lots of history books, numerous females named ‘Helen’, having the power to turn many a man’s eye and heart. In my personal memory bank, I recall a few such named alluring ladies, who caught my attention. In the early sixties, charming ‘Helen’ from a café in Dunbar, who rocked my boat, and still her photo is above my desk. In the late 90s, renowned throughout the housing movement for being passionate, launching a thousand hopes, was petite, ‘Helen McGregor’, having lots of bottle.

Just a few days ago, I enjoyed the magic company of ‘Helen’, the delightfully radiant chair of a central Scotland Community Housing Forum, navigation many housing Association vessels

However, in the mid-50s, there was thee, Miss Helen McGregor. My memory is crystal clear, she was a real beauty, a stoater of near perfection…no other ‘Helen could not compare with the tartan-skirted girl who sat at the top of my class in Shawlands primary. Pure heaven in walking form, who’s clan motto is, ‘Royal is my race’ but I would race just to catch a small insignificant glance of her captivating smile

Did I have it bad…was I totally smitten? you bet, fantasising of her perfume drifting through virgin air, deceiving the birds and the bees, to fly in innocent rhythmic dance. Her chaste fragrance locked away in the depths of my awareness, oozes reminisces of sweet guiltless encounters beheld within a pure mind. Her name was Greek, her manners were of a Goddess, glided as an angel, here…on the soil of earth. Her smile broke the evil glare jealousy can bring., as her voice, flowed as a lullaby, to keep the listener safe.

I was very unaware of true love ways, all this would entail, some would say, being far too young. However, when love or infatuation not only nibbles a gullible cheek, but also ravishes his senses until he begs his eyes just a moment to see her, age matters not a jot

No grown up, could know the terrible pangs of torture endured in silence, for I could not tell my peers without having big reddie for all to see. Normally Helen never even fleetingly looked at me, though she did stick up for me, against the wee biddies in the class. I could just about hold my own with other boys, but with girls; this was taboo. The other side of the coin was that girls were not all sugar and sweetness.

When I left the primary to attend Shawlands Academy… I was heartbroken, as she tiptoed out of my life, to a private fee-paying school, however, if now I was candour, I reckoned she did not even really notice

Being feeble, I wanted to be Clark kent, so I could change into superman, wheech the damsel from pencils, or the wee eek that bothered her. The truth most likely was, I was probably the wee eek.
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peter.howden
The Desultory fellow;


What’s in a kiss


With aimless excuse, some flustered voices relentlessly inform that the system and the people are wrong. In desperation how indeed they are sorry…but; “What has happened to this world?”. In my opinion, the world has always been just endured, though we tolerate changes with slight glimpses of trendy alterations ever few years or so. Because of extremely poor living conditions, in many Scottish cities and towns and communities, one such desperately needed trend, politically accidentally began many years ago, with the introduction of tenant self-controlled local housing associations

The living tapestry within the housing movement, directors and committee members, mirrors life itself, mainly determined to make a difference in their homes, surroundings and neighbourhoods. The movement consist has found a couple of rogue directors’, pompous senior staff, some self-opinionated chairs of housing committees, a few conceited witches, ogres as office bearers …but completely outnumbering those naughty lemons, are dedicated staff with ordinary committee members genuinely working each day, constructing neighbourhoods to be proud with… through hard work, have surpassed beyond any measure.

Tiny Tim and Old Tam, innate horses at the diplomacy game, attended quite a few network Conferences, organized by advisory establishments, such as S.F.H.A.., E.V.H..and S.H.A.RE, conveying important legal information, Business plans, work ethics structures and changes in the government’s attitudes.

One such weekend conference was held in Perth’s prestigious Railway Hotel, apparently overbooked, no room at the inn for the two olden lags. The Director of the Supporting Social Employers organization offered to share his spacious apartment (apparently used by pole taxer Maggie Thatcher regularly).

Perhaps it’s Tiny Tim’s wavering memory to blame, but there was quite a bit of collectively carefreeness and refreshment fun between the serious business at hand.

Tiny Tim rose very early next morning, having been disturbed by old Tam’s constant snoring echoing throughout the massive room, each wheezing sounding like a death wish. Standing in the total altogether, opened the curtains and window wide, with vigour started to exercise both arms and legs. Old Tam woke with bleary eyes, grumpily protested about weird actions noises. Tiny Tim turned swiftly around, headed towards Tam, calling out ‘Tam what you need is a big morning kiss’

Old Tam was out of his bed in a jiffy…and like a rocket, headed into the bathroom…closing the door with a loud determined bang. This slight boisterous stramash…the Director opened his private door…revealing his own nakedness… other than over the top, Flash Harry boxer shorts… A sight to behold at any time of the day.

To this day… when meeting Tiny Tim on rare occasions, the director still coughs nervously…recalling the memory.
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peter.howden
The consecrated problem

Part (1)_

Monsieur Mc La Phart, of mixed origin, was a quiet pious man long before entering into the ‘Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance’ 40 years ago. The normal form of communications was via sign language, plus abbreviations were used, example, ‘O.C.S.O’, for speed and clarity. The monastery must be kept completely soundless communiqué to protect the innocent souls within the Abbey their home and whole life

If allowed a special visiting permit, you will be undoubtedly become aware, of the ridged order of the strict brothers, their habits must never comply with for any kind of adornment, being a sin against the origins of the O.C.S.O... Extravagance or signs of narcissism would be scorned on for allowing God’s hallowed word to travel against egotism in man’s word, Silence was the order of the day…and almost every day.

If per chance the abbot was in silent deity prayer, the whole cloister was to be informed, as a matter of urgency, Monsieur Mc La, Phart would uncover the sacred ‘Rod’, a special shaft of bamboo cane, used to tap out Morse code. Because of the natural acoustics of the medieval Monastery, when the hollow bamboo struck the marble floor, the sound vibrated throughout the furthest part of the priory. For the reason explained against the copious ways of the world, a special glove was made so not to abuse the divine rod, just the one… as two would have been viewed as pitiful embellishment.

No luxuries tolerated whatsoever, so the one glove permitted was fashioned out of course sacks containing rough oat meal, delivered from a small village of Gluckamania in the Gaelic highlands, producing a solid makeshift porridge, suiting the entire priory right down to the ground, as supping loudly was pouted on. Whipping classes prearranged for dire occasions, when god fearing frenzies revelries ousted their plain living.

Monsieur Mc La, Phart was in a catastrophe quandary, puzzled while trying to hold on to his holy scruples, having something up his sleeve, more within the confinement of his habit. Near overpowering raw expulsion of intestinal gas, flatulence beyond control, being conveyed to his mute brothers…far away from the dry humour of Saint Benedict.

Monsieur Mc La, Phart conceived an astute plan?
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peter.howden
The Desultory fellow;
Late-attendance


“Variety is the spice of life” is a famous quotation…possibly true as Tiny Tim, found enjoyment in small pleasures, or see something good, even when intensely challenged his imagination would wander at will.

Many…many moons ago, when community housing association were in infancy, still quite a curious novelty for the ‘Halls of Power’, it was deemed training must be introduced for the novice tenants. To this end, many vital legal priorities conferences, ran throughout the annual almanac.

In Tiny Tim’s book, these intensive sessions were the highest of standards, but more than rather tedious dry, with lots of over the top data to take in over lengthy periods. It has often been said, and is perfectly true, more is gained from networking coffee breaks, or a refreshment of a night, than all the debates put together. People relax, ready for exchange ideas, with good common sense forming real plans for individual actions taking shape. The might of the human mind burst forward, alert to take to task any opponent who falters at the first fence or wavers at the opposition.

One specific year, the main subject was staff relationship with their employee’s, and the employers, mainly committees from Co-Ops and housing association. As usual, it was well organized as the Director of the session decided roll play would be the best way to demonstrate the legal and moral responsibilities of an employer, picking members of the large audience to act as a complete committee,

The scenario, a male employed as a technical officer, who for numerous months prior to this date, on a regular basis, late always on Thursday’s dinner time and the following morning. All staff was on flexi time, however the director had already spoken to the member of staff, who apparently took little notice as he continued to please his own whims.

The serious question of the whole affair was, how far can an employer delve into the private life of an employee? Tiny Tim was chosen to play the timeless staff member. Firstly, the union rep whose opening words were” I will help all I can, but you must tell me why and how”.

Tiny Tim, firmly but politely explained it was personal, preferring to stay silent. She became ruffled, only see disaster if unaware of the facts to build a case of defence. She asked again, but this time in hastily with deeper vocal cords, followed by a plea. Again, Tiny Tim declined with the exact same answer as first stated. Next came the invented line manager, his anger grew, as Tiny Tim twice declined to give any information, Next came the Chair, followed by the full phantom committee, all eager to be the first to witness an explanation, plus a hinted threat of disciplinary action against the offender.

Sticking to his guns by firmly stating, “it is private, and I would rather stay silent”, even when informed a week’s pay or work would be deprived from him. The panel felt a unanimous justification he was being obstructive. Finally, he met with the fictitious Director, who quite clearly told him, in no uncertain terms, that his very job may be on the line.

The wayward worker finally crumbled under undue pressure, explaining he was doing this under protest, as his public rights to privacy was being invaded, if not being endangered with the dismissal, he would still remain mute on that subject.

Straight faced, he disclosed being a thriving “Nymphomaniac”, needing sex constantly. In search for satisfaction, and for the cheapest rates, he travelled to Charing Cross, in the city centre, hired a prostitute. As they came in hourly rates, and being a true Scot, he wanted his monies worth, hence this is why he was late on a Thursday afternoon. He was then asked to clarify Friday mornings, replying that was easy, he was so knackered from the Thursdays romp, he simply slept in.

Everyone appeared to enjoy it, set the fellow who was playing the part of the director. He was poo faced right through it all.

Tiny Tim was disappointed no one picked on one basic fact, to be “a Nymphomaniac”, was to be female. He was already with the response if asked… “and I am changing my sex as well!”.
peter.howden
DEPRAVITY

Crouching squeamishly, in the blackest darkest corner I could find, trying desperately not to be seen, or heard by anyone who might, perhaps by chance, be passing by. There was no getting away from the bare sinister facts, the line used to mark decent conduct has been crossed, disregarding any decent behaviour accepted as civilized from one living being to another. It is little help though now I disgust myself. No matter what the urge or unnatural deportment was running through my mind at the time, the law of morality commands my guilt.

How could I have contemplated such a flight of sickening elevation? how I wish right now, banishment to the furthest turn of the universe, so to purifies my dirty psyche, hoping to reveal my utter sorrow for such a desperate regretful advance on something so sweet…and innocent. Only a short time ago the sunshine was so beautiful, now… eternal gloom can be my only hide.

After the unbelievable occurrence, in an instant nervous tremor, I froze, unable to take in the reality of how much a savage animal I had become. There is no salvation for my soul, this is plain, but should I confess or run and conceal myself from this wickedest of wicked deeds of horror.

Someone is bound to notice, for time is against me. Is there anything else I can do to cover up my crime? It’s possible, enough has been done, to clear the evidence in the circumstance. Looking at every angle, there is no way anyone, casually going about their legitimate business, can see the horrible signs of evil…who am I kidding?

It is true, an inner urge came on to me, then broke up on first physical contact. I should have ceased, but some uncontrollable desire prevented sense prevailing…as pathetic hunger for such an attractive blameless thing, became my most darken goal no matter the outcome. This I’m afraid, is way beyond a misdemeanour.

The clock takes its time counting the minutes, yet, for the moment, I’m safe in my recess, furthest from the actual offence. The darkest hour is just about to strike, with no possible vision of a brand-new blameless dawn. Perhaps I can find courage, accepting lust for stripping bare my want. It may sound callous after what has taken place in this abode, but I thought it would satisfy my craving, however it has not. Is there no end to this torment?

I hear a noise from upstairs and my murky heart starts to pound. I hear a door slowly creaking open in an obvious attempt to disguise the fact someone or something is afoot. Oh god they have past the head staircase and now are slowly making progress down the stairs.

What can I do? Where can I go? Why did I do this terrible thing? I want my mummy…The door to where I am, slowly creaks ajar… a hand creeps forward for the light.

Quick…I need to decide if to whimper a confession, or commit extreme desperate action, so whoever they are, they will never breathe a word of my crime. Will I jump upon this invader, pin against the floor… and so murder it?

To late, the light is switched on, and now all hell will let loose and there is no going back.

“Bloody hell, what a f---ing mess… that bloody flea-bitten cat, has eaten all the chocolate cake I made for today’s special event…. Where is that bloody tabby?”
peter.howden
A STRANGER ;

Sitting uncomfortably on a well-used tatty bench, within a makeshift clearing of a human jungle, a solitary wrecked figure of a stranger. The surroundings decor is certainly not quite ‘Banché chic’, consisting of unkempt tables with scruffy, past their prime chairs, but for this, the café was idly empty.

Previously, the usual morning pandemonium crowd, gulped down coffees, and teas by the score, in-between hastily consuming rolls and toasties of all shapes and sizes, before scrambling up Jam-packed elevators in search of one desk or other. Now well gone, all of them locked safely in boxes containing boxes, surrounded by thick walls of concrete blocks. Outside, hidden in hazy corner away from the main door, sucking nervously on a cancer sticks, several latecomers, ready to dart off, as soon as they have had their vital fix.

The stranger, twist and turns his teaspoon, first clockwise then anti-clockwise, swirling the cold liquid in a haywire direction. This simple act was carried out for at least the last ten minutes. The weary waitress, near given up tempting him to move, by washing down the table with an over damp cloth, leaving streaks across the cheap Formica speckled table-top. The manky water remains soaks his shirt sleeve, fails miserably to encourage movement on the stranger’s part. Wherever he was, was not in the bounds of the coffee shop.

If per chance, the listener was closer, the following could have been heard; “How could I be such a sucker, no sense…except maybe of the senseless donkey”. “My ‘Mona Lisa’ slithered away, , my soul mate; my entire life…ruined forever.

A young lady entered the noiseless coffee shop, ordered Russian tea, sat down quite a distance from the stranger. He slyly glanced towards her, studied the attractive feminine, ensuring she did not see him do so. There was something extra about her, stimulating his imagination, nurturing her sweet innocent body language…. was she waiting for someone...the stranger did not believe so?

The waitress brought the glass lemon tea to her, leaving lose change, in such a way to encourage a reasonable tip. The waitress just glared at the stone like stranger, who failed to notice, as his solitary attention was solely on the fair maiden at the far side of the window.

As her angelic hands reached for the covered glass and the lemon droop into the hot liquid, the stranger saw her well-manicured nails, her slender piano playing fingers, so slim and elegant with an obvious forgiving touch.

Those red lips puckered with excitement, endeavouring to sip the hot beverage. Her eyes glistened with expectation; her expression showed signs of anticipation. Her feature lines personified through the crafty lighting of the open premises. The stranger ogles the young beauty, as a peach he would love to take a bite and savoir….or a predator spies its prey...

Could he take the chance, in the open, approach this fresh Madonna, asking to sit next to her? Yes; the premise’s was empty, he could be bold, asking this guiltless walking perfection, for a sentimental journey to begin the beguine. Perhaps they could take a tram ride together to Kelvinside, or possibly the art galleries. Yes, lets strike while the iron is hot, thought the stranger… almost gave effort into standing up…when!

Just then, she uncrossed her legs, amplifying the sound of stockings stroking each other, which drives young, and old men, wild. She rose, leaving the premises without one word from her perfectly formed lips.

A single twisted figure of a stranger, sat in the middle of the jungle, made up of tattered tables and worn chairs, but for this, the café was almost empty…until the door opened….
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 1/06/2019


MISSING TONI;



We have lost a daughter, but have I lost Toni. I cannot fully answer for anyone else, though for me the answer is yes and no. The utmost tragedy from that moment on… is, I will never see her in person again. I can see her in the blink of an eye, hear her talking without using my ears, react to her thinking by just thinking of her. Her body is gone but she is not lost.

Death is for the living, and how much we miss the one, or ones we love. It is egotistic, almost to the extreme, to cry so bitterly as if to question why. It is so easy to use the word ‘If’, or ‘If only’, but to no valid purpose, other than searching in vain for a reason we can accept. There is no reasoning, or fate, or ‘time has come’… there is just the sheer shock which millions before you have suffered.

I have no God to blame, or shame, or use as a psychological crutch, saying it’s in the scheme of things, just a mind which whirls around faster than I can think. Did I tell her I loved her…I don’t know but I hope I did? I’m proud, of what she achieved throughout her lifetime, however, I had little to do with it? She was her own woman, her own person with a hint of my own mother somewhere in the background

There are times when I wish I did not remember so well, as my unattended passions, just fly over reality, but mostly I am happy at recalling by just a word, or phrase, or a touch of something linked to… or thoughts, changing my emotions for an unknown period. The time will come, when bare affection will take over from grief…for this, I will just have to patiently wait.

I have one of Toni’s hiker anoraks, borrowed the very neat item when we visited, Toni and Fergus, in smashing Leiden, Netherland. How it came into my permanent wardrobe, is lost in the channels of time, however, I use it regularly as it can measure my weight regime, by whether I can zip it up easily or with slight difficulty

Thank you for being with me Toni.
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peter.howden
THE PUPPET WHO COULD NOT TALK;

There was nothing really unusual about this particular puppet, except a scraped head, but possessed a cute wee nose, and an eye which twisted around to follow you wherever you may stand. He had been adopted by a gracious little girl, who, unconditionally loved him, cuddled him every night since she received him as a late gift from an auntie, whom she never knew she had.

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

One day, while the family were travelling in a strange part of the town, her father was carrying her across a busy thoroughfare, without noticing, the wee lass accidentally, dropped the puppet out of her gentle grasp. The tumbling puppet landed in the gutter, to see his family moving away into the unknown.

Unfortunately, the mature puppet landed in the only puddle near a drain, making his fine attire, plus his mittens, soaked with manky reeking water. By a strange quirk of fate, a dog happened to be sniffing around the vicinity. His nose was telling him nothing was happening, so… in a fit of pique, picked up the puppet, then headed to his abode.

After a couple of streets, the mutt whiffed new prospects in the air, dropped the puppet at the side of a well-kept garden. Rather undignified the marionette landed on his head, resulting in dizziness for some considerable time. Night was approaching and he had never been out so late. If truth was told…was alarmed. He had heard some terrible tales as to what may happen to unexpected travellers during the hours of darkness…

As the last glimmer of light, puppet felt warm hands around his now soggy body, then carried into warmth and dryness by a smiling twosome. Next morning, the enthusiastic horticultural couple, decided to put the puppet in the garden, as a sort of mascot, with a rough stick where it’s not polite to talk about. His new home appealed to him though, for some reason he could not forget the utter innocent kindness from the wee lass.

He did not know how long he was there, however; the warm sun went down a few times, letting lose the foreboding cold dark mist. Sometimes the puppet was very scared. The following day, while the next door’s occupants were feeding the birds, a piece of bread fell on the weary puppet’s head. One anxious magpie came cruising down, and instead of just pecking the bread, it lifted the bread and puppet’s head… soaring off.

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

The Puppet had no way of knowing… he had landed on a builder’s skip.
peter.howden
THE PUPPET WHO COULD NOT TALK;(2)


How long the wee wet soul lay there in the eerie depths of the builders’ skip, the puppet obviously could not grasp, simply because the big hand, small hand theory, or numbers table, was not in his repertoire, as only infinite fairy stories and nursery rhymes, were sung by his wee lassie.
He did ken the difference of day and night, but his night was safely in the child’s warm cuddles, resting in her soft bed, behind thick velvet closed curtains which kept out the dark noises of the bogies, sometimes mentioned in the enchanted fables.

Now shivering cold, enclosed in unwelcoming darkness, with creepy clamours unfamiliar to the disorientated marionette, hearing the scurry of foul rats’ scavengers, even their whiskers brushed past his head…each time bringing unimaginable terror.

Unexpectedly, a streak of light appeared as a foreign hand was reaching closer, then affectionately grasped the bewildered glove puppet, slowly lifting him clear of his unwelcome incarceration. “Well, what have we hear?”, softly spoke a voice, coming from the direction of a dirty bearded old face. This is all the puppet heard, before being gently placed in a purse, slightly ruggedly bigger, compared to his little lass’s pink purse.

Everything was a blank until once again light appeared, slightly softer than before, as he was placed on a cushion, then on a clothed bench, surrounded by a collection of various tools. On the wall adjacent to the worktop, hung many puppets… but they had hands, legs and wooden bodies, unclothed…and strings attached.

Almost becoming familiar with these weird objects, the bearded voice spoke again tenderly…” these are all antique expensive string puppets, you are not a marionette, you have no strings… you are a gloved puppet, more valuable than all the rest. The only hand puppet belonging to world famous Italian puppeteer, ‘Signor Bologna’, royal performance, organized by Samuel Pepys, for Charles 11 in 1662”.

The puppet always thought he was a special marionette, for this was what the wee lassie called him, I wish she was here, but could not help feeling chuffed at the news of his individual fame. Just then, the bearded voice spoke again kindly, “look, I have washed and cleaned your garments, cleansed and polished your head” …

He proceeded to place a mirror in front of the puppet… revelling all?
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peter.howden
THE PUPPET WHO COULD NOT TALK;(3)…


The reflection of the mirror emphasized his masculine chiselled chin, could only be explained as a mirage, perhaps closer to a miracle as there was no hint of the old scraped head, even his twisted eye appeared flattering. His patchwork tunic’s original colours, ready to tease, and shoot the breeze. Try as he might, the puppet had no idea what 1667 was, or what the hirsute voice proposed, or the people mentioned, all the puppet desired was in the safe arms of his wee lassie.

The rugged aged man behind the voice, picked him up affectionately, looking at the puppet with tears in his eyes, repeating over and over, “Your a wee dancer”. After a while, he lay his precious find in a velvet lined case, with a miniature pillow for his head, kept a dimmed light on, and the door open…before retiring to his boudoir.

The puppet did not sleep, for puppets can’t, tried his hardest to forget his teeny missy, but in the end, gave up from perhaps mental fatigue…if he ever owned a brain. Next morning the puppet detected something was not quite right with the bearded voice, which had a hint of sadness within his grunts and murmurs. Looking straight at the puppet, almost crying, uttered, “Someone must have lost such a precious glove puppet, as a Kellie, I canny gain an honest sleep, if I did not try to find them!”

Unknown to the puppet, the bearded voice wrote out a small advert, ‘Lost puppet found, at my home’…adding his phone number, walked around to local newsagent, taking out a two-week advert with each establishment. Not a dinky bird until the very last day when, a dad phoned saying his petite mademoiselle, had indeed dropped her precious hand puppet.

The next day father and young daughter came to his home. The stubbly voice was bowled over by the wain’s sincere response. As soon as she saw her puppet, tears rolled down from her wide eyes, over her perfect cheeks. So much so, both he and her father ran out of dried hankies, so the briskly voice gave her a rather large tea towel, with a print of Glasgow’s southern Necropolis, to attempt stopping her blubbering.

The wee girl spoke softly, “you found my marionette…I love him, but you must love him much…much more, because you made a special bed…thank you”

The bearded voice was taken aback with the child’s definition of utter wealth, based on humble emotions of pure love. He requested the weeping bairn, if she would take the puppet home, but just now and then, along with her daddy, she and her puppet would, would be so kind, as to visit a grumpy old Kellie.

The deal was set with a handshake…and to this date…as far as I’m aware…kept faithfully by the petite lassie
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 16/07/2019


I will be taking Aunt Becky for a wee hurl tomorrow, though fingers crossed. It has been for a while because the last couple of times on my arrival, she has been sleeping in bed. Deciding, rather than the hasty drama, as the girl’s attendants, waking and dressing the poor wee lamb, I left her hopefully dreaming sweet dreams. Lately, having growing concern taking her out, mainly due to her obvious physical fragility.

To aid the situation, the home has proposed assistance taking and bringing her back from the car. There are two steps leading from the main door of her residence, where Becky is certainly unsure and very warily of them…taking extra time. All the residence will be moved to a brand-new purpose-built home by the end of August.

Our garden needs attention, after some 20 odd years left to its own growth, with only spasms of rushed care from me. Very early yesterday, in sublime sunny conditions, I took my coffee, sat on the garden bench, while the birds noisily interactively busy with survival. Yet…now and again, total silence fell, leaving me with an inner notion of inspiration, given by a special annual sweet-scented flowering bush… drifting in the air, through various shrubbery fragrances

My mind wandered, an uncontrollable habit it has these days, taking me way back to Mr Swan’s market garden, next to the river Clyde, Uddingston, and the distinctive sweet smell of his much-puffed tobacco pipes, left in each of his greenhouses…. what a man

Without any encouragement came a separate imaginary aroma, surrounding a country lane leading down to the bay at Whitesands, Dunbar, with the astonishing essence of a wheat fields, roaming down to the adventurous B.B camp…and the young lady ‘Alice’

Another salty fantasy whiff sent my mind racing along the rugged coastline of Cornwall, into another bay named ‘Whitesands’, where and when Rebecca and I visited the extraordinary magical couple…lovely Pam and Jack.
Darting forward as the attar change to rediscover the odour similar of captivating France, but particularly the safety retreat of a medieval village in the Aude district, where a remarkable family played host, for many a year, to a wandering Kellie.

The coffee almost finished, I walked around the garden coffin, a raised old fragmented wooden structure, for growing potatoes and the like. Now almost a shell with some earth, potted plants and water dishes for the sparrows and company. Silently looking over the rim, and for a fleetingly moment, saw a field mouse head, and twitching whiskers, sticking out from behind a old implement…then darting away to hide under a small plastic shovel…now that was indeed, a ‘WOW’ moment

This was the offender, who had been nibbling at the few strawberries, I was attempting to nourish…hay ho…always next year I hope…Its surprising what a little sunshine can do
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