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peter.howden
Clash of miniature Titans

He is, as has been, a long-standing friend so it would be impolite to go so far as label him a fibber, although he is very liberal with the truth when discussing one vital subject. Perhaps the term fabricator, would even be to hard, but certainly a slight chancer, sneakily lurking in the depths of a devious side, yet not witnessed by the other fellow,

Then, to boot it all into a corner, way back in the last excursion, when this crafty fellow, takes advantage of another fellow, who misguidedly was struggling with just a tad too many refreshments, which affected that fellow’s capabilities, this was a bridge too far. There is no need going into details, nor excuses blatantly sworn why he was unable to take up the traditional challenge, but it will be adequate to mention it involved and included a bruised pinkie.

The verification rolled on to another affirming justification, it being much more hassle-free and comfortable to enjoy, if they were to saunter while taking in the sea airs of that ancient coal magnet of a seaside town called Saltcoats. Being mental putty in his hands, entirely unaware of his deceitful plan, the congenial fellow was allured into shady hostelries, and low-down saloons in a blatant effort to knobble the fellow’s common-sense ability, to be bristly crude…to beat the pants off him.

Whom is the fellow referred to, who stooped so low, preforming skulduggery and dastardly deeds, none other than ‘Salty’, the wandering seaman, brother-in-law; David? And what was the challenge other than the intimate ultimate, ‘Alcohol Chess’, and the running dispute over some 35 years… who actually is the decisive victor

I should have realized there was monkey business about, when he offered to buy the first round as I have experienced people from the area of Ayrshire, and they aren’t the quickest on the draw when it comes to the coinage of the queen. They can meet themselves coming out of an establishment just as they are going in.

Innocently trusting I was dealing with a gentleman, or at the very least a true and honest comrade, but sadly I must report of being duped. You think you know a fellow, little realizing what some may do when the sell their soul to the devil just for one-upmanship

The worst blow of all, a verbal dagger between the ribs, saying he had won by default, using a bare knuckle boxing term, I could not come ‘up to the mark’. Simply because my words were slightly inconsequentially incoherent, my walking may seem more than a hindrance…however apart from this, I was brand new…sound as a pound, in Harold Wilson’s time

Where the real exertion came after several games, the recognition as to what piece you were moving, to what square allowed to visit, and what bloody Queen? was always a bone of contention, especially for someone had sold his soul to achieve an empty victory. As the train pulled out from the station, watching Salty with a smirk on his face, waving a fond farewell.

The train hurried itself towards civilization, which can only be found in the dear green place of Glasgow…with one thought took precedence over all else…how will I knobble him next time around?
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peter.howden
The Day Dawned

One of the more famous old farmers predictions, based on lifetimes of observation by hard working country folk; ‘Red sky at night, shepherds delight, Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning’, which in my frame of mind, is based very early dawn having not quite raised itself in all its heavenly glory.

it certainly was not a hallucination, it’s real as real can be, nonetheless, because I am no shepherd of any kind, holding no responsibilities of such a professional dependency on nature outcomes, or the dangers lurking livestock, it forecasting an easy-going mode, or foul, before the trials and distractions of the day disturbed my shaky equilibrium.

A few morning’s ago, I saw a rare tear, being relatively warm for the session or persons to expect, here I was outside in just tee-shirt and shorts, checking the car. Apart from the obvious hypnotic illuminating reddish sky, the magic of a dawn was generating pure enchantment, above all else.

What caught my eye, then ear, was a glimmer of ambiguous purple streak of nimble light struggling through, followed by a burst of song from a tree, or bush, but boldly a feathered friend, whistling his, or her head off, then another, and another. I do not know if it is in their genes, or maybe they were caught on the hop, whistling in complete surprise, and joy, for another daytime was giving magnificent birth.

Standing totally memorized, by what unfolded within such a short moment, the sun proudly fashioned a tempting glimpse of its magnitude power, by covering the visible sky ,with a deep warming red I have not witness before, but would love to see it again.

All too soon, most of the show was over, as the sky slipped into something more comfortable with only a hint of what had taken place. Before my very eyes, the redness dimmed, daylight took its rightful place.
Although alone at our home’s front door, I did wonder, if my friends would be looking at the same marvel, but then again, they are far apart, most likely seeing things at a different angle…if they are looking at all.

A warm feeling inside recalling, one by one… all my friends, which are now fewer in number than before, but, unlike Facebook, for above all else it’s not the amount of so many supposed friends you have on the internet, it’s the close friends you fortunately have…near or far.
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peter.howden
Marker

Have you voice to debate
Have wisdom to cry
Have strength for sorrow
Have courage to not hate
Have the character to lie
Have you resolve for tomorrow?
peter.howden
Memories from an old Chronicle.

Dear Diary; 03/06/2011

Coming down for breakfast this morning, recognizing a well kent pleasant smile of expectation, complete with enchanted echoing from behind my beloved’s eyes. This was broadcasting the arrival of the early daybreak banquet, added was the aroma of some perfume, disguising the usual kitchen whiff of pets, or the last evening meal.

This is when I made my first mistake, by enquiring if there was anything special going on. Shocked is not the word but angered hurt may be closer, while attempting to control obvious mixed emotions. My treasure closed her eyes tightly, then reopened them anew, speaking with tense softness, ‘Surely you have not forgotten? was the vital question, which she could easily see I was still in my own wee wonderland…me, the mad hare. ‘Remember’, she prodded, ‘When you betrothed your troth’

Struggling to come to grips with this newly born dilemma, yet, the dates did not tie up in this still half-a-sleep noddle. I was about to quote it was not the anniversary of me losing my virginity, as that was summer way back, and we had not even met, then luckily for me I pulled out at the last minute, the telling and not the act…I think. My love one looked so hurt, as if I did not care a fig, but low and behold I produced a card centenary, which in all truth, I forgot to post. I calculated I would win brownie points by stating the post could not be trusted, and it was too precious not to deliver by hand.

I was taken aback by ‘She who must be obeyed’, giving me with a card, by hand and the magic twinkle in her eyes. We kissed; we cuddled, then in turn opened our cards, with smiles beaming up the dull kitchen.

Just as I was about to replace the card ……..for next year’s outing , my true love utters in whispers………….don’t forget where you put it ‘

In her heart felt card… I wrote sincere lines, in hope it would forever keep us entwined;

Keep our true love alive,

By surprises, we strive,

And decisions it takes,

Sugar-Puffs or Corn Flakes.

AND THEY SAY… ‘ROMANCE IS DEAD!’
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peter.howden
Memories from an old Chronicle.

Dear Diary; 20/07/2011;


The other day, I witness something spontaneously caring, loaded with human kindness, almost beyond any measurement, yet… it was the cruellest blow all the same.

At a set of traffic lights, on a thoroughfare, a young hoody approached, which some older people would classify and judged as a modern teddy boy. This was the type who would carry a flick- knife, or a cosh, to alarm some poor old bugger… or worse still, intend to rob.

The almost phenomenon happened on the busy Victoria Rd, while the man was heading for Queens park, and the renowned ducks and swans pond. The papers say there are rats there, but everybody knows ducks don’t eat rats. Anyway, this older man was attempting to cross the road when the hoody moves towards him.

The gentleman was nervous, but, from under the hood, a broad smile from cheek to cheek appeared. When the traffic lights changed, the hoody gently held the man’s arm, guiding the older man safely across the busy highway.

Without waiting to be thanked… he disappeared into the oncoming crowd.

The cruellest stroke being…I was the perceived older man
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peter.howden
Memories from an old Chronicle.

Dear Diary; 27/04/2010


I saw an inspiring face today, mind you, just a jiffy glimpse, a beautiful vision you shouldn’t forget, or ever want too. Not a glamorous face comparable to those prepared on the glossy cover of a magazine, or film star, or one of those many forgettable celebrities.

An almost flawless reflexion, akin to a magnificent creation, bursting forth with innocence embodied. Just Infront of me, this allusion bowled me over, way beyond her womanly conception… from who knows where in the cosmos.

Lost within the wonder just gazing on her superior features, while oozing with temptation, leaving a guilty feeling for wishing to steal such a moment. Recognizing the young lady inspired me to quicken my foot- step, in a vain effort to catch up with her, whisper her name so softly. She would know instantly who it was …if only I could remember her name.

Then, and only then, I stopped immediately, regretfully realizing time was playing such a cruel joke, on this now simple mind. Such soft enchanted memories, became entangled in today’s reality, rapping around an unknown innocent lady.

Standing frozen to the spot, exactly in the location where so long ago, this real phantom picture from the past, lured this old fool into wishful thinking…yet, just for that split second, or two…the illusion of ecstasy beckoned me forward
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peter.howden
Memories from an old Chronicle.

Dear Diary 28/09/2010//


Today, preforming my usual routine, which could mean several things, however, in this occasion, a small walk, assisting my rough dicky tummy constitution. There can be no other word to describe the present weather, other than ‘terrific’, although some are talking of a Indian summer, which would be correct, since recently, the heavens have been opening up, causing miniature monsoons over the last few months

There was a certain spring in my late autumn step, purely because of the sunshine, reviving aching limbs as the fresh air breezes through the renewed cut grass, and all the countryside stuff. While walking, I find it rejuvenating my dulled mind, to boldly go…exploring certain taboo subjects…and if we can change some for the better.

Passing various prosperous streets, possessing decent living abodes, yet recalling in this area, things were not always as good as they seem today… and how millions around the world are not so lucky.

Turning my head upwards towards the nearly cloudless blue sky, mentally asking, why within affluent countries, people are so deprived, suffering terrible hardship, while religion influence is so abundant. Why so much manmade bitterness between creeds, causing so much misery

I could swear, an imaginary deity, boomed in my head; ‘Why ask me… things haven’t changed much since I was created!’;
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peter.howden
SPELL

Time gives the impression of being elastic, for the older I reach, the more I’m confused about understanding ‘theory of relativity’. It is said, brilliant Albert Einstein did add, then subtract, a slight variation of the mathematical equation, to fit his peer’s thesis. Gosh, scientists bow to pressure…and some tell fibs.

Apparently, time has a ‘Tautochrone Curve’, while the universe is made up with 94% of Dark matter. Does it matter… Jings…find the light switch. On the face of it, the speed of time whizzes past me, with a commoner’s technical term of ‘Crivven’s’ it’s Monday again’…Help ma Bob’. Perhaps my view on time, has been tinkered with, hitting a snag, or two… or my mind is rather stourie.

During School days, as a pupil in Shawlands Academy, our absent-minded science teacher, taught, and raved, about the late great “Einstein” by observing movement relative to defined points. Our teacher was a grand tutor of theory, but his hands-on demonstrations in pure science, especially when apparatus containing compounds needed heated by a Bunsen burner… nearly always ended in a hitch…the game always became a boogie.

Last night I could not sleep, with curled time dragging, so I took action to pass the tedium. Earphones plugged into my faithful old turn table, spinning ‘Great British blues Barrelhouse and Boogie Bonanza, (L.P.) with such performers as; John Mayall; Alexis Korner; Cyril Davis; Graham Bond…and the great Peter Green. To make it absolutely complete, a large dense glass of dense Highland Park. Then looking out ‘Toni’s’ room window, into the dark outside world. Why we call it “Toni’s room, is lost in time…though she never spent a night between these walls.

Pleasantly passing time, It is amazing how good music, and a bonny drop of splendid spirit’s does for the soul. In 1999, in our patch, Calvay Housing Association, planted a tree, which now is maturing long branches, desperately reaching up through the darkness of the seemingly timeless sky.

Drifting through the past activities in our home, when a break in concentration, started my pondering over a long-forgotten puzzle, nay an enigma, nay… a nagging paradox belonging to the golden thread of justice. A specific wager for a couple of pints, with Tommy, way back in 1967. The wager itself was simplicity when the fellow was unable to gain a date with a girl….and I boasted of my charms. The young lady did consent, with a slight wangling on my part, to attend the picture, “Deadlier than the male”. I won the said stake, fair and square, but dastardly ‘Tommy’, did not conclude, and has since gone missing.

The dilemma is …should the said young lady be responsible…and should the wager pass over to her.

The lady in question is; “She who must be obeyed”. Will I ask her, or should I consider …I just want to live!
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peter.howden
Holiday

Thank god we are much too old for camping, as the meteorological conditions are rather doggy. As for our wee tour, through the ‘Elliot’ Reivers clan’s territory was surprisingly, not bad at all. Checking the weather conditions before venturing south bound, it was rather gloomy…yet all the whole, it turned out fine down Dumfries way.

One thing most important in my agenda, not to weary ‘She who must be obeyed’, but boy didn’t she do well. Rebecca has one of those gadgets which tells you how many steps taken, when heavy breath makes the rate of the heart thump, what type of sleep is performing…and I would not be surprised if it did not detect when wind, just for cheek, was set free into the wild.
Her normal daily steps are around 1,000/1,500, but on the first day, nearly 5,000. Second day 4,300, 4,000, then 3,600. The actual worry was, due to her determination, casually stopping at various points, to give Rebecca time to recover, without butting into Rebecca’s wants.

One fundamental relaxation, for both of us, the massive bed in the Station hotel. It was bloody vast, we had to phone each other to meet up in the middle. We have a king size at home, but this was King…King size crib.

One real downpour, returning from Newton Stewart on the A75, knocking along at 25/30 for some 20 odd miles, while it was akin driving through a carwash and the whippers could not cope…yet some bloody loonies, dangerously overtaking whizzing by at 60 or more. One junction had a tractor stuck solid at an abuse angle, over the verge, while its trailer was completely overturned, spiking out on the road.

We totally relished all the small villages and hamlets, plus first time in Carlisle, also noting, akin to Dumfries, no professional beggars, or Scroungers squatting in the streets. When in Ayr yesterday, some 8 or so right down the main shopping street, Greggs buns and coffee, fags stuck in their mouths, squatting on a cushion, a plastic cup ready for donations. The sad thing is, we will always have poverty, however this is just abuse on the public…. even worse than the organized panhandlers

I now have obvious signs of arthritis creeping along on my main hand. It possesses the knack of annoyance sometimes, then the slightest touching a surface…a pain just shoots up the arm. Trying various exercises with a tad of relief…but like everything else as we grow older…adapt to suit.

A Glaswegian Hobo
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peter howden
computer in hospital...unknown illness...surgeon working...hope eternal...waiting for news...unable to comunicate until ....whatever??
take care
P.S....thank you d
peter.howden
My Chronicles 21/08/2019…

Driving home from holiday Dumfries, the main thing on our minds was our bed. Bizarrely each time returning from a much-enjoyed trip, or outing, coming home to our own missed bed, just oozes with daydream delight. Also, it is odd, how in diverse ways, things taken for granted, flooding back virtually as soon as the key turns the front door…and the following days.

We have two chiming clocks which were in Aunt Becky’s abode before she moved to the Dementia home. One loses 3 ½ minutes per day, the other is faithfully either 7 hours behind, or 5 hours in front. If you waken up in the night, it can be confusing but it warmly reminds Rebecca and I, of both Becky and Uncle David. Last week, I took Becky for the usual hurl, around Strathblane, Lennoxtown and Torrance, then back to the home. For an unexplained reason Becky remembered my name, held my hand carefully, singing along to the well kent Scottish songs as we drove along…a touch of instant magic.

Toni is constantly with us all, although we have different ways to receive and remember her life. Toni’s demise anniversary was two days into our home coming, bring unsuspected memories with different emotions bubbling around each. I found two enlarged old photographs, which I hadn’t seen for such a long time, taken when she was around 11 years old. One, along with her constant pal at the time Elena, playing golf with a plastic club and ball, the other is paddling in the sea, at Stevenson, with nephew Mark, and Aunt Ann.

On our first Saturday back, we enjoyed Toni’s main man Fergus, Nicky and the kids, around the old wooden kitchen table, as usual, talking ten to a penny. Why…who knows… but it was more than particularly pleasurable. Chris and Kirsty were unable to make it but came the following week.

It was quite a shock to find out, because it collapsed into a blank screen, how habitual my computer had become. My knowledge of the intricate workings of a processor and the technical language needed to understand what had gone wrong…is almost nil. One thing was sure, I had not a scooby what went wrong. But as usual relied on Fergus’s methodical patience with computers…but more important… with me. This is why ‘My Chronicles’ is so far back.

Visited Dom on Sunday, who has Demetria and Parkinson, whose crack used to be, “I knew I had Parkinson when I kept interviewing people!”. He has lost most of his abilities, needing 24-hour care from his missus Janet, who is a cracker but knackered and needing help from the authorities. On Tuesday travelled down to Ayr, for a slight refreshment in the company of China, Jim Hendry. We do talk a lot of nonsense, act like old age teenagers… but we laugh a lot... good medication. Hope to see chums, John Sweeney and Hugh Cameron shortly.

Soon, It will be the 50th, Wedding Anniversary of ‘She who must be obeyed’ and myself, who disgracefully has taken Rebecca for granted throughout the passing years…naughty boy. I am lucky having such a patient lady. I have booked a table at the Kastriot's Mediterranean bar and Brasserie, for our close family. We did have imaginings of growing old together, but never dreamt how lucky it would turn out…and how much I love her…wow.
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peter.howden
JIM; Behind the 8 ball.


Jim stepped down from the train, instantaneously knowing where he was heading, where he must be at a precise time for the sake of the mission, but more important, for his destiny.

For years, every movement, every thought, every counter was focused on this moment. Each person had played a vital part though no one could take the honour… or agree responsibility for such extreme actions now taken, except it was the very core of their country’s ideals, and dreams for future prosperity… had been since God knows when.

Jim was well aware he would be a fish out of water… yet had calculated, so many times, when things kicked in after the first switch, then it would be inevitable that his pre training and guides from officials, and of course the ever-present clergy, would automatically follow its wake. Every stage had been minutely inspected… every error being accounted for, and counter acted upon. Nothing was laid to chance. Nothing.

Jim, although checked to be A1 fit, was under no allusions of coming out alive. Was God out there and what was the purpose? Would Jim gain a glance of heaven, or could it be Elysian field or plain Zion, though he preferred “Valhalla”, believing, with some justification, he had a touch of Viking blood not too far down his hereditary roots. The trouble with this type of rational, before the mission, spaced him out, leaving room for error… and he could not afford this. Jim had to display courageous poise right through to the end.

He had not always been of this frame of mind, often demonstrated he was not wishing to be “Part of a team” and done things he would rather not contemplate. So now was his point in time, his ultimate sacrifice for his country, his family, his extraordinary extravaganza Nirvana, and finally deemed for the good of all mankind.

As a daily habit, Jim had practiced every step, so not to faultier on the day the regulator would send him, alone, soaring way past any conception reasoning could give ordinary minds failing to fathom why. Once that button was activated, no power on earth could cancel or react the laws of nature taking over. Every member of the lift off team had strict instruction as to what, where and how, they responded to all final commands, to insure everything would go without a hitch.

Jim’s health was central to the mission as checks would take place almost up to the critical moment when the button was pushed, to be dead certain he was in tip top condition modern science could place him. It was seen as unrealistic or even cruel to continue if he was not A.1… but more important, the mission could well be put in danger.

Jim was alert stepping forward, though his vision was blurred as automation took over, sensing exactly where he should be while the members of the crew worked fast and furious insistently precise. Each man singled vision his own particular duty and instruction that combined into a synchronized act as one. Jim was helped into his cockpit as the forces around him apparently gripped his muscles making him as stiff as a corpse. Huge amount of activity was obviously happening all around this central spot, strapping him to his chair in preparation for take-off. The delicate helmet placed carefully so nothing would interfere with the final countdown.

For a split-second…Jim’s mind wandered while his gullet was near boaking with the mere exertion he was about to face. That would be embarrassing. His life flashes by in one corner of his mind though he fought against it, for this was not the time for regrets. His vision was still hazy, a good omen as he may very well weaken if he saw what was about to happen, thankfully something alien was blocking his eyes to open up to his surroundings.

Then suddenly; a massive surge of power, and an odious smell;

It was announced…. Prisoner number 238956 was executed, this morning, in the Electric chair.
peter.howden
POSTCARDS;

I’m afraid your hastily arrangement to visit to our ‘Wee Retreat’ for the elderly and infirm, has been wasted as your Aunt is enjoying life…not that we are not pleased to see you, any time…however, unfortunately the false information published by an over eccentric journalist, is nothing but desperate dishonesties on a slow news-day, as these common tabloid editors call the front pages bearing no tragedy. We are really sorry for your nervous journey, so unnecessary, but at least your minds will be put at ease!
How dare these repulsive rags print such slander and I can promise you this… We will be seeking out our lawyers in the highest courts, suing for a downright public apology for every demandable printed word….and retribution from these monsters

How long has your charming lady of an aunt, stayed in the safety of our little humble retreat from the outside world? Some 10 months the records show, and it only seems like yesterday you and she walked through that door for the first time. Your delightful aunt is extremely well for her age, and happy, though now, in these terrible circumstances, I’m forced to use my discretion by breaking a promise… but in doing so, with the knowledge you will be overjoyed, as we were when they informed the staff, in strict confidence.

What I’m about to tell you in the fullest intimacy, will maybe shock you, but please remember your Aunt has a mind of her own, and these things can happen …even at her age? She has been keeping company with a certain upright gentleman, and they fell in love…It’s as simple and gorgeous as that. Nothing at all sinister about it. Just a beautiful wonderful romantic tryst.

How dare these so-called daily papers squander our good name, by making our patrons madly worried. To think such atrocities, invent such horrific lunacy, to be believed as truthful journalism … we would slay our lovely clients? or as we would prefer to call them…our elderly family…but to do away with those completely healthy souls for financial profit by shady methods changing their wills …What audacity? What madness?

Your charming Aunt…She and Charles…an exquisite gentleman; very thoughtful and immensely smitten by your Aunt…. have ran away to a secret address in the Mid Pyrenees. They were planning to settle in Paris, alluring for lovers of all ages, but the mountainous air won out. I beg of you not to inform those scandalous papers …. Don’t you worry…I will have my day in court, they will all rue the day…please, mum’s the word, for I gave a solemn vow. Fortunately, I do possess the most convincing evidence to ease your mind….

Here are five exquisite intimate postcards…one for every week they have been there, personally sent by your Aunt, and all in her own handwriting, expressing everlasting love devotion to Charles…now is that not sweet, is it not? As you can see…she has given details as to her intention to stay there as long as they are happy.

Sorry…did not quite catch that; what are you saying…. your Aunt is illiterate…your beautiful Aunt never learned to read…..or write?
peter.howden
Dig it


Cracking Up… This tale maybe appreciated astutely by the more credulous minded;


“Well I say that’s just the last straw, we should not be subjected to such indignities, no matter how high the peers are. Our proud physical surveying suffered enough…now it’s time for action. What do they think we do all day, just dig insignificant holes for the pure pleasure in doing so? Well lads, our last wiggle for natures ploughs, now down tools (so to speak). We Lumbricinanots refuse to excavate, till our dignity is restored, our environments protected, then most important… appreciation for our existence is shown!”.

Two whole weeks ago, those were the resolute words, spoken by the chief engineer/ shop steward, of the celebrated, ‘Worldwide Organized Righteous Miners Society’, based in Buckingham Palace. Since then, the strike has spread to the rest of the country and I can tell you, it’s causing havoc. Where once England’s pleasant and quiet green countryside, has now been transformed into a mini Holland. 6,000 species and billion trillion worms stop…I blame the insolence of the palaces stone-faced footmen, if they were undertakers, people would purposely stop dying.

It has been reported, Bonny Scotland has fared much better, holding on to the confidence in the Loch Ness Monster, who is transporting huge quantities of water away from troubled areas….and these Sassenachs bampots, used to scoff at his existence. Apparently, Wales has not noticed the difference, and no one had the manners to ask Ireland.

In dialogue with thee agronomic professor on the ground; he states it’s quite simply. Millions of worms per square yard, dig trillions, upon trillion of holes per day, and numbers so fantastically large, scientist don’t talk about them, but they are known. When the worms stopped digging …the rain had no place to go.

Right now, to break the deadlock, the authorities requested Her Majesty, and her ladies in waiting (they decided not to ask Prince Phillip along in case he swore) to have a word or two with the worm’s leader. I will just place the microphone nearer, to hear the royal ‘Tete-a-tete’ down in the noble earth.

“Yes, I see why now. If you are humbly digging away, the last thing you want is a horde of royal Corgi’s, imperial Matchkes(cats) dumping night manure on top…bare ass* affronted I would imagine, even if it had been myself. Now the Engineer worm, who, the royal we, was unable to catch his name, replied… “That’s right missus, no one likes someone shitting on them while they work, or indeed while they are at it? Can I request a stately favour… stop those fanfare blaring night and day, when ether some royal person, arrives, or when you go to the loo…? its most alarming; especially in the dark!”

The Queen majestically waves her hand, as to agree to the worms demands. The trumpeters are instantly dismissed and sent off to the Dalai lama; to remind him of his homeland. As for the Queen’s mutts, they have been put on a tight reign. As for Prince Phillip…who knows?

The worms were as good as their word and in no time at all things were back to normal [size="4"][/size]
peter.howden
THE FIRST MORNING;

It was still very early in the morning, as Jill lay in the warmth of her marital bed, yet for some reason, she just could not sleep. The crib itself was a huge king size, which suited both her and Bill. Bill was her lovely husband she just loved to bits.

They had been married a lifetime, though he just got handsomer &handsomer as the time just magically passed. Jill squiggled the pillow softly not to wake her man, contented. He was always on her mind, more than anything else, in her wakened and conscious mind. Her Bill.

Some may see this being over the top Jill told herself, but how could it be because in Lena Horne’s words “What a man” … or was it Peggy Lee, well!… whoever it was it certainly fitted Bill like a picture. In the Post office queue, it really worried her as to how some women talked about their men. I would not dream of treating my man any way but with love, cooed Jill as she instantly recalled how they met.

Some really sad stories, if they were true, had come out of that post office queue. Some men were really mean to their spouses, and for no reason at all. Wonder why that is? Perhaps they should have a king size bed to be able to snuggle up any time and keep the chill away.

A little bird landed on the window ledge, pleasantly surprising Jill, moving her hand towards Bill, just for comfort but careful not to wake him. It looks as if it will be a lovely day and Jill pondered for a while, where Bill would take her. She had not been down to the sea for some time, though she just could not remember the last time, not exactly anyway

Jill swooned inside the covers of the luxury of her wedded bed, as she happily listened to Bill’s sleeping grunts and groans, while being excited like a wee lassie, hoping he would wake soon. He deserved a late lie. Do you know, she demanded of herself, Bill has never even sworn at her, never raised his voice, not even that time when something or other happened and most men would have blown a gasket. They certainly broke the mould. I hope the other women don’t think she is a bore, taking about Bill as she does, but what else can she do. Not one bad word from him.

Just a minute, I think he is wakening…I need to look my best for him, she excitingly whispered to herself as she turned around

A fearsome screech from her, followed by terrified screams of exasperating bawling and crying as she fought off this total stranger, who somehow got into her room, slept where Bill should have been. Jill let petrified anger loose, biting, scratching and kicking as the ugly stranger’s hands tried to touch her, while she screamed for her very life.

Bill… where’s my Bill…what have you done to my Bill?

The man just sat there.... unable to do anything, but call out softly and touchingly; “Jill; but I am your Bill”.

Jill is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s
peter.howden
My Chronicles 01/09/2019…


If the going rate of living life, remains certainly death…then I’ve had a cracker of a bargain, for in the main part, the journey has been something else. I’ve been lucky, even in my crazy drinking days, which lasted too long. There are no regrets for anything done, as remorse is just a waste of time, solving nothing, though, attempting to learn from a multitude of mistakes, is hard to remember how I’ve managed to accomplish some blunders, way over the top. Two things I didn’t do, trigger irritation in the mind, but they only arise intermittently.

‘She who must be obeyed’, has always stated my lack of ambition, though my simpler opinion was being sort of lazily wishing for something not time consuming. Over the last 25 years or so, in this frame of mind, being involved mainly as a represented of Calvay Housing, allied with E.V.H, S.H.A.R.E, S.F.H.A, particularly with. G.W.S. Forum. This allowed contact with a wide bunch of peoples, linked with such grand institutions, fortunately cemented, with the bonus of a couple of China’s. Now, I have to keep in mind, although I’m keen as muster to meet with a few good friends still connected with such organizations, they have busy diaries…as for my China’s…that’s a whole different ball game

Have been asked if the hurly burly of the movement haunts me, or indeed the challenges it brought regularly. I don’t is the simple answer, though I do miss the enjoyment the people gave me. I manage to meet up with some staff once or twice, plus keep company in home ground of well kent committee members from Glasgow and surrounding villages and towns. It’s good to look inside…from outside.

One reason for leaving was my memory was failing, what seems to be rapidly, and even with my own family…recollection is wandering. Just yesterday, as we sat around the old wooden kitchen table talking about what Happened during the week.

Our electric salt dispensers had finally given up the ghost, having been accidently dropped to many times. The wirings were fine, but the casing was cracked, and would not hold the salt. These battery-operated salt/pepper machines, where bought for me, because the growing pain in my hand, due to Arthritus. We purchased two new smaller ones to take their place.

Phoning Nikki, our daughter, to explain in a whimsical way. Simon answered the phone, but was willing to pass on the bereavement message

I explained how her gifted presents, late one night, within the shadow of their cosy kitchen cupboard, the ageing machines experienced a ‘Immaculate Conception’, consisting of two baby distributors, and all were doing fine. Next morning the parents of this extraordinary happening, just gave up, ceased to function… their final duty completed.

While telling this tale, it was obvious Chris our son, looked despondent, holding his breath until I had completed the news. Then with a sly smile said…Dad… I was the one who bought the electric salt/pepper cellars.
peter.howden
JIM stepped down from the train ®

Jim stepped down from the train, took a few steps before noticing something was not quite right, oddly feeling out of step there, wherever there was, though he could not put his finger on what? Every now and then he glanced around these peculiar surroundings, spotting people, apparently carrying their own private business, luggage and boxes hauled in all directions, similar almost any other busy railway connection, or terminal, but to some strange degree, it was not true,

Jim had been travelling for such a long trip, his dapper trouser creasing had gone haywire. Brushing himself down, as if to loosen imaginary cobwebs, tilting his trilby hat…that’s when it struck him. They were all wearing identical cloth caps. Not the kind you find in the Black Country, or strolling down Tweedale Street, Rochdale, of a morning, but a cap the exact same on every one’s head. A sort of bluish faded colour for both male and female, as far as Jim could see. It was only then Jim also noticed the blinding obvious, they were all dressed consistently in the same kind of material.

It was a busy station, supporting loads of goods waggons, while individuals doing various jobs as fast as time would allow, but where was the usual hustling and bustling clatter. Missing? he also noticed there was no conversation either, between anyone. Jim did not know what to make of it, taking another gingerly step forward, all his instincts told him to be careful.

Taking out his bashed packet of cigarettes from his pocket, carefully lit one with no difficulty. As usual, while in an open aired public place, his helping hand acted as a windbreaker…but there was no wind or even a pathetic draft. From nowhere and without a word spoken, this person appeared in front of him, whisking the smouldering cigarette out of Jim’s mouth, stood on it, then, without one single utter of explanation, disappeared into the throng of the crowd.

He looked around, yet could not see where the individual had gone, except into the mass, where he did realize nobody was smoking, either a fag, or pipe, or even chewing. Every one’s appearance was the one in front, or behind, or ether side, in fact they looked all the same, as if clad in duplication from one frame... So much so, it was hard to separate the sexes. The absence of the bustle day to day clanking of a railway depot, came to Jim’s attention.

Yet Again, with a more detail gaze on his location, Jim focused on apparent workers acutely performing detailed duties, with jerky and deliberate clockwork precision. Bodies walked, back and forth in defined motion, rather than individual flows or ordinary activities. Another glance, plainly revealed mindless gazed expressions, frightening identical in each being.

There was something really disturbing about the whole scene. Jim started to be aware that terror was close to his thoughts, while he struggled to make sense or reason of the whole matter. A gigantic screen flashed a message above the multitude. Reading the missives growing horror, the following words were, “In the year four score and ten of Utopia, we, the governing body of human happiness, will announce new rulings to improve the wellbeing for all “. Jim froze; “Where the heck am I…but bloody more important, where have I been?”, holding a comforting grip on his chic trouser braces. Strange what you do while in shock.

His racing thoughts were instantly drawn on past discussions with acute scholars of life. ‘Utopia. had always been in serious conversation throughout any history, against politicians swearing their lives away, similarly to old quack peddlers selling ‘Snake oil’, reputed possessing rare medicine of questionable miracle liquid, one drop solves all. Why didn’t keep their word, but what word, they spout so much!

Esteem authors such as George Orwell’s later thinking in “1984”. Huxley’s having more human impression, in “Island”, or “Community-Identity-Stability”; from the brave new world. All have one thing in common. The Mass dictated to by one implemented compulsory vision. This should have been a warning.

Most warped minds, in this gene for the betterment of mankind, had no qualms exterminating lower class they deemed not fit, or having a gauge of performance to right of life. Simply being born was no longer a qualification. The plain logic of maths invaded taking any line as a start, to rid the population of its lowest living denominator, which would mean, the next slightly upper populace, now become the lower denominator … and so on.

Jim stopped reading the dictation on the massive notice screen, while the full horror dawned on him, if this was not reality, what state of mind had he become, or was this “HELL”. Sense utterly emptiness and alone, sinking in such a timeless void. He attempts one last effort, to converse to one person passing closely…ignored. Shouting at the top of his voice, to anyone just to reply… a deft silence…as he plunges helplessly into nothingness.
peter.howden
A Fleeting tale


Yesterday comes again…masquerading as today


“Hi Joe, its dreich outside, how are things?”

“Haud yer wheesht wee man, it’s stoatin oot there, and ma heid’s mince”, came Joe’s brittle response, followed in a more serious mood, “Mobbed and Hoachin wae competition for slim pickings in here, gaun haufers, though we canna be too fussy, not like the auld days. Some headbanging clype swore its more hygienic now, or back in yon time, it was mingin. Their wrang… a gallus auld bird telt me, a bit of dirt didn’t hurt anyone, keeps the balance in the wee hormones. Gabbing about hormone’s, in the old days it was easier to get the birds, not politically today, noo it’s… the female of the species.

“Joe…every so often I don’t know what you are trying to convey, your dialect is so harsh to grasp”, says an exasperated Billy

“Jist haud yer wheesht Billy, shut yer geggy, fur yer up to high doh wae jorries in yer mooth… yer bum’s oot the windae…All I’m telling yersel is, young yin’s dinna ken their well aff… easy-peasy, tons in the grub department, everything in plastic cartons, tossed willy nilly all ower the joint…naw compulsion to pick up the crap, pap the lot in the bin. The pure dead brilliant times are done…thin pickings from now on, making it harder the older we get.

You’ll ken I’m noo hen pecked, but I don’t want to ruffle my missus feathers back at the howff. The wee woman is a bit cranky…thought she caught Cocci, but lucky it wisnna. Yer a wee bit peely-wally yersel Billy?” inquired Joe

Worriedly Billy informed Joe, “ Woke up this morning, in some weird place, with somebody forcing some kind of liquid down my gullet…then they disappeared left me woozy and sore, not myself…I had to use all of my inbuilt senses, through this terrible driech morning, to find my way to the station”, replied Billy

Joe checked to see what was happening around them, retorted slightly seriously, “ aye, me as well… left the cronies on my way hame, took a rest, put my feet down…wham…next thing I’m on the ground,, dizzy- lizzie disorientated, and bloody sore… left with ma feet killing me, naw pirlie-winkies ….hell of a hard using ‘Shank’s Pony’…anyway mustn’t moan…still alive… Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye!”…sound as the pound…right?”

Last week, while sipping coffee within a crowded Central station, this was my imaginary conversation between twa pigeons, wobbling around underfoot of the tables, pecking here, there and everywhere. One had no feet, just burnt crisp blobs where once there was. The other was a limping scabby bird hopping, totally unable to use its wings.[/size][size="3"]
peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

Turkish Twa;


In such neighbourhood’s picture houses, they did enjoy a good Wild West movie, to escape the reality of greyness’ in the late forties, fifties, early sixties, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t? Most kids wanted to be the good guys, wear the ever-white hat, except for Hoppalong Cassidy, never seemed to fall off their trusty steed. If they did, it was right back on with the next clip, racing towards a nail-biting dual. Out of all the he-men actors, the best would be, without doubt; THEE COWBOY… JOHN WAYNE

Apparently, the English populace believe we Scots, all suffered from Big John syndrome. compensating for the tiny ‘Mc/Mac’, especially with reputations of… ‘Wee hard men’.

For the mighty District Council, a period of Ben’s life was working as a Turkish attendant, in such an establishment already with two regular men working split shifts within its rooms. The first of these was Bob, chubby easy-going guy, who was rather tight when money was concerned. Being taken out, by stretcher, to an awaiting ambulance, after a heart attack, he asked Ben to collect his tip and bring it to the hospital.

His mate Gus, a huge man, hands like shovels, built like the side of a house. Being of John Wayne stature, he was the baths answer an ultimate weapon, only to be let lose when all else failed, and then you just closed your eyes and prayed. Woe betide any customer who dared to question anything to do with the service he was supposed to give.

Gus saw it in a different light, it was a service he deemed fit they should have. He exercised quite a phobia about the Turkish baths, how it may be a magnet for loathed gay guys. If he thought someone was, then that was the man labelled… dealt with retribution.

Big Gus, as his label was, had a moral code, a kindness of surprising quality. Once when a regular punter unknowingly lost his wallet in Bob’s shift. Gus found it as he finished his shift, knowing to whom it belonged, he decided to keep it, rather than handing it in, which the strict regulations demanded. Gus drove twenty miles out of his way to return it safely to its correct owner, simply because he was an old man, and the big fella liked him. Not for any reward but just for what he felt was right.

Joe the gaffer(supervisor) came in one late afternoon, telling how six of the local hoodlums had been causing a catalogue of problems while abusing the swimming baths area, and they had refused to pay. Now shouting obscenities, they were in the changing cubicles, right next to the Turkish door to the pool, which had swing doors something like the ones you always see in the cowboy movies in saloon scenes. Wearing just a small towel to hide his modesty, Gus stormed out straight to the poolside, physically clutched the first bloke, growled the question, “have you paid”. Before the guy had a chance to answer, Gus squarely punched him right in the face. Quickly moving to the second box, Gus asked the same question and again he left no pause for an answer, and again the guy received the same type of blow… if not harder.

By this time, the rest of the wild bunch grasped something was going on. the third supposed hard man, decided that a quick exit was in call, clinging to his hurriedly collected cloths, was about to dash for it as he opened up that swing door. Gus never asked him anything, just swung straight at the now scared bloke, forcing him to land straight back inside on the small ledge they used as a seat. Joe had been wrong for they had been seven of them and they were now behaving, well below the par of the Magnificent Seven.

The remaining four were beating a hasty retreat down the long passageway leading to the main door. They were in various states of attire, but all were in desperate haste, dropping some garb in the process, and leaving it, as they raced in a gallop for the horizon. Gus did not take the time to ask if they were the troublemakers, so there could have been another eventful outcome but “Hell No Pilgrim” as big John may have said.

Gus had more in common with the man who bore the names, Marion Michael Morrison, showing a persona to be feared, especially one Friday night on September weekend. Ben, acting shop steward, had just left four gaffers, two area managers and a district superintendent, informed how the staff were not allowed to work at treble time, No sooner had these words left Ben’s lips, Gus jumped into action, again with only a small work’s towel covering him, marched into the office where they all were, slam the heavy door. Some thirty seconds later…he returned to the hot rooms, declaring how Ben and him, were working at treble time that weekend…. but he couldn’t since he had other plans.

I am not trying to glorify the man, just to point out his uncontrollable manner, and how mainly other people saw him, but Ben would tell everyone, as far as confidence with other people’s money and possessions goes, then there is no second thought… for Gus was one of the few people who was trustworthy
peter.howden
The Journey

Jim stepped down from the train, immediately knowing where he was. “I’m dam sure this was not my original destination when I boarded the carriage, but I definitely know this place!” he thought inwardly. The guardsman hollered; “We’ll stop here for exactly two hours, repairing vital parts of the locomotive, don’t wander too far, but don’t worry folks, you will arrive at your unique destination, mandatory on your own personal ticket!”

It was at this instance or there about, Jim realized they had stopped at the township he grew up in. Jim appeared to walk aimlessly, for his feet seemingly had taken on an agenda of their own, leading him to an old run-down shop. This establishment had been his family’s business, almost as old as the township itself, seen the store in its prime and glory, but now about to collapse.

He left the tiny enterprise during the depression, while his parents were in dire need of unpaid help, but he needed to “Get away” and make his mark. He might have stayed on, yet the lore of bright lights, dictated his departure. His father suffered a stroke shortly afterwards, his mother never recovered from the gruesome toil to make ends meet. They are both gone now…Jim can’t remember being at their funerals. Sad, how things do change without warning, especially when there is a wanting not to see.

A stroll left him standing outside the church, used for all religions and ceremonies within the tiny community. The past intensely crept back into his mind, of his girl, Jane to be precise. The result of a unbridled fancy, a seed of life, formed with embraced love, the need to marry, to keep his beloved’s reputation being torn by the biases straight laced core in the small town…. he promised a hasty elopement. Not only did he take cold feet at the last possible moment, but swiftly vanished without trace. Not a word, as Jane waited at the hall door; causing her to face constant disapproval from the righteous bible brigade,

Jim swore he could hear the organist playing, rather badly, but with gusto and heart. He was almost sure catching a glimpse of his old love, but gnaw, it could not be. “I wonder what happened to her and my child”, Jim mutely moaned to himself. She was forced out of town, as the gossip’s glances were never of the kindly type.

Somehow, as if by magic, or some mysterious force, he was standing in front of the bank. It had managed to keep its business, struggling against two possible runs on the bank, common for that period of time. One thing, above all else, kept it going was it belonged to the people, and the community trusted everyone, for they were all in the same boat. Times were desperately hard, and the silver dollar was but a dream, and Jim had so many dreams.

This was the very reason he chose to scarper… however, I would not suppose the town would have given this act two thoughts, had he not taken $4,000 of their money. He persuaded himself having to get out of such a dreary place and make good of himself. The trouble was; he never did.

Perhaps nostalgia or time had placed soft sparling coating over his eyes, for the township looked warm to his mind….and after all, it was where he grew up… becoming the man he is.

A call out from the train’s guard, to hastily boarding the Pullman, then the train shot off like a bullet out of a gun. As it clattered along, the faceless ticket collector was high above him, as Jim slunk on the couch of the carriage, wondering if he had been fantasizing, as he could not remember where his journey started, or if he been sleeping all the way. . He was just about to inform the guard of his destination, when his ticket was punched, handed back without a word being spoken.

Jim glanced at his ticket, frowned with distrust at the words printed boldly; “a one-way ticket to Hell”
peter.howden
Inner…What?

The modern way in communication, via the computer’s reality of the internet, can mystify, and worry the older members of this crazy wonderful life. Yet, olden ways of contact can still disturb even the clearest and honest minds. The dreams of our ancestors carry messages bearing adventures of your soul (guise in different titles), equally essential as life itself,

Last night was one heck of a night for the collection of mysterious dreams rambling through my sleep, transporting my semi consciousness into the wonderland of dreams of the sea’s booming waves, animating their own stories of roving seahorses throughout the globe, landing on a distant shore…then way beyond.

Somewhere I sensed the belief in an imaginary friend, always there for me, but sadly shocked to discover my imaginary friend, has an imaginary friend he prefers to me. How can I compete? not to converse with him, whatsoever his name was

Strangely in the distance, I could see individual minute dung beetles, as if they were just underneath my feet, coming closer and closer, larger and larger, until one huge monster was above me. This fertiliser beast began to roll me in a ball of muck

Whisked forward into an emotionless structure, as an overzealous tattered prophet, dispersing his pious news, indulging in homemade text and phrases, how you are what you earn, reap what you sew… some two eons late.

Now wakened, how may I analyse the intricate jigsaw communication from the twilight zone, a sort of reverse in father Ted’s explanation to Dougal, what near and far away, meant !

For so many years my diary was dictated by other organizations agendas…now I’m free to impose my own agenda, with minor interference from anyone…. I’m still manure at organizing myself ….
peter.howden
More news from the village of Dreimire

Welcome…welcome…welcome to our quaint village, where the residents of “Dreimire” certainly don’t have their heads in the sand, realizing the practice of the oldest profession in the world, takes place in the red light district, specially selected to be as discreet as possible, even with the protests of the minister, who unfortunately has a lisp.

What causes real excitement, is the clone life-size drawing of ‘Dolly the sheep’, tied up, outside the village mobile sex shop, every second night. with a notice secured in an obvious place, of the dangers of whiplash for passing motorists

Health and safety is always paramount, when choosing a blow up wellies for such a dancing occasion. Blow or suck to scale your own size, complete with tempting and tantalizing flavours hiding the taste of Dettol. It certainly makes the eyes water, while the ‘Military two step’, is performed by the gay Gordens trio, all privates, no dashing sergeants.

Dolly is certainly not the original call sheep, as there has been a few Shelia’s before… and a Morag if memory serves me well, though after the high jinks of a Friday night, complete with fish and chips, plus a bottle of Vimto… then anything can happen,

The lure of the night when hot blooded young men, and women, seeking more enticing things to satisfy their particular needs. Some young mistresses have to accidentally pass a dozen or more times, before setting upon more experience of this and that…whatever this and that is? … more news in the next edition .
peter.howden
More news from the village of Dreimire

The reputed author, learnt to scribble before learning to read, which became confusing because he could not cypher anything he accidently wrote. Now remember; what is seen in these said scribbles, not for the intellectually minded, only in the imagination of the reader of words….

Dreimire, as with all growing metropolises, there is a portion of dog fouling, mainly in the park, that proudly takes the name of the founder of Dreimire, Sir MacMount,

It is obvious this cannot be allowed to continue, for as well other dog fouling occasionally laid in the village lanes, this had been solved, not indeed to be swept under the carpet, as some other skulduggery regions do. When an offensive toley was discovered, operation ‘Cinderella was put into practice’. The dislocated dog toley was placed on a red cushion, scrutinized and measured, then frozen. Every dog from every knock and cranny in the district, physically checked for fit. Whines, moaning… and again bulging eyes, where present when the discipline was taking place.

No bum was left unturned, no hurdies to low. Once ownership was established, by process of elimination, an appropriate fine was made to pay, together with a severe handling charge imposed, also, the price of a new pair of gloves. The humiliation did the rest…illegal dog pooing was wiped out, in a single chilled stroke

Also, within the famous park, Sir MacMount, a competitive, activity between dogs and their owners, some may even see it as sport. Dogs crouching down, in deep concentration, waiting for their balls to be flung. all dogs are busy chasing bouncers from one corner to the next

The dilemma is, some enthusiastic mutts are tripping up other dogs, just to get their balls, long after the fetch whistle has been blown. They seem bent not to understanding the offside rule. One owner chucked a Chihuahua’s (nicknamed Techichis) in an effort to foul the other owner. Several dog lovers believe the reason why Chihuahuas have bulging eyes, is this very fear of being tossed onto the pitch, while kilts are dangerously swaying above, revealing all… in such a limited space.

After diligent research, this is not the case. They were used as ceremonial sacrifices by the Aztecs and the Toltec’s. Now, if you were the smallest dog in the world, and a dirty great Teuchter came up to you for such a ceremony, then your eyes would bulge as well.

It is rumoured, the first rugby teams formed in Dreimire village, the packs decided to practice unseen in the scrum, not with the oval ball, but with Chihuahuas…much more cuddly
peter.howden
A VISIT TO ABERDEEN

A visit to Aberdeen proved splendid, though unnerving cold winds blew wildly across the Granite City’s beach, near Queens links, as the North Sea roared across virgin sands. Meanwhile, snug folks in the hotel’s bar, were paying extortionate prices for wee 5th of a gill measures of, “The Water of Life”, Scotland’s national drink.

Unwilling to pay the extra coins, I crept away from all the hubbub, entered my room with great expectations, finding Uncle David’s bequeathed silver flask, now filled with Highland Park Valkyrie single malt, worth many a bawbee. The heirloom carrying the precious cargo was swiftly found.

Prudently twitching the lid anticlockwise, which led to the golden nectar inside, aspirations were at fever pitch, my wants were truly wanting, as the screw became looser and looser, until free completely. Instead of pouring it into the alternative drinking vessel, I decided to slug it straight from the lovely silver neck.

The taste of paradise just passes my lips, slowly the golden liquid to be nurtured onto the roof of my anticipating mouth, and… shit, it was putrid. I rushed to spit this dire solution free of my mouth. Luckily a makeshift quaich was close at hand and the whole amount fell. This foreign fluid was green in colour.

Then I recalled I had used dental Steradent active false teeth cleaner, to deep clean my treasure flask last time in use.

Tragically and obviously, I had forgotten to empty this vile stuff.
peter.howden

My Chronicles 25/09/2019…

It was deliberate not to see Aunt Becky for quite a while, allowing her, and the staff, time to settling in their daily routine after moving to a brand newly built expansive home. The actual shifting date for Becky, changed a few times, due to rearranging essential works completed by ‘City Building’. Some two weeks ago, took advantage of the invitation given to have a saunter around this spacious establishment, proved to be impressive, where Becky and her cronies will spend most of their time.

Becky’s in room 13, overlooking what will turn out to be a pleasant variety of flowers and trees. All the mod cons, including a massive screen attached to the wall facing the bed. This means when the Proms are on late of an evening, the carer can switch it on, allowing Becky to enjoy all her music in privacy. I certainly believe, that although the premises are important, it is the staff personal abilities which counts in such homes. The plan is for tomorrow, to take Aunt Becky for a new route hurl… heading for the beloved hills.

Glasgow’s city centre has changed considerably, with only a few landmarks which reminds a simple mind of many a happy encounter. The new one yesterday was meeting up with Salty, for a jar or two, although the final ‘Alcohol Chess’ challenge is still to be determined. Retiring from the sea next month, he is always good company, however my ability to stay sober is more than wobbly. Salty is planning to renovate his cabin, so with luck we may hold the ultimate game then.

I often rambled around my brain, chiefly when I was younger, who, what, why and how are we on this earth…the theories where wild , many of them stolen from others, books, even comics, but still didn’t managed to get my head to quite work it out. Is there a thing called love…or is this just a gift-wrapped excuse, to blindly follow so called mother nature… copulate to populate?

All I know is, ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, have a bond…that no known words can analyse…50 years wedding anniversary ….and it is not long now for the family’s celebrations
[size="4"][/size]
peter.howden
Acting Snobs

“I can’t believe it!…it’s an outrage to be treated this way, a guest of my calibre, who in stately homes has mixed in high society, brushed against royalty dynasties throughout this fair land… and further afield I may add!”, bellowed such an angry voice, which mercilessly continued, “Is this some sort tragic wheeze, a bizarre joke, cruel revenge of a spiteful insignificant acquaintance ?”, said the haughtily voice, with just a tinge of venom.

“I agree with you dear”, a gentler feminine voice, then hesitantly adding, “Though sometimes, just now and then in the past, you’ve lost your head in the heat of the night, almost scaring me out of my wits!”, spoke the female colleague, “still sweet, but with more emphasis, “it’s not right, so there”,

The male took little notice, continued his rant, “ For yonks, I’ve tread the boards of the great empire theatres in this land, and no stranger abroad on occasions, with comical plays, and tragic performances, as me, yes me as the main theme, including Shakespeare and the gifted Scottish Bard from Ayrshire”, the snooty voice ran out of breath, then faded.
“Should we not attempt to make the best of it, even though fate has cast us so?,” quietly but more firm than before, came the dainty tone of voice. “We have been together for such a long time…ever since the incident…you know?”, abruptly stopping her, with a almighty outburst; “be quiet!”

Silence fell, until a quieter, but still gruff voice addressed, “Sorry …its just here, once proudly possessing a country high society grand house, on a hill overlooking roaming countryside, belonging to the ‘Bishop of Glasgow’, was when I began travelling from place to place , but this puny, so called residence, is harshly unimportant, no space to be flamboyant, no hide hole to prepare” spoke the male voice…almost in tears.

‘Suddenly, with resolute firmness, he added, “we will go on strike…tell the guild we refuse to give nightly performances here”. “Now, let us both fly off, confront the union, demanding better conditions, and total respect for our art!

The inhabitants of 12 Calvay Place, Barlanark, were tucked up cosily in bed, fast asleep, oblivious to the fact, two such phantoms had visited their home
-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
PEEWEE’S LAST PARIS;

This encounter with Peewee was no different from previous meetings, although unexpected, this was early October, chilly winds kept the locals of Saltcoats wisely indoors. On the other hand, I left the warmth of a delightful inn, as a challenge against nature’s impatience, wobbling along the shore, before taking a respite in the shelter of the dunes. Removing Uncle David’s silver flask from my inner pocket, a few generous sips past my lips before becoming aware of my feather-friend’s company.

As you may be aware, Pee-Wee has more than a tint of magic about him, vital while protecting the ‘Lord Provost of Glasgow’, and all previous Provosts, since the dark unwritten scrolls of the mysterious middle ages. Firstly, Richard De Dunidovis, followed by John Stewart, the original named ‘First Provost’, and his regrettable misplaced…Incident?

Over the centuries. under the political banner of the Auld Alliance, Pee-Wee made many trips during war and peace, particularly throughout the terrible times Madame Guillotine ruled, with the old hags and their needles of knitting revolution in those chilling years. Peewee recalled visiting a valiant Scot mercenary soldier from Glasgow, who saved France in the Italian Campaign, becoming a French nation’s hero… to this very date.

After the customary warm-hearted greetings lifelong friends do, a rather subdued Peewee explained, his latter trip to France’s capital may be his last, due to the crazy political ether, here in U.K. We Scots, having a cantankerous history of being argie-bargie creating treaties…however…once made…our word was our bond.

Peewee looked despondent, saying, regardless what other nations do, how could he tell the French people, and Europe’s population, we will not honour our agreement.

Taking a sneaky sip, from Uncle David’s flask…turned around…Peewee was gone…fingers crossed we will meet again
-=-=-=-=-
peter.howden
My Chronicles 06/10/2019…

Rebecca and I, are so grateful, for all the smashing cards, Phone-calls we received…thank you all


Rebecca and I, decided quite a while ago, having our 50th celebration with our family, Chris, Kirstie, Nikki, Simon, Fergus, Lauren, Josh, Andrew and partner…last, but not least Emma, in a Greek, Italian restaurant. The evening was an intimate affair, parallel to Saturday’s kitchen table, but with no dishes to do. The family surprised we two, with tickets to a ‘rare tear’, on 25th November at Musselburgh racecourse, plus fish & chips supplied, then off to a fancy hotel (complete with hot tub) for two days, to revive… or regain breath. We received other personal gifts, which we will cherish

‘She who must be obeyed’, and I, have another date, with special company, on the 16th of October, for a slap-up meal. During October/ November, we will plan, with several very close friends, when and where the opportunities arrives, for both parties. Early next spring, our intentions are to visit the wider family members who live down south, and Jersey.

Today Rebecca is flat-out in bed, suffering with a long linger flue/cold symptoms, but also a shivering fever. We both had indications of heavy colds over the last week or so, but nothing would prevent missing the big event.

Monday, when leaving her brand-new home, walking Aunt Becky to the car, stopping at the one and only step in the courtyard. Slowly Becky moved, somehow lost balance, seemingly in slow motion, turning away her body, to land on her bum, then flat out. Lucky for us, security cameras are all around. Two members of staff rushed to her aid, checking if any injuries had occurred, especially her head…gratefully no. Aunt Becky’s only complaint was her arse was freezing.

I checked each day, she is O.K. Today is her flue jag. From now on, I will make sure, we have an escort…to and from the car.
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peter.howden

The facts;

In 1968, the population of a Greater Metropolis of this narrative, was 1,209,143, each individual had a tale. Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to read is true, only the names, and locations, have been changed to protect the main character… one chancer.

" Just the facts, ma'am "

Due to his occupation at the time, the chancer used a shortcut between two community boundaries, a sizeable strip of land, known locally as the ‘Moles Mire’. Hidden from public view from the main road, existed an oasis of trees, and bushes, in this desolate terrain, giving temporary secret campsites for ‘Shelta’ talking gypsies.

The main character, an amiable soul while passing the travellers site, stopping to conversed as best he could. The nomads were extremely gracious, totally squashing their ill-gotten mischievous reputation. At the furthest end of the mire, stood an auld sawdust pub. One very hot day, making his way to the other side, the chancer almost passing the tavern, dropped in for a slight refreshment.

Approaching the bar, observing the place was nigh empty, except one individual at the counter. Being of a free will affable nature, the character, using Scottish banter, engage with the stranger. Within a short time, the repartee was like a house on fire, with the stranger explaining he had just been demobbed from the S.A.S. Heading for the manky loo, the listener found the tale hard to swallow, yet, he was going to leave...so why cause problems.

Returning to the company to say bye, suddenly the stranger’s face changed into apparent anger, then produced a real firearm, and in a terrifying manner, poked the barrel of the gun into the chancer’s ribs, pushing him out the pub’s door.

Not another word was spoken, however, fear of his intentions, the chacner’s sweat turn cold. The pistol forcefully moved both of them into the isolated shortcut territory. What fate had instore was unknown…but undoubtedly grim, being threated beyond belief…not to turn his head.


Suddenly a shout, almost audible, came out from the abyss…then again, but, much…much louder, as the chancer’s name rang through the air. This gave him courage to turn around …then to see the gun offender fleeing from the scene, and a welcoming gypsy friend running down towards him…was this fate…who knows…but it was unquestionably…real keech time.
peter.howden
My Chronicles 16/10/2019…

Although both of us have been having slight problems with the dreaded ‘Cold,’ repeatedly revealingly its naughty bugs with a vengeance, ‘She who must be obeyed’, had the audacity, to diagnose herself, as having man-flu. I did warn her. If this was indeed true…she would be unquestionably locked away for her own protection, in fear of contamination. Also, many a brave man has fought against this awful affliction…without a murmur, or complaint…and finally…be cautious with such teasing…it could come true.

Yesterday, not fully recovered at all, I probably unwisely took the train to Ayr, but, traveling down to the seaside town is always full of adventure with changing countryside, in all weathers, what I might see, to whom I grab the chance to talk with., and my rendezvous with a auld China’, Jim Hendry. We are chalk & cheese, Jim, dog-toothed labour campaigner form time immortal…me, the wandering dolt…but the banter matches the best in the land.

One thing is obvious, I cant handle the refreshments like we both did at one time. If I have even one over the top, I’m sleepy, even droopy going home. The 2 ½ journey by train and bus is no fun…but an unwanted arduous tribulation. Nothing worse than a pissed old man…so even with Jim being an auld Scottish traditionalist (buying round for round) …visits are 3 beers from now on.

Luck this year has been my driving to Alloa, several times, to meet a charming young lady, her partner and the voluntary art projects, plus community housing. The views are spectacular, transformations with all conditions, even in one journey. It blows my mind. However, apart from spot on company, I have alterative reasons, Alloa’s first class butcher and their wide range of products.

Aunt Becky’s new home is surround by a profusion of waterways and magnificent country visions, although it will be next week before we venture into unknown territory, armed with Scottish music blaring out the old jalopy
.
Tonight, is the night Rebecca and I have a Anniversary dinner with two delightful people… bloody magic
peter.howden
EVENT 39


CATERPILLAR….The start, almost


Mention the word, ‘Caterpillar’ and the reaction you will achieve, depends in what part of the world you happen to be, and in whose company, you are keeping. To most children caterpillars are the squiggle things, magnified in David Attenborough wonders of the world, though rarely noticed in life

For teenagers and swingers, a form of footwear much sought after, and in high cost bracket. To some tribes around the world, an essential means of protein, in our stiffly opinion, a stale diet. In China, the mere uttering of such a word, would set in motion a dish to eat, most likely raw…as an instant restaurant would appear in the street.

In the early 60’s, young Benn was employed as an apprentice tool investigator, in Caterpillar Tractors, at Tannochside plant, the largest single construction under one roof in Europe. It took ten minutes to reach the time clocks, and another five to your place of work, regardless what, or wrere it was.

The wages for any manual or semiskilled workers was far above any firm in Scotland at the time, including Rolls Royce and Hoover and the like. A scheme to slightly pay extra taxes per week, meant holiday pay at the Glasgow Fair, issued three weeks’ pay, without any reductions…and wow what a difference that made. Each person walked out the main gate on fair Friday as a mini millionaire. Unknown by Benn, a drawback was, any certificate earned and achieved, was not acceptable in British qualifications

The conditions for working were first class, health & Safety, plus the canteen was extremely cheap, hot food instantly ready as you strolled in the door, anywhere between 24 hours. The safety angle made it mandate, for everyone working or visiting, to wear protective glasses on the factory floor, plus wear Caterpillar, toe protecting shoes or boots. The factory joke for new guys was; “down lane 10, the guy with the glasses!”.

Surnames were abolished, first names only in the whole factory, as if to make it one class workforce… but never quite achieved, for it debating with boss’s, the tone was deeper…and with respect. The night shift was Benn’s preference with extra allowance for 4 nights, with gaffers being few and far between. As far as labour went, no breaking sweat, but the rewards could not be equaled by any other firm in Scotland at that time.

His duty was, ambling through all the productive lines, such as incredible lathes, massive multi drills, milling, sheet metal, all working constantly, even when shifts were exchanging. If a job halted because of tool fatigue, or unknown failure, Benn was supposed to be able to work out why, and redesign these said tools, having someone else test them, then returned to the said machine to continue production.

Benn was such a vital cog in the whole works, almost indispensable, yet… on one Monday shift, after an all weekend party in Clarkston, he fell fast asleep… right on the work’s loo… for four bum sore hours… no one noticed. The aftermath …were piled on his problems.


Final…The ending of such employment
-=-=-=
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peter.howden
CATERPILLAR ; The Ending

Between 61/62, Benn’ took on board, the complete American ideology, simply work hard and succeed in personal achievement, being well paid as an extra snip, over the time hired, however, sadly, he developed abscess swelling, a form of atopic dermatitis, due to the cooling oils running constantly drained in working machines within the plant. A job was allowed, as a clerk, in the massive office with endless row after row of desks (comparable to the office in the film ‘The apartment’ he had seen). Instead, Benn took a payoff. but wondered if he had chosen prudently.

He had enjoyed almost all facets, other than the 6 weeks strike, which he could not make head nor tail what caused the disruption. After the all clear, several seemingly unnecessary strikes took place, including one over an unofficial tea break. A multi-drill operator left his auto- system running, to scamper through three lines, for another tea from the trolley lady. He was chastised by the line supervisor, the Shop steward ordered ‘Tools Down’… and a walk out.

Yet, well hidden in Caterpillar doctrine, was a militia clause,aimed to control workers obedience.

Regrettably, in the plant, the shop stewards, not the union, dictated, their own unyielding principles…over harshly, now irritated the workforce, packed in a ‘V’ tapered labour hall, was seemingly a simple strategy where only a few hardy union men heard the actual grievance …and voted with a show of hands…starting many a Mexican strike wave throughout the early 60s

The aftermath was not a question of who was right, but both sides were in the wrong, to allow such a trivial case to deteriorate to far…depriving everyone. It was one of the best raw education young Benn experienced…for no matter what the play is about, or who wrote it, in the end, it depends how its dictated… and whose interpretation of the script is applied.

It would be speculating… if this was when young Benn decided to pleuch his own furrow, no matter where, or his involvement, would be slightly pretentious, however… where, or when he developed his kangaroo mind…is more than another event
-=-=-=-
peter.howden
My Chronicles 22/10/2019…

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, realize we are so lucky, because the wild emotion called, ‘In love’, we still possess, now matured from total madness urgency, to a precious unique passion. The fairy tale dreams of growing old together, walking hand in hand to the post office, collecting our pensions, has faded into the long ago, leaving a wanting to just care and nurture each other.

Rebecca is within me, as I’m within Rebecca, mixed with the occasional temperament instigating slight friction. I believe if not for Rebecca’s inner power, we would not have survived, simply because of the selfish roads I walked in younger years.

Misfortune has struck erratically yet, due to our bond, we not only survived but valued its passing…however the most unfair tragedy losing through rapid slithering cancer, our daughter Toni, was beyond words, but our close family, on Saturdays around the old kitchen table, slowly fashioned a unspoken understanding between us all. There are still moments of utter despair, yet…pleasant, even happy reminiscences of many special times with Toni…in all her ages.

We are both very fortunate with the true friends we both have…and I reckon being exceptional fortuitous with my buddies, but especially my China’s…who are totally different in personalities…but boy…what a bonus for me. (still selfish)

A sense imitating grumpiness is growing, due to the feeling of total inability to change anything other than my socks. When younger a determination to make a difference, by changing the world. Then in midlife, a urge to place my pennies worth with a minor chance making Britain take note, Slightly later, in an illusional state, being in a position to persuade others to change locally….now a sense of helplessness, as I see on any, ‘as a once upon a time’ being unable to change anything… the country, the world and the people go on making the same crazy mistakes…but….maybe one day….who knows …apart from my love.


P.S.
People complain about the so many inferior insincere politicians in all shades and parties, yet the polling results demonstrate the public do not vote… a right so many fought for not so long ago
peter.howden
A conclusion from a song

Listening to Bob Dylan, singing on an old long player, “The times are a ‘changing”, the 60s song moulding home spun philosophy for the young, while the old looked on in silent perplexed. I’m now much older, looking on at the young, perhaps not muddled, but slightly amused as the fledglings making their mark… similar to the young generation of yesterday. No one likes changes, apart from the young, who change anything… just to change. To be prickly with the old is their duty to be so, for they are the future… since first man arose. The old hang on to tradition…. hopeful not having to adjust…too much!

It is a myth, we grow wiser as we grow older, because our minds were set when very young. Aristotle philosophized; “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”, as do all religions practice in their own way. However, somewhere along the line, we collect useless baggage, complete with phobias of all descriptions, and biasness, sometimes willing and sometimes anonymous, but we do with some degree of foregone conclusion.

One thing is certain…there is always uncertainty, known as the unknown, to react or prepare. The up and coming generation seeing through virgin eye, attempt to break down dusty traditions, to have a new horizon and holy grail…. which is the same as the last horizon, but perceived at a different angle

Personally, the older I become, I make the silliest of mistakes, with the only difference throughout my years, now… I’m more than ready to admit my foolishness. This very morning, I have misplaced my favourite bunnet and gloves…any attempt to remember where I laid them down …leaves me…as Frank’s song goes…bewitched, bothered and bewildered
peter.howden
Jim stepped down to nowhere (episode 1 of 2)

Jim stepped down from the train, in just another desolated township, possessing haunting silence which prevented any sensible conclusions of how there was no rain no bloody wind, yet a sensation of an undesirable chill, uncontrollably rushing through his body, which no earthly fire would be able to rid.

Before stepping down from the coach, Jim checked he had everything prior to leaving the compartment, for one thing he had learned about surviving this journey, depended on this being done, and any equipment could save your life in these foreign parts. He had naively expected a warm welcome from some of the town’s inhabitants, just a hint of relief, for he was expected, but then again, unforeseeable setbacks caused unknown delay.

The platform was packed with bodies all dressed the same, all heading in the same direction, however, as different capabilities and professions. They had been herded into those trains and forced to travel through the heat of the day, even if the whispers were right, this was first class, compared to third or last class from previous treks. The poor sods paid over the odds for their tickets, then only allowed one suitcase and even then, they had no choice of their destination.

Jim walked briskly, almost marching out of the main transport building, then heading to what was obvious the main street of this tumbled down deprived wayside. He had seen more than a dozen hamlets, villages and small towns, over the last two drudgery weeks, with each day exactly the same…. draughty, manky accommodation, and the miss- trust of the locals. What made matters worse, the ludicrous tedium attached to these places or indeed anywhere Jim had stopped.

Keeping his eyes alert, checking for potholes which caused more injury than the job Jim had in hand, no matter whose fault they are there. The chances of medics or indeed the luxury comfort of an ambulance was beyond the likes of Jim’s means or rank, and he had no intentions of needing one. Each street, if you could call them so, were exactly the same, making just for some slipping moments, Jim being lost

Then without warning, from somewhere in the darken skies, a hazy din suddenly swarmed louder and louder, so close, it became thunderous, making everyone either crouched down, or attempt hiding behind some kind of protection. Jim observed some inexperienced individuals actually with their faces flat on the ground, leaving themselves, well and truly open to anything while they next attempt to scramble to their feet, seeking other cover. By then, the unidentified threat has a far clearer picture in what is going on in this perimeter.
-=-=-=
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peter.howden
Jim stepped down to nowhere (episode 2)

A lot of wild commotion, coupled with pathetic yelling, was apparently the primary protection for these deluded peoples frantically seeking salvation…or a saviour. At the very beginning, Jim lost everyone he cared for, perhaps loved, he still was a novice at brutality. Right now, a contractor, totally immune in feelings or reason, a robotic human with a given purpose, paid retribution, for who would notice in this field of lunacy

He sought a contract mark, kill him, or her, moved on to the next selected target, nothing to do with right or wrong, or money…just plain survival. Without mercy, a barrage of shells fell as mayhem erupted within the small area. With each explosion, disruption began with petrified screams of people who had obviously been hit. Civilians, cowards and the brave, react the same, to get out of instant hell, followed by an earie deadly silence. Jim couldn’t condemn them…but he had no choice, his mission was priority.

Trekking through debris, Jim nearly stumbles over, what appeared to be the remains of some kind of animal, its lifeless body crossed his path. As he leaned down, grabbing and tossing it aside, he recognizes human skin. He made a colossal blunder which his training forbad… interrupting a job, even for a moment. On the ground was a motionless frozen limb of some young child, according to the size, though age would be a guess. A hint of blond hair over a shattered baby face with one open eye, pierced and burrowed instantly deep into Jim’s very soul, prompting him starkly, he had unqualified emotions, inwardly asking… “how long could he go on living like this?”

A fiery blow struck physically numbness into him, so unexpected, he had no time to prepare a shield against it… And what of death?... He did not care; it would be a release from the constant clingy sweat, from this incessant nightmare, breeding revulsion to life itself. Jim evaporated into the throng, it is said never did return…but, sometimes in the wind, or around the improvised campfire, rumours by the strays from combat…Jim is continuously prompting himself…starkly…he has emotions…defiantly.
peter.howden
My Chronicles 01/11/2019…

I yearn for the makeshift home parties taking place after the ‘Guising’(children going from door to door- in disguise), to ward of Ghosts an Ghouls and demons. Most families in the late 50s onward, proudly made the individual costumes and masks, or blacked face, to fool the ghosts identifying the children going out on ‘All-Hallows’ Eve’…Galoshin, originating from the Celtic festival ‘Samhain’. A gift was traditionally given, in the form of food, coins or "apples or nuts, or in recent times…chocolate, but first, perform a ‘Trick’, by reciting a song, poem or joke, prior to being given goodies. Today, now modernized, mostly bought costumes…

Yesteryears parties, for the young and old, was homemade activities, cut out neep lanterns, keeping evil spirits at bay… ‘Apple Dookin’ a Celtic game of the past, where everyone taking part, laughing, squealing, screeching and yelping while being splashed, and drooked by the on-lookers. Nuts Burning (steady there, naughty thinking) … treacle scones daggling on a string, hands held around the back, while mouths and teeth, struggled to swipe a bite. Simple fun was so infectious.

Yet, even missing what my memories recall…the first moment I opened the door last night, to be welcomed by smiling faces, just blew the cobwebs away. After calling out, ‘Trick or Treat’, in unison, left five assortments of childhood, coyness, bravado, angelic, directness…and shy, silently waiting for my response. What could I do, other than ask is anyone had a song, a joke or a dance? Of course, Bravado obliged, though I had difficulty hearing him…but laughed anyway as the took their prizes from the basket.

For the next couple of hours, the doorbell rang repeatedly, producing a new batch of various types of infants, most wide eyed with curiosity expectation, giving for gratis…wonderment to anyone watching…and for me
peter.howden
The Fall

We have been extremely fortunate observing over the years, a small sapling, at the back of our garden, cultivate into a magnificent tree, stretching higher into the skies. By the shape of the falling leaves, it could be of mountain ‘Alder’ family, however, in my mind…the trusty tree is, a Robin Hood’s essential observation post, with its many strong branches, and enormous stature, vital as a look-out for way beyond the wild forest …or hide his loyal merry band of free spirit outlaws, ready for surprise affray, with the naughty soldier thugs belonging to the sheriff of Nottingham.

All through the summer… either watching from the kitchen window, the wildlife equally enjoying the fabulous tree, or I admire it personally, as I refill the birds feeding cages. The only fly in the ointment is, each autumn, the tree, sheds ..and sheds…and sheds, limp dreary leaves from its branches, to the ground below. Because I have obtained a University honours master’s degree, in being a grumpy old man, the sheer clearing the ground endless dull leaves is laborious to say the least

Outside our fence, at the front garden, is a much smaller younger unknown type of tree, which during the year is rather plain, if not boring, as trees go. Yet, in early Autumn… its miraculously changes, into superb golden statue, small …but out of this world. As Autumn fades, touching toes with winter…the gilded display dropping to the round, not losing its amazing colour, in fact appears to emphasise a unique brownish yellow pathway around its roots…and way beyond as the winds predict.

I crave… I Pine… for that tree
peter.howden
-=-=-=
Predictions

Shug always felt he was destined for something, he began to believe he was a modern version of a soothsayer, able to prophesies the future, or at least his own fate through nightly vivid dreams, with him reading next morning newspaper. Although exactly when this phenomenon began, is not quite clear, however, unswervingly seriously, he grasped hold of the whimsical idea on the first night while imagining reading his tabloid reporting the winning Cuddies, running next day at some racecourse. Very early next morning, with his photogenic memory, headed for the betting shop in town, placing a wager on each predicted winner…and every blooming steed won.

How, why, or by who, or whom, remained a mystery, but this launched Shug’s idle theory of his wondrous gift of forecasting powers. Each night, he envisaged glancing at the headlines in his newspaper (known locally as a rag), then straight to the betting results. Several weeks went by, he doubled his wagers each time, becoming exceedingly wealthier way beyond his imagination. One night while dreaming, browsing the rag, he could not help seeing, in bold letters, the terrible news; the two coach 09.15 train to town, tragically crashed, with deep regret…there are no survivors.

Rousing in sticky shock, Shug’s first thought was to warn the authorities…but who would believe him, at best treat him as mad… and unfortunately, nothing, just nothing could be done…fate is fate. He was now in a quandary, this very timed train to town, was his train, always taken so not to forget the results sequence from the visions. Somehow… sinful greed took hold, with Shug deciding, in the morning…he would take the 09.00 train instead.

The following morning, the newspaper printed an apology… for causing unnecessary distress to their reading public. The earlier reporting edition had regrettably a simple typographical error …the train which crashed…was the 09.00…
peter.howden
My Chronicles 10/11/2019…

For serval reasons, I’ve been looking into the near future, deciding to bring a halt to the cherish tradition taking Becky on regular hurls in my auld jalopy, around varied countryside of Strathaven, Linlithgow and surrounding areas while the old Scottish songs piping out just for us two. Aunt Becky is steadily becoming frailer as time passes; however, the main reason is simply my reaction capabilities are slowly dwindling, which could endanger Becky if anything happened unpredictably.

Last Monday, sitting in the Home’s dining room, mainly listening to Becky, drifting through her Dementia imagination, around wonderous past events, plucked from her curious sense of reality. For nearly an hour, we chuckled, giggled and laughed while talking mostly absolute nonsense, which I do as normal. With good fortune, hopefully this will become another cherish tradition. I will miss the jalopy trips, for no matter the weather, the Kilpatrick hills could look out of this world, and on a few occasions, forebodingly moody, with us. both singing ‘Flower of Scotland’… with grand gusto.

Lucky for me, I still take in the diverse landscape regularly, by train trip down to Ayr, visiting another old grumpy China, Jim Hendry, in Witherspoons. Again, we talk a lot of baloney of past and present, but rarely take anything serious, though if need be…Jim is the lad to do it. He is a genuine lifelong Labour man, believing in the rights of the people, while I’m notoriously slyly whimsical…but the intimate time with him, is usually a tonic.

I often visit Stirling, which has its breath-taking moments, but one more expedition this week will be cruising up to Alloa. No matter the road I choose, I’m surrounded by fabulous panoramic views. …its magic…including the charming Teresa talking, and showing me around all the enjoyable community commitments she and her partner do
peter.howden
The tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce’

Only Just Pious


The author wishes to convey, this three-part article is a personal experience… certainly not scribbled to be plainly derogatory towards people’s beliefs
-=-=
Today throughout Glasgow’s dynamic vicinities, attracting young enthusiasts heading for the bright lights just before mid-night…then party on till dawn. In the late 50s/early 60s, adolescents were allowed out to the devilish hour of ‘10 of the night clocks’, on weekdays, hitting Cinderella time on Saturday, Sundays… out of the question

Religious organizations owned many varied properties around the city, fusing almost absolute power, preaching from pulpits, ‘Night bewitching hour life breeds debauchery, making it taboo’, if not against Christian ethics. The Hielanman’s Umbrella; nicknamed for ‘Highlanders and Islanders’, as a rendezvous. Not a ‘Big Mac’ in sight, except in a name.

Apart from the folk scene on a Saturday late evening, the only warm light in the middle of the night was the tea stalls. After dancing in the “Cooper’s Institute” it was inevitable Hector would wander to the tea stall at Cuthbertson St. Clean cups, fresh sugar (no brown bits) tasty rolls and sausage, or bacon, if not tops in hygiene. A bit of comfort in the grey of the 60s nights. A beacon in the darkness of mankind.

Late one evening, an old bloke, most surely a wino (Drinker of anything) not a pretty sight, given his dire needs, shivering uncontrollably, lacking adequate attire for a winter’s night. Hector bought a mug of tea, gave it to him without asking as he just looked… not a word passed.

Hector took off his gloves then gave them to the hobo. Hector took off his scarf, body warmer, and his fleeced lined car coat, handed them to the surprised stranger…Hector disappeared into the dark night, heading for Marywood Square.

Hector’s China, ‘The Bruce’, related this tale to their church Minister, young Mr Phillips, who said warmly… “This was a good Christian beneficial act, on Hector’s part!”

The Bruce’ sly reply was… “Naw…Hector was pissed!”
peter.howden
The tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce’

Only Just Pious (2)

The author wishes to convey, this three-part article is a personal experience… certainly not scribbled to be plainly derogatory towards people’s beliefs

Having passed through the ranks of Life Boys, then the Boys Brigade, plus as an unlikely Sunday school teacher, not to mention accidently becoming a bouncer for the church youth club, it seemed natural progress to Hector’s first church communion, however, his spiritual being was in turmoil. Small nagging reflections surfaced, sensing it was the same spiel every week, just the names changed to protect the innocent. It also appeared silly to lecture meekness will inherit, turn the other cheek… and if asked, walk that extra mile…for this was Govanhill, at the time a cradle of adolescent hooliganism.

The street code was no tougher, or rougher than any other district in Glasgow, but the belief was created by the youth, to know how to handle yourself…or be a good runner. Amongst it all, a raw kindness weaved thru the community, hard to explain to anyone who has not lived in a tight poorer area of any major city, but Glasgow especially is rightly know for instant warmth of its people. Where once a church, is now Govanhill Housing Association office, a driving force serving the needs of its richly vast cultured neighbourhood

The Reverent Philip suggested Hector should join a few other people, to the vicar’s manse, for an informal chatter on wandering souls, express their faith within the bounds of the church.

The meeting was debating a fair assortment of theories, and religious emotions, but most important how the individual honestly defines the whole meaning of prayer. The minister turned to the subject of the demon drink, then looking at Hector directly… spoke softly, how there was no reason to ask his opinion on the said matter.

Reverend Phillip glances around the company towards an older man, who Hector knew via the district. This demure dressed elder man went on to claim, persons who indulged in monster liquor, were indeed, on a shoddy slippery road to damnation, and the evil of booze he would not allow a drop to pass or touch his lips. Coincidentally, Hector was puzzled, as he had often seen this very person, frequently pissed as a newt, stoatin up his wally close, in the posh part of Cathcart Road, yet God’s envoy looked pleased at the response.

Hector thought naively… if someone could tell such down right untruths… to join God in church, then the whole idea was wide open to question?
To this day…Hector still holds the gentle Reverent Mr Philips in high esteem.
=-=-=-
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peter.howden
The tales of Hector and ‘The Bruce’

Only Just Pious (3)

The author wishes to convey, this three-part article is a personal experience… certainly not scribbled to be plainly derogatory towards people’s beliefs

Hector’s allegiance to the ‘Water of life’ was known during Christmas services, with Mr Phillip’s observing the odd behaviour of, Hector and ‘The Bruce’. Both embellished emphases sing hymns off key and a few bars behind everyone else…the lads wondered if God had noticed.

Hector believed the minister was a fine man…however with One black spot…evoking the parable “no room at the inn”. One Christmas everyone gathered information, producing a set a list of so many names, plus encouraging local business to chip in, was with grand success. Around fifty elderly people received, £15 in groceries, plus a bag of much needed coal. Simple…. However, Reverent Philips asked if all were Church of Scotland. The Bruce and Hector were disappointed. What the hell did it matter?

Reverent Philips persuaded Hector, via the Playhouse to attend a Billy Graham’s third Europe crusade (weird word to choose, to save poor misguided souls). Witnessing the usual fanfare from the true master orator, beckoning slipped souls, down to the front of the famous theatre. Wavering at first, with true wonder of his inner beliefs, Hector went, feeling like a sheep, hurdled into a room, a red-faced sheepish man, burping out a well-rehearsed “road to salvation.”.

Asking a plain question threw Hector’s messenger off salvation trip, passing him onto someone, supposedly more advanced. Reiterating now the seemingly uncomfortable question, and again the tutor passed him on, declaring this gentleman was a true pastor who would be able to answer. This time Hector was shown the back door, branded as a troublemaker. So ended the sermon.

His inquire was “what would happen, after the rapture at the end of the world, if all religions practicing, discovered we all had been praying to the wrong supreme being?” Or worse still “If he’ was not in?”. Hector never told Mr Philips of the older man’s fibs, as well as Hector never entered the church again, after his first communion…he felt…one black sheep was enough!
peter.howden
Innate Trepidation

From the countryside’s forlorn tradition comes, ‘Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning’, this crack of dawn sky, is total conquered by a brilliant unnatural redness. Unwisely, I took no heeding natures foreboding alert, as a phenomenal sunrise dazzling, intensely aggravate my tired eyes, while sitting at my destination.

Somehow rather hazily, was my first scary sighting of this monstrous metallic structure, virtually blocking out the sun, yet, casting a shuddering silhouette, creeping slowly in my direction, though limited glimpses caused dissimilarity between, glaring sun and eerie shadows, making it impossible to witness reality.

A second shufti with a flickering eye, caused alarm as the grotesque glistening giant, as portrayed in; ‘The War of the Worlds’, jolted into sudden movement possessing a rotating arm ready to swoop towards my position,

Peering around, seeing no one else here, to give aid…oh bugger, trapped alone, unable to move…Hell…the ugly robotic thing, defiantly keeps threatening with this bloody heavily arm, threatening to knock my block off…just keeps coming. One clear moment of sight leaves me gaping in silent abject fear…Hordes of yellow assailants…these little devils, terrify every second, as they lash out at anything in their path.

The monster is playing a provocative mouse game…rolling over me…but halted just behind, ready to return…darkness moments as ‘it,’ readies to pounce…once again. This is mental and physical torture.

Dread…. fright…terror, you name the frigid emotion as I feel cold sweat running down my soaked shirt, while the mechanical freak begins again. This time with another weapon, unknown but dangerously close noises…scares the shit out of me

At last this metal creature stops, with me swearing…. “last time I will use a carwash…after watching Doctor Who!”
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peter.howden
The Spooky Christmas Tree

Once upon a time, during a misty sessional spree, I floundered into this odd in appearance greengrocer’s establishment in the high street.

Nowadays, I’m famed for senior moments occurring, yet…I would have sworn, never seeing, or passing this store before. My dear wife insists using big glop supermarkets as being frugal, saving the pennies for our old age. Secretly I ponder how much older I’ve to be …before making a start spending our nest egg. Anyway, I potter around, curious as to just how lean on provisions the shop seemed. Hardly any fruit or veg, with the whiff of damp spots all over the place.

A set of old-fashioned scales taking prime and place, besides the equally old money-till. The scales using equilibrium with goods in one bucket, then weights of different poundage, added to the opposite bucket, until perfect balance is achieved. Quaint to say the least if this is your bag. Having no idea why I entered the shabby doorway, apart from curiosity of this ‘Dickens’ of a spree, certainly no intent buying a tree, of any kind.

My eyes mysteriously pulled towards the darkest corner in this rather grubby establishment, seeing one small pathetically drab Christmas tree. Obviously, been through the wars, being last one since god knows when… but again I was drawn to it.

Before I knew it I asked, and agreed to buy it from the crumpled old proprietor, who would never be asked to play Santa, stank of alcohol and according to the other whiffs, was none too quick going to the smallest room in the premises. According to the greedy money-making grottos standards, he would fit the bill and no wonder why some children have been terrorized just thinking of their own experiences.

The tree itself, was but a few bronze coins, thinking my batter-skills were well-polished, sealing a real bargain. Next moment out in the busy high street, my prize didn’t come up to the mark in the daylight. If I have to be honest, the wee tree, oozed pathetically through and through, with limp branches… and almost brownish appearance where green should be.
I decided to take it back, and if the shop keeper was awkward, then I would be stroppy, quoting office of fair trade or something in the same lines.

Truly… I just turned round…and the shop was not there. I had not noticed what, and where other shops were at each side, but the greengrocer shop was undoubtedly not in sight. I only walked some ten odd steps, but no matter, for what conclusion could there be… how the bloody shop was not there. I do not know why, but I stood on that very spot for ages, in hope it would reappear somehow. I pinched myself, to see if I was dreaming …and it hurt. It really did cause pain, because of my age, but I was still there, with no shop and this pitiable tree.

What was I going to tell the wife?
peter.howden
A Christmas Karl

My favourite teddy-bear is Karl, acquired from a charity shop. He is a bit of a scrooge, absentminded to boot, oddly imagining he is a rabbit…lost without a doe. With, pride and place in our home is Aunt Becky’s curiosity old wall clock, possesses some kind of cryptic bewitched bell tolls. When 1 toll’s after midnight, it’s actually 6 in early morning...is when Karl changes into a phantom lover.

For in his imagination, he’s a rabbit, or a bucking leveret, hopping mad how anyone should dare refer to him in a bear manner. At first, I believed he suffered some type of delusion, pitifully watching as he tried to burry down a hole in the blankets. Secretly, I suppose the “10/-6” tag on one of Karl’s ears, assisted him being, ‘Mad as a Hatter!’.

Christmas day; teddy hoped Santa brought a couple of carrots borrowed from the Reindeers, or at least a leaf or two of lettuce, but instead notice, all the disregarded fancy wrapping paper sprawled all over the duvet. He may be a bit dotty without doddles but was quick to catch on, vegetables are wrapped only in Clingfilm, In a fit of pique, and a seasonal miracle, he jumped from the top of the headboard and landed rather awkwardly on the bed
A razor-sharp upside-down pin pricked its way through the duvet, just below Karl’s the bear, bare behind…instantly Karl had buck teeth, possibly from fright from the sharp pinhead.

Having a teddy who believes he is a bunny, is certainly strange indeed on the mind…however…the Christmas message is, I wish he would clear up …the wee black droppings, which appear just below my pillow each night… remember; you can be anything you want ? but try refraining from being a rabbit… for it bucks me?
peter.howden
My Chronicles 29/11/2019…

Through the magic of Email, for some years from abroad, the master of Christmas Quizzes has included me in his worldwide clan of contestants. Most occasions the questions came in serial form, however this year, selections of humbug, Anagrams. Geography, Christmas drinks, Stiffer anagrams, singers/songs, history, made it the hardest, and longest. The rules allowed to include family, so I informed the master, all around the Saturday wooden kitchen table, we would endeavour our best, then send in our results back via Email.

At first glance of the entertaining test, ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I were daunted, so much so relied greatly on our family for guidance. With their assistance, we managed to almost complete the now document without cheating. So chuffed with combined efforts, I rushed to type the answers as readable, and sent the results to the maestro tutor. In my unwarranted haste to the return message, not only Emailed to the master, but to all the players…twice. I haven’t received the true answers yet, To save being banished shamefully from the competitors…my unworthy hope is…most of the answers we gave were wrong.

Nikki/Simon, Kirsti/Chris and Fergus gave several gifts for our anniversary, two of them being, Musselburgh Saltire races, then staying in Dunbar. On Monday, at the races, was a most enjoyable experiences, even with the drizzle watching every race high up in the open stand, plus, a flock of unidentified birds, flying in V fashion at twelve noon…then returning at 2.30 pm. However, my arse was freezing, so we hopped down to collect our arranged fish& chips while the third race began. Standing waiting for the crisp fish…it was announced our number 7. stoatered home first, winnings £94. Mistakenly believing the hot food would act as a defreeze…we finish our drinks…then drove to the hotel…clutching our booty.

Choosing Dunbar was rather selfishly me, because as a lad, I haunted the seaside resort for a few years…and later as a adolescent. Similar to all seaside towns and villages, Dunbar is struggling to keep individual shops and as we wandered around, discovered the auld Amusement arcade was gone…but the memories remain. Not because we both have recollections of North Berwick, but the town is faring better, simply because there is more employment… and money within

Thank you, family,…
peter.howden
Desperate 43
Encircled


I’m not paranoid, but for on hearing unwelcome echoes are threatening….must continue moving, never standstill, or they overrun you…honest. O.K, no worries, it’s the postman, pain in the arse rattling my letterbox. Buggering asbestos …who would send me post? Bloody junk mail, it’s not right strangers can invade your home with unwanted clutter just because? There should be a law against these bastards invading my privacy. That tell-tale postman is keekin through my letterbox, I know he does. I’ll catch him one day, give him what for, see if I don’t. Very little post comes…I like it that way, no disappointments bringing no promises people won’t keep. I kept myself to myself for it was better that way.

I like asparagus and greens, helps to keep vigilant, keep on the move, isn’t mistrustful, just careful. There is something in the blind corner, a weird F---ing shadow…. but what? Wait a minute… it’s coming from the mirror over the bloody fireplace. My maw used to call it a ‘Brace’ in the old days. She died… couldn’t attend her funeral. She couldn’t understand me but then… neither could I. There were no corners where I used to be, just straight lines and things, making me feel secure, on the safe side, no one watching nobody…is keeping check… I miss that, I really do.

Must be in step as I look out the window, crisscross to the door, reassure it is closed, then move to the window… I’m no loony, just privately keeping them out. Now my exercise time, stops stiffening, both in mind and body; taught me cautiousness to be careful, and I am extremely vigilant. These bastards won’t catch me out this time for you need eyes in the back of your head, consequently…must keep moving or there are consequences.

No sleeping in this flat with all those weird noises, and lights darting in and out during the night. The light was always on in my last place, security and comfort in that. I may be a man, but I’m bloody scared to go to the loo at night. You never know who’s there, so I use a pee bowl or a ginger bottle, whatever comes to hand. Don’t get me wrong, I am not manky, I slosh it out in the morning. Keep on my toes you know.

You would not think an empty flat would make inexplicable and uncanny bizarre thumps and vibrations. Been here forever and still can’t get used to it. [u]They[/u,] decided to release me early from a life’s sentence some time back …why… fish out of water…need swimming lessons, that’s a bleedin joke! I would sooner be inside, but don’t get me wrong I am not institutionalized, or a blockhead, but there’s a need to keep moving up and down, down and up. They call me an old lag, or hole in the wall for all the porridge I’ve done, but this is far worse, I feel guilty. Bunch of villains out here, safer in there?
peter.howden
The spooky Christmas tree. part 2

Stand at our door I naively assumed by telling my dear wife the truth that occurred, she would not believe me…or think I’d greedily consumed too much Christmas spirts. Moving towards the kitchen, taking deep breath, I spluttered, “I’ve purchased a unique magic Item, actually a Bonsai Japanese miniature Christmas tree…which has fallen on hard times”. All she saw was a pathetic unnatural branch, with a few tatty arms, an orphan of a tree. “Your always telling stories!”, my spouse suspiciously replied, so I added; “I was informed, if we use this special manure nightly, its full spender will be restored…though perhaps tinier than usual!”,

Falling into a deep asleep that night, I dreamt constantly hearing a haunting, drip…drip…drip, in military precision, as an alien formed into horde of creatures tapping into my brain system, apparently as their intellect eyes of the dead, watched every nerve communication transmitting. I awoke in a cold damp sweat. After endless tossing and turning recalling the terrifying allusion, I managed to fall into a half sleep, sort of aware…and yet not!

Whatever time it was I have no idea, but, starting as a whimpering hubbub, soon became a peculiar lurid yelping, increasing in volume associated with wild dogs, even wolves. Psychologically struggling against the growing fear invading ever cell of my body, I Ultimately no longer have the Vim to evade the mental dread, when again I awoke… completely distraught.
Laying stiffly wide eyed till morning at last came, I went downstairs to make some tea. I had no reason but looked in the living room to see a small pile of dark heavy powder right under the supposed Bonsai Japanese miniature Christmas tree.

After making the brew, taking up to my, not a morning person wife, I explained my dreadful aspirations, particularly emphasising the deafening yelping during the disturbing night, plus what I saw in the living room. My wife stared incredulously at me…then in a non-humorous voice said; “The tree’s Bark… is worse than it’s Blight!”
peter.howden
Dear Reminiscing Diary;

A few weeks back, while slowly sauntering along Kilmarnock Rd, with Shawlands ’Cross in the distance, swept into nostalgia, from way back in my formative years, when the Embassy (the darkest flick’s for winching) and Elephant cinema, stood in prime and place, beside this busy thoroughfare. These establishments, near the Embassy café, were intimate places for male and female youths to come together. Some naughty skinflint cads, would arrange to meet up with them in the cinema, so not having to pay the ladies in.

Passing the cinema that is no longer there, instantly urged recalling a particular first date, with such a bumper of a girl, I was making my way home, having taken the subtle hint from her dad, who kept putting out the bins, time to allow his daughter safe passage into his residence Going home by the Embassy Cinema, it was stoatin down cats and dogs, but as a complete numptie, I was bopping up and down, dancing in the rain, in absolute joy, near imitation of the famous film star.

Acting so ecstatic, not caring a fig where, how, or when my feet would land splashing in any puddles in the vicinity. The road was completely empty, apart from a lone drenched figure, walking her dog on the same side as myself. She apparently spotted my idiocy…then chose to cross over the road to the other pavement, until well past my exuberant display, then, in a drone like fashion, crossed back to her original destination
Now today; because I’ve aged slightly, deliberately walks are part of my exercise, maintaining a reasonable state holding back the pain/ discomfort in my joints and body as a whole, to keep my health under lock and key. Sometimes; I ‘ve forced myself not to come up with excuses why I should not take my constitution.

A few days ago while in Glasgow centre, close to the river Clyde, was the swanky new Tradeston Bridge, cost some 7 million, known locally as ‘Squiggly Bridge’. It was raining hard before but now was a mere drizzle. Slowly strolling along the unique overpass, old musicals came to mind, making my feet tap slightly with a spring in my step, almost near the state of pirouetting, attempting to miss the newly made puddles big and small. I started to enjoy it, oblivious to a pair of eyes watching my juvenile behaviour.

The owner of the eyes shouted out ‘Singing in the rain with Gene Kelly?’;… almost a condescending tone I thought, “Not quite, came my reply…more like dancing in the pain with feet smelly”

The eyes were still smiling…they must have cracked the joke.
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