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peter.howden
A loss

What a difference a day can make, solely because it has, throughout my stay on this mortal coil, proved to be virtually 100% true. When facing a unholy crisis with little control, or tricky situation dragging, as the next day seems an eternity away, we forget the time marches on regardless.

Apparently somewhere around late 16th century, days had gone haywire causing the Catholic Church difficulty estimating the vital question, when exactly Easter should be, coming to grips calculating equinox, important to the sums. Religious academics in the know, stared at the moon, reformed the old Julian calendar, knocking off 11 days in a new Christian Gregorian calendar. This Legislation caused instant riots all over the place, with mobs demanding their missing days restored. God’s representatives here on earth work in mysterious ways?

Due to the intrusion of this naughty Coronavirus, my personal strange case is not a day, or two, but a whole missing year! May sound like a case for the literary character Sherlock Holmes, probably easier explained, either my inability to count, or a convenient loss of memory. Truth to be told, my reckoning of dates is a time squeeze box, jamming all the years together, my age coming out as 74…missing one year? More to the point, where did the 365.25 days disappear, are they floating in the illusive cyberspace and will they return to haunt me?

I do not believe I’m vain, though occasional wish some mornings while shaving and gawking, not to have a wrinkled prudish face, but a dashing handsome profile, in admiration lines of handsome. A time stealer no more no less, but my shaving mirror cannot grant this small request , for the needs are a magic mirror, with the ability to lie convincingly while, projecting an image beyond compare… which never existed

Time moves relentless, however, sometimes my brain finds it hard to calculate exactly what day it is. I’ve lost a whole year… and why hasn’t life waited for me? During this prudent tedious lockdown, no one can promise tomorrow. Tomorrow never can be guaranteed… being a lifetime away.
peter.howden
What’s Up “Doc”

He was a great world renowned ‘Chef de Cuisine’, valued knowing the basic work which could add delightful heaven to the client’s taste buds. Similar to all the greats; knew just how much of ‘this and that’ ingredients make gastronomic magic, down to the very last dash. He was untidy, gruff, but dependent on the lower grafters. Show me a master chef who isn’t or does not have a skivvy, or two up his, or her sleeve. His big fault was health and safety approach on both equally without thought or concern.

A pot of water with just a tad squirt of his secret liquid, was always near the boil, purging through sterilization, all his utensils, including his keen, razor sharp knives, he described as cherished delicate whittles. He never used, or trusted, any wandering Shantieglan to grind his precious instruments, he alone, with loving care, stone sharpening the blades to a hair breath keen edge.
Treasuring one of his cutting appliance above all others, had an awful nasty habit of taking it from the always steaming water cleansing pot, then drying it with a dangling tea towel he was wearing under his armpit, , which he swore, saved valuable time and was perfectly hygienic. Either claims were suspect; however, no one in the classy restaurant dare tell him…. never mind chastise this naughty habit,.

Instead of insisting obeying Health & Safety rules, the owner laughed off in a childish pansy manner. The manager, and a couple of brave souls in the kitchen would mumble word for word, ‘There will be a revolting horrible accident happen one day, his oxter being slashed deep inside…Mark my words!’, they all quoted uniformly….then added before finishing their spiel; “could be disfigured for life, (and possibly ruin the soup)…the last part they never said…only thought it …for no-one had the stomach for antagonizing this already brusque human.

The fateful day arrived with no pointers, no clue what would happen, and the far reaching effects with the head chef’s ‘Haute cuisine’ dishes. Working normally by keeping a skewed eye on all the other commis chefs, preparing his Special gourmet surprise, while observing ‘waste not, want not’ perfect ethos. The lethal moment came closer with all pots and pans on full blast, or just simmering away ingredients for a master stroke in his culinary dish.

Automatically reaching for his trusty knife, as he had so many times from the boiling purgative pot, but this time was to be horribly different. Without looking his main cutlery hand reached in the correct direction, but, contacted a heavy metal spoon, instead of the hilt of the knife. Having been purifying for some considerable time, the whole spoon was nigh to boiling temperature when his fingers first got in touch.

His digits meeting the scorching spoon, burnt and scaled his skin, then producing huge instant blisters . With indescribable agony, he attempted to rid himself of this calamity, but the spoon just sunk in deeper into his fingers, damaging the very nerves of his whole hand. The shouting squealing in pain did not last an eternity, but it just seemed so as one brave helper, had the savvy to smother the hand and the offending utensil with a soaked cold watered towel, giving enough relief to quell the distress calls for a brief moment or two at least.

The tragic consequences were losing his intimate senses, in his golden hand holding an acute touch for the amount of ingredients, to most minuscule tad needed to supply his famous recipes. His books were cooked, as the world never forgave him in his reckless moment. Basically, he returned to being a mere skivvy …Par-average at that…..in one greasy diner….with a global famous Scottish clan title?
peter.howden
AMERICAN SWINGS(1)

The year is in the early 50s; the place is Whifflet, it was the best of times... though like most times... Hector was more than a little bit mixed up. As a youngster, he was extremely conscious of his defects, classified as handicapped. Deemed as a spastic, more so by elders than the odd treatment handed out by other children, good and bad. Tangible and imaginary hurdles appeared from nowhere, which at the time, seemed unassailable, however, Hector soon discovered this was normal for the rest of the youngster he knew ... equally urgent. The way you perceived things, along with the reasons to overcome obvious, and not so clear problems, lies close to the path for near future’s endeavours...but stayed permanently within the mind.

The school holidays was always a problem, this was solved by being shipped off to Hector’s sister’s home, wherever that may be. The summer in Bellshill’s coal binges were magic, the highlight of the Bellshill summer weeks, being given permission to stay up on a Saturday night, after sport programme of the day, around 10.30, was ‘Sergeant Bilko’. Dressed in pyjamas watching this American comedy , Phil Silvers line went “fun, fun, fun”….but the real ball for two years was called ‘American swings’…was Whifflet,

Hector was shipped out to the hamlet, just south of Coatbridge, was a new adventure with mixed feelings before arriving. One local saying determined the difference between Motherwell and Coatbridge; Motherwell was famous for coal and steel, while Coatbridge was famed for steal’ in coal. The town was renowned for the Olympic sized swimming pool it had, also had fine views and deep history of industrial railways and all that entails

Whifflet was Hector’s introduction to dykes to dreip... the middins to rake, and the best of all, the first tongue bud tasting of the original Dandelion and Burdock. Throughout the backs of Garturk St and Bute St, lay in square formation with dividing walls of different structures, along with outhouses, once used as washing houses for the families abide.

From the not so far away past, these buildings and walls varied in height, possibly 8 to 12 feet. To be accepted into the local gang...you had to do the corner leap. This was quite a jump for a bachle, not out of shorts, or up to that time, had not seen or known about backyard playing. The jump was from corner to corner of 45 degrees facing each other, but with a problem…one corner was higher than the other, by a good foot and a half. The spring was from lower to higher, with only three steps run in, but… worse of all was everybody had to be there when you did this dare.

Next…the leap
peter.howden
My Chronicles 16/07//2020;

I’m very fortunate to have a couple of long standing ‘Chinas’, normally with me in my mind, but I don’t see as them often as I would like, yet, with the lockdown restriction, not that I can’t, but must abide by the limitations, makes it tedious that I cant jump a train, car, or bus…just to say Hi’…in person.

Last Saturday brought a surprise to our garden, visitors from afar, Nikki and Simon, Andrew and Emma and the mutt, closely followed by Chris and Kirsti… seeing them, talking intimately with them… easily what the doctor ordered. The weather was a bit precarious, although we had large brollies and the non-de-plume old G.H.A umbrella at hand. I have been known to talk rubbish… but savoured every word spoken, by all of us… pure dead brilliant.

Unfortunately, Aunt Becky was in a slight incident at the care home. While brushing her hair, she thought another resident came to close to her personal space, and apparently hit out. The staff in the residence, took steps to intervene before real danger could take place. They phone to report the incident, and when questioned, stated the other lady was not hurt. As usual we have every faith the carers ability to look after our sometimes fast acting Becky. Due to concerns about the virus, they closed down the ‘Visit- open in the garden’ period, but now it’s reopened. We have decided to wait awhile until personal visits is in the frame, because Becky hasn’t a clue who we are, which will just confuse her fragile routine ,

The old jalopy needed to visit the ‘Motortune’ car hospital in Shotts, where the skilled vehicle surgeon applied his knowledge and ability. Because the need of parts it was quite a long wait, so as usual for vital exercise, I took a saunter around. Luck was in seen three rabbits near the chapel, scurrying and hopping about. On returning to the garage I only saw two. The presumption is the other rabbit was in confession…obviously the rabbit’s name was Peter? The real good news was I meet up with Fergus, which allowed a smashing hour or so, talking about how to save the world…in three easy steps…just sublime.

After coffees and tea in the automobile waiting room , another leisure stroll was in the wind, along unfamiliar country road, and boy what the amazing thing the imagination is. Looking at all the green fields at different stages, I was transported back to 15 years old, hobbling down another lane towards the sea at Whitesands, Dunbar…whiffing the delights of growing wheat. Although these fields yesterday had no wheat, the aroma of yesteryears is still within my mind…and exuberating…every time !
peter.howden

American Swings (2) A Leap beyond

Hector had some sense to practice when no one was around, meant sneaking out at seven in the morning. His balance was awkward due to cerebral palsy, plus the terror wavering on a curved top of the wall, working up to the dare. Landing clumsily on the gravel and on his bahookie several times. One day, while practicing, bid to jump the dreaded concrete nemesis, such a dreadful leap.... but not far enough.

Bounding between solid concrete into hopeful landing, Hector realized misfortune. The furthest corner was way out of reach, either by foot or hand, even when franticly trying to grab. He fell completely out of control, landing with arms stretched out only to feel his legs at a wearied angle. His right side took the main force of the craggy ground, covered in old fireside ashes. Wheezing in immense pain, lay there unable to move for what seemed ages, for it was more than his pride hurting. Eventually clambered with shaky feet, vowed never to do anything like that again, truly scunnered with the whole thing

Later on that afternoon while all the local lads, along with a couple of girls, one lad came along show off. Gleaming with bravado, carrying what appeared to be a real cowboy six shooter. He informed everyone his uncle brought it back from Hollywood, where he worked as an extra or scene mover, which kids envied with a lust passion. Tub’s(there was always a Tub’s then) handed around the heavy revolver to the keenly awaiting delinquent group, who showed their appreciation in the way they held it delicately. Being an outsider, Hector wasn’t privy to handling the magnificent trophy, but being mere cinema lad.... it was just out of this world.

Now in a fit of self-peek, hector blurted out his wild intention to jump the ‘corner to corner’ dare, which caused a few giggles from a couple of lads. What was unknown at the time, those boys had seen his pitiful attempts walking the wall earlier and were gunning for taking the micky ? For those few moments whatever came over Hector, he had little control over his mind, now oblivious to the fear of the petrifying obstacle. What was clear was an inner force driving uncommon bluster while scuttling along the approaching wall in fair speed and surprising agility? Lining himself up to the final approach where disaster happened that very morning, closed his eyes…bursting with instant energy and jump into blind abyss.

Before he knew it, landed safely over the opposite concrete roof with amazing margin to spare. He had jumped the jump. From that precise moment, hector was one of the lads...firstly being presented with the sacred weapon, even allowed to draw and fire imaginary bullets from it. From then on…accepted, that’s what most people want to be. He was a member of the Garturk/Bute St gang, missed when away...bonded when he came back.

There was other acts to prove valour, although he was as a member now… known as a dare devil...and not as an outsider.
Next…The Tunnel.
-=-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
American Swings.(3) The Tunnel

During what seemed an everlasting summer, Garturk/Bute st was overflowing with a variety of brood’s, having one thing in common...“Dare” challenges, competing to come up with a desperate taunt. One morning, the ultimate test was thrown into the arena....to explore the depths of the abandoned tunnel, believed to be haunted by rats and the like, under the main Whifflet |St. It was rumoured, some kids the previous year were never seen again... failed reaching the other end, gauged to be at the incredible American swings.

The spooky tunnel ran underground, from Bute St all the way to behind Hospital St...and the famed American Swings. The reason for some playgrounds to have such a name escapes grown-up logic, although quite a few swings and roundabout areas were so called, in Glasgow and surrounding rural populated districts. Whifflet American swings were brightly painted, so maybe this is the justification, as most things in the 50s were drab and formally painted dark green, or brown at best. Another theory is it had a special type of apparatus, close to “A Dundee Swing”, but operated on a maypole fashion.

Hector had been instructed by his family; the upper other side of the main Whifflet Street was strictly out of bounds. Taking little heed, he joined the brave trio outside the dodgy entrance. The boys had battery torches, plus a candle and matches, from someone’s home. Richard explained the need for a candle was, to test the air was breathable. He added it should be canaries, but he only had a budgie…and his old Gran would miss it. Garry was first to enter the dark shaft, not a sound was heard until, just after a minute or two, he came clambering out the entrance, face pure dead white, yelling...’No f---in way’, and scarpered. Along with two of the other lads hector was a tad scared, but Richard,(who became a priest) stepped into the tomb opening, followed by two god fearing scared lads skulking through

Crawling down deeper than expected, holding his torch it is hard to tell the actual distance of this built underpass, but it was black murky, smelly, and dripping, constant cascading noisily, massive holed pathway, stony obstacles with boulders to attempt to dodge. The walls were wet and dripping as the challenged individual’s, had to take off socks, shoes or sannies, wade knee deep through manky water , with squelching icy mud seeping through toes…anxious as to god knows what lay ahead

Being about three boys wide with massive water covered area in the middle. The main danger was the reputed ravaging rats, living deep in crevasses slinking in the wake of the darkness down there, anticipating the unexpected explorer. The numbers were unknown, but Hector heard them scratching near and far, as their shadows darted back and forward. although defiantly saw a dark grey one, massively bigger than it should logically be. When cornered, rats bite, for every boy knew this as total fact.

Next; Free from darkness
peter.howden
American Swings.(4) Free from the dark

Left abruptly alone without warning, for the other two adventurous had abandoned the quest, scurrying back towards the entrance which was but a dot in the murky emptiness. The darkness hauntingly wrapped around, almost smothering young Hector whose imaginary courage had fled without a steady light. In near blackness, as the candlelight had long perished due to clumsiness, and the much needed every ready torch battery, flickered intermittently. Strange sweeping shadows emerged in bloody darkness.

Resting on a boulder wondering what to do, Hector’s was aware his clothing was clingingly cold, and a hint of wind. With raw deduction from some film about miners, there must be a current of air, deducing its surly coming from the other end. Taking a couple of slugs from a Barr’s bottle of ‘Dandelion and Burdock’, bought at Calder St corner shop, he began recalling local tales about the burrow, a thought began to pester his mind. Perhaps this was the rumoured last century’s cart coal tunnel, some 400 yards long, running under Whifflet st, hidden for donkeys years

This assumption found him more spunk to see the ‘Dare’ all the way through, yet, with each step ricocheting into the unknown eeriness, worried him. Hector’s trouble had always been a vivid imagination, so the further into the abyss, the more alarming thoughts swam in his mind. After just a few minutes, to his relief, was forced to stop his solo adventure, as the way was now enclosed up. He persuaded himself he was at the end and had conquered the quest. In excited haste he retraced his steps, waded over knee high water, and at last, saw daylight peering through the entrance.

It took his eyes sometime to adapted to sunlight again. No one was there to witness his achievement, as he scrounged around for something to dry himself. Stupidly trying grass, leaving tainted frog legs when arriving home, with his sister scrubbing, in a frantic effort to save his skin…with little or no success. Unfortunately, when Hector’s brother-in-law came in, he gave him a thick ear, and a sore bum for his troubles.

It was raining next day, so the lads, and two girls met up in a deserted warehouse in North Bute St, playing a game of ‘Dare, Promise, or Kiss’. A mawkit milk bottle brought from the midden, pointed at Hector being dared to kiss the girl named Archibald...on the lips. He only consented to do so If they put a cardboard box over their heads while the act was being performed, even then chickened out…kissing her on the cheek. Brave wee man?

Next; The Tank
peter.howden
The cat sat on the mat,

“The cat sat on the mat”, a basic starting point to teach our vulnerable young children with simple terms and language. The tale is usually displayed with a cartoon caption of the whole story, added with plain printed words below? It could be argued, this innocent looking formation is creating a thought-provoking complex of extremes.

Those captions may well imply it is a fictional cat, on an imaginary mat, who looks totally puzzled, emphasizing a possibility of possessing split personalities, with oversized eyes staring right back to a dark source…searching for something unknown. Subsequently, if the other cat, not an imaginary one, believed it is a real mat, probability thinks the schizophrenic puss is being selfish, even if he only envision this to be the case. For there is only one mat, either illusion or real.

Going further into the unknown, would the other half of the split personality pussy have a nine-life cycle, with individual characteristics, or sadly nil…because it started from nonexistence? If the fantasy mouser suffered from a form of bipolar disorder, this presents a possibility of two mats, so which one would he sit on?
If the moggy inadvertently found out, it was not schizophrenic, or indeed exists… how could it come to terms pawing over inside its illusive mind? The terror and the very real danger to the kitty’s sanity, with multiple traits, this presents a possibility of two mats, so which one would he sit on?

In another dimension, would this depict the argument, an unspecified schizophrenic Malkin would believe the other cat is off his mat, because there is only one imaginary mat? What would happen mentally to the paranoid mouser if it found out by mistake, it was not in schizothyme mold at all, but did not happen? I think so therefore I am…closer to either schism or loosely schlemiel, while this would make tabby, a tad Jewish, and circumcised while not taking this chimerical serious?

In another spectrum, the ongoing phantasmal tabby: essentially a moggy’s disarmed tale, deliberately springing around the café scene on paper, not the mat. “Tip and mitten” just appear like a holy conception (implying Catholic connotations) however if it was not… how was it done.

Who, what, was the Uncle Tom? Stuck in his cabin or scrambling out of the closet; this imaginary or schizophrenic kitling. More to the point, who was the mother?
Where did she spring from …and how?
peter.howden
My Chronicles 29/07//2020;

During this trouble time, it’s so easy an excuse, to think ‘maybe later’, when hard determination is sticking to a routine…no matter how weary it may be. She who must be obeyed’, and ‘I’, are clearly slowing down, unsure whether it is advancing old age, or lockdown…or a combination of both giving physical mental fatigue signals. We practically knowing each other almost inside out, while still can flip the odd surprise now and again. Being close and accepting each other’s traits and foibles helps, with perhaps some grunts do surface occasionally. Love isn’t a crutch…but a floating emotion confusing reality…but hey…bring it on.

Nikki and Emma played a happy surprise visit on Saturday afternoon. Sipping tea and just typical natter face to face, small patter, rubbish chatter, completer with laughter… just superb. I do feel sad for those who can’t see loved ones in person, for one reason or another, as I have long standing close friends, who are unable to do just that. Chris and Kirsti are fine though Kirsti is still recovering from a broken wrist.

With the lockdown restriction easing, after quite a whilst not actually seeing her at all, next Monday may be possible to drive to Aunt Becky’s home. I will drive Rebecca to the dementia residence, however only one person is allowed into the grounds…so definitely Rebecca to just see her, for Becky has been part of her life, right from when she was born…Rebecca not Aunt Becky. We have full confidence in the staff, although they must be under immense strain and stress.

On Sunday Rebecca’s IPod , accidently fell from the kitchen table, resulted in blankness. Following all the guidelines, on the internet to reinstate the data, failed. Early yesterday’, a purpose car trip into almost empty eerie central Glasgow, was right out of the 50s catastrophe films. The peoples working in Apple store Buchanan St were pleasant, and indeed successful in returning the device almost back to normal. When arriving home, all that had to be done was to type in the Id…and the sacred password. Where I went wrong, I do not know, but …after continuously going around in circles, Apple have blocked the IPod, in case of naughty goings-on. I’m indeed a dunderheed…back to the internet?

It’s not the mirror showing more wrinkles every day, neither the boldness of creeping baldness, or reality looking every inch my age, plus several more years…it’s the simple fact losing my independence and marbles, almost instantly forgetting things, plus intermittent pain by just touching a unknown surface. There is no sanctuary when friends say they are the same. Early yesterday morning as I reached out for my trust IPod, as always being the custom…But, it wasn’t there. Some vague recollection of using it the night previous, while in the office, come Toni’s room. Searching the usual drawer(three times), then all around the desk, wastepaper baskets, in case it fell in accidently, but finding no success…the fretting started.

All day Inside my crustiness, irritation grew in a blank mind, except… one question was irately rising …where the bloody hell is it . after dinner as I sat brooding, while upstairs, ‘She who must be obeyed’, called out my name, whilst displaying the precious IPod, and an old pouch I’d seen in the drawer, while I fruitlessly searched it…three times. Rebecca explained the lost device was inside the leather poke. I’m blind as well as daft, but thanks to ‘She who must be obeyed’, spared me from unlimited days, being unbearably annoyed at myself
peter.howden
Alternative farming;(1)

Not so long ago while visiting Netherlands, collectively are the second biggest exporter of agriculture goods in the world. Firstly, there is no need for fences surrounding most areas, because the national abundance of canals produce individual islets, and larger islands of lush green grass, to enhance prime sheep and livestock. Half the countryside is used for husbandry, surrounded by inland waterway, it was obvious the shepherds may have a more complicated relationship with sheep and other farm animals., than here in Scotland.

This may lead to problems for herdsmen working through twilight, while holding his trusty crook, delicately approaching their flock of sheep, or flink of cows, becoming slightly disturbed, and unwisely disperse uncertain of his dark intentions. Rising despair of their situation, can possibly be followed by accidental tumbling or tripping, or simply falling unintentionally in the water? It would be so easy an accident for a very scared beasty, requiring one eye concentrating deep on the herder’s man, while moving over unsure ground

Before either one is aware, the poor beastie splatters into the ducts, probably feeling rather sheepish, who knows...but what danger lurks.? Their wool acts a disastrous dead weight, causing sinking. This peril is currently first in the backlog of health and safety for Netherland government, hastily organizing a programme of life saving courses, which would include chest heart manipulation, plus mouth to mouth respiration, to be compulsorily for all Shepherds in Holland

This also may lead to strained relationships between both parties. One such herder has been taken to court for gross indecency with his charge, but, earned sympathy from the court when explaining how one thing led to another. Scottish shepherds are up in arms, as well as their kilts, angerly stating clearly… it is unfair, and they are demanding kisses too?
peter.howden
My Chronicles 04/08//2020;

The mind is simply complicated

The important reason for taking a spin, in the old jalopy yesterday afternoon, was to visit Aunt Becky in her old folk’s newbuilt dementia home. It was the first official sanction, regrettably allowing only one person, appropriately veiled, to visit the large communal garden… warned no presents of any kind because of the naughty virus risks. I stayed in the car listening to McLevy, as Rebecca was escorted by a masked attendant, around the back of the building to see Becky.

Just some fifteen minutes later, Rebecca returned, in an emotional mood, taking time to compose herself before telling how Aunt Becky is not only very frail, but sat with her eyes closed, flouting her surroundings. She did awake when her personal assistant asked Becky if she knew who this is? pointing to Rebecca. Quick as a flash she retorted, “I don’t know her, or anyone here, and I don’t like them!”, then as quickly…shut her eyes again, ignoring everything around. We have great faith in the careful attention the home staff are giving Aunt Becky.

Apart from dodging the rain, my main task is painting the extending garden fence, longer than remembered and it needs two, perhaps three coats. I feel like huckleberry Finn’s grandfather…knackered, while Aunt Polly keeps her beady eye, making sure there’s no skipping off to meet up with the likes of crafty Tom Sawyer, or the judge’s daughter. Truth be told there is only two Becky’s for me.

The raw skill I possess makes me ponder in the mind, if such artistes, of the caliber of say, Vincent Willem van Gogh , Monet, Pissarro, the main man Leonardo da Vinci… and the almighty number one, Michelangelo, famed for painting ceilings and walls. Did they all do such menial stokes around my age? Conceivably, they served their internship from an incredibly early age, rather than a duff old timer, who akin to the Michelangelo, doesn’t want to, but now, seemingly taking as long with my personal ‘Sistine Chapel’.

Stop Press…news just in, Emma our granddaughter, Nikki’s daughter, has passed her exams with flying colours, which gives Emma a ticket into Aberdeen University, to study Biology and Cytology…magic…pure dead brilliant…for this is what she is pining to do.
peter.howden
Beyond words

The elderly lady shuffles along the uneven pavement alongside the busy road, heading for the traffic-lights, then hurry to the shops, desperately needing messages ,including slice sausages. Harry loves a bit of sausage, bacon, and lovely corn dobby, makes a rare sandwich in the middle of the night. Does the trick when she cannot sleep for worry. Then thinking to herself, she’s being a silly old fool, Harry will keep her safe. .

With eyes keen for her age, sharply squints around and reminds herself, better get her skates on, hoping she doesn’t meet Mrs MacBride, for she is a gossip, bad mouths everybody and everything. Good, no sign of her, nervously has a swatch behind, relieved she is not being followed. She knows her Harry will call her a ‘silly billy’ when she gets back home. Once the key is secured behind the new mortise locked door, then both of them will be all right… snug as bugs on a rug. Arriving at the post, where you press the button, wait for the wee green man, before stepping out onto the road

A wee laddie is idly at the Zebra crossing, stopping her four wheeled trolley from rolling any further, giving her time to gather her breath. He gives her a smile as she thought, ‘he does not look like one of nasty hoodlums, who broke into our house when I was out last week. Lucky, I had Harry with me…or he might have been hurt, or worse still, thrown out into the street’. The place was in a real stooshie, the mawkit middens even peed on the kitchen table, near scunnered her. Promising Harry, they’ll not catch her napping this time, buying an expensive double drop mortise, paying a real joiner to install it. She recalls telling Harry, ‘you can’t put a price on safety’.

The lights change as the old lady darts across at such a speed, she leaves the lad standing, arriving in the nyaff supermarket like a hurricane. She would much prefer to shop in individual shops; however, the high street is full of sad empty premises, while the once family butcher Harry likes is gone somewhere, but not local. She scoots around the shelves, hardly looking at the well-publicized cheap bargains, to tempt the sodie-heid shoppers.

Racing through the till section, then marches, runs along the well-worn street heading for her home, and back to the flat. She worries leaving Harry alone in the flat, however the chippie said the door was like fort Knox ….Guaranteed. I hope he’s right’ she felt as she entered the close, with her heart thumping ten to a penny

To her relief the front door was intact. She enters the home, calling on Harry, to let him know she is out of harm's way. Locking the double- drop, starts packing her messages away and makes the tea. With her favourite slippers, sits down next to where Harry is and relaxes. ‘Told you handsome I’d be back in two handshakes and a jiffy… and so I am’, she whispers as she fondly, and gently picks up, from the new coffee table…a photograph of her darling late husband… Harry.
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peter.howden
American Swings.(5) The Tank

Young Hector longed for a racing bike, so with good intentions, his sister asked a blacksmith to come up with a suitable, but sturdy bicycle. When the cycle was delivered to her home in Whifflet, Hector was over the moon, seldom separated during his summer stay, other than the essentials such as food and sleep. It was a real heavy machine, but how it could take a bashing, for walls and lamppost did not dent the rough cast, or even a scratch or scrape the blackest of black paint which ruled it’s chasse. Hector struggled to lift his tank, even with his whole body braced for the task, bending down to heave it off the ground ,carrying it on his shoulder, but only short deliberate steps, then plonk it down, with great relief.

Although Hector’s fondness for the cycle had not diminished, during that season, he was slightly envious because several boys in the area flaunted pedal-power racers, with gears. Hector’s black machine boasted two gears…his legs, and one of them was slightly askew. Even so, his bike opened up freedom being only a leg push away, and boy…was it not grand sticking an empty fag packet between the spooks, kidding it was a motor bike anywhere in the world. But those 6 gear racers were modern fast and fancy. One birthday boy boastful how his father had laid out a fortune for a Lightweight brand- spanking new, brightly painted, which could be lifted from the ground, to way above his head, by one small pinkie.

The boys as a clan, always aimed for the forbidden glen. The mere fact it was prohibited, was a magnet enough to give courage even to the mamma’s boys. It was not far from the square in Whifflet, but to young eyes, it was the huge wide-open outback, where they built a den someplace few had tread before. The North Calder ran right through their Glen, just under the A8 road high above a deep unknown waterhole. With each visit, the empty-headed team had a constant dare. For just beyond the murky pool, a steep path all around, winding in and out of the trees willy-nilly, used by young supple bikers as an obstacle course, to prove their bottle.

This time Hector was first through not to swift…but safely without a scratch, after scudding a tree or two, with his Black tank. The other boys were not so fluky. Most came away with slightly buckled front or rear wheels and scratch frames, but repairable. Unfortunately, the one who came a real cropper was the birthday boy; his prize was laying at the bottom, half in and half out of the aged waters. Both wheels were warped, beyond restoration, not knowing they should be round, but worse of all, the frame twisted in all direction other than the right way.

After limping home… the clan didn’t see the birthday boy for a week or so, and it was rumoured he had learnt a harsh new meaning for ‘Spanking.
peter.howden
SOCK AND TEASE;

The Owl and the Pussycat sat on a tree,
Overshadowing the churchyard,
The Owl and the Pussycat, with glee,
Read words on the entrance card.
How life shall be lived.
“In the knowing” hooted said the Owl
“In the showing” purred the Cat,
The owl’s eyes blinked,
The Cat’s eyes winked.
peter.howden
Alternative farming (2)

Netherlands Sheep, though intelligent, are impulsive when wishing to communicate, "baa" or "meh.", or hanky-pranky with other rams and ewes, across the other side of their island in the canal system. In pure excitement, they may take the plunge without tallying on the risks. In the case of such an emergency, heart respiration on the fields is now considered more practical than to use personal lip service. It is suggested, the shepherd should pump the chest to the rhythm of the Bee Gee’s song ‘Staying alive’.

If you have an extremely sick psyche, it’s possible to imagine the carnage caused by older lambs, who should know better, how within an instant of plummeting into any canal, the fleece overcoat becomes a totally sodden glug, penetrating their tick polluted bodies…right to the raw skin… making impossible their sexual or mental objectives, but…sheep being sheep they just follow the one in front.

Anyone who were weans after the war, who tried to swim, or even enjoy knitted trunks, while on the beach at Rothsay on the Isle of Bute, will know the hell and shame forced on them. The crutch of the trunks expanded, almost down to the knees, making bathing nigh impossible, and leaving the water absolutely embarrassing

This type of episode happened in other seaside towns, like chilly winds of Aberdeen, winter, or pretend summer. The waters of the North Sea, no matter where around Scotland, being one degree below freezing, causing the young forced dippers, testifying to their personal pearl…hearing mother’s call, “Aye, Gaun yersel, dinna swalley…whit’s up wi ye?”

Observed how simple tumbling into the waterway, would be a disaster, as their individual piles rose, the sheep would panic and clammier for fresh air, even when issued with specially adapted snorkel gear. The sad fact is… sheep just can’t use masks, as they feel it’s pulling wool over their eyes.

Spotting what seemed to be greener grass across the other side… several ardent sheep attempted the complicated Scuba diving , however, quickly became an awkward non-starter , for by the time they managed to put on four flippers, as each flipper wanted a different direction, either the notion became somewhat sheepish, …or they simply forgot. …..

And the final question that is a must to answer…. have you ever seen an old sheep? Holland’s livestock do not need to blindly follow this Euro swimming tuition, steering lambs into slaughter …but for this reason, go in bathing courses for sheep was ruled out right away, being totally unsafe

Next episode… not March…but…waterskiing Hares
peter.howden
Dire

The smell of poverty, we would forgive the poor everything, if they did not suffer the stink we gave to them …. And society imposed on them .

Almost waking the dead, as the soiled door closes with an agonizing squeal, hiding the disgusting mould and smell within the small flat, which nobody outside has been in for such a long time. Emergency electric and gas men have been incessantly knocking on the door, with no more success than the absent-minded vicar who opened up the mawkit letterbox for a peekaboo, his nostril attacked by the repulsive smell of poverty. Also, what he saw that day, he never repeated to a living soul, but from that moment on, refused blindly to even enter the close ever again.
Myth dictates, local people do not even know the name of the grotty hermit, in this homemade midden.

It has been years since a nameplate was deliberately ripped from the shabby door by hooligans, bent on revenge It has been whispered a lad had been scratched badly both on the face and limbs, by a flee bitten feline moggy, a mouser that prowled around the disgusting hovel. Local say they cant remember when that abode was liveable. Yet, no one knows of a living soul who has been in the squat, or survived the experience in living memory, apart from the community drunk .

Gus, one of the local drunks, boasted how years ago, not only being accepted through the front door, but came our relatively unharmed. He states one Ne’erday, he worked up the courage after a dare from the local ‘country club’. Knocking the door while taking deep breaths, he heard approaching feet. The entrance opened slightly as he took his final gulp before rushing past the alarmed occupant. Reaching the parlour, he produced his bottle of whisky and quickly churned out, ‘A guid New Year to one and all’. He swears to this day, there must have been at least twenty/thirty cats of all description, lying around on chair or couch with one thing in common… manky. the old recluse, with claws as fingers and long clatty mat hair, and icky whiskers. living abject poverty, in a rented midden.

Gus’s problem was needing desperately to breathe fresh air. Out of frantic necessity …and without thinking, he alarmingly took a gulp indoors. The stench was obnoxious, as the odour travelled up through his nostrils until the reek watered his eyes. Drunk or not drunk did not matter for the whiff hit so hard, he could suffer no more. Again, without thinking, he beat a hasty retreat almost knocking over the auld man in the scramble for safety.

Almost beating the hundred metre sprint, Gus reached the relative safety in the entrance of the close, before he realized where he was. Then, after the initial shock came the blow of blows. He had left his cherished carry-oot inside the forbidden hovel. He treasured his bottle of whisky, because it was his passport to other abodes, he was certain of one thing only….he would never go back in to be surrounded by those awful damp grimy walls of a live pit.

Remember…those are just hearsay, however strongly believed to be true… for there is no smoke, without fire.
-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
American Swings.(6) The Forbidden Glen

Sometimes, a dream is all you have left to hang on to

Belonging to the Whifflet clan, enabled Hector to be involved throughout his summer stay. As far as the clan were concerned, the Glen’s makeshift den, complete with an old carpet on the ground was their secret rendezvous belonging to only them. This was the place where most of the devious dares were given.

On his heavy black tank, with empty Cigarette packet driving on the back wheel, Hector imagination focused being a devil dare rider, on the ‘wall of death’, main attraction in the fairground circuit. The clan’s first main challenge was cycling along the cobblestoned path of the tramcars, though they longer ran years previous. Because such things never came into their heads, the clan presumed the danger was practically non-existent…but It did not work out way..
.
Hector’s wheels stuck fast in the grooves of the tram lines, wouldn’t budge due to the heaviness of the bike. There was no real panic until two stationary buses, letting on passengers blocked the way. This was when a sudden realisation that his brakes would not work, wheels sparking against steel lines. What saved Hector was the buses moved on to follow the timetabled route, leaving him time to shakily dismount from his machine.

Out of the blue, a big policeman was making strides to be alongside of Hector, who now panicked which did not help the situation. He pulled frantically and luckily the wheel just broke free. Without ceremony or thought, he jumped into that saddle, peddled for his very life,

Next day back at the den, the new dare was simple… how long could you go your bike with eyes closed. The main problem was.... attempting this hair scary cycle when on the A8, the busy main Glasgow to Edinburgh rd. Key boy Tub’s stated, you would hear the whoosh of the traffic. and steer clear. Also, the wind thermos caused by the heavy freight movers, would keep the bikes in the safe airstream, acting like a buffer. They all chickened out...after five whole seconds.
-=-=-=
peter.howden
Hector returns home(1 of2)

Chance is strange; it can happen with unseen casualness.

While returning home after the summer holidays, sitting in the driver’s seat on the top deck of a bus, clutching the bag of jorries won from ‘Tub’s, in a game of drains. Hector felt chuffed being accepted by the Whifflet clan. The double-decker past a school building, looked something similar to the special school he was sent, by order of local authorities, pronouncing him physical disadvantage for a normal teaching. Per Chance, much against his mother’s wish, Hector was taken the special Hollybrook school for disabled children, then brought back, in an obvious grey van/bus.

He was not so lucky, for a couple of those incapacitated children totally disproved the theory, all disabled children have lovely natures and cute in a funny way. It was roughly 5 years after the halt to world war two, when it was norm for children of obvious handicaps, physical and mentally or both, where shepherd out of sight. Hector’s family, never being in this category….argued urgently to have him in a regular teaching environment. With tenacity, pestered all the authorities continuously, and after three weeks, the government department granted the request.

The teachers were diligent with care but the system complacent as to the curriculum allowed for such unfortunate children. At the time Hector had no idea of all this highbrow stuff, but what caused him worry was to follow almost from the start

Per chance, a bigger boy, who used crutches, took an instant dislike against wee Hector, for during ever break or lunch time, while in the playground, out of sight of any teacher, he tripped him up, to land awkwardly on concrete. Due to his Cerebral palsy, Hector always landed badly scrapping his right knee and the back of his right-hand hand. This was always put down in the school’s report, as himself being unsteady on his feet. This unjust behaviour continued until one day.

Just before lunchbreak, Hector was informed this would be his last day at the school, as from the following week he would be attending Cuthbertson Primary. During the last playtime, as his smug nemesis , joking with his pal, stood confident and ready to stick out a single crutch, tripping him up once more. In his last few steps, Hector moved fast around the back of his would-be ambusher, then kicked the big tormenter’s crutches away. Landing hard on his bum, and one crutch fell somehow on his head, immediately the oppressor blubbered loudly.

Hector was branded a bully by the headmistress, which was ridiculous, but the much older, bigger boy…. had crutches for support, plus his sneaky pal, who swore blind it was Hector, who without cause, viciously attacked the unaware boy. He reckoned most people would assume this without knowing the whole story.
peter.howden
Hector returns home(2 of2)

Chance can be a doggy swing or roundabout

Coming back from Whifflet, Hector was missing the clan, however happily attending the new School for a year or so, making a few chums, one being Jim Millar, who also lived in the Gorbals. Hector’s home was on the corner of Gorbals st/ Carlton Place, where the modern Glasgow Court is now. Unknown to him, the house was large for the district, with three bedrooms, sitting room, kitchen, and bathroom,

Per chance, exceedingly early one morning, Jim and Hector, were sauntering towards Cuthbertson Primary School, as the impish chancers used bus fares money on sweets. Passing the “Star Bar” at Eglington Toll, with great delight saw, a scattering of coins lying on the grubby pavement, which they assumed dropped by a drunken man the night before. The boys busied themselves gathering this bountiful treasure, Jim picking anything coming to hand, while Hector was aiming at the silver stuff. When eventually they counted out the boontie, Jim had collected the most coins, three shillings and nine and a ha’penny… Jim was truly muffed. Hector had scooped about £1/ nine shillings… give or take! So, he bought Jim two bars of highland toffee, and a large Chocolate block.

From Hector’s home, he was able to see right across the Clyde’s Broomielaw, a bus terminal, at the time. On the quay, for easy storage, was tons of coarse sand, stone chips, pebbles, granite, and bricks. This was a magic magnet terrain enticing children of all ages, coming from near or far, inventing devil dare games, unaware it was really a horrible black spot for accidents, where sometimes death by falling into the murky water. No matter how the authorities tried to secure the area, the youngsters managed in, with a mixture of innocence and mischief.

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

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

Later Hector knew many families, forced into the inadequate rundown pitiful accommodation….and paying prey for slum landlords Per Chance… a valuable lesson learnt
-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
George (Thee Polar bear

George was a sucker for a fridge, preferably an extra-large one, allowing him to wallow away a few hours, whilst dreaming of home in the sandy beaches of the Sahara Desert. He knew fine well he did not come from the Gobi Desert, for that would be only plain ridiculous. Who ever heard of a polar bear from the Gobi Desert? What springs to mind is, you’d be a right ‘Lo-Lo’ to contemplate so, anyway, the number 41 bus doesn’t stop there.

George was sure he must have roots from the Sahara Desert, as the main clue was his dad smoked those cigarettes before it came popular, then how fags were bad for you, and anyhow, smoking gave bears a horrible smell. If challenging George as to his qualification of his true origins, he took the hump (just like a camel ‘Dromedary’) or two (Bactrian) when things were not going his way.

Both species, the bear and camel, come from around the same Palaeogene era, adding to this, as if to qualify its authenticity, George’s Aunt did drink the dark Camel Coffee, bought from a shop in Dubai by some troops from the Royal Fusiliers. He seldom talk’s much about his aunt because of her lose morals. The coffee was a bribe so she would take the soldiers, not up to the front, but sneaky visits to local brothels , which did not sell soup being ill-reputed bawdyhouses.

George appeared at 12 Calvay Place somewhere in the past, then just made himself at home. We did discover his efforts to be here was encourage by the knowledge of a group of genuine synthetic yellow ducks resided within, and seemingly growing. Wiping his paws before entering through the door, he made a beeline for the fridge, to slip into something cool I would imagine . From then on, when the idea took him, he settled in the fridge for a couple of hours

George always avoided treading on the butter, for butter was the substance of life. Not water… or air, but glorious butter, not a single hair was ever left on butter in the fridge, to bare witness he had visited or honoured with his presence. How or why he came from Sahara he did not ken; he just knew because it gets pretty chilly in the night throughout the deserts
peter.howden
My Chronicles 31/08/2020

With-it being 31 August, summer is almost over, I suppose Rebecca and I have personally arrived, neat and brittle, without any sign of a remedy for this naughty virus. There is a melancholy atmosphere for the peoples, and families, not only having been struck by the virus…but the relentless stress everything else brings to bare

We have come through the unknown relatively well, according to the terrible statistics of our country and worldwide reports. It is always assumed, information from all governments, how fact and statistics, can be distorted and rigged, but it is obvious how people are being struck down by this silent killer. Every individual has a personal duty to humanity, to abide by the instructions given as best they can. Yesterday… we had a choice to behaved like yesterday…today… we must perform for tomorrow

The turning point for ‘She who must be obeyed’, and I, was the simple restricted personal meetings of family and friends, firstly in the garden. Lately in our home, Nikki, Simon, Emma, and Andrew one week, the next with Kirsti and Chris. In-between weeks, close friends of Rebecca’s. As for my China’s, and close friends, longer traveling is necessary, so I will have to be patient. The communications we have today blows my mind…but nothing beats a cherry ‘Hallo!’

This afternoon I’m going up to the dementia home where Aunt Becky is safely staying. It is important to physically see her, although the frail wee soul is lost in her own wee world, hasn’t a clue who the hell I am. The good news is certainly she is being looked after. The staff keep a close vigilance because Becky has a unfortunate tendency to fall.

Take easy Steps
peter.howden

My Chronicles(late news) 31/08/2020

It was a warm afternoon with sunshine providing a pleasant easy drive over Clydeside Expressway, heading for the Dementia home. I felt good, mainly because Toni’s old hiker jerkin, which I borrowed it while in Holland many years ago, still fitted comfortably, yet unfortunately, is no longer waterproof…so the weather was a benefit . Arriving at the old folks home, everything was prepared in a clinical manner, for the safety of residents staff and visitor. Entering the room allotted, a smowt Aunt Becky was sitting sedately in all her finery, while although did not look tired, just closed her eyes, and swiftly fell asleep.

During the truly short visit, she was asleep more than awake, even when the carer tried to involve her as to who had come to see her. It was certainly better for all, but mainly for Becky to return to her own little space, to allow the hairdresser to style her hair. I stayed for a minute or so while they organized a person to take me through the garden security. I was pleased and at last at ease because I saw her for the first time in 11 weeks. Thanking the staff and prepared to drive home… relieved.

We had a long-awaited visitor come on Sunday. Fergus, Toni’s partner, allowing Rebecca, Fergus, and myself, not only enjoy each other’s company, catching up with the news, but comfortably reminiscence as to visits to Paris, the square with thee artists, Amsterdam, but mainly serene Leiden. He left in his spanking new Red Renault Clio….pure dead brilliant
Take Easy Steps
peter.howden
George (Thee Polar Bear) Part 2,

Confronted by a rather large polar bear, tends to leave the occupant speechless, or saying something really daft. The latter was my response, asking why George chose to use the number 41 bus to this home. The polar bear retorted with a wink in his eye, ‘The number 12 bus does not pass your door, come to think of it, neither does the subway?’ There was something about his ability to speak in a Glesga accent, I could not put my finger on…. even more broad Glesga twang than the famous actors, Francie & Josie.

Trying to be hospitable we offered the polar bear fish, and fish fingers if he preferred a snack. Seemingly with a very dry cough, he sort of growled friendly like, from the side of his mouth, an imitation of Sean Connelly, ‘where the hell was anybody likely to get fish in the Sahara Desert?’. Pausing suddenly with his explanation, I took a chance by asking, ‘Well, what do you eat?’. Having a blank expression while staring up to the ceiling, George uttered, still rather annoyed, “Smoky Seal’ crisps, and of course… Scott’s Porridge Oats... but not sandwiches, definitely not sandwiches!”. He changed his tone adding, “Never tasted Porridge, but just in case, I always have a spurtle around my person!”

Neglecting the fact, he may be sensitive, I carelessly chose a wisecrack, ‘was the sand in the bread too much to swallow ?’. George looked miffed, and within a will of the wisp, I rued this throw away remark. Back came Sean’s threatening accent, “I don’t mind mockery; however, I cannot abide ridiculousness at a bear’s expense”. He further added “The reason I chose not to munch sandwiches, simply the reckless use of precious butter would melt by the heat of the sun before I had a chance to spread evenly… margarine has the same tendency… but no loss there!”. No growl, no roar, but a definite display of bored awareness.

For example, George explained if he had a penny for every time he heard, “how to catch a polar bear, by cutting a hole in the ice and surround it with peas. Wait for the silly bear to come along wanting a pea, and then kick him in the hole”, he would be a Millionaire in ‘Smoky Seal crisps’. Now, there is nothing worse than a polar bear trying to act ridiculous… apart from George substitute sensibly… for honesty.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
peter.howden
DESPERATE;(Forsaken)


She came out of nowhere, or this was how it seemed as I was concentrating on the awkward brown wheelie bin. I had nicked out for the weekly chore, wearing only a make do sleeping shirt my wife had bought for Christmas. This hooded phantasm sprang up against the bitter cold wind of the morning. Making her way through the well-used common footpath which ran at right angles next to our home... though at that time in the morning, usually not a soul can be seen. The cold air of the daybreak caused vapour swirling around my words of, “Good morning”, to the early Will of the wisp, who replied with warmth

The hoody came closer while I battled with the garden wheeled monstrosity, she called again, wishing, ‘good morning’, in a near coherent fashion. It was bloody cold, and my slippers were sliding as I made a precarious way down the driveway with the reputed mobile bin, heading for the street. By now, only separated by a hedge, she cleared her throat, called not so loud as before, “What time is it?”. as we were “think it must be somewhere near twenty-five to seven!”, I answered. “What time does the shop open” she asked rather woozy, with a slight hesitation in her voice. She asked, then answered the question herself, “I know it around 7”. She mumbled something, then repeated her question and answer

It was then I saw her in full street lighting reflecting cruelly, she was past her sell date but not because of her age but due to her disorder. The whiff or strong odour of stale drink followed her, even in the severe cold its unmistakable stench could be located about her person. A youngish woman of maybe 40 or so, however her face was haggard, weather beaten… with a yellow tinge. Although one was not there, sadly I felt a wart on her chin or nose would be appropriate for her appearance. Perhaps you may consider this as terrible and disgusting of me, to judge a fellow human being so… but that is how it was.

Even though I viewed her so harshly, she thanked me gently, but staggered coarse cough grinded her throat. She turned her wafer-thin body around, to retreat where she came from. Her close of her abode was right across the spare ground where the wee library once stood. The housing association had plans to build new homes there, but it never happened for one reason or another. The close door shut and after a wee while a small light went on in the house above, a lonely figure appeared at the window, staring wantonly out into the bleakness.

You may call it guessing or a terrible cast on her character, but the lady was desperate for liquor . She is well known locally as a wino running a country-club dwelling, or alky’s abode,…the Neighbourhoods colourful title
peter.howden

George (Thee Polar Bear) Part 3



George quickly settled by using our family fridge, reminding him of his true home, for it’s bitterly cold in the Sahara desert of a night, minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit…more than we could imagine. For several hours each night, he tiptoe’s daintily via the layers and compartments, a sort of Doctor Who’s Tardis (in reverse) making him a traveller without space. He had sometime in the past, discovered from a wind wandering 1992 newspaper, how 28,800 Spartacus ducks, in the Pacific Ocean… escaped confinement bondage. Out of the blue, George asked for our plastic ducks, Donald and Dafty by name, wishing to meet them, and the rest of the brace. How he associated our Donald and Dafty, with the Moby Duck break out, or even know their names, alludes us to this day… but ask for them he did !

I explained to him, how ‘Dafty’ doesn’t mind being called Donald…but ‘Donald’ detest being mistaken or dubbed Dafty. . Donald is our original plastic simulated yellow duck, from a bathroom of a Dundee Hotel. Before leaving I asked the receptionist, if I could purchase the duck, desperate for a present for ‘she who must be obeyed’, The kind manager gave him gratis free, plus Dafty. People may frown on us, treating them as one of the family, however… they were grand company while preforming ablutions, and particularly good listeners. The rest of the brace just grew from there…no explanation needed.

We explained they were asleep now, and we were just about to go up the wooden path to slumber land. George proved nimble when needs must, for he was in our king-sized bed as quick as a flash, if not faster. It felt strange sharing a bed with 470 K.G of white warm bear….little sleep visited us on that particular night. I bare witness, the adverts for hippos or bears sharing your bed, in peace and harmony, are undoubtedly not true. To many times were the plastic simulated yellow ducks squashed, when it came their turn to have a sleep over with him . Although George may be a tad fuzzy in the navigation field, he’s not related to the Bipolar family, extensively advertised via America cartoons and wee films

George was fine as long as he was in the fridge, having privacy and quietness, unless one or more of the plastic synthetic yellow ducks waddled in, thinking it was the passage to the pool. George was exceptionally neat and tidy inside the ice box, protecting the butter. He could not believe he was there, right there beside the idol of butter, the substance of life. However, we had to insist he left his comfort zone while, .She who must be obeyed’ made oatmeal seal lollypops, and sour milk sucking cups, as they took a lot of space. I’m whispering… ‘we cheated on the seal’, substituting sardines as everybody knows, due to salted seal crisps, has the monopoly on the fishy market

But outside the fridge George was bored…… and it was obvious, because it is a well-known fact when polar bears are bored, their paws smell something awful, and his did. It has something to do with the hairs of those large paws, so they don’t slip on ice. A well-known fact….Web feet always reek like kippers (not the fabulous ones from Arbroath).
peter.howden
The Good Samaritan?

Like a sack of tatties, the old man dropped to his knees, utterly disbelieving the sight of his faithful mutt, just lying motionless at the side of the road. The dog had been excited while he and his elderly master, coming from the post office, the dog pranced off the pavement. Just at the moment, a fast-moving motor machine was passing. The driver had no chance to stop in time but swerved in a vain attempt but tragically failed.

As the aging man remained crouched down, staring apparently at nothing, a comforting hand reached out, gentle holding his shoulder. He turned around to see a face, which was not unknown to him, yet he could not quite place where he stayed. The taunt driver, almost crying , hurried towards the old man, in a desperate effort to console him. Both men mentally stunned as to what actually happened. Finally, the police became involved as witnesses tried to present their versions all at once.

The experienced policeman suggested someone should take the grieving aged man away from the horrible scene, as there was a café extremely near, buy him a good strong sweet tea to steady his nerves. The comforting hand beckoned to comply, leading the sobbing man to the café sanction. Once inside, he sat the elderly man down, ordering two strong teas. While awaiting the waitress to return, he told the old man his elbows of his jacket, were truly mawkit from the blood and tears involved. Encouraging the elder man to disrobe the garment, so he could make amends and rid the thread bearing sleeves of the manky grime.

Reassuring words passed from his lips as he assisted the senior man on with his jacket, followed soothing meaningless chatter. Within a minute or two, the Samaritan apologized for leaving ,but had an appointment and made good of his departure. The old man stood up, though still rather confused, returned to the accident scene, finding all the necessary duties had been completed, and his trusty old mutt had been taken away . All that was left was a couple of spots of blood, and a caring constable asking if aid was needed to return to his abode.

Entering into the home he shared with the dog, several tears fell from his already red eyes. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the money he had taken out of the post office before the accident. There was only £50… instead of the £100 he had withdrawn. He knew almost instantly that the Good Samaritan was a Briganer dipper. This meant he had not taken all the cash, only some… in an effort for his victim to believe ether he was mixed up, or somehow had used the cash.

The problem the distressed elderly mann faced, he knew who it was but could not say anything, having no proof. Sadly, silently…the old man closed his eyes, pretending he was in the woods walking with his faithful hound.
peter.howden
THE VILLAGE DREIMIRE;

Welcome… yes welcome to the village of “Dreimire”, settled in seclusion and protection of the craggy stanie braes, in the deepest part of the highlands…yet, we have all the hot spots that any Metropolis in the known universe has… with some added attractions which little are known about. Remember as you are entering our boundaries... watch your speed. We have up to the minute, on the spot speed cameras in operation, focused directed to our main street and thoroughfares…so you have been warned.

If one of our local pedestrians spots a speeding motorist, or cyclist especially the butcher boy, immediately they press a button on special constructed lamp post, alerting Mr Mc Deed, the undertaker to come out of his closet with his flash. As a deterrent, it appears to work with the sight of Ernest Hardly Mc Deed( he was to be Christened ‘Hardy’ but the minister had a lisp)...in a lum hat, naked and painted black from head to foot.... from what he is flashing... scaring the living daylight out of drivers....always surprisingly effective.

We are proud... proud as punch, for the excellent cuisine personified in the ‘Ghilie Dhu’ and garnishes from the simplest of ingredients, tailored to perfection, second to none and equal to any comers in Scotland or indeed the European market we hear so much about... as long as cook rose in a good mood. “Punch” himself is seldom allowed into the centre of the village these days, after the unmentionable happening involving pea soup and a unscripted ladle placed in unspecified quarters. It was judged to be totally unhygienic by the village elders.

There is of course the dreadful red-light district, the scourge of any urban area. It’s up there but we don’t talk about it down here. This seedy establishment is run by Hardly’s older cousin; Ambrosia Hardly Mc Deed; (same clergyman christened her). She acquired the rudiments of equipment, mainly thirty red bulbs, from an electric company holding a closing down fire sale. Although getting on in years, by some forty and fourteen spans in age, she can be very flirtatious, even voluptuous, under such provocative lighting. Has been known to send guest into unbridled genital procreative behaviour, at the mere sight of her tartan helm, lifted above Church standard decency. Sensuous is the display… or so I have been told.

The export trade from the village varies in amounts. We tried to grow our own tartan stones, which to all practice and purposes take forever to develop...as we can find no local person, living or dead, who can recall cropping such marvels. Still, after watching Weir’s way (An Outer Hebrides boy by his accent) on the only translation photo boxes in the village, and the now defunct Rolf Harris, we struck gold. Tartans to order all suits, skirts and thingymabobs…weaving cost extra…and can you see it yet?

As a community, we have few one or two at the last count, of the new-fangled moving screen box in the corner of the communal hall…or the pub. Of a night, only one seedy programme we capture goggled eyed viewing is, the Glasga “Thingumhisgig”. ‘The laird O Ccoocaddens’ proudly displaying Scotland’s best

With good fortune, we do not suffer from hoodlums or graffiti except for Madam Mayor; with slogans of “Votes for women”, is rather set in her ways and in the past. There is a superb youth programme, run by Willie Hardly Mc Deed, who is proud of his Danish ancestry, giving special care to blond wee boys. With great personal pain, tries hard putting a little Viking culture into each of them, whenever the chance arises.
It’s just the simple things in life, gives pleasure to the gratified inhabitants of “Dreimire” village
peter.howden
Hector, Beth and two soups;

Gazing on Beth innocently, as being a piece of living magic, Hector was a lost pup longing for her, at the tender age of 11 odds. He could hardly sleep in the darkness for her face cast almost constantly, introducing her features as paramount through simplest thoughts or actions during that summer splendour.

Beth had every quality a lad could wish for; drifting swept silky brown hair, so desired by style magazine photographers. Deep dark brown eyes to beckon the wildest of soul, hinting a magic smile to enchant a defeated devil, because of her natural innocent allure. Her walk defied gravity, as if strolling with the Gods themselves. Her voice echoed sweetly, to soften any discerning ear, but pierced the most resilient heart to become a willing slave, to her every whim, a beauty personified.

Hector was new to this game of passion, nevertheless entered it with the vigour of a seasoned Romeo, and the private presumption of a master ails Casanovas… even with Great Expectations, but never quite reached the qualifier (11 plus or otherwise). Observing Beth, formed a life of its own emotions…but unfortunately, at a distance

These unreturned expressions were paraded for the world to see the simple adorations and factual affection… but Beth was totally unaware. Each time she made entrance to the street they both lived, the sun shone through the heaviest rain to brighten up that moment. Graceful Beth would be seeming not only floated along the ground, but dance to wherever she wished to be. All Hector could do, was no more than stare.
He found himself timing to be at her close when he thought she was due out, not wish to waste one second or moment being with her. There was a problem…seen only as a friend, for she neither realizes he yearnings, nor ever encouraged him in any way, which was a bit of a hindrance to his affections. It became even more difficult when he discovered she acutely fancied dashing Gordon Campbell.

This boy had always been a thorn in Hector’s side, right from the first day meeting him in the street. He was good at everything, and anything he ever tried. To name any sport he did not excel in school, and you would be hard placed. He had the audacity to be good looking to boot, but the bested thing of all was….he was so dammed nice? He would make up excuses for trouncing Hector, when once again, beat the pants off him, (not literary, as it was still against the law, and anyway…. he’d probably wipe his ass with that too ?).

Having no choice than to accept his immeasurable fate … looking on from afar, hoping against all hope she would miraculously change her mind and view him in hero’s romantic light. Hector had no choice but to do something constructive so to fill in the lonesome time.

He decided to make a new bow and arrow out of garden canes, just like all the kids but he would slave to make it so well…Beth would look on and wonder…. but he inwardly knew, and if he were here, would tell you this…. Gordon Campbell(two soups) always made the best one…of anything?
peter.howden
Hector and Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary (1/3)

During the summer admiring Beth from afar, Hector reflected on a few several holidays previous, while staying in his sister’s home, quite close to the River Clyde in Uddingston. Hector was sent for fresh vegetables, to a Mr Swan’s large market gardens, which led to two adventurous vacations, allowed to help around the wonderland from day to day.

What an excellent figure of man Mr Swan was. He was not the tallest of tall, in fact his height was around 5 feet 4 inches, or a muscle-bound Mr Universe, but immensely strong of wirily stature, plus owning a red beard to shame Rob Roy. He could run faster backwards than Hector could full pelt forward. There was a rare kindness about him, honest and comforting. Mr Swan was the one who introduced Hector to the fact there was more than one type of relationship, and defiantly more types of complicated ladies…and men.

His pipe blew smoke continuously, coupled with his thankfully forgetful habit of leaving his half glowing pipes, dotted all over the place, with several different stages of shags and moistures, leaving sublime distinctive aromas, was opium to Hector’s breathing senses, which can still muster today, and right now, at the twitch of his nose. This is the scent Hector regularly hungers for, because of a distinct bouquet of varied seasonal earthy growth... mixed with tobacco of his splendid pipes. Mr Swan told a variety of stories in an exciting and educational way, without boasting... and when he was finished, you would wish you could have been there.

He spoke of his crossing over to the vastness of Canada, on five separate occasions, always by boat, with his first trip over in 1930. He would run every morning around the deck, and he used to race this young fellow, who turned out to be the number one athlete for Great Britain, in the August commonwealth games being held in Hamilton Canada that year. He apparently beat him most times, but, as Mr Swan stated, it was probably because the poor lad did not have his sea legs yet. He was not being a bragger, as he related his findings while working planting or pruning something within his market garden.

In a small way, he helped to build the railways through “The Rockies”, worked at mining, also employed in the brothel and cheap bars as a bouncer. If money were hard, and it often was, by all accounts, he would sleep rough. He was one of the thousands of drifters, in and out of all types of work. Yet…he always said, travelling abroad... was the making of the man
peter.howden
Hector and Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary(2/3)

Mr Swan, engaged as a market gardener, groundkeeper, all round worker come anything, for the old Glasgow Council, who owned ‘Clydenuek House’... and fields between the ‘Clyde, Blantyre farm Rd, leading up to the old bridge over the river. Hector, under his wing, was so lucky spending hours, almost every day around the big hoose, and the stables in Kylepark drive, with enormous glass hot-houses, filled with amazing sublime moments, during the two long summer months

Just before Hector’s first visit, Mr Swan had been instructed to employ an architect, along with an overpass building firm, to erect a bridge over a fast flowing stream running into the river Clyde. The estimates proved to be one hell of expensive exercise, under their estimate . Mr Swan dismissed their services, then with draughtman basics, finished all the drawings and models himself. Contacted a couple of friends high up in Ravenscraig works to construct in sections, while he began to lay foundations himself. After locking ,fusing and welding each section in place, completed the steel bridge. The whole episode took seven weeks, at a fraction of the amount first recommended .
The house faced the river and at sunset, was just pure magic, highlighting the driveways pebble mixture of golden brown, and pearl of white. The garden consisted of flowers he could not pronounce, or remember, loads of blackberries, gooseberries and three large greens, so soft to walk on. A small wood between the house and the main road heading for the Haughhead Bridge, held bluebell displays in the spring. The bonny river was a cool sight anytime, however, on a summer night it shone its own element of wonder.

He taught Hector how to play open bowls, watch and appreciate his surroundings and animal habitats, no matter where he may be. Mr Swan demonstrated how to shoot a gun in safety, even let Hector hold his shot gun when it was unloaded. His philosophy on shooting was, “you don’t have to be John Wayne, just point it at what you want to hit, then pull the ‘trigger’, but never ever kill, just for the hell of it. If you can convince yourself there is an alternative way, then don’t do it.

Mr Swan cultivated Hector to always set his own challenges ...not your neighbours, or societies or the world... Don’t let anyone use you… stand straight, then dance to you own tune. Mr Swan final quote... if you can get through life without deliberately hurting someone else, then you’ll do all right…but, you have your work cut out complying.

It took Hector a while, to figure out what the astonishing red bearded man meant…but Hector got there…or so he believes.

peter.howden
My Chronicles 21/09/2020

Aunt Becky is fine at the moment, but very frail, as the staff take extra care checking regularly of her comfort. Paying money into her personal account, became a problem even though the home and I are with the same bank. Once again Fergus,(Toni’s main man) came to the rescue by using his internet knowledge to solve the problem. I always feel like a wee schoolboy, when he is expertly trying to explain my mistakes.

Although acting to the essential rules of lockdown, Due to sunny weather for a couple of days, Rebecca had many a visitor, flowers and loads presents delivered on the day, and the day before the milestone birthday. Nikki and Emma came to the garden on the 17th, as a chance for us to say goodbye to Emma, before they travelled up to Aberdeen University, for Emma to settle into her rooms. Also, they cunningly left the mutt, at our home for a 36-hour stretch.

Eva(the canine)had never been outside the comfort of her own home in the five years with Nikki, so the pooch was bamboozled and fretting for most of the day and night. In the evening, trying to catch it once it saw me lifting up its lead, was akin to a Charlie Chaplin movie. Once out and some 100 odd metres…it stopped dead, refusing to move. The mutt is strongly built, but having been a rescued dog, previous dreadful issues…most probable gravely treated, she is very panicky. Back home, we attempted to leave the hound in the kitchen, however she made sure we knew she was not happy. Taking the easy way out, transported her bedding into our bedroom… the cur fell asleep quite quickly. When Nikki and Simon returned next evening, Eva was pure delighted, wagging her tail and jumping with sheer delight.

“All we seem to do?”, ‘She who must be obeyed’, said rather downheartedly, “is reminisce into the past!”. As we talked of the confinement, and necessary restriction, it became obvious, having each other, we are more fortunate than a hell of a lot of people, because we have family and close friends, who keep in touch as best, they can

Perhaps I’m scatter-brained, but… Each time I recall by look back, I cannot help but smile, for to win or lose, to have a dream of any sort, believing and nourishing it, walking the walk, talking the talk, allowing it to flourish in daylight …even when peoples think… and tell me, my heed is full of Jorries and wee motors, is worth every breath…every single moment…of my existence
peter.howden
Hector and Mr Swan...Market gardener Extraordinary(final episode)

As a young boy of nine year’s old... of course, every action, and surroundings, was larger than life, the little he knew of it, but being in Mr Swan’s home was way beyond something else. To Hector, Mr Swan’s abode, was a massive mansion with castle like features. Scottish gargoyles outside and overshadowing large mason stone walls best suited for medieval built strong holds. The front door was solid wood, so much so, Hector could not close it by himself...and the deep-rooted locks, he thought were gold but turned out to be well polished brass.

Within this two story wonderland were some odd rooms, plus a refrigerator bigger than his sister’s living room, and her kitchen combined. Hector was allowed to have the run of the place, even to watch this specially adapted small screen of the times television. The picture received was expanded by an even larger magnified glass, situated precisely 2foot 3 inches away from the screen. Sitting at the other end of the spacious room, it was like being in the cinema. Pure schoolboy heaven when the “Lone Ranger” came galloping on.

The actual manor was owned by Glasgow District council, whose representatives insisted Mr and Mrs Swan stayed there a few nights a week, yet they preferred the small quarters at the stables across the way...and at the time Hector could not understand the logic....but now he does!. They would play bowls on one of the open lawn’s, along with a local scrap merchant who lived nearby, providing homemade lemonade for Hector, and slight refreshment for the gentlemen. A tad more was for the winner. The call of a wood pigeon today will take him back to those light floating times.

In private moments, Mr Swan taught him how to look at nature, to wonder in its complicated simplicity. Hector’s life, if not moulded, was guided in the way to take stock, and understand the sharp reality where we are in the spectrum of things. Strangely.... only now looking back, he realizes , Mr Swan gave him a goal, a blueprint, a code, always to be curious, and not afraid in not knowing, to attempt to follow sub-consciously... though Hector often fails due to his own making. Now hector appreciates he has had, and needed mentors throughout life

His magical mystery tours with Mr & Mrs Swan lasted for two superb summers, before his sister Sheila, moved on from Priory Drive, to Whifflet, and Hector’s life began to grow up, or so he believed at the time. On revisiting the place, you can’t see the mansion, or the gardens for that matter, so memory lane is his only transport. Adult influence, individual mentor and a society who saw no harm in a young boy listening to a elderly gentleman spreading his knowledge , gave Hector so much fascination at a time in his life…when it was most needed.

Disappointingly he has now no information what happened to the Swans, though it is certain they are no longer alive, as Mr Swan must have been sixty-nine... if not a day... while the baker supreme ,Mrs Swan, will always be young.

Hector’s wish is, they both are resting in eternal peace.
peter.howden
Someone is Knocking at the Door.

There is a knock, nay pounding on the door, wonder who it can be? though it can’t be a friend, for they would know just how to press the doorbell a special way. The manager at the rent office promised to send an electrician round, but in my experience, tradesmen are not what they used to be. Certainly not the postman banging about, far too late for him. If it were the special delivery mob, they would put through one of the cards, “Tried to alert you… you were not at home?”. I think they write them out before starting the rounds, to save time. Whoever it is, they are impatient bandits… the door nearly came off the joints.

Maybe its bloody horrible wee imps, performing “Ring bang Skoosh”, I doubt it, they don’t play outdoor games now. Lots of fatty weans, but undernourished, it would be a surprise if they could muster to run. Isolated alone in cells, with supercomputer games at their fingertips, but on their own, like little hermits unable to see the sun, with fake tans… and non-existent pen friends. They say you hear no clapping in cyber space, whatever the hell that is? I was told, cyber-space is a void up there, storing all information from every computer in the world, but it doesn’t exist…. sounds like my football winnings. There’s that bloody letterbox taking a pounding.

Ever cultivating processer telephones, are rightly the miracle of the age. I feel sorry for today’s toerags, mainly unaware of open freedom, to explore beyond reach, discovering hands-on, through thrill and error, their individual abilities. Sadly, in the main being chaperoned by over apprehensive parents, then at home, railroad into isolation under radar companionship. As long as it’s not these wee brats from the next close. Their maw is letting them grow up to be fully pledged bastards. She had the audacity, yelling she was reporting me to the police, how I verbally assaulted her little cherubs. If she were from India…she would be sacred…

Maybe ‘Meals on wheels’, Nae chance, since I told them “bugger off”, yes…Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum, well! That’s their nickname! The food delivered was absolute crap, pig swirl. I told them, their better off shining their own gravestones. I think the matron said she would never darken my door again.

As for my kith or kin. My son, my only son, if he can be arsed, props up a bar, or too drunk being a numptie heid-banger. Anyway, only asks for a hand full if he happens to come around. And as for ‘Madam’…after all I have done for her, she just ran off, without ‘by your leave’, or warning she was living with her fancy fella. I had a cousin in Durham, Pink panther country, but this was donkeys ago, anyway… he moved to the unknown

There they go again, knocking the hinges of the bloody door, they want locked away, banging like that. The trouble with people today…selfish nosy parkers, with no patience, no compassion, or consideration for other people’s feelings. Sounds as if they are walking away…. wonder who the F--- it was?

Shit…who the hell is rattling the bloody letterbox now?, probably that pesky fancy tart, the one in No 56, always wears her Sunday best, chatters on persistently about ‘love thy neighbour’, it’s God’s way? I don’t think the almighty meant her to rattle my letterbox so bloody noisy. God’s work must have more magic for him in 33, in the wee small hours. God works ‘In mysterious ways’, but there’s bugger all mystery about what goes on in 33, while his missus is away. Jammy bandit!
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm
peter.howden
POSTCARDS;

You both look drooked, come on in, sadly your surprised visit to our trim hame away from hame, ‘Retreat for the elderly and infirm’, has been fruitless”. “Not that we are not pleased to see you, nonetheless the information from some despicable journalist claiming dire shams is totally untrue. Apparently, it was on a slow news day...or so say those knuckleheads so called editors these days. How dare these pathetic slanderous rags print such ill-tongue. I can assure you…we will be seeking out our lawyers, suing for every deplorable printed word.

Your aunt is in good health, though now, because you’re here, I have to break a promise, but do it within the knowledge you will be more than overjoyed, as we were when she told us in confidence. We are really sorry for your frantic journey, so unnecessary, but at least we can put your minds at ease”.

How long has your canny aunt stayed with us, in the safety from the outside world? Some 10 months I would say, and it only seems like yesterday she chapped our door for the first time. What I’m about to inform you, will maybe a total surprise for you.... but remember, your Aunt has a strong mind of her own, and these things can happen …even at her age. She met another resident, affluent gentleman, and they fell in love” It’s as simple and charming as a romance entwined”

The happy couple have eloped to a secret address, somewhere in the vastness of the Mid Pyrenees In France, where everyone loves a lover. They did stay in ‘Gay Paree’, for a short honeymoon, but the mountainous air won out. Now you cannot tell those scandalous papers for the couple prize their privacy above all else …

We are right affronted how dare these dailies squander our good name and make our patrons unwarily worried! To think they have the audacity to swither through endless sinful incredible lies, stirring up manky bree, intimidating our lively clients, or as we would prefer to call them, ‘our elderly family’. To more than hint we would deceive, bleed them dry of their life savings, then… they disappear without trace , What lunacy, what a bloody scunner ?”
.
Don’t you fret... we will have our day in court, they will all rue the very day they published such garbage. Please mum’s the word... for I gave a solemn sacred vow to the loving couple just as they departed. But …I do have irrefutable evidence to ease your mind…. Here are four postcards…one for every week they have been there and sent by your Aunt… personally, all in her charismatic handwriting, expressing everlasting loving devotion to Charles…is that not sweet? 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…your beautiful Aunt never learnt to read…or write?”
peter.howden
My Chronicles 04/10/2020
There is little we can say about how Aunt Becky is since the last severe lock-down rules have been in place. We have been reassured by the carers when I phone, Becky is O.K but needing extra watching, in case of falls. There were some problems, attempting to send monies through the Royal Bank of Scotland. My account being personal and the Home’s checking account business. With the kind help from Fergus(our Computer Guru) all info is in place and her wee account for her knick-knacks, is once again filled.

There is a strangeness around homelife, as we at times feel being the last hope stop, as the world passes by…not so much as before. Now we must focus on our goals, and limitations to survive mentally. One thing is inescapable in question, my sharp recall memory. Yesterday morning, as I entered our boudoir, with the toast and tea, ‘She who must be obeyed’ awoke with a rather hazy but touching sincerity, smiled, and said, ‘Happy 51st Wedding Anniversary’. Astonished by this bombshell, for I had not at all thought, that this day was the 3rd of October. Swift as a hell of a slow flash, I replied, ‘Happy Anniversary’, promptly followed by how much I was sorry for forgetting. Was it the lock-down, or proving I’m losing my marbles?

Since the necessary restrictions, we have attempted, with varies degrees of success, to cut down on the lovely extras, such as butter and sugar, which viciously piles on the unwanted weight, and produces extended love handles. But, because I prepare the breakfast toast, once finished buttering two pieces for Rebecca, I furtively lick the knife, absolutely clean of this forbidden heavenly taste. When trusted to brew tea alone, my habit of pondering over the sugar bowl, the wee devil urges me to adding a tad more than the elected one teaspoonful. Inwardly entice a mutter, ‘get thee behind me Satan’, but not before escaping from a forced regime by adding a sprinkle more of mere sugar cane.
Over the last 12 odd days, my music has forgone the Stones, Bix Beiderbecke, Cat Stevens, John Mayall & the Blues Breakers…Slade, and the whole diversity of the ‘Blues’, instead, playing continuously, and listening to Classical Music on my IPod. There is no clue as to the endless hours spent hearing numerous pieces from the orchestras, or Opera, but surprisingly… I knew most of them. I recalled some years ago we arrived at the Glasgow Halls, to see and hear the Royal Scottish National Orchestra…pure dead brilliant. However, an extra kick came from the exaggerated performance of the conductor. A couple of years later, in Barlanark Centre, the amazing performance from a traveling quartet, gave us a delightful presentation.

Trying to improve both the garden, and our restrained protection from the naughty virus, by painting the huge boulders gathered through the ages, surrounding the hedges , tarmac and grass areas, and attempting to empty the now debunk coffin(wooden trough with railway sleepers base) which once housed growing tubers. Drifting over the hedge, I listen to three infants noisily and sheer delightful innocence, greeting each other, plus showing off their latest toys. The ambiance was so similar as to many years ago, our own children perhaps at Christmas time…pure magic.
A couple of days ago, spying a single beautifully pattern vivid butterfly, rarely seen these days, just blew my mind away, with a whole spectrum of nature, allowing me for quite a while, to be glad being alive….No matter the lock-down
peter.howden
Tales of Hector and Eric

During the mid-50s, It wasn’t that long after of the world conflict, Hector switch from the easy Cuthbertson Street School, for Shawlands Primary. Miss Helen McGregor, a real beauty, a stoater of near perfection. ‘Helen, with a tartan-skirt sat at the top of the class. The clan’s motto, ‘Royal is my race’, and every day Hector took small glances, captivated with her smile, he was so totally smitten, he would dance in innocent rhythmic going home. Within the mind-boggling Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, launched a thousand ships? Believed to be rare beauty, though the lady must have possessed a lot of bottle to achieve such a deed.

Hector wanted to be Clark kent, changing into superman, wheech the damsel from wee eek’s bothering her. The truth most likely was, he was probably the wee eek. Shawlands Primary playground was more boisterous, as a few lads out of sight, would harass and stalk him, he endured in silence. He could just about hold his own with other boys, but with girls; this was taboo. The other side of the coin, girls were not all sugar and sweetness, so Helen would stick up for Hector, against the wee biddies in the class

One cold day, in the playground, Hector met Eric, compared to him, a giant of a lad, yet, Eric was plagued by the aggressors more regularly than Hector. Eric was a red headed freckled face Jewish boy, solid appearance, but he nourished a very gentle nature, who stayed in Titwood Rd, just past Westclyffe St where Hector lived. From then on, they kept company going home, looking like a passive, David, and Goliath.

One day strolling home as boys do, Hector asked Eric why he did not fight back, as he had he obvious strength and ability, plus towered over is antagonists. His simple but solemn answer was, “I’m afraid I would hurt them…and others would come to take my family!”

When Hector left the primary to attend Shawlands Academy, he was heartbroken, as Helen tiptoed out of his life, to a private fee-paying school. however, if now he was being candour, he reckoned she did not even really notice him.
-=-=-=
peter.howden
Tales of Hector and the Bullies

From the very start, going back home from Shawlands Academy Hector faced an inevitable dilemma, regardless the route taken, the reason being three constant aggressors, making sure no witnesses to their physical incidents. during School, they made endless mocking ,or mimic his obvious Cerebral Palsy. He felt locked inside an invisible goldfish bowl, spinning trough raw virgin emotions, unable to change his seemingly ugly predicament taking place outside the bowl.

For some time, having noticed attempted hidden bruises and cuts, his mother bought sessions of judo classes, but this did not help, because of limited physical ability to what he could achieve. After World War Two, in the mid-50s, individual leather schoolbags were in short supply. Khaki military haversacks bought from army and navy stores was commonly used to carry School books.
One afternoon, while returning home alone, he entered the wally close, to be confronted inside by his three nemesis.

Out of the blue, in his head came the quote from Mr Swan; ‘Don’t let anyone use you… stand straight, then dance to you own tune’. He lashed out instantly with uncontrollable pent-up rage, swinging his haversack, stuffed full of books as his main weapon. the confinement of the stairs and close was to Hector’s advantage .

The horror came to light that evening when the mothers of the injured antagonists came to Hector’s door, claiming he was a savage. The very next morning arriving at the school, each bitterly complaining to the headmaster. Mr Bell, informed them, during the last six months, several teachers had raised concerns about Hector, being persecuted outside school, by the mothers sons. No further action was taken, for it was out of his jurisdiction, but the parents were warned.

Hector concluded his body-language had to change, improve to confidently proud, doing his best to avoid conflict. Ran through quite a few severe knocks and scrapes, unfortunately, the die cast was a gunge-ho attitude, but as far as he knew, no one had the intention to bully . One thing was obvious, Eric did not have any more harassment

From then on, Hector attempted to live by Mr Swan final quote... if you can get through life without deliberately hurting someone else, then you’ll do all right…but it was… and is…bloody hard.


Regrettably sometimes there is no way out…as with Big Billy Park?
peter.howden
Hypocrisy

Entering our town by train or bus, then taking transport towards a certain outer scheme which represents the centre of a close community, an instant numbness catches the breath. Without even trying, it’s obvious something disturbing and bizarre about a house with the bright yellow door, the eye-splitting obvious red painted windows, situated just at the far end on the right. It had been the scene of absolute madness beyond a man-made hell of any society

Somewhere in the recent murky past, setting up home together were two young people who only fell deeply in love, craving intensely to live together, behind their individually decorated buttery door, but the supposed pious neighborhood were horrified at any such behavior and just could not let it be. The young blameless couple’s fundamental sin was, not only to openly dare treasure the forbidden passion, ‘ love we dare not speak its name’, but both born of mixed race and creed.

Without warning, almost instantaneously, groups of protesting cliques congregated at the doorway of their home, chanting curses and taunting the frightened pair. In such a short space of time, the factions formed an ugly hypocritical mob, set on destroying any trace of this abomination. With half-hearted motions the police department of the town managed to hold the hordes back. The law enforcement superintendents and the council, feared the situation was becoming uncontrollable, called for the pillars of separate spiritual houses of worship, to deal with this now unholy affair

They nervously came with feeble attempts trying to appease the now hostile throng, with no success… then each in turn quoted chosen verses from their Bible; Koran; Torah; Tripitaka and ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ quotes to no avail, for all theoretical ears and minds only set this outrage to be, against man’s divinity laws.

What happened during this appalling cursed night was beyond redemption, for once daylight broke, the utter ignominy awkwardly befell the authors of such horrendous actions. No decent human alive would dare tell without burning shame buried within, which would remain a personal infamy nightmare, amongst those who acted, and gave birth to the infinite stain on the city’s history.

Will it happen again? I personally have no reason, or justification to ask, as I’m an atheist without protection of faith in a deity…. But my eternal disgrace …. I threw the first stone….
peter.howden
Hector and the A.B.C.

Hector often heard this quote; “Would you return to your youth, knowing what you know now?”, as if it would help to bring better results, or turning the clock back for everlasting youth. He would say no to all three. To miss the pleasure, and the pain making all mistakes in search of basic understanding, is the essence for all animal forms within this world…not to be naive would kill the joy of discovery. We humans are privileged, simply because we can record our local and global history, in hope we learn from it, however… we rarely do.

Still the era when cinema played a major part in almost everyone’s lives as Hector reached his teens. The A.B.C. minors, Waverley cinema held every Saturday morning, a club for all kids, and incredibly he became a monitor. There was no wages involved, but the peach remuneration was the ability, any time during the week with a free pass into adult movies. On the magic screen was a range of commercial films flirting in a Cinderella manner around the physical attractions between the sexes. All Hector gained with certainly, Doris Day did not fart any bodily noises, or smells. Mostly seen in a near perfect state, Doris Day was just perfume itself. Hector looked around, not spying any Doris Day girls anywhere, in or out of the cinema.

After a while, the staff just let Hector in with just a nod, including the Schoolboy notorious holy grail of thee; ‘X’ films. He believed he was smart on the subject of sex , as His brother had given proper instruction about sexual characteristics and all the technical words, although in reality, Hector was baffled as to the reality of sexual intercourse.

The hoped-for sex therapy was hugely overrated, as these X movies, mainly French along with non-apparel subtitles). A severely disappointed Hector, who was expecting to see nudes all over the place, because this was the hype around the school yard, however they never lived up to the expectations of the spotty Herbert, left being no further on in cardinal knowledge, and a unqualified dander’ inflamed. One film showed a French guy, slowly drawing on a cigarette hanging from his mouth, as he was surrounded by hoodlums. The surprise for the heidbanger leader of the gang… the fella blew the glowing fag into the Frenchie moron’s face, giving him time to run. Bizarrely, this came in handy for Hector, some years later

As with many people, Hector began to learn personally, there were certain moments within life’s pattern that changed him forever, or at least until the next turning point came around. His enigma now is, when young, old age was far away, virtually beyond imagination or dreams, however, now his youth appears almost touchable. The strange thing about life is it happens whether you try or not, although you have self-illusion of standing still, or repeating the exact same actions day in, day out , communicating into years, you are changing out of sight every second breathing.
peter.howden
The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat
High up in a tree,
Musing affairs of the day
As if we are totally free
Said the Owl to the Pussycat
Abusing earths precious asset,
Animals losing their home
Worms decline without a fret
Nowhere left to roam,
Said Pussycat to the Owl
Why move in a ruckus
With such an irate foul
The regime always F…us!

With these words said
The Pussycat eyes froze
And as if in a bed
Purred into a doze
peter.howden

Out in the Cold

It was a grimy lit industrial estate where the remains of several condemned commercial buildings stood, surround by a mouldy stone wall. Behind the furthest frozen corner lay hidden from anyone passing by, a crouched tragedy, hunched against the bitter wind, was a breathing heap, poorly disguised as almost human, but… a lost creature. Old leaky worn leather boots, shapeless melton breeks, a mockit shirt owning more holes than ac actual fabric, cover over by a smelly old-fashioned coat which long ago seen better days. The exhausted dosser didn’t dauner there, just went where his ice frozen feet took him. Why he arrived at this unused location is unknown, however this was the worst winter ever recorded, he had little choice to be alone, as his appearance was not of a amiable nature…weans avoided him, but so did everyone else

His last hot meal was beyond memory, cast as a lost legend while he had scrambled through middens behind restaurants and cafes, before being chased by somebody. His lug was frozen as was his neb, little or no feeling in wrinkled fingers. his thin physique was devoid of feeling… just bloody numb. He kept a two pence coin in his pocket, held safe in a manky hanky, which was really a piece of stripped shirt material. Inside the clabber of clothing was one treasured picture, he never brought out into daylight, but treasured a few secret glances late of an evening. Isolation wasn’t an attitude, simply endured, permanently

Wishing only if he could be warm, laying unable to move in the rubbish the vicious wind collected in the obscure corner, his mind launched into a state of hallucination. Wafting in and out of nothing and everything, cloaked in ambiguity until it settled clearly on a single auld fashioned box of matches, once known as Lucifer sticks. As if by magic, but in his reality, a match left the box, glided unaided towards the stone wall, and struck hard. The head burst alight, so incredibly bright, it hurt his eyes, as it’s enchanting warmth gathered around him. After a undetermined time passed but before it started to fade, another match appeared out of the box and repeated the actions with light and lifesaving heat.

Per chance, early the following morning, someone using the estate as a shortcut, slipped, then stumble almost falling onto the built-up snow, discovered the wanderer still crouched in the corner with no sign of life. Although already late, phoned the police, then with a spark of decency, the instant good Samaritan waited until they arrived. The body was turned to the amazement of the medical officer present, witnessed an elderly man’s face beaming, the body temperature unbelievably normal under such critically harsh cold surroundings. Carefully checking inside the drifter's manky clothing , to find no pulse…although discovering an old photograph in the interior of the coat pocket. When opening the folded photo…he swore blind afterwards…there was a faded portrait of someone…but it disintegrated instantly , either by age ...or the arctic weather. All that was left was… a tatty blank photographic glossy card.
peter.howden
Hector Meets Alice;

During the beginning of his virginal teens, Hector’s limited mind regarding boy meets girl thing, was rather vague to say the least , though bursting with weird surging tensions, but minus experience. In the movies, boy meets girl, girl allows boy a kiss, then they are married, or she’s off to a nunnery or something. Of course, he had known girls before that holiday, although without anything really stirring or indeed coming to a head. Right from the start of the B.B summer camp, he instantly was drawn towards a girl, grasping at mysterious deep emotions, way out of his depth or fathom

Hector entered a fairy-tale meeting captivated by Alice, the first day in Dunbar and boy did it stir for a long, long time after that. . Adolescents they may have been, however at sudden notice they were joined by the hip. Long walks holding hands, followed by knowing glances while in company. One evening Hector volunteered to take the captain’s stroppy 10-year-old son Gordan, to the local cinema to see the western ‘Flaming Star’. Of course, Hector’s alterative motive was to be with Alice. Before going in, he bought the boy lots of sweets, a bribe, so not to tell his dad. Alice and Hector just made eyes as the wee annoying lad walked a few steps in front, with Hector almost tempted to boot him in the arse, more than once on the way back to camp.

The following day, sitting on the ridge overlooking the wide bay, continuous white seahorse waves surged forward against the rocks. Just then, as if magic moved their lips forwards, they kissed a kiss, causing firstly a warm sensation, then bursting mind-blowing reactions choiring lingering overtures, rolling in another existence where time not only stood still, but waited for Hector to catch up. Maybe feart to be captivated, he was absolutely chuffed to be so full of daydreaming of days before, and days to come, as he walked back to the canvas camp.

The next day as the boys cleaned up for tent inspection, Hector was busy walloping down the ground pegs of the tent, when smug Graham(Cliff Richard lookalike) strolled by, making a passing loud derogative remark about Alice’s virtue. Without thinking, or warning, Hector instantaneously turned with the wooden mallet in his hand, threw it with all his might towards Graham’s head. By good fortune, the hard missile just missed its intended target by a hairsbreadth , …but Graham turned white as a sheet. The captain’s boy Gordon witnessed the pure lunatic behaviour of Hector…yet didn’t report the affair to his father. Neither did the unnerved Graham, who… for some reason chose not to say another word to Hector during the rest of the holiday.

As all fairy tales end, so Alice and Hector tearfully, and painfully, took separate roads, and her precious address scribbled down on a piece of paper ,was lost for eternity, due to the depress Hector, unwittingly, hastily packing his kitbag. It is said, to this present day, Hector can recall the memory of the special kiss…lingering still!
peter.howden
A single Thought

I pondered while walking along the road, watching a single plane up in the clear clean air skies…if somehow, nature itself imposed the naughty virus upon the humans of the world…simply to give landscape, a short spell to recuperate after the population of earth carelessly, willfully continued to knocked the living daylights out of the environment
peter.howden
Hector, Tub’s, Richard and Billy Park(1/ 2)

Throughout his immature youth, and a few times while growing up, Hector has been struck with a fist, kicked, or thumped with something else , so many times it’s impossible to count, although it should be remembered, several youngster of his generation, admit they were bullied, though , never admit to being the bully. The term “growing up” deceives all, also good to remember there is a bully in us all, for while one may be bullied, then in turn they will do the very same to someone else, verbal, or physical, both intimidating, perhaps its self-survival. There is an old saying “there is a lot of good in the bad”, should also say “there’s a lot of bad in the good!”

Sometime before seeing the film, ‘West Side Story’, Hector and a couple of pals, Tub’s (not politically correct now) and Richard, of the 45th B.B company, Regwood Church just off Deanston Drive. They thought they were the bees knees ,strutting to the hall. One twilight evening along the drive, two local wee boys demanding to handle their shiny belts. Refusing to oblige, with a tad ruthlessness, the younger boys were not happy, so much so, threatened the three musketeers, with their uncle, Billy Park.




The huffed kids disappeared up some close, as the pals swaggered down the well kent road ,until forced to halt by one big bloke blocking the pavement, turned out to be Billy Park. Now, over a long period, we are all prone to exaggeration of actual measurements, while status can vary quite a bit. Taking this into the equation…he was a huge bastard. Hector turned to his cronies, to stand steady…where, or how they went will never be known to him, but they were not there. Now he was turning pale looking at this problematic brute, who walked towards him, seemingly no to happy, or content. Hector could not say with any honesty he was brave, certainly no Spartacus.

He had no choice, but to backstep away, until a stationary car halted his retreat. It turned out Billy Park was of few words, believing actions spoke louder, and who the hell was Hector to argue. Billy asked if they had been mucking about his wee fella’s, while Hector was trying to think of an answer. Billy Park grabbed Hector’s collar, then gave him an instant Glasgow kiss. His head moved away from the surprise head butt, but unfortunately, hitting the back of his skull on the rim of the standing car’s roof. It was hard to tell which hurt the most, as it all happened in a split second with a rat tee tat.

Tears trickled down from his eyes, but somehow didn’t t wish to be seen in that state, as he automatically switched into a weird defence mould. Needs are must, so here he was, his only thought was to ride this without being hurt too much…so, let out an over embellished laugh
peter.howden
Hector, Tub’s, Richard and Billy Park(2/ 2)
There was method to Hector’s apparent insanity, for he had recently read how laughter triggered the body’s biological Endorphins, relieving sudden pain. Also, when acting in a total opposite way someone expects, it throws them, discouraging what they are doing. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for Billy Park’s cold reality struck out at theory …and Hector’s head again. Our Billy, started to add to his score by butting Hector some five times more, with louder forced mirth from the victim, who’s headaches suffered double whammy
Without any warning it stopped, except for Hector’s echo laughter, but from what or where who knows. This tragic comic situation continued with Billy Park looking worried, as if his simple maths did not quite add up. Yes, he butted Hector’s heed hard, heard the resound in pain against the car…but now this eejit (or should he be called a hiedbanger) was guffawing. He had expected something, anything but this and it drained him emotionally. They began to talk, even though it was a bit jumpy for both sides, letting the wind cool down any heat left. Weeks went by on each Friday’s night, Hector either talked to big Bill Park both gave a wave and nod of recognition on the passing.

Many years later Hector, and a few guys were invited to a church dance held in Paisley Rd West, then known for its roughness and unyielding way it accommodated strangers. However, this dance was run by the church, so with Christ on your side you gladly go into the jaws of hell. Not quite, they never really got off the ground, as the three-piece band secretly, and amazingly played separately out of tune, so after twenty minutes Hector announced he was going for a beer, slipping into the dark night, soon finding a warm light of a tavern. A couple of lads playing darts in the corner as Hector strolled over, asking if he could join in. Sipping a few the golden nectar; “the water of life”, while throwing darts, the rest became a bit of a blur as to what actually took place. Finally, It was deemed he lost this friendly game because his craggy hosts demanded him buying drinks for the three victors.

Hector could sometimes be a bit slow, but this time promptly grasped he was in some fix, as the associates manoeuvred, pinning him to the bar. One standing behind with hot breath, while his amigos stood each side. What was so remember able that moment was Roy Osborn singing “Crying “out of an oldies juke box and Hector felt exactly so. .

Nothing else for it but to pull out his money and take his chances…but just then… it happened.
A huge arm stretched past Hector, which grabbed the front bloke by the very throat as hauling the rest of the attached body clear off the floor. Hector heard these words echoing around the pub, “that’s a pal of mine, and you going to buy him, and me a pint”. Turning slowly around, Hector saw the rugged outline of his Sir Galahad, yes Big Billy Park. At this, the others faded into nothing, leaving the boy once again safe to enjoy a couple of beers with an upturned hero.
Hector have never saw Billy Park again. Ever!... Even into the next millennium
peter.howden
SMALL WORLDS

Reading history books and the like, pagan ‘Samhainn ; a Gaelic Irish/ Scottish festival for the dead, with a feast before the dark times of winter solstice, stood observed long before the medieval times, or Christian values settled on these shores. This was the night of myths, story-telling of the ancient rites, the eve of ‘all hallows’ long ago. The roots of the festival was abducted into exceedingly early Christian’s rough calendar as the feast of all saints. Heathen rituals were crucified as ungodly by zealous Christians, possibly they did not wish to ‘Doke fa apples’ in case they soaked their frocks.

The thousands of-year-old event was in full swing with the head Celtic main man. Gone has the celebration blessing to archaic Gods, to make sure the spirits would assistance food supply for the next hard year. Peasants and nobility carried flames from the many bonfires, back to their homes, placing torches of Fir around their fields to protect their fertility. The loss of the festival rites maybe makes goats of us all, for the fourth-dimension protection for the cattle and sheep, has vanished without trace.

The mighty trees were the main gateway to the upper and lower worlds, with rivers and streams flowing freely as portals to the Otherworld. Tied along with beliefs in the ‘Wheel of Sabbats’ after dark, since it was the habit to feast to the dead in the season of earths decay,

Gone has the kale blind plucking, stalking the corn and holding sweethearts nuts which could bring water to the uninitiated eye. It has changed again from when I was a boy, as the children of today innocently say, “trick or treat (guess were this comes from) without feeling compelled to turn an act. Just for the record, last year… I did not gain a peanut for my impression of a grumpy old man.

The inevitable thing called the march of progress, is possibly to our peril, losing the importance of our Gaelic ancestors’ unwritten history. Till the darkness creeps from the night and the sun beckons the light.
May you slumber well and tight…and the ghouls fail to fright
peter.howden
Hector with… No Way to Turn

When ten or so, Hector had a appointment with a specialized doctor, to analyzed if brain damage had occurred due to Cerebral Palsy. These printed drawn tests were so simple, for example, consisting of a cowboy surrounded by five red Indians (natural Americans) with an assortment of weapons… asked which one would you shoot first…and why? He passed with flying colours, but perhaps thanks to the A.B.C. minors on a Saturday morning, and the ever-running Cowboys feature, rather than his intellect.

Having the long slug to just turned 15, spotty Hector’s attitude to life was Groucho Mark’s quote, anyone can get old, all you have to do is live long enough”. Hector had said or done things, which certainly would have been better left unsaid, and undone. Arriving at Duke Street hospital for further intense tests, including X-ray, and perhaps surgery, depending on the results returned. Duke Street itself, was famous being the longest street in Glasgow. It starts in High st (where William Wallace had a fray) right through to Parkhead, the home of Celtic football club, not at the same time or century. It was also infamous for having a prison, and a hospital, both held a variety of guests. Hector was placed into a ward for six beds, filled by all male patients. A kind lady sister took his face of innocence, as an excuse to sort of mother him, to an extent of preferential treatment, including sweets and extra toast.

He soon discovered a certain mixture of men, and conditions inside this cold ward, at the end of a heck of a long silent corridor. That first night in the bed straight across, was a fellow who could not stop playing with himself, to such an extent he was injuring himself severely. He told Hector, in between tugs, he did “IT”!, thirty/forty times a day, or more as far as he could remember. This free information disturbed Hector’s tiny brain a bit.

During another conversation with an older man, in the next bed, he blurted out he was a homosexual who preferred young bucks. A horrible chilled eyed hairless rough man, who worried Hector’s mind much more than a bit. He would be known as a bent queen, possible pedophile. On the other side was a guy around twenty years of age, who professed to be a hit man, yet no wardens with him. His bleak scaring mannerisms, to say the least, forcing Hector to utterly believe his statement.

That night, Hector lay cringing, terrified of falling asleep, not knowing which way to turn, whither to be strangled, or buggered or worn down before he experienced anything sexual or otherwise. . only thought was he’d be safer in jail. He survived not shaken by his ordeal, well sort off. After leaving two days later, he the number one record, at that precise time, ringing in his ear, was Eddie Cochrane, “Three Steps to Heaven!”

The strange experience changed his life completely, deciding not to treat himself other than a whole being. for he could not change the way people thought of him. It appears if you do believe in yourself, then good can follow you, encircling others to believe. The man is what he deems to be... normal is not normal…for it does not exist
peter.howden
My Chronicles 04/11/2020

I presume like most people, a few but important issues slightly changed our routine, now to relay into the Archives. The most important is the safety of Aunt Becky, who we can’t visit, as the home has been locked down twice in succession. Thankfully, we receive regular phone calls from the staff. Becky is mostly happy in her own wee safe world, which doesn’t include us, or the extended family. Having a prized weekly internet linkup allows reports from our family tree, emails, plus comments from close friends via cyberspace, helps both of us. This is my world…may seem, and sound selfish, but whatever reason, it aids me to cope at the moment!

The other night while trawling through lots of photos on the computer, we came across many snaps, dating back 2002 taken throughout cities in France, plus many from a medieval village. Memories flooded back as to where, when, and how. Five days train journeys through France, and although my grasp of the language was appalling, helped me in communicating with fellow travellers , visiting out of bounds from tourist locations, seeing living neighbourhoods. Then aim for a special family’s home in Saissac, with excellent company, grand food, a few beers, returning home after five days. I mentioned to ‘She who must be obeyed’, I pine for that amazing family…’amour’.

From when first employed in Glasgow Baths Dept 1979… one long-time friend always in complete silence, was the first with a personal Christmas card pushed through our door, then to disappear into nowhere. Neil, each year… re-performs as the man on the auld T.V advert...'All because the lady prefers milk tray!’. This year he anonymously surpasses his time frame by soundlessly, yesterday pushing through unnoticed…a magic Xmas card…thank you Neil

Sounding, and in the same manner as a ground-effect machine hovercraft …overloaded wind power blasting from the back. ‘She who must be obeyed’ critically states… I’m a menace to the ozone layer. What is the cause of abundant noisy , loosely constant wind? I can’t imagine other than the threat, and actual lockdowns…or I’m I just an old F---t?
peter.howden

Grandfather’s Fables

Grandpa’s visits to say the least were a random now and then, however, before departure, he always revealed an intimate ghost story, which erupted into the grandson’s imagination, leaving it difficult to fall sleep afterwards. Gramps narratives never failed to intensify the young inquisitive psyche. The charismatic speech possessed an uncanny knack, enticing any reaction he wish to relay between the lines. The grandson listened to virtually every vowel, and consonant, skillfully emphasized within a whole word.

His powerful voice never ran out of scary tales, nor vocally raise up, or adapt to separate accents, although his tone shifted in a flash, commanding an intense state of surprised bewilderment within the tale. The atmosphere craftily changed, left the listener in wonder and amazement. Just when trusting to be in sight of an ending, a sudden induced fear overtook the atmosphere, turning verses into spiky pictured thoughts …longing for the story to change or simply weep for the end the spiel…yet… one night, as they sat alone around a blazing crackling log fire, the grandson’s face stunned as if in a spell.

Grandpa began softly introducing a scene of a Norway’s forest, where Vikings were chopping conifer trees to build an enormous burial funeral, worthy for a great warrior’s journey to Valhalla. Surrounded by Norse magic seior, the privileged berserker warriors whispered stories of Odin, who held Viking destiny, released with each stroke taken with their axes. Boasting a notorious habit of guzzling home crafted alcohol, induced ecstasy visions of mystic splintered Fire-men to be awakened.

With soft charmed gestures, Grandpa embellished the tale, enticing his grandson to look closer into the sparking log fire, unconsciously being wrapped into the mystical vision. The story progressed, the fictional trees fell one after another by the power of the strong-armed held axes, as alcohol filled warriors, peered constantly for the impish wooden fire-men. For each mythical tree grounded, grandpa steadily urge his grandson nearer…and nearer the fire. Each time struck by hardened axe, the last tree standing, sent splinters and flint sparks, which fell on the rest of the logs…instantly miraculously bursting into flames, as the berserkers witnessed wooden fire-men emerging from the mystical combustion.

Just then Grandpa grabbed his grandson’s arm and hollered … “here they come”. The grandson saw pieces of fire escaping and racing towards him. Instant fear took hold as he tried to move but failed to do so, left in absolute terror. Suddenly, he heard laughter, coming from his grandfather, and the spell was broken. Unfortunately, the experience haunted him long after that terrible night

As a note, the grandson never physically met his grandfather…for he had died long before the grandson was born?
peter.howden
Hector and Sniffy

Just before Duke Street hospital experience, Hector was deemed to be a juvenile petty thief, having not being caught made him overconfident with damaged scruples . Just for the record, he ran a paper and milk round in the morning, and a paper round late afternoon, being allowed two shillings and sixpence out of a total wage of £1-10shillings...plus tips.

Kilmarnock Road Woolworth’s institution installed waist height level mirrors around their emporiums, allowing staff the ability to spy for light fingered customers. Looking positive and taking advantage of the situation, Hector peeked across the mirrors, to see if he was being observed. He assumed through his devilish activities, no physical or monetary harm to any individual…just a worldwide profiteering business. He wasn’t crowing, however, each successful venture into the store, he returned with trinkets and a curious sense of bravado cocky pride!

Observing many boys at his school always needing spare jotters, he convinced wee Sniffy, to assist in taking 300 jotters from the janitor’s store, via the tiny wall window…selling onto the willing pupils. For a week or so, the result was fine, however, his partner wasn’t as devious in hiding the swag. caught red handed, then confessed all, including Hector being the major agitator. Punishment for Hector started with being skippered that very night. The pain was not the striking punishment… but letting his brother down which filled him with true inwardly regret

A further retribution installed, no pocket money from his earnings on the paper and milk round, until a sum was paid, covering all copies already illicitly sold. He was then frogmarched to the school, to wait outside the headmaster’s office, as his brother managed to convince Mr Bell not to involve the police. After a stern lecture, with both boys in front of him, Mr Bell informed the culprits, the main sentence was six of the best…each. Before punishment was dished out, it was normal for Mr Bell to allow all pupils after each stroke to change hands, , but on previous such reprimands, Hector was not permitted this luxury, under medical reasons, due to his Cerebral Palsy.

The other whiff of an offender was first in line, broke down in tears, bubbling after the first rap, then knelt down weeping, and whaling like a wean. So good at the acting, the headmaster terminated his retribution and sniffy was allowed to leave, while Hector received all the heavy stinging strokes of the belt…on the one hand. Although at the time he was angry at his fellow villain of the piece , being allowed a far lighter sentence, but fortunately…the aftermath of the visit to Duke St hospital, plus memories of Mr Swan’s advice, straightened the adolescent Hector out…well almost?
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