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peter.howden

The Journey


Jim stepped down from the train and immediately knew where he was. ‘I am dam well sure this was not my original destination when I boarded the carriage but I defiantly know this place’, he thought inwardly.

The guardsman hollered over his unheard thought “We will stop here for exactly two hours while we repair a vital part of the locomotive but don’t worry folks; you will make your original destination required on your own personal ticket. It was at this instance or there about, Jim saw the place as being his home town. The town he grew up in. Though Jim appeared to walk aimlessly, his feet took on an agenda of their own which led him to an old run down shop that had been his family’s business almost as old as the township itself.

It was in a decapitated state but Jim had seen it as its prime. He remembered he left the tiny enterprise while the depression was in full swing and his parents were in dire need of unpaid help but he needed to “Get away” and make his mark. Jim recalled he might have stayed on yet the lore to see bright lights out there in the world dictated his departure. His father suffered a stroke shortly afterwards and his mother never recovered from the gruesome toil as she struggled to make ends meet. They are both gone now and he could not remember being at their funerals. Sad, how things do change without warning especially when there is a wanting not to. .

Another unexpected stroll left him standing outside the church which was used for all religions and ceremonies within the tiny community, and past crept back into his mind, uncontrollably of his youthful girl, Jane… to be precise. The result of this unbridled fancy; was a seed of life created by embraced love and the need to marry…. so to keep his beloved’s reputation being torn by the prejudices of the straight laced core group of the district….he promised a hasty elopement..



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

Somehow, as if by magic or some mysterious force, he was standing in front of the bank or what looked as the bank was back then. It had managed to keep its business head just above water and struggled against two possible runs on the back which were common for that period of time. One thing, above all else, kept it going was it belonged to the people and the community trusted everyone for they were all in the same boat. Times were desperate and hard and the silver dollar was but a dream and he had so many dreams. This was the very reason he chose to scarper however I would not supposed the town would have given these act two thoughts had he not taken $4,000 of their money with him. He persuaded himself he had to get out of such a dreary place and make good of himself. The trouble was; he never did.

Perhaps nostalgia or time had placed soft sparling coating over his eyes, for the township look good… warm to his thoughts….for whatever he had done in the past, and after all, it was where he grows up and became a man he was.

A call from the train guard and a haste boarding of the now ready train and they were oft like a bullet out of a gun. As the train tumbled along, the faceless ticket collector was high above him as Jim slunk on the couch of the carriage and wondered if he had been dreaming as he could not remember where his journey had started and had he been sleeping all the way. . He was just about to inform the man of his destination when his ticket was punched and handed back without a word being spoken.



Jim glanced at his ticket to see the words printed boldly; “a one way ticket to Hell”
peter.howden
Second wind

There is a lot of absolutely nonsense written, and spoken, of global warming and how we humans are to blame for the end of the world as we know it “Jim”. Poppycock

Methane gas has been particularly aired out as a matter of fact cause and our poor cows have been shouldered the blame…………… absolutely verbal crap and nothing to do with gravity but can cause hallucination on a mass scale

For this reason the authorities are attempting to hide the truth behind the fallacy of the udder. It is factual that livestock, particularly cows chewing the cud, gives oft heat and decay and huge quantities of Methane, equal to two cars per cow per year, is true, yet below our feet lies the true problem….Termites. the following do not include Ants, Bees or Wasps…..

Insect experts at the Natural History Museum reveal termites, the creatures famous for building enormous mounds and eating houses. What they do not reveal is that there are 2,500 species of termites, never mind cockroaches, which brings the numbers into trillion billions or almost absolute infinity…..+1.

Atomically speaking; the scientists secretly are taunt and fretting with the physics of this massive problem. When termites and now cockroaches find or try and attract a sexual mate…. they Fart….. producing a small dosage of lethal methane. The boffins have worked out mathematically….. if the entire population of termites let oft wind collectively at the exact precise instance….there would be enough energy to move the world.

However now; with the realization Cockroaches are from the same family group, it is feared that if they all achieved their sexual appetite spontaneously, then the Earth would shift orbit and aim for the sun and a immature demise.

The boffins say it is not a question of if it will happen….. but when?

A guid Ne’erday’s ‘Tae ane an ‘A’………..It may last
peter.howden
End of her tether;

The flat itself is exceedingly cheerful; roomy with its fresh painted baby cartoons displays, coupled with rainbows on opposite end’s bright clean walls. This is not the despairing point for the young mother of two. It is the walls themselves which act as a blockade or fortification or a modern day stockade. The plain matter of fact is she is a prisoner of her own making.

She loves her children more than life, utterly adores them with an intensity to make her weep,; however they don’t t help not only being a guilty hindrance reminder but intensification to the problem. It was been bearable with the first beautiful child because of all the fuss made by one and all though the novelty of calling “ Goo goo Ga ga” whenever the scene warranted it, or “Whoopsie-Daisy” proved to be…. just as a whim ….though her love for her brood never waned .

Everything was a brand new experience and if she was not wrong, she absolutely radiated a crisp gorgeous persona. Even when things did not quite go to plan or ‘poo-poo’ nappies whiffed the already scented air at the most awkward of times. The sheer motherhood had enough twinkles and sighs in the eyes to absorb the invisible increasing frustrations.

Even when the second little adorable baby arrived, all and sundry’s behaviour was exactly the same as before yet it seemed to wear off quicker. Even father was not quite overboard has he had been before. Now with double helpings all the way, in everything, it has started to wear down her resistance to the point of mood swings and frustration, diving into depression and generating her own introverted mortified hell. No one comes around anymore, perhaps because of the constant nappies on the pulley or they are scared they might be roped into babysitting but they would say, when met by accident, how they wish not to disturb her routine and quickly contorted obvious thin excuses to leave.

The pram her mother-in-law insisted in getting them is too big to direct around the narrow staircase. In mother-in-law’s day; a Churchill pram was the bee’s knees but times have changed yet she did not wish to upset the mother of their father. She had dreamt, nay prayed, for motherhood and envied anyone who had a child, only to find her wished paradise fashioned spiral echoes that never spoke and silence itself became louder

How she longs for adult conversation and how she hates herself for not giving her all to her adorable babies. The walls may be crystal clean but that does not stop them from caving in to suffocate a lonely person. For nigh on 10 hours a day she spurts ‘Poppets’, ‘yum-yum din dins’ or whoopee’s repeatedly then asking who is a clever so and so. She tries to have a settle down period every day when the little imps are laid for a lunchtime rest, but this precious time is swallowed up by tidying up or washing clothes or taking jam out of the carpet.

The television is a God send…. with “Andy Pandy” or their favourite “Tellytubbies” which keeps them amused while those childish programmes were on but holy mother of Jesus…. it sends her brain around the bend. Almost all children always like a programme or action or story and then want it repeated, word for word, again and again and yet again till she felt her sanity was in question.

She could only glance out the window marvelling at the freedom of all passer-by’s and again retreat slight deeper into her own little unfilled world, more helpless than the day before. The once proud, almost beautiful, appearance has gone… to reflect her own self-loathing and her wanting true natural womanhood instincts, as told by her supposed friends and betters who are just gossip chatter merchants magnify her guilt-ridden mind to past reason and knowing no bounds

Her front door is green but no Frankie Vaughan behind her door…. only wash day blues………never ending……………..every day.
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peter.howden
The Parables


The good Samaritan?

The old man dropped to his knees like a sack of tatties, in disbelief at the sight of his faithful mutt lying motionless at the side of the road. The dog had been excited by events around him as he and his elderly master was coming from the post office, and trod oft 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 elderly man remained crouched down and staring apparently at nothing, a comforting hand reached out and held his shoulder. He turned around to see a face which was not unknown to him yet he could not place who it was. The driver almost crying as he hurried up to the old man in a desperate effort to make sense as to what actually happened….. finally the police became involved as witnesses tried to present their versions all at once.

The experienced policeman suggested that someone should take the grieving old man away from the horrible scene and as there was a café very near perhaps buy him a good strong sweet tea to steady his nerves. The comforting hand beckoned to comply and led the tearful body to the café sanction. Once inside he sat the old man down and ordered two strong teas. While awaiting the waitress to return he told the old man his elbows of his jacket were 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 dirt.

Words of silky comfort passed from his lips as he assisted the senior man on with his jacket. After some consoling words and meaningless chatter, the Samaritan made good of his departure. The old man stood up, though still rather confused returned to the accident to find all the necessary duties had been completed, and his trust 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 beloved dog, several tears fell from his now red eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the money he had taken out of the post office before the accident. There was only £40 there instead of the £100 he had withdrawn. He knew almost instantly that the Good Samaritan had dipped him. 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 money.


The problem he faced was he knew who it was but could not say anything for he had no proof.

Sadly the old man closed his eyes and pretended he was in the woods walking with his faithful hound.
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Dylan
Entertaining Peter , enjoying them !.
peter.howden
Circles



There is a fine line between reality and illusion


We have to face it lads, there is defiantly some kind of invisible energy ……… a force field in front all the time regardless of which direction we come from, preventing us reaching the given ultimate goal. …. yet sometimes it seems it’s all around enclosing the neighbourhood. With a sense of scientific conviction this just can’t be….surely not…. for we can go where our want takes us….. Yet the moment we attempt to move in a forward direction, something…something supernaturally, not of this world and totally transparent halts us…. If only we could break the cycle!...or is it a purloined dream.

It’s not alarming me…only cause’s compound limits, and you should not loss faith either, because there is a constant bright light…a beam which signals almost to the second every twenty four hours, giving us a continual bearing to measure and see the direction we need to travel. Other luminosities happen high above, if memory serves me, with either no set pattern or consistency to be reliable but the morning light never fails…………..if only we could reach the light we would be safe.

Yes we have food; Yes we have some restricted freedom, Yes there is life? nevertheless is it a false existence ….. But there is something out there…. What it is I’m not sure….Just out of reach…..shadows of some significance appear then disappear without logic. If only we had the intelligence, the ‘know-how’ I am sure we would recognize why we are here…. The answer …. the ultimate question of life itself…. if there is a divinity?


They are trapped and there was no doubt about that, yet somewhere deep in the their D.N.A; a stubbornness arose through generation after generation and raw evolution , a harden craving to seek the unknown, being totally away from their usual docile lifestyle, forcing them to fight against this imperceptible unwanted restriction…..

They would persist to find a clink in such unseen armoury their plight will last their lives …as goldfish in a living room bowl….
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peter.howden
Thank you Dylan.................which one I wonder?




The black cat

A group of young people were loitering at the rear end of this main chapel of the spiritual town holding a catholic ‘All Saints Day’ mass. While smoking naughty cigarettes they all spotted an exquisite black cat majestically strolling around the holy statues. What was evidently striking about the panther like creature was its blackest perfectly groomed pelt, so smoothly delicious it could be mistaken for silk. As the cat paraded around the inner grounds the shine, her coat alerted at the slightest twitch or direction the cat sashayed. Her large pupils reflected deep green eyes, while her stiff whiskers suggested military obedience as a successful predator.

The white-cassock robed youngsters were members of the chapel choir and caretakers of the consecrated relics during the service. One innocent lad stared and pointed while calling to his peers; ‘Look… Cats hold luck’. Crunching a very unchristian couple of words, the biggest of the boys, a tormenting bully deliberately flicked his red hot burning cigarette right at the cat’s jet black hair, which not only brutally scorched the flawless coat but cause severe pain for the unfortunate beast. Her eyes flashed with fury as her ear piercing squeals of agony was only silenced by the organ music coming from the chapel. The cruel sneering boy just laughed before he entered the holy place to prepare for his religious duty

The dutiful service followed its strict code of practice, performed and conducted by the visiting bishop wearing Dalmatic garment, from the chasuble alter, the priest reading from the Roman Missal in celebration of the Eucharist. Meanwhile, due to the pious obedience from the awaiting congregation, no one noticed the black cat prowling stealthily towards the sacred tabernacle area of the all-embracing Church. As a wild hunter she used the pews shadowing her existence of purpose as if stalking a particular prey. The only detection was the distasteful lingering odour of wet singed fur.

The tormenter of a lad was the main solo singer, stationed just under the Sanctuary lamp awaiting his celebrity appearance and recital. It was justly believed and noted he had the voice of an angel and would be a professional chanter in later life. Each other adolescent was prepared for the holy order, with Chalice paten and Purificator while the dark cat crept accurately closer to the stone alter as if on a deliberate hunt.

The young boy stood up to sing directly under the ‘Tabernacle Lamp’ looking ever inch angelic in his white cassock robe when… out of nowhere… leapt the frenzied cat, knocking the oil full lamp from its safety on the stone wall. It unceremoniously fell from its insecure holding as the contents of inflammable oils spilled unrehearsed onto the boy’s head, then splattered across and through his bright white robe, instantly igniting into uncontrollable flames throughout the petrified boy’s attire.

There followed screaming bedlam, echoes of excruciating screeching within the old walls of the medieval chapel, shaking its foundations. The cat just sat sedately quiet… watching the mayhem her actions had created, while she licked her coat of jet black. The alert priest had the presence of mind to rap the statue standing petrified lad in blankets to stifle the flames which saved the lad from first degree burns all over his body.

The boy will never sing another note due to the injuries to his vocal cords he endured almost becoming a horrific human torch…and the cat…. never seen again after it casually strolled out of the chapel…

Cats can bring luck….but what kind?
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peter.howden
(1)The Big Bang;


Along a uninhabited road which lead to what now could only be described at first and second glance, as a neglected path now overgrown with grass and assorted weeds . Yet this snakelike track concealed a slight trodden trail created by footwear, through thicket and almost impenetrable bushes, leading eventually to the end where a square consisting of old cobble-stones surrounding old inaccessible abandoned factory…long forgotten by the grown up people.

Once an explosive factory throughout the conflict, it was designed so not to pull attention to its location. Consisting of 6 stories high, its stairways were crumbling and untrustworthy but still led to the roof which was in fragments and not fit for purpose. In shadowy nights its gloom was beyond any imaginary explanation however if on the ground floor, if someone was staring up into the starry night… infinity was there.

Within this spine-chilling air howling building almost at the centre where the night-time sky was flawlessly visible, lay a huge oval shaped workplace stank most probably used as a water drainage when the floors were wetted and cleaned of all the explosive dust accumulated on the concreate surface. Whether this was indeed true was impossible to tell for anyone who had laboured there was either dead or lost in time, but what was a bare fact was the large elliptical shaped drainage stank.

One the grey colour metal stank with a slight angled into the centre, was a multitude of small holes which were right up to the rim of its slightly rusted circumference. Around the hub of the drain, was a mass of Bools; (Jorries), named as, plonks, clampbroth, cats-eyes, Opaque, Devil’s eye, agate, Lutz, China and rolled earth ware. All these and more were owned by mysterious boys and lads, living some distance from the old decrepit building. Each Ash Wednesday through to Good Friday, the local lads traditionally came to this very site to play marbles in peace and comfort away from prying eyes of the grown-ups.

Around twelve of the boys surrounded the inside gutter…unaware history was about to unfold.
Completely in furtively, one sleekit young fellow who was desperate to win in one go, had clandestinely brought the ultimate weapon… a steely …a enormous ball bearing, outlawed by all marble games.as they crowded around the bulk of Jorries, the improviser raised his hand and dropped his steel ball on the unexpected spheres below. What happened next was and is unclear but the force of the fall and the hefty weight of the steel orb smashed the rest to the outer limits of the oval rim.

Whether this alone exploded or some elements and particles of the explosive substance used so long ago was lurking however simultaneously from the lad’s foul, an immense explosion instantly acted. The marbles lost in such an eruptional flash…. spread indiscriminately around the drain. So was born the big bang theory………….

Was it in some parallel universe…from realities or fiction or a diverse Physic dimension … Quantum gravity from M-theory seen through Micro vision …….or in my mind’s eye…who can tell?
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peter.howden
Sentenced

In his mind, he walked this final path along the ultimate cold avenue before early morning, recalling his school days being religiously, regimental, constructed by one overbearing sadistic individual, who wickedly carved into his mental and physical statue. This inhumane individual constantly inflicted unforgettable….unforgivable harsh treatment, because simply the lad being just him.

To this end, instruments would inspire pain, growing measures such as the leather belt, then the large brass buckle. Other dreaded times, a thin whip-like rod, callously inflicting with increasing intense heat as it tore away young flesh,… opening older wounds with each stinging flick attack. Numerous kicks with steel capped boots, followed blows where it would not give evidence to the outside world…. For although this master of diabolical wickedness grinned in apparent anticipation at each stroke…………strongly wished it to be kept quiet…their secret……….in particular held by fear. The lad was left as a wasted bundle…. preying to end. Craving for loneliness


Above all else, though he had believed he had now broken free the persistent bulling which made him do things…terrible things, he did not want to do. However he not excuse himself of his criminal and desperate life, by laying the blame on such evil deeds preformed on a boy who had no means to protect himself, for he alone was responsible for deeds ‘beyond the pale’ of decency and far worse things outside simple imagination, so personally demeaning, so utterly horrific…. he was now scared even to think about them.


The truth was he was more entangled than ever. Now he had to pay the ultimate price because as everybody knows, it’s impossible to keep them out, there are eyes… everywhere. Coming to the untried but familiar path, he took one last deep breath of cleansed air before the final thoughts and suspicions


Is any man's death accountable…and to whom…. weighing up from deeds preformed in the past…for he is manhood…. willingly or unwillingly…. no man is an island…. responsible for your action but more important…. responsible for what actions taken against you as mankind; wither individually or mass… therefore never “send to” know for whom the bell tolls…for it tolls for thee.”


Once again in pure surrender….trembling in his imaginings… prepared once more …after an immeasurable time scale of torment ….ready at last to climb the final steps…reality opens with the first peek of dawn…………..the abyss …no more……….until the next night of darkness
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peter.howden




Greek bearing gifts

She was a young, French, good, limited Catholic girl who thought he was old fashioned, even eccentric, giving her an amazing stimulating bangle with connecting lines, so delicately woven appeared to be fine lace, while Inside was amass with deep lavish green, blue stone giving the illusion of being alive. It was magically impulsive to examine its complex delicate craftsmanship akin to the world famous ‘Clover Leaf’ created by the Russian family of jewellers she had once seen in an tattered old Paris bulletin

She had always been attracted to glittery things, compelled to jewellery, an outcome from her strict religious family. The few men in her life knew what pleased her though most could not match her desired wants since leaving the confinements of a stringent religious family and region.

He was timeworn; becomingly pleasing to the eye, yet something mysterious was just out of reach, and whose speech sounded like imitation French added with a hint of Greek. A strange alluring man obviously with an obvious massive private income used to splash out in truffles washed down with Duval-Leroy champagne, raw oysters, and crème fraîche Beluga caviar.

Beseeching her to wear this humble gift, along with a single red rose, as a sign of his endless pounding love he holds for her, dear to him than life itself. . Wearing the finest white Kidd gloves, he gently placed around her delicate wrist. He explains in a soft seductive but ….deceptive tone, he wishes not to soil such an honourable gift to such beauty and venery qualities

She was enticed and captivated by the intricate dexterity of the craftsman who created such out of this world armlet, second to none…bar one. She did not love him but was captivated by his power of speech, affluence and obvious supremacy.

Once secured on her thin white arm, she felt what sensed like a needle, continuously piercing her skin but shook the very tight wristlet and it was no more. The rest of the evening was uneventful until alone in her private bedchamber when for some reason found it impossible to find a catch to release the precious gift. It was tight, she thought…but bearable until tomorrow where she would visit her jeweller’s and be aided in her quest to release the bangle. She drifted into a slumber so peaceful and fretless.

Across the medieval town, he lay in his bed sweltering ravishingly his sadistic feverish action, takin in the name of hideous revenge. He was a lunatic beyond reason, converted to religious retribution on the Roman Catholic religion He was an obscure numerous second cousin, unknown removed from one of the original French Faberge family who had fled ‘Picardy’ two hundred years ago, due to religious persecution of we Huguenots.

As she slept unaware her bracelet was coming to life in the shapes of countless deadly…’Emerald Cockroach Wasps’; who’s natural habits is to paralyzes with venom and disable anxiety, burry into their chosen victim, releasing a white egg which hatch three days later, excruciatingly to the victim kept alive right to the end, totally consuming internal organs and all before cocooning and then a full grown wasp leaves what once was a living body.

Because she was human…. this would last for numerous dark days.

Two weeks later … in the towns daily proclamation…the body of the 9th young girl in the past year discovered demised, was found in her boudoir…with life totally absent from her withered corpse…….identification was nay impossible… thought there was signs she wore a extremely tight armlet covered a multiple of large puncture holes still in evidence….

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peter.howden
The Parables

The Glasga good Samaritan;

He had always been a nutter, a chib merchant (weapon haulier) carry and using a cosh and knife or anything at hand while attacking anything indiscriminately against foes without care or fret. His enemies was the infamous ‘Monks’ gang, but headed by the local notorious ‘Fleet-Tay’; who held the same morals but were more of them than he could muster for self-protection. Unfortunately for him, the opposing gang planned and carried out an ambush on him alone, in revenge for a spontaneous battering he gave to an innocent cousin of the brusque gang leader. The surprised quarry was left unconscious, critically bleeding which would surely lead to his untimely demise.

Just by chance another member of the ‘Fleet-Tay’ bunch of hooligans returned to the scene, feeling true guilt and remorse, believing his mob had crossed the line and would regret the comeback and revenge, not only from the few mates the victim had, but more dangerous, from the police harassment and his bird (girlfriend) threating to dumping him…if a murder charge was in the cops books. He was aware of being just a Marionette while others pulled the strings His concerned newly discovered conscience, asking of himself what gain or good for anyone battling over who owned a bloody crap street

Ignoring obvious danger if seen aiding the enemy, he dragged the prey home, attended his wounds with care and precision self-taught due to past experience when giving medical help to him after each dangerous insane fracases ending in brutality on both side. For the first week or so stayed awake in 24 hour stints and using his job seekers money for specialized easy to consume nourishment, sterilized bandages and creams to keep the wounds clean avoiding decontamination.

Slowly the assaulted guy recovered, conspicuously having trouble working out why one of his adversaries was now his redeemer… and what scheme he was going to unduly surprise him when unprotected and alone in a unknown foreign den. When time and conditions allowed, his male nurse moved him to safety outside the ‘Fleet-Tays’ unofficial domain taking him as far as he dared into the victim’s unsanctioned dominion. Once the young thug reached his home and took his first slug of Buckfast; for medicinal reasons only…… he felt his pockets for a fag (cigarette) to find two ten pound notes which he was forced to recognize his adversary must have bestowed the money.

Did any good come from this surprising act of compassion is not known …but rumours were wild that someone had ignored the principles and rough rules of the gang and if they found out who………………

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peter.howden

The Parables

Five loaves and two fishes;

Lady of the prime home had just clipped the lughole of one of her cheeky little tykes, for having the neck to try and sneak a wee bite of bread. As if she was addressing her whole waft of children, she bawls…. which echoes around the tiny scullery resounding loader than ever ‘have bloody manners and all will sup the feast’. Suddenly all pandemonium vanishes, stops the kids of all ages from any mischief they were doing as those responding words of command instantly gave them the ability to sit as quiet and still their young bones would allow. Everyone knew they were waiting for ………………old torn face…father

This was his pay day, nevertheless this was no guarantee if Jean, the ageing mother would have any money to put in her empty purse. She had three empty ginger bottles stashed under the sink curtain, just in case. These pop bottles where known in her circles as ‘Glass—Cheques;’ in good days the kiddies may have them but…not this bloody day. It all depended on Shug, the roving father, and who he met or what pub he landed in or if the bookies had called silently his name. Some may not credit Jean as being educated, as schooling in her day stopped when her mother needed help around the house. Though strapped for cash she had the sense to have planks all over the house. They held little bundles of money for desperate times but it was hard to tell the difference in these coming days.

Suddenly the door bangs open as Jean looks up to the tattered smoke ridden ceiling as if on silent prayer. Her man, if this is the true description, puts his head around the door frame and splutters out that Wee Willie, and John and Fred and another loon, had come back after kind invitation for a bite to eat. He softly adds ‘Jean; the boys want to see our little cherubs’ came a slurry voice from the man of the household. The five drunks hawkers sat down at the table oblivious of the bairn’s and waited for ‘something to eat’ Shug splurts out showing his buddies who is the master



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



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



Totally unaware of what was happening right under their noses, the blootered guests feed on scraps …while underneath the wobbly table lay her bulging brood, tucking into bundles of mince& tatties….fresh bread and butter…. imagining they were in a posh restaurant



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peter.howden
George (Thee Polar bear)

George was a sucker for fridges where he would wallow away a few hours dreaming of home in the sandy beaches of the Sahara Desert, well he thought he did owing to the clues. He knew he did not come from the Gobi Desert for that would be just plain ridiculous. Who ever heard of a polar bear from the Gobi desert? You would have to be right planker or plain daft or a bit rough to be contemplating that and anyway the number 41 bus doesn’t stop there.

It was only common sense, George though; that he truly came from Sahara Desert as his dad smoked those types of cigarettes before it came popular that they were bad for you, and anyway they gave bears a horrible smell. George was ignorant of his qualification of his origins, the basic fact that he (George took the hump (just like a camel ‘Dromedary’) or two (Bactrian) when he was not going his way.

Both bear and camel come from around the same Palaeogene era, and adding to this, as if to qualify its authenticity, George’s Aunt used to drink the dark Camel Coffee, bought from a shop in Dubai by some troops from the Royal Fusiliers. George does not talk 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 to local brothels which did not sell soup but were ill-reputed bawdyhouses.

George arrived at 12 Calvay Place and just made himself at home. We did discover his efforts to be here was encourage by the knowledge of a group of authentic synthetic yellow ducks resided within and growing. He made a beeline for the fridge and to slip into something cool. 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 breath or hair was ever left on butter in the fridge that George had visited or honoured with his presence. How or why he came from Sahara he did not ken, he just knew.
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peter.howden


PEE WEE


Pee Wee is thee Glasga pigeon of some amazing stature, not a pair of cowboy boots of the same name in the American west. Nor is he a stool-pigeon… though he does give secret advice when needed , or named after past silver screen idol Walter Pigeon…. or any run of the mill pigeon… but a very extra special pigeon. He can talk any bird language you care to mention, but above all, he can talk human. Of the latter, the communication between is with only the chosen reprehensive of Glasgow, in the shape of “The Lord Provost” dating back, in some form, to the final era of the dark ages… where all magic was possible and plausible.

The mere suggestion the present Lord Provost would take advice from a feathered bird… will not raise many eyebrows …however…. that a pigeon could understand the political dealings with such an understanding … may stretch the art of belief.

This simple fact in its-self, would place him in a higher category bracket than any ordinary pigeon in Glasgow’s famous George Square, he is even more, much, much more. He was and has always been since time and immoral remembered as “Thee” number one guardian of all protocol within the boundaries of Glasgow now Greater Glasgow than before...

Pigeon history has been winged way back to times where hours did not pass without counting the grains of sand… or gazing towards the moon, while the sun was indeed the main ‘God’; which mysteriously disappeared nightly, which all who witnessed… blessed, and hoped in prayer it would deem to return the next day. The Rowan tree was the guide and the guider between the worlds known and perceived. Clandestine and magic were in infancy were and when anything could happen and often did, to the utter amazement to the young populous of the fair green place.

Pee Wee is not magical but had magic was about him and around him which enables the bird to do things out of reach of most birds. His life span knew no bounds and his memory of the past was razor sharp… recalling down through history each Lord Provost would not only rely on him… but depended on him utterly. From the very John Stewart, through the reformation… and its aftermath that so named the Lord Provosts to be Mr Glasgow to this very day. . Where Pee-Wee came from… is in the unwritten scrolls of legends s and how long he’s been totally unknown. The only hint was the very first Lord Provost was a nodding acquaintance at first but because of “the incident”… became a total admirer

He has, and always had, at his disposal, the means to keep all other birds in check, regardless of their rank or size. From swifts to the oppressor magpies, Pee Wee’s call was law and obeyed even by his mischief cousins, the tyke street/road pigeons… for under their feathers they feared and respected Pee Wee and in more than one occasion needed his protection.

Magpies… like all bullies, always picked fights with street pigeons, as easy meat but thought twice, about tackling a wizard of a pigeon as Pee Wee. Once defied and scuttled they did not even dare have such a thought ever again. In short Pee Wee is the super birdie in the skies. His patrol of George Square is recent as the Grand City Chambers was only built in 1888. His loyalty to Glasgow is timelessly undying and true. . ………….let the tale begin
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peter.howden
Grant’s Cloths;

Through anyone’s life, there are people who have had influence or manky fingerprint over life’s good or bad, and carries onward with certain moments of remembrance pushing forward one particular character or event

I have been exceptionally fortunate by having such a rich pot of people, both present and past, all loaded with experiences of the wildest stooshie’s ever…. so to allow me to miss the curved balls of life which can knock you for six. So why do I keep being stoatered by wayward orb’s. Who knows maybe I’m just lucky. .


Ross Grant has left a marker in my mind which frequently pushes a recall tab, simple because he was involved in a very important part of my life. This was the period where I had rented accommodation in Marywood Square. I did not need someone to share the flat as I was earning quite big money, one way or another, however through the mist came; Ross.

We became Best mates slowly, as we had different circles of friends but there is no question, we hit it off right from the beginning. He had ettle risk in his humour… coupled with actions which always took me by surprise. He dared to do anything to enjoy every moment of life with even a smile for the down times.
We, on the whole had a ball of a time, with scat concern of tomorrow and perhaps the closest we both came to those well published imaginary swinging sixties. Quotes bantered around with sayings such as “If you can remember then…. you weren’t there”, there areas of time I just cannot remember and even forgotten weekends which I’m certainly incapable to recall. This is down to too much alcohol consumption and not swinging illusions though I have had several of those. . Some of the parties held, at the drop of a hat, were out of this world and I can still see the wee happy bugger right in the middle of it all.

After one particular Ne’erday’s bash, we were drinking the booze left over's…. right through to April. I am not trying to smugly imply alcohol, in all its disguises, was the centre of our existence but it was a necessary release for our youthful exuberance and beyond.

A delightful laugh Ross had and was only serious when he talked about Dennis Yates Wheatley; thee penny-a-liner author... The book “The Devil rides out” was the most read book in the flat, second only to the fabulous “Famous Rugby Songs” and “Move away from the fireplace Granny, Grandpa is heating his bum”.

We did manage to scare the crap out of ourselves by following instruction from a Wheatley novel preventing Satan gaining control of our bodies or minds. We were so drunk and our minds so fuzzy the devil would probably not want them even if he came in person. The amateur occult wanted cleared, all the furniture and carpets and drew around us impregnable circles and triangles right to the letter, including salt at the vital points of entry, right to the last dot described within the tattered literature.



We heard unidentifiable peculiar noises coming from behind the door of our basement flat. This sent us into an unpredictable scared state. We realized it had just struck 12 of the clock; the time when evil lurks in packs. The basement was always gloomy though now it turned sinister and foreboding as each creek and movement was heard as if within our heads. The gas fire had run out as the metre needed fed and we were at a loss how we could since we did not have a two bob coin for it to consume.
We were genuinely terrified and sweating porously though this was probably due to being intoxicated with liquid spirit while preparing to meet thee Arch-fiend known as Auld Clootie. How long we were there is now stuff made by legends however at one particular point we cuddled each other more intimately than we were with the opposite sex, though we never quite discussed this principle part. A mate is a mate but when it comes to mating………


A few weeks later, a very important date to meet the parents of my true love of the time, “Cathy”. I had been out the weekend before plus the previous night and one by one spoilt my dress since needed for such an occasion. Pullers the dry cleaners had shut unexpected and I was lumbered with old cords which could walk themselves. Ross like a true gentleman said I could use his wardrobe for anything I need. Without thinking I had pressed his brown suit to perfection, polished my Beatle boots and draped my pink shirt. Sex personified I though however not quite.......I looked in the mirror and it became painfully obvious of the height and builds difference between Ross and me.

Ross was a good five inches smaller than I and slightly fatally proportioned (compared to me) which knocked the perfect dressing for six. The trousers where half way up my shin while I had to tense my belly, inward, so not to burst the buttons. I reckoned if I blew wind….. The seat would explode outwards. The sleeves of the jacket were extremely short while not only showing a cuff but practically the whole sleeve. Holding in my stomach meant my feeble chest exaggerating its potential, so much so it warped the cut of the suit. I looked like a blond wee monkey trailing my knuckles along the bare floor.
There was no choice but to brave it out. I am not sure if they noticed however I was never invited back and sweet lass….never brought up the subject……

After two great years, Ross and I parted company going our separate ways due to a number of factors; seldom saw each other until twenty years later he came to see me one Thursday afternoon at the Calder Street baths. We had not seen each other for years and I took the opportunity to have a few beers with an old friend. We chatted about old times and I do remember laughing our heads oft recalling one thing after another.

It was a superb night and more so because it came out of the blue. We saw the pub’s bells in, warmly hugged and called it a night. Ross had a rare blood disorder nickname “Christmas Disease” for some strange reason. If he cut himself, in the slightest way, he needed hospital attention immediately if not sooner. He was on a drug regime for life.

I received a message on the Saturday morning that Ross was found behind his door…spent…. He had stopped taking his medication for over a week prior……


I miss him……
peter.howden
BETH;

Gazing on Beth’s fairy like movements, ever innocently and fondly on a piece of living magic with longing of a lost pup and perhaps... looking just so, he could hardly sleep in the darkness of his bedroom. Her face was cast near constantly on his very being, introducing her features as paramount to the simplest thoughts or actions cast that summer.


Beth had every quality a lover could wish for; silky brown hair wafting wind swept look so desired by magazine photographers. Deep dark brown eyes to beckon the wildest of soul and a hint of magic going on forever complete with a smile to enchant a defeated devil because of her natural innocent creamed skin beauty of her face. Her walk defied gravity as if strolling with the Gods themselves. Her voice echoed sweetly to soften any discerning ear or pierced the most resilient heart to become a willing slave to her every whim or suggestion. She was beauty and sexuality personified.

He was brand 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). Since ever he could remember his desire for observing Beth just formed a life of its own emotions but unfortunately...pure love…. at a distance

These unreturned expressions were not seedy glances at limbs and digits not normally paraded for the world to see. This was gazing with adorations and factual affection, for all to see but particularly Beth…who was totally unaware. Each time she made entrance to the street they both lived in since childhood, the sun shone through the heaviest rain to brighten up that moment. Graceful Beth would seeming not make contact with the ground but dance to wherever she wished to be. Immediately her pure radiance was such…. All he 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… for she neither realizes he existed or ever encouraged or touched him in any way which was a bit of a hindrance to his affections. It became even more difficult when he discovered she fancied dashing Gordon Campbell.

This boy had always been a thorn in his side, right from the first day meeting him in the street. He was good at everything he ever tried to do, and 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 worsted thing of all was; he was so dammed nice? He would make up excuses for him when once again, beat the pants off him (not literary as it was still against the law and any he’d probably wipe his ass with that too) at some deed or other.

Having no choice than to accept his immeasurable fate … looking on from afar, hoping against all hope she would miraculously change her mind and see him in hero’s romantic light. He 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 would tell you this…. Gordon Campbell always made the best one?
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peter.howden
Shug in two halves

It is said you can fool some of the people all the time, you can fool all the people some of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time. This did not apply to Shug who was employed by a Town Council baths dept. He was the man working in the old style wash-hoose final closure of washing board stalls, huge steam operated washing-machines, drying horses, prams bringing dirty washing and a 100 years of a way of life for the woman-folk of the area.

This was decided by the forward thinking Council, to make way for the so called laundry-mats, which held no culture, or atmosphere for the prime and proper ladies in the neighbourhood .The wash-hoose was more sharp, a gossip terminal, and down to earth environment… close to the Scenes from the famous and very humorous play…“The Steemie”.

Shug was no walking fool … but fooled everyone I ever met, who indeed had come into contact him. He may have been a walking disaster and pretty slow in the uptake; however believe me, no fool. Shug was a Zen Buddhist (sort of) without having the knowledge of it, or actually being Zen or a Buddhist, or forming a thought pattern anyone would recognize, he was just harmless lazy Shug.

In an ordinary shift, he could receive instruction one day, and then loose the requirements quite quickly without knowing consciously he had been instructed at all. His burning ambition was to be a life saver in the Victorian styled tiled swimming pool….only used for schools during the day and the snooty club at night. Shug was employed as a dog’s body; with cleaning everything he was drilled to scrub.

He also was the message boy for lunches or nip out when the boss needed fags, a habit in those days, making a skin from each item purchased by charging operatives dearer than when bought. Friday was pay day, when each of the 18 employees’ wages was received in brown envelopes. Friday was the big dinner-hour when luxury came into play.

One such day workers made their big orders, gave Shug a fiver or tenner, and asked Shug to get something for himself. After rounding all the orders Shug left at high noon. A hour and a half past by with no sign of the chips or Shug and most of the allotted time for dinner used up. A couple of the girls fretted slightly, but on the main body of employees were growing with irritation.

The gaffer was really fuming for not only something to eat was astray, but Shug with the bloody fags.


Just about ten minutes later, Shug stoater’s in slightly full to the wind, and plunks the goods down. Angry and frustrated because the official dinner break was well and truly over… with the chips are cald, the curry’s is manky…. they all demand their rightful change.

A bemused Shug pulls out two pokes, containing two shirts and a pair of Wrangler jeans, that horrified all present….Shug came away with a belter….”Ye all telt me tae coff something I wanted?” …gobsmacked was the reaction from the team………and he forgot the gaffer’s fags……
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peter.howden
A Christmas miracle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alighting from brightly lit bus, trudging home along the street, Harry felt like the little boy out of “Christmas Carol” when Scrooge ask him to carry the turkey to “Bob Cratchit’s” humble home. Puzzled to discover he held another surprise plastic bag containing a pair of deep red Italian leather stylish shoes in a fancy box. Where it came from or how he manages to be in possession was an enigma … a miracle all the same, in the mole of Harry Belafonte’s festival song ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ ….. There is magic in Christmas
peter.howden
Home Made Tales

Dark

It’s dark, darker than usual, so dark he lost control of his eyes as they were unable to see anything, or cast a shadow. The room was filled with emptiness. When light feebly attempted to sneak in past the all-purpose one room/kitchenette gloom, it was beaten back by sheer blackness. It has always been a mingin miserable place called a flat, hiding from daylight to disguise the grime formed by lewdness within these walls, but something extra was enticing repulsion.

An air more than uncertainty flanked like a deadly wave cushioned within by the peeling dirty wallpaper, unheard noises continuously returning, time and again, from the origin …but with darker disturbed vibrations. Four restraining walls repulsing echoes of the hideous past which bounced uncontrollably across the forbidden floor, avoiding the centre area like a plague

There was no mistaking as he clocked it, just seconds ago, as he lazily woke up between the soiled clarty sheets. The dampness, which the council insist was condensation, seems to add to the itchy touchy evil in this house… a wicked atmosphere …

What kind of person would linger in such a hole, let alone sleep, for would take a special kind of being to remain there, an individual lacking a conscious dignity, one whose blood must remain jelled even when his movements imitated a human.

Yet it had not always been so…no ….just a frightened bewildered soul whose body is frozen to the manky bed by invisible threads of fear, not a wishful heaven but a bloody hell which threatens to devour his very thoughts… if not his all.

He tried and tried to look into the middle of the room but bleakness returned but he know evil was within. His mind was now numb…..whatever it was ….it was about to devour him….making him defunct

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peter.howden

Fairy tale



The first meeting was not supposed to happen but like all fairy tales… once upon a time it did.

Mark was walking past a stores window in the fashionable part of town. Helen was acting as stand-in for her sister, who was the window-dresser of female lingerie, for the large department store. Helen’s sibling become unwell, frightened she might lose her position, she asked her to stand in. Not sure if she could cope, being a novice in art School where actual work was not quite her bag, Helen’s code of sisterly duty came first.

Mark yearned for something completely different his dreary life, something with risk and action not available in this small township, forcing him to make up his mind, that very day, to be on his way to sign up and join the Army.

He stopped at the large window, standing almost motionless, staring directly in…not realizing the assortment of underwear the window exhibited…for he could not help staring at Helen’s angelic whimsical face. She turned around and heard music coming from outside where this guy was looking in. He tapped the window gently…motioning her outside. She dropped what she was folding and instantly submitted. In pure excitement their first date was arranged for that very night

From that very moment, that very second, they danced and sang and giggled into a whirlwind romance. Mark and Helen felt they had known this would happen all their lives was leading up to this joining of souls. He joked and she laughed when Mark said she was his Helen…. who launched a thousand slips.

They dreamed such sweet dreams, so composed they vowed it would last forever where they would grow old disgracefully together collecting our old age pension at the post office, then walk holding hand in the local park that so endeared and warmed their hearts. She cried at ‘Girl’s-pictures’ on the screen and he cared so much he was there with the tissues and popcorn and coca cola. As a couple they would dance at the drop of a hat swooning the moony along with old records, then dancing without moving their feet or limbs, but so close together it was almost indecent, locked in a heaven all of their own as Peggy Lee sang as they hummed ‘The folks who lived on the hill’ full in the knowledge it was written for them.

Just as quick as it had begun, She was gone… in a hint of a windless whiff and no letter of reason…just gone. All that was left was the bottle of perfume Mark had bought to celebrate their togetherness for it was something else above all other love affairs throughout history…and beyond. He had not noticed until the fateful moment of discovery she was no longer in his life……not one photograph for him to hold...with great heartache… reminisce.

He never did join the army but passed the window regularly hoping above hope, his Helen would be there. While staring in the abyss of the window, Mark would mentally sing, though sometimes was caught out by a stranger as he mumbled a verse or two of Ray Davis song “Thank you for the days” because those precious days was a lifetime for him.



He knows men should not cry……….but failed to keep the tears from falling

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peter.howden
A STRANGER ;


A single figure of a man, sat in the middle of the human jungle rest bite of tables and tatty chairs, where people just minutes before sat in the café which now was almost empty. The usual morning crowd who in rushing mayhem, scattered around the plastic flooring in search for coffees and teas; rolls and toast and the odd chip butty, before scrambling up Jam-packed elevators on the look-out for their private bureau… exactly the same as the next one and the next desk forming a row.

That clientele were well gone. All of them locked safely in boxes containing boxes, surrounded by thick walls of concrete blocks. Outside, and furtively hidden in some corner, away from the main door, was the odd couple of fly’s by night, in unison sucking nervously on cancer sticks while prepared at a moments notice, to dart oft as soon as they have had their fix.

In the unfilled snack bar the stranger, twist and turns his tea spoon, first clockwise then anti-clockwise, swirling the cold liquid in a haywire direction. This simple act he had carried out for at least the last ten minutes. The tiered waitress has given up tempting him to move but washing down the table with …a not so clean damp cloth…. which left streaks across the Formica speckled table top.

Splashes of water soaks his shirt sleeve cuff, but fails miserably to encourage movement on the stranger’s part. Where ever he was, was not prepared to leave the coffee bar.

The head waitress Slide closer to listen to what was on his mind for it could heard the following; “How could I be such a fool all, of our goodbyes to last forever”. I have no sense except horse sense”. “How could I let her slip away; how could I not tell her she was my Mona Lisa, my soul mate; my life”. How could I be so foolish, so proud…. so tongue tied?” “Now she has gone and so have my chances; just for once I wish I could open up”. “In love songs, some rain must fall and some tears be shed but I’ve had showers… too many tears wash my eyes”. She will never know just how much I cared”.the stranger mumbled to himself

Just then, a young lady entered the quiet café, ordering Russian tea and neatly sat down quite a distance from the stranger. He glancing up towards her and making sure she did not see him do so, the stranger looked intently at this young female. There was something about her that excited his eyes. He observed something really sweet and charming and innocent about her body language. Was she waiting for someone? However the stranger did not believe so.

The waitress delivered the glass containing lemon tea and left the change, in such a way to encourage a reasonable tip. The waitress just glared at the stranger, who failed to notice because his attention was on the other patron at the far side of the window. Her saintly hands reached for the covered glass, the lemon dropped into the hot liquid,

The stranger witnessed her well-manicured nails of the edge of her lean piano playing fingers, so slender and elegant she owned an obvious silky touch. Her red lips puckered with excitement as it tempted to sip the hot beverage. Her eyes glistened with expectation and her expression showed signs of anticipation. Her feature lines personified through the crafty lighting of the open premises. In other words the stranger says the young beauty as a peach…which he would love to take a bite and savour.

Could he take a chance, could he approach this Madonna…asking if he could sit next to her. Could he be so bold and ask this female perfection… for a sentimental journey to ‘Begin the Beguine’? Perhaps they could take a tram ride together to Kelvinside or maybe the Art Galleries. Yes…. lets strike while the iron is hot, thought the stranger and almost gave effort into standing up.

Just then she crossed her legs, amplifying the physical sound of stockings stroking each other…which drives young, and old men alike; wild. She rose and left the premises without one word from her perfectly formed lips. Just at that moment… a heart was crumpled again.

A single figure of a man, sat in the middle of the human jungle rest bite of tables and tatty chairs, where peoples just minutes before…. sat in the café which now….was empty.
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Heather
Aye very good Peter, I enjoyed those stories. smile.gif
peter.howden
Magic Heather.........I like to scribble............we are all proud.....and as free as our minds will allow....
peter.howden
Ponderings


The coming of a particular day of the year is a date our family have no need to search for, though a craving and aching to remember is always with us. . We are not alone in such dire, for in Glasgow, in Scotland or indeed the World peoples woe such a date’s annual arrival. Yet two years ago this date brought harrowing grief we were unaware existed which lead to emptiness you wished no other person had to share. The most unexpected happening… happened, against all odds for it would not she was too young, too full of life, to vibrant to allow this catastrophe to occur. Unfortunately she lost her short combat with cancer and we lost our daughter.

We all experienced psychological pain far beyond any brutal wound could inflict or sword could slice or dismember and what we were live through ,with unwanted suffering,… there was no cure and no escape. Each morning the darkness grew, each day the tears flowed at the slightest thought and each night torment knew its mark.


We decided as a family, without words or conversation, we would make sure we would be together… no matter what. The harrowing event happened on a Saturday and we would as a family meet on that day… at our home. The wooden kitchen table became our alter, the conversation became our script… with hours of talk mixed with sorrow, tears, awkward laughter and the family became our salvation. We were always close but there is a bond which is unspoken as we see each other and just know.

There is a worldly saying… ‘Time heals’ which is in my limited knowledge, is not quite true. It eases the tension slightly; it softens the pain a little, but it can’t stop the sudden anguish flourishing through the instant darkness or the unexpected tears which come out of nowhere. Now day to day living is no longer a trance as my rational capabilities return, not too normal, but to something which I can act so. There is a sense of guilt coming from deep…way deep inside.

There is no time when she is not there. She is with us in certain things we do, she touches our hearts with memories stirred from little ordinary day action we do which remind us something she did, or said or giggled about. Washing the dishes, a photo of some place, a present she gave or a knickknack she thoughtfully bought for my wife and I.

The comfort for me is………. I know there is a future…where we have to squeezes as much contentment out of life as possible and not feel guilty which hovers around unchecked.

Selfishly I know indeed I am lucky. Fortunate because I have my missus at my side, my family and my true friends whose help is beyond value……… but above and more so vital…………. I had, and have a daughter … for as long as I live.
peter.howden
What’s up “Doc”

He had the makings of being a great world renowned ‘Chef de cuisine’ , for he valued knowing the basics to work with, which could add just heaven to the client’s taste buds, and like all the greats knew just how much of ‘this and that’, ingredient to make gastronomic magic… down to the last skech of a dash.

He was untidy, gruff and dependent on the lower grafters, this shows 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 and may approach on both equally. A pot of water with just a tad of washing up liquid was always near the boil in not doing so…to properly cleanse through sterilization all his utensils including his keen, razor sharp huge knife better described as a whittle. He never used a ‘Shantieglan’ to grind his precious instrument; stone sharpening its blade to a keen edge himself.



He treasured his cutting appliance above all else… but had an awful nasty habit of wiping it from the cleansing pot, then drying it under his armpit with his tee-shirt sleeve…which he swore saved times and was hygienic. Either claims were suspect; however no one in the classy restaurant dare tell him so never mind chastise this naughty habit,.

Instead of insisting obeying Health & Safety rules they…. rather in a laugh off way or childish pansy manner.… the owner, the manager and a couple of brave souls in the kitchen would quote;… word for word……’here will be a revolting horrible accident happen one day… to your oxter being slashed deep inside’ ‘Mark my words’, they all quoted uniformly….then added before finishing their spiel; “You 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 grippe human.

The fateful day arrived as other days do with no pointers, no clue what atrophying happenings and the far reaching effects with the ‘Haute cuisine’ dishes, or it would have on all…. but mostly with the head chef .

Working normally and keeping a skewed eye on all the other commis chefs while preparing his Special, guaranteed holding taste to die for and 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 culinary dish.

He reached for his trusty knife in his usual manner from the boiling cleansing pot. He had done so many times but this time was to be different. Without looking his main cutlery hand reached in the correct direction but made contact with a heavy metal spoon instead of the hilt of the knife. Having been boiling for some considerable time the whole spoon was nigh to boiling temperature when is fingers first lay contact.



The reaction on meeting his digits to the scorching spoon burnt and scaled his skin, then producing instant blisters turning his fingers black. With a hell of 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 agony did not last an eternity but just seemed so as one brave helper, had the savvy to smothered the hand and the offending utensil with a soaked towel which gave 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 hour…..Basically he returned to being a mere cook …Par-average at that…..in one greasy diner….with a Scottish title…..

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peter.howden
Nomadic (1)

The long train, with a multitude of selected carriages took quite a while to slowly grind to a standstill and lucky for him, as the clatter of the steel wheels waked him for an uneasy sleep. Stretching and moaning for being awaken, a familiar cough as the railing pulled back revealing George (the porter) was standing with a pot of coffee and a huge grin which stretched from, ear to ear across his whole face.



It had been a long journey… monotonous to boot with few bright spots except the detours from tedium via George and the history of ‘The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’ battle, ‘fight or be slaves’, with the Pullman company. He heard it was a clash for survival from some considerable time, while the custodian of the train revealed a few interesting facts. One being his name was not ‘George’ but it was a condition of his shaky employment all passengers would recognize him, and all his fellow brothers by this single non de plume.

The voyager rose sharply from his make shift sleeping quarters, washed and brushed up then checking his Italian mohair suit was presentable his hand made Melbourne shirt, followed Milan leather shoes(shined to perfection by George) , and finally taking his cashmere coat of the swinging hanger.

It was raining as he stepped down from the coach, onto the wet unwelcoming platform, making the traveller wonder why he had truly come to this dismal station which was exactly as he remembered it…cold and unhospitable. He struggled to remember poor George’s real name but it was lost in his own discomfort as the rain lashed down making it difficult to see what was ahead.

He had no wish to be here, or anywhere near this grim reminder of the past ….but was drawn by not so subtle threats and intimidations which made it appropriately clear as to his would be future if he disobeyed. He was trapped and now there was no turning back. Unlike George…he had no union or backing for his unspoken services to companies……or individual shady clientele. He wanted out but out was not an option.

‘Money was good but sometimes money is not the problem’, he thought to himself his light attaché case.

The blue skies had disappeared long ago but now it was dark and foreboding black holes with intervals of nothingness. The angel of death he knew too well lurking behind some innocent facade, being rewarded for surprising this beaten traveller......................to be continued

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
Nomadic (2)

His psychological grisly journey, through dismal personal confinement was measures in years…. with his own Gordian knot, forever present. No swift Macedon blade to swiftly cut clean the unanswerable question; countless dire struggles release this particular endless riddle His was a small intimate family business, taking contracts, from the unidentified…. to be honour above all else…or human cost . Was there a higher deity, would his dark activities be deemed immoral. Was his deeds condemning him dammed eternal unrest. This time was the total conclusion of his life’s worth and he knew, regardless what he truly wished…. for had no chance in hell of coming true.



Walking along the unsympathetic empty streets of his home town in the early drab morning ,he recalled his school days had been regimental constructed by one domineer individual above all else, his mother…. though he had now broken free from the persistent bulling which made him do things, terrible things. He had, he believed, this was the one last mission into the bleakness of life. As usual he reached the bus locker station and with his key received his instruction. He did not see the shadowy furtive body lucking in the avenues and passageways nearby.

Following coded instruction, examining rail ticket left in cubbyhole, followed by something to eat at the old café…, then wait for the return sleeper back from whence he came…the contract was on the train line . He followed his orders methodically. Time waiting just caused pain. The Pullman carriage was dirty through travel, hiding the distinctive Chambersburg dark green of all the companies’ coaches. He met George again and George was his target. Like many other large companies of this notorious time, they employed spies to keep tabs on their employees; in extreme cases, company agents arranged disappearance of union organizers. How this was done…no questions asked.

The simple thing of George asking if he wanted his shoes buffed, made the decision not to fulfil his contract for to act as instructed was no place for a man to boldly go. So often, in the past, he had refused only in the end in mental torture as a dominant voice would dictate surrender terms. This time he was determined to see it through. He warned George…through his real name of his company’s wish to end the ‘The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters’ and push George over the railing of the Caboose.

George smile had gone however for some reason did not, or would not believe him…. so it forced his hand to trick George going through to, and lock the unfortunate porter in the freight carriage, then prudently take stock then head back to his allocated seat on the train. Arriving and just about to pull the curtain back he heard a tense explosion then instantaneously felt a red-hot pain singing his skin just below his heart. Blood spurted over his shirt and onto the grubby curtain as he uncontrollably spun through them.

Spinning forced his body as he fell to Land backwards on the converted divan, staring upwards close to unconsciousness. The pain became unbearable as he could see a shadow appear through his blood hazed eyes. For some reason he sneezed which cleared his sight slightly when a head took shape right above him. What ever happened was beyond explanation, made his sight come to life for a brief second or so and he recognized his assassin.

Tears rolled gradually down, from his misty eyes to his pulled in cheeks as he took real effort to spurt out his last spoken coherent words…. said….”Hallo Mother” ……his limp body ceased to exist

-=-=-=-=
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peter.howden

Home made tales

The real Trojan horse

Odysseus, or if you prefer his Latin name, Ulysses, urgently sought an ending to the Trojan war, in a vain hope of returning to his reputed faithful wife Penelope whose image stirred his venting emotions…due to news of parties all the time back home….… and in Odysseus private apartments…in his palace. It was testified Penelope was weaving or sewing or something like that…but this was hard to swallow…even for Odysseus’s reputed big mouth.

Now Helen beauty was never in dispute by her husband King ‘Menelaus’ of Mycenaean(later day Sparta) though he was slightly vexed against a certain ‘Paris’ who sneaked away from grand banquet, by the way… held in his honour. On face value he could be forgiven for such bad manners…. if Helen had not been pirated away, so he could lay his hands on her beautiful curves.

By pure chance…the reality was, the marauding King Menelaus, had already booked and wanted a holiday away from the growing frugal way of life in the dull state, choose Argos independence agency to arrange a longish break in Anatolia. The problem, began because of a lack of visas for some four thousand individuals he selected to bring with him, through a silly misunderstanding, started a tiff about trespassing on private land… or playing around with different gods.

You know what it’s like when lads get together in sunny warms, drinking too much wine, or the local liquor, especially when girls are involved, ownership and winching privileges, allow tempers to fray with outcomes every now and then… not too pretty. The fact others would join in and it lasting so long was just one of those unexplained things.

For King Menelaus to save face, he sued Argos and used his wife’s innocence and Paris’s sexual transgressions as a protest against paying Argos independence agency for the extended time, strongly reminding the organizers…his whole team had to sleep on the beach due to lack of accommodations.

Meanwhile Ulysses was beginning to be frustrated by the tussle and what may be going on in his own court, decided to take action. He built the mighty impressive Trojan horse… hiding lots of army pals armed to the teeth. The Greeks made such a tattoo about giving up, the Trojan’s swallowed it hook and crook, accepting the horse as a gift… planning to take it inside the great walls that so well protected their city for 10 years

Now Ulysses may have been a heroic warrior solider but a mathematician he was not…and unfortunately Geometrician Philo the Dialectician; or Chrysippus of Soli had centuries to go before being born. The measurements were not checked and double checked, when the great horse rumbled forwards the mighty city walls, it came apparent it would not pass through the enormous gates…due to the fact the stallion was much bigger than the going space would allow.

The Trojans on the other hand, apart from being stupidly dumb to allow things to get out of hand, wisely decided the best thing to do was to give a burning sacrifice to their Gods…. For unforeseen victory…and the horse was perfect being under health and safety protocol …securely outside their cherished walls

The Greeks got burnt and did not return until Alexandra the Great past through….not stopping mind you………..the rest you may have heard….is a myth……..of course.

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


It’s hard to tell a story particularly when there is no real story to tell just a collection of happenings. I have told peoples some at various stages in my life but to put pen to paper is a different game altogether. Some found them amusing and some found them hard to swallow but they are all true and the names have not been swapped to save embarrassment. When I say they are true it is worthwhile remembering that my vision of truth may or should differ from persons mentioned within, so it lies mainly with the reader.

(Grannies remedy)
As a young boy and growing adolescent I suffered badly from dreaded spots and boils of all shapes and sizes. As the years have passed this embarrassment state has been explained as normal growth behaviour for teenagers of the male gender but while in action this became a constant harassment. The boils would spurt out with surprising speed and I would look in the mirror just before leaving to go out, and I would certainly see one or even two maturing on my neck. A look further on and there was a spread around my lower chin. Other boys had boils but they never seemed as big or as sore as mine. My affliction in tow I managed to struggle through life and carry on to marry the girl of \my heart. Life was now appearing colourful and bliss until the fateful day
.
A few days before that particular morning’s dawned, it became obvious that a boil had travelled far. This singular inflamed swelling had settled between the cheeks of my bottom. I did not know how big it actually was, but it felt like a volcano erupting pain my wife and I had been married for only a few weeks and we were still on honeymoon really and totally inexperienced in life or its funny ways. My wife could remember a remedy to rid of boils handed down by her great Gran to Gran to mum and then to her of a magic poultice made up of heated sugar, soap and kaolin and just thinking about it now brings tears to the eyes.

I lay on the bed face down while the gently warmed substance was placed between my bare cheeks and this mountain of a boil. After a short period we both realized that it was not being of any good and my wife suggests that it is not hot enough. The second attempt was totally different for the mixture was heated as far as she dared and then a couple of minutes extra for good measure like all good novice cooks do. The chosen wrap around the mixture was too small a piece for the amount of mixture made, expanded by heat I think , so when it was placed a second time it hit raw flesh. Well it was such a shock it forced my cheeks together which made the mixture act like super glue while the force of the clam tight cheeks spurted the by now huge extra stuff out in all directions but mainly the ravine of my exposed bottom.

I was never a great athlete at school but with my new overheated aid I leapt upwards into the air from my lying position to what I believe a hairs breath away from the ceiling of our Victorian room returning back to bed in a cat like posture screaming “get the buggering thing off”. This created a panic in my wife, much the same as a chicken that has had its unfortunate head chopped; she grabbed the only piece of cloth showing and pulled with feverous vigour.

Unfortunately as she pulled more of this homemade larva discovered virgin skin relatively unscathed which lead to my second leap. It was not as high a leap as my first but it did manage to squish the remaining mixture forcing me to squeal in a very high pitch which I have since never been able to repeat and I wish not to. After such an ordeal you would imagine that the very boil would have at least burst but no way.

My wife argued convincingly that since I had been to hell and back, and to rid myself of this boil once and for all, heat I should try a course that her Granddad swore by. On reflex ion I now know why Granddad swore and call me a fool but by now I was past reason or thought and also my threshold for pain or so I believed.

I watched my wife prepare a heavy old milk bottle by heating it up in water just below boiling. She explained that by heating the bottle and placing it on the skin it would act like a kind of vacuum therefore suck up the boil puss and all. You may find this hard to believe that there was no sensation of pain what so ever when it was placed surrounding the offending boil and she insisted that for it to work she would count up to twenty before removing the very hot bottle with the two towels raped around it.

I was extremely embarrassed by now but the count came to an end seemingly without success until my wife tried to remove the bottle which was rock fast. She had no choice but to give a violent tug and being in an awkward position lost her grip on the bottle leading to my third leap but my screams by now were muffled by muteness.

The aftermath was cream placed gently on the whole area and I was told the boil was indeed burst. A few days later, with the aid of mirrors, I was able to see for myself and all that remained and to this day is a perfect red ring mark.

My lovely wife has never had a boil or if she has never told me……

peter.howden
The flight for life;(1)

my life was forfeited as I struggled for breath…through smoke and putrid smell of hostile carnage formed by modern sea battles brutally displaying pieces of human flesh attached to shackles still locked to large broken spinsters of rough wood, blown apart by terror ramming ships hurling indiscriminating fire buckets..

Unrecognizable limbs, socked in bloody sea water, as fallen masts cripple both life and ship alike create a floating hellish aftermath whilst fire scorches, roast and barbecue skin peeling off live and dead bones that once were human… desperate to survive at all cost.



This meaningless butchery was my punishment for defying the Roman Gods or Caesar which were the same deities. I could hear crowds of people cheering; yes cheering as I lost my final grip knocked unconscious slowly fell towards a watery grave. It all started quite innocently, for me anyway, back on my homeland; and if I the same thing happened over again, it would certainly prove what I knew then; that I had no influence in the forthcoming events as the Gods had ordained it to be so. We are all pawns in a much bigger crueller game.

Now, I would not call myself a coward, not exactly, just I want to live and live without pain to this ends I became important in my adopted tribe, by camouflaged my hidden fears by taking on the status position of wandering druid (Augur teller) for my adopted tribe. I was quite confident in making up fables or stories with a purpose.

Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself Dugall Vcean, embraced clansman to the noble Scots Damnoni. 'Men under care of the goddess of the deep' we were the best of Celtic traders. I was born a free man but sold as a slave of Rome burning hatred of the men who betrayed me and killed my only light.

I do remember the Romans coming, in peace but ravished, plundered and massacred anyone who opposed their peaceful tributes sending my whole family to hopeful safety to kin tribe on the far coastline. Just for practise in battle, the Roman commander in that area, butcher everybody to a man.

The invaders deliberately caused panic through rhetoric; “Each drill like a battle; each battle like a drill”.

This scared the living daylights out of me but I boiled sweat for revenge….



.to be continued
peter.howden

The Flight for Life(2)

In the darkness of my flooded awareness, concentration for life resumed jolted by the reverberations of the Roman mob, jeering abuse as my kinsmen warslin for a lungful of life... in their hour of peril...clench a hint of dignity. Here in the middle of this awesome Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum, built by the methodical Vespasian, authentic mock sea battles barbarically staged for the amusement of the mob and the dubious honour their new Caesar.

Uncontrollably while under undefined rage my mind independently returned to the past



When the Roman Chief Agricola came North reaching the mouth of the River Esk, he encountered the tribe of The Votadini at Traprain Law or Dunedin. This fiercely proud tribe was related to me through my wife’s NcNdonochie Vcewn. The Romans slew her, not before invading her and made her watch having our children slain….. While they were absent from my protection. There was no need to slaughter my beautiful woman and our offspring, for the skirmish had been settled. It was the legion 1X; the philistine Parisi Celts brought over from Gaul. They would sell their own kin for a few denarii.

Our peoples of a mixture of tribes had a basic attitude to warfare as a part of life. . It was considered part of their solemnly religious rites, for all young men to perform adolescence to manhood. This process would indicate which youths were the fittest and strongest, thereby enabling them to progress into mature warriors. The weaker or puny youths and the physically uncoordinated did not survive and would often be cast out of the tribe.

As such they would not survive and so perish when left to fend for themselves. A brutal system, but it ensured the tribe remained strong and healthy.
But this was not me, for I may not have been a combatant warrior but I had sharp wits to survive and studied to become a skilful druid, respected and travelling the length and berth of the land giving guidance and wisdom to the welcoming natives

The all brutally conquering magnificently disciplined legion army were steeped in the art of warfare, would squashed the ragged collection of the dour barbarians This was the Roman folly, for the Caledonians (this was our Roman title) Druids such as I, persuaded the Cruithi; “the people of the designs"; and the mighty Nouantae, put aside their neighbourly squabbles to take on the might of the known world. The Celts and the Picts beat the Romans time and again. As the chariots lightning attacks scared the hell out of them.

In Celtic tradition a “Druid” means ‘Knowledge of the oak’ and ‘profound knowledge’. They were never challenged because whispered to be demigods, beings in human form who were somewhere between humans and the gods.

At this point of being out of daytime wanders, I returned to the carnage of chained beasts...for that is what my people, their warriors had become. This watery grave of thousands was organized... in this vast arena where no true god would enter...but my now alerted mind...concentrated on raw revenge

Nothing is more cunning or brutal than a cornered hound.....with nothing to lose but life itself...to be continued #

-=--=-=-=-=-=
peter.howden
The fight for life(3)


Mayhem spread instantly, like a fearful plague bestowing agonizing death indiscriminately....through sword, blundering, fire or drowning with the severe crippled scattered throughout the brutal; imitation battle, to be cut to pieces by the Praetorian guard of the mighty Caesar who showing pomp and ceremony sat watching this cruel display with wonderment.

Clinging desperately on to life with some sort of divine delay for the inevitable end, my tortured mind was amiss to why... the Gods had chosen so unforgiving to severely punishment bestowed on my peoples in this den of regal bent Iniquity

I did things no living man should contemplate but I had no choice... though was glad I did Being a blessed soothsayer of true augur virtue... via visions gave me privilege enhancements denied to others, our fate was revealed came forth before leaving our beloved shores of our homeland. It was that moment I planned retribution revenge... savouring it cold and slowly.... as all good vengeances should be relished.

Captured chained and taken before the mighty Caesar who bequeathed knowledge of my fame or infamy by some betrayers or spies within our kingdom. He demanded my knowledge of eternal life to be laid before him. Like all apparent great men, above all else was his wanting; endless time to achieve the ultimate goal of a legacy of supremacy for a thousand years.

Though tortured...I chose to inform, but he believed this was through fear, to reveal I did have the source to Immortality; escaping rejuvenation far beyond anyone’s means other than the Druids. It lay in a certain herb found nowhere else but the very northern isles yet to be discovered by Rome, whose location known to but to a few . Caesar was so desperate to believe he swarmed on my words as if Holy Scripture and believed he had stolen from my merger goods... the actual answer to eternity.

Now as I lay on top of a burning splitter of salvation, Caesar deliberately searched for eye to eye contact with his principal victim, who unwittingly had blindly followed my arduous extracted instructions of taking a portion of my mashed components of wolfs-bane and white snakeroot. It was clear, for I knew where to look, there were irreversible signs... naively...on the brink of an excruciating death. These herbs presented in a mashed component

The Gods would know... divine intervention ....I would be dead....but retribution for the death of a nation...........and the sordid inheritance of the reign of pitiless Caesar Titus.............

-=-=-=-=-


peter.howden

HOT AIR;

Once upon a time there was a petite balloon whose every life sustaining breath was filled with loneliness even though he had devout parents. He often felt to be the last balloon in the world.

One fair evening as he lay in his cot, which made him feel immature rather than a youngster, he decided to visit his parent’s room, for some urgently needed comfort. After a hard day of ballooning they were fast asleep.


He did try awfully hard to squeeze into their marital bed without disturbing them but just could not without causing unwanted vibrations, which woke up both parents. Collectively they blew hot air at such unprecedented happenings, demanding the little balloon return to his abode and try to discover his own Utopia. Their little balloon had not heard of this place before though felt he was wasting his breath to ask his father where this could be.


Later on while shivering alone and frightened in his cot, the little balloon decided to try once again to snuggle up with his parents, for they certainly had looked obviously comfortable. Sneaking silently room, he once more attempted to squeeze between them with no more success than the first time.. The little balloon reasoned his parents were too big to fit him in.

Then came the brainwave the answer was to let some air out his parents.

So extremely carefully he loosened his mama’s balloon pink ribbon... allowing a controlled amount out, and then sealed it with a cute little bow.

Turning to his father he untied his heavy string and once again allowed a certain amount of air out then closed the escapee with a sailors knot.

This time he had the space to snuggle up between both parents and enjoy collective hot air.
In the morning his mother and father woke first and were shocked to see their little balloon had deliberately disobeyed their instruction and in anger, papa balloon wakened up his offspring. Once out of sleep, the little balloon was barraged by his father who complained bitterly of his disappointments and that his little balloon had disturbed his “Utopia”.

This was the second time the little balloon had heard this word and from his own papa. His father continued to scold the little balloon. I am banishing you from our family home and though you think it to be severe punishment right now, when you become a bigger balloon, and discovered your own “Utopia” then you will thank me.

The little balloon was all filled up and almost choking as he floated oft from what he had known as home.

Because he was so concentrated as to what was this “Utopia” his father had called three times in one night but had failed to mention before, he bumped into furniture...and then the ceiling a few times, he uncontrollably bounced back into the room he had shared with his parents and some mixture of toys. The little balloon landed on the chess table, right next to the white queen.


The little balloon had not spoken to anything or body, other than his parents and other balloons when the opportunity arose. He decided this was not a time to be short of breath and asked the queen “Where or what is Utopia?” For me, the Queen replied, Utopia is when my king is not check-mated ....but I am of the belief there is a bigger and better “Utopia” out there; somewhere.

The little balloon could not see her pointing anywhere however saw Her Majesty gazing upward and so concluded that is where the better “Utopia” was.

So, with no further ado and with every bit of energy he could muster and vibrate, the little balloon took to the air and a wild adventure. Out through an open window and up to the bright blue skies where he was sure held the secret of the better “Utopia” and who knows;

perhaps he would find it?

-=-=-=
peter.howden
Constant Hot Air;

Unlike other ‘Once upon a time’ tales... this one has depth or height depending at what perspective you were coming from.

The little balloon was now full of mixed emotions, matching terror and sheer excitement all rolled into one, as he was leaving what was his happy home, his security when things got rough and an answer to any question. It was not his fault he seldom, if ever, had a question to ask but somehow he knew that if he ever had.... in his home would have an answer. But what was this “Utopia” which his Papa suddenly brought into his life and both parents more than urged him to search for.

With a final last glance downward, he vibrated so hard he shot upwards faster than he had ever done before.. As a novice he found it thrilling. Although it made him wobbly inside, he knew he was in perfect shape to cope with whatever, because Mamma balloon had always remarked so to Papa.

Floating along with the help of inner artificial pulsations which soon tired him out to near exhaustion, bring him down to earth... landing in a small graceful stream. Once down he realized there was no need for work or pulsates, as he could float with ease...to go with the flow. Relaxing in his new environment allowed him time to dream but no matter how much he tried, the idea of “Utopia” escaped him.

He had heard stories in the nursery at home of the big and smaller walking skins,, of ‘Peter Pan’...’Alice in wonderland’ but they were just fairy tales, for who ever heard a rabbit talking, never mind being late, or of a boy, any boy who could fly. Everyone knows only balloons can fly. Just as he reaching this conclusion it became obvious he was travelling very fast indeed...and this balloon had no control as he headed where the stream’s unknown destination.



Rapidly, which came as a bit of surprise, he decided if he was going anywhere, then its only right and proper to be in control himself, so... with a mighty heave and a good deal of shuddering, as if he was about to sneeze, he broke free of the surface tension which had held him in check....lift-off was achieved by pure effort and not by physics. The little balloon comfortably rose above the whole scene to catch a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall which could have spelt danger for him. Yet with his reasoning he could not spell so danger would not find him.

As he made is way upwards he did recall a distant uncle giving him advice by saying; “always aim for the top in anything you do...It made be hard even a struggle but you will be an achiever!”... looking up, he thought...’I’m on my way to the top’

A sign post appeared through the clouds, marked “You are now in Troposphere ...next stop Stratosphere” which meant nothing to the little balloon for he could not read. He was able to listen to the stories told in the nursery at home...but give him a book....he was lost....and anyway...he could not turn the page? This was no disadvantage at home but it really could have helped out here..

Unexpectedly atmospheric bitter coldness overtook his on the spot thrill as he was turning bluer the higher he went....firstly light blue....then deeper positive blue and he had no idea this was called changing colour. He knew absolutely nothing about colour of balloons at all, different or otherwise, as it was not ever mentioned at home. In fact... he never saw colours in any balloons he was acquainted with....but now he reasoned they must have been one colour or another....he was just too unaware to see it.

Meanwhile he was travelling upward as the flatness slowly disappeared to become sort of roundish....just nearly like him.....

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


It’s hard to tell a story particularly when there is no real story to tell just a collection of happenings. I have told peoples some at various stages in my life but to put pen to paper is a different game altogether. Some found them amusing and some found them hard to swallow but they are all true and the names have not been swapped to save embarrassment. When I say they are true it is worthwhile remembering that my vision of truth may or should differ from persons mentioned within, so it lies mainly with the reader.

(Grannies remedy)

As a young boy and growing adolescent I suffered badly from dreaded spots and boils of all shapes and sizes. As the years have passed this embarrassment state has been explained as normal growth behaviour for teenagers of the male gender but while in action this became a constant harassment. The boils would spurt out with surprising speed and I would look in the mirror just before leaving to go out, and I would certainly see one or even two maturing on my neck. A look further on and there was a spread around my lower chin. Other boys had boils but they never seemed as big or as sore as mine. My affliction in tow I managed to struggle through life and carry on to marry the girl of \my heart. Life was now appearing colourful and bliss until the fateful day
.
A few days before that particular morning’s dawned, it became obvious that a boil had travelled far. This singular inflamed swelling had settled between the cheeks of my bottom. I did not know how big it actually was, but it felt like a volcano erupting pain my wife and I had been married for only a few weeks and we were still on honeymoon really and totally inexperienced in life or its funny ways. My wife could remember a remedy to rid of boils handed down by her great Gran to Gran to mum and then to her of a magic poultice made up of heated sugar, soap and kaolin and just thinking about it now brings tears to the eyes.

I lay on the bed face down while the gently warmed substance was placed between my bare cheeks and this mountain of a boil. After a short period we both realized that it was not being of any good and my wife suggests that it is not hot enough. The second attempt was totally different for the mixture was heated as far as she dared and then a couple of minutes extra for good measure like all good novice cooks do. The chosen wrap around the mixture was too small a piece for the amount of mixture made, expanded by heat I think , so when it was placed a second time it hit raw flesh. Well it was such a shock it forced my cheeks together which made the mixture act like super glue while the force of the clam tight cheeks spurted the by now huge extra stuff out in all directions but mainly the ravine of my exposed bottom.

I was never a great athlete at school but with my new overheated aid I leapt upwards into the air from my lying position to what I believe a hairs breath away from the ceiling of our Victorian room returning back to bed in a cat like posture screaming “get the buggering thing off”. This created a panic in my wife, much the same as a chicken that has had its unfortunate head chopped; she grabbed the only piece of cloth showing and pulled with feverous vigour. Unfortunately as she pulled more of this homemade larva discovered virgin skin relatively unscathed which lead to my second leap. It was not as high a leap as my first but it did manage to squish the remaining mixture forcing me to squeal in a very high pitch which I have since never been able to repeat and I wish not to. After such an ordeal you would imagine that the very boil would have at least burst but no way.

My wife argued convincingly that since I had been to hell and back, and to rid myself of this boil once and for all, heat I should try a course that her Granddad swore by. On reflex ion I now know why Granddad swore and call me a fool but by now I was past reason or thought and also my threshold for pain or so I believed.

I watched my wife prepare a heavy old milk bottle by heating it up in water just below boiling. She explained that by heating the bottle and placing it on the skin it would act like a kind of vacuum therefore suck up the boil puss and all. You may find this hard to believe that there was no sensation of pain what so ever when it was placed surrounding the offending boil and she insisted that for it to work she would count up to twenty before removing the very hot bottle with the two towels woven around it.

I was extremely embarrassed by now but the count came to an end seemingly without success until my wife tried to remove the bottle which was rock fast. She had no choice but to give a violent tug and being in an awkward position lost her grip on the bottle leading to my third leap but my screams by now were muffled by muteness.

The aftermath was cream placed gently on the whole area and I was told the boil was indeed burst. A few days later, with the aid of mirrors, I was able to see for myself and all that remained and to this day is a perfect red ring mark.

My lovely wife has never had a boil or if she has never told me……

[/size][size="4"]
peter.howden
Endless Hot Air;

Looking downward towards earth he was filled with surprising emotion somewhere deep inside, he felt he could never see home again and poor Mamma and Papa would be searching for him throughout the house but especially in the small walking skins nursery where tales of Peter Pan ruled.....’Second star to the right and onward on till morning’. Would it be forever and a day?’ He whispered a silent message to his beloved parent balloons, Quote “between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember to dream......... to dream......where you will always find me”.

Unknown to the little balloon he was now passing by the pointing outward signs Mesosphere, Thermosphere, and then finally Exosphere, his insides gurgled strangely as he soared uncontrollably further and further into the unknown. Although fretting, the vision all around, being so heavenly spectacular astounded him, filling his emotions with excitement and wonder.

He recalled earlier times when he was amazed as to the bountiful wonders of life, simple but complicated things beyond little balloon’s ability to explain, such as the miracle in a drop of water and a new bit of string...long enough to keep him alive...lifesaving technology ....to a balloon it is. The awe inspiring feelings of love... when nothing is said.

Moving little by little towards what even to a little balloon was the unknown but magnetically inviting memories flooded in and out, went as quickly as they came, with one exception... he recalled asking his parents where he came from and unanimously the answered ...under a bush. Now being a travelling balloon, seemingly his thoughts of reason were deeper than before as he wondered..... but what bush?… a bramble which promises sweet fruit once you have torn your hand to gain your fill………or a thorn bush……………which promises nothing but bare reality...and what was reality.

He stopped pondering for a moment being more than content as to where he found himself, not scared in the least drifting into infinity...before having one more thought. Would he ever become an old star...he hoped not....for they lose their twinkle......but to live.....is an awful big adventure.

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peter.howden
Peewee Too;



How did it start??



One evening, near the start of one of our holidays, I happened to be wandering along the coastal front, between Stevenson and Saltcoats, just north of the river Garnock. You could see the mystic “Arran” to the left as I sank forward in the ever moving ground of sand. I can tell you at first hand ‘Arran’ so serenely majestic yet sublime as the silver moonlight reached my hazy eyes. What a sight, what a view.

Being on long weekend break from the ties of my labour, earlier I had refreshed myself with an uncountable account of “Wee Goldie’s” giving me a glow beyond spirits... of heavenly merry mood.

The moon exceled in its nightly duty, clearly displaying the shiny grains of sands which had travelled for indefinite centuries to be there on that special night...so I plunged with my best foot forward sinking into the sands, with the stars above not glittering through the milky way, but winking at we humans abroad that night. The whole sky was so clear and crisp with enchantment falls only once in a while or on a cartoon film of Walt Disney. I was captivated by the stillness as I halted, sat down to flounder in this awe-inspiring disposition.

Then reaching for my inside pockets to hold the bottle carrying my golden nectar, perhaps enjoy a sip or two while surveying my prospects. Before I had the opportunity of tasting through touching my lips this divine god sent liquid...there was a distinct clamour...a noise that should not have been there at that time of night. It caused not an alarm, but curiosity

It is a very difficult thing to do, trying to pin point any noise on deserted seashore, shingled or not, with the worldwide sea waves roaring across the break forming small white horses, then they vanish as soon as the sand makes contact. Noise just naturally wanders all over the open space with no definite start or finishing point. Even in moonshine a spooky place for grownups. Strangely for gay abandoned holiday-maker, secure in spiritual comfort...at hand...inviting.

The first sight of ‘Pee Wee’ was against the powerful moonbeam, just as in E.T; the movie, but without the boy, or the bike and all. The really funny thing was how cool I was cool about it. One moment enjoying a secret swig of pure unique whisky, then this bird... which had all the makings of a Pigeon... but much bigger.

My mouth, was so dry but open ,while trying to find my vocal cords, as this biggish bird clearly uttered; “ My name is Peewee...how’s it going there Peter?”. I did not reply but the bird added; “You’re not a Provost, you know...I normally only converse with reigning Lord Provost and have done so all my existence.... but then again I’m on my vocation!”

With mixed messages buzzing around my confused brain, I did consider if it was a ventriloquist’s trick, for as it spoke and although its beaks moved they were not in sequence as the order of these words and where, or how I recognized the name “Peewee” did not penetrate right at that moment...but ...Peewee was one of the not so prized nicknames I was given at school.

From this day forward Peewee, the extraordinary pigeon, gave me an historic insight of his life and exciting times by preforming his duty as the ancient guardian of the governing Provost in each era, which he related each time we met down at the Saltcoats sands. Coincidently I was always alone except for Jonnie Walker with the black coat...or his brother Blue coat.......and at all times... by moonlight

To this day I find it not only incredible but privilege I am of his choosing to keep company with...on his days off. I will endeavour to pass this valuable information to you....in tales fashion.

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peter.howden
Worm up;



In as noble a voice he could muster, he bawled ‘they have forced us into a hole that certainly isn’t square ... and have those mutts pee all over us...we have just about had enough!’ called the leader of the squad of diggers emotionally expressed .............”Yes by George”, that’s just enough. With this verbal display of rebellion... the rest of the excavators became obviously restless.

‘I do mean this’ he added with a bit more aggressively harsher than he thought he could manage, ‘we should not have to put up with such indignities, no matter how high the peers of the regime are’. ‘We have suffered enough indignity and now it’s time for action...what do they think we do all day?’ he repeated but with genuine emotion. Galloping with pace added near furiously... ‘the way they treat the hard working minions...You would think we just dig insignificant holes for the pure pleasure in doing so!’

‘Well lads ....down tools.... not one more piece of digging till our conditions are met and appreciation for our existence is shown’.

This was the determined words spoken by the chief engineer and shop steward of the ‘Worms Union, Municipal Miners’ Buckingham Palace branch, two whole weeks ago. Since then, the strike has spread to the rest of the country and I can tell you, it’s causing havoc. Where William Blake’s; ‘Once England’s green and pleasant land’ was green has been transformed into a mini Holland.



Scotland has fared much better as the belief the Loch Ness Monster (he does exist and it’s rude to scoff) is transporting huge quantities of water away from troubled areas. Apparently Wales has not noticed the difference and no one had the manners to ask Ireland.



Speaking to a professor on the ground; he states on his reputation quite simply... Worms dig billions on trillions of holes per day, 10’s of millions per square yard. If they stopped digging then the rain had no place to go. Right now the Prime Minister, in Blair mode, has begged the Queen and her ladies in waiting (they decided not to ask Prince Phillip along in case he swore) to have a word or two with the worms leader.



We will just place the microphone nearer to hear what is being said at the royal earth.



“Yes I see why now’ softly spoke the monarch, ‘If you are digging the last thing you want is a horde of Corgi’s cocking a leg urinating with willie-less care or dumping night manure on top” that was the Queen herself;



Now the marine Engineer worm, who or whom, I have not managed to catch his name…States with conviction.....”That’s right missus, no one likes someone peeing & shitting on them while they work and while we are at it…..



Another request was if you an you stop those fanfare blaring night and day when ether a dignity arrives or when you go to the loo….its most alarming; especially in the dark?...and does our nuts in”



The queen waves her hand majestically instantly agreeing to the worms demands. The trumpeters are promptly dismissed.... sent out to the Dalai Lama; to remind him of his homeland. ..As for the queens mutts they have been put on a tight reign. As for Prince Phillip…who knows?



The worms were as good as their word and in no time at all things were back to normal.....
peter.howden
A bedroom Drama

You did everything to me, to keep me under your whims, apart from walking all over me ... then lost interest when not connected. Throughout our relationship, which was all one sided, you mistreated me for years, yes years. I sacrificed my appearance giving you the best years of my life... and how do you repay me in so many ways including ignoring me in bed and it is no good trying to hide under the covers……….again.

I am telling you for the last time, no more are you burdening me with your weighty problems just because you need me when you decide it’s time to be intimate. For as far as I can remember, every time I come to bed your always rather manky with ooze ....reeking of yesterday’s booze ...then after coming home in the early morning, pimping and sweating horrible odours which would knock out King Kong.

Every day you leave me alone in this drifty old damp house, expecting me to give a captivating performance just when you push my buttons. I was not put on this earth just for you, but you think you have bought the rights to mistreat and abuse me. Well I tell you brother……. you are not on.

I have lay here night after night, hoping you would come home to our abode so that when you are finished playing with me I would be able to truly rest before the next trial, but like all selfish bastards you think you can do what you like when you like and how you like...well sonny boy not tonight. I am sick to almost discontinuation with the inhuman abuse you lay upon me. In the morning I am curled up after being ill-treated and tossed aside like an old blanket.

Well....I am at the end of my tether, and I can tell you, you have driven me to drastic action even if it means my own existence before I blow a fuse. Tonight, when once again you retreat to bed, lying there steaming like a drunken wally, I will make sure that one electric cord is bare just about where you slop the dregs from the beer can and the drooling will cause a spark and………….. Whoosh goodnight Vienna.





So ends the depressed fiction of a once very proud Electric blanket …………………….un-named...for personal reasons

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peter.howden
Granny’s Soup



They say bigotry was rife within Glasgow boundaries and I reckon there will be an element of truth in these stern words, but perhaps not to the same degree as was the past throughout Glasgow, Scotland, Briton and the whole world.



There was intolerance with colour, Italian Pakistani, Arabs, Jews, Chinese almost most races and at the drop of a hat or some rumour, feed, anyone who was different, to ordinary or preserved way of life. Disablement was hidden away or when in company, were talked at...very loudly as if they were dense or near brain-dead, not just created differently when born, as the disfigurement as it was feared it may be catching



It is believed we have come a long way to re-correct but I would suggest that there is always a hiding place for bigotry thoughts... and we should not rest on our laurels, by working always try and see, the other point of view, along with room for scope.



Growing up right near the Clyde was not a battle, only a trek to Renfield church on a Sunday, hearing oldie stories from far off places. It appears although all people say you should be free and able to pray in daily life, whatever you feel.... each religion had passive spiritual message saying theirs alone is true...or the best...causing rivalry and convicted indignant righteousness beyond any logic.



When I met my future In-Laws my views had not changed too much but my knowledge of the world had move on, for the better I hoped. Brought up in a reputed protestant household, and my new girlfriend’s family were all, to a man, Roman Catholic. Caused me no concern by now I was an atheist though through curiosity I read, and debated, lots to do with religion in Scotland and the different theories on theories for poises.



The only person in the whole large family to always show a kindness was patriot Granny. The reason why, I think, the rest of the brood felt uncomfortable, not with my creed or the real lack of it, it was that they put me down as a patter merchant, or as Glaswegians would say...a pure chancer



We would visit Granny every Sunday, as a cheap day out, and without fail, no matter who was in the house, she would shout” get some soup into the lad”.. Three or four bowls latter followed before she was relaxed enough to await and ask a few questions. The favourites were how my hand was doing since she had related the secret was rub olive oil every night to stimulate the muscles. .She would insist squeezing her hand until she would whisper that it was defiantly coming stronger.



This ritual over, she insisted her daughter feed me up something to eat, he stays in digs, grand Granny insisted. This was usually a very large plate of whatever and I was more than glad for it as I was a growing lad. It was not that the rest of the family disliked me it was just I was labelled a smooth talker. I think the old lady may have seen something more in me than the rest did, or she was sorry for me being in the position I was in alone in the world, so to speak or maybe, just maybe she had a soft spot for me?



One day ,while in the kitchen of the cubby lady, she was busying herself making soup, and I saw her cut half a pack of margarine and dispose it into the bubble of the prepared mixture. I had never seen this before, so I asked quietly what she was actually making.





Quick as a flash the reply came





“Catholic soup you orange bastard”
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peter.howden

SOMEONE’S KNOCKING;



There is a knock on the door. Wonder who it can be? It is rather soft and personal... though it can’t be a friend, for they would know how to press the doorbell a special way squinting to the left. I’ve been meaning to have that bell fixed for some time as it has something to do with the contacts being slack or lose or something. The manager at the rent office said last time around and he promised to send a man round. It’s not him though, for if he was the electrician he’d know how to touch the bell to make it work. Right enough tradesmen are not what they used to be.



I won’t be the postman; he normally bangs and if it is a special delivery, he would put through one of the cards. Tried to deliver mail to you but you were not at home. I think he writes them out before he starts his rounds. He gave me a hint once of a second job and this is why he never wastes a second. He has to be finished for a certain time. I reckon it isn’t the postman... far too late for him.



I wonder if its kids playing “Ring bang Skooshie” still I would doubt it for I never heard them run away. That is if they had the muster to run with all those electric games and computer in their pockets now a day. Operate in silence, alone in their room’s, like little hermits unable to see the sun, with fake tans and pen friends non-existent. They say you hear no chapping in cyber space….. Whatever the hell that is? I was told once it was a void up there storing all information from every computer in the world but it doesn’t exist. Sounds like my football winnings.



There it is again, wonder who is knocking at the door. It may be the fancy tart in No 56; who always wears her Sunday best and chatters on about to love thy neighbour but I don’t think the almighty meant to show special favour for him in No 33. God’s work must have more magic in the wee small hours God works in mysteries ways but there’s bugger all mystery what goes on in No 33 while his missus is away. I’m not a prude.......but I ask you..... Jammy bandit!. .



It could be meals on wheels but I doubt it…..since I told them to bugger oft.... I told the two of them; Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.... Well that is what I called them. I broadcasted for all to hear for I have got nothing to hide...their food was crap.... pig swirl and they would better oft shinning their grave stones. I think the matron said she would never darken my door again....so it can’t be her and that’s a fact.



There it is again; they want attention knocking like that. The trouble with people they have no patience, no consideration for other people’s feelings. Everything is go…go…go..



I guess it won’t be my kith or kin. My son, if you can call him that...the doolie will either be propping up a bar or too drunk to find his way. Even sober he will not remember the address. He only asks for a hand full if happen he comes around. And as for her.... after all I have done for her.......made sacrifices no descent chap would talk about..... she just ran oft without a by your leave or warning.

The iron is still on the table where she left it.... I wonder what ever happened to my sock? Funny things socks...you always lose one in the washing....just disappears....always the right one I think.........because there is one left.............



I had a cousin in Durham but that was donkies ago anyway... I’ve moved since she knew me.



It sounds as if they are walking away…..wonder who it was???
peter.howden
Thee Visit



“Hi Archie”....You phoned a couple of days ago, sounding so weak, telling me the latest news from the hospital and your doctor, then insisting it was fruitless to travel down all the way to Guilford as the end could come any time. I reckon you wished your friends to remember you as you were before illness took a grip but being so self-centred, I just wanted to...really needed to... say hallo to an old pal.



The nurse whispered just as I came in, not to expect communication, but there are times when you appear to be lucid but void of any reaction. Sounds rather clinical but then again ...this visit could add an extra word of goodbye. You’re a brave man “Archie”, always was, never shunting away from the what you viewed as reality or truth, with an inner strength which was catching....but at this precise moment I am certainly not ...there I go again...you are the guy in sick-bed and I’m being selfish



All the way down, it was a sort of drama dream, with mixed feelings of joyful reminiscences which go way back and how you influenced the way I thought about things. In the past, we met near every week, but recently not so regularly since you moved to Guilford...but I came down, used your key, but I always phoned first. You did come to Glasgow quite a few times, always stayed in the Central hotel and we would meet up for supper followed by long debates and arguments way into early morning. I always looked forward to those dates, like a kid going for a pleasurable lesson... with your vast knowledge from experience.... you constantly spoke more sense than I ever could. You never said I was wrong...never....but you would express so to me without saying I was wrong.

Stop at the flat before coming here and it was empty.....I mean empty............not a trace of who, or anyone lived there........she took everything.........seemingly could not wait. You always said Guilford was not civilized if you could not buy a bottle of, ‘Irn Bru’ or a ‘Tunnocks tea cakes ‘.... you just missed Scotland........and sadly... it didn’t work out for you both

A couple of times we verged on the subject of the afterlife...agreeing we were so sure it was complete nothingness....but would you mind if I saw it as you napping ...it’s just the silliness within me.


It’s so obvious you are uncomfortable with un-manageable pain, injections of high dosages of morphine, only go so far...being blunt..... Losing so much weight it would be hard for acquaintances to recognize the once resilient man......demise will be a relief ...in fact I can see it being so now......... but I will have an empty corner... a space no one can fill. I hope you don’t mind me talking like this while holding your hand....so cold it is, but you seem unaware... though if I used my over active imagination...there is a flicker in your eye, just a slight glimpse of the old Archie.



Remember that time “Archie” when we dined at the Central Station Restaurant (overpriced I always thought...silver service indeed) I complained to you the glass of white wine tasted like water............and you said “no wonder...it’s Perrier Water?” What a dumplin I am sometimes. Or when we visited an Italian Restaurant.....but that will have to wait............a strict rule of the hospital..........time at the bedside....and since I’m not family.......i will have to go.



I make a promise “Archie”....I will remember you as you were....for there is no other way...Goodbye dear friend.

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peter.howden
MARY’S PILLS;

When you ask any academic or professional writer, what the basic rule about writing, there is a good chance they will end up telling you to write about something you know. The trouble is with this theory is when you have a blank page, and you don’t know anything so nothing is what you write about and very soon you run out of subject matter...leaving you with a blank page without really trying.

‘A life that has not been tested or examined cannot be creative’ said an old Greek philosopher but I would say this is nonsense, for many of us can be simple or empty headed and still create. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to laugh or enjoy life to its fullest. In fact there is room to think how too much evaluation can choke the very life out of any adventure or enjoyment in life.

Two persons springing to my mind to prove my point.... Billy and his mother Mary, who unfortunately are both deceased now, but as far as they were concerned they lived their shortened lives to the fullest whilst abiding across the road from our abode.

This is where Mary and her son Billy, who’s only outlook was to scramble through any day as best they could.... with as much alcohol humour thrown in to life’s melting pot. Mary was known locally as a character, as many older people in Glasgow are.... because she would talk to anyone, stranger or friend with wit and a wink of the eye outlook beaming to hell with tomorrow. Mary could claim fame for Billy was also a born character, in his own right, unusual to have two such persons in a living family, even for Glasgow.

Billy’s hobbies were Rangers... an empty glass lifter. I would presume ‘glass lifters’ exists in every busy pub throughout Scotland, under a different guise, with a busy bar.... a regular local user, who is there every night can perform this duty, when chosen after years of attendance. Collecting used glasses at the punters side of the counter, with a reward of a few beers on the house. It helped the bar staff and it helped Billy saving the expense of alcohol each night.

Mary was a cheery wuman who always seemed to laugh as so as she spotted anyone she wished to pass the time of day with and along with her friend and next door neighbour, she would often have slight refreshment when the mood took. Mary and Billy were both free spirits... in more than one way.


One particular day when Marry had not been well for quite a few days, the Doctor was called, to examine the possibilities of her compulsory stay in bed, she was asked a few normal questions. One seemingly innocent enquiry was “had she taken any pills lately” with this Mary answered a resounding YES, making the Doc look at his patient’s records...then look puzzled...asking “are you sure”, with a definite echo “Yes”. An expression of worry crossed the Doc’s brow when he added there was no sign in her notes of any pills prescribed over the last six months. In a lower tone asked ‘where did she get them?’.

She answered with confidence she personally did not obtain them but her Billy did. The Registrar inquired, ‘what amount had she been taking?’

Quick as a flash, Mary said.... about six at a time. The Doc reacted, ‘what colour were these pills?’. Marry, mussed; ‘green and yellow’

This forced the general practitioner to utter under who’s instruction did he obtain these pills and she then came back with “ME”.

The physician was by now nether up the wall or down it and had a final stab at what he believed to be a sensible all round question and asked what chemist supplied such pills without authorization needed normally with a Doctors line and again with instant speed the answer came with some surprise in her voice”.

“You don’t get Pills Lager from a chemist.... if you can get them with a Doc chitty.... then please write a few out”. Billy thought they would cheer me up and at the same time sweat this terrible whatever it is out of me.


It was probably not the best lager in the world....but probably the best piece of humour the Doc had heard for a while.
peter.howden



THE DOG;



The longest tem minutes I have ever spent and it was in a caring place. On the way there the mutt looked at me accusingly with its sad deep eyes until I realized it was my uncomfortable interpretation. The dog just sat there reflecting my thoughts via her eyes, dark spiritual pools piercing my already fragile guilt. In short I was taking Aunt Becky’s hound to the vet with a strong probability of it being for the last time.



Several weeks earlier Aunt Becky had been taken into hospital and my grand-children had volunteered to be the carers of the bitch, the dog... not our wee aunt. Becky loved the dog to death and often too much by feeding them everything she thought the hound would like, plus a few extras along the way. Fish suppers and cream biscuits, washed down by milk were no strangers to the canine’s dining table.



Gregg’s famous pies were no stranger to her plate though sometimes all she received was a Glasga salad……….. Plate of chips.. The only reason the dug did not have the legendary ‘Deep Fried Mars-Bars’ was Aunt Becky’s repugnance to chocolate in any state., ever since with an incident in the siren shelter during the war.



In contrast the children stuck to a précised feeding pattern backed up with regular exercise. The mutt grew healthy and wet nosed though my daughter spotted the dog licking her special bits more than she thought she aught. I took’ Lassie’ to the locum vet who gave me antibiotics and ordered us back next week’ he warned me of serious consequences. The following week, the senior vet instructed the dog back to the main surgery, for exploring examination, in a voice and manner indicating a very serious diagnose.



Meanwhile Aunt Becky comes home and broadcasts thanks to the children , indicating she would be happy to resume her tender care on the pooch .I had to tell her about the visit to the vets as I was scared not to. It would have been a terrible shock to Aunt Becky if the dog had gone without her knowing about the possible tumour. We both cried a bit, all that day, and more.



So here was the dog, sitting in the car like snoopy as I nervously glancing at her.... hoping she would not sense my desperation. She did not for it was only my clarification of her moments surrounding this trip. Selfishly I wish I had taken bow-wow to the graveyard earlier in the morning as she just run around crazy trying to catch rabbits and squirrels. Although she always failed in her goal, she lapped up every moment. Driving with a dread music of Elvis’s ‘Old Shep’ coming over the radio, but needing some distractions from the mutts returning stare.



’Lassie kept trying to give me a paw each time the car stopped at traffic lights or nuzzle her nose under my hand as I changed gears though most of the journey she just sat in the front seat like the famous Peanut character . It was a lovely morning when we reached the leafy part of Whiteinch meeting Scoutston. Early as I was so early in the morning I decide to take the canine for a walk to kill some time. Perhaps not a very good choice of words but I was nervous, for both of us.



Leaving the pedigree anonymous there was hard on both the dog and myself as she was dragged away to the enclosure. The assistant where every inch of kindness and even talked in the high pitched voice for soothing purpose but annoying to my ear. Lassie now defiantly knew something was amiss, as she had been there twice before and her senses taught her to fight against being manipulated towards the trap. She had shown teeth in angry fear for the first time ever in my presence. My heart and manner sank right there.



She had a tumour and was put to sleep because of its spread and dumb animals should not suffer.

In my mind nether should human beings, dumb or otherwise....as the song goes’ if there is a doggy heaven?’……………..one thing for sure; I will not be there.



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peter.howden
BACKCOURTS;



There were many backcourts in Glasgow situated a million miles away from poverty and if one toffee sweet paper or a piece of litter drifting aimlessly by the breeze, there would be one stooshie of a kerfuffle if not stramash .in many a Wally-Close. This description was of a stairway to tenement houses, which had tiles, or fancy decoration that was much sought after by the haughty brigade. No one underneath their supposed class or station in life was allowed into the hallow walls of residence unless called for or dipped their tatty bunnets in respect



It was not uncommon of workmen changing from ordinary labour clothing of their work and into suits in Central railway station before embarking home and entrance to such intimate passageway. This was

the desperate lengths some would go to hide the fact that their employment were not of the supposed standards of other lord and lady mucks of such esteem quarters.



This crazy class illusion was not available for the other type of communal dwellings in the backcourts in any slum area was just about the same however, people were not aware of presiding in such a place called ‘A Slum’ or did not realize they were deemed destitute or ‘in poverty’ for most people were in the same boat and some were more skint than others. Such was the situation in the Gorbals and other parts of Glasgow at the turn of the previous century, including, such as Dundee, Liverpool and other industrial cities around Briton....great or otherwise. In those areas were backcourts.... which today would be unimaginable but existed all the same. Those were manky holes at best and utterly disgraceful germ, disease ridden hotspots in reality. This was not the fault of the tenant.



Most closes had room and kitchens on each landing and a single end dotted through the whole stairway. A common toilet positioned halfway up each stairway to the landing. Every proud misses of the household kept her domain spick and span... to the very best of her ability and woe betide anybody who spoilt her efforts. There was one or two considered clatty middens who became the talk of the steamie every wash day.





The backcourts foul smelling marshes of mucky puddles and mud in the winter and dust bowls in the hot summers Kids played with anything at hand or from the middens. Now and again, something really smashing was found in the ‘Luck Midden’, treasured more than a pot of gold by the finder, keeper. Shops sprung up as the wee lassies had cardboard counters and milk bottles filled with muddy water and displayed as perfumes or milk or ginger. Empty cans filled the store and milk tops was the money to pay for such luxuries. Many a tear came when such shops were forcibly close for the night by weary mothers.



Nevertheless, back to where there was fun and life by the jug full where most people said hallo and meant it.



Backcourts of Glasga were alfresco entertainment centres were mistrals of different quality would sing their hearts out proving there was no shortage of chanters. Sometimes a mouthorgan player would join in or even a banjo. Highlights of the show shown by the youngsters, in the audience, giving rapture applause with the help of dustbin lids. The then performer would show their agility by catching pennies and the like thrown from various windows, down to the court. They had to be smart as the young tinkers were not averse to nipping in and grabbing the fallen loot.



Our gang decided to do something different and perform as a circus. The idea came from Kelvin Hall annual circus. These instant shows came without frills but bags of enthusiastic wee showstoppers. Tubby was to be the strong man while Willie became the escape artist and a couple of the girls would do show dancing. Alan was the ring master with a top hat made out of an old oil black container. Tub’s had a dog which could do roll over and play dead, then hold its paw out which was quite nifty but there was something vital missing... at the first whiff of a sausage or cooking in any manner....it was off like a hound out of hell .



A group of woman were sitting waiting the grand opening of the instant gala as weans prepared murmurs from the group peevish they had no one to dress up in baggy trousers, a squirting flower, big shoes to fall over and a painted face.







Just at that moment one of the well-built wuman smiled and belted out ‘Fizz...in the name of the wee man, there are plenty of clowns around Richmond Park and Glasga Green’;

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peter.howden
Slight stout language ....author deemed it apt

The window to watch.

Because in the 60s/ 70s the rag trade was ripe with so many outlets to pick from, it was not too difficult to change jobs or positions within the close circuit of the clothing trade. Paul had a fed up span in his employment which lured him to John Colliers (the window to watch) this tailors was part of the multiple trade which included Burton, Jacksons, Fifty bob tailors, and Dunns, slightly upmarket to City Cash group.

Salesman class was first, second, third and junior had a recognized standing inside any shop or store in any company. The first sales took the plums like made to measures and suits. The second sale would take coats and blazers if the first sale was busy. The third and junior took whatever was handed down. Colliers carried this discipline a few steps further.

Although Paul had worked as senior sales in many shops, he was placed, quite rightly, at the back so to analyse my potential, serving at the shirt counter for the first week. They discovered he was known as a spokie (ability to measure bespoke suits flannels and jackets) so they placed Paul , on their busiest day, Saturdays, in the front shop...to measure

Each Saturday, Paul would finish a particular bespoke sale, ready to write chitty receipt, and at that precise point, he was called by the first sale to assist somebody...while he took over the writing of the bill. Paul discovered after his first wage packet two weeks in his allotted commission was not showing. Later... being interviewed by Mr Black, manager he told they would go through the first sales.

The following Monday while stuck behind shirts again, Paul was contemplating my future and statues when I was given two average customer, who turned out to be loaded tipsy sailors, asking for shirts so the first, second third, were not interested. The multiples always answered and talked to customers in a set manner, and never strayed, so stray talking was out their league. It turned out they were home for three weeks and were really looking for two suits for that evening to go to the Highland institute(a well-known Scottish Dancing event held every week up Charring Cross way) but believed they could not be fitted up.

Paul ’s unique patter changed their minds selling two suits, two coats two sports jackets and trousers to boot. As an afterthought he suggested made to measure and they jumped at the chance and remember this was ready cash sale as they were just oft the boats from a long haul. As he wrapped up the sale and measurements, while filling in the necessary forms for my commission, a senior salesperson approach “Mr Paul ..., Mr. dent wish’s to speak to you” and with this said, made a gesture to take my place.

Paul with a glued smile replied simply “You can take an F--- to yourself” and carried on writing. He was so taken aback at such a foreign response inside this type of establishment; he repeated the request with a little more vigour. The response stayed the same but louder” you can take an F--- to yourself”.

The customers looked a bit surprised and asked if Paul was in any bother. He reassured them all was in hand and carried on. The next thing was the arrival of Mr Dent, who quickly and efficiently informed Paul that he personally would take over the sale as the manager wish’s to see Paul right away. Paul ’s response did not change although his tone became gruffer. “You can go and F--- yourself”, and like clockwork drilled into an army and because he was not used to such a retort, so repeated adding, “It’s for your own good Mr. Paul .” Paul moved not an inch while with the last flick of his trusty tape measure; to spin around.... answered “F--- Off”.

Managements dilemma was set...as it was obvious caught between a couple of customers and a rouge salesperson, etiquette had to be observed. For the remaining time, Paul was left in peace with just the strongest hint, if all the eyes were to be believed, he was I deep trouble once the counters were cleared of punters.

Once Paul ’s bodies walked out the swivel door of the shop, he made my way upstairs to the locker room for his coat. Walking down stairs, meet Mr. Black, the manager, halfway down, or up it depends how you look at it, whose face was as red as red could be. Passing him the manager began his rant.... uninterrupted until Paul closed the front door. “You will never work in our stores again”, followed “you’ll never work in Argyll St ever again”. While getting louder he wailed “You’ll never, ever work or be employed in Glasgow Ever”...sounding ever so sincere

Strolling along to the grand Glasgow Cross, Paul strolled into City Cash and met the General Manager, asked if work was at hand. He responded with the question “when can you start” and now was his reply. Five minutes after Paul was working for a new master and do you know,

Paul was offered by Collier’s senior management when he returned to the store to pick up my P45 and monies due, a position in another store and as a first sales but declined.

Paul met Mr. Black on a few occasions after the verbal stramash.... but he refused to even speak to Paul . It never ceases to amaze how some people who just can’t take in being wrong.

P.S. Paul was offered a position in Slater’s, years later, at a gargantuan salary, and again he turned it down. By the way, Mr Black was the under manager for Slater’s ...but by all accounts, the sum Paul was offered was higher than his wages.

Funny how things run, is it not.

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peter.howden
What are dreams?

What are dreams...do they lay in wait within crowded but forgotten allays, stirring in the making, to opt out unannounced to strike sensitive nerves uncontrollably forming a passage for Auld Nick practicing his sardonic purposes whilst the host is in a docile position ...or simply a undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, ... “Scrooge” wrongly predicted.

Alternatively; is it possible dreams, are worrying sensations somewhere, reproduced in a murky curve of the mind while in slumber, and then when awaked, not remember or to find innocent or not accurate or simply imaginary ...yet... an uneasy emotion flutters and lingers way after the client is awake.



In true confession style I have been involved, many a time my choices made in a hasty manner, in different shades of grey may be viewed through other eyes as greedy or self-interest which I resoundingly regret later....but being history I am unable to change the outcome. These types of thorny issues pop up every now and then...leaving an onus compound, enduring for an unlimited time... yet unexplained why?

It is plausible dreams are simply animal survival instincts keeping out the terror of the world, forcing chaos at bay by creating a safe haven to return to when reality is too much to bare...for sin or the conclusion of it, has no boundaries but may seep when least expected somewhere along the line.

This very morning I awoke, instantly brooding and mentally asking when or why does a dream become a dread to open your eyes, when does lucid illusion ooze into reality; when does the fantasy become fact ....or hope disappears into the quicksand of misapprehension horror .The situation was not only confusing but left me bewildered as to what was real and what was invented.

What was life and what was dreaming? It may sound perfectly feasible to the rational head of deduction automatically separating reality from fiction however; remember... this is achieved in the welcoming light of day. My normal reveries spanned usually at the dead of the darkest hour of night, oozing and whimpering in most cracks and crevices of my now disturbed snoozing mind.

Sticky and concentrated residue act as natural glue keeping my eyes closed, with the help of the back of my hand rubbing quite vigorously, it aided my lids from the unwanted substance. Movement of my left arm was difficult, let alone my hand, so I decided just to stay still until movement came back. During the night, I must have lain on my side, on top of my hand which preventing the proper blood flow. As I have grown older I have noticed this inability to move after wakening has become more common than not

My head slightly moved from the softness of the pillow, a wriggling sensation underneath encourage my wish to roll onto my back, yet preferring to keep my eyes close, while unexpectedly my mind switch on to the previous night’s entertainment

Along with friends, discussed the bible and faith driven by Christian belief but in particular Moses and his peoples; the Israelites. A lengthily debate took place about whither there was the 10 plagues of Egypt which included Boils Blood ,Hail and a massive sand storm called “Cashimh”. .

Out of the blue someone indicated ants are strange in two ways. One being they can have numerous queens and are so small they can hold a colony in a thimble or between sheets of paper.

We should hold a contest for who talks the most tosh.... With such a loose running thought, my neck became uncomfortable and itchy underneath the skin. By now I was wide awake and certainly having no chance resuming the happier state of slumber.

Was this conversation the source of my unauthorized heaviness, an awareness of dread about my being....The mind boggles.....but. Not in the land of nod..... and certainly not at 04.05 of the morning clock
peter.howden


KNOCKING AGAIN;



Not again...There’s that knock again....can’t think who it can be.... Just as I manage to puff up the cushions to make my old easy chair more comfortable ... I bet it’s the same nuisance as yesterday whoever they are.......well I’m staying put.... maybe it’s the television licence detector van...looking for proof.... turn the sound down on the telly....he’ll think I’m out....bugger this... its wagon train with Ward Bond........ I’ll need to guess what he’s saying....he was grand in the searchers ... There it goes again...........might have got the wrong door...so it’s a waste of time getting up.


It could be some religious charity giving aims for the poor...doubt it round here. They would be mugged in one street but one...soon as their soles hit the pavement.....hard cases round there...not safe in the dark...or daytime come to think of it

I don't know if it’s urgent... personal...could be Littlewoods football... they have to hand the winning cheques over personally .but with my luck. It the shop and not the pools company...lost the luck of the Irish .........anyway I stopped doing them last year so unless there was a late goal?.... tried spot the ball once...could not see it...even with a magnifying glass...........bet they left it out on purpose...

Could be Misses Grant, Sadie to her friends, sounds like her knock.......yes she has a particular thump.....wonder what she wants, Petty or significant........ Oh heck.....it’s getting louder.... she’s staying there ....you would think if no-one answers.... after all this time she would presume I’m out... and go away... it could be she’s round with the cake she promised last Christmas...I’m hungry.......no this is Monday....bake day is Thursday...... jings my slipper has a hole...


By chance it’s the big bloke who owns the dairy ... come to complain about last week shenanigans....if it’s he....I’m defiantly staying here... did not pay the bill ...£3 for three weeks owed .... I think I’m barred for insulting the milkman. I answered the door when he was looking for Christmas gratuity. He told me he was from Pakistan and he had Co-Op on his uniform, I said, ‘must have a big milk round, so that’s why your slow ?’.

Instantly angry his face blew red; he stuttered he was going to report me to the race relation board....Some people can’t take a poke of fun...or a joke and find it hard to laugh at themselves;... I must admit...they have better manners ...than some I could mention... could be


There they go again; rattling the panel off the letter box.. Wonder what they want?.... must be in a hurry.... Impatient bugger whoever it is....on the other hand...might be from the social Security, wanting to cut my money again. All these long forms to fill up... and I fought in the last war for them...in the name of freedom. Do they show appreciation.... no way....not a clue what self-sacrifice is.

Wait a minute; there at it again. Getting a bit ratty are they not. It could anything. If they think I will jump....another think coming.... More than likely those young thugs who shout out and call me an old bastard. A short sharp shock is what they need. Have no respect for king and country. I’d shoot the lot if I had my way... swing for them I would. Anyway it can’t be them for there is no hubbub no shouting. I’m sure it was them who peed through my letter box last week ...then again... I couldn’t be sure.

It might be her from 21 looking for a subscription for wee black babies in Africa. She is a nice wee woman but is a pain in the bum when she talks of Finding God. She is a bit of a prude....wonder when she lost him. The minister still comes around but that is his job... is it not….to help old persons like me and all we have to do is say….. Jesus saves; ....I hope it’s not the Jehovah Witnesses... there’s not getting rid of these Americans evangelist with the plastic smiles.


It might be that Indian guy of the corner shop. I asked him if he believed in free speech, and he said, aye so I asked if I could use his telephone. He just played dumb. Anything to do with money.... their prices are well over the top. He says I owe him £31 from when I was last in his shop and I had forgotten my wallet. People are money mad....what’s the world coming too

I don’t know.... Someone told me he had his shop done up last year. I don’t know what it’s like for I have not been in yet.


We were poor in the old days but happy days. They don’t know their born these days. That knocking is getting irritable but I wonder what they want. Why? Could it be the fancy filly from 56…..naw much use anyway!.......past my sell bye date.


Stuff it, I need a pee... can’t go or they will hear me. These people are so inconsiderate. Can I hold it o bugger it… I’m dribbling.... It sounds like the same knocking as yesterday but they gave up quickly before I had time to make me mind up. Might be a telegram ... no....it can’t be....surly they stopped doing them some years ago. Last one I got was call up during the war and I floated off to stay with my auntie in Eire... or Eriu my Gaelic Goddess



Still… I would like to know who it is. I hear footsteps walking away ….trouble with people today... they have no patience.... just rush; rush; rush

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peter.howden

Forlorn;



The building was some old grand age, neglected down to the ground; dilapidated, though at one stage, had been converted into separate flats. The actual front door lay on its hinges. The tenement had once been the pride of home-making for good honest hard working Glaswegian families...and before that... a city residence for some upper-middleclass family of better than the run of the mill heritage.

The now condemned unsafe slum building should have been razed to the ground, flattened and not tattered up to its last legs while absentee landlord squeezed every penny he could with no humane feeling worth a drip.... having a iron cast heart.


The clatty hallway gave a horrible clue and apprehensiveness followed everyone who may have knocked the grubby door on purpose or by accident; for entering such squalor for its aerial mark being so pungent at the door and beyond.

Inside; within the walls of what can only be described as a manky midden, sat a cast of frump to the world. But this trollop had a name though for spells through her staggered day of neglect... even she herself may have forgotten. Her name was Kate or Cathy to some. Her feminine magic had gone long ago.

Everything touched was a skin of sticky jam texture without the sweetness but instead a suffocated odour prevailed a fustiness of rotten mushrooms. No sign of cooking while a couple of empty MacDonald’s take ways, lay in no order on couch and one perched up in a corner like a motionless pet. The staleness of smoking was not only caustic on the eyes but got up your nose

Kate must have had a recognizable female form which had been hidden for years in dowdiness and neglect. Her children had long since flown the nest and no one ever heard of a mention of her man except in times of real delirium and that was scripted as “blooming bastard” over and over again.

In moments of sanity her mind was frantic with half-baked ideas or languished in memories she alone was merely a toy

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

One thing was true and that was she never stooped to prostitution for she was not a gal like that; even though she had kept her looks but only in her mind and not in the mirror. She did sleep with strangers she meets at the local country club but that was just for an extra swally. Now even the cattiest bloke demanded her to wash before he would entertain a fumble never mind sex

Kate had no conception of time just awake with sweat and aches with searching her abode for a drop of something alcoholic. Blacked out periods she had no idea of.

Religion was lost apart from the occasional hand out devoid of meaning with less appreciation and annoyance for having to mumble three verses of “Jesus saves”.

It was deed as a furnished flat because of a bed a wardrobe and drawers of some description and a thread bared rug and the side; for this the social paid blood money to the cockroach of a proprietor.

The authorities were forced to open the dingy den because of complaints of smells and rats lose in the crumpled construction Kate’s door revealed an over-profusion of smells and darkened corners, even when they don’t exist. She lay slumped and oblivious in death as she was in life. A lone anxious voice says this should not happen again as the mawkit door is closed over. No one came to the funeral



Within a heartbeat some other poor lost soul in accommodated in Kate’s old dodgy flat
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peter.howden



Anxious



Always prime and proper, that is what she was shining like a new pin, being tidy to almost obsession. This almost sums up the middle class middle aged lady whose flat had seen better days and the district of her smallish abode, had certainly gone down the property market Every Sunday the lady would attend the local church, casually whispering hallo while nodding profusely while smiling to whoever... yet, apart from this form of social intercourse; her life was pretty close to being dormant

Each Sunday without exception other than illness, she would dawn her respectable clothing, which had little difference to her other attire except it had been the latest purchase. From childhood she had been installed to wear brand new apparel only to be worn on the Sabbath. The garb which used to be Sunday best was demoted to Saturday only and Saturday only was reduced to week-day attire.


Once home from any of these days then it was straight into clothing once called week-day but now classed as old. Old worn out Knickers and socks were used as dusters with only rags ending up in the bin. The rag and bone man used to come round with his pony and cart, blowing his bugle till he turned blue and gave balloons for old cardigans and the like.

There is a void in her life though the sad thing is; she does not realize this simple fact. She has no friends only the old hens of the church. There is a distinct possibility that her attendance is out of habit than conviction. Each holy day she meets old maids equally prim if not primmer. She then returns to her small domain and has cottage cheese and a cup of very weak tea. She sits alone in the tiny kitchenette because her sitting room has a huge plastic cover over her suite so not to dirty it while awaiting unknown guests to arrive.



The only amusement allowed in the flat is a small transistor radio.... switched on for the news only.

Kate, for that is her name, carries the exact same sandwiches each day to her work as a book-keeper for one of the oldest law firms ever in Glasgow. Thirty five years of potted Beef-hough has dulled her taste buds to the extent everything tastes the same.

Kate is meticulously precise having the whole shebang in its place only moved for dusting. The flat holds no memories other than drudgery. It was not always so and though it is hard to believe at this very moment,

Kate was once with a man. The reason why it finished is clouded and lost in absentee thoughts, however just now and then you may catch a glimpse of a faint smile recalling.



One evening some weeks ago, Kate was trying desperately to open a packet of scented soap but found the cellophane impossible to release its charge. In growing desperation, Kate tore wildly at the sealed object but in vain, as it stubbornly remained unscathed. Kate’s blood-pressure rose as her face turned red almost scarlet. She then just dropped down dead.



No one really missed her in the following couple of weeks in the holy place for the peoples she associated within the church had no scrapping of an idea where she lived. That is the authorities at the door right now and preparing to break down the entrance. They will find poor Kate dead as much as they found her alive; an enigma



Curiously her bible was opened at a passage with a piece of paper marking the page. On the paper was scribbled “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.



I wonder if she found out.

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