Friday, 31 May 2013

He didn’t do it!

It was only a short walk to his house. What could happen? As it happens a lot. A man ran out of a shop followed by another, very angry. The first man ran across the road and was hit by a car. He was hurtled in the air and landed on our man. The follower attacked our man, who was unconscious, believing him to be the perpetrator. Police arrested him and despite his injuries and carted him off to jail. To cut a long story short, today he was leaving jail after serving four years for something he didn’t do.

100 words

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The MAN (song lyric)

The sun is slowly setting beneath the darkening sky.
The moon grows ever brighter, did you ever wonder why?
The stars shine in the distance of the early evening sky.
And the sea rolls on along the sloping shore.

And it seems to be a part of a great and glorious plan
But the earth lies here in danger from the endeavours of the man

Don’t you know the world is dying, can’t you see the signs.
It’s oh so easy to shut it from our minds.
Ask yourself the questions, find the answers if you can.
Why do all children starve at the hand of the man?
 
In the cities all the people seem to live in fear.
Things are getting worse year after year.
Some old girl is beaten within an inch of her life.
Why did the man give the man a knife?

Guns and bombs and flying machines are the tools of the war.
Killing people wholesale is that what men are for.
Murder rape and pillaging armed robbery and cheats.
Laser guided missiles exploding with white heat.
 
Tell me the answers if you think you can.
Why is the man inhuman to the man?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Alfabet

Anytime you walk
Beside the river
Carefully watch
Down along the waters
Edge you will
Find
Grasshoppers
Hurriedly jumping
In the grass
June bugs hide
Keeping dry under
Leaves out of the way of
Munching predators
Noisily searching
Out their lunch
Periwinkles reflect the
Quiet sun
Radiating way up in the
Sky bathing the
Terrain
Utterly oblivious to
Verity
Who
Xed the
Zebra crossing.

Just a minute

It takes a minute for sixty seconds to tick by. One by one the sweep of the second hand passes each mark. Now it’s 5, Falling towards 10. Relentlessly onward never stopping. 15 never ceasing on it’s way around the clock face. This is the easy bit. 20 working towards the nadir 25 and then 30. On the upward path now 35 dragging on upwards to 40. 3/4 of the way now and it has reached 45. It is harder on this section 50. The zenith now in sight 55. Tick, tick, tick,60 at last and on we go 5

 

(100 words)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Diesel Bug

Short Magazine article
The EU are proposing an end to olive oil dipping dishes in restaurants for our protection. We already have laws (in this country) that cover any harm that might be done by bad hygiene practice.

What we don’t seem to have is a law that prevents Cladosporium Resinae (diesel bug) cross contaminating fuel tanks. Is your supplier supplying you good fuel or contaminated fuel? Does he know? Does he care? Has his delivery nozzle been in a tank that is contaminated before you arrived? Does he care enough to clean his nozzle after each delivery? Can you check that the fuel you are given is bug free?

The simple answer is that all suppliers should be compelled to treat their supplies. Whether that be producers main suppliers or retailers is for the clever people to work out. It cost about thirteen pound to treat 2500 litres that’s less than half a penny a litre. Fuel tax could be reduced by half a penny a litre to ensure that suppliers do this cost free. It is easier (more accurate) to treat 2500 litres than it is to treat 10, 20, 30 or even 100 litres. The %age error is far smaller. As of yet it is not know if under-treatment is effective or if over treatment is in some way damaging to engines.

Rather than some boaters and some retailers treating their supplies it would make sense for all suppliers to treat their fuel. That way we know that all fuel tanks are treated properly and the possibility of cross contamination is reduced to an absolute minimum or even zero.

Why should all suppliers be required to treat their supplies and not boaters. Well boaters are a varied bunch of individuals who have their own Ideas about where they will spend their money. Some will, some won’t treat their tanks. No amount of legislation will make Joe Bloggs treat the fuel going into his tank if he doesn’t want to. To check that his tank had been treated before a fuel nozzle is put in his tank will be cost prohibitive. I rest my case.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Day

It was five o’clock in the morning when I awoke. What a stupid time to get up, I thought. So I made a cuppa and went back to bed. I read yesterdays Telegraph, finished the crossword. Completed the Suduko then read some of my book. The tea went straight through me and as I stood in bathroom draining it away I thought how badly the bathrom needed a clean. A layer of Talcum powder lay on all surfaces, dulling the sheen that they normally have. It was still early, before seven, I decided to clean the bathroom.
In the corner was a pile of dirty washing. I took it next door and put it in the machine. Looking around the office, which was where the washing machine was kept, I thought, I really must put in some work there too. Back in the bathroom the task looked daunting. I went to the kitchen to get the cleaning stuff from under the kitchen sink. Looking around it occurred to me I had let my standards fall, as low as a dosser. I took cloths and cleaning stuff passing through the bedroom. I wondered why my bed had evolved into a clean clothes and book storage area. The cupboards were virtually empty. Why did I find it so difficult to put the clean laundry away?
I cleaned the walls above the gunnels; brushing of the dust and spraying on wax polish returning the wood to somewhere near its former glory. Toilet pan, sink and then shower followed by the lower walls then finally the floor. The whole task only took an hour, which surprised me although the room was only six feet by six feet.
Time for a quick cuppa, then on with the rest. Having an untidy space has an unhealthy effect on one’s psyche. It brings you down and makes you depressed. It makes for a very sad self. I walked back to the bathroom and was pleased with the result. This spurred me on to do more of my home. As you work on from one end to the other the euphoria builds, but towards the end you start to flag and the office never gets done. So now as always I have a nice clean living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, but I am left with a very untidy office, as is the norm. Maybe I should start with the office next time.



The Boat

From high on the hill the scene across the valley was one of rolling countryside. Fields of wheat and barley broken up by hedgerows of hawthorn and of hazel. Dry stone walls along the lanes butting up to houses at the outskirts of the village. Tall stands of pine on a hill on the other side of the great divide, a tarmac road skirting its edge and disappearing down behind the hill. Away down the slope to the left a meadow leading on to a copse of birch trees. In the corner a hump back bridge over a canal, the canal winding its way around a hummock and following a similar path to the stream. A fairly typical English country scene.

Down at the canal bridge just short of a willow whose fronds are touching the dank muddy water moors a laden narrowboat. A figure is standing on the bridge, head in hands.

Through the side hatch of the boat a pool of blood is forming on the floor, a man makes gurgling sounds as the lifeblood drains from the deep gash in the side of his neck. The figure on the bridge, a woman sobbing, drops a knife over the parapet into the water. The life of a working boating family is a hard one, made all the more difficult by the by a brutal man. Her face once more damaged and swollen by the hands of the man she once loved. Her tears fell freely, she sobbed. Though she knew what she had done she was not sorry for him. Whatever the outcome now her life could not be worse than the last ten years.

Leaving You (Robert’s Song)

Song lyric

I was looking back on our life
and saw how things were going
I couldn’t really take the blame
I gave you everything you asked for
But still you asked for more
it seemed to me your life was just a game
 
It’s no good sayin’ sorry
the time for cryin’s over
I really need to start anew
I found someone who needs me
For who I used to be
she loves me and she’s different to you
 
I will not say I’m sorry I will not tell you lies
I’m changin’ to how I used to be we’ve had our time together
And I want to leave you easy gotta start myself a brand new me
 
Now it’s time that I was leavin’
I have somebody waiting
This is the last time I’ll be around.
I’m leavin’ you for ever
To start my life on over
gonna tune my guitar to a brand new sound
 
I will not say I'm sorry no I will not tell you lies
I’m changin’ to how I used to be we’ve had our time together
And I want to leave you easy gotta start myself a brand new me

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

True story of a country man.

It was a bright sunny morning. Martin awoke early as he always did. He had breakfast then set off in the 4×4 to the far side of his land. He liked to walk there with his dog, Goff. Turning into the field he notice that a travellers encampment had taken up residence. He got out of the vehicle and let Goff out the back. They started off across the field. A traveller approached him and said, “ Don’t let that dog off in here”.

“Why not?” says Martin.

“Coz I got 4 pit bulls in my van and I will let them out,” he said, “They’ll tear your dog to pieces”.

“Oh,” says Martin and he turns and walks back to his 4×4. Taking the shotgun off the rack behind the seats he breaks the gun and quickly pops two cartridges into the breech. Turning back to the traveller he says, “Go on then let your dogs out, you will be surprised how fast I can reload this gun”.

“Ya mean it don’t ya!” said the man.

“Try me,” said Martin, “You come trespassing on my land and threaten me and my dog. Now you and your mates get off my land else I will let you have both barrels and then I will sort your dogs. Do you understand me?”

The man said nothing, just turned called out to his friends and got in his van and drove out of the field. The others followed him.

Moral of the story? ‘Don’t fuck with Martin’.

Monday, 13 May 2013

A Soldiers Life

War is never futile if it is a just war.
A soldier’s life is never wasted if the soldier believes in why he is giving it.


A soldier's life.
It belongs to me it's mine.
I give it in defence of freedom.
I have considered the risk.
I am trained as best I can be.
Our enemy must be stopped at all costs.
If I help to defeat him I die not in vain,
but in glory
knowing I have served my country.
This is my choice.
Because of sacrifices made before
I can choose I have that right.
Do not decry my action.
Join me.
The alternative is unthinkable.
The freedom of my country
from tyranny and oppression
is worth my life.
It is all I have to give.
Freedom is not cheap.
Please do not waste it
decrying my sacrifice.



SNOT!

There I was just
rummaging around,
finger up my nose,
a hand scratching my bum
Its a long held past time
rummaging for lumps of solid snot.
Mum says I shouldn’t do it,
one day my brain will cave in
But it is so annoying when
solid snot gets stuck
just out of reach
I wiggle my finger tip,
twist it round
and round
but the all illusive
snot ball
is nowhere
to be found.
My second knuckle
nearly gone, I’m just
scratching the back
of my eyeball, but
Wait a minute
what’s that I feel,
yes it is!
Lying prostate
under my brain
it’s no wonder I
can't think straight
its sticking all my
thoughts together.
Ah Gotcha!!!!!

A Memorable Dinner

          Mike and I often went out to eat at night. It was simpler and cheaper than eating in. He had been in Kuwait longer than me and knew lots of places to eat and eat well. On occasions we would go into the poorer parts of the city. We both enjoyed the potluck that this provided. There was never any posh set ups, tables were usually Formica topped or had oilcloth laid on scaffold planks and biers. Eating spanners normally arrived with the meal, as did a glass of water. Such establishments had scrupulous hygiene standards, well by their ideal that was the case but there was a lot left undone. Occasionally cockroaches would join you for dinner. They certainly wouldn’t get a hygiene pass from the authorities here. We should have stayed with what we knew, but the food was often exceptional.
          On one occasion we took a taxi into the posh centre of the city, it was 11 September 2001. We had both been watching the events of the twin towers unfold on the TV. I thought I was watching a film at first, I didn’t realise it was a newsreel. Many of the people we lived amongst were Americans. The last thing we wanted that night was to listen to a bunch of rednecks putting the world to rights. We passed by parts of the city that we would normally like to go, parts that were still damaged from the war. Whole sides of buildings were missing but having nowhere to go the occupants were still living there, just a few blankets or a tarp tied in place for their privacy. A far cry from the luxurious apartment block we lived in on the edge of the city.
          At Maxims the doorman greeted us. Inside a waiter showed us downstairs to a table on the far side of the lower dinning area. This was fortunate for us. We ordered non-alcoholic drinks, as is the law in this Muslim state, and chatted about the events of the day. We gleaned information from some noisy Americans sitting across the other side of the restaurant, all conjecture of course. No we didn’t ask, but they have a way of permeating everywhere they go and to be fair they were angry, The Americans had never been attacked on their own mainland before. Welcome to the real world boys!
          We enjoyed dinner. It was of a better standard than our usual fare. Gulf states usually do seafood so very well and here was no different. Prawns are all grown and only a few fill a plate. They served fish we had never heard of and copious quantities of salad, rice, and side dishes filled all the space on the table left by the main course plates.
          There are many things you cannot do in a Muslim state and there are many things you should not do. Most people know what you can’t do, wine women and song sort of covers that, but what shouldn’t you do? Well one thing you shouldn’t be doing is going out to dinner the same day a bunch of Arabs blow up America, coz you just know these Arab boys are angry. If you do go out you should keep ya trap shut, coz you just know these Arab boys are angry.
          Well our American friends didn’t subscribe to this theory at all. “What we should do is bomb these Mother fuckers back to the Stone Age,” said one. This of course would be a pointless exercise because with the exception of mobile phones and motorcars they are still in the Stone Age. What they wanted their government to do to the Arabs was almost unspeakable. “Nuke the bastards,” said another. Well I am assuming you get the gist of this evening.
There were many nationalities sitting in that restaurant that night, me a Brit Mike an Aussie about ten Americans, not to mention Kuwaitis, Iraqis, and Afghanis. The last thing you need to do when you are sitting down to dinner with the ‘brothers’ of those who had just blown up your country is to mouth off. Americans, particularly rednecks, are good at that.
          It was at fifteen minutes past nine that the bomb went off. I know this because my watch broke in the explosion. There were several bombs in town that night all timed to go off together. We were lucky; the ceiling came down in the basement and showered us with debris. Two of the Americans were killed as a support pillar crashed on to their table. Mike and I ducked under the table and were waiting for the dust to clear. The front of the restaurant was blown out and the ground floor was destroyed. Many staff members were killed outright. The doorman ‘miraculously’ had crossed the street to use the toilet.
          I was bleeding from several wounds but only superficially. Mike had blood running down his forehead. “What the fuck was that,” I said. He said he thought the Americans were being too vociferous! “Wait a bit there might be another explosion.” We could hear sirens in the distance, but only in the distance, they didn’t seem to be getting any closer. A few people started moving so we got brave and came out from under our refuge. The sight before us was one of mayhem. Most of the ceiling was scattered on the tables and floor. People who looked like ghosts, covered in dust from head to foot, were standing surveying the scene with stunned looks on their faces. The support pillar that killed the two Americans was trapping another by the legs. We helped to lift it off him. Both his legs were smashed above the knees; he was rolling in and out of consciousness. The Americans dealt with him and their dead compatriots while all the time telling anyone who was in earshot what was going to happen to those ‘cowardly mother fuckers’. They just never learn. Mike and I tended to some of the others but most wounds were minor. The locals were apologising for the ‘outrage’ bought upon us in their country. Nothing we could say would placate them.
          Generally we got off lightly only two dead and one seriously injured. The rest of us had either got just cuts and bruises or were unhurt. We were all shocked! Slowly those of us that were walking got up the stairs and to the front of the building, what was left of it, where we were tended by the medics that eventually turned up.
          My overriding memory of that debacle that I shall never forget is a Kuwaiti police officer asking if I had paid for my dinner. It was totally surreal.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Ear Stabbing

True story, this actually happened.

I thought it was an odd thing to do at 47, getting my ear pierced, but someone bet me I wouldn’t do it. Well that was dumb, red rag to a bull an' all that. So I left the group I was with and found a jewellers upstairs. We were in Cribb’s Causeway. I sat in the chair waiting for the qualified ear stabber to get themselves ready. A small boy about 8/9 walked in to get his ear done too. He asked if I was having my ear done.

I said, “Yes.”

“You’re a bit old ain’cha mista,” he said rather cheekily.

“No,” says I, "Are you having yours done?"

"Yes," he said, "both."

Then came the ear stabber with the required equipment. He set up the tool to do the stabbing and as he pulled the trigger I screamed out loud. Arrrrgggghhh! I didn’t feel a thing. . . . . . . . . . but the boy did. He legged it followed closely by his mum. I apologised to the ear stabber for losing him a customer. He saw the funny side of it. The boy will be in his mid 20s now; I don’t supposed he ever got his ear pierced.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Small Parcels

(Song Lyric)

It's not the way that you look
Or the things that you say
Not the gleam in your eye
Or the smile far away….on your face.
It’s not the curl in your hair
Or your breath in cold air
Or the way that you feel
Lets me know that you're real
It’s just the way that you seem
To know all of my dreams
And the way that you find
To look into my mind
Little things come in small parcels
Your smile bright as a pearl
Little things come in small parcels
Little things mean more than the world

The Village

          In a small village there is no such thing as privacy. Often the smallest thing can go viral at the drop of a hat. Take Tilley, lovely girl, in her thirties clock ticking away. Her parents have had a boat here for many years. In fact she herself has a boat. She bought it last year. Max the local boat fixer did the Safety Cert and advised Tilley on its value. After the purchase Max helped to do those things that needed doing to make it comfortable. (Comfort, not being a part of the Safety Cert). I am not sure if Tilley and Max were together before the purchase or not, but they certainly were after.
          Well anyway it was some time later that the relationship went sour. Both of them are strong independent types, but Max likes to be in charge. Tilley was having none of it. She wants ankle biters and he can’t have them so I suppose the union was doomed to fail.
It was one night last week when I was cycling down to the Jolly that I saw Max head down as usual on his way to the village pub; which as it happened had just been taken over by a new landlord although this has no relevance to the story; I said hello as I cycled past and received a grunt in return. The following day it transpired, whilst talking to RT, that Tilley had just got married. Apparently to someone she met over the interwebbythingy. They had only been in contact three weeks! She felt compelled to tell Max before he heard it from anyone else, but of course that broke his heart. This was shortly before he grunted at me. Of course RT telling me was like God giving Moses the stone tablets soon everyone knew. With the aid of my mobile I doubt there was a house in the village that didn’t know in 15 minutes.
          What I found most surprising was that when I saw Max dog walking the next morning with Lilly, I was none the wiser, I hadn’t yet come by the knowledge that RT imparted to me later that day. But my telling Lilly was a non-starter because Max had told her on their walk. She knew! Can you believe she ‘forgot’ to mention it? “Call ya self a woman,” I said, “fine gossip you are. Biggest story since I got banned from using the club pump out and you said nothing!” Well OK it wasn’t the biggest story but I don’t want to tread on any toes, you know how it is. Although … Max being dumped by Jean after his return from America was quite big news here, slightly surpassed by the fact that he had a vasectomy because Jean didn’t want anymore kids which is the reason he can’t give Tilley a child … or anyone else for that matter.
          And today there I am walking Molly past Tilley’s parents boat and I get invited on board and introduced to the new hubby, Roland who, though shorter, is not unlike Max, except he doesn’t have that most annoying laugh, well cackle really. What an opportunity! Couldn’t resist telling my friend, she was surprised originally when I told her about the wedding. This socialising was great news to her. Now she knows she will call Tilley with congratulations.
          This is such a quiet village nothing ever happens here.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Haircut

          So there I was on my way to the barbers, that’s what we older peeps call a hairdresser. I felt the need for a mowing if only because long hair takes so long to dry in this cold weather. It wasn’t particularly cold when I arrived at the barbers yet the man with the scissors wore a reefer jacket and a scarf. I think he was trying to look cool. He didn’t look cool at all. He looked to me like the sort of man that would use the word ’business' often, like they do in East Enders. As I walked in he looked at me and said, “You’re next.”
          I took a seat. I watched as he took eons cutting the hair of a youth in his twenties who was already seated and being done when I arrived. The end result could have been achieved with electric trimmers in about 30 seconds. However he could not have charged £13 if he had done it that quick. Why does the shortest of short haircuts take so long? The lad had ‘products’ applied before he stood up.
          What is it with ‘products’, “Would you like some products on it sir?” Well maybe I would, how about some 15/20 engine oil or yellow paint maybe some grated architrave. (Those of you that do not see the irony of this should be reading Janet and John books). What a silly thing to ask! Tell me what you have got. Ask me if I want conditioner or hair gel or whatever. Do not leave it to my clairvoyant skills to work out because I don’t have any.
          Another reason for having a haircut was some people’s idea that I had long hair to effect a comb over, which is certainly not true in my case. Me being blessed with a very full head of hair, I could have given Jedward a run for their money. Though even in the RAF I was often called 'Wiggy'.
          Anyway just before I fell into a coma my turn came. I got up from my vantage point and sat in the chair. Now at this point I like to nod off, but the chap insisted on asking how I wanted it. Isn’t it obvious? I have had it like this for ages. It grew this way because this is the way it was the last time I had it cut, it just happens to be longer. And besides it doesn’t matter what I say it will always come out too short.
          We decided on a not too short, short back and sides and he set to with the weed whacker making his way through the undergrowth to give him a starting place for the creating to begin. It was like a slash and burn exercise in the Brazilian jungle. Snip snip snip cut cut snip cut snip snip cut. Then all of a sudden, without any warning, it was done. I had twenty times more hair than the lad in front of me yet it took less time to cut. He picked up a mirror and showed me the back of my head. He asked me if I wanted any ‘products’. There was no evidence of any ‘products’ on display that I could see from which I could make an informed choice so I said, “No.” With that a young girl who had been perched on a broom at the back of the shop guarding the door marked “Private,” took that as her cue and flew across the room to sweep away the debris of which there was lots.
          There was an area of hair at the back of my head set off to one side that seemed to want fly on its own. I pointed to this and said it wasn’t right. He said, “You have some sort of squirling going on at the back there and I can’t do anything with it because you don’t want any products.” I assumed he thought he maybe might stick it down with some ‘product’ he bought from B&Q.
          I refrained from telling him that I was born with a double crown and that as a qualified hairdresser he really should be able to recognise that. He was the first person ever to have left that bit sticking up. In actual fact I walked in with a woolly hat on and that was part of the reason for the fly away hair, he should have seen that because he spoke directly to me when I walked in and I had the hat on then. “Well,” I said, “It can’t stay like that.” He let out a low level hurrumpfff and cut it some more then decided that the rest of the head had to be trimmed to match. In the end he didn’t do a bad job but as predicted it was now too short. Had I not said anything he would have had me walk out with a very poor haircut with which to demonstrate his skills.
          He parted me from 13 of my quids and didn’t even ask if I wanted anything for the weekend. You know, I never did understand what they meant by that, but I missed it, it was part of the ritual. I felt cheated. I did once asked for a pie and a pint and was shown the door, which was not a problem because I was finished there anyway.
          All in all not too bad, it will do, but young people shouldn’t be allowed to cut older heads, we are different to their younger clients and expect a service that doesn’t require ‘products’.