Is it me?

Not sure what is going on, but I have concluded that this is just a particular thing with me and I don’t why, what’s more I don’t want to change. Well it’s a bit late in life for that, late 60’s sounds fine, well not really but it will have to do. So, what is it? Well its my whole outlook, attitude if you like, to life but not future life more of my past life and not just mine, and to things that are going on around me that have been going on around me for all the time I’ve been here. That’s the trouble, I’ve never noticed before, well I have been too interested in other things, namely those guys kicking a bag of wind about on Boothferry Park for a start. Now there’s an understatement, I lived at Boothferry Park, I would have lived inside of it if they had let me, but I think I bordered on that edge called being a nuisance. Watched them train, watched them train at both Boothferry Park and the Cricket Circle on Anlaby Road, collected autographs, many times over and actually got to know a couple of players personally. One, the captain, Jock Davidson was a gentleman of the highest degree the way he put up with me pestering him to bring me back some football programmes from the many places Hull City played in, this is the UK by the way so football = soccer in other places.

When I was young, yes well, a few years ago, I couldn’t go to away matches due to 2 big drawbacks, I was too young and I had no money, well let’s say tuppence wouldn’t have got you far, only to Billy Bly’s sweet shop on the way home, liquorice sticks were a penny. Two sticks and I would be blathered in the black stuff from the liquorice all over my face, mam would not be pleased. But Jock, R.I.P. was a guy who I seemed to take to, I had a stiff neck looking up to him, well I had to look up to most people being a short arse. But football, yes football, whereas at one time I couldn’t get enough, these days I couldn’t care less, the World Cup is coming up, Russia they say, really how nice for you. Will I watch it, well if I watch any football with the same enthusiasm as I watch tele in general the answer will be, not much if at all. And what has brought me to this state of affairs? Age I would say and to put it simply and bluntly if you like, the sad reflection that I don’t have much time left to take it all in.

Take what in you say, well life in general, the seasons, architecture, the old kind, what is left of it in Hull and East Yorkshire. Churches are amazing and no I’m not going to go all religious, but to think that these colossus’s were built hundreds of years ago with no mechanical means to aid constructions, you tend to take on board the hard, no very hard, labour that must have been put things into these places. But there is another, not so nice side to this, these building, and some of them are beyond beautiful, must have taken a lot of money to be built in the first place. Blimey the peasants of the day could hardly feed themselves and here are the Church building monuments for prayer. Unfair? Maybe, but it has crossed my mind when coming across the more celebrity status buildings such as Cathedrals. The ultimate Catholic one I should think will be The Vatican, now it isn’t just awesome, there isn’t a word to describe the jaw dropping as I looked around at the paintings alone, then the architecture. I don’t know of a word to describe the place, beautiful? Oh it’s certainly that but no that is not enough, nowhere near enough and that goes for many of the more prestigious Churches, but I still admire them. But that is just one type of building there are some more modest buildings that have been around longer than me, but I just haven’t noticed, now I do. I notice fields, I notice clouds, and I notice sunrises and sunsets, now they are something else. The universe, we are suspended in mid-air, well there is no air at all, but its like we are held by an elastic band as earth travels around the sun each year. Then it also spins itself, hence your night and day, on a clear night you see diamonds twinkling in the sky, not real diamonds but the light you see could have come from something that has taken that light 300 years of more to reach you. And maybe this fact alone is what I am getting at all along.

The everyday things that happen and have been happening day in day out, not the headline grabbing stuff, the stuff that is just there like the tide. The water of the River Humber covers a vast area of mud, then due to some magic of the Moon the water recedes to uncover that mud, yes the water flows backwards and forwards like on its own, but it doesn’t. The Moon’s gravity does it, the same as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, it always has done but it still produces some awesome sights at various times. Like those stars whose light gets to us after an age, the sun bobs up and down over our sky with, thankfully, relentless regularity. And its these things that hold my attention, tele just doesn’t do it for me these days but listening to music does, well whilst I can as my hearing, never that good to begin with is now even less good. And that is something else, most lucky people, and they don’t know how lucky they are, get up in a morning have a fart and a yawn and off they go again for another day.

I very much doubt as to whether these normal everyday people take the slightest interest in other people who just cannot do that. The person who gets up and farts but can’t hear it, smell it perhaps, yes perhaps, but the same people who can’t hear a thing, that is there normal day. And yet again ‘normal’ people may rub the sleep out of their eye and just carry on, blind people can’t do that, the first they have to do is get their bearings before they can do a thing. And its that also that gets to me now, the unfairness of things in life, which you won’t know about unless you cross that barrier, due to whatever reason, accident, illness, that means instead of being a ‘normal’ person, you are disabled in some way. I don’t just mean wearing glasses, they are common, but did you know that one certain insurance company has hearing aids down as an extra cover item? Even National Health ones, I was staggered, I asked the guy on the phone if the same condition applied to wearers of spectacles, he just replied that he didn’t make the rules he just has to implement them, fair comment. There are those that run for miles and those that can’t walk at all, or with great difficulty, there are those who are professors and other high calibre intelligent people and those that can’t even write properly or add up. But the main thing about this new/old me is that I am more and more and more interested about my immediate past, and those connected to it. School years mainly and here we have a friend and foe in the form of Facebook, like the internet, its so entangled in life in general for so many people that if it suddenly was no more there would be mass hysteria. The internet is superb and invasive, it is driving change whether we want it or not and often into areas that are not pretty to see. The High St, it has always been the focal point for masses of people to do their shopping, you would meet someone and spend twice as much time gabbing as you did shopping.

You would meet up ‘in town’ listen to some records in a shop booth and maybe even buy one, record that is not a booth, not likely though, a cup of coffee, yes that exotic alternative to tea, in a café, and if it was really cool it would have music on. The main social whirl was centred on the High St, now look. First it was that import from America, the Shopping Maaaaaaaaaaall, and now it’s the internet, the High Street is in retreat and so are the usual social functions of the day. Dance Halls have gone but massive festivals are here, pubs are closing but booze is available nearly everywhere, and to nearly everyone it seems. And if you wish you can get your music and booze without moving a muscle, well perhaps a finger or two. And it’s the vanishing of all that I knew that I’m eager to get back again, not physically no, it would be nice yes but what I like is people memories of such things that I remember, as it is all vanishing for them as well.

But here is another conundrum, a lot of people from my past are, how do I say it, passed away is a subtle way, not so nice is dead. And that is another feature of life at my stage, if you do happen to meet people from a bygone age its guaranteed that the death of a former acquaintance will be mentioned. So what’s all this rambling amount to? I don’t watch much tele, but I spend more time at the library or, in my case, the Hull History Centre, I Google, or Bing if you like, and most of it is history related. I have lived in the Hull area all my nearly 70 years or so and I’m still reading about historical stuff that I never knew. And it gets worse, my City, County, and Country I am ignorant about a lot of it and that is at the root of what I am rambling about. It’s what I’m saying that is it just me that this, awakening if you like, about local stuff, everyday things that are now wonderous to me, and possibly mundane to most other people, or do others around the same age feel the same. I listen, whilst I can, to music I first became acquainted with 60 years ago, and I still love it, but I am interested in the lyrics and the song writers. It is with this in mind that I went to see a show at our local theatre, The Hull New Theatre, the show was called Beautiful. It was a story based on the life, and song writing of one Carole King and her then husband Gerry Goffin. I used to dance with the girls on a Saturday morning at the local dance hall at about 13/14 years old singing along to a female girl group called The Shirelles singing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Later I found out that Carole King wrote it, well she wrote it along with Gerry Goffin. But what I didn’t realise, until that show, was that she was just 17 and was bearing the first of her children with Gerry. Here were 2 kids, yes basically still kids although Gerry was 21 then, and they wrote a No1 hit, but not only that they continued writing many memorable songs that I also sang along to but just never knew they were the composers. Up On The Roof, Crying In The Rain, Pleasant Valley Sunday, all came from the pen of Carole King and her collaborators.

The other song that is just about equal to Carole’s song was written but a 22-year-old John Lennon, In My Life, and is my favourite Beatles song, the perception of both songs is just mind boggling to me. The lyrics of both songs mean much more to me now than ever they did, and especially at the time when they were recorded. But this is only one element in my thirst for knowledge that I have failed to take in for most of my life, but in defense I have to say that, although my overall time is running out I do have a bit more time to myself to pursue such things. Growing up, working, getting married, paying the bills, bringing up kids, left me precious little time for myself, it’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. So, I hope to be able to do something about it, and that folks is the end of this ramble, if it makes sense then fine, if not, then it must be like my old school reports, Can Do Better Must Try Harder. Mmmmmmm.

Advertisements

Carole King.

Carole King.

Lets get something straight, straight away, I do know about Carole King, I have known about her since It Might As Rain Until September, and that’s the problem. I knew about her but not her influence in the musical landscape at the time or actually wrote the song. I danced to her music, sang her words, and it has to be said here, a lot of Gerry Goffin’s stuff, but never knew the source of such material. Hell they were great songs to do your stuff in the 1960’s and I did a lot of that being 12/13 years old. But at the grand old age of blub blub blub, I went to see the Carole King musical at my local theatre, Hull New Theatre, I sat in my seat and never moved as song after song was performed and I though, jeepers. The story unfolded, and here we had a 16/17-year-old writing about, what may have been a one night stand, but was something more than that. But it took me all of 50 years or more to realise the significance so the girl and her perception of the time.

I danced and sang to so many records in those days at the local dance hall, Locarno/Mecca, that along with all the explosion of the British scene, was part and parcel of the times. And boy what times, like the music I was listening and singing too I just did not realise the background to it all. Lennon/McCartney were my drug, still are, but all the other artists that I listened too were singing Goffin/King compositions and I never knew. I am not going to write them down as they have now been well document over the years. It Might As Well Rain Until September, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Take Good Care Of My Baby, were as much a fave to me as Please Please Me, Satisfaction, Little Children and others, you will know what I am talking about if you are of that age group. If not Google it and see what you missed, not your fault I know, but a shame all the same.

Carole King was mainly anonymous, Lennon/McCartney and others were not, and that was the problem, it took me many years, and much shame, to realise what this woman went through to write down the angst in her life. And having seen the show once I immediately enquired at the main theatre desk and found that there was a seat, one seat, available for the next, and last night’s performance. I chat with my wife and she said, of course you can go, I will have the sofa and TV to myself, sorted. So I went the next night, I could have gone every night for the next month and still wanted more. The acting, singing the whole show was just too good to put in words that give it justice, yeah, magnificent, wonderful and indeed, beautiful, but nothing, and I mean nothing projects the pure joy I felt sat there listening to my youth all over again. Then realising that this girl of such tender years wrote stuff that, at the time, reflected my emotions as girls came and went out of my life.

But I will finish on a sad note, not a musical one, and I have to say I have scoured the internet, but I cannot get a DVD of the show, DVD you say, yes still in this day and age. For goodness sake my wife and I went to Las Vegas and whilst there went to see Celine Dion in her show, A New Day, which by the way was another show that knocked me out. And straight afterwards I bought the DVD, which, I think I may have worn out, if that is possible. So why?, why?, can’t I get a DVD of Beautiful the story of Carole King’s life, I am dismayed to say the least. I still have the memory, though I wished that it could be refreshed now and again with a DVD. And I have to say here, an official version not some dodgy stuff, but that is just me.

As I write all this I am listening to a complementation of her songs, with collaboration of course and I am just in a world of my own as I am transported back to, and I’m not ashamed to admit, my teenage years of many years ago. In fact on her favourite songs of mine, sang in the UK by Dusty Springfield, which I remember, but not the write/writers of the song, Going Back. It reflects how I feel at times in this world of ours today, Phil Collins had mad a version that I love listening to as well. And a version of Crying In The Rain by A-Ha just has me having it on a loop, and it just goes on with Carole’s songs. And I finish whilst I am listening to a song that immediately has me dancing with a girl, on a dance floor in a ballroom, in the City Of Hull, UK, at 13 years of age and singing it to her. Did she still love me tomorrow, goodness knows LOL.

School and the aftermaths.

I have come to believe that many people just did not like school, and here I must point out that I don’t mean the school of today but schools of my childhood in the 1960’s. However, the aspect of this tome may apply even today and that aspect is friendships at school and thereafter. I left school in 1965 when the world of work beckoned and off I went to face life ahead, totally unprepared as I now know. Yes, I had money, not much but still my own, well after I had paid for my keep after it being free up to that point, and I’m ashamed to admit I was reluctant to hand over a share of my meagre wages for such trivial things as food and lodgings. Because in truth that what I was becoming, a lodger, no sooner had I got home from work then it was washed changed, all clothes laundered by magic it seems, and out I went. I had friends to meet a life to lead and being a teenager in the 1960’s was indeed a heady experience, and as I found out, it had to be paid for, not always in money terms either.

Most of my friends were from school in those days but slowly, and ever so obviously, we kind of started to go our separate ways, some partings were for legitimate reasons. One of my mates emigrated, with his family of course, to Canada, others were not a so obvious parting of the ways but it usually meant a girl had appeared on the scene, who may or may not have been at the same school as us. But split up we did and the reasons were not rocket science, we were growing up and our tastes, in most thing, including friends, changed. We had visions of being the next Beatles or Stones or whoever,  having bought guitars and taken lessons together, we practised where we could and as often as we could. But the day, and the realisation that we would not be the next supergroup, dawned, and the once happy band of school leavers, left each other. As for me, I travelled the country following my local football (soccer to any USA readers) team and I did it by what seems now to be a quaint, and forgotten past time, hitch hiking.

Bear in mind I was 15 travelling the length and breadth of the country, and miraculously enough reaching my destinations, getting home after the game was a different matter. But then the opposite sex came into the equation as I used to go dancing at the local dance hall and I suppose, inevitably although not guaranteed, I met someone ‘special’. Well, they were all ‘special’ for a while but this one particular girl knocked me off my perch for a long time, in short, I was besotted. Just one of my former school friends was still around but he had grand plans to work abroad, which he did, so then there was one, me. I passed into my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, occasionally meeting one or two of my old school buddies, both of us older and wiser, well maybe not the wiser part. And over time an idea came to me to get us all together for ‘one last time’ so to speak. So, this idea became an obsession as I tried to track down as many old school friends as possible, bit difficult with the girls as most of them had married and so different names, and no Facebook or whatever. But I did well, with help from some of those old schoolmates I may hasten to add, around 50 of us in total including our old teachers, some in their 70’s and 80’s, got together in an upstairs room of a pub, it helped that my son was manager of that pub at the time.

From that initial meeting we did it again, and yet again and I was prepared to do a 4th reunion until I was struck down by illness and the impetuous was lost. But 50 years after leaving that school in Hull I have been on the phone with an old schoolmate I haven’t seen since then and I loved it. In fact, I now realise that I loved school much more than I ever knew I did, the lads and lasses I had argued with, fell out with, now seem as pleased to see me as I do them. Sadly one or two of those teachers who met up have passed away but what saddens me, even more, is the fact that some of those lads and lasses in my class have also passed away. I came across this information trying to track people down for the 1st reunion and since then 1 or 2 more have passed on, what? Yes it pulled me up big time, I sat reflecting on life for a long time, I recalled, like having an old video tape playing in your head, of us kids in the playground, of taking a fancy to a certain girl and then suddenly come across the information that she has died. Yes I know, Death and Taxes someone once said but these ‘kids’ were the same class, the same year, hell the same era as me, but no more. And so now when I meet up with who is left, and the number is dwindling, I find these people precious, despite any misgivings, we may have had many years ago. They are my link to my lingering memories of an era I hold dear to my heart. I may even try and get those of us who are left together again for ‘one more time’, as time itself is becoming very limited.

A thanks.

I thank everyone who has bothered to look at what I have written, it is an honour to know that what I have to say is what some people like to read. I will try and get around to as many of your own blogs a possible as I know the importance of visitors to your blog, thank you all once again.

Christmas 2016, still Christmas but a different kind of Christmas.

For as long as I can remember the Christmas in the UK ritual has rarely altered, when a child it would be my family, mum, dad and brother, who used to tramp around to all of our relatives, in the snow in those day and walking all the way, no car. Aunties, uncles, grandparents, there were all visited where we were fed and watered and presents were exchanged, then lugged all the way home. Very rarely the family used to come to us so that we could stay at home by the fire, but not very often, but as I grew up we didn’t do the visiting so much, I had my mates to hang around with. So the sitting in front of the TV watching stuff I normally wouldn’t have had time for was a thing of the past and when in my teens presents were not exchanged as such as those presents became gifts of money instead. This enabled me to spend it something I actually wanted not something I had unwrapped, then feigned delight or pleasure at some useless object, which sometimes was a former present given to the person how now passed it on to me.

Then my own family came along, a boy and a girl, but still the visiting continued but not all one way this time. But the ritual more or less stayed the same, visiting, watered, fed, then lug the presents back home, until 2016 that is. My own children were grown up with families of their own and I announced that I had booked 10 days away, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day (a UK peculiarity) so all the present giving, visiting would be done over a couple of days before we went. We arrived in Spain in a monsoon, it had been like it the day before we arrived and was still like the day after we arrived and it wasn’t like Christmas at all. But after the rain the sun, blue skies and sunshine and a Christmas that seemed very low-key by UK standards. So come Christmas day and the sun shone, and it was in the 20 degrees centigrade area, was this real? Just to visualise Christmas for us this year her are some pictures.

img_8174wp_20161221_12_56_39_prowp_20161222_15_03_17_prowp_20161225_09_30_33_prowp_20161225_09_31_55_prowp_20161225_09_37_46_pro

Now for those of you not used to the UK I have to explain that at this time of the year it is usually big coats, woolly hats, scarfs, gloves, and if you are walking about, an umberella is a must. For us, both my wife and I in our late 60’s, this was a revelation. But why wait this long you say, well all sort of reasons, none that I can argue with, our kids, our ageing parents, then our kids kids and it just never happened. Some of you will recognise this resort as being on Spain’s Costa Blanca, Benidorm, a haven for the British, and other nationalities. I have know people come here for 6 weeks at a time, and now I know why, but the Spanish have a different kind of Christmas and it’s not like the Brits at all, in fact I think theirs is around January 6th. Yes we have waited a long time, but it was worth it and no more excuses for not going, our families are grown up with their own families now so our ritual has come to a close. It was strange, no getting away from it, but our 10 days on the Spanish Costa’s went by far too quickly. We have been to Benidorm now in every month of the year and apart from the summer months, where the heat can be oppressive at times, we have experienced wind, rain, sun, but not snow, we have spent days sheltering from the weather and even more days basking in the weather, but this Christmas was both different and special.

Hull – City Of Culture 2017 (2)

Running on from the previous page there is much more and there is some reference to one of the major industries of Hull, and the many tradigies from that industry of deep sea fishing. Many men were lost but now it is another historical subject and there are those who will never forget the sacrifices of these brave men just for people to have their fish and chips.

But things are taking shape and there are alsorts of things in the pipeline for many shows, and displays throughout the year but here is just the start still only a couple of weeks into the year.

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

Am I proud? You bet, there are art displays in the Ferens Art Gallery and works by Leonard Da Vinci and others in the University Of Hull buildings and most of this stuff is available to see free. I also have to mention that over £20 million of refurbishments in the city centre has taken place and although as of this moment in time is not complete it’s nearly there. After years of neglect by those with the power to do improvements, maybe, just maybe, Hull maybe cool or whatever the term is these days, and all the laughing remarks of the past may be able to be put behind us. It’s a big maybe, but we have a chance and the more people who visit and actually take a look instead of just taking for granted what has been written in the past maybe in for quite a surprise. Hull City Of Culture? Laugh no more.

Hull – City Of Culture 2017

You may have heard of a city in the North of England in the UK, or, more than likely, you will have not, that is called Hull, or to be precise, and probably upper class about it, Kingston Upon Hull. No really that is its true name, confimed upon it by a King of long ago but very rarely used by its inhabitants as Hull seem’s sufficient. Or ‘Ull’ as it sounds from the locals as for some obscure reason we don’t pronounce the ‘H’ very well, but it is usually some perverse reason, amongst others, that Hull has had a bad press for many a year. This range from some toff from London visiting for about a week and declaring it the worst place to live, or crap town of the year something banal like that, and it has been going on for years. But 20 17 is here and 3 years ago, against multiple odds, Hull was chosen as the UK City Of Culture, (laugh, laugh, snigger, snigger, from those cretins of the press who have done their worst to pull anything to do with Hull down the gutter level.)

Well the story goes that Hull was the second most bombed city, after London, during WW 2, and Hull City Council did their best to carry on the destruction after the war, some beautiful buildings disappeared needlessly. But what is done is done so no good harping on about it now we have to work with what we have, and believe it or not we still have some culture left. Much of it is in the hands of the local authorities but wherever it is it now being put on show for the world to see during 2017. Hull have a year to change the preception of the city as a whole and it has got off to a great start with firework displays, light shows, and now a giant wind turbine blade on show in the city centre as a ‘work of art’. Now this is subjective, art always is, but this is no doubt a talking point amongst the many thousands who are turning up feeling proud that the city is, at last, coming out of the shadow of more famous, and more comprehensively financed by central government, better known cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and of course London.

So what is this work of art that is causing wonder, awe, and mirth in equal doses, its a blade from one of those giant wind farms that are springing up both on land and sea. But the thing is this particular blade is made in Hull by Siemens the giant international German firm that has imvested over £300 million in the area to make these colosal structures. To get an idea of what I mean here is a picture of mine:

wp_20170114_10_09_31_pro

A wind turbine blade made by Siemens in Hull on display for the City Of Culture 2017 celebrations.

A different angle to give an idea of the mass of the subject.

wp_20170110_12_08_43_pro

People are taking pictures in the way people do at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they stand back and raise their hands to give the impression of holding this thing up instead of a leaning tower.

There are various historical documents on display in the History Museum

THE DRIVE

The twilight was dancing on top of the hills, beyond were the lights of the city, and home. But to get there was another hour’s drive along these twisting roads, and Donna was feeling the effects of having driven nearly 120 miles already. There was no motorway café where she could have pulled off the road and had a coffee before the last part of the journey, and home. She decided against using the motorway, found it tedious, and, if the truth be told, she nearly nodded off at the wheel a couple of times. So this time she decided to take the ordinary roads, with her new sat nav gadget, it would be no problem, just tap in her destination, using the ‘Avoid motorways’ part, and follow the instructions. Road light were few, maybe an odd house here and there and one light, trees either side were tall and foreboding, casting long dark shadows in the fading evening light. There were many twists and turns, which coupled with her tiring, made driving a chore. As she hit a bit of a straight road there was a dazzling light from behind, something was catching up, fast.

“Bloody ell”

Donna shouted, at no one in particular, she couldn’t see in front of her because of the light behind, so she slowed down. The other vehicle slowed down, for at this point Donna couldn’t tell what it was, car? Van? Lorry? The bit of straight road came to an end and it was back to the twists and turns as before, only this time Donna had company. The vehicle was getting closer, so close at times their bumpers touched, and it was scaring Donna.

“Mobile” she suddenly remembered, in her bag.

“Damn” as Donna realised that her mobile phone was indeed in her bag, but her bag was in the boot, put there for safety, and, until now, forgotten about.

The vehicle behind was still close, too close, as Donna could now feel the sweat trickling down her back. Her fingers hurt, as she had been gripping the steering wheel extra hard, although she hadn’t noticed too much at the time. Then without warning the car, yes it was a car, a red sporty one at that, swerved out and raced past Donna, causing her to slam on her brakes and wait for the inevitable crash. But it never happened; the sports car disappeared around a bend and into thin air. Donna slowed down then came to a stop, wound down the window meaning to take in some fresh air, even if the air was now getting cold. But she remembered she was on a mainly unlit road so pulled off before coming to a halt. Her breathing was erratic as she warily stepped out of her car and made her way to the boot, with the intention of retrieving her bag, and mobile phone. She lifted the boot, grabbed the bag and moved quickly back to the driving seat. She fumbled about inside her bag for the phone, looked through her list of contacts and found Tricia. Donna pressed the connect button only to see the screen go blank, dead battery.

She began to weep, and tremble, was it fear, or all of a sudden the night air was too cold. She pulled back onto the road and took a steady pace to continue her journey, looking in her mirror, only to see darkness. But that comforted her that no one was behind, but something was in front, a car, a red sporty one. It was smashed up against a tree, steam and smoke coming from the bonnet, glass strewn across the road, blood trickling down the door. Donna slowed, but did not stop, as she passed the wreckage she couldn’t see the driver, she couldn’t see anyone. One front headlight and the backlight were somehow still on, and as the car started to drift out of sight Donna was wracked with both fear and doubts as to what she should do. She pulled over and got out of her car and started to walk back, very slowly. She picked up a large tree branch that lay at the side of the road that was for her protection, protection from what she didn’t know.

“Why doesn’t anyone come by?” she thought to herself, but there was nothing, and no one but this wreck of a car.

As Donna approached the car, her eyes scanning all around her for any movement, the coldness of the night air got to her, but still she carried on. At last she was within touching distance of the vehicle, but still could not see a driver. But donna could hear a car, not behind, but in front, and as she dashed back to the road she saw her own car disappearing into the distance, and something Donna hadn’t noticed up to that point, a trail of blood from the crashed car to her own. Stranded no protection from the elements, no protection from anything and still steam and smoke streaming from the crashed car. Donna started to look in the car for a coat, jumper, anything, and nothing at all. She went round the back thinking the boot may be loose and with that some sort of cover inside, coat anything. As if someone had heard her cries the boot was loose and inside was a cardigan, the type with a wrap round belt and a pocket at either side. Not a young woman’s clothes Donna mused, but welcome none the less, and unmarked. Donna herself was bordering on her late 20’s and the ever nearer 30’s but still regarded herself as a lot younger. There was nothing for it, she had to walk, waiting for a knight in shining armour to come along, was not an option.

Into the dark she ventured, every step sounded as though she had workmen’s steel toe capped boots on, she had boots yes, but fashion boots. Her pace was brisk so as to keep her warm, and move her nearer to home. Nothing came either way, nothing she could wave at, draw attention too, nothing and no one. She thought she heard noises, but there was nothing for company, only the trees, and the natural life that called the trees their home. She rounded a corner and her heart lifted, for in the distance, not too far away was the bright city lights, and the place called home, which had seemed a million miles away not long ago. Then her spirits lifted again as she saw a solitary roadside light, right next to a country cottage, not only that but the cottage had a room light on. She quickened her pace, dashed across the road and knocked on the front door. No reply, she knocked again, nothing, no slight movement of the curtains, nothing.

“Just my luck” she thought, so she ventured round the side to see if there was another entrance. Before Donna could get very far she was brought to an abrupt halt, for there, parked in the gloom, but just visible, was a car, her car.

No she hadn’t noticed it when she crossed the road, she hadn’t even noticed the gravel driveway, but this was her car alright. As quietly as she could she crept up to the vehicle to see if the keys were still in the ignition and if so she would jump back in her car and drive off. Whoever had drove away from the crash scene, now had the sense of mind to remove the car keys this time. One more try on the front door, someone must be in, her car was there, hers that was driven off from a crash scene from what seemed like an hour ago. Bang bang bang, she hammered with her fist, the noise seemed to echo for miles around.

Bang bang bang, hurting her hand this time, then looking towards the upstairs of the cottage and there at the window a face, splattered in blood, hair stuck to the face, which was pallid, and was also a woman’s face. Donna drew back staring at the upstairs window, but the face had gone. Instead Donna found herself face to face with a wreck of a body at the opening front door, a body that looked as if it would collapse at any minute, and did do just that. Donna cautiously moved forward, trembling, not of the cold, that had almost been forgotten, but fear. The heap on the floor didn’t move, but a line of blood was trickling from it, but Donna couldn’t determine from where on the body the blood originated, she was no medic. Donna bent down and tried to hear if there was any breathing, there was but it was faint. She got up and looked around the room, why hasn’t anyone been by for ages except this wreck of a woman, and looked for a phone.

She was cursing her decision not to take the motorway, when the body moved, in fact the body stood up and there before Donna was a tall woman, who, before the crash, looked like she had been elegantly, dressed but was now a mess of dirt, sweat and blood. The body moved forward, stumbling and finally falling into another heap before reaching Donna. The line of blood continued to where the body now lay, again quite motionless. Donna was about to dial 999 on the old fashioned black circular dial phone when it came to her to get her car keys and drive away from this place, where she had no reason to hang about other than this poor wreck lying before her and all the human race deciding to abandon this road to Donna herself. 9….9….9

“Which service do you require?” someone said.

“Police and an ambulance” seemingly as an afterthought.

“What’s your name?” Donna Westcliffe “What’s your location?” good question what is my location?

“I’m down the old A63 into Hull, near to Newport/Gilberdyke, that way, it’s a cottage”

“Has there been an accident, anyone injured?”

“Yes yes, why all these questions someone’s badly injured, please send someone”

“I need some detail first, are the injuries bad?”

“I would say very bad”

“You say a cottage, any name or number?”

“I don’t know just send someone”

“It’s the old main road to Hull, Newport/Gillberdyke way”

“A patrol car is on its way can you make yourself seen?”

“Ok I’ll stand outside”

“Hopefully it won’t take long” the voice rang off.

Donna saw a white tablecloth and wrapped that around her, for want of something else. Then she remembered, “My car” dashing round the end of the house she grabbed her jacket from the car, a black one and not very thick at that, but at least something else against the cold night air. With the tablecloth and the jacket along with the cardigan she had taken from the crashed car she didn’t feel too bad waiting for this patrol car. She looked inside the house, the body hadn’t moved and Donna feared the worst, but kept on looking for this car, any car really.

“Doesn’t anyone use this road at night?” thinking to herself.

After what seemed an eternity a shaft of light came down the road, a car, a patrol car at that. Donna frantically jumped up and down to attract the attention of the 2 police people inside the car, she couldn’t determine if they were both men or what, she was just glad to see them.

“Where’s the ambulance?” were Donna’s first words, but the policeman went into the cottage, and the police woman, as it turned out, stayed with Donna. There was a lot of mumbling into radios as Donna was lead to the police car. Before long an ambulance, more police cars, and personnel, the whole road outside the cottage was suddenly alive with activity, when only what seemed like a few moments ago not a soul had passed by all night.

Donna sat in the police car, still shivering when the policeman mumbled something to his companion, ‘hospital’ was the only word Donna could work out. With that another officer, who got in the driving seat, with the police woman sat in the back, next to Donna and they were off. They were hurtling towards Hull, with the police woman asking Donna various questions. The first lot of questions were about how she felt and such, then name, age, where do you live, where had she been, all written down. The warmth from the cars heater was a welcome relief to Donna as she was able to feel her body relaxing. Before long they were at this hospital, Hull Royal Infirmary, with a doctor and nurse to check her over. Nothing was found to be wrong, other than slight shock for which a hot cup of tea was prescribed. Then it was on to the police station, Queens Gardens, for more intensive questioning at which Donna felt she was some kind of suspect to all this drama. She repeated everything, twice, driving home, then being overtaken, then finding the crashed car, getting out of her car to see about the driver only to hear her own car being driven off. Then starting to walk, and knocking on the door of the cottage after finding he own car on the gravel driveway. The woman at the door, who then collapsed, all this being recorded, and written down by two men in suits, probably detectives Donna thought.

All track of time had been lost, all Donna wanted was to get home and her car back. That was not possible at the moment, she was told, so how would she get home? What seemed to be begrudging she was offered a lift in a police car, back to her flat. Donna had the frame of mind to retrieve her bag and a bit more stuff from her car when she spotted it on the drive, which included the keys to her flat. She wearily unlocked her door but was suddenly startled by the bell, the bell to her bedside alarm had just gone off. She looked at the clock, shafts of sunlight were breaking through the curtains, she was confused, and there in the parking space was her car. What was she doing on the bed, still immaculately dressed, everything intact? Putting on her coat she went down to see her car, perfect, just as it was last night as she had driven home down a long dark twisting road, come home into her flat and fell asleep on the bed.

“Last time I drive down that road when I’m tired” she mused.

She got undressed, showered, had a light breakfast and got ready for work. It had been one hell of a dream, or nightmare, she had had thought Donna, and gave a little laugh of relief to herself. It was a beautiful sunny, warm, sunny morning, as she went over to her car and was just about to climb in when this other car came round the corner. A sporty car, a red one at that, and driven by what looked like a tall elegant, well dressed woman. It passed Donna and sped off, disappearing into the distance.

Donna froze.

Do I fit into today?

Its been a funny kind of day, I don’t know if you people have the same thing a kind of nostalgic time when you hear a song or something triggers off days gone by. It may be a friend, relative or someone from your past but something clicks inside your head and memories come flooding back. Well in my case it was the death of yet another pop star from my early years when things seemed so much better, probably because I was younger, but none the less it got me thinking, do I fit into today? Now the pop star was not a mega blockbusting star and in fact some of you may never have heard of him, his name was Alvin Stardust, who was originally known as Shane Fenton but whose real name was Bernard Jewry and he sang a kind of what was called bubblegum pop in those days, just sing a long type of stuff, easy listening and easy going and the one I particularly like was a song called I Feel Like Buddy Holly.

The lyrics are very clever and whilst relaxing listening to this song over and over I was transported back to the time when this song was in the charts and it occurred to me that I loved those days. The music the buzz the clothes, an atmosphere of a life worth living but of course it was not all roses, there was death and mayhem around the world but closer to home things were manageable, you bills, mortgage and other stuff were never neglected, well ours were not, and although money wasn’t plentiful we got by. But I look at today and I don’t have that buzz, life has a lot of advantages in the technological sense, the internet for a start that enables me to write this. I’m still married to the same girl and somehow we still have that spark but so much of what I was use to has gone, not least friends and relatives.

I remember that once I wrote a piece about life resembling a jigsaw and not knowing where it was I just typed Jigsaw in my search box and this is what I found. Bear in mind the dates when this was written and I haven’t updated anything since but the outline of the whole thing still remains true.

JIGSAW
John Entwistle, bass guitarist of pop group The Who, died on Friday 28th June 2002, just another pop star of the sixties passed into history. No scandal, no drink and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, well not this time anyway, well maybe not. What really is the matter this time is my jigsaw. The pieces are getting lost at such an alarming rate that the picture is becoming unrecognisable What am babbling on about you are saying, and the answer is this. Life.

I likened my life to a jigsaw that at one time was totally complete. The pieces consisted of Mam, Dad, Brother, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, and an assortment of hero’s and heroines, and of course girlfriends, the jigsaw was truly huge, but all the pieces were intact. Then I lost a piece, my Granddad actually, the first time I was old enough to understand death, but other than that the fact was that my jigsaw would always have a piece lost no matter how hard I looked for it. I was 14 or 15.

After that the jigsaw stayed complete, minus one piece, until a few years later when piece’s started disappearing on a regular basis and there was nothing I could do about it no matter how much I looked after my jigsaw. Then the day when I lost one of the most important pieces, I could barely look at my jigsaw. My Father had died. Death does rather make you look at your own life but what it doesn’t make you understand is the total indiscrimination of death. Death has no respect for age, or my jigsaw, as pieces I never expected to loose during my lifetime disappeared overnight.

After my Father passed away it was downhill all the way after that. Mother, Aunties, Uncles, In-Laws, nieces, and even some cousins went missing from my jigsaw. Some had reached a fine old age, many unfortunately did not, in fact they reached hardly any age at all in relation to my own. Then I found out about a couple of old schoolmates, the same age as me, but no more. My jigsaw of life was in a sorry state. And so back to John Entwistle, where does he fit in the scheme of things. Well he is another piece of my jigsaw of life that is forever lost and cannot be replaced along with the likes of John Lennon, George Harrison, and other personalities who helped complete my growing up and therefore complete my jigsaw.

There are literally hundreds of people who helped my jigsaw of life become complete over the years, now, sadly, a lot of these people are passing away and so my jigsaw is taking the appearance of more holes than pieces. It’s time to put the remaining pieces of the jigsaw away and keep them in a safe place it’s just too fragile to be messing about with.
Just like life. But wait a moment I have an update to my jigsaw, well that is being rather bland about it but I have lost more pieces, not only that but one of the biggest pieces of all, my best mate Trev Fall. Along with rock star, Maurice Gibb, this big piece was one of the worst pieces I have lost for many a year and now my jigsaw is in a very sorry state. No matter what I do everytime I take out my jigsaw another piece or two is missing. Buy another? No I can never ever replace the jigsaw of life I once had, even if I had all the money in the world, my jigsaw pieces are lost, forever.

Saturday, 29th June 2002.
Updated 14th January 2003.

I am quite proud of that piece I wrote and I could add a few other pieces that have gone missing since but I’ll leave it as it is. And so to my original headline, I don’t fit in, I’m not keen on the music of today although some of it has merit, I still wear jeans and jumper, not trainers just shoes, I don’t smoke, never have, but my circle of friends and family get ever smaller. The internet is good and bad, good is it allows so much to be  available from the keyboard and yet I feel that I am being watched constantly by unknown persons. I read of a world in which natural resources are in the hands of few and not always a friendly few. I risk being hacked, stalked, watched, terrorised, scrutinised, and other stuff and my life laid out in a digital world that I have chosen to inhibit.

But beam me back Scotty to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s where I met friends from school, I could approach a girl just for a chat and not be regarded as some pervert. There was drugs but I wasn’t interested, peer pressure had no effect on me, like smoking, cool? give me a break. Drink I did try and did come unstuck a few time in other words I was ill, very ill sometimes. But I got fed up of my head being down the toilet and the contents of my inside being transported into the bowl, drink is ok, in moderation. But now? Jeepers I don’t know where to begin, I have football (soccer) on tap, I use to look forward to one game at week that I went too. Music was Top Of The Pops, BBC if you don’t mind and a portable radio where  the sound disappeared sometimes.

Records that were as big as dinner plates then saucers and cost nearly as much as I earned now I have a memory stick that holds fiver thousand song, I’ll put that in figures, 5,000 songs. I have a TV with more channels that I know I have and never watch most of them, things were simpler with just 3. And so it goes on, you get the drift, would I like to be young again in this day and age is what I am really trying to say? And the answer is an emphatic NO, but I would be willing to go back and live those times again, just one more time? I Feel Like Buddy Holly cause its raining in my heart. (Lyrics are copyright by the way I believe Mike Batt) I know I would, but would you?

 

My Poem My Pictures.

CLOUDS.

Oh silver clouds high in the sky, passing on your way
You do not linger very long, you have no wish to stay
Stretched far into the horizon over land and sea
Some white and light that dance along, some heavy black and mean
But now and then the sun breaks through with piercing shafts of light
And for anyone to notice it’s a truly awesome sight
So bye dear clouds be on your way until you reach your end
For over the horizon some more clouds do descend
IMG_6525 IMG_6536 IMG_6558 IMG_6560 IMG_6564

IMG_6542