Monthly Archives: September 2016

Stop

I can’t stop crying
Once I start

I can’t stop loving you
With all my heart

I can’t stop hurting
At any hour of the day

I cant stop wishing
You hadnt gone away

I can’t stop thinking
About the great times we had

I can’t stop this feeling
That makes me so sad

I can’t stop the world
Going on feels so wrong

I can’t stop my need for you
Even though you’re gone

I So want to stop
My heart beating inside

My life is so pointless
Since the moment you died.

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Create

Many a special hour was spent in the garden either dabbling in horticulture, read digging and watering etc,  or relaxing,  read drinking and…. I’ll make up your own minds. This was true when we were living in London and remained true when we moved Spain. 

After a morning’s visit to the local garden centre we had been in the garden most of the afternoon planting and tidying when the phone rang.  

Tony went off to answer it while I carried on with bits and pieces, helped as always by the dogs who thought it was great to carry of flower puts and chew them up all over the place.  

About twenty minutes later Tony came back out.  “It was J,” he announced. “She’s at a loose end so in told her she could come over if she wants. ” 

“That’s nice. ” I said honestly as I stuccoed of my gardening gloves.  

“She’s bringing the wine,” Tony added. 

“Okay,” I was just about ready for a sit down and glass of wine. 

“I think she’s probably expecting dinner.” Tony was waiting on my reaction.

I rolled my eyes.”What are you cooking?” I asked,  joking of course.  

“But…” Tony stammered.

“I’ll do something although I’ve no idea what.” I let him of the hook.  

“Whatever it is it’ll be amazing,” Tony flattered.”Whatever you create is always tasty.”

“Ok. Ok.  I’ll see what I can through together from the cupboards. But first I’m showering.” I said. 

Whatever I created was well received and once again we were all well-stuffed. 

After J had gone Tony tackled the washing up, leaving me to relax on the sofa. 

“You outdid yourself again,” he announced as he came through from the kitchen, tea-towel in one hand, wine bottle in the other. “Have yourself another glass of wine.”

“Are you trying to get me drunk and take advantage of me again?” I asked holding out my glass.

He laughed: “Like I’ve ever had to try that hard.”

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Free

Whenever we holidayed in our newly purchased flat in Vilanova we planned to do a bit of renovating. During the first couple of days we would buy paint and brushes, and maybe the odd item of furniture that took our eye, but that was quite often as as far as we got. “Let’s do some tomorrow and go to the beach,” or suchlike suggestions would invariably escape from one of our mouths, and of course the work rarely got done.  Even when we did set to with the painting or cleaning up we always needed suitably long and usually alcohol fuelled breaks.

It was during one of our first sojourns at number 33 (AKA Casa TulStig) that we decided to go into town to check out what that night’s fiesta was all about.  It was billed as a vermut of some kind, which really meant very little to us. We did get the words for celebration, but everything we had seen was in Catalan and it would still be a while before we managed to get to grips with yet another language.

We decided to eat early considering we would probably we drinking a little, so dropped into one of our preferred places -The Munich Bar – just near the main Placa de la Vila (Town Square).

After eating we left the bar by the side door nearest the square where the festivities were getting underway. There were loads of people milling around and the sound equipment was being tested with the usual “Un, dos…… Un, dos,” We decided that as nothing was yet happening we would drop into the Cellar on the  other corner of the square. This was another of our favourite haunts where a good red wine cost around 25 pence back in the day straight from the barrel. A glass of cava was slightly more expensive at around 80 pence. ( the exchange rate was good then too).

Little by little we could hear the excitement outside building so decided to go back out and join the crowd. By this time the Mayor, or some other important dignitary was making a speech. We listened to the sounds but most of the words were pretty much indistinguishable. We caught the important ones like Cava, fiesta, gracias etc but still had no idea of what was really going on. The atmosphere, as always was amazing.

At the end of the speech the crowd roared. At this point a band came on stage and started loudly playing  a mix of Spanish and English favourites.  We simply watched what was going on, and it seemed to us that people were going to the bar and coming a way with free bottles of cava. Being fairly reserved Englishmen at that time we simply watched. We didn’t feel brave enough to go to the bar and ask.

All of a sudden a young man burst out of the crowd heading straight for us waving and shouting “Hello, hello, yes,” He was wearing grubby ripped jeans and a t-shirt with ‘Slipknot’ on it. We didn’t realise at the time that it was the name of a group. From where we were standing he looked a bit wild and definitely high on something.  Tony grabbed my arm. Fight or flight response were engaged.

We had no idea what he wanted, but we were cautiously suspicious. I looked over my shoulder to see if he may be shouting to someone else. He wasn’t.  We were in our usual holiday evening dress of jeans, checked shirts and leather jackets. We were so used to getting abuse in England for how we looked that we thought we were about to suffer some here.

“Free,” he shouted as he got closer. “Free. Cava. Free.”

He thrust two plastic glasses at us and filled them from the cava bottle he was carrying. “Friend,” he said raising his plastic glass in salute. “Free, Friends, dance, drink.” He obviously knew some English but clearly wasn’t brave enough, or was too high, to string a sentence together. He put the bottle down and grabbing Tony’s hand started dancing. he held out his hand for me to join in too.

After a few moments he picked up the bottle again and handed it to us. Tony took it and was immediately pulled into an embrace. Seconds later Tony was released and I was afforded the same embrace. “Everyone friends,” Slipknot told us. “Lovers?” he asked surprising us. “Si!” I replied expecting his attitude to us to change. “Yes,” he said winking. He hugged us both again before wandering off  in the general direction of the bar.

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What’s Inside?

For some time Tony and I had been thinking about buying a holiday home abroad.  almost everywhere we went felt right. Arriving in Spain for the first time I knew I had come home and we decided there and then that we wanted a place here, if nothing else to retire to. With the limited funds we had it felt like some kind of pipe dream. We’d not long ago bought our home in London but were aware that it was a now or never situation.

We’d been looking for a flat in Sitges, near Barcelona, for the first three days of our holiday.  The mornings were spent trawling the estate agents windows and offices for anything we could afford. Prices were similar to those in London and we knew how difficult it had been to find a place we could afford there.  We were beginning to think that it just wasn’t going to happen.

We were staying with a friend in his flat. While  sitting lazily on the sofa having a morning coffee the next day, which we had decided would be a property free day, I was looking through a local free newspaper called the Claxon. Of course I was drawn to the property section.

“Look at this,” I  threw the newspaper into Tony’s lap.

“What?” he almost barked. He didn’t like me throwing things when I could just as easily pass them over.

“Inside, page 42, under property.” I said and leaned over and pointed out an advert.

“It’s got to be a misprint,” he suggested. “There’s no way a two bedroom flat would be that cheap, and are you sure you want to look in Vilanova? We don’t know it at all.”

“Let’s go see the agent anyway,” I suggested. “It might just be the bargain we are looking for.”

“Mr Positive. Don’t get your hopes up too much, you know what you’re like.” Tony warned. He was right I had already decorated a couple of flats just while we had been looking in the estate agents windows.

“Okay, but come on let’s go see. The agents is called Nevots and is in Rambla Sama, wherever that is..” I’d raised my hopes high already and although I knew that the trip could be a tricky one with our limited  Spanish and could even be a waste of time.

We caught the train to Vilanova, just a five minute journey down the coast. After a wander around the town and having asked a couple of locals where the estate agents was we found it. We went in and asked, in faltering Spanish and a lot of gesticulating, if we could see the flat in the advert. The receptionist told us to sit down and disappeared into the back office. We were both nervously fidgeting.

“Good morning, I am Sr Nevot.” Sr Nevot announced himself in English as he stood in his office doorway.

“You speak English?” A statement and a question all in one.

“Yes. I heared you speaking and you are English too,” Sr Nevot replied. “You would like see this flat, ahora?” he asked indicating we should follow him into his office.

“Yes please,” I said quickly.  “Pero… El price is correcto?” Spanglish looked like the best way forward.

Sr Nevot looked at the advert I had brought with us and confirmed that the price was correct. “Moment,” he said picking up the phone. From what I understood  from his conversation he was calling an associate to come to the office to take us to the flat.  I related what I understood to Tony.

For the next few minutes Sr Nevot filled us in on the flat we were going to look it. It was indeed a bargain. This was because it had been a Granny’s flat who had died. The children couldn’t agree that anyone of them should live there so they intended to make a quick buck by selling.

We were driven to the flat which felt quite a way out of town by Sr Nevot’s assistant, who spoke no English.

On arrival I was slightly disappointed at the view of the flat from the street. “Hmmm,” I sighed.

“Let’s see what’s inside.” Tony was still hopeful. If was amusing how one of us could always remain positive.

Nevot’s assistant let us in and proceeded to open the blinds. The flat was a bit dark and stuffed with ancient furniture. The wallpaper was peeling in places and the kitchen had seen better days, but it was authentic Spanish. “I love it.” Tony said with no enthusiasm in his voice. I thought he was being sarcastic until he nodded towards the assistant and I understood we were playing a game of not showing any interest.

“It’s okay,” I said to Tony nodding frantically behind the other guys back.

“It’s perfect,” Tony said in the same tone of voice. “Needs a lot of work, but we can do most of it.”

We wandered through to the garden. In the middle of the patio there was a well with bucket and tower. All along one wall were chicken cages and at the end of the garden a huge shed that had been used for keeping goats.  Weeds were growing everywhere. Needless to say the floor was less than clean, covered in …… well you get the idea!

Back outside Nevot’s assistant opened the car door for us. “Let’s walk back,” I suggested. “We can explore round here a bit first.”

“Andamos,” I told Nevot’s assistant.

He looked amused but shut the car door and asked if we liked the flat. I told him that we did and would come to the office before they closed for lunch “Antes de la una,” he advised before driving off.

Just two doors up the road was a bar. Tony nodded and head in that direction. Once inside we sat at the window, figures of interest in this quiet barrio. The owners were lovely people and so friendly and helpful. We ordered beers.

“So are we going to buy it?” Tony asked I could tell he was as keen as I was.

“OMG, OMG,” I was excited and nervous at the thought of us having our own place in Spain at last.

Tony laughed. “Is that a yes?” We toasted our luck clinking our glasses together and ordered another before heading back into town to secure the deal.

1989-calle-valencia-33

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Dirty

Today 3 Haiki for the price of one! 

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Lets get dirty, yeah?
I want to be a wild thing.
covered in sweat and mucky.

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I’ve got a dirty mind
In ev’ry conversation
I can find the smut.

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You’re a dirty dog
You’re covered in dirt and muck
You Rabbit chaser!

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The Chinese Box

Today’s story is a break from the group prompts I have been using …..

At our writing group we were challenged by our facilitator with a choice of objects and two words, around which we were to write a story in 30 minutes.

The objects I chose were: A Chinese box, a passport, perfume, a razor and a light-bulb. The two words I had to incorporate into my story were Conflicting and Major.  As soon as I had seen the bright red Chinese box I knew it was capable of magic, and had some kind of idea what it might be able to do….. this is what I wrote….

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Anna was just an ordinary seven your old girl, well at least she thought so. What she had stumbled on recently was not so ordinary…

Anna slipped silently into her mum’s bathroom. She knew it was officially out of bounds but she knew she had to go in there at least one more time, and probably more. Conflicting thoughts burst through the synapses of her brain as she tried to balance the naughtiness of what she was doing with her need to do it; and just maybe she was being a little brave.

She hadn’t been caught yet but guessed that if she was it would be a major crime and would possibly carry a major penalty. Some things were not negotiable her mum had told her once as she had castigated her for another slip as Anna liked to think of it, and one of those things was the sanctity of her mum’s private bathroom. Anna thought that what she was doing now might juts be one of those major crimes.

She quietly closed the door behind her and leaned back against it with a sigh. She stared at the reason for her visit: the beautiful red silk Chinese box. She thought it was exquisite, a word she’d heard he mum once use and had checked it  in a dictionary. It fitted the box well, she decided.  As she stared at it she hoped that it would once again be her passport to magic just like it had before.

In a few steps she had crossed the tiled floor and eagerly reached for the box. She touched it but stopped as she accidentally grazed he mum’s razor, knocking it into the sink. In the few seconds of contact with the razor she had a detailed flashback of the awful time she had been transported into the black house, and of the stick man brandishing another much more sinister type of razor.

It had been just a few days before that she had had one of those aha light-bulb moments  realising that when she travelled through the box her destination reflected her thoughts or how she was feeling at that moment. If she was sad  or thinking about sad or bad things she went to sad or dark and dangerous places which were difficult from which it was difficult to get back. If she was happy  or thinking of good things she went to nice places where she seemed to have more control over what happened.

Before touching the box again she composed herself. She filled her mind with wonderful memories: memories of being with her dad and mum, before…, times at fairs , at the seaside, eating scrumptious food and of cuddling her favourite toys. All negative thoughts of the black house or anything bad were banished.

Lifting the box off the glass shelf Anna was aware of the tingly shifting feeling that she had felt the other times.  Her senses had been heightened. Anna believed she could feel every fine vibrant silk strand that covered the box. The heavy sent of her mum’s favourite perfume filled her nostrils. She could hear her heart beating loudly above the sound of her breath.

She glanced at herself in the mirror. She noticed that she was becoming less solid, more of a shadow, she could almost see the door handle on the bathroom door through her body.

Anna opened the box. With the usual popping sensation Anna had disappeared from the bathroom into a completely different world, a different reality, or maybe a different time.

Although she had got used to the experience to some extent the wonder of what had just happened still filled her to brimming.

From the brightly lit bathroom she had arrived with the box in the clearing of an incredibly verdant forest. She had a gently probing thought that  she knew this place. ‘What now?’ she whispered to herself. She was ready for whatever adventure awaited her.

 

 

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Macro

Fed up with the excuse for a kitchen, and with eating out all the time we decided to make our first big purchase together. It was Saturday morning and we took the short walk across Soho to the Liberty store.

In the basement we found what we’d been looking for. It was 1983 and microwave ovens were all the rage, and we were going to get one for our bedroom/bedsit so we could at least heat food at home.

24-microwave-1983-2

“Hi guys, I’m John. Can I help you with anything?” The sales assistant sidled over and asked. We gave him the once over. Blonde short hair,  droopy moustache, white shirt and smart well filled trousers.

“I’m sure you can, John,” I replied in the same tone he had asked his question.

“Is this what you’re interested in?” he asked managing to point to the microwave and grab his crotch at the same time.

Tony and I made rapid eye contact and smiled. “Definitely;” Tony said.

John proceeded to tell us the specifications of the microwave, most of which went over my head.

“Is there any chance of a discount for cash?” Tony asked cheekily.

“Sorry guys, I’d bend over backwards for two good looking guys like you, but discounts are tricky,” John apologised, “Hang on though I’m pretty sure that’s a dent just there so I could try for a little discount.”

There was no dent really, the microwave was in perfect condition.

“We’d be grateful of as big a one as you can get for us.” Tony maintained  eye contact with the assistant.  My eyes were elsewhere.

“I bet,” John laughed. He sashayed off to the cash till and spoke to another guy nodding in our direction. They both gave us the once over before finishing their discussion before John came back. “I can give you ten,” he advised. “That’s percent: ten percent off today,” .

“Ten is good,” I laughed.

“We’ll take it,” Tony added.

“I hoped you might.” John grabbed a box and in moments we were at the cash till with the microwave all packed up and paid for ready to go.  The box was huge. Microwaves in the 80s were big, bulky and heavy.

“I just need your address and number for our records,” John told us.

“Really?” I asked.

“Of course not, but I’ve got to get to see you both somehow,” John  replied winking.

“What time do you get off?” Tony asked.

“I finish work at six today, so any time after that,” John added another meaning.

“Then we’ll be in the admiral Duncan at seven if you fancy a drink, or something,” Tony told him looking at me for confirmation. I nodded agreement.

“I’ll see you later then,” John said leaving us to manhandle the heavy microwave package to the street and into a cab.

“Shaftesbury avenue, Opposite McDonalds,” Tony told the driver. Turning to me over the top of the huge box he added “Interesting morning’s shopping,  A micro wave and a macro package.”

 

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