A letter, a twist, a tale.

1000509261001_2013980530001_William-Shakespeare-The-Life-of-the-Bard.jpgSaturday 10 September 2016.

Last evening after returning home from our holidays, we attended a parish get together to celebrate William Shakespeare’ 400th. It was all a bit rush as we had forgotten our promise to do a “turn” upon the village hall makeshift stage, the floor to be precise, and after consuming the usual sausage rolls, dodgy eggy delights and a can of the trusty speckled hen, I was called to perform.

As the previous ‘star turns’ had kept in keeping with the Bard theme, I had thought I would perform a take on his works, considering I never studied Shakespeare at school, ever, tonight’s foray, with a little tuition from YouTube and with dust in my throat and a severe case of the nervous dispositions, I stationed myself on the marker on the floor next to a musical lectern, (to be honest, I think it was a coffee stain) and held on tight to my written parchments, adjusting the position of my soles …. and trying not to make eye contact with any of the critics …….

The first piece was of course, a Sonnet, number XVIII, fourteen lines of goobledy gook and to be precise, and it went a little not like Richard Burton would have …

(cough, cough, excuse me) … adjusts spectacles!

“Shall. I. compare thee. to. a. summer’s-day?

Thou art more lovely, and. more. temperate:

Rough winds. do shake. the darling buds ….. of May,

And summer’s lease, hath all, too short. a date:

Sometime. too hot. the eye of heaven. shines,

And often. is his. gold, complexion, dimmed,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing, course. untrimmed:

But thy eternal, summer. shall. not. fade,

Nor. lose possession. of that fair. thou owe’st, 

Nor. shall death. brag thou. wander’st, in his, shade,

When. in eternal. lines to time. thou growe’st,

So long. as men. can breathe, or eyes. can see,

So. long. lives. this, and this, gives life. to thee”.

I finish, and am met with great applause from the lovely audience,  a small intimate group, lesser wouldn’t fill half the front row of a West end Musical theatre. I continue, so, as a modern-day tribute to the Bard himself, I select a composition I wrote last year, a letter, of which “Paul writes to the ninth month of the Gregorian Calender” …. shaking like the last leaf on a tree, and holding on tightly to my invisible friend, I start my first public oration.

(coughs, again)

My dearest September,

I can see just how well you are ….

Your beauty tells me, so,

let me take this opportunity to thank you, yet again, for a perfect month.

As always,

you bring me birthday greetings, … with cake!

Beautiful sunsets, the warmth from friends conversation and the great calmness of getting older.

And watching the progression of Mother Nature,

as she starts her transition to a different season.

Your waves come to greet me from the East,

and show me how they can do tricks with extremes of strength, and high jumps into the air.

They spray their might, up into the sky,

grasping the remains of the sun-lit rays,

before pulling them down, deep, deep into the briny depth.

It shows no fear, has no agenda or script,

and beats anything in its path that isn’t bolted down.

The low morning sun peeks into my courtyard,

and bounces her infinite rays off the shining glitter ball on the tree.

Showing no shame, she sneaks through the horizontal blinds and send blasts of inert energy which disperse silent imps of light, all through the house.

Fresh breezes start to dampen down early to late afternoon,

and your shadows lengthen,

beyond any reasoning.

Occasional smokey whiffs,

the scent of a chimney lit,

an aged person,

like myself,

rub our hands, in front of a drawing hearth.

We try hard to remember, how many times this ancient ritual of making fire has been completed, and in doing so we laugh to ourselves.

The sun sets much faster every evening now,

and by tonight,

the extended arm of heat retracts even more.

Local folk talk of Indian summers and sit late into the day,

they watch the sunset fall behind the moorland hills, whilst the intense rays of the sun heats their face with closed eyes.

Quiet conversation and small talk are answered with contented humms and laughter, memories of years past are screened, with perfect clarity inside ones head.

It’s time to say goodnight dear September and dear friends,

for tomorrow is nearly October,

and you WILL greet me, AND others,

with shrouds of sea mist, cold air, and many beautiful things.

For now good people,

it’s time to sleep,

awaken refreshed,

and let’s celebrate another day,

and if i don’t awaken,

I WILL remember,

that my beautiful September would have been my chosen month.

The End.

Apparently, it was well received, (knocks back a stiff one)

Paul Stamp Sept 2016  (amended)

Advertisements

August …. ‘Over & Out’ !

calendar_August_31.png

So strange for me at this moment in time, my body clock is really out of sync.

Picture this, its dark outside, …… how do I know this you ask? … Because its early doors, 05:45, only the silence of the early dawn, there is no wind so far, only the whisper of a breeze, I sit comfortably in the leather window chair which softly creaks,  I am able to make out through my unaided eyes the port marker light on the end of the Breakwater and a few residential lights splattered along the coastline. Someone is snoring heavily, laid comfortably in her basket is Hannah, the phantom plum stone boffer, a nice little present from the midnight ritual of raiding the waste bin, she sneaks a peek at me and twitches the end of her tail, a sign she has recognised that I am not the enemy. I gently doze, I am tired, a bit like today, the last day of a wonderful August.

Sadly these days I prefer to keep in the shade during midday and afternoon, rather like a vampire, who might be out on day release. Just the mere thought of looking up towards that perfect sphere of plasma that keeps us so firmly on the ground makes me want to dig deep into my pocket to check that my sick pills are still there. Too much heat and the culmination of my new anticoagulant tends to make my blood putter away like a pan of borscht on a hot plate.

The sunshine is such a wonderful phenomenon, and I absolutely adore it. To be honest I havent done this for quite a few years I can tell,  but I would often have the need to become at one with nature and disrobe, the drawback was having to walk across a shingled beach for a mile or so to get to where everyone seemed to know you,  but dared not ask your name.

To feel the intensity of the heat totally enveloping you like an invisible cloaking device was quite sensual and bought a certain euphoria to ones inner self. In another dimension I probably would have been quite happy dancing naked round a worshipping block or laying out on the ground spread-eagled waiting for that something surreal to occur. Even in my dreams I cannot see that happening, especially as there are far more bodies more beautiful than ever nowadays to even consider sacrificing mine, believe me, that ship sailed a long time ago.

Somehow, I think I may have said far too much, again. But hey, what the hell, at least you are reading this and that’s all that matters, hopefully so are many others too.

Only a few more days to go and my mate and I will be shading under a cabana in Mallorca, a mere 36C will be infiltrating through the wind bellowed cloth above onto my delicate porcelain wrinkled old carcass, well, of what ever remains that are not covered. That will be just from the knees down, and naked from the elbows. I may be wearing a hat, that subject is a bone of contention, as I may have the perfect face for radio, a head for a hat I have not.

I have noticed that the afternoon siesta will become a need of desire again.

“uf , estoy caliente” !

Phew, I am hot! <wink>

The Vicar & the Undertaker tour …..

Monday 22 August 2016

Ian & Ian Main Press Picture.jpgI was asked by my Vicar if I would be interested in helping promote something that he and his friend, an Undertaker, were planning together.

Why me I ask myself?

Apparently, word in the parish has it that im a whizz kid with Social Media, fact is, I do have a “MyFace” account and run a personal “Tweeter” feed, but that is certainly nothing compared to what I had agreed to saying ‘yes’ to in the beginning. The only way I can describe it now is, as it’s a monster, that’s ‘M O N S T E R’ ! or phonetically for greater effect …… …..Thats “EM  OH  EN  ES  TEA  EE  ARRR” 🙂

Now this monster has not been or is ever likely to be possessed by the devil, nor is it likely to be anything undead, (can you see the relationship here with the title yet?) …. but it certainly has started to become a bit of a wild creature, steadily running out of control and having to try to liaise and ensure that everyone to the right point at the right time is very demanding, but I think somehow it might just tame itself eventually and it will become a great success.

The two Ian’s, both motorcycle enthusiasts had agreed that they wished to visit the Four Cardinal Points of the United Kingdom on their own bikes. Both Gentlemen then decided that they would like to ask the community to consider sponsoring the run or make a donation to help improve access for the disabled and elderly in the three of our five churches in our Mission Community here in Brixham.

So, it would seem that with my previous history of planning events and my once busy work schedule I now wear a new hat with the title “Tour & Fund Raising liaison Officer & Social Media Representative” (something like that) … and that’s one bloody big hat I can tell you.

It is not one of my creations, it seems to have just grown on its own and something that is this big, one could possibly guess that it was designed by one of the great milliners ever, David Shilling. No doubt Gertrude, his mother would love to wear it, that’s only if she were still alive today.

Setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter feed was easy and we have been promoting this event like crazy, certain weekday evenings have #DevonHour & #TorbayHour on Twitter and the feeds go crazy. Now we have the local press involved and today after numerous amounts of correspondence,  the lovely Kerry White on her Saturday radio show has invited us to join her which will give us the opportunity to Q&A on a Live On-Air interview, scheduled just before midday on BBC Radio Devon.

I have even managed to rope in the Bishop of Plymouth Nick Mckinnel if he would bless the first part of the tour which starts Thursday September 1st 2016 to the South Cardinal via Plymouth City Centre, and he has agreed. Only this morning I received confirmation that our local biking community known as BMAD are escorting the Vicar and the Undertaker from the departure point here in Brixham on-toward the A38 where another biking chapter will take over …. I think this might just become both awe-inspiring and very emotional for Rev’d Ian & Mr Loram, most bikers are of a hardy breed and look out for those that they care for.

You can of course, follow the tour  on

https://www.twitter.com/@vicarundertaker or

https://m.facebook.com/VicarAndUndertakerTour/?fref=nf

Or we would really appreciate any online donations if you are able.

Thankyou very much http://www.gofundme.com/VicarAndUndertaker

 

 

No butts about it!

champagne-01.jpg

Chris my neighbour has had an overflowing water tank for a while, its of the old combination type and gaining access to change the ballcock is going to be an absolute nightmare. However, it only overflows when it feels like it. So we came up with an idea and bought a water-butt for the garden. All we would have to do was connect the overflow discharge pipe to the inlet of the butt and it will collect the otherwise wasted water and we can use it to slush down the yard with a dose of Dettol in the watering can.

It arrived today, and now it stands  in the corner, empty!

So, for its arrival we finished off the opened bottle of Cava from last evenings dinner and raised a toast ….. “up your butt and no babies”

Thursday August 20th 2016

Sliding doors ….

Monday August 16th 2016 …

P1010860.jpgHave you ever heard of the film called Sliding doors ? … If yes, then you would know It’s all about our lives and the already planned route we take ahead, there are plenty of “what if’s and many regrets” and lots of “I shouldnt have done that or I wished I had” not to mention strange occurrences in life. If you can relate to this, then you will understand what I am writing about here.

Alternatively in simple terms it is recognised in real life as living in one of two Parallel universes!

I can remember the date simply as 1975 August, I was almost twenty. We as a joint family had just arrived in Spain after landing at Alicante Airport The slimy dago taxi drivers were queuing up to take advantage of the innocent and the naive traveller, we got hooked, he ripped us off for the journey onto the destination resort of Calpe which was much further along the coast of the Costa Blanca. We however had a great ride through Benidorm and noticing posters for the infamous Sticky Vicky we all giggled and smirked at each other. This was to be our first group holiday as two families sharing together. One of my fathers works colleagues had invested in a frontline apartment in a modern tower block called the “El Mar dos”

The insipid yellow building was probably the first one of the many tall buildings to be built at this end of the small town, and so in a small basic flat on the first floor we all bunked down and mucked in. My first spoken spanish word was webble … actually pronounced as heuvo,  an ‘egg’ !   The famous ‘webble’ still sticks, even to this day.

Mother had stuffed teabags and tins of baked beans into her suitcase with many other food items which she was sure the Spaniards wouldn’t have in their Mercado’s. My dad had packed a three-piece suit in his case. He did get to wear it once at the Jousting event and he stuck out like a sore thumb and then again at the Benidorm Palace, an infamous shit hole then and im sure it still bears the same title and remains the same now, nothing like it’s portrayed by the TV show. Just two of the many tourist traps available to gullible punters, fortunately we only got caught out the once.  

My best mate Derek and his parents got on well with my parents, as I his, a friendship for them that shared many adventures away without us two hanging on. That sadly ended after our parents each gradually passed away. Derek and I remain great friends to this day as I have already written on a few occasions.

Calpe had not yet then been affected by the boom of tourism and commercialisation, unlike Benidorm. It was still a small town and fishing port where the day boats would leave at 3:30 in the morning and return by 4:00 in the afternoon, busy to each unload their catch of the day and was sold to the small restaurants lining the tiny harbour and cooked to order to residents and the few holiday makers alike.

A traffic junction sliced the main road, the right fork led down to the harbour and small establishments selling cheap plonk and contraband fags and two-day old newspapers that had been imported from the UK. To the left the road led onto the residential route which continued and went on down to the Levante beach or you could bear right up toward the imposing Peñon de Ifach, known originally to the Phoenicians as the Northern rock, its southern counterpart being the rock of Gibraltar. This massive limestone outcrop emerges from the sea to a height of almost 1200 feet and links itself to the shore by rock debris.

In the middle of this vee junction stood an aged hostel and bar which was called “The Ancla” which of course from spanish translates to Anchor, a mainstay, and a mainstay this place became for us.

The Ancla was just a ‘get yourself ready and rock’ kind of place, and to say it was quite rough around the edges really was an understatement, fortunately everyone was friendly. As newbie holidaymakers and especially as this was our first foray to España self catering, we took it as a refuge and used it as our meeting point at any time of the day.

Rory the proprietor and his wife Mary, she, a retired circus acrobat/ trapeze artist juggled the accommodation bookings in-between cooking and serving the great food and keeping two unruly boys out of trouble, sadly to her disappointment that was a waste of her precious time. The entertainment was home-made which kept us all amused and the bar staff were extremely pleasant and always engaging. If you were lucky enough as a customer and it definitely got busy, (sometimes Derek and I having had some bar experience back at home) were invited to do a shift or two behind the cramped bar in exchange for a few Cuba libres, plus the bonus of drinking the mistakes you constantly made, we never did get the hang of spinning the bottles …..

The atmosphere was brilliant, an ageing pinball machine competed with the music on the free juke box playing the greats of the seventies at the time, Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, Three Degrees, George McCrae, Rubettes, Abba, Mud, New Seekers were favourites, sounds blasted out of speakers way past their sell by dates and when Rory the resident singer was otherwise engaged he was busy either serving coffee and brandies and bouncing at the door.  We all sang songs, rather loud and disorderly as drunken Brits tended to do. I hear that tradition is still continued, gladly I am no longer of that age to do so, just a more genteel kind of person these days.

I had noticed an Orange Renault 14 slightly worse for wear and covered in dust parked outside this noisy establishment which was bearing a British registration plate, it was synonymous of a local registration to our home area, YXF ???N (similar to this pic)

Me, the nosey boy, great lover of cars and intrigued at this image, went off to seek and find, I eventually made contact with the driver, a young lady named Jean, just a few years older than myself. She was her sister to Rory. When she wasnt spending every hour available bringing up her young baby daughter she spent the rest of her day being a holiday rep, selling guided tours and organising evening bingo trips into Benidorm. She and her family ran the business, they attended the hotplates, and would pour greatly appreciated unmeasured drinks and strum and tend to warble along to the slight discord of an electric guitar once owned by Les Dawson.

Immediately Jean and I ignited a spark, a friendship had been struck.  A spark …. one that has now lasted over forty years. Strangest thing which you probably would never believe if you hadn’t of read it here first, was that she had been living and working in the same town as ourselves in the holiday camp next to where Derek and I were bar tending as a blue coat. …. dear old Brixham ….. and we hadn’t even ever crossed paths.

Lets get back to parallel universes and sliding doors …. I had gotten the bug and thought perhaps I would want to live abroad, have a small business. In the seventies, it was hard work (here in Spain). Franco had been in power and now still the Guardia and the mafioso were everywhere, and yes, protection money had to be paid or they would just come in and shut down businesses or ensure the electricidad or the agua was disconnected. Red tape and illegal corrupt bureaucracy was rife.

I can’t remember the amount of times we were told to invest in Spain, especially Calpe as it was up and coming … and up and come it certainly did, but did we? …. no, we did not! Work for myself here in the United Kingdom and abroad came thick and fast. Life was changing for all of us, but only in the one dimension, in another it stayed the same, but in which one was it actually happening, or even more, were we actually aware? 

Every returning year since we have been asked to come and live, and every year we said we’d think about it, and now forty years on we realise it’s now way too late. I’m certainly too old to move now, unless my six lucky balls fall into place!  Although I can understand the Spanish language and am able to read it, my spoken is very poor, but once I get into the zone I can manage to make the locals either understand or laugh.

Today Jean returns to Devon, as she also loves it here too.  This early morning we have arranged to meet for breakfast at a pleasant hotel in Paignton where we can be waited on.  We greet and hug, and hold on tight in what seems like an eternity, with a few moments silence we then chat about the constant that is old times. We laugh about our adventures into Benidorm on the old road late at night, seven of us crammed into a battered old right hand drive car trying to out run the Policia, as both a foreign car full of foreigners attracts much attention, especially late at night. Images of us skidding around the winding corners with precarious drops over cliff edges, we could have all been killed, but we were not and are still able to tell the tale.’ … often a voice from the rear seat would scream out from a parent NOT YET JEAN’ as she would attempt to make her move and overtake.

One great memory for me that is rather precious  ….. ‘One sultry baking hot afternoon, the two of us headed toward the Peñon, walking off the normal path we climbed down through the palms, brushing the many shrubs of juniper, lavender and white pine with our legs, the scent was heaven. We found our way down onto the rocks under a remote part of the outcrop, the sun shone bright and high, the rays reflected over the water. Far away the horizon rested between the sea and the bright blue sky. Daring each other, we dived off the high rock edge into the deep crystal clear warm waters, below lay a wreck of a small fishing boat on the sea-bed which was teaming with marine life, above us the peregrine falcons which were nesting on the rock face circled high. The gentle winds blew sea-spray over our faces as we swam toward the bright light and just kept on laughing together, time and dimensions were as one. There were no other distractions, all was quiet, all was as if it were the dawn of time.’

Sometimes when something poignant like that happens, only hind sight tends to make you realise perhaps you should have grasped what was in your hand at that particular moment. Maybe it was a sign sent from somewhere far greater than part of the grand scheme we are now in, perhaps we shall never know!

These two universes have been running side by side for what probably has been millions and millions of years, occasionally bumping into one other and then spinning off until the next orbit brings us right back onto the preplanned collision course again.

So, is this what might be considered as part of the Big Bang Theory?

Jean once a young single mother and now with her grown girls, stands proud as a grandmother greatly respected by her Spanish family and those she loves. Me, once a Son, now a proud Father to my beautiful daughter and her partner and of a wonderful mate.

Spending just two hours every forty million years together is as if we have never been apart, and we talk about the same things every time ….. and yes, we still laugh at the same old news.

Sadly, saying goodbye was very emotional this time ….

Until the next collision course my dear!

IMG_3282

Dia Dos …. “Magic Sausages”

What on earth …. six-forty-five a.m. and I’m letting the water out of the bath. I have already been wallowing for fifteen minutes up to my neck in Tea-Tree bubbles, today as I was feeling generous, I added a little something extra, a small teardrop of Dettol. I shouldn’t knock it folks, it certainly hasn’t done me any harm at all and is an often addition to my personal cleansing routine.

Head-boy and two of the three prefects are still snoozing, Willow is laid out on the floor by the side of the bath, she too has had her bubbles, a game we often play, I cup a handful of soapy bubbles and blow them at her, she then does her crocodile impressions, it never fails to make me laugh and a routine she adores. Her eyes glisten as she intently stares at me just incase another cloud of these scented orbs head toward her. Enough of the sleep, with her desire for food the hungry hound trots off to the kitchen entrance, perfectly sat to attention midway in the door,  her routine as always ….. *my breakfast before daddy* she sings to herself.

The early morning sun is now pouring into the courtyard, the bathroom is already sucking in the warmth and being able to dry oneself with a soft towel in a warm environment is always a luxury, whereas this room, which is situated at the far end of the south wing tucked into the cliff will be as cold as a mortuary freezer in just a few months time.

The hounds have now been hungered and having over shadowed them whilst they exercise their essential bimble ensuring that their security perimeter checks have been completed, its indoors now for the crew of four and the obligatory postbrek-sleep

The desire to obliterate my pangs lead me straight to the Bearded Baker and his coffee shop for breakfast. I order my toasted sandwich, managing to hoist myself upon a bar stool I notice the headline on todays toe-rag, it reads “Bronze for Daley and Goodfellow”

From photograph printed, it looks like its “Magic sausages” all round ….. Perfect !

IMG_3252

 

 

Retro Day 1 …. A Constant in Life

Retro Union Jack .JPG

What better subject for the first days Lomo than the ‘Union Jack’

This shot was a hoper, blowing North Westerly onto the Southerly shores of Brixham. Torbay has a natural east facing harbour and is located on the South-West peninsula of England.

However not just at my home, it also flies high atop many a flagstaff across the United Kingdom. A notice to all that we are British and bloody proud of it too.

As the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics are soon to begin, you will see more of these displays of pride and delight as we [hopefully] reap as many Gold Medals as possible.

Go Team GB.