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)

Dairy Diaries II

This particular summer holiday was the last before I was to attend the big school, I did not have to do the eleven plus test, and thankfully I was not picked for the Grammar School, so, gladly no separation from my friends that I had long made from primary school, we were destined to travel the poor route of the Secondary Modern and its weak syllabus. Long trousers, shirt, blazer and a tie were to be the norm, I would hiss at the school uniform each time I saw it as it hung on the side of my single wardrobe, I was hating every moment of counting down the days before I would have to wear this “badge of conformity”, never mind, another four weeks of sunshine, and being a kid, surely that time would seem like an eternity, however, in the following weeks, little was I to know, there was to be a saving grace, …. no long trousers for me!

One sunny afternoon I was sat on the stairs, one of *those* where I had nothing to do, chewing a Mars bar I watched my Mother and Aunt in the shop, I noticed a silver grey Ford Executive pull up outside, the fourth stair gave a great view of the shop window and door,  I was car crazy even then, and as a cheeky young lad such as myself I needed to know who this car belonged to, a portly gentlemen in a sharp dark suit got out and came into the shop and asked for cigars, I remember saying, “is that your car mister?” … “d’er”, “can I have a look please?”, … staring into the rear passenger window a round face stared back, he stuck his tongue out at ME and laughed out loud, he looked familiar, the two other guys maybe, but, I was not so sure.

The man purchasing the cigars was laughing with Mum & Doreen, he was obviously flirting and the two sisters offered a great double act together, bigging up who he was, reaching to open the shop door, this mysterious man beckoned the three men from the car into the premises, I can just see my Mother and her sister swooning, the trio, made up of Max, Syd and Val, these three were an apparition to behold before their very eyes, talk about hysteria, Val Doonican was double billing with Arthur Askey at The Princess Theatre Torquay, a Summer spectacular pulling in thousands of holiday makers into a theatre every night of the season, Max Bygraves was at the time living in Torquay and Syd James was making surprise appearances.

Of course, the sisters, who were almost inseparable, could not believe this, Doreen offered them Ice creams which they took, two crooned together and Syd adlibbed a short set for them, obviously an often used scenario, much licking of cornets and what might be considered these days as innuendo in the form of *double entendres* took place, all were in fits and giggles, the manager asked if we would all like to come to the show and that he said he would send tickets to us by post, Mr Important took his camera, a Pentax SLR out of its case and got all five adults to line up outside of the shop front, whilst he adjusted his exposure and shutter speed the ladies stood either side of Syd James with Val and Max on the ends, who would believe this? ..  These sort of things are read about in the newspapers, but not actually happening here at the sleepy end of the universe that is Brixham.

The showbiz mafia said their farewells, got in the V6, with its engine burbling, it sped out of sight …

To think I was more impressed with that car than the actual stars in it, who were by the way the topic of conversation that evening.