The Witching Hour

My girlfriend …

Yes, I know, I’m 49 in less than a week and I’m probably too old to have a girlfriend, but “partner” implies that we have a business together, or she’s from the American Old West, or something and we not only don’t have a business together, but she’s had to go bankrupt and I don’t want to be dragged into that world of shite by being financially linked to her, so I’ll just call her my girlfriend, for now, evn though she’s 50 in the summer, so she’s not really a girl, anymore, is she!

You make it sound like she’s had a sex change!

She wouldn’t have a sex change just because she’s about to turn 50!

You’re now saying that having a sex change is a bad thing.

No, I’m not at all and if she, or anyone wants to have a sex change, then good luck to them, there’s nothing wrong with it, so let’s leave that at that, please.

So you’d be happy for her to have a sex change?

Well, not really, but if that’s what she truly wanted, then I’d be happy for her.

OK

Right, so she’s my friend and she isn’t a boy, but “womanfriend” doesn’t work, doesn’t have a ring to it.

What about “lady friend”?

That makes me think that she smells of lavender and just comes round for sex!

A lady wouldn’t do that.

Well, maybe lady isn’t correct, although as you can see, I’m not built for rampant rumpy pumpy anymore and that’s not even taking into consideration that I still haven’t fully recovered from my circumscision, yet, but that’s another story!

Rumpy pumpy?

Yes!

OK, she doesn’t come round just for sex, but would if it was readily available, so she’s not quite a lady.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. My no longer a girl, although not having had a sex change, more of a woman, who’s not a real lady, although she’s not part of the lavender set, yet, but not far off, likes a bit sex when she can get it, although that’s not too often at the moment due to my medical reasons friend came in from working nightshift the other day, as a carer and told me that she’d had an experience with a ghost! Yes! I know! Well, it turns out that it was around 3 o’clock in the morning and she heard a strange noise coming from the adjoining bathroom. She told me that the bath sounded like it was filling up.

How’s that strange?

Well, listen and I’ll tell you!

OK

The bath was filling up and then it sounded like someone was in the bath, slooshing water about, as if washing their hair with a jug.

That’s still not strange and nothing to be frightened of. It’s a bathroom for goodness sake!

Yeah, I know, but….there was no light on and when my girlfriend…

Girlfriend?

Don’t got there, again!

OK, sorry!

When my girlfriend mustered up enough courage to kick open the door to see what was going on, she did so, put on the light, and there was no one there, with the bath as dry as a bone!

Ooooh!

I know! She was terrified, but decided to mention it when the change of staff came in. She began to tell her tale about hearing noises at three o’clock, that morning. One of the carers interrupted her and said “Three o’clock? That’s the witching hour, when the ghosts and ghouls like to come out!” My girlfriend acknowledged that and told them what had happened. “Ahh that’ll have been Agnes,” said one of the women, “because she used to love having a bath in there!” Then they all wondered about it, feeling uneasy and scared.

Now, I don’t think that a ghost having a bath is anything to particularly be scared about, but I didn’t really think of that, when she told me the story.

The bit I focused on, was when one of the women told her about three o’clock being the witching hour.

Now, I’ve heard that before and it’s been mentioned in horror films and the like, but I just wondered if the ghosts and ghouls would know about the clocks going forward, yesterday! Would they make the error of not taking that into consideration and either being an hour late, or an hour early, for half of the year? I then wondered about how things may have a been a nightmare for the ghosts in years gone by, when time hadn’t been regulated before the advent of the railway age, because it may be three o’clock in one town, but just down the road, the next town would have a different time, because they’d go by the time of the sun going down, so how would ghosts have known? Would it have been easier to follow the early train timetables, showing all of the different times of each town and they could set their pocket watches to suit, or did they get confused until everything was regulated and set to Greenwich Mean Time? What about ghosts of poor people, who couldn’t afford watches? Did they just guess? Or did they ask a richer ghost? What if they didn’t know how to tell the time?
They’d be knackered then!

What a nightmare!

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I Had A Dream, Last Night

I had a dream, last night.

I was cycling, as a novice and without a team, in the first stage of the Tour de France, aged 23. It was a long time trial of 100 miles and I just gave it my all from the start, until my lungs were about to burst open and my legs were ready to fall from my hips. Despite being cheered, at the end, I’d come to the conclusion that I hadn’t won the stage and couldn’t win the Tour, so rode on, past the finish line, beyond the crowds and, eventually, caught a flight home.

Absolutely shattered, I woke up the following day, in an imaginary house in Hebburn, with an imaginary mother, who showed me a line in a national newspaper, that stated how I’d won an honorary red jersey, for being the most aggressive rider, having the best time over the first half of the race, before fading at the end, to finish just outside of the top three and a podium place. I was astounded! It felt great to have my name in the paper, even though it was just one line, hidden in the middle of the news, but my heart sank and a familiar feeling, in the pit of my stomach, returned. I had given up, again, thinking that I was useless and worthless.

I finished my fried breakfast, of eggs and mushrooms, with veggie bacon and sausage, all cooked in a new oil that made everything taste better than any “real” versions! I then mounted my bike and rode, a short distance, to meet my friends in Primrose, Jarrow.

We all met on York Avenue and rode around the local roads, chatting away. I didn’t say anything to anyone about my exploits the previous day, but talked about general this and that, instead. We ambled along, with the few cars that were on the roads, slowing down, safely and warning us with a cautionary and complimentary “toot”, allowing us plenty of time to move out of the way, letting the cars pass by, with a gratifying wave.

A few more friends joined on the way and one came with congratulations about my ride. Blushing, I acknowledged it, then a few other friends, who recently joined our congregation, pointed out that my exploits were in the Cycling Weekly magazine. One of our friends, a jealous lad, was reading the article, as he rode, but didn’t want to share in the good news. He was a serious cyclist and hated the fact that I’d been chosen to ride the Tour on nothing more than my early promise, as a 14/15 year old lad. He’d trained every day, since then, to try to be better than me, but had been passed over, by the selectors, again and again. He was almost green with an envy that was eating him up, inside. All of a sudden, I found myself being barged from the side and almost fell into the path of an oncoming car, but managed to keep myself upright and swerved away from it, at the last moment! We all came to a halt and I turned to find my friends castigating the cuprit, the one possessed by a green eyed monster, telling him to leave our group and not to bother returning. He gave me a look of pure hatred, as he pedalled away. I turned to whisper to my girlfriend, a little blonde lass I’d known, almost, all of my life, that I’d best not reveal that I’d only done one 20 mile training run, prior to the race!

I had wanted to keep my involvement in the race quiet, but the consolation of being mentioned in Cycling Weekly, was that my dad would be incredibly proud. I couldn’t wait to see my dad’s face, when he saw my name in the only publication he ever read, apart from the Pink newspaper that published the football scores on a Saturday evening. I’d broken his heart by not following a career in cycling, so to see that I’d finally achieved something of note on my bike, would fill him with pride and joy.

I felt as light as a feather, happy and content with a great day spent with my mate’s, chatting, laughing, looking out for one another and not having a care in the world.

Just then, we all heard a buzzer noise. Looking around, we noticed that it wasn’t coming from a car and seemed strange and otherworldly.

I suddenly woke up and the intermittent buzzing noise permeated the morning silence. Realising that someone was at my door, I, slowly, lifted my legs out of the bed, took a moment to sit up straight and, eventually, hurled myself up on my crutches. My phone started to ring, but I knew that the ringer would, more than likely, be the same person pressing the door buzzer. I slowly took the few steps to my intercom system and, resting on my left crutch, lifted the receiver to speak to whomever was behind the door. It was my carer, come to make my breakfast.

Cursing the fact that the intercom hadn’t been been placed in my bedroom, I made my way back to bed and was soon joined by my carer, who asked what I wanted to eat and if I needed a bed bath, again. She seemed determined to provide this service, but I was more determined that she would not!

When, eventually, left alone again, I realised that I hadn’t ridden in the Tour de France. I wasn’t able to ride a bike, anymore and I didn’t go to meet my my mates, most of whom had moved on and hadn’t been seen, or heard from in years, with only one having visited during this last year. I, also, remembered that my dad was no longer around, but didn’t dwell on that thought. I suddenly felt all of my aches and pains, but tried to ignore them and think positively. I then remembered that my girlfriend, not a small blonde I’d known all of my life, but a tall, dark haired lass, I’d known for around two years, would soon be “pestering” me with texts, to see how I was and would be coming to visit straight after work. I also knew that my two boys, who didn’t exist in my night time fantasy, would be coming home, after school.

Dreams are for the birds!

The Smile

He starts with a welcoming, open eyed smile
With arms aloft for all that come by
Naive, not knowing and as green as his eyes
Wide, warm and glowing, but no, never wry.

A kick and a punch, but he knows not why
He deserved such a thing as a poke in the eye
Bloodshot and wet, he has to get by
Past the arms of another, who holds in a lie.

Names, games and mockery, chased on all sides
Some girls walk him home, in none he confides
He wants to escape, but knows not the tides
To home he returns, for a blazing backside.

His constant companions: a stick and a ball
One as a vehicle, the other to scrawl
Some words in the dank, sodden, filth ridden mud
Then doubled as a fork, impaling a spud.

He never escapes that feeling of dread
As life throws more shit and green turns to red
But smiles on, he does, still credulous and hearty
He never learns and is more farty than arty.

But he’s still hanging on, by the skin of his teeth
Only goodness knows how, as he beggars belief
He is his own man and says hail to no chief
As he wishes for fun, than acceding to grief.

So, if you do see him, please return that shy smile
He means you no harm, so converse for a while
His charm may just win, but never beguile
For deep down within, lies the heart of a child.

THEY DESTROYED ME THEN

Thinking back to when I was young, I could run fast, like I was going one
Hundred miles an hour faster than anyone on my
Estate
Yes, it came in handy, when they tried to catch me, to kick me, to grab me and

Do me in, aside from times when I was cornered, with no
Escape, I managed to avoid most of that,
Some of that, but
The words travelled faster than I could
Run, they carried
On in the breeze, catching up with me like a bullet.
Your words covered me in a cloak of hate
Easily seeping into every pore, crawling
Down through

My aural canal and triggered an
Electrical impulse that would shock harder

Than ECT leaving a worm that would grow and
Heighten throughout my very soul and
Eat me up from withi
N

Another one over!

My head reels and spins, faster than the earth itself

It possesses no orbit and no continental shelf

I’m trying to comprehend what’s going on in the world

To me it’s as unfathomable as the mind of a girl.

 

A demagogue waits and purrs, like a cat with all of the cream

As we wonder how it’s happened, a real answer we can’t glean

While history is grabbed by it’s coat tails, so grubby

By dishonest men, the sordid and cruddy

 

Who tell us that cockroaches will swarm to our shores

To take away our freedom and to settle old scores

Dehumanised waste, we should chuck in the bin

Without a second thought, then collect our wages of sin.

 

Money still flies around, though far too high for the many

As food banks welcome more of the sick and the needy

Then we watch as a dying city sends it’s last tweet

But do nothing to help, as we find the receipts

 

For the bombs and the missiles, more important than beds

Oh what was I saying? I’m losing my thread

Too many have gone, but we shall remember

As we pick up the pieces of these long dying embers.

 

I wish you all the best and good tidings to all

I hope you stay safe, not to stumble and fall

It’s the end of another, but they’re always the same

We never seem to learn and we’ve no one else to blame.

Afraid

I’m afraid of growing old

I’m afraid of being cold

I’m afraid of not seeing my children

And of what tomorrow may hold.

 

I’m afraid of brown envelopes

I’m afraid of what’s inside

I’m afraid of becoming poor

And of not being able to provide.

 

I’m not afraid of the dark

But I’m afraid of what I can’t see

I’m afraid of meeting new people

And of bumping into thine and thee.

 

I’m afraid of any change

I’m afraid things will stay as they are

I’m afraid of having to stay in

And of ever going afar.

 

I’m afraid of not being able to help you

I’m afraid of not knowing what to say

I’m afraid of going to sleep

And of the dreams I have when I may.

 

I’m afraid of being in pain

I’m afraid that it’s all been in vain

I’m afraid of dying first

And of leaving her alone and afraid.