He feels life his strongest connection, between the yelling and the sleep – 26th July 1994

Phew! I’m sat in our room, now bereft of most of the items one would consider creature comforts. TV, video, computer, stereo, table, chair etc all sold or packed up or returned to their rightful owners.

Today was the first day of rain for a couple of weeks I’d guess. Just a light drizzle on a grey day, the air now fresh and sweet with the scent of thirsty flowers. Myself, a flower child thirsty for the waters of life pouring all around me and, here and there, I dip my hand in making gentle ripples across my universe. Though the last few days seem like I’ve been jumping up and down in the puddles, splashing my way through the madness!

Oh yes! I drove across the farmland again last week, to the farm with the handsome farmhand and had to deliver some stuff into one of the chicken sheds as before. This farm is an egg farm and I’d guess in each shed were thousands and thousands of chickens crammed in, laying eggs for Joe Bastard to eat for breakfast.

So, the first time I’m in the shed I look around – it’s very dark, above is a floor with big slats and beyond, the roof. On the floor above are cages, the whole length of the shed (about 100 metres). I look up where we are and the cages are empty. The only sound to be heard is like a whistling of the wind. The stench is awful. I look across the width of the shed and see the floor stacked up to 6ft high in places, in chickenshit. Guess they hadn’t had time to clear it up yet. I left a bit wiser, a bit curiouser.

When I went the second time, I was alone and so I had a look about bit more. The whistling wind was a bit louder this time and I heard faint clucking noises. I approached the piles of shit and looked up and saw hundreds and hundreds of skinny featherless chickens crammed into tiny cages, for what I would guess would be their whole sorry lives. But what shocked me was the lack of noise. All those chickens and no noise! Are they bred without vocal glands, do they have them removed or have they resigned themselves to confinement and given up hope of freedom? Did they even know what freedom was? Wow – all that stuff going on in my head!! I wonder if Joe Bastard thinks about stuff like that when dipping his soldiers into the yolk?

Friday, we went barefoot for an Indian meal with Kerry celebrating the end of term and the six or seven weeks summer holiday. She got a ton of presents from her class too, which really pleased her. We had to take her to bed quite early though as alcohol took her over – this time for a happy pissed!

Saturday, Broni and I picked up our wedding rings, mine now looking great – I’m really pleased with it and will treasure it forever. We got a couple of hours packing in before shooting off to Southampton to Chrissy’s, picking up Rob on the way. Sharon was there with her kids too, but once the kids were out of the way we quietly drank and puffed on a peace joint and gladly relaxed to ‘The Terminator’. One by one, people faded and finally ended up with me and Rob having that great talk about life, the universe and everything, just like I used to with Steve (God, I miss you so much Steve). Knowing the kids were going to wake up early we called it a day at about 4:30 just as it was getting light! Sure enough a couple of hours later we were up again, though fairly relaxed as Chrissy and Sharon took off with the kids leaving us to bum around before Broni and I had to go to Portsmouth for Stephanie’s christening.

Stephanie is Joe and Stephen’s daughter. Joe being the first person Broni got to know here in Poole. And Broni to be godmother for the third time. I’ll finish this off later as another cup of coffee is required right now!

It was a stunningly hot day and with my lack of sleep I was feeling very faint – it was actually nice to go into the chapel where it was cooler. Stephen is a Navy diver so the christening took place on HMS Nelson naval base with pretty tight security. Not being into the religious bit I watched Broni holding the wriggling tyke still as possible and smiled as the guy (is he a priest or chaplain or something?) poured holy water from an upside down divers helmet (!) over her forehead (Stephanie’s, not Broni’s).

With that over all thoughts (of mine) were on my stomach and sustenance. We went out of the base and over into a big stately home type place (all this in Portsmouth city centre) guarded by some young army dude carrying a machine gun. It occurred to me that the boy may suffer a heat madness and go on a crazy killing spree but that’s my twisted imagination for you! This old place was breathtaking. Huge staircases and pictures of Nelson and massive solid silver statuettes of Queen Elizabeth the Second on her horse. It was pretty breathtaking. We enter the big room with a bar and all leather upholstery, like imagine the meeting rooms at the House of Lords or something like that. Champagne flowed and food eaten (we stuffed ourselves and quite rightly felt sick after!) and I was taking in the surroundings, being totally alien to them. I love these new experiences, I really enjoy things that I sometimes expect not to like. In another room the walls were painted with scenes from old battles like the Armada and Trafalgar. Huge detailed paintings faded with time but still glorious in their nature. Tired and exhausted we left for Southampton.

I have to stop again till tomorrow – I just can’t carry on – my mind is a-racing with a trillion different things.

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top – 25th July 1994

Rollins teaches us (!) (found it at last!):

I wanted this to be the real thing / I wanted it to finally be the real discipline / The discipline / that I had been so well preparing myself for / I needed something to be real / I saw things / I saw all people around me / falling apart / caving in / I needed the discipline / I asked myself how long / I was going to live this life / How long was I going to let myself down / and blame someone else / Finally I kicked through the wall it was like a junkie / busting through the scar tissue / that keeps him from hitting / It was like slashing through the womb with your teeth / Lies make me weak / It’s the lies that are killing me / the lack of discipline / I was killing myself and I didn’t even see it I couldn’t even feel it / The dead painless days are over.

I see my connection in this – I feel like that. Not necessarily all the time. I’m still insecure. I’m still weak but I am getting stronger in my soul. I have lots to report as the helter-skelter of ambition thrusts me forward into my future. I’m coming. Later!

Your private matters need looking after, it’s way too late, though – 24th July 1994

The girl obviously had a strange upbringing. Dragged naked from the burning barn. Certain things left emotional scars and for a lifetime.

She ran, pinny wrapped around her undignified body, down through the field, tripping on tree stumps he had left there last summer. She ran as though searching for something, turning at strange angles, here and there, in her misguided direction.

The road below thronged with tourists, keen to see the local attractions. This certainly wasn’t one of them.

Soon she stood naked, unknowing of anything around her. Of course, they just drove past. The men in the cars smugly thought they understood. Drugs – huh! The women cringed away disguising their disgust with tourist talk – ‘Oh – look at that hill.’ He laughed, ‘Look at those hills.’

They drove past – into another universe.

On Gaunts Common – 23rd July 1994

Gaunts Common was a quiet rustic village in Dorset, the heart of the south of England. It’s only shop, Gaunt’s Common Post Office, closed down in 1985 due to lack of funds and use. No more would the children be able to gather outside its window in the small parking area perturbing customers and neighbours alike.

17th Apr 2021 – The picture above is all that is left to remind me there was once a post office here. The traditional red public phone box has gone too.

The village school still thrived though, taking in the five to eight year olds from many surrounding areas. Morning and afternoon would be the busiest time of day as parents ferried their offspring to the South end of the village, packing the car park with their vehicles and causing quiet traffic jams. Some of the luckier pupils need only walk across the road and into the school.

17th Apr 2021 – I seem to remember more foliage around the front and being able to run around all sides of the school as we would often play ‘flashlight’ here at night time.

The community was mainly a farming one, though several of the newer houses were built specifically for their rich owners who travelled into Wimborne Minster, the nearest town, about four miles away. So, slowly the community was diversifying though tractors were as frequent on the roads as buses or taxis, leaving behind them great clumps of mud from the sodden fields. Everyone knew by name the farmers who ploughed the land and looked after the cattle.

17th Apr 2021 – Occasionally we would steal one of these hay rolls and roll it down the road until we got bored, or roll it into the woods where we were hidden from view, set light to it and talk shit with each other whilst throwing asbestos into the flames to hear it crackle and pop.

There were several riding stables in the village and surrounding area, riders taking advantage of the woodlands which began at the top of the hill and spread out to the Northeast towards Holt and Holtwood (more woodland areas). Cars were often required to slow down driving through the village as they waited behind a troop of horses and riders on their way to the woods for a healthy gallop.

By night time, after the small of rush of cars carrying people on their way home from work, the village became quiet except for one or two of the noisier children who would gather at the bottom of the school field, away from the prying eyes of their parents. The focus would then turn to the football club about a quarter of a mile south of the village where people were welcomed by friendly faces to share a beer, a game of darts or pool or, most importantly, to catch up on the latest gossip.

17th Apr 2021 – On the left, the ‘impenetrable’ woods where, as kids, we built a BMX track, camps, fires, war zones and get drunk before we were of age, at which time we migrated to the Football Club, on the right.

The greatest thing is a box (but how can I contain my love for fire?) – 21st July 1994

Last two days haven’t given us much time for reflection. We can’t see much further than 1st August at the moment, which is when we’re due to leave this house (hence the Rollins item not being here – I did find it but just ain’t had time).

Last night I got in touch with Marie, Jasper and Murray’s dad, to invite all these people to our party. All these names not even mentioned in this tome but integral in my upbringing and my past. Hope some of these guys can make it on the night.

Wrote all that by the river but had to leave to find some place to relieve myself. It is so hot today, even by the river the sun is burning down. Crazy Aussie weather and I’m still in England!

Broni and I were up late sorting out bits and pieces and emptying our room of furniture in preparation of packing. Though stressed out by all this we still have time for fun and laughing. I’m accused sometimes of being too serious but now is a serious time and it will be some relief to get this next couple of weeks out the way.

I’ll apologise now if these entries start to lack any colour and flair. How many ways can you describe packing a box? Rest assured – if there’s any excitement I’ll be in touch.

This is an image that just won’t fade – 19th July 1994

Then up to Old Sarum, the old town of Salisbury in Roman times, with magnificent views, particularly of the Roman roads that met their 2000 years back. We sunbathed and slid down banks, climbed up them and avoided paying to get in. A way cool place – go see.

We videoed some wildflowers and wild insects and then headed home to Poole where Broni, Rob, John and I went down the pub for dinner and a couple of beers to celebrate/commiserate, before walking down to Kerry’s to watch a video. Unfortunately we picked Body of Evidence. What crap! Nuff said.

So’s, after watching a bit of the third-place play-off in the World Cup (Sweden well ahead though still don’t know the final score) we stumbled home drunkenly and guess what? I can’t remember anything else of that night. Ho-hum.

But Sunday, once again I woke wrapped in Broni and let’s just say we didn’t get up for an hour or two us being too interested in each other. But breakfasted on, then mad rushed us fab foul four again to the beach to meet Chrissy, Sharon (Steve’s sister), Amanda (Chrissy’s daughter), Luke (Sharon’s son – The maddest baddest little bastard ever! And of course exceptionally cute in his few years of age – totally lovable!) and Jennifer (Amanda and Luke’s friend). So for five hours, we played football, catch, volleyball, frisbee and Luke’s special game ‘knock you over and jump on top of you and throw sand in your face!’ We all spent most of the day laughing and playing and having good old-fashioned childish fun. You can’t begrudge that can you?

Exhausted we came home, Rob back up to Southampton, me and John to watch the football (sprawled out in the front room) and Broni upstairs to watch the film ‘She’ll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas’. The football, the World Cup final, was a slight disappointment though reasonably entertaining and a shame to be settled on penalties at the end, sparking the age-old debate of how to settle a stalemate match. It being late and us exhausted we still found some enthusiasm for an idea would come up with holding a party on the Saturday before we are evicted. The cunning bitch Julie left on Saturday afternoon, thankfully, which is an immense relief all round – the last we hear from her I hope though we may have to chase her up for bills sooner or later.

And so it came to Monday – the day of little occurrence of note, save John and I playing frisbee up at the park, in the most delicate beautiful rain and humidity, till darkness swamped the evening. When I got back me and Broni played silly buggers till bedtime recharging ourselves with each other’s love and closeness.

We also, over the weekend, decided that if Rob comes to Oz for the wedding, he’ll be our best man. Hey man, cool – will ask him soon. And everything will be mad frenzy now, packing, sorting, writing letters, changing addresses, closing bank accounts and fucking partying. Go dudes! Oh yes, good can come from bad – just watch us prove it.

(Later) Phew. It’s scorching hot, preparation for the coming summer in Australia (destiny – what the card!) Drove across some wide-open land today, fields upon fields of corn and crops, cows and the bull. Down dusty tired tracks by dung heaps, open space is like…it’s like….freedom. At the end of that journey was a farm with a pretty farmer’s daughter and her way cute two-year-old (I’m guessing) and a handsome farm boy who would charm the undies off a nun if maybe he wasn’t the village idiot, knowing nothing else but muck and chicken shit. (This is all in my mind of course – who knows what these people may do by night. I could see this guy at some nightclub bar with a queue of girls lined up to caress his rippling muscles – like I said, who knows?)

And I’m out in the sticks now, driving through some sleepy village that even has two names, like one had forgotten and another thought up – and imagine the village war between the farmers and the petrol pump attendant families over which name to use (out here they may still have a say – imagine us try to change the name of Bournemouth to Old Bastard or something).

And I gets to thinking, seeing some old dude bent over double with age, where I might be in 100 years time. Hmm? And I was thinking of something Rollins wrote which I’ll write ye down when I get home and maybe I’ll find a connection. Anyway, think about where you will be every year for the next 100 years okay – see what you come up with (go for it I say).

The innocents can all sleep safely – 18th July 1994

That day sure was young and nothing would have prepared us for the events of the evening. Here goes. As Broni and I sat eating our tea in the garden in the beautiful evening sun, Julie (evil soul) turned up and proudly announced she been to a solicitor and had got the letter stopping John and I from ‘harassing’ her and not allowing us to kick her out within two days. She said she’d go as soon as possible and well, I didn’t really care so long as she was on her way.

Then, pow! She said she’d spoken to Tony, our agent, and he said the owners wanted to put the house on the market so the tenancy wasn’t going to be renewed. This meant we had until the first of August to get out. Well I wasn’t impressed, just another of her lies (though I didn’t think she’d go that far – which was worrying, maybe there was some truth in it!?). Well, we just walked away and the phone rang and it was Tony, who was confirming that this was true. Wow! What a fucking bombshell!

He said the owners had heard about all the trouble and decided not to renew the tenancy. He was saying it was all down to Julie, according to him, and, of course, she was happy as hell. I was fucking furious that we should have to carry the can for her actions but Broni managed to calm me down and at the end of the day we figured it may work out quite well for us. We get everything packed and ready to send to Oz, move to Kerry’s while she’s away in Japan (for all of August) and basically have a good time for the last eight weeks here. A catalystic turnaround. Sure, our wonderful home won’t be there for our comfort but we’d have to leave sometime anyway.

Michelle was a bit upset too and had a few other ideas that maybe we weren’t getting the whole truth out of Tony and our minds were working overtime. John didn’t get back till about 11 and we shellshocked him with the news. We thought about our rights and all that stuff but me and Broni decided we’d go anyway – we had nothing to gain from contest ing the decision.

Friday, I was kind of shellshocked about the huge turnaround and thankfully Julie was out most of the day. She did come back in the evening though and so did the police! To see her! I tried to find out from the cop what it was about but he wouldn’t tell me, I did overhear her saying, “I’ve got the receipt” and him saying “Make a statement at the station as soon as you can.” Not till I mentioned this to Broni and she said it maybe about the video Tony took from her (which she had offered up to him against rent payment). Fucking hell – it all happens doesn’t it?

While all this was going on, Rob came down in the afternoon and we had a great time going through our poetry. By the time Broni was back home, we decided we needed Indian food and beer! An excellent meal in the evening provided us with pleasant relief from our mini stress out! Picking up a couple of bottles of wine, we got drunk watching our home movies and John Otway and passed out soon after.

In the morning we headed out, the three of us, across the lovely English countryside fields, red with poppies or blue with other flora, up to Salisbury to check on our wedding rings! I wanted a bit more done to mine but Broni was happy with hers – it being different to how we imagined, now a two piece affair – like an engagement ring that fits perfectly into the wedding band and when put together looks just like one ring.

We took Rob around the town which was very enjoyable in the hot noonday sun. I must tell you this boyish joke occurrence that happened to us totally by accident. We checked out Pizza Hut for some food and were being served by a pretty, friendly girl. I jokingly introduced her to Rob saying “By the way, this is Rob – listen to what he says ‘cos Rob is God”. ‘Rob is God’ was spray-painted by Steve on his amplifier and is a cool insert picture on the Thirst 7″ single). Rob, laterally (and literally) thinking, blurted out “It says so on my 7 inch!” We all burst out laughing and I apologetically tried to explain he’d got a record out! She was cool about it too.

Checked out the cathedral and sweet shop, getting some Jelly Bellies that came in such weird and wonderful colours and flavours such as buttered popcorn, cream soda, watermelon etc. Yum!

We’ll talk about life and what is right – 16th July 1994

This is the little brown blob calling. Blob comes and goes with various rocking motions, similar to that of a pendulum, back and forth behind the decorative glass of the grandfather clock.

Sat in the chair, blob examines the needlelike lines of ink across his A4. Symmetry can be.

Yellow may burst into a flowing red-breasted robin as the whale took up the soot and the ash from the dirty cigarette hand. Just a flick of the switch. The red and the black jelly ladies danced inside their plastic hall while the greens stood waiting for partners. Too self-conscious to go and ask. The little red riding hood spilt forth the liquid paper across my chest and the rats nibbled away at the knotted hairs.

The squares keep following me around the room unable to take their eyes from my blobular body. Die, servant, die. They cry.

Unable to stand the intensity of the stares, I light another cigarette and take the comfy chair, folding it quietly under my left arm. The golden wonder of it all.

The shepherds rounded up the crowd and they did surely follow like sheep.

I thought of the clever people and their 18 seater jets carry them about until they crash into the ground. And the train of thought revolves into spirals. Spiralling away to it’s happy oblivion. And when the oblivion descends it starts all over again.

Different place, different time, different people on a different line all descending and to ascend you must reach the highest order of psychological power.

I’m going for the jackpot, boy, oh boy, oh boy – 14th July 1994

I was in the post office this morning and on the shelf were stacks of paper, writing paper, jotting paper, drawing paper and you know, I was tempted! I have paper here coming out my ears, but the blank piece of paper is like history waiting to be written. With the right manipulation and approach, the stark white could be turned into something of fortune, depth and beauty. I’m just fascinated by paper, I always have been and now I realise that it was my way of finding out that I wanted to be a writer. Like life telling me, destiny tapping on my shoulder. Of course it’s only now I’ve grown inside and have been able to see this.

With all the mad happenings here let me remember Monday briefly. It was another beautiful day and for the second day in a row we went to the beach, John and I took the tiny pathways route through the woods and as I took a corner there was a split in the path, split by some bracken. In two minds I thought I’d make it through the bracken, it not being far to the other side, not knowing that concealed within its green ferny leaves was a 2 foot round log (used for blocking off roads). My front wheel took it straight on and so it was, I flew through the air with the greatest of ease, landing twisted and facing the other way, partially stunned, as John came careering up behind me just managing to stop before running over my head. I wish I’d seen the accident and not been in it! Suffered cuts and bruises but more seriously, hurt my back and neck which now ache some, whiplash style.

Not to be deterred, we pedalled on down to the beach, stopping as we had the day before, to decide what action to take about Julie, housemate from hell. As it turns out I was finding more and more of her lies cropping up, even playing us off against our landlord/agent!

Onto the beach where Mike turned up – Mike may be moving into our room when we leave. He seems like a decent bloke, nice and quiet– just the kind of person it’d be cool to live with. John discovered he works at the same place as Fatty and said to Mike, “Oh, I expect you’ve heard what horrible people we are from him,” and Mike replied “don’t worry – he doesn’t like anyone!” Good that he’s not been put off.

The sea tonight was amazing – long slow waves, not crashing but just rumbling. Broni got right stuck in and we played ball for ages and roared helplessly with laughter at the fun we were having. John-boy joined us and we played several silly games. Later John and I had a great time throwing the American football up-and-down the beach getting some wicked spin and bullet throws and catches together. All this fun was just too much and slowly we made our way back up through the woods, John crashing and totally wrecking his pushbike in the process.

Now John’s new motorbike, there’s a story! He handed over £300 pounds cash for the bike and doesn’t have the guys address or any documents and realises two days later the tax disc is a stolen one. Luckily (!) the guy turns up a week later, John laying into him verbally because the bike is such a heap of shit! He says to call him “John ‘Gullible’ Ryan! I think he’s getting it sorted out now though. And sort of by now, Kind of, we are at yesterday and see my brief entry. Well, Julie turned up and John and I laid the law as such and told her to leave (her still telling us lies to our faces!) by Friday. No amount of tears and bullshit changes our minds and though it was a horrible thing to go through I feel quite pleased with how I coped with it. Of course, she hasn’t actually gone yet and I hope we don’t get any retaliation from her and her ugly brute man friends. So it is that I’m at home (Wednesday, today and tomorrow) to look after the house – just in case. It’s also giving me a good chance to catch up on things (Ha! Do you think I will?).

Despite staying up till three last night watching Brazil beat Sweden, Broni got me up at 8:30 and here I am, sunny backyard on the sweetest of days. And Italy beat Bulgaria and my prediction of some three weeks ago has come true, of a Brazil-Italy final and may the best team win on Sunday.

So it is, I kiss the lips of life and tasted sweetness. More, more, I want more.

We got sent some maps of Sydney yesterday and also a close-up roadmap of Allawah, the area we may be able to move straight into when we get there. And as I said then it hit me, like a 4 x 2, in two months I’ll be there and this map will be my hometown. You can imagine all the differences in the changes I am making, but try, really try to imagine being somewhere, know and understand one day and the next you are somewhere else, alien, not to be able to return for a good long time. Can you feel that 4 x 2? Scary and exciting!

A note here for my beautiful baby who has put up with me so well as I endeavour to watch every game of football I can at all hours. She was a little sleeping beauty last night as I crawled in next to her and showered her with deserved kisses and she unconsciously turned to let me in. I cuddled her to sleep and woke wrapped in her embrace once again and we talked about our dreams and our future. So lucky to have found one another (not that luck had anything to do with it but you know what I mean?). To be able to operate together and keep each other’s souls satisfied. And in our happiness, we will miss this place despite the urge to go.

But of course, we also remember that winters!

Enough for now, the day is young. Enjoy.