The thunder cracks against the night, the dark explodes with a yellow light – 4th July 1994

From bad to worse. Julie turned up Thursday night/Friday morning, broken fingers and avoiding explanations. Drunk again Friday night and claiming poverty re the phone bill. And the list goes on but enough.

On Friday I took my baby and John-boy and Sarah up to Southampton to see the mighty John Otway (one-hit-wonder and star). On the way we got caught in the most magnificent thunderstorm. I had to slow down to about 30 miles an hour on the motorway due to poor visibility, the dark skies lit by sudden surging flashes as bolts came down around us. Such a beautiful feeling of refreshment in the air as we passed through.

We met Mick and Lisa, with friend Michaela and lovely puppy dog Floyd. And then laughed our socks off for an hour as Otway and pal did a manic performance of huge proportions! We grinned so much our faces hurt.

After getting back home again we stayed up and watched some comedy on TV before going to bed but my rest, and subsequently Broni’s was disturbed by my fits of uncontrollable coughing which seems to be the last remnants of my cold.

Saturday was big meal day as my sweet and I went for breakfast in Boscombe and stuffed ourselves silly before paying for our flight to Australia (no turning back now) and the sun was out for us just to let us know what it was going to be like.

Later we went Indian and, stuffed again, went down to the river near Wimborne and played on the bridge over the murky water, the light of day now gone. Home again, bed again and another night I coughed us awake.

Despite all that we got up (dragged up in my case) in cheerful mood, Broni off for a swim while John and I crash banged our way to the beach on our bikes, racing through the woods and paths of Branksome Chine. It being so nice there we thought we’d come back later with Broni and Sarah. The sun was baking, high in the hazy sky. So, racing back up paths and woods I turned and twisted and fell on a tree stump and cut my knee open just like I used to daily when I was about 5 or 6, giving me plenty of practice at scab picking. I wonder how my knees may hold out in later life.

So, Sarah came over in her open-top jeep and we took balls, food and water down to the beach, me and John hanging on in the back as people looked on in wonder. And at the beach Broni took it easy, coming down with tonsillitis and tiredness (and did I mention the mouth ulcers, big as Moon craters). John and I ran into the water and played ball, I surprised myself by actually enjoying being in the water and was reluctant to leave later. Sarah waded in a bit but understandably wasn’t too keen on getting soaked all over (as we were). Me and John played for ages, throwing, heading, skimming, passing all manner of balls from then I felt like Superman, spurred on by John’s manic activity.

Back in the jeep and home, Broni fell asleep as I watched football (Sweden beat Saudi Arabia 3-1, a good game too). Then, after some munch, John and I went to play football tennis at his friend Lauren’s. Despite the cloudy mist, we sweated buckets in the evening’s still. Then back for more football (Romania brilliantly beating Argentina 3-2) as Broni fell back to sleep, then me following until some early hour, us both awake again with my worst fit of coughing so far.

Today Broni’s off work at my request (she was not well enough, despite her protests and I think she’s welcome of it too really) Well, during today I got a bit better as rain started to tipple down but now the sun’s back out and the oppressive atmosphere is claustrophobic on my chest. I’m looking forward to getting back down the beach again sometime despite it knackering me out today.

Due to circumstances, it looks like I’ll be doing some more driving at work which is cool with me – I gets chance to write this! Found out Kerry smashed her face surfing on the weekend, poor girl, losing part of her front tooth and tonight we go to celebrate the last day of her diet in which she lost three stone and looks much better (in herself) for it. Of course, I’ll be there coughing up my guts, Broni with sore throat and ulcers and Kerry, a-bruised – sounds like a good reason to party to me! This, after we watched Ireland play Holland to stay in the World Cup.

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