We got that attitude! – 20th October 2019

My biggest lesson in the last year is something I am still in the middle of. I know some of my shortcomings after the situation at CRPAO and the lesson for me is how to deal with something like this again in the future. I am continuing to explore meditation, exercise, journaling and pulling back a little bit.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to have had many opportunities to smile this week. Driving to Rayong, taking photos on the beach, finding alcohol at the corner shop, meeting Kaew again, tipping Aing, our waitress at Vertigo Too, for her great personality and service, looking out across the Bangkok skyline under a full moon, drinking good beer and laughing with Lekky. Smiling every day with Amy.

Spinning on that dizzy edge – 29th December 1994

Cathy and Libby bring little Reg and tall Gough up and they run around tearing the place apart much to Broni’s dismay so we take them to the beach where Reg’s two-year-old mind had difficulty coping with the prospect of water rushing around his feet and when the wave broke and rushed up the beach engulfing those tiny fleshy toes his eyes looked left at me and a curious look sat on his face – wow, what was that? I’m not sure if I like that or not….. it’s pretty scary…. “Mamee, Mamee!” – that kid will knock all the girls dead, just you wait and see.

They leave even-time and Broni rests exhausted with all the running around and she dreams up ways of making the house child-safe/childproof and of course, we can’t afford anything like that.

A huge thunderstorm breaks slowly, building over the mountains to the west and in the distance flashes radiate in the heavens. Soon strikes head for the ground and more and more frequently (we later discover something like 5000 strikes over about two hours, luckily we are away from it and have the pleasure of being able to watch it and it’s like a movie screen looking out through our window. A spectacular flash starts at one edge of the sky and heads out across the sky seemingly following a cobweb, lasts several seconds as it travels across the web to the other side of the sky, a maze of conductors in the clouds. Unreal!


The slow creeping in of night time is accompanied by ominous bulging dark clouds, blotting out the sun, as they rise over the hill on our horizon. Seemingly engulfing the sky, black shadows billowing, dark eyes sinking low and roll, roll on the night.

The ever-present cicada cacophony crescendoes across the humid valley and suddenly it’s set alight by a blaze of lightning, the flashlights of the gods and we sit and wait and here it comes the rumble.

Just a slow mover tonight as we sit in the still night air, in anticipation, eyes ready and expectant.

The low clouds are near touchable if only we could climb. They fly past, like ghostly apparitions, out to sea, speeding to their fate.

Here on earth it is still though, as flashes become more frequent and rumbles come that quicker. And then, as at a switch is hit, the cool wind arrives from the south and you know, then you know it’s only a matter of time.

Sure enough, big globs of water slowly descend and bounce on the dry ground. And more, until a downpour which disappears as quick as it started and its traces a mere dampness and a smell fresher than mountain air.

The storm continues over – ever brighter and spectacular to its gazers.

Cobwebs of bolts, like battling swordsmen, steel and scrape the skies.

Once again we are wowed by nature and it’s many wonders. We are also humbled and consider our place in this world.

13th Apr 2021 – I really did marvel at the scale of storms in Australia. The whole sky just seemed bigger than in England and was a blue I’d rarely seen before. Why the sky seems bigger I’m not sure, perhaps the lack of hedgerows and maybe the knowledge that in Australia, over the hill in the distance are just more hills yet in England, over the hill is likely to be another town. Maybe the unfamiliarity with the stars. I remember having to relearn my understanding of direction as the sun now sat in a different part of the sky than I was used to. I got lost often whenever I was driving around at first. That’s fine though – I love being lost.


There’s a tremble, and a rumbling, inhale- 27th December 1994

Terrigal

Out this window, through the vertical blinds, the insect screen, through the sun reflector and beyond our verandah and garden, the houses descend into the small valley and up the other side pushing for position with all the green rainforest, palms, ferns, gums and bamboo.

The rooftops visible in the sway of wet green leaves, where the crickets hang out buzzing around, their insane chatter carrying through the air – thousands of singing messages – here comes rain, here comes sun.

Grey and black clouds dominate the horizon, the air dank and still in my windowed vision, all quiet and anticipatory.

But now it’s time to leave this paradisiacal view and head out over the hill that we live on and down past the beach to the bustling village, buzzing with it’s human insects going about their merry way.

Out of our door the humid air clings shirt to skin and push push push the legs up the hill, short but dramatic, to meet the dirt track through the forest between scattered dwellings.

The crickets see your approach and snap into sudden silence as you pass the tall broken barked trees they inhabit(shh, here he comes!). The air drips moisture from the leaves high above, the ones that touch the sky. Odd insects buzz around often looking for some cool fresh blood to suck on – be quick, flick of the wrists – the Australian wave.

As the hill flats out and you begin to descend the other side, through the trees and buildings, the roar of the ocean beckons you forward, waving all the time. At the end of the road, the bottom of the hill, the sea stands before you far and wide and at it’s edge the crashing glory of the white crested waves, dotted with wet-suited bodies waiting on the big one.

Skirt the beach along the main road where traffic piles up because in this town pedestrians get right of way and that upsets the hoon element in their flash cars, boom box stereos blasting. The crowds are bustling from beach to shop to cafe and not much else. Young bronzed blondes hang round in threes, hanging out, being cool, playing the games of teenagers on the lookout for love, and I’m sure the surfers aren’t interested because they’re thinking about a different sex wax entirely and so the girls get themselves more beautiful and scantily clad in effort to swoon some dude away from his board but they’re still only interested in catching waves and so it goes on, this place a hot bed of sexual frustration. Maybe?!

The pace is slow and what the hell, there’s no hurry, those waves keep coming. These tough old legs carry me back home where, on the telephone wire to our house I spot something odd hanging on and its kinda long and thin and has four thin long double jointed legs and it’s a praying mantis – as long as your forearm and thicker than a hotdog. I hope that sucker doesn’t spot the gap under our front door!

He sings the songs that remind him of the best times – 12th December 1994

Back up the Central Coast on Tuesday for another job interview for Broni at a private hospital set in beautiful surroundings all landscaped in with the bushland, just a two minute walk to the shiny blue lake and a ten minute drive to the beach, wow! If we could live up here it’d be cool! Its a bit of a fogey area but there are some better spots to live nearer the beach so I could practice being a beach bum, learn to surf and write great novels based on old surf folklore!

We came back home to find a regret letter from Newcastle hospital so that has cut our options down even more, so we’re wondering whether to stay here or go to the Central Coast. In our typical ‘we’ve got no money, let’s go spend it’ style we head out to Indian, still not as good as in England, and get drunk and stoned before crashing out.

Up and at them in the morning and off to the beach again, well, why not? Back down to Cronulla Beach again, there’s a bit of a breeze blowing through our hair and keeping the temperature down a touch, though the sun is scorching through our milk screen. The water is freezing to first touch and it takes us an age to get in to our knees but once that far the ferocity of the water crashes up to our hips before dashing back out again preparing for another attack. Once in it gets better and moving around keeps you warm.

The surf is really up today what with the wind and the tide, waves crash down and throw people five and ten feet backwards and then attempts to suck them back out again. Oh, the majesty of nature and it’s terrific forces, stuck in it’s vortex is like an honour but also a danger, Broni heads out, too rough for her liking, she prefers the gentle lapping of a quiet sandswept beach somewhere. Me, with my new waterwings want to be engulfed in the whitewash of crashing wild water, actually I didn’t really want to be engulfed in it but had no choice when jumping into a wave that crest over my head and then pushed up onto the beach leaving me reeling and writhing in the white foam til the power subsided and I’m left stranded and dishevelled on the sand, wary of more imminent attacks, I get up and orient myself and dive back in, struck by some quirky madness and excitable energy.

People line up and anticipate the waves, a big gasp as someone shouts here comes a big one, spotted about twenty metres out and ominously shadowing the closer crests, as it draws up it’s power from below, your feet are sucked from under you and you realise you have to start swimming inland to catch the wave, but all you see below you is a couple of inches of water and sand, the bulk of water sucked up into the wave that is now over your back and you jump and catch the wave and propelled forwards and then left to scramble to your feet in the whitewash water, a twenty foot section of snowy H20.

As you stand you realise you’ve been sucked across the beach and have to swim along the beach to start again or get out to catch breath but getting out is not so easy with the regular suck at your feet and crash of the waves to knock you down. Back out to warm up and burn in the sun. Awesome.

The two images in this post made me laugh. I know exactly how this kid was feeling.

So after that event we took timeout to recover for a couple of days, but now we’re bugged and have to get a water fix and go up to the pool where I’m improving in speed and stamina, racing Broni and nearly matching, soon beat her! Now half the length of the pool under water, somersaults and handstands, I think it remarkable that just a few months ago I couldn’t swim at all and now I’ve conquered a fear of mine and turned it totally around into something I love and enjoy, what’s next on the agenda?

Ok, we pretty much decide to go and live on the Central Coast and make plans to go and look at houses next week and get some addresses to check out and find something near a beach yeah? We get our first decent Indian meal on Saturday night when we go out with Cathy and I’m starting to feel more relaxed, not so concerned with my internal emotions but more at one with my surroundings, more able to face up to the problems that will come my way and deal with them in an intelligent manner (but i can crack any minute!)

So things are good and on this beautiful Sunday morning I phone up Mark, the guy out of Farm of Tongues that I met last week and have a cool talk with him with some contacts and some possibilities for making some noise in the future with people he knows, he’s going to stay in touch and sounded really pleased to hear from me which makes me feel good that I took the chance to speak to him.

Things are coming together for me and Broni after our long long holiday, who knows maybe get some cheap hack job that’ll get me some money coming in so I can afford all those things I’d like to buy, surfboard, skateboard, mountain bikes, amps, noise machines and a million other things I’d like to get involved in.

Cool, cool, fuckin cool, everything’s cool. Let me finish with my dream I had which was that I was talking to Chrissy and seemed sad and I asked her for a hug and she sensed my worry over the wedding and she said not to worry and that I was marrying the most wonderful girl in the world and then I woke up and held Broni close to me and kissed her, kissed for our humble beginnings, kissed her for today and kissed her for the future.

In the encrusted green unwild – 1st December 1994

Well, are you feeling festive on the first of the Christmas month? I’m sure confused because Christmas time normally means cold days, long nights and sifting around with the heating on. I’m currently running around in t-shirt and jeans and mostly less than that! Not much snow forecast in Sydney for Christmas I don’t suppose.

Anyway, after coming back from cousin Jan’s we attempted to park the car in the garage and scraped the front, taking off some paint, which we thought might cost us some to repair if they pick up on it when we return it on Tuesday. Oh well, nothing we could do about it.

After all the excitement of the beach on Sunday we had to get Broni into the city for a job interview, it turned out to be a bit of a waste of time as it was pretty much earmarked for someone else and they were just going through the motions of interviewing people anyway. It was interview practice anyway, for her interview in Newcastle, which is where we headed after that, this road will be as familiar to me as the Poole-London motorway soon, at least this road is a sight prettier.

We hoped to hit the beach but the weather turned from boiling hot sunshine to a dull mist by the time we got there. As we drove through I figured Newcastle seemed like a cool place to live, not too far away from Sydney and a little more relaxed than there. We planned to stay with Broni’s friend Christa and after bumming around town for a bit we went to her house, a Victorian looking terrace house about a hundred yards from the beach (lots of beaches here!).

Inside, the house just blew me away, it was huge, kinda deceptive from the outside cos it looked kinda squashed in there, though it did remind me of something out of Chelsea, London. So, inside Christa shows us around. The ceilings are high which give the impression of space, the floors polished wood, furniture sparse and functional, all clean and tidy, as we go we get to meet the rest of the household, Michael, who actually owns the place, he’s a doctor, Jim, who’s also a doctor and practicing surfing, so we agreed to get down to the beach sometime in the future, and Cathy who’s a physio and gave me that deja vu feeling that I’d seen her somewhere before. Christa is an occupational therapist, so everyone in the house is well paid and they’re having a ball, quite prepared though they were to share their good fortune with their friends.

The house goes down one floor to the kitchen and a bedroom and outside into a yard where Michael and Jim were making some mighty fine home brew (checked some they’d made earlier and it was good). Upstairs to more bedrooms and bathroom that included a spa bath and a shower that hung down in the middle of the bath with at least a seven inch head. Through another bedroom that lead out onto a front verandah that was shut off with big yellow storm doors, and upstairs again to an attic room that just about had a view of the beach left between the buildings that had recently been constructed. What an amazing place to live and incredibly cheaply too, these guys had really fallen on their feet. They all made us feel really comfortable and relaxed.

After much chat, me, Broni and Christa headed into town, in what was a dull rainy old night, though still warm enough for only a shirt, we hit the Thai restaurant and deluged ourselves with red curries and satay sauces. The pace in the whole town seemed really comfortable and more to my liking compared with Sydney, so we hope that Broni goes well in her interview, in fact Jim’s girlfriend is a speech pathologist at another hospital and gave us some inside information which could mean well for Broni, let’s hope so.

Off to bed, Broni sits up and revises, especially in light of this new information, and when she eventually turns out the light we lay awake for sometime before hitting snoozeland.

Bright and early risers with much on our minds, fingers crossed and all that, we say our farewells and thanks to our new friends and drive up to the hospital, which is set around beautiful bushland, the birds screaming mad messages at the edge of the car park.

Broni comes out about an hour later with a big smile, knowing she’s done well and in with a chance, now the desperate wait ’til they get in touch and advise us. We grab a local paper with houses for rent and other jobs for me advertised, let’s force our luck, hey?

We drive up to Peter and Paula’s house, which is another stylish house with an incredible view over the beach and the town, must cost a fortune to live up here. They feed us, Peter decides to help out by painting the scrape in the car, unfortunately it doesn’t work too well in the short time we have to fix it and he comes up with this hail’ brained scheme of covering the car in dirt and mud which he then proceeds to do, a little bit of oxide thrown in for good measure, we have to dash to get back to Sydney in time but on the way we start to feel guilty and stop quickly at a jet wash and hose off the offending dirt, leaving just a small trace of oxide near the scrape.

Gunning for home, hitting 140 on the flat, that’s k’s now, not mph ok, we break the sound barrier and arrive with a half hour to spare, run in and pay and run out again straight to the train station and onto a train where we sit back and relax.

We get some beer and wine and celebrate the night away, exhausted after these five free days, free to drive anywhere anytime and boy, did we, nearly a thousand k’s.

Well, that’s as much excitement as I could stand these days so I’ve spent the next two calming myself down a bit. And today, I’m gloriously happy, content with life and my long term buddy, Broni, and happy at all the fun I’m due to have, come and get me!

25th Mar 2021 – I remember none of this except the scrape on the car. I’m thinking it’s a good job I wrote it down but then wondering if I haven’t bothered to remember it much because I wrote it down? It is a lot of beers ago now though.

Searching for images to use for some of these posts throws out some really nice old old pictures. 1924 or 1994 – it’s all getting old these days.

Hello tomorrow, today – 11th November 1994

We make today a special day (oh, very holy) and decide to head to the beach for the first time in this fair land. We look forward to it all day but its about 4 o’clock by the time we get there, heading south to Cronulla, through the bushy suburbs of the city to what seems like the outskirts.

My eyes are stuck to the windows of the train, our usual journey into the city is lined with factories and industry and where it is suburban all the houses are visible, but here all you can see is trees with the odd corners of houses sticking out or braking the skyline. Some houses are built on steep embankments above small tree infested valleys, stilts sticking out of the floor of the construction, going down twenty, forty feet til finding ground to support from.

Over a bridge over a river with a peninsula in the foreground standing high, along the waters edge, small boat buildings and above, up the windy steps, huge houses nestle in the bush, the wealthy cats must hang out there.

Cronulla, last stop on the line, this train terminates. It’s a blistering hot day but the cool breeze is blowing off the sea to the station and we follow our noses to the beach, past a hardcore record shop where skaters hang out outside listening to the music blasting away, what more could you want? It briefly reminded me of Black Flag coming from Redondo Beach, but with a blink my mind was captured by the sight of the beach, beautiful warm yellow sand in a tiny cove lined by slippery slimy rocks which went off one way round the corner and out of sight and the other leading to the main beach, apparently the longest stretch of sand in the area.

We walked round, past ocean baths, swimming pools built into the rocks and watered by the ocean, a safe swim and if you go to the ocean edge of the pool the wave will bash up against the side and over your head. We carried on, to our left, blocks of flats towered on the small cliff but trailed off as we walked round the corner and the sand started again. We laughed and played like kids in the sand and remembered the times we used to go down to the beach after work, with John, when we lived in England, it being a similar time of day (despite the lateness the sun was still high and hot).

We ventured into the water, very slowly, it was freezing to our little hot bodies, slowly letting it envelope us, but after a few metres the waves became bigger and we didn’t have much choice about getting wet. Once in though it began to feel warm, our bodies adjusting. We watched the other kids body surfing, catching a wave and swimming with it and we attempted to imitate them with little success at first but after a while I caught a wave and frightened myself as I was riding this wave, my head was in front of it and all I could see in front of me was bare sand, no water! I was flying along about two feet above the ground, but the wave broke and cushioned my fall to the sand and I got up, huge grin and back out to try it again.

The next time though we were both stood awkwardly and we got dumped, I went under for about five seconds and all I could see was the white wave all around me, when will I come up!? I found Broni and she got hit bad, dragged along the sand on her back and tumbled into a somersault, she retired hurt and slightly embarrassed, but it did make us realise the power of the water.

I went back in and the waves grew stronger and stronger, one minute the water was knocking round your ankles, the next it was too deep to touch the bottom, big waves which we would never see in England, I managed a couple more rides before getting out and drying in the sun as it slowly set over the other side of Australia.

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).

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.

Well I sucked down a cupful and God shone within – 12th July 1994

Oops, not been keeping you too well informed, have I?

Well, on Saturday I got cut short writing letters cos my boss, Sid the Sexist, came so I just read the papers instead. When I got home me and Bonsa went coat hunting in antique stores down Boscombe way – but no joy, and we got screwed up by all the old farts worried we’d steal their prize crockery and crummy medals. We later checked out an old army collector place in Poole. The idea is to find a coat for me to get married in, by the way. And there was an old witch of a woman running this place. She was very eccentric and talked strangely – she was quite pleasant really but looked like she had a cauldren hidden away somewhere.

Next we took the familiar road to Southampton and to the Joiners, where most of our mates were already hung out. John and Selena and their friend Lisa strung out on speed and also getting pissed up. Useful Idiot played and totally blew me away and then I read Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll through Haywire’s set – notable only for their mad looking bass player. Oi Polloi finished off and were very entertaining. Though riddled with cliches, the singer, Deke’s, sincerity shone through. After I’d sold a few LPs we got everything packed up and drove everyone to John and Selina’s in the back of the van with renditions of about 600 different songs, or choruses of, on the way.

Me and Broni started to drink when we got back which was at about 1am. But we only lasted till three or so. We crashed in the back of the van and went into deep gorgeous sleep after a few minutes of fidgeting on the hard floor.

Awoke to bright sunshine and cooking like canned sardines at about 8.30 and went back in to find a couple of people about, or just in the throes of going to sleep! We made some coffees and drunk them in the cool Sunday morning sun, Rob joining us and gradually more people surfacing. Intending to leave at about 10 or so I think we got away at about midday. I should just mention here that Chrissy decided not to come last night because, I guess, she would still feel a bit strange without Steve being around. Such a difficult situation she has faced up to – all power to her. She knows all the people here, all her friends still love her.

Okay, video camera armed we checked out The New Forest and all its animals – donkeys, horses and cows all with their babies, and pigs the size of cars. You would not believe – awesome. Another beautiful cloudless day – eventually we got home and decided to head to the beach, forgetting any responsibilities we were supposed face!

The sea was warm in the evening sun and me, Broni and John played ball and I swam a bit and a bit more (though not yet breathing underwater). Another fantastic push bike ride through the woods and, gosh, you should’ve seen the smiles on our faces. Oh, so in love with life and happy to be alive. We realised how lucky we are and how well off we are compared with others. We also realise that it is our spirit and outlook that gives us the right attitude to approach adversity whenever it needs to be faced – and we know we will.

Quickly quickly – let me tell you a couple of things about today. For one , it’s mega hot, hitting 30s and a field of cows crowded together for cooling (I presume), some weird sight anyway – I travelled up to near London on a delivery and sat smiley listening to the Palace Bros, Will Palace singing, “The world is within you, without is of mud”. Oh yes, fucking fuck. How can you not love life??!

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.