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.

It’s the same I sometimes wonder if something or other’s in my headbone – 6th July 1994

Well today I’m tense as all hell. Muscles knotted up tighter than Rollins and his band. What to do to relieve the pressure?

To finish off yesterday’s summary, the party at Kerry’s soon degenerated into sombreness and I watched the football in the other room most of the time (me being sober too). After five months of not drinking Kerry really went for it but got pissed sad instead of pissed happy – I hope she learns from it that maybe drinking isn’t such a good idea all the time! She’s sensible though and I think she’ll work through all her sorrows (her dad recently departed) and not drink her way through them.

And Broni was shattered from working far too hard again. I took her down the park and watched her face light up excitedly when I let her drive the van, hence the continuation of tenseness.

This waiting period for us is very hard and I hope we will overcome any problems that arise easily and quickly and hope the change over to another country makes us happy (goddamn, all the mega changes in our life – happening in the next six months – only two and a bit months left now).

Must try to relax and let myself go a bit. I know this for fucks sake. More later.

I got a Honda 125 in my shed and I don’t know how to put it back together again – 5th July 1994

Well, I didn’t hold out much hope and indeed, Ireland are out and on the next plane home, as they say, losing 2-0, with two ridiculous mistakes to let Holland in. A reasonable match, Broni took five though and watched ‘The Piano’ again on video upstairs.

John-boy turned up with newly purchased motorbike and face alight with delight. Then onto Kerry’s for me and Broni, with food and drink and fun on our minds.

Just before we left I let Julie know we were not very happy with the bills situation, particularly after she just got some money through and pissed it away in the pub. You know she told me she lent some money to someone!

Jen was already at Kerry’s which was a bit foreboding but we politely chatted away. 70-year-old Ron came from next door (such a cool bloke for his age – I’d like to be like him, I think, when I reach that age). Then Kerry’s mum and Liz and her two kids. Champagne was drunk and the story of Kerry’s surfing accident told each time someone else came round. Her face not looking as bad as expected.

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.

Squeezing something nonexistent – 29th June 1994

Swan

Haha! If only it were so easy. This is a critical time and we’re both getting very fucking impatient. We know we are going to be heartbroken at leaving our friends behind and jeez, we wanna get it over with, you know. It’s like waiting for a disaster, knowing it’s going to happen.

We’re both sick of work too – it drives us crazy. We’re not saying we don’t want to work but just time for a break, a change. Glad I’m in a position to be able to afford a change. Well, you can imagine what tensions we go through in the evenings. Of course, we both understand this too.

Well kids, as to today, I’m not so well. I can’t fucking breathe. My head’s all stuffed and I’m short of breath. But last night I’ll tell you, dusky sunset over the beautiful park water, shimmering with the breeze. We played ball in the sombre quiet fading of day before strolling at water’s edge to swan heaven, where about 15 huge lumbering white feathered creatures lurched, cleaned, pecked and scraped, fluffed, flapped and some slept necks twisted up over their backs, beaks tucked under wings. We watched in awe for about 10 minutes before walking back across the grass and after a while to a small pond, now dark and quiet. Here about 70 or so ducks and swans swam quietly and elegantly about their business. I came to the water’s edge and proclaimed “Hail, I am Duck Jesus” and all my faithful followers swam for me and I blessed them with water before telling them to go out and tell the world their story.

You may be interested to know that Ireland are through to the second stage of the World Cup though I have doubts about how much further they’ll make it after last nights don’t match with Norway.

Not much more but I will tell you that Fatty and his comments do still play on my mind despite my efforts to forget. I guess I’ll have to learn more to let go when things out of my control.

I don’t understand a word she says, she’s on my side – 23rd June 1994

Time moves on, ticking by. Stars collide, weather changes.

I get a haircut and finish reading Nick Cave’s ‘And the Ass Saw the Angel’. This book being the reason for my lack of entries over the past two days. That feeling of time running out, that feeling of just another page, egging you on at quarter to the midnight hour (before the football starts). Just another twist of plot to intrigue and entice further inspection. To tease tired eyes onwards.

And now I’m empty of literature – dispensed it all out of my mind as soon as it went in and now in need of another fix. Like a junkie looking for a needle, I was looking through our small book collection. Think I may start on a reread of Hunter S Thompson’s ‘The Great Shark Hunt’.

Football, of course, has kept my brain stimulated and Broni has quested on a fitness regime at the gym and pool while I slob in front of the TV, egging my teams on (whoever they maybe). I won’t bore you with scores, old memory, but see if you can drag up that Italy vs Norway match when Italy’s keeper got sent off and remarkably their coach opted to sacrifice Roberto Baggio (one of the world’s best players) and eventually his gamble paid off.

Much, much more to look forward to on the football front but now I must devote some time to my sweetheart – a companion worthy of my attention. A lover worthy of my desire. I love her and want her and she forgives me all the shit I give her in my way.

Sometimes I don’t understand my way. In fact I don’t think it’s meant for me to understand but for people looking in – for you. I hope you don’t judge me purely on my way – in fact, try not to judge me at all (I’ll try not to judge). You are you, you be your way – that’s okay. I am my way. I think you’re beginning to get my drift.

All’s you need to know, diary friend, is she is special to me,

I could have been like Lou Barlow but I’m more like Ken Barlow – 20th June 1994

Okay, children of the revelation – no entries for five lots of 24. Here’s why.

Night of the 15th, me and Broni watched the film The Subterraneans – based on the Kerouac novel. In which George Peppard (very fucking young and non cigar chewing) plays the writer and spiels his ‘time’ spiel i.e. “there’s not enough time to watch every football match, kiss every girl, talk to everyone, but I must keep trying” and the mad girl tells him “You writers – you spend so much time writing about things you’ve done at the expense of things you could be doing and trying to write it down oh so right!” This crushed me! Till now anyway.

John-boy lost his voice on Wednesday, to which gave us all great delight in ribbing him as he is normally 1 million words a minute.

And so, The World Cup did start on Friday, much to Broni’s bemusement but we watched first match at Kerry’s (Germany one, Bolivia nil – the Germans are the most boring team to watch and Bolivia did give them a run for awhile). I stayed up to watch Spain versus South Korea and at 2.20am, with 6 minutes to go, decided to call it a night, with Spain two goals up, only to find out next day South Korea scored two cracking goals in six minutes to level it! Spain are also very dull and South Korea played beautiful passing football.

With a barbecue and TV planted outdoors we watched Ireland triumphantly beat Italy one nil and last night (Sunday), Norway vs Mexico in the same group (also one nil). Stayed up for the first half of Cameroon vs Sweden, which was a cracker of a match (One one, half time) Don’t know who won yet!

Broni doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm so I’ve been letting her get some sleep in the full of our single bed and last night I came to bed excited about wedding speeches. And, of course, I must tell you that we’ve ordered some designer wedding rings from a jeweller in Salisbury – the only thing I think I’ll get on my finger – slightly unusual, well, very unusual for wedding bands, mixed coloured golds and non-symmetric. Much nicer then the tack of yer standard high street affairs.

So I dreamt about Lou Barlow instead of Henry Rollins, and sure, I introduced him to my mum! Woke up to the lovely cooing face of my sweetheart. Life is good, life is scary, life is fun, life is love.

(Later) Here I sit, in the summer swelter, thirsty and starved, contemplating my situation. And oh, life is just a series of appointments but I have the energy and enthusiasm to meet every deadline I may have made from myself. Fucking hell, lots of people can’t even get out of their chairs to turn the TV off (I’m no smarter or dumber than them) – it’s just about doing it. And now I know I can deal with this big stress a-coming, just a series of appointments I’ve made, big ones, little ones, it is true, size is not important. These paths I travel are destiny – they are waiting for me to seek them out. I accept the challenge.