Tag Archives: TRAVELOGUE


24 May


“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an Englishman in possession of a couple of quid and a belly full of beer must be in want of a curry…”

Jane Austen; Pride and Prejudice.


“Oh, sweet elixir of life, the meaning of reason, and the object of my desire. What it is to be bereft of thy company, only to rekindle joyous acquaintance in my unhappy hour of want? Words cannot quantify nor does allusion describe the bitter sweet of fond empty-plated remembrance. Clothed in plastic-bagged-fantastic and foiled in silver, thou art a joy to behold; a breath of fresh, pungent air, a tangible tingle to the nostrils, a veritable mistress of saucy delight. A jewel to the eye, a sear to the soul and a burning rush of requited love. Solitary confined moments shared and savored where one can reflect and revisit the intimacy of oral delight. Never was there a less selfish lover – never were the clinging moments more cherished – never was one left so bereaved by flushed adieu. Until we ‘eat again, I bid thee a flatulent farewell!”


“Last orders ladies and gentleman, please!” screams the potbellied publican from behind faux teak and poor dentistry. Standing amidst an island of factory-produced nostalgia he checks his watch and rings the bell one last time. “Come on now move your arses! Ain’t you got homes to go to?”

I finish the suds in my glass, choking back the stagnant liquid that just moments before browsed golden as it bubbled and foamed, and place it on the counter top with the other dead soldiers. Pint and shot glasses stand together in blissful union, unaware their usefulness has passed and that closing time has robbed them of employment. I look around at my fellow imbibers and through alcohol-addled eyes, spy the lonely and the loved as they file through the exit and into to the icy embrace of life. Their moments of communal pain-dulling congenial inebriation now forgotten as they check wallets, grab jackets and fondle newly-found soul mates. The weekend is over and the morning brings another day at the foundry, office or other unworthy place of forced employment. Wage slaved to the boss, the credit card, and the mortgage they scuttle to grab precious hours of sleep before the onslaught of fresh corporate demands engulf them.

I consider making a move on the last female at the bar however realize before I engage in optimistic social intercourse that either from want or neglect there’s probably a reason she’s still there. I rethink my strategy, drag myself from my wooden throne, and trudge into the night.

It’s cold outside and I spy my reflection in the puddles of monsoon-ravaged Middle England. Despite the chill there’s prospective inner warmth, the knowledge that only mere yards away lays a harbor of tranquility – a safe haven in an otherwise harsh, unforgiving world. I smell it before I see it; my feet splashing through water, my heels clicking on the pavement as unseen, aromatic hands grab me by the shirt collar, slap me about the face and drag me towards their irresistible event horizon. The choice isn’t my own. It’s a necessity, survival instinct; an innate sense of following one’s nose and complying with one’s inner hunter-gatherer. I stand before the plate glass window, the light from the restaurant transfixing me with its hypnotic tractor beam. There’s no escape, no use running – the dinner bell has sounded, and like a Pavlovian puppy I salivate into my jacket.

 The House of Bombay; it might as well be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the final resting place of the Holy Grail, or the gates of Valhalla. I grin moronically, my eyes wide with anticipation, my tongue thickening in my mouth at the prospect of what I am about to receive. I am truly grateful and I push open the door and enter paradise on earth. It isn’t a religious revelation however the Buddhists and Taoists would recognize the spiritual transformation I am experiencing. Truly one of the converted, my faith unshakeable, I accept the dogma completely and throw myself before my altar of expectation.

The restaurant is full of excited voices and exotic smells, its tables occupied by like-minded individuals who’ve escaped the pub and stopped for a bite on their way home; a perfect ending to a perfect night. Ten pints of lager, a bag of crisps, a game of grab ass on the dance floor, all washed down with lashings of the hot and spicy.


“…These are the things. These are the things. The things that dreams are made of…”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Human League


What to choose, what to choose? The delicacies of the great Indian sub-continent are catalogued before me in a cornucopia of delectation and gastronomic delight. A temptation to the weak, a fix to the addicted but a delight to the enlightened. The crash of pots and pans and the mantra of cursed Urdu transport me to a place far from windswept, rain-soaked, Yorkshire. No longer the last man at the bar but a willing supplicant at the place of pilgrimage. An acolyte shoves a much fingered menu into my hands and demands to know what I’m drinking. Being the connoisseur that I am, I choose an Indian beer that claims to have been brewed on the banks of the river Ganges. National Geographic images waft through my mind as I briefly swim through the corpses and crocodiles to the sari-ed beauty that holds a bottle outstretched in her henna-ed  hand.

 I grasp, I sip, I swallow.

 Reacting to the broken English of the waiter, I flick through the curled pages of the stained menu and peruse the delights of the Punjab, the Kashmir, the snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas, and the golden sands of the Southern Keralan coast line.

 Lamb or beef, chicken or shrimp, veggies or not?

The aromas are intense, the Bollywood music blaring, the Indian chatter emanating from the kitchen incessant. Having made my choice I shut the menu. Poised with pen in hand, the sauce-splattered waiter prepares to notate my desire.

“Vindaloo, so bloody hot that it’ll burn my arse. Don’t forget the Nan or the poppadums, and jump to it Gupta! I’m bloody starving.”

The waiter smiles, he’s heard it all before, the well-meant racial slurs roll off his back like a rice-paddied buffalo flicking flies. He beams his gold-toothed smile and moves quickly behind the counter and disappears through the hanging colored beads into the kitchen, The bastard will make me pay for my flippant comments and no doubt there will be more than just chili powder in my tinfoil take-away box – a huge dose of scotch bonnet pepper, a little liquid napalm perhaps. It will be Gupta’s name that I scream in abject agony the morning after the night before.

Cold hard cash clinks from my sweaty palm and the mutually beneficial exchange is made. A silver container, already oozing brown joy, exchanged for  a couple of dirty notes – the pleasure is all mine, although judging by the grin on my newfound friend’s face the pleasure is all his. I walk to the door and make my exit.

As I trudge through the rain I reflect on the wisdom of ignoring the femme-fatale at the bar. The last girl in the world, at least on this particular Friday night, shunned for the illicit pleasure of liquid love –I hate to share and besides Gupta only gave me one plastic fork.

C’est la vie baby, maybe next time.


“…Club Tropicana’s drinks are free. Fun and sunshine – there’s enough for everyone…”




7 Mar


 It isn’t rolling hills of carpeted green, nor is it the crystal clarity of babbling brooks and picture-postcarded waterfalls. The Kodak moment is gone – fizzed and flashed in extinguished chemical illumination, the retina-burnt image of time-worn memory. The depths of culture and history you’ll find in other towns and cities can’t be found around these parts no matter how deep you dig, and the ballet and opera are mere optimistic figments of performance imagination.

            No page goes wasted in the travelogues that ignore us, and the Lonely Planet isn’t a lonelier place for not making our acquaintance. The sun doesn’t break whimsically above thick-limbed trees; and when the rain falls, it doesn’t shimmer, nor does it refresh cool green grass. It pisses down – puddling and morassing village-squared greenery allowing for duck dominance until it once again shrivels and evaporates in what passes for Indian summer sunshine. There are no red-carpeted galas to flaunt faux fashion; the impecuniosity of wealth and dearth of celebrity make for scant headlines and lack of journalistic interest.

            The paparazzi don’t have us on their itinerary!

            World travellers and jungle adventurers ignore our whistle-stop station, their mind’s eye fixed on far horizons and yet to be discovered whatevers. The only local event worthy of historical retrospect is no longer taught to eager children but remains book-bound in the newly improved, government-regulated schools. No contrails stripe our skies, and we’re not on the departure board down at Heathrow. You won’t hear our average daily temperature gleefully town-cried by pregnant weathergirls on the evening news. Our travel center is a deserted bus stop with a one-way timetable to Anywhere but Here – the last traveler already having exited stage left. Love has left and is lost, never to return. When romancing the stone, our dry-walled boundaries neither acquiesce nor do they requite.

            The low of our farm-yarded husbandry isn’t the call of the wild, and vaunted stabled nativity occur the other side of imagination. No wandering stars, no wise men, no invading armies – popular uprising lies snoring in an unmade bed. Only the shrill whistle of wind rushing down highways and byways serves to recollect, before disappearing to God only knows where via abandoned public footpaths. No cries for change, liberty, or justice – the echo of disinterest falling on deaf ears.

            Society has left us behind, the cutting edge of everything having blunted itself on dull tiled roof tops reflecting grey skies. If artistic endeavor had ever been licensed, then it would have been the mono-chromists and not the impressionists that soiled their singularly splattered canvas. Not so much a patchwork of fields and forests, more a patch on an otherwise perfect pair of jeans. The unshone shoe standing out among paraded polished footwear, foiled by its own dull inadequacy rather than eclipsed by the brilliance of others.

            Listed on the menu as the chef’s surprise, never the dish of the day; forever the wedding crasher, never the invited. The last fingered delicacy at a children’s party; the silver foiled wedding cake that molders and spoils in the back of the larder. Passed over for cellophane wrapped, supermarket store-bought brilliance, before being thrown into the existential pedal bin of life.

            The uninvited guest, the blood stain on freshly laundered underwear.

           If it had a smell it would be vaguely familiar but unremarkable. Car farted flatulence, yesterday’s takeaway; the stench of tide-drawn mud and the street-level choke of smokeless fuel and burned wood. Boiled cabbage and cremated offerings adding their aroma to the buffet of industrialized dormitory living. Never more the glory of mother’s cooking, but the half remembrance of plates past and meals left to spoil on mismatched crockery. The squeezed and emptied condiment bottle, the wind-borne crisp packet, the discarded Styrofoam container – a forgotten eye sore, once so necessary but now just so bloody useless.

            So if that’s the case, why is it that I yearn to return to this forgotten, much maligned agrarian dystopia?

            Why do I treasure the golden age of rural disfunctionality with such spectacular rose-colored clarity and candy-striped fondness? I would give anything to wander its streets and lanes – walk its fields, wait in the rain for the bus I know will never come. Why is it that I long to rekindle the memory of familiar tastes and enjoy the scent of wind-born excellence – fried fish, larded pasties, pub grub, and smoky chimneys? How I long to revisit pubs I’ve never entered, return to villages I’ve never known – yet can recall with boundless ex-patria enthusiasm the halcyon days imagined there.

            The cold no longer bothers me, and the rain doesn’t spit in my face. The lack of things to do at the weekend and the interminable boredom of teenage life dismissed – the forgotten trauma of memorialized youth. I know that I’ll be disappointed, that the familiar faces won’t be waiting for me on the platform of cognizance to alight from the memory train that’ll never materialize. Nobody will know my name, and the best I can probably expect is a half glance from a half remembered stranger.

            Standing on the corner of the village square next to the telephone booth, watching the locals eye me as they pass, wondering who I am perhaps, or more likely not caring at all. What’s another face in a sea of faces when you’re drowning in your own existence? They’ll never understand that it was the childhood laughter, the scraped knees and plastered wounds of youth that helped to cement what’s traditionally known as village life. The return to family values exemplified by boys playing football in the street, choosing between goodies and baddies when playing at war. Running around neighborhoods with sticks, screaming machinations of machine-gunned excess. Pushed from pillar to post by irate neighbors with perfect lawns, kicked off cricket greens and chased from tennis courts by card-carrying members.

            Damn our insolence for daring to entertain the thought that we too could one day be great – grace the courts at Wimbledon or mount the field at Wembley. Where do the football heroes of the future get their start if not on the village green or by dodging commuter traffic?

            Just one more time – just one more visit. I know what to expect and can already taste the disillusion.
            It matters not.

            Right now I just want to go home.


The weather outside is frightful…..

14 Dec


Peter regretted the cold dip and the fact that his penis was gone forever….


The pounding of nails being hammered into wood is deafening as is the crash of shuttering windows and slamming doors. People run through streets dragging young children and infirm relatives behind them. Tasks of great importance go untended, and public works projects sit idle at the impending news.

¡Los ingleses vienen, los ingleses vienen! (gracias Paul!!)

That’s right the James family is going to San Diego!

Four days of sun, sand, and whatever else they have that begins with the letter S; plus all the other letters in between for that matter. A welcome break from the tropical heat of Phoenix, a sweet release from the burgeoning temperatures of mid-December sun shine. Whilst England struggles through the worst snow storm for decades and people croak shoveling snow in the mid-west, we continue to bask in sub-tropical temperatures. Some would say we have it made although to be honest here in Arizona we have to endure hardships too! The pool for instance is a little frosty and so there’s no swimming until at least the month of May. Who wants to jump into pool water that is less than 80C? To add to this we can no longer sit comfortably outside of an evening and are forced to wear a minimum of two t-shirts and possibly two socks as well. The number is of course arbitrary and dependent upon the fortitude of the individual concerned.

 Roger and Sebastian agreed there was nothing quite like snow-balls


Britain is expecting another eight inches of snow, plus sub-zero temperatures for the foreseeable future. Although potentially disastrous, one has to take into account the veracityof the British Meteorological Institute, and so realistically they are probably in for balmy weather with sunny showers! The last time they predicted the weather correctly was when they accidentally called for light rain just before Noah launched his ark. Although not indifferent to the freezing European temperatures, I am more concerned with the strength of the morning sun and adjust my shades accordingly. What is really alarming are the predicted deaths. Thousands of people are expected to perish during the coming cold snap, Siberian winter , ice age; choose your terminology. Britain hasn’t been this cold since the earlier 1960s and to be honest I am struggling to melt the icicles around my own heart so I can feel pity.

Tommy and Susan found out the  hard way that super-gluing their hands to the car was not as funny as it had first seemed…. 


Even now as I misspell, people are laying prostrate on beaches in California complaining that their drinks aren’t cold enough and that the ice is melting to0 quickly in their cocktails. Blazing sunshine is beating down on solar worshippers, blistering their bums and irradiating their flesh. Sounds like heaven to me. If there is a god then he is currently wintering in the south west of the U.S.

Spoke to relatives back home in England the other day that daren’t go out for fear of falling and breaking wind, a hip, or some other appendage. Cars remain locked in garages as snow is something that the islanders have never had to deal with in the past and so the notion of snow tires has never crossed their frost bitten minds. Although Christmas card idyllic, memories of Christmases of long, long ago are coming home to roost; a classic case of being careful for what you wish. The winter bitch-fest decrying the lack of snow at Christmas and the abject detestation of cold grey December days is a distant memory. Well there it is people! Fill thy boots with holly and race naked through the snow. Make hay while the sun doesn’t shine or something to that effect.

Upon emerging Pedro realized that they had dug the drugs tunnel a little too far…


I love reading the comments in the Daily Mail (the non-thinking man’s newspaper. www.dailymail.co.uk) from people who survived whichever catastrophe de jour that is being reported. The people who remember walking up hill to and from school in shoes made from barbed wire in total blackness in the middle of the day. True stories if you choose to believe the swarthy veterans who remember when it was colder than a witch’s tit, when the frost was emasculating brass monkeys and water was as hard as made in china steel. Invaluable advise such as wearing socks over your shoes to protect you from the elements , covering your body in whale grease to ward of the cold. I can just see myself headed off to Walgreens for a liter of whale grease and a pound of blubber; but there again maybe not.

The house-wife down hill ironing board olympic event was a huge success…

The BBC recycles useless information on how to survive the Blitz, cold, global warming, influx of Poles. (Check as appropriate.)Nameless faces quote auto queues in the hope of informing their frozen public.

And here is the weather for the next 24 hours…..

Lashings of snow and subzero temperatures are expected throughout the U.K, accompanied by freezing seas and searing Siberian winds. The public are advised to burn supplementary relatives and everything else they hold dear in order to keep warm. Citizens of Britain should be aware of falling frozen birds, and homeless people; who may be considered trip hazards once they freeze inside their plastic blankets. The government advises a stiff upper lip, some good old fashioned Britishness , a round of cheery war time music, and to remain calm when the air raid siren sounds.

We never had it so good.


Helsinki suffers this kind of weather every single year and yet the roads remain open, the airports fit for traffic and their public safe; a simple case of investing in what’s necessary. Funnily enough Finland doesn’t have any aircraft carrier groups, a nuclear deterrent or financial malfeasance. What is does have are some of the best schools, medical facilities and social services anywhere in the world.

“Yes but they’re socialists!” I hear you cry. “They’re taxed to high heaven and their government is in charge of everything.”

 Not so much when you consider that we have a situation in England where no matter what we vote for our choices have already been made for us. Another war of Empirical conquest or a system which actually produces satisfied citizens and snow free roads; so hard to choose!

 Svetlana’s  poor command of English had taken the ice-ho in ice-hockey to a different level…


I dither over my choice of shorts as no doubt being in San Diego for a couple of days I will have to fit in with the locals. Dark glasses, sombrero hast, Spanish accent and open toe sandals. Not a jar of whale grease in site.

 I am ready. San Diego lock up your bier kellers!


13 Dec

TheJoker was finding the concept of Texas-hold-em perplexing…


The new faces wander into the factory, the glazed look of apprehension obvious behind safety-glassed eyes; expectation, trepidation etched on their foreheads. Some of them have waited for over a year to regain the status of working class, as opposed to the ignominious title of former employee of XYZ Corporation. Fortune has smiled on these lucky souls, who can now put away their bonbons, turn off the day time television and return to the world of work. The economy is down, the outlook is bleak, but at least for the moment they have pay checks. Handed a fresh ladder to climb the dizzying heights of professional success, they are eager to fulfill their contracts and appease their new masters

With the ailing economy many companies  closed their doors, turned off the power and silenced the machines. The profits being made, although listed in the billions of dollars, wasn’t enough to hold them open. The profit margined gluttony, all too thinly crayoned on wafer-thin balance sheets was a disappointment to both investors and corporate officers. The shrill clarions call for, bigger, better, and faster, still echoing in the empty spaces where men used to work.

The boys at the soup kitchen prayed it wouldn’t be chicken again….. 


“We need twice as much as yesterday, and half as much again tomorrow, shoulders to the wheel, noses to the grindstone, everybody pulling in the same direction…..”

Corporate greed is the name of the beast that is not only killing America but is strangling the international community and choking the global engine. Jobs which supported families and paid for American dreams shipped abroad, so that strangers in foreign lands, working  for a couple of dollars less, could profit from the new factories growing up in their once pristine back yards.

Globalism at the end of the street; who could have thunk it?


The new company car was proving a bitch to handle through the corners… 


As the workers of the 21st Century close the door on their new houses, step into their fresh-from-the-garage automobiles, and drink the $5 dollar coffee that used to cost 30 cents, they thank their traditional deities and think no more about it. After all aren’t they deserving, aren’t they blessed, aren’t they the chosen ones? Opening their own doors to a sleaker, sexier, brighter futures they unwittingly slam the door in the faces of what used to be great industrial nations. Lands of milk and honey where everything was possible; where stamped in America, made in England, Detroit Diesel and Sheffield Steel meant something. No longer comrades; the clouds of austerity are upon us.

 Ben had chosen to ignore the shouts of “Get a room!”


We see the houses in our streets with for sale signs, overgrown with weeds. Furniture which used to be cherished and dusted on a regular basis standing in deserted driveways. Bright shiny fabrics and gleaming not-made-in-this-country alloys tarnished and fading in the Arizona sun. Whole neighborhoods where nobody lives, where countless homes stand empty; an abandoned city stranded on an island of unemployment and Governmental apathy.

“Well if you don’t like it you can write to your representative, your member of parliament, your President or your Prime Minister!” Forlorn words addressed and mailed in tear stained envelopes, paid for with stamps bearing American flags and Queens’s heads; emblems of empire and Postindustrial greatness. The worker may be down but he certainly isn’t out. The pride which used to have us congregating in the street with our flags, standing up when they played the national anthem, clutching our hearts when they raised the flag is still there.


 So what to do? Accumulate more guns; buy more ammunition and bigger safes from Costco to store them in? Stock up on food supplies for the day we hope will never come? Sit around in groups and discuss the obvious which appears to be patently unobvious to the oblivious who walk amongst us?

We few, we brave few, we band of brothers?

Like a movement of troops through a First World War trench I see the new faces, shake their hands and forget their names. A fresh infusion of blood, more fodder for the guns. Extra bodies to support capital investment, insuring that this year will be better than the last; our best year ever!  New attendees for weekly meetings for the exposition of ever ascending graphs and the extension of  corporate handshakes; cost, availability, yields and productivity, synonyms for corporate hegemony. 

The new faces take their place among the old, and we idle in our own thoughts. We remember the names of colleagues past and rejoice in their memory. At the same time accepting the changing of the guard, the influx of new recruits; food for powder!

The lights of the I-10 whizz past me as I proceed on my journey home, random thoughts racing through my head after another day in the bowels of the corporate machine. Like stokers aboard the R.M.S TITANIC, shoveling coal from bin to bin, we struggle to insure that the fires of corporate avarice burn ever brighter. Just one more shovelful will be enough comrades, just one more shovel…..

Bill’s final wish of being buried in his favorite train was proving troublesome….

It’s all Greek to me…

12 Dec


After White Christmas Bing decided to do the politically correct thing….


Back in the car and racing to work its sing-along-a-Bing-time! Christmas songs of Christmases past assault my ears as I concentrate on getting there in one piece. Last night was a fantastic. Good food, good beer and excellent company. Stuffed to the gills with Greek fare I involuntarily gurgle and pop as my stomach sloshes to the after effects of last night’s liquid refreshment. Got to love Bing Crosby, as despite the years he’s still hanging in there. Of course David Bowie helped a little; immortalizing him in The Little Drummer Boy video back in the dark days of the 1980’s, but for a balding, cardigan wearing, pipe smoking, dead guy it’s amazing how popular he still is….although peculiarly only around this time of year.

The Greek restaurant we go to  is always frequented by dead beats. Good for nothing seniors in their 60’s and 70s with their cropped grey hair and their slightly sweaty designer golf clothes. Hanging around on golfing greens and the corners of bars with their work shy cohorts, idling their time away whilst the rest of us slave our arses off trying to scratch a crust. It’s aright for them living out their twilight years in luxury retirement communities playing with their balls all day and chasing septuagenarian tail. What kinds of example are they giving to contemporary youth with their devil may care attitudes and their flippant diversions? One would think at their age they would know a little better. Clearly their slip into recitative delinquency is what is helping to drive the economic malaise.

Bored with naked-scrabble, the coffin dodgers decided to run a train on old Ma Johnson! 

Bing breaks into melodious whistling which I try to emulate unsuccessfully, managing instead to spill my coffee and soak the inside of the wind screen with spittle. Now I can no longer see the road as it’s like driving through a rain storm, and my crotch is on fire from the burning liquid. I never thought that Bing would be able to reach the parts that other crooners have never reached. I glow in all the wrong places and reflect on my growing fondness for the man. I forget the whistling and decide to hum along instead. Seems like a safer bet;  as evidenced by the darkening stain on my trousers, the danger has passed.


Clearly the operation to rectify Charlene’s hair-lip had not been a success…


Yesterday morning I did a window cleaning Job for another one of society’s malingerers. Some retired guy with nothing better to do than start a relationship with a younger working woman. Of all the nerve; talk about slapping the world in the face with a wet sloth! All of these unemployable previously employed just sitting around at home hooking up over the internet; posting their pics, show casing their best side, carefully cropping out walkers and wheel chairs. With re-trodden mouths, updated hairlines and the addition of Viagra and vitamin supplements some of these Lotharios are twice the men they once were.

Although Dorris looked great with her new dentures in, Dan couldn’t take his eyes off her bazooms….


The customer had the audacity to brag about his involvement in a gambling ring. How twice a week he sets up tables at diverse locations to tempt invited guests into enjoying a game of cards or a spin of the wheel; the slippery slope to addiction, only one red or black square away. Clearly there is some kind of unsavory shadow network operating from behind the gates of retirement communities all across Phoenix. Bands of aged delinquents forming companies; hiring themselves out for Casino nights at corporate get- too-gethers. Not satisfied with just sitting at home and enjoying their retirement they have to force themselves on the still slaving masses with their financially profitable scams. Continuing to function as useful members of society whilst supplementing their nest eggs and feathering their fixed incomes.


Back in the early days Bing sucked pipe for wooden nickles…..

Finally Bing shuts up, but not without one final plaintive whistle. My crotch is now growing cold and I yearn for the Christmases of yore and a seat near the fire; spilled coffee and soaked blue jeans are not exactly the sticky and sweet I enjoy. Destination reached and car parked, I step out of the vehicle only to have the icy Arizonan wind whip through my nether regions, quickly transforming them into polar regions. I head for the entrance looking like an incontinent zombie, dreaming of the day when I too will be a corrupter of youth; wasting my time playing in the sun and drinking the cellars of the world dry. Jealousy is a terrible thing and I have retirement envy burning through my veins as I reflect on the week ahead. Uninvited, Bing pops back into my head,however I quickly resign the old bastard to the wheelie bin of subconscious. Last thing I need at this time of the morning is some happy-go-lucky senior citizen telling me how good life can be.

And years to go before I sleep……


8 Dec


True to his lyrics Mr.Ferry was a jealous bitch….


I’m not a bitter man and unlike Mr. Ferry I am not a jealous guy. I can live my life without the interference of others and without interfering with them. It’s just that sometimes when the pressure is on and we forget who we really are, cruel Mother Nature plays her tricks and instinct kicks in. Simply put, I am just a simple soul living a peaceful life with no thought given to anyone except myself and my family. Why then is it that time and again my mortal meanderings are so rudely interrupted? Be it in the car, at the supermarket, while waiting in line for a book of stamps. Random acts of thoughtless self-enrichment by complete strangers whilst fulfilling quotidian acts.


Did I mention my wife does Yoda? 


Yoda’s multi colored pole was popular with the ladies…

Anyway back to the original train of thought. COSTCO, that battlefield of life, that Serengeti of modern American living, where one has to struggle through the corpulent, the obese and the gargantuan, is a good example of what I am talking about. An ensemble of mountainous starving flesh, congregated by the watering holes of consumerism; hundreds of pounds of quivering mass, herded together around the freebee stations. Not content with a month’s worth of cheese in their shopping carts and enough pinto beans to feed a small South American republic they desire more, and are prepared to do whatever it takes to get it. Never was so much consumed by so few to the aghast of so many!

 (Sounds like a Winston Churchill speech!!)

It must be the essence of beans or the whiff of bacon which first startles the herd and sends them romping off to some distant corner of the store to consume whatever it is that needs to be consumed. It’s certainly not the mating instinct as the dolly birds who give away the tasty teasers, who are at least in their early sixties, are hardly in prime condition to help proliferate the species. Like a BBC nature program one can watch the flock fall and swoop as it homes in on latitudes more advantageous to life. Clearly it is the feeding frenzy and the herd mentality which are to blame, causing them to forget their civilized precepts, despite their better instincts, to do what it is they do.

After three hams, a field of potatos and several oxen; Janet still had room for ice cream.


Did I mention that this Yoda chap likes different positions? Sounds to me like he’s an accomplished lover as some of them appear to be quite complicated. In fact strenuous to the degree that they take years of practice to perfect. I am therefore forced to accept that my wife’s philanderings may endure for some time.

It’s the same COSTCO mentality that one sees on the I-10. For mile after mile warnings for lane closure or traffic diversion are clearly visible; red and white barriers that effectively constrict the roads, forcing the traffic closer together and so enabling the commute. Cops stationed at every intersection, flashing red and blue lights helping to guide us safely home. A fairly simple case of traffic control and yet there is always one of those COSTCO bastards that’s cocks it up for everybody else!

Blinded by their sense of self-worth, and possibly even by their urge to return to COSTCO in the off chance that they are giving away Hanukkah hams, they wait until the last second to pull into the only available lane. You’ve seen them; always at the very end of the line, their indicators flashing, the pleading puppy dogs looks in their eyes. “Please, please let me in. I have to get home to my loving fat bastard of a husband and my starving sub-Saharan children.”

Since his divorce Mr. Yamamoto had discovered that his weekly shopping had decreased significantly…

Well screw them and their wilder beast mentality, I will not be moved. No matter how far you edge your SUV into my line I will not yield. Us Brits are made of stronger stuff! Did we not endure forty years of Nazi bombing, Viking naval attacks, a plague of Poles and Sir Paul McCartney? I swear to you on the death bed of my great Aunty George, placid as I am, I can only be pushed so far.

So Yoda, whom my wife apparently adores, has his own private studio, where she sneaks off to twice a week. It’s not the physical thing that bothers me, it’s the temerity of the little green wrinkly bastard demanding twelve dollars per session! I mean she is pretty bare faced about the whole thing. Dresses up in her leggings, and one of her little slinky sporty outfits. Grabs her water and her towel and then tells me she is in for a really hot session! The bare faced effrontery of it all! She can count herself lucky that it’s only six of the deadly sins I enjoy and not the seventh.

I’m stood in the aisles of Cosco looking through rack upon rack of tinned food. It’s as though the U.S.S Carl Vinson has just unloaded its disaster relief cargo and the survivors are stocking up before the aftershocks hit the city. Stood there with the family I see starving sumo wrestlers pushing frail octogenarians out of the way in order to grab the last five gallons of olive oil. (Double pack of course, because we are talking economic purchases. Your COSTCO shopper is a savvy shopper!)

 I see one of the afflicted heading towards me, determination set on his chubby face. There is only me and my cart between him and sixty cans of Chef Boyardee. Do I yield no, do I bend no, do I hold my hands up and quake in fear?  Never!


Luckily the Pilsbury dough-boy was still able to find employment after puberty..


 Using the skills I have honed on my multi-various journeys on the I-10 I hold my ground; gripping the handle of my cart firmly as I watch him huff and puff the final inches. His cart hits mine, and thanks to Newton’s third law, rebounds just as quickly. The cart hurtles back, his packet of 5000 fish sticks flies out of the trolley and lands on the floor next to his selection of 450 chicken pot pies. I stand tall and look down at my floored aggressor, gather my family around me and move on to the next aisle. Do not mess with a motorway veteran; you will lose every time.

Cuckolded by a small Martian from a galaxy far-far-away is one thing, but for her to lie to me about his name is another. All the signs are there, it’s obvious what’s going on, I am not blind! She begs and pleads with me but I do not relent. Yoda or Yoga; I don’t care to know what his name is!


 Even though she had conquered the complexities of Yoga, putting on her socks was still a problem…


I quite like the way my wife looks after one of those sweaty sessions and so I say do your worst Yoda, Yoga or whatever your name is? She might be yours for two hours a week but she knows which side her bread is buttered on.

 I laugh in your diminutive direction.

 What do you think you are going to achieve? I reap the benefits, while you my friend must endure those long lonely waiting hours praying for Wednesday and Friday to come around. You may impress her with your downward dog but lashings of savoir faire and an English accent will win out every time. No match for my Albion wit you are!

The girl is mine Yoda….the girl is mine.

Having spent weeks perfecting the letter A, Mary was a little worried about the letter Q….