Friday, 31 July 2009

All Great Men Make Mistakes. Winston Churchill

We called in at Worcester last week on our way back from Wales. Seems a nice little place, Worcester. Plus my wife saw a gorgeous handbag in a shop window, reduced from £4.99 to £3.99, an absolute snip. I don't mind treating her at that price! But just as we we going into the shop I noticed it was a Jaeger shop and they certainly don't give anything away. The revised price was of course £399, some difference! Two silly old geriatric plonkers who probably should not be out unacompanied. There again there is a saying, the man who never made a mistake never made anything.I looked up 'lifes mistakes' on the internet. Evidently there are 35,700,000 references. It seems we are in good company.
I suppose there are not many of us who tried to dry their hands in the toilet by sticking them up the opening of the contraceptive machine. (see blog dated 1st February 2009)
Plus I wince at winding down the motorhome window on a dark and dismal night travelling north from Bath and enquiring of a bystander,'Gloucester?'
'No, Cheltenham' came the puzzled reply. Mind you, I blame the sat-nav. Confusing it's rights and lefts is bad enough. And I swear the thing's dyslexic. So there, it's not our fault!
(A friend of mine, much cleverer than me hired a car in Chesterfield to go to a wedding in Newcastle. Sailing merrily along the M1, it was only when he saw the signs for Luton that he realised he was travelling south not north. And he's got an honours degree. What in I'm not sure!)
The dictionary definition of mistake includes: to recognise or identify incorrectly; based on error; wrong.
Thomas Carlyle said 'Do not be embarrassed by your mistakes.nothing can teach us better than our understanding of them. This is one of the best ways of self education.' Though I doubt he was in our league when it comes to mistake making.
Life is full of choices, to marry or not to marry for instance. A friend of mine has been married four times. How many mistakes there? One, two, three, surely not four? I would imagine this comes in the category of 'serious mistakes.' Marriage for me has been far from a mistake so I must be doing something right. (I once arrived late at a wedding and sat in the back of the church for fifteen minutes before I realised I was at the wrong wedding. Stupid, yes, but serious, not really.)
Our visit to Wales was in the main enjoyable, marred by ignorant, rude, over zealous parking attendants who issued us with a parking fine for a technicality on a car park in Dolgellau. Perhaps I should not have returned to Wales after an absence of over twenty years. Perhaps it was a mistake; who knows.
Lets give the last word to Oscar Wilde writing in 'Lady Windemere's Fan.'
Dumby: Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
Cecil Graham: One shouldn't commit any.
Dumby; Life would be very dull without them.
And less expensive Mr Wilde!
Dare you admit some of your mistakes in life, serious or otherwise. Surely I'm no more mistake prone than anyone else out there. Or am I?

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Silly Granddad's Night in the Local

Much though I love the grandchildren, sometimes 'silly granddad' has to get away from it all.

I went to the pub last night. Nothing new there, then. And nothing particularly different from any other visit. Old Davey insisted on telling me about the difficulty he'd had trying to sell a bike in the local paper.
'Describe it' I said. 'Eighteen inch wheels, drop handlebars, Sturmey Archer gears.' said Davey. 'No problem there' I said, 'did you put all that in the advert?'
'Can't tell you,' he said, 'its classified.'
Silly old twerp. Thought a game of darts might change the mood.
'Nearest the bull?' I suggested.
'Moo' said Davey.
'Baa' said I.
'You're nearest' said Davey, 'You start.'
I were beginning to find the whole evening something of a strain. Quite pleased when this women came in with a parrot on her shoulder. My, was she ugly.
She sidled over to me. Why do the ugly ones always pick on me.
'Guess what I've got on my shoulder and you can kiss me' she pouted.
'A crocodile' said I.
'That's near enough' she suggested.
I declined the offer.
I reckon it must have been 'Take your pet to the pub week.'
Another customer came in with a newt on his shoulder.
'A whisky for me and a glass of water for Tiny.'
I jumped at the chance to leave the ugly woman.
'Lovely animal, why do you call it Tiny?' I enquired.
'Because he's my newt.'
There's no answer to that.
Not a bad pub but some reckon all pubs nowadays are not what they used to be.
Old Harry always were a moaner. 'No smoking, warm beer, too much food. Hopeless, but its the spittoon I miss most.'
'You always did' said I.
I must admit Harry had a point. My beer were cloudy as hell.
'This beer's off' I suggested to the landlord.
'What you moaning at' he said. 'You've only got one pint of it. I've got three barrels.'
The pub's dog were a right one as well. The sign on the bar said 'Beware of the Dog' yet it always lies on the floor fast asleep. Mind you, the notice worked. Nobody fell over it after the notice went up!
What with all these animals, it were more like a zoo than a pub.
A bloke came in with another dog. Old, decrepit, smelly, he were in a right state. And the dog were no better.
'That dog's knackered,' I said, 'It's lame and half blind and can hardly hear.'
'Rubbish', said the old man, 'watch this.'
'Come here, Fido. Sit!'
'Oh dear, can someone get me a mop and bucket.'
It started to go right downhill from then on. A little bloke walked in, stepped in it and went his length. He got up and blow me, a great big bloke walked in and did exactly the same. The little bloke exclaimed, 'I've just done that.' And the big bloke knocked the little bloke right over the bar.
It were getting too lively for me.
Good idea, late night shopping. It's the wife's birthday so I thought I'd buy her some flowers on my way home. Only the florist had run out of anenomes, the wife's favourite flowers. In fact they hadn't much left at all. So I took her a large potted fern. I'd had a drop to drink, but I reckoned 'With fronds like these who needs anenomes.' And so home to bed. Happy wife, happy life; roll on tomorrow!

(Sorry about the jokes, my wife's always saying of my jokes 'the old one's are the best'. I don't know what she means!)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Mistaken Identity

I read of a case recently where identical twins bamboozled the courts. Nothing new, the Kray Twins swapped places once in borstal, the visitor took the place of the prisoner. And they weren't even identical. But always difficult where identification is essential.
There was a murder close to where I lived several years ago. A motorcyclist wearing a helmet and visor strode up to a man in the street and with a handgun 'blew him away' so to speak. Identification virtually impossible, the crime is unsolved to this day. The influence of the Krays in my youth plus the shooting were the influences behind the first short story I ever wrote. I hope it amuses some of my friends out there.
Mistaken Identity
Perhaps, with the name the Bray Twins, Albert and George were predestined to a life of crime.
Identical, very identical, they were carbon copies, viewed by strangers with awe, by parents with pride. At times their appearances changed, but their likeness was always methodically observed.
Born in the back streets of Derby, their childhood was, in the main, unexceptional. They did all the things many other boys in their circumstances did: they swore, lied, scived school, stole, but always together.
Large, devilish bright, with a cunning born of necessity, they became a formidable partnership, sometimes admired, often loathed, but always feared.
Their criminality grew with their years. Petty corner shop thieving at five; extortion from other children by ten. At fifteen a pair, always a pair, to be avoided by every child and most adults! For a beating from one person is painful and frightening; from two, terrifyingly traumatic!
Nor was their viciousness limited to their own sex. Thought by many to be attractive to the eye, if not the soul, the twins had no difficulty in gaining female admirers. Often shared, always ultimately discarded, they were treated to a disdainful existence ruled by fear. Conquests, objects of lust to be discarded at will.
Even a local massage parlour cum brothel was not immune to the twin’s deviant tastes. Many a girl had reason to dread a visit from the sadistic duo; pleasure and pain were so often synonymous.
The Brays, like the illustrious Krays, ruled supreme in their own little fiefdom, bullying and scheming. Their treatment of others was intimidating, all were fearful of becoming their next victim. Victims who could never prove the twins guilt, for lying was second nature to Albert and George! The criminal advantage of their identical appearance was always evident, but its true worth was proved almost by accident.
Involved in a road rage incident, inevitably of their own making, either Albert or George treated the other motorist to a merciless beating of the utmost ferocity. This violence the result of a disturbing psychopathic disorder that was to become increasingly disturbing as the years progressed.
Witnessed by bystanders, unable or unwilling to intervene, the twins were nevertheless instantly recognised and quickly arrested, their first arrest in an already long life of crime. But, supremely astute, fuelled by self-preservation, their intuitive cunning proved to be their salvation.
It did not need a Rumpole of the Bailey to recognise a conviction rested on unequivocal identification.
On the identification parade stood Albert, and of course, George. One, short hair, parting on the right. Six feet tall, dark blue blazer, light blue shirt, matching tie, light grey cavalry twill trousers, dark grey socks, smart black brogues.
The other, short haired, parting on the right! Six feet tall, dark blue blazer, light blue shirt, matching tie, light grey cavalry twill trousers, dark grey socks, smart black brogues!
Inevitably, neither the victim nor witnesses identified, the assailant with certainty. The case had no chance of even going to court. The twins walked from the parade free, bomb proof, even more arrogantly certain of their invincibility. But the case taught the twins a criminal lesson awesome in its possibilities. Both twins together meant recognition, elimination of one meant identification of the other. One twin meant doubt and confusion. No identification meant no conviction. They never again performed a criminal act together. Criminal acts, yes, sometimes even by rota, but together, never. And their crimes escalated, ABH, and GBH, leading almost inevitably, to murder.
The execution was carried out with clinical, efficient precision. Albert, or was it George sat in the shadows astride a silent motorcycle. Helmeted, gloved, correctly attired, almost nonchalantly the rider waited, attracting little or no attention in the poorly lit street.
The victim drove up, at his normal time, in his normal fashion. The car engine died. The driver, after a brief unsuspecting pause alighted, locked the car door and walked, as a thousand times before, to his front door. Albert, or was it George stepped silently, professionally from the semi darkness. The barrel of the gun was inches from the nape of the victim’s neck before he had extracted his keys from his pocket in readiness of entering his inviting abode. It is doubtful if he was ever aware he was about to be despatched to eternity.
It was over almost before it began. Albert, or was it George walked, almost casually, back to the motorcycle.
He sat astride, it fired first time and sped smoothly away. Clean, clinical, classy, a perfect execution!
Ten miles and ten minutes away, a motorcyclist pulled onto the forecourt of a petrol filling station.
The helmeted, gloved rider dismounted a short distance from the kiosk. Unhurriedly he walked over to the payment booth, glancing unperturbed, at the cigarettes displayed on the shelves behind the young female assistant idly surveying her nails.
“Twenty Silk Cut,” he requested, proffering a five-pound note.
“Yer what?” The assistant made little attempt at civility or comprehension.
“Twenty Silk Cut!” The muffled request was repeated, annoyance mingled with impatience.
“Twenty what?” The request was only in part deciphered.
Boredom, indifference, and an equal amount of ignorant disinterest were apparent.
Annoyance, frustration and anger took over. The rider took off his helmet and, very slowly, enunciated his simple request. “Twenty Silk Cut!” His manner was deliberate, angry, but controlled. Message received, the assistant selected the cigarettes, accepted payment, selected change and almost threw both in the direction of the once again helmeted figure. With scarcely controlled annoyance the rider retrieved both and strode purposefully back to his machine.
The police arrived, albeit invisibly on the street housing the Brays the following week. Routine checks on all CCTV cameras within a twenty-mile radius of the crime had been rewarded. The forecourt camera of a filling station revealed the unmistakeable features of a Bray twin, gold incisor and all.
A discreet watch by undercover policemen in the guise of road sweepers, milkmen, postmen and their ilk paid dividends. On the third day of observation a Bray twin, gold incisor to the fore, arrived at the house. Massively outnumbered, he was easily detained. Routine fingerprints of the twins had been on the police files for many a year, perhaps for such an eventuality. Even twins, however identical, do not share fingerprints!
The twin in custody was undoubtedly Albert. Combined with a motor cycle suit and helmet retrieved from the Bray household, exactly matching that worn on the CCTV footage, bingo, mission was accomplished. In the words of the Sun newspaper concerning the Belgrano Gotcha!
The trial was anticipated by all. At the scene of the crime, no prints, no DNA, no positive identification! True, a witness had seen the motorcyclist, suited and helmeted as in the CCTV footage. True, the police knew a Bray twin was undoubtedly guilty of the heinous crime. Probably the prosecution knew, the defence counsel knew, even the jury probably guessed. The prosecution knew convincing the jury would not be easy. But the incriminating image of a Bray twin in the exact same gear as the gunman surely pointed to one verdict only?
That George had vanished from the face of the earth, no matter. One twin, one crime, one identification, one conviction.
The early days of the trial were taken up with the legalities that are necessary, but border on the mundane. Policemen routinely considering their notes to prove details of arrest.
The who, when, where and why’s important to the legal system so admired by judiciaries throughout the world. Points of law were argued, the wit and wisdom of barristers displayed.
All things come to those who wait. After days of argument and counter-argument, truths, half-truths and mere conjecture, the end appeared in sight.
Albert sat in the well of the court throughout, attentive, composed, confident.
Hair closely cropped, black blazer, white shirt, dark silk tie; Grey trousers, matching socks, black slip on shoes.
His gold incisor gleamed in the subdued fluorescent courtroom lighting.
The defence barrister stood up to deliver his final speech. He smiled a supercilious smile. He was about to deliver the final blow that would destroy completely the prosecution’s case against his client. Oozing confidence bordering on arrogance, he proceeded to treat judge and jury to a performance of stunning virtuosity.
Not for nothing was he considered the natural born successor to George Carmen, the greatest advocate of the twentieth century!
The trial came to life. “There is no absolute proof that my client is guilty of this crime. The prosecution admits no weapon was found, no DNA and no fingerprint evidence to connect my client to the crime. If, and only if we concede the CCTV shows Albert or George Bray, and if, only if, we concede the time shown on the camera film is correct, how can you or any one else be sure it is Albert and not George, George and not Albert?” His look was condescendingly overbearing.
“Remember,” he stressed, turning to the jury, “A conviction needs absolute certain identification.”
He struck out his chest, inviting applause for his oratory skills. He paused for effect before continuing with boundless self-importance, “My Lord, I would like to call one final witness.”
He looked towards the door at the rear of the court. The jurors as one gasped in astonishment. A sense of Déjà vu pervaded the air.
George Bray strode purposefully towards the witness box. His closely cropped hair, black blazer, white shirt and dark silk tie caught the eye; as did his grey trousers, matching socks and black slip-on shoes. And his gold incisor gleamed in the subdued fluorescent lighting!
George entered the witness box and took the Bible in his right hand, preparing to take the oath.
The defence counsel interrupted. “That won’t be necessary, Mr Bray, you may step down.”
George did as requested. All over bar the shouting, a triumph of law over justice. The judge raised a quizzical eyebrow and gave an enquiring, inviting look in the direction of the prosecution counsel.
“I too would like to call one final witness, your honour.” The rear door of the courtroom again opened. A slightly built young women entered, dressed in an immaculate white blouse, short red skirt and high heeled shoes. Attractive, but with minimum make up, smartly businesslike, she walked with slow but confident steps to the witness box. This time there was no juridical interruption and she repeated the oath in a quiet but clear voice.
“And you are?”
“Senita Smith.” The prosecution council led the witness in what was obviously an unfamiliar role. “And your occupation?”
“Masseur and call girl.”
Call girl may have been chosen to appear less indelicate than prostitute, but the effect was the same.
Audible gasps of astonishment emanated from every last corner of the court. All present, without exception, focused with an air of expectancy on the young lady.
“And you in your chosen profession know who your client was between six and seven o’clock on the evening of the ninth of November?” The time coinciding with the time recorded on the forecourt CCTV was not lost on the engrossed audience.
“Yes sir.”
“And who was your client?”
“George Bray, sir.”
The defence council leapt to his feet.
“I object, your honour! No one, but no one has ever identified a Bray twin without resorting to DNA or fingerprint evidence. The prosecution have neither in this case. How can you be so sure whether you were with Albert or George on the night in question? He directed a withering look of contempt towards the young lady and sat down.
The whole court waited with bated breath.
The young lady sighed, looked towards Albert and replied.
“Because, sir, I’ve had relations with Albert and George many times. I can without doubt tell you which is Albert and which is George. So can Candie, Lolita, Fi-Fi, Lola, Barbie, Andria and Marj. You see, sir, only one of the Bray twins is circumcised. I can tell you without doubt I was with George on the night in question!"

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Memories are Made of This. July 16th 1985

Not for the first time I browse through the diary I kept in 1985. (The only time since childhood I kept a diary for a whole year.) Not exactly worthy of posterity, I am struck by the mundane nature of my life. I wonder what will happen to the diary, a question partly brought on by a visit to the corporation tip not many minutes ago. Had you possessions that you wished you had kept? Is there anything you are determined will survive your death?
Tuesday 16th July 1985
Deliver and fetch for the Allenton Playgroup. They are dependent on income derived from the Tuesday fleamarket. some of the items appearing on the fleamarket give food for thought. Golf balls, shoes, tools, blowlamps, cookers, mirrors, tins of paint (old), brass fire extinguishers, clothes. An amazing collection of miscellaneous junk, all appear weekly, some individual items regularly.
The spinster lady, Edna who runs the playgroup is very pleased with my efforts in transporting their bric-a-brac. She insists despite my protestations in rewarding me. I imagine a can of beer to cool my thirst. My present turns out to be tickets for Billy Grahams Rally! A kind offer, but hardly my scene!
(This entry reminds me of the time my daughter, Sarah aged around fifteen helped out on a stall on this market. I was pleased at her thoughtfullness and took a camera out one evening to record her efforts. To my surprise and puzzlement several stallholders scattered. I was naive, even aged forty six. Many of the stallholders were drawing 'dole', no way were they going to allow a possible 'benefit spy' to record their earning a little on the side. Oh silly me!)

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Daft, Strange or Downright Remarkable.

I decided when I started blogging I would avoid being topical. But how can you avoid being so when we see examples of Grumpy's alternative world are all around us.
Take ageism for instance. Henry Allington has officially become the world's oldest man. (Taking over from Tomoji Tanabe who died in his sleep in Japan, aged 113.) He, Henry, not Tomoji has retained his sense of humour, attributing his longevity to 'cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women.' Seemingly neither humour, compassion or common sense for that matter are evident in Rogerstone Community Council, South Wales. They wanted to evict an eighty nine year old lady for growing only flowers on the allotment she had tended for thirty years. Though they did eventually back down; I wonder why. (Eddy Shah, former newspaper owner has offered to let people grow vegetables on his land in return for 60 per cent of the produce. My reaction, 'Steady Eddie') I've far more admiration for Phyllis Self, aged one hundred and one and still running a garden centre in Wiltshire, putting in a thirty six hour week. Plus Florence Lane who recently died aged ninety four, the licencee of the Sun Inn at Leinwardine, reputed to be one of the best public houses in Britain. (A lifelong teetotaler, when asked her age, she always replied 'plenty.') Finally concerning ageism, Olivia de Haviland, the last survivor of the principal cast of Gone With the Wind was ninety three this month.
Its not as if its geriatrics that are the only daft ones around. A Boeing 757 nearly collided in fog with a workman driving a ride on lawnmower at Dublin Airport. Evidently he was unaware of the plane until it flew over him. Good heavens, someone should have told him what airports are for! Get Ryanair to sort it. Evidently they are in talks with Boeing concerning planes with standing areas instead of seats. I kid you not. What next, outside toilets?
I'm all for enterprise but there are limits. The policeman in a village near Port Talbot who sold bootleg recordings of his hero, Bruce Springstein had his £22,000 profit confiscated. Earl Walker had the amazing job of separating counterfeit or damaged notes from good ones for the Bank of England. Only the idea was not supposed to be keeping the good notes for himself. No wonder he had a £34,000 Mercedes. But what a way to earn your living! (Not the pocketing bit.) Nearly as good as Thomas Parkin of New York who dressed as his deceased mother (died in 2003) to collect her pension for the next six years. You have to laugh, as did Dr Jonathan Chahal who giggled his way round the children's A &E ward at Ormskirk District General Hospital, trying out gas canisters of the anaesthetic Entonox as he went. He told the nurses it was 'fun'. I'll bet it was!
I see the European Commission has abolished the rule banning bent cucumbers and forked carrots. (Though misshapen apples and pears must be labelled as for cooking rather than for eating fresh.) Its taken twenty years to see sense. Mind you, governments and councils still like to interfere. Hilaire Purbrick has lived in a cave on his allotment for sixteen years. (Seems quite a month for allotment stories.) Now Brighton and Hove Council has evicted him because it has no fire exit. Sixteen years to come up with that, I ask you! And Sir Cliff Richard has got to pull down his £30,000 conservatory for building it without permission. Both are appealing. (No, not attractive, appealing. Oh, please yourself) I'll view both Hilary and Cliff's cases with close interest in the coming months.
Governments are certainly busy little bees. As indicated in the proposed study of 'The White Van Man' phenomenon on the road. 'There is a real lack of knowledge about this sector, which is often unloved by motorists, pedestrians and regulators.' The government's words, not mine. There's definitely a quango there, methinks. There is a world record for running the longest distance whilst on fire. (Honest!) Recently won by Keith Malcolm in a charity event at Waterlooville, new record 259 feet. Lets nominate all our useless male MP's for this record. Anyone wish to help? Notice how I'm not cruel to our lady leaders. Instead I'd nominate them for the vacancy at Wookey Hole Somerset for a resident witch, salary £50,000 pro rata. (Mind you, it is in fact open to men, women and transsexuals to comply with sexual discrimination laws.) Any nominations, anyone?
The more I see in the world, the more I think everyone is on something except me. They must be, the Duchess of Cornwall recently got caught short and used a pub toilet in East Sussex. (Even Royalty has the same problems as you and me. I've often heard people talk of the Royal 'Wee.')
The aforesaid pub toilet seat was auctioned for £87. You can have mine for £11. 25p. What a bargain if I ever become famous. Until then, please excuse me, I'm just going for a lie down in a darkened room.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Don't We All Do Daft Things?

In 1968 I drove over the Hardknott and Wrynose Passes in my pride and joy, a Mini Cooper S, registration number GDT 703C. For those who don't know the Lake District, these two passes are probably the most testing in England, hairpin bends and one in three gradients, a single track road with passing areas, a test for any vehicle and certainly not for the nervously inclined. I was twenty nine years old and remember it well, the feelings of achievement and elation have stayed with me all this time.
Last week, aged sixty nine I drove my two ton plus Trigano Tribute 650, long wheelbase, registration number OOO8 PAU motorhome over the same passes. It was a hairy, scary, mind bending, irresponsible, stupidly ridiculous thing to do. Definitely the daftest thing I have done for many years. And do you know what, I loved every minute of it! My passenger wife was far from sure but for once had no say in the matter. I had the same feelings of elation I had all those years ago and almost feel like doing it on a daily basis. Except that I know I will never risk it again, never, ever. Which set me thinking.
The majority of us lead conforming, happy though somewhat boring lives. I wonder how many of us were more carefree, less inhibited in our youth. I swam, in rivers and canals as a youngster, oblivious to the dangers and did in fact have one very near miss, so to speak. I rode motorcycles, again with little respect for danger and again very nearly went to an early grave. I placed coins on railway lines, climbed trees, crawled under culverts, sledged on roads. I survived, though I had friends and acquaintances who didn't.
I know there are risk takers out there who lead exciting lives, whether they be Formula One drivers, parachutists, canoeists, explorers or mercenaries but for many of us tea and tele is the most important thing in our day.
Is it true that men never grow up or have our lady friends equal ambitions they wish to achieve before they die? What was the daftest thing you ever did in your life? And is there something you would still like to do before your spell on earth comes to its inevitable end?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Blast from The Past No Six

I have chosen this particular 'blast' because of a conversation I had with a female cousin this week. We talk frequently concerning the autobiographical work I have been engaged with for some considerable time.
If we have known people, relatives or acquaintances for many years, we presume to know them well. But is this really the case?
My grandmother died, aged ninety-nine years, over thirty years ago. Tiny, religious, inoffensive, I presumed she was an unworldly lady of the highest order. My cousin has taught me otherwise.
The past is often referred to as mild compared with today's more violent times. A picture ingrained in today's psyche, true or otherwise. Janet explained to me, granny, little old innocuous granny had shown her, when Janet was a teenager, how to defend one's honour against random attack on the streets. (Often aimed at the terrors of the town rather than sleepy old Ockbrook.) Janet was shown how to thread a hatpin into the lapel of a coat so as to be invisible but available. An awesome, deadly weapon immediately to hand in an emergency. And go for the eyes was the advice given, bruises fade but hatpin inflicted injuries are forever. An amazing lesson, fortunately never needed. Do we really know people, in spite of our closeness, or is there behind, inside everyone, another person in fact. Perhaps we are all multiple personalities; what an awesome thought.
The gradual clearout of the loft is ongoing and still turns up trumps.
Amongst the many photos of times long since gone one in particular stands out. Not grandad in his grandeur as Sunday School Superintendant. Not grandma with her brood of eight around or not too far from her tiny feet. Not the weddings of the brood, safely despatched over the years. that is, not of each wedding, faithfully recorded, but only, God forbid, one in particular.
A wedding photo is retrieved, one wedding in many. The bridegroom, smiling, as bridegrooms should. The bridesmaid, shy and demure, as bridesmaids were expected to be.
The bride, I know who, but I'm not telling. Carefully cut, and I mean carefully from the wedding scene. Cut undoubtedly by a sister in law, my aunt who obviously disapproved of the marriage to a favourite brother.
I make no comment as to the rights and wrongs; for all I learn in life is that despite increasing age I know nothing. But look at the careful cuts involved and wonder. Aren't families strange, and isn't life in general even stranger.