When Alfie left the Knights of Tintagel,he realised that he had left Just a little piece of his past life well and truly behind him.His time there had meant a week long stay,time enough to visit all his old haunts and re-live some of the memories.As a caveat to that,Alfie knew that his version of events were at variance with others in his family.He expected that because coming from such a large family,you will always have differences of opinion,and you have to accept that as the roughand tumble of life as it were.
Walking along his route now in the direction of abuse,his mind sped back to memories of travelling up to visit his uncle Jack and Auntie Wyn.Jack was Alfie’s mother’s brother and was,I suppose,the mans man of the family.Decorated in the navy during the Second World War,he was Alfie’s least favourite of all her siblings,but his mother doted on him,bestowing almost divine qualities in this man.In reality ,Jack was probably somewhere in between of our opinions if truth be told.He was an AA man working the Strecth from Bude to Tiverton taking in the early sections of the M5 at that time.Alfie got quite bored of Jack telling these endless stories of various motorist failure to put oil in their car,of people getting flat tyres and the like.But,as is the case of us Cornish-With Alfie being no exception-Jack told the stories well ,that is,if you had only heard them once.
Alfie dwelt a little in his own thoughts about Jack.Now,I suppose,you would call him a bully because Alfie remembered just how aggressive Jack could if you didn’t agree with him.Jack was the first word,the middle word,and the last Ines in every conversation.You never really talked,you had an audience,and Alfie realised that this must have been extremely difficult for his son Michael.At the time,Michael was a great disappointment to Jack because he worked in a factory on an assembly line.Alfie,however,got on well with Mike,and he credited Mike with introducing him to the music of Petula Clark that Alfie would,along with the work of Tony a hatch and Jackie Trent.Alfie would also realise that he had quite a crush on Petula Clark back then in the late 1960s.
Wether it was because Alfie was now heading for Bude in his journey,or for other reasons not yet apparent,Jack,Wyn and Mike came back to him.He had thought that these memories had been buried deep inside his subconscious ,but as he walked things came flooding back.As they did,the dulcet tones of Pet Clark did too:”Down town”with that simple but so effective piano introduction ,and “Dnt sleep in the subway Darling “,and finally “Colour my World”,these tunes he heard for the first time on Mikes record player in their lounge,and he would be allowed to work the player ,use the stylus arm,load the 45s,and he was in a musical form f heaven.Petula Clark’s voice was vocally appealing to him ,and he got lost in it.Tony Hatch didn’t layer the sound so muc,and it still had that big band backing that would be the soundtrack to these great artists.He always felt good when these songs were played,and he remembered those weekends as the highlight for him.As regards to the drinking,the constant eating,the bizarre parties with the almost ensvitable brawling he found quite troubling to be honest.
With this mixture of emotions,Alfie walked on,he walked on in the knowledge that throughout his life,people had affected him for the good in ways that they never fully got because he might have been a child at the time,or they might have assumed that he hadn’t seen what he had seen,or heard what he had heard.Either way,Alfie knew that his journey from Porth to Bude had been,to him,at least,a success.Now,Alfie viewed success in maybe more of a nebulous manner than others,but Alfie concluded the following about his life:He was still living at 59,he was reasonably fit as this journey surely testified,he was liked My many,and loved by a few.He had been teaching the Piano for over 35 years,which surely is an accomplishment.
He would ,of course,have wished to have known his real father,but boy who struggles to get himself three ugh puberty,then into manhood wouldn’t.He would have dearly loved for his sister Shiela to have been spared the plague that was,and still is,cynical mental illness,and he would have quite liked to have had a daughter as well as his two sons.
As Alfie penned these words,he realised that there would be other events ,other memories,just other stuff to recount,but right now he was so glad that he wasn’t sleeping in the subway tonight.