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Brian has pain.

Brian ,fresh from germinating his idea about Aunt Lucy’s cottage,hurried from Jenny’s home to his flat in Battersea.He had lived there for a while now and with the support of his mum while she was alive ,and now Jenny,he had bought it outright as it suited him for its size and its proximity to the river that he loved.Even in his darkest days,he always found something good about the goings on around the river with its trade and constant marine craft going through its channels.

Now that he seemingly had “a country dwelling ” all of his own,he wondered if he would stay in his flat .His friends had either moved to more scenic and inspiring places to pursue their art,while he had remained i the same place for decades now,quite the city recluse,the bohemian lonerHe knew that his fragile mind tended to play havoc with relationships ,leading to constant breakups and disharmony seemed to be his calling card.Sometimes,he thought that the only constant in his life was Jenny and she had her limitations because of the demands of being a Consultant ,and a children’s cancer one at that meant that there were limits to what she could do for him.

The revelations in the loft of aunt Lucy seemed to be taking its toll on Brian,leaving him exhausted one minute,and ready to co query the world the next.He seemed to oscillate from one extreme to the next ,never really being able to exist on an even keel .He knew that the private therapy treatment that Jenny was paying for had helped in some way,but following his urgent train journey back from Cornwall ,armed with the press cuttings and family secrets that he had thought he had discovered,he now found himself in this dark place where he lacked direction ,unable to navigate,to see a way clear,

Normally,his flat was a bolt hole ,a refuge,a place where he lived and worked and where his studio had sort of grown with him over the years.Now,even though he had two places to live as such,it all seemed to be outside of him,as if it were somehow fraudulently obtained,Yes,he knew that his mum and Jenny had always loved out for him,always picked up the broken glass shards of his life ,but somehow now,he felt that they had done all this at the expense of something tragic.They had both carried with them his aunts tragic life ,lived it with her,but had excluded him.Far from being the man of the family,he felt like an emotional eunuch,divorced from the whole,from the reality that truly had been their life.As he again reflected on the life of aunt Lucy ,he played over the tale of certain holidays,pictures of darkness amidst the light that was always portrayed and he didn’t seem to know how to process the dark,Now,like a profound vision of horror,he could picture just why the atmosphere was like it was at Cardinham,,it just began to make sense,

Not a couple of hours ago,Brian had been dreaming of wonderful things that could be achieved at Aunt Lucy’s cottage:Now,in this time space,he allowed the potential darkness of its social history to dictate the tremor of desperation that he felt about it,Just how would he ever Inject light into a place that was the scene of a murder?As he thought about it,the press cuttings became like the shards of glass ,only this time they penetrated his femoral artery,emotionally causing him to bleed to death,

Regaining consciousness,Brian looked at the wall of the Maudsley hospital ,the familiar place to him the last few years,but this admission had been traumatic to say the least.Nurses attended his every need,with Doctors appearing at regular intervals to check if the medication was having the desired affect.Brian became passive,genial,a far cry from the frantic,almost wild animal type person that greeted the emergency services following Clarissa’s ,his neighbour and fellow artist,intervention.He thought if his mum,missing her,wanting her to come to his side but knowing that she wouldn’t.He asked the nurse if his sister had been informed of his admission and told that she had and would be in to see him later that evening,

Brian would ,as always,need a long period of time to stabilise himself,with treatment being ordered by statute as mental health was administered to the presumed mad in a very regimented and prescribed way at that time,He knew that he must have sessions with the staff here to boost the ECT regime of treatment that normally followed such an extreme episode such as this,

His only real advocate,Jenny,would make sure that he was safe,and would ensure that any damage or blood caused by the slashing of his wrists would be cleared up as she always had done,Like a child who had wet the bed often,the comfort of knowing that it would be alright was a constant savour to him .

Meanwhile across the river,Jenny had put the phone down after having spoken to a doctor in a hospital in Exeter regarding a child that needed urgent care at Great Ormond street.She thought about her brothers wanting to cook for the fragile family this morning,his excitement about an idea for the future,and then ,after making sure that she was indeed alone,she’d many tears for her brother,She had known what his condition could mean,but he had never deliberately become so ill.As she made her way over to the Maudsley,her heart thumped inside of her as she contemplated the sight that might confront her,Even though she had been hardened in seeing so many children die in her care,This was oh so different.It was her brother,her baby brother whom she teased,looked,and had made fun of as his big sister,But she desperately loved him ,wanted him to be well again.


It might Rain.

It might rain all day,yes,that is what I mean without a break,a pause,a gap in the downpour.These weather bods with their tracking devices like their predict when it might stop,or if ” high pressure” might appear,leading to the disappearance of the downpour.Now,with weather maps at their fingertips,they feed us,the awaiting eager beaver common weather watchers with news of when the Rain might stop.If it doesn’t,and it rains for the entire day,those would be intrepid explorers among us might seek to wrap up in our weather gear ,bravely those elements and capture the live sounds that exist .

Right now,the sounds of the rain drops descending offer a constant all of their own,a strange comfort really for me at least.Oftentimes in my muses,I have harked back to the days of my childhood in Cornwall,a time of freedoms in many ways,but also of challenges and turmoils.Sometimes in Cornwall,like parts of Wales and Scotland as well as the ermerald Isle,it literally rains for days,saturating the ground.That saturation has its own trade off with a lush green sheen in the vegetation,a glow almost ,with every raindrop that rests on a branch or leaf giving off its own magical magnet spell,

As much as rain portrays to me a visual sign of patterns descending from the sky,there are also the sound patterns,the pulses,the vibes if you like that occupy a special effect in the atmosphere.Those patterns don’t appear as endless annoying repetitions,like some manufactured music from a bored studios producer bereft of original ideas,no,these patterns ,like a duet with bird song ,act as a mental harness to lock in my attention.Our location during a downpour is a matter of sheltering almost from these drops,but there is also the sounds of the drops against the roof slates that co June up a symphony almost of tones that have always soothed me.

Another memory of my childhood,is in observing the sound of the rain drops from a shallow cave at Towan,or Tolcarne,Lusty and Porth,where the patterns perform gymnastics on my hearts ,almost triplets on a high hat,or a roll on the snare.

I make no pretence of having the genius of our dearly departed Chopin who,witnessing the rain at Malaga,composed the raindrop prelude while seriously ill and not having much time to live .It is my favourite prelude,and one that I learnt way too young and immature to appreciate its magnitude,but now it is in my musical mind on most days of my life and it is now playing in the forefront of my tonal headspace.

We live in a time when climate change becomes a paramount thing,and the way we have resided on this earth is in question because of the neglect of us ,or should I say,certain sections of the industrial world who are hell bent on polluting it.As the raindrops descends ,the cleansing of the Earth ,while a tad romantic in my part,is still a thought that interests me in its execution.As a child,I never got tired of the rain and maybe flicking through those Chopin preludes as a child,I was drawn to its title and even though my first attempts at playing the piece were very fragmentary,disjointed,in fact,the opposite of the flowing raindrops,it still allowed me to make inroads into the piece to allow for the development of a performance in later times.

Since my starting this particular muse,the rain has continued to descend to drench,to cleanse,to create sounds,to duet with the odd bird ,to just exist in its own time,at its own pace .

This existing with the elements is a good thing and the awareness of them stimulates the artist in all of us.

Thank you .


Oasis memory : Marjorie’s first day.

In these days of central heating and double glazing,as are prone to have an illusion of what coldness really is in a home because the only real factor that concerns us is the cost.If we are cold ,relief comes at the flick of a switch and that is complimented with hot water and all the thermal securities of modern living.Alas,our protagonist,Marjorie Allcock didn’t have these givens as such and so existed in lodgings in her first teaching post in a very cold damp room.There was a coal fire,but Mrs Jasper had a rule that you must put layers in to ward off the cold,and she religiously kept to this way of life.Even though Marjorie wasn’t a member of the aristocracy,her parents always made sure that fires were lit in all the occupied rooms,ensuring a comfortable life for them all.Now,Marjorie wasn’t aware that such a thing as being comfortable applied in Cornwall,It all seemed to be about struggle,toil and strife.So Marjorie,quite unable to engage with Mrs Jasper about anything of personal importance regarding her living arrangements ,lust accepted the things that she was being told.If she had contacted the education board,they would have informed her that Mrs Jasper was in breach of her duty in not providing proper heating for her while she was in her room and other parts of the house.Mrs Jasper was paid what amounted to a spipend from the board to provide these basic amenities and by not doing this,she was secreting funds for herself when they should have been used to support a valuable member of the teaching profession.

Wether Mrs Jasper was just a canny old Cornish women on the make ,or just an unhappy miser was not entirely clear ,but things would change for Marjorie on that front in a few weeks.It wasn’t that Marjorie was not aware of Mrs Jaspers unique take on money,but it didn’t seem as important to her as getting on with the job at hand at the school and this was her first day.She needed all her faculties she was sure and if the Sunday school experience was anything to go on,things would be tough here.

Arriving extremely early ,she was met by Mr Candy,the school caretaker ,with his bunch of keys proudly fasten to his belt and pocket watch displayed.He seemed a friendly enough man and his voice,although difficult to fully understand,wasn’t so rough as to be an annoyance to Marjorie.Reg,as he liked to be called,was also Sexton of the Methodist church and Marjorie clocked that at least he would be literate,putting him into the higher realms of society in this village.She was fast realising that the main currency here was brawn not brains.

Greeting the children as they arrived with a hello,she knew that these children ,although polite,were very much like their parents,mistrusting,She would have to be industrious to win them over if at all.Her class would be the most troublesome of the school,the 10 years.That is,those who were in their last year of primary before heading off to Grammar or secondary modern.Marjorie had no choice as to who she would teach,that had been decided by the board and she must make the best of it.Although the eleven plus was supposedly the goal of these children,only 2 out of 30 would actually pass the test.Many of the children still struggled with the basics,as their parents had before them and their before them too,It just wasn’t a priority among Cornish parents and the world of work beckoned the boys,and keeping house for girls.Marjorie,had read the notes from the previous teacher and she realised that out of the 30 in the cohort,10 were fluent readers,with the rest of the children foundering with basic comprehension,To Marjorie,This was simply scandalous ,a stain on the school and the community,and one that she intended to address ,and address quickly.

After morning assembly,she set to work with her class,with her goal of hearing every child read individually.She chose Charles Chausley,the Cornish Poet to start with,but soon even his basic metre was obviously beyond the scope of the majority of pupils in her care.She knew that when she got back home that there would be much preparation to begin to turn these children into even half educated young people,

Her first morning break was spent walking around the playground,observing,looking,and getting a feel for the place,All around the area,the workings of China clay works littered the landscape ,leaving Marjorie with the impression that this was more of a lunar landscape than a village.Her pupils took it all in their stride,proud of the mining heritage,proud to be Cornish,mistrusting her motives.She could see from the look in their eyes that they would test her resolve,her metal,her vigour and strength to the limit.As she viewed the children playing hopscotch ,tug of war,and other playground games,she thought how very poor they were but also ,on the whole,how happy they were too.It struck here that they loved being at the school but the school didn’t seem able to educate them somehow with generation after generation leaving here without any of the equipment to thrive out there in the big wide world.

Oh,how young and idealistic Marjorie was.After all,she said to herself,surely these young people want to get good jobs don’t they?Her ambition ,although laudable,wasn’t matched by the majority of the pupils of their parents who just accepted Cornish mining life lIt was how it was in the clay villages and nothing could be changed.If Marjorie had heard this from her fellow teachers,to the lady 8n the post office,and to fore ,mostly,Mrs Jasper,she had heard it countless times since arriving:”Tis the way it ’tis ere”

As Marjorie returned to Mrs Jasper after her first day at St Dennis Primary school to Mrs Jasper she knew that the road to educational enlightenment wasn’t paved with gold in Cornwall ,but caked in Clay and Tin ore and ruggedness.As she ate her tea in silence,she excused herself to go to her room to prepare her lessons for the morning and as her head turned to walk up the stairs,she noticed that there was a letter for her.It had a London postmark ,and she quietly climbed the stairs to read it away from the prying eyes of Mrs Jasper.She thanked her for the meal which was a sort of mutton stew that was more mush than anything else.Opening her door,she was struck by the cold,the damp unforgiving nature of the room.Like the Methodist Sunday school hall,it seemed that nothing was warm,just cold and harsh,As she thought about it,she wondered if the children lacked any hope in their life.That without hope,you don’t think of the future,in fact,you have known.She wondered if their future had already been marked out by the cold,u forgiving landscape to which they were joined.There was no escape to them.They didn’t realise that education could be a gateway to them to do other things than just work in a clay pit,or just be a housewife.

As her mind got lost on this concept,she opened her letter,not realising that the seal had been broken,that Mrs Jasper had other flaws apart from defrauding the education board.In fact,Mrs Jasper had already been reading her private letter.

It probably was for the best this evening that Marjorie wasn’t aware of this crime ,as she seemed to have enough on her plate for one day.She wrote copious notes on her next days teaching plans ,and as she did,she grew in confidence,in emotional strength as it were,and all the while,her cutting continued to grow,and as it did,it seemed never to need watering,or so she thought,but people with flaws ,also have good qualities,and Mrs Jasper seemed to get that the Rose cutting was very important to Marjorie,and she did her best to tend to its future and the future of that Rose would affect many people over the years with its story and even the writer of this story remembers it vividly to this day.

Thank you .


The Walk!

Brian did what he loved to do apart from painting :fixing food.This morning was no exception as he raided his sisters larder for a full English .Jenny had a cleaner come personal shopper for her and that meant there was usually an ample supply of groceries purchased for her.He didn’t take long to gather all the ingredients ,firing up the gas stove in preparation for the feast as he liked to call it.As there were guests who probably didn’t feel like preparing any sort of breakfast let alone a cooked one,he set too.As he was in full flow as it were,Jenny appeared looking as if she had been looking at patient notes for most of the night,Brian knew not to pry and also understood that he struggled with illness with any sort of disorder really and Jenny knew it too,preferring to focus on her brothers positive attributes.She smiled at him ,observing the collection of frying pans,the completely immersed Brian determined to feed us all better.It was a quality that he Had inherited from their mum and she loved it in him.While of a normal day ,her breakfast was a simple slice of toast and marmalade,today was indeed a feast to behold.Her slight protestations about her figure were quickly dismissed by Brian who said that in all his years of “live model drawing”,He had never met anyone with a figure like hers,This was another thing that she loved about her brother,even though he could be a fibber,He had the best of hearts.

Their feast downed,Jenny poked her brother in the arm saying”how about that walk then”..?

Brian was concerned for her guests but Jenny told him that they had already left for the hospital.Brian thought that they were such a nice family and then his artistic temperament crept in and he felt angry that if there was a god ,why should it be that good people who try their best in life should have to deal with a child who is so poorly.

Even though it was a thought,Jenny could tell by his bearing that he had something in his mind and she stopped poking him and called him her favourite brother which of course was true in one way but a little misleading to as he was her only brother.Brian composed himself with Jenny thinking that he must be thinking about Aunt Lucy .

As they walked in the common,Jenny asked Brian how He found it at Aunt Lucy’s.At first Brian wanted to spill everything about his insect in of the loft,but he felt that it would be unkind ,so instead he enquired if there were things about Aunt Lucy that she might find surprising.Jenny thought a little ,and kicking up the leaves as she walked,paused:Brian,I don’t really know how to tell you this because mum made me promise that I should never tell you.You see,mum always worried about you because you were fragile as a child,and prone to sensitive outbursts.She also thought that not having a father figure in life meant that you were disadvantaged.”Jenn,what are you saying ..?”Jenny summoned up the best words that she could :”I’m trying to tell you that Mummy had to go away for a while down to aunt Lucy because of a family problem.It was a long time ago Brian and…….”

Brian interjected:”Did it have something to do with Bill..?”

Jenny ,who had no idea that aunt Lucy had kept so much of her past hidden in the loft,let alone allowed it to be easily found too ,was now quite concerned about Brian’s demeanour.

Their conversation ,although not in anger,was very intense,with Jenny realising that her mum had made a big mistake in not talking to her son.Yes,he had been fragile,a lost soul almost,but he deserved to know the truth.She held unto his hand and as the tears came down both of their eyes,they were showing emotions that had been buried for a long time.Jenny had always been the strong one,quite the blue stocking with the robust intellect,but Brian had been the truly talented one,blighted by illness and mental turmoils.

Brian asked what he should do with all these papers from the past.Really,as Jenny pointed out,he didn’t really have to do anything about them for now.Jenny made it clear that it had been aunt Lucy’s Dearest wish that he have the cottage as a boltehole from London life and as a place where he could paint and just have quietness.She was giving any claim that he might have thought she had to it .He she spoke,Brian looked her,his brilliant sister,his kind ,loving sister and friend and then he had an idea.

In that moment on the common,at that time,he knew exactly what the cottage would be good for.

As they walked back to the house,he promised to clear up as Jenny needed to get into the hospital as she had a ward round to do.

Brain mulled over his plans,well,it was more of a sketch as he knew that there were huge obstacles in the way ,but he would borrow Jenny’s writing desk and sketch out his plan while she went into Great Ormond Street.

Brian,ever the sensitive type,thought about the families with the sick children,stuck in hospital and so ether mes without much hope and wondered if he ,Brian Meadows ,along with the life of aunt Lucy,might help these precious young ones.

First stirrings.

My dogs think that they hear a noise ,a call to action is embarked upon with all its attendant procession of inspection.Their alertness,instant from the horizontal,seems to be replaced almost as quickly by a return to slumber.While it is never that satisfactory for me to analyse their actions-the like of which I haven’t ever before observed-they provide me with endless amusement

Now,as the first weather seedlings appear in the garden,light picks up the scene of the day,It’s seven thirty and the Sunday for me would have been better with just another hour of sleep but my dogs were having non of it for they survey the perimeter of the garden In their own fashion as if Lords of the manor.

Time has moved on ,its now a little before eight,and the stillness of the day is noticed as much as because it is rarely ever quiet here of a morning as folk make their way to work or school or whatever they wish to accomplish in the outlying areas of this small Dorset town.

My wish to record these facts about my day stems from a need in me,nourished by a love of Proust and Stendhal that developed in me about 20 years ago when my children were struggling to read ,and it seemed appropriate as a dad to set an example to them,so I embarked on regular trips to my local library where I requested these authors from the bigger libraries in Dorset.At first,my sons ,more used to me playing the piano were curious,but after a few weeks,they got to questioning me as to why I was reading so much,Although the French translation of Proust seemed heavy at first,I soon grew to love his descriptions of Parisian salon life ,the sheer detail of brief moments in a single evening,and sometimes of a brief hour in his life.These literary masterpieces drew me to further reading where I read more of these books than Theological works that professed to adhere too at that time,So ehow,these authors captured what it was like to be human,and they led me to slowly change my thoughts about so many issues that I grappled with.

Now,I have to confess that with passing of years,and the need to muse about quite routine aspects of life,those authors are always affecting me as much for their humanity as for their intellectual prowess.Because Proust was able to capture a moment in words with so much intensity,it sort of drew me out of my own depression and into a need to express myself.

In fact,the starting of this muse all these years ago was as a result of a suggestion from a health care professional that I took on board.Now,4 years later,I’m still writing my muse ,my stories,my observations,and I’m very mindful that I owe much These gods of the pen.

Those were my first stirrings ,hardly Proust like but as sincere as I can be.

“You ,William Boyd-Morris,will be taken away from this dock…………………..”

Brian could hear these words ,spoken by the earnest judge at Bodmin crown court as the sentence of extinction was passed upon his uncle Bill.He couldn’t quite bring himself to utter the D word,so he spoke in these terms to somehow soften the blow ,the humiliation that the meditation of this information had on him.Brian couldn’t really process this in his mind,as if a cloak over his mind had numbed him to any sane conclusions.Brian just wished he had never allowed his selfishness to take over.He had hoped that the inheritance of the farm and the cottage might rejuvenate him from the life that he had descended into,that rut of non productive living,too much drink,and the inability to maintain positive relationships in his life.This farm was meant to allow for a fresh start,a new beginning if you like,but it just seemed more like another ramification that he couldn’t really cope with.

His train reached Bristol Templemeads and the train split from this point.As he had gotten into the wrong part of the trains he quickly gathered his things to move to the front not four carriages of the train.As he did,he noticed the girl had fallen asleep,so he gently tapped her on the shoulder ,alerting her of the change in status of the train from now on,Brain hoped that she wasn’t going to Cardiff as he rather liked the opportunity of playing the knight to the damsel,but he would be disappointed because she was heading towards Wales .He hoped that she had a good journey,smiled ,and moved towards the front.As he did,he seemed to get a little more perspective and direction as he now knew that the train would pick up speed towards didcot,and then towards Reading and finally,London Paddington.His thoughts began to be centred in seeing Jen,on picking her brains and in trying to find some sort of sense to this bizarre family stuff that he now had to deal with.

As a child,Brian always struggled with his education,and this wasn’t helped by having a sister who excelled academically.He loved Jen so much,but he always knew that his mum had always favoured her because of her sensibleness,and her achievements.He just couldn’t match her in any of the things that his mum valued.His one grace though had been with his ability to draw and paint ,a talent that he nurtured and that his sister sponsored ,keeping him afloat now for many years.He felt that one day when he started to sell his work that he might repay her for the faith she had invested in him.Jenny had always supported him even when no one else had,and he just admired her so much for the person that she was,While she was at medical school,she had worked as a waitress,and sometimes she would be dead on her feet,but she still kept going,He was in awe of her ,and he just knew that once he reached Barnet ,she would know exactly how to move forward,she always did,

As the train reached Reading,he thought what a dreary place it was,and wondered why anybody would ever live there:the place lacked any character or visible energy to him.He knew though,that the Lions share of the journey was done,and the train wouldn’t stop now u TIL it reached Paddington.His mind played tricks on him again,because the picture of the women who was bound for Cardiff came into his head again and he started to draw her features in his mind.As he did,his usual fluency alluded him and her beautiful profile merged into the form of uncle Bill with that pot marked complexion,bedraggled ,careworn,and forlorn.As he saw it in his mind,blood shaped from the mouth,and the burns extracted from the neck gave way to a scream as the neck then broke.It was a traumatic vision,a horrible sight,a macabre scene.

“Tea,coffee,sandwiches,and biscuits came the words from the buffet steward “.Brain woke up from his dream,his nightmare,but he didn’t remember falling asleep,he just seemed to have lost a chunk of his life ,the way you do when you fall asleep in the day and have a dream,But this was the worse dream that he had ever had,it seemed to merge the day from the events this morning at Aunt Lucy’s to the train journey and the meeting of the girl from Plymouth.As he composed himself,he purchased some coffee from the vendor,with a cardboard ham sandwich and some digestives .He was hungry.He might have bought some beer but he knew that Jenn would smell it in him and he didn’t want to upset her,Besides,he desperately needed all his faculties when he got to Barnet because Jenn would need something to eat as she would be late in from the hospital.Since bing made co sultans,she had continued in the same dedicated way that she had been since being a registrar.Jenny never took a back seat ,never took it easy,always dedicated to those terribly sick children in her care.Brian rarely met her at the hospital as he found it too depressing to see these children,to know that many would only ever have brief lives.It never dampened her spirit though,and Jenny maintained a hope that one day there would be breakthroughs in the treatment for childhood cancers.It was this positive attitude to everything that Brian lacked in his character and he wanted to feed off it.

The train sped past the leaving district of Royal Oak,and the provincial suburbs imprinting on Brian’s mind that ,at last,after nearly six hours,his journey was almost over.His train arrived on platform 4 and Brian made his way towards the underground to his onward destination.He looked at the clock and seeing that it was 7 o clock,rang Jenny at her office off her ward but there wasn’t an answer,so he rang her house as well allowing the phone to ring a number of times but she didn’t pick up.He assumed that she was travelling home in the tube herself.After about 35 minutes,he reached High Barnet station ,catching a taxi to Jenny.As the taxi pulled up outside,he paid the driver ,making his way to her house.Using his key to unlock,he shouted out in his usual way:”How’s my favourite sister”,an odd joke that he always made as Jenny was his only sister.As he did,he could see that there was a light on in the hallway and in the kitchen,Thinking that she had arrived home in between his calls,he rushed in :”Surprise”,only to be greeted by two young people fixing something to ate.He said sorry,and as he was about to put his things down,they smiled at him and said that his sister was still at the hospital with their mum and Dad and brother.Brain wasn’t surprised at this at all,because Jenny was totally hands on and great Ormond street didn’t have accommodation for parents and their siblings.Oftentimes,parents would sleep on a camp bed in the corridors.They had explained that their brother had been rushed there from another hospital earlier today .It seemed serious,but Brian didn’t want to pry.He offered to help them with something to eat and his knowledge of the goings on at Jenny’s house came in handy.

As they weren’t that hungry,and quite overwhelmed by their day and the worry of having a very sick brother,Brian fixed them an Omelette.Just doing these practical things made Brian feel useful as if he were co tribute game something,One of the girls looked at the artwork in the hallway and commented on how good it was.Brian smiled but didn’t boast that he was the painter,but enquired Wether the young person painted herself.This interest seemed to break the ice for them all,this touching in something normal gave the time a more even keel.Just then,the sounds of brakes from Jenny’s Ford Capri signalled to Brian that his big sister had come home.It was now way past nine and lesser folk would have just wanted to get to bed,but she greeted him with warmth and feeling with a hug that told him that somehow they might be able to make some sense of this mess that was in his mind.

Brian understood that a profound talk wouldn’t be possible tonight ,but just Jenny telling him that it would be alright ,just that calm voice,that inner emotional beauty that only she possessed made things settle in his head .He promised to stay there on a camp bed ,and she promised that they would take a walk tomorrow and talk together .

Brian ,exhausted from all the turmoil in his mind began to feel guilty that the people in Jenny’s house tonight were also in turmoil,profound worry about their family member ,but anxiety and pressures affects people at the same time .Sometimes we might feel that we are the only ones going through pressures,but that is rarely the case.

As Brian settled down to sleep in the old sleeping bag that his mum had had at the Islington home,he thought about her ,about Aunt Lucy and Jenny.All those holidays in Aunt Lucy’s farm .He could still smell the place on the sleeping bag .It was a powerful thing,the smell of a place,Jenny had kept the sleeping bag in case of emergencies for parents of sick children to use no doubt,As Brian settled down,his more relaxed state of mind seemed to create the tone for Brian to sleep,and sleep he did.

Tomorrow would be another day,another chance in many ways for him to try again.He knew that Jenny would be true to her word,and he had faith in Jenny and her promises.She had never let him ,but right now,she was the only one who hadn’t .

Aunt Lucy’s secrets throw up more questions!

Try as he might,Brian just couldn’t concentrate on anything,let alone his copy of the Western morning news,so he placed it on the table in front of him and looked out of the window as the train sped along the route across Bodmin moor towards Liskeard.His mind ,normally full of those carefree memories of Cornwall seemed tarnished somehow by what he had seen in Aunt Lucy’s attic.Wether he fully grasped it or not,This was now his attic,as Jenny ,totally committed to her medical calling,would only perhaps visit the place occasionally.No,This was now his attic,with he Pandora’s box of secrets well and truly opened to him,he began to wish that he had never set foot up there in the first place.That way,he would have just led a life of delusion about Aunty,a happy ,carefree relationship with his recently departed relative and friend.

Unfortunately,Brian had learnt that life rarely turned out like that ,but even him with his city boy grit had never imagined in a million years that she had had this type of secret.As he rather gingerly pulled out the letters and press cuttings that he had taken to read and to show Jenny,he was almost embarrassed,shocked if you will,by their contents.Although the press cuttings weren’t akin to the tabloids hyperbole of Wapping mania as it is now,these headlines weren’t good,they were truly grim.He wasn’t entirely sure what to think,as his whole comprehension of his Aunt Lucy seemed to have been turned upside down by these findings,He kept looking at the one letter that had been penned by Aunt Lucy to “My Beloved Bill”,and addressed to the Prison at Princeton,Dartmoor.Rereading these words,her words,they said very little about the crime,but everything about her love for this individual.Brian found it very hard to summon up any real sympathy for his man,as he had never even known that he had existed before this morning.He knew that from the press cuttings of the newspapers that he had protested his innocence right down to the time when the noise was placed over his head.Brian,normally a soft,artistic humanitarian,was struggling to understand why someone would do something that would end in heartbreak for his Aunt.

The train seemed to pick up speed out of Plymouth as it left Cornwall,entering Devon with the faster part of the journey to come.Brian ,aware of the sensitive nature of these papers,and not wanting to fall asleep with the leaves of them exposed,placed them back in the inside pocket of his jacket before he succumbed to the sleep inducing sound of the train speeding along the line towards London.In that pre sleep period,his mind wondered back to the times when he had witnessed his Aunt Lucy working so hard each and every day.She never had a holiday and never seemed to have visitors from the neighbouring farms.At the time,he put it down to her innate shyness,but with these new revelations,he began to think that there must have been reasons why the locals kept away.It seems like all his memories were being held up for forensic examination.He just couldn’t fathom things out and his inability to do this forced him to succumb to exhaustion.

Wether he had slept for one or two hours,he wasn’t sure ,but when he awoke,the train was well along in its express journey now ,making good time through the West Country.All his plans at sketching had been shelved in favour of deep meditation as Brian had so much to think about.While he had slept,he had noticed the influx of passengers common to those who caught this train from Plymouth to London,and he managed to spy across the way the form of a women with breathtaking features.For a while,the angst of his morning disappeared from his mind,as the sight of this Diana fully engulfed his focal line of sight.Realising that she had caught him gazing ,he quickly apologised ,expressing his admiration for her features from a purely artistic point of view.She smiled ,as if the flattery had amused her,almost as an irony that she was aware but not him.He decided not to enlarge upon the compliments any more,but her memory would stay with he knew,as the memory of beauty always did.Brain excused himself to save embarrassment to go to the buffet car to purchase a cup of tea.

British rail tea was almost as famous for its awfulness as the lateness of their trains were,but the drinking of this beverage reminded him of summer holidays with mum and Jenny,so he felt quite safe in this bit of nostalgic musing,He thought,sipping from the cup,used by countless other members of the train travelling proletariat,that it must be a true memory because his mum and sister were there.It happened on the way down to Aunt Lucy but not actually at the cottage.He was safe 8n this memory because it was corrupted by events that he wasn’t aware of,Things were exactly as he remembered them with mum and Jenny.Oh,how he wished the train was there,and not only just at Exeter St David’s.He would have to take pop luck that Jenny would have left her key in the usual place as she would be late back from the hospital tonight and cook her some food as she loved it when he cooked for her,

Just then,as the train charged through a long tunnel,he had a crazy thought of not telling Jenny,of just not mentioning anything about Bill,the hanging,the awful press coverage,the details,details,details …………

As the train burst through to he light,Brian knew that he could never do that,he just couldn’t.But he also knew that he would need Jenny to help him ,he always did,and if he tried to make coherent plans about living at Cardinham cottage without her advice,then things might really go bad for him.

All these questions came to him during the journey to Paddington,and he contrasted the sheer breathtaking beauty of the lady opposite,with the dark,sinister,and sordid nature of the words about Bill,or as he might have been called,uncle Bill.Press pictures of criminals always seem to be dark and sinister and this one of his would be uncle was no exception.He couldn’t quite stop looking at this beautiful women opposite,but feeling that dark stare of his uncle Bill.It would be a long long journey in more ways than one for Brian,

The secrets that Aunt Lucy took to her grave.

Chapter 1: Secrets from her loft.

Inching to the top of the old loft ladder-a through back to the 1960s-Brian used his whole strength to climb up unto the roof space of Aunt Lucy house.Wow,he shone the torch around at first not really sure what he might find.Granted,she had lived in this house for well nigh 50 years all told ,with the sheer accumulation of stuff threatening to drown this space by its bulk.At first ,Brian didn’t really know where to start ,with the weight on eves of the loft space appearing to be struggling under the density of detritus,he thought back to Jenny’s words:”You might struggle on your own” thinking that he wished that he had taken her advice.No matter,he would endeavour to take things down that were like the low hanging fruit of the place to begin with.This being his plan,he set to work .

Sometimes the best laid plans get scuppered and Brian thought back to his method of removing the low Hanging fruit of stuff first from the roof.Oh how he wished that he had just left the place and got Jenny in because the low hanging fruit might not have had the weight of the other boxes,but their contents not only shocked him but brought him to tears.

Try as he might he was just stuck there at the entrance to the space ,glued to these photographs ,these shock surprises of his family ,these darts of desperation almost.He had always had a childhood memory of just him,his mum ,aunt Lucy,Jenny and himself.This had been his world,history as such,All the other stories that he believed to be the authentic social history of his family were made up of these people.

As Aunt Lucy had always been such a joy to him ,he never felt the need to ever question her as to why,why she had never married,never seemingly to have had a special one in her life to share things with.As aunt Lucy had lived on Bodmin moor,surrounded as she was by her writing ,her animals,her farm,it was Brian and Jenny’s holiday retreat from London ,a place that they found peace,solace ,comfort if you like.

Wether Jenny knew any of this ,he didn’t know,but he had wondered at times ,but being younger than his sister,he had put it out of his mind,preferring to bask in the joy of the moors and the fresh air ,the Enid Blyton type thing but with more animals and less ginger beer.As he composed himself,the thought of his mum ever knowing and never telling him crossed his mind too like that thing that goes around your brain:”If she didn’t tell you this,what else didn’t she tell you.”Now,all that was left was him and Jenny of the family.They had lost their father in the war ,with his mum having to bring them up in her own.His mum only had Aunt Lucy too,so their visits to Cornwall were an Oasis of peace from living in the city,

Brian began to think that he would retrieve just a few of the letters and a photograph before getting down and returning to the downstairs.Suddenly ,the house wasn’t so much of an idyll,it became quite a haunted place,where memories existed that were more suspicious.He was all of a hiss,a mental turmoil and all he could think about was why:Why didn’t he listen to Jenny?Why did he always have such a gun hoe attitude?

“Jen is that you?Its Brian,can you talk in private”

Jenny was a consultant at Great Ormond street on the cancer ward and Brian had always looked to her for guidance.He hadn’t had the best of careers,and his erratic employment history had always concerned Jenny,but she loved him ,and tried her best to support him ,especially with his painting,

“Brian,are you alright how has it been down in Cornwall”.?

Brian frantically trying to feed money into the slot in the call box explained that he really needed to speak to her about what he had found .As the conversation was extremely difficult due to the constant need to feed money into the machine,Jenny said that he should come over when he got back to London.

“Jen,did you know about Bill.?”

Just then,the line went dead,and the last of the small change that Brian had left was all used up.

Brian resisted the urge to go to the pub,but walked to the bus station that would take him to Bodmin Road railway station,where he would next the next available train to Paddington,London.

As he waited ,he thought of all those times when he would dread having to come home from Aunt Lucy’s after the summer holidays,and how him and Jenny would fight and argue because they were both said to have leave.He thought long and hard and with a less than wistful gaze,felt pleased when the London bound train pulled into the station.He had,along with his sister,inherited much more than a farm house on Bodmin moor,he had inherited dark memories the like of which would change his life for ever.

“Hanged”, his uncle ,and the common law husband of Aunt Lucy .!Brian just couldn’t fathom what those holidays were about .He had to get to Jenny,he just did.Wether she knew ,he wasn’t sure,but his mind kept racing .He knew that all families had their stuff,but this ,this………

Oasis Memory 5.

That Sunday afternoon,Marjorie,tired from her baptism as stand in Sunday school teacher,retreated to her room to write to her parents and to her sister in Blackheath.As the words flowed from her pen,she realised how much they would want to know about her first days in Cornwall and she recounted all the things that were of interest.Marjorie enjoyed letter writing,and still had pen pals dating back from her childhood days as her parents had always encouraged her to reach out to others.Wether Marjorie had been aware of it or not,these writing implements were the only ones in the Jasper household,and the puzzled look on her face when she said that she was going up to her room to “write some letters”,would become apparent when parents would stream into see her saying that they couldn’t read her writing,when really they couldn’t read at all.

Marjorie expressed herself to her sister in different terms than to her mum and Dad as is normal to folk in a family like the Allcocks.Marjorie sister was a secretary in Whitehall,quite a go getter to Marjorie,and she had “a man friend”.Marjorie was fascinated about her sisters life and where she had been and the people that she met.Rose loved embellishing her meetings with Bill ,telling her stories about how well thought of he was at the newspaper.Marjorie hoped that Bill would look after Rose as her sister had suffered the humiliation of being jilted at the altar,the shame of which had almost destroyed Rose.As much as Marjorie was fascinated by the life of her sister,she felt that Rose took far too many risks,and had once found Rose and Bill kissing at the doorstep while father was in the sitting room.Of course,Marjorie,although attracted to men,had never been asked in a date and it was a source of jealously with her sister Rose who had chosen a traditional working route,with the Pitman school in the West end and not university like Marjorie.

These mental excursions pleased Marjorie as she filled page after page of her impressions of Cornish life ,and that after only just being here for under 48 hours,

Just then,a knock on the door:”Would he like a cup of tea miss Allcock,only I gotten him by the fire downstairs if he mind coming down”

Marjorie was beginning to feel that she liked talking ,that she wanted to be friendly so she put her pen and paper away,folding then neatly .As she did,she hoped that her mum and Dad and Rose were good and glanced at her cutting once again and just wondered what it must be like to be kissed!

“Miss Allcock,Miss Allcock,That tea be gettin cold “,

“I’m just coming Mrs Jasper”.


I’ve stared at the screen at this one word Sunday for all of five minutes without adding to it in my post.Funny really,but they you are and those scattered thoughts ,those nodules of thoughts rested there on the edge of action ,of growth as it were,only to be discarded as it that important,It’s like speech. Important speech that we might feel impelled to say to another but just at the crucial moment we stop,we just delay saying anything as it were and retreat into ourselves.

There are times in life when we feel that we wished to have said something and the passage of time reveals that it might have been better if we had.Just like my thoughts a few minutes ago after I wrote the word Sunday,they have now been lost in my mind,unable to be retrieved as such.Life has a way of driving forwards ever onwards always supposedly changing in its chemistry.Wether we agree or not with these changes doesn’t affect the outcome always,and we are left on a limb almost in so many things that are beyond our control.

Maybe we feel that our opinions don’t matter that much,or if we said something to another that they might be offended in some way .That said,and there is no denying that some may well be offended by what we say or do and that is their right,but should that necessarily stop us from expressing ourselves on the matter.It won’t surprise you when I say definitely no.

Just as you can’t really ever tell someone not to think in a certain way,you can’t really tell them not to say certain things as free speech is enshrined in our democracy.So ,in the macro sense,you have people voicing their opinions all the time about politics ,religion,the economy and such like and that is healthy because the alternatives are state control,lack of human rights and every abuse that comes with that.

Life though,and on this Sunday morning here in Dorset isn’t really always about the big questions is it.Sometimes,we regret not talking about the small things ,just starting on that path of isolation into our own world of internals,of me,of my phone,my computer and we just stop talking,stop just recognising the things that we want to say and just saying :”Oh,it’s nothing”,when it is really,it truly is.We might do this for reasons that send us in a turmoil of thoughts,of stress almost,but I wonder if it is possible to ever resolve anything by just silence.

This Sunday,this traditional time for contemplation might be a time for silence to many.but too much silence breeds suspicion ,mistrust,and anxiety on the part of all parties and is almost like a Russian Roulette with someone’s emotions,it can’t ever truly be right.

When I was a boy,my mother and step father would tune into a radio programme on Sundays called “two way family favourites”,where families whose children were serving in the armed services abroad would request music to be played for their loved ones in the far flung corners of the world.Places like Aden,Germany,the old empire countries too.These requests were often accompanied by messages and goodwill wishes as those sent their love and deepest feelings over the air waves.My mother and step father never missed this programme and as a boy,I would sing in the church choir ,returning after the service to find them avidly listening to each request and music choice ,commenting on it and how wonderful it was that Brenda from Blackpool asked for “Close to you by the Carpentars”,to be played for Paul in his barracks at Aidan.

It struck me that our home rarely had good wishes,and rarely had a sense a joy or talk,even though there were so many of us in the early days.It wasn’t the silence of deep contemplation ,more of a silence of mood,of sadness that infected the home and so the irony of this radio programme “two way family favourites”,stuck me even as a child as so very odd.It has stayed with me that however hard it is it is always better to talk if you can ,because of “ignorant Library silence” is so very damaging and abusive.

Nowadays,in this busy life of constant pressures,demands if you like on us,I still feel that people need to communicate ,to just be able to say and not to utter:”It doesn’t matter,it was nothing really”,because it is never really nothing, to really.

Have some joy this Sunday.