Friday, 2 August 2013


My parents at a Pontin's holiday camp in the early 1960's.
A couple of different things this post. In contrast to the hot weather we have been having here’s a haiku I wrote in April-when it was not as warm:

Words freeze as spoken
The coldest night in the world
Winter will not end

Do you ever find it difficult to imagine the cold when you are in the summer? I do.

Which one am I?
My family at Babbacombe in 1967.

 Around the time I wrote the haiku I was at a festival. It was so windy as I drove up to the camping area I saw a marquee take off and collide with a parked car. I later wrote this:

In its haste to escape from the festival,
the absconding marquee trips over a car.
Later it will be pinned down
And a man assigned to watch the dissident.

Me and my brother early 1960s on holiday.
As well as posting these old photographs of my family, I thought I’d include a short piece I wrote at a creative writing class I used to attend ran by Genista Wheatly. If I am honest I cannot remember the brief. I think it was to write something as dialogue. So I write this monologue.

“You kids have got no respect, not like in the old days. Then we had respect, now you laugh when I tell you the truth. Years ago you’d have been quiet, but hell, years ago, in the good old days, I would not have said what I just said. Stands to reason, then you kept schtum, now you laugh.”

“I tell you I helped in the space race, yes me Moscow Dog Catcher, second grade. Things were different then, no, I did not have Comrade Korolev’s talent or his favour, but I played my part. Got this watch, yes it is only a Vostok, not a Poljot. Yes I know Yuri had a Poljot when he first orbited. Me I got a Vostok, like a military hero. Don’t work now though it is right twice a day.”

“How did I get it? I caught a dog, a lovely little bitch, barked a lot called her Liaka. It was during my two years conscription, I had worked as a dog catcher previous. October 1957 and this dog had been hanging about the base, barking and carrying on, kept the men awake at night. Well those that weren’t melting the boot polish and drinking it that is. The sergeant says to me “You soldier, never could remember my name that one, you were a dog catcher before weren’t you?”

“Yes Sir” says I. “Well, catch that mutt before I have it shot then we might get some sleep!” “I’d just caught the dog, lovely animal, real friendly. I’m stood there talking to the dog, trying to calm her, “I’ll call you Laika, as you bark so much.” Then this man in a grey trousers and a leather jacket comes up to me and tells me how the country needs such dog. To be a space pioneer, he says. To follow in the footsteps, alright paw prints, of Bars and Lamka, only they did sub-orbital’s and they were ok. They came back.”

“She over heated, or the stress killed her...They were never sure. Took seven hours though. Less than a days’ work plus several million roubles to kill a dog, seems like a lot of effort. But as I say things were different then.”

“Now what about that vodka you promised me?”

Both of us at Pontin's Morcombe holiday camp around 1965.
Laika was launched into space on 31st October 1957. The other dogs mentioned flew suborbital flights and landed but poor old Laika died. 

My parents at Pontins Blackpool in 1970.
On a slightly less sombre note Alela Diane’s new cd was released here in England on Monday. I cannot stop listening to it. It is both sad and beautiful. I am working on a review that may appear next week. I have also been very taken with Lizzy Stewart’s Cardigan Heart. A small work of art. 

I shall leave you with Alela singing.


  1. Are you the short gormless looking one? Thought so!! Lovely pics!!! We went on holiday to Hope Cove in Devon. Started off at 4 am. Me and my younger brother packed in the back of the Singer, demarcation lines already drawn by the time we got to Hatfield. Took ALL day, with no motorways.But the sea...and the rock pools....

  2. Yes I am the short gormless looking one but which one am I in the photos?

    Your holiday in Devon sounds idyllic. I know Hope Cove - South Hams, not that far from me. Glad you like the photos.

  3. Front, middle in the Babbacombe photo - no doubt about it ;) Love the haikius, particularly the second one. It captures so much in few words which I love. Leaves the brain and imagination space to work. You might find this interesting

  4. Spot on Paul, I was that gormless child. I liked the link- not sure about some of the very short ones.