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Boyhood Memories

August 22, 2016

Coming down to earth after the excitement of my first book launch, I did a spot of desk-clearing yesterday and came across a couple of memories posted on blogs. They’re memories that capture something of my long lost youth in Farnworth, Lancashire, so I thought it would be nice to start the week by sharing them here:

 

[1] Skid

 

It would have been the late-‘50s, myself 11 or 12. A bright summer’s day in Lancashire.  I was very proud of my Dawes Domino sports bike.  But coming downhill full pelt I overtook a moped then skidded into a cinder track at the bottom.  Of course the wheels went from under me and I was badly grazed.

Bandaged, I enjoyed sitting out in our back garden, sipping dandelion and burdock and reading a book of true-life exploits from the Second World War. All our dads were heroes then and mine had served in the RAF.

 

[2] Message In A Bottle

 

As a 15 year old, on the eve of moving home with my parents and family, I put a message in a bottle and buried it under my dad’s shed. Returning recently after 54 years, I found the shed gone and much else besides.

Probably the house has changed hands several times since those distant days of my childhood when a vista of factory chimneys greeted the eye through our rear leaded panes. Whether my bottle was ever found and the message read, I don’t know.  My message was hardly deathless prose, so I doubt anyone would have been very interested anyway.

Planting the bottle was certainly an emotional moment for me though. And wondering about it occasionally down the decades has always brought a whiff of the old days, something more than nostalgia, something…mystical, perhaps.

 

Paul Beech

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2016

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6 Comments
  1. It is wonderful to read your post, it’s been a while. I know you have been busy, busy, busy, with your writing and personal life and that’s a good thing.

    First order of business; Is your book for sale on amazon for Kindle. Yes I know physical books are better but the times they are a changing. I have a huge library stored in my Kindle and I really have no more room to store books on shelves. However I do order some books in book form just to be able to touch the characters and feel the author. Certain books I buy both, easier to read on Kindle, lovely to physically have if I desire.

    Second order of business; How are the book sales going? I am sure they will soar.
    I am thinking about compiling a book of short stories, I am working on it, well the thought of it. :o)

    It is good to see you back to blogging and I will look forward to more of the same.
    Regards to you and Maureen,

    Your Cyber Friend,
    Patricia

    • Hi Pat,

      Sorry, ‘Twin Dakotas’ is not available on Amazon or as an ebook. I did well with copies sold at my launch and will be selling direct at future events (including the upcoming Callander Poetry Weekend in Scotland next month) and on request (will email you about this).

      My goodness, time for blogging is at a premium with so much going on poetrywise, festivals and other events to prepare for, submissions to get out and so on. Not to mention that actual writing! But I love it. Maureen is a very active poet herself of course, and it’s in a spirit of adventure that we sally forth together in the poetry world.

      All of that said, I’ve every intention of keeping ‘Grandy’s Landing’ going and will do my best to keep up with favourite blogs too…including ‘The Writer’s Desk’!

      My very best to you, my cyber-friend, and Maureen sends her best too.

      Paul

  2. A message in a bottle is such a romantic notion, isn’t it? I’ve always thought of it as being launched on a body of water…but buried, like a time capsule, it is fascinating, too. I’ve never left such a message. I think the wonderment of whether it was ever found, and by whom, could recur at times forever after.

    Your memory of the skid also lives in the comment section after a poem I posted in early May this year…”Should The Ability Appear”..about sitting outdoors and reading and being distracted by the beauties of nature. I think you were one of the few commenters who had very good reasons to actually get some reading done, under the circumstances.

    • Dear Cynthia,

      Yes, it was indeed on your wonderful blog, ‘littleoldladywho’, in response to ‘Should The Ability Appear’, that I wrote ‘Skid’. And I remember your reply, about an uncle who flew with the US Airforce over France and was belatedly decorated by the French government.

      Yours is one of my very favourite blogs. Your poetry is amazing and has taught me a great deal about form.

      How I wish I’d kept a copy of my message in a bottle. What remains is the emotion I felt as I buried it beneath Dad’s shed – yes, like a time capsule. I knew I’d never see my schoolmates again, nor my best friend from across the street. Knew I’d said my last goodbye to my 14 year old girlfriend, probably now a grandparent like me. Knew life was about to change for ever as Dad wanted me to take up an apprenticeship following the move to Chester. And knew I’d always remain a Lancashire lad at heart, as indeed I have. Aye, I remember the emotion right enough, trowel in hand.

      My very best,

      Paul

  3. And thank you for following, Pat. Much appreciated, always.

    Paul

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