Dog gone

September 18, 2016 at 9:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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In harm’s way.


In remembering my dead father, one incident continues to trouble me daily.

I hope that writing it down will free me from it.

Note that I use the lower-case ‘dad’ to try to take the sting out.

Basil was our first (and last) dog.

dad described Basil as a ‘Heinz’ (i.e. a mongrel comprising 57 varieties).

I seem to recall Basil was a stray who simply hung around long enough to be admitted to our yard.

I have few memories of Basil other than this:

dad was proud of his garden and lawn.

He didn’t want holes in either.

Basil, being a dog, had other ideas.

But no idea of Dutch discipline.

When Basil dug his third hole, dad became suddenly apoplectic.

He strode to the tool shed and returned with a three-foot (90 cm) length of two-inch (52 mm) orange plastic pipe.

It was so thick, it barely bent.

dad then grabbed Basil by the ears, hoisted him aloft and beat the shit out of him.

I sat aghast near the Alder tree (pictured in the slide).

Basil’s screams still resound, half a century on.

The scene, dark against the summer sun, burnt into my brain.

I felt terror, then.

As did Basil.

I believe he left us soon after.

Hopefully of his own volition.

And under his own steam.

Henceforth, dad had only to look at me to strike fear and avert wrongdoing.

Mum summed up his behaviour several times over the decades as,

‘He gets wild sometimes … ‘

Being passive aggressive myself, I know about bottling things till they explode.

But I used to vent on ‘inanimates’.

Or myself.

And I’ve sought a lot of help.

Sometimes, I find myself praying to no-one in particular

that mum’s blood flows stronger

and I am not

my father’s


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire and Imagine Day.




Down to the wire

May 9, 2015 at 10:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Today I woke to find my silver hair had turned to wire.

Gone the soft flax of youth.

The dank lanks of adolescence.

The mousey locks of adulthood.

This is different.

Distinguished banker?

Not quite.

Grizzled marine?


Snow-topped professor?

Alas, no.

All I have is grey wire.

Spools of the stuff.

They don’t even use it.

Something about colour-blind electricians, I think.

So why do I have a headful?

Is one strand from the pacemaker my dad refused?

Does another belong to the bodgy mike of the priest who buried him?

Has the universe deduced, from 18 months of gritted teeth, that I sorely need my jaw sewn shut?

Or has Fate taken one long fibre

and tempered it into Samurai steel?

I think so.


To craft the sharpest needle,

to draw all pain from my dear, dying doggie and

to plunge it in my


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