Bunter Macingtosh Rediscovers Love

Someone asked me recently if I still believed in marriage and I said, “Of course old boy.” I mean you can’t have been through five of the things without some belief in the institution and I’m still friendly with all the exes and some of my children, apart from Marjorie, but then even the finest of salads can be spoiled by an excess of vinegar don’t you find?

Not that any of that would have mattered but I teamed up with some quite fetching thing in her prime and you know how one drink leads to another, and then I shared some old films with her and suggested we go on holiday and eat a few cream teas and I find myself filling with emotion and saying, “Fancy a shuffle up the isle my darling” and she sort of shook her head which might mean either yes or no. As I always say, “Time will tell: time will reveal everything,” and let’s face it that can be a “Wincer” once in a while, but that’s another story.

I am a great believer in self-discipline but also in not trying to hog all the good qualities and keep them to myself so I let others enjoy the admiration which comes with self-restraint and I now play open house to any passing calorie, hence the name “Bunter.” I go for walks between the bedroom and the living room and make my own tea and snacks so I think I can hold my head up in company in a way which takes the attention from my chins: no photographs please.

Virginia, my new love, is actually a dog, which might explain why I can’t understand her answer, and when I told the vicar, in strictest confidence, that I wanted to marry my pet as a symbol of my undying devotion, no sex involved, he started shaking his head as well, which just shows how catching some of these endearing habits are. The way he looked at me makes you think that those gents in white coats might be popping in for a talk about life and an afternoon snifter sometime soon.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted but for now it’s a good bye from me and a woof or two from her. Goodbye.

Posted in character, Fiction, humour, Love, Peter Wells, Pets, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Grexit Stopolopolus Gets In A Fix

Don’t know how it happened but Grexit, a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy who liked nothing more than sitting around in the evening drinking wine with his family and friends received a letter from a Heirich Ackermann that his loan had been approved and the sum of 10 million euros would be deposited in his account by close of business on the following day.

“Nice” thought Grexit, not one to read the small print on boring documents so he just went with the flow and ordered a Ferrari for each member of his family including his thirteen year old son because, let’s face it, even if you can’t drive, having a nice set of wheels puts a bit of stride in your step.

A quick million or two and he had secured a new home complete with a swimming pool in every room and enough garages to park the sixteen cars and then it was off on the holiday of a lunchtime, involving the chartering of two jets and invitations to everyone in his village to come on the Nordic “Cooling Holiday” where those who suffered from a life of pitiless sunshine and cut-price cocktails could journey to the Baltic region of northern Europe and get stuck into a sauna or two, massages and all the sausage and pickled onion you could eat. Not everyone’s idea of a dream holiday, but good old Grexit had booked an entire hotel for a fortnight and most of the village had never been on a plane never mind a private jet so what’s to lose.

“Oh yes,” thought Grexit, “This is the lifolos” and he raised his glass to the mysterious organisation with a head office in Brussels whose kind unguarded generosity had allowed him to enjoy a lifestyle which his 18,000 euros a year salary would never have enabled him to experience.

On his return from the Baltic, he sat around for two days before dragging the entire village off to the Virgin Islands for more snorkelling and a wide range of cocktails. Some of the villagers expressed unease but he said, “Do not worryos. I will pay the whole villages salaries from now on” and who were they to argue. Soon, new swimsuits at the ready, they were on another pair of lavishly supplied private jets for a second holiday of fun and beautiful views.

Back home again, Stopolopolus looked at his post and noticed there was a letter marked “Urgent” from the nice Brussels people saying an error had been made and he must repay the money in monthy instalments of eighty thousand euros. Grexit looked up at his parrot, who had missed them all during their international travels, and said, “These Brussels people need to relax a bit. We are all the Europeans yes no, and you cannot allow arguments in the same family”

The next morning he rang Heinrich and told him funds were low, owing to a rush of expenses and the villages soaring catering budgets, but that he could certainly manage to repay 10 euros a month. Poor old Heinrich started to feel unwell because he realised that, to compound the error, he had lent the money to some crazy man from south Europe where a skill in maths, he understood, was used for nothing more than checking the number of prawns on a plate. What he fully understood was he could not write off the money as his shareholders would never forgive him, and that owing to a fire and a few car crashes, many of the purchased assets were in serious disrepair so he came to arrangement with Grexit that he would lend him a further 2 million euros so he could make the necessary repayments on the original loan.

The crisis had been avoided at both ends it seemed, and on the receipt of the funds Grexit sent of the first 80,000 euro payment as stipulated in the new agreement and then took only his family, because sensible budgeting was his new hobby, to Florida to celebrate getting out of a bit of a scrapelos and reaffirming the strength of the European family. They did not buy new swimsuits.

Posted in character, euro, Fiction, Geece, Peter Wells, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Style Was Her Character

My grandmother, I remember, draped a fur around her shoulders long after they ceased to be fashionable, even when reclining on the sofa in her home. She delighted in making statements such as, “I have offered up my life to scotch and cigarettes, I have given both those brave substances licence to kill me yet both have failed to do so.”

At the time she said this I was twenty three and my grandmother seventy-five, and an embarrassment to her relatives and all those who sought to live moral, prayer filled lives including the tired solicitor who managed the trust fund which gloriously removed her from the need to worry about everyday concerns. She was my heroine, and as soon as I was old enough to hear, she would regale me with tales of what she called “elegant debauchery” which meant, I think, that whatever the company or its state of undress, there was always a man servant to pour the wine.

“Let them at least see what they cannot enjoy” she might say as she emptied another portion of her grandfather’s fortune down her throat. My mother, her daughter, hated her of course, and clung to more orthodox versions of sanity, but she could not avoid her mother’s company, as, it had been made clear, to absent herself from her mother’s daily life was to lose all access to her unregarded wealth.

My grandmother told me candidly that my mother was a disappointment and she looked to me to maintain the family honour and reputation for excess. “Learn about wine and the beauty of a woman” she told me. “Let nature speak to you, and music fill your soul and then write of your experiences. That is your destiny.” My father was long dead, rescued from a life he had come to find unbearable by, well, death itself I suppose. Grandmother was armed with nuances of every colour and variety and delighted in disturbing those she thought unworthy of entering her salon. “Bores darling. Unutterable bores who measure everything and understand so very little” Thus was the vast majority of mankind exiled from her regard. She drawled the word “Very” in such a manner is it sounded almost like the gurgling of the toilet emptying the lives of bores into some mysterious waste system.

Even the best of us, may find weariness curbs our ability to express our inner being, but for some reason, “Fatigue” itself seemed as reluctant to enjoy my grandmother’s company as were morals or any sense of social propriety: to my young heart she was an inspiration and a pleasure seeker “Extraordinaire,” dressed in period costume.

Her daughter had been raised to despise any manifestation of professional activity but, regardless, recoiled from the well-heeled debauchery so prized by her parent. After my father died my mother avoided any further connection with the opposite sex having, I suspect, spent the last of her optimism on that brief romance.

Events of course, may take an unexpected turn as I was to find out one afternoon when I entered the house at the precise moment my mother pushed my grandmother down the stairs exhausted, in all probability, by the unending wait for her mother to do the decent thing and expire in the customary manner.

I don’t think it was loyalty; more a question of style really, but I kept the little secret in the family and after a cursory inspection the police left us to it and a funeral was arranged. The church, which opened its doors for reasons which escape us all, was packed to the alter with every kind of lounge lizard, artists of every inspiration and a general body of people recognised by my grandmother as breathing with style if not purpose. The vicar, may his god bless him, scrapped a few facts from my grandmothers life in order to construct a eulogy, and after a service of no great length we all repaired to the Hall and a wake which unfolded without reference to manners or decency.

The next day, the loyal solicitor arrived at the Hall to read the will. My mother was disinherited without comment, and the hall and trust fund were passed to me in their entirety on the understanding that I did not tarnish the family name with respectability. I moved my quarters to the ground floor.

Posted in ageing, character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

A Lifetime Of Moments

As a young man of twenty-three I was, like many people, an actor of sorts, who could fill any role, or in my case undemanding job, until the sterility and boredom of it all became suffocating and I engineered a way to terminate the post by means of getting sacked.

I was a junior in a sales office, marketing products of no interest to me to people I did not care to meet, but with a smile and urgency of manner which told everyone, “This boy has found his destiny,” but that was not the case. Truth was, I had not found my destiny, and that is why I took that or any job. To eat and shelter myself and then walk out in the streets of London at the weekend was all I had or wanted. I was adrift within myself yet had no knowledge of the fact.

Anne-Marie, don’t you love the name, was one of those girls you would not reach. I saw her at some gathering my older sister, a “hippie-chick” of sorts, had organised on a whim, because just to have a party seemed reason enough have one at that age. I stood around awkwardly at the edge of the room watching events, and marvelling at the sense of “Having arrived” and “Being significant” that so many people in the room enjoyed. Not me.

Of all the girls there, and girls were an abiding if unrequited interest at the time, Anne-Marie stood out as someone beautiful, yet careless of her looks. By her side, or was it the other way round, was a man, slightly older, I’m guessing, about thirty, whose confidence and presumed right to be with her were evident in his posture and the manner of his speech. He was not a junior salesman I suspect, and gawkoids like me did not engage his interest.

Sometime in the evening, as I stood near the kitchen door, Anne-Marie passed by me on her way to fetch a drink, and asked me, “What brings you here?” I said, “We are still trying to find out” and she laughed lightly and looked at me is if I had surprised her before passing on her way. Her manner was uncomplicated, friendly but impersonal, like some well-trained air- hostess on a trans-Atlantic life.

Move on twenty years and I was the new Health and Safety Advisory Officer for the Feltham and District Fire Brigade, a posting I had acquired through a couple of fake references and a “connection” on the council: fresh enough in the job to still be urgent of manner, real and committed to the task. I was sent by chance to go to the local art gallery, where an Anne-Marie Birchland was exhibiting her paintings. I was married at the time, to a woman who misunderstood and loved me to destruction. I protected myself from her fussing by daydreaming and stabbing at the piano.

When I arrived at the gallery, dressed smartly in my new uniform, there was the artist, and I knew it was her again. She walked over to me, smiling in her turn, and asked, “What brings you here?” and I replied “We are still trying to find out” and then she said, “I thought you were a salesman” and I replied, “ I’ve been many things but seldom me.” The phrase sounds slightly adolescent now but she smiled and touched my arm, and then moved on. Reticence ended the conversation.

Move on twenty years and I was now a song-writer of sorts, poor it must be said, but with a growing reputation and now uncaring of my circumstances as long as I could write. Walking along the street in my new local town, somewhere in the midlands, I saw a sign saying. “Exhibition of Paintings by local artist Anne-Marie Southgate” and I wondered if it was her, despite the change of surname. Of course I went in and she was there, still with that beauty and courage which had impressed me in my youth, and sure enough she smiled and came up to me and said, “ What brings you here?” and I said “You ” and we began talking as two people can who have just met, yet known each other indefinitely. Her presence was in my destiny.

Posted in character, Fiction, Peter Wells, Romance, writing | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Fate And The Ordered Life

Geoffrey Longridge, a widower of twenty-eight years standing, lost his young wife as a result of a car accident leaving him childless and alone. Emotion was something he employed sparingly, and in his memory of her he had a reservoir of intimacy which had provided all the nourishment he needed. Her photographs were everywhere in his house and mind, and conversations with her departed soul remained the most urgent in his life. She had been his co-conspirator, his map and compass, and without her he had become a mannered and directionless soul, living a dutiful life working, latterly as the chief librarian in his local town.

His sensibilities,  central to his life, were tuned to connect with ideas and vistas rather than people so that he had a quality of civilised distance about him which marked him out in the community. He was more the receiver than the teller of stories, but you could tell the quality of your words by the power of his response. He had an undercurrent of sensibility not often revealed in his manner or conversation. Sometimes, in a stubborn attempt to awaken interest in an artistic dimension among the local population, he would invite speakers to give talks at the library on matters literary, or sometimes just to recount their recent adventures. He loved the way some small event could make an individual discover themselves.

So it was that he invited a poet, who had recently returned from the tropics, to give a reading from her latest book of poems: the product of her experiences there. Her sense of life and its adventures seemed exotic to a man whose formative, and then more mature impressions, were gathered throughout a life bound by ritual and routine within the small English county where he had lived and worked all his life. At the appointed hour she arrived at the building and he guided her to the room were a small but appreciative audience applauded her entrance. Brief introductions were made and then the poet began her recital.

The audience was moved by her assurance and intensity: her words igniting their dormant imaginations. She was the living embodiment of artistic courage, a dramatic reader of her own verse, and the audience responded to her urgency. At last the reading was over and, noticeably, the applause at the end of it was more real and energised than the polite clapping of hands which had signalled her introduction. After the event, poet and librarian sat together on a bench near the entrance and looked at the abstract painting before them, which seemed almost like a conceptual map of imagination.

“Do you like abstract art ?” she asked him earnestly. “Yes” replied Geoffrey and suddenly he seemed to be no more than a puppet. A will stronger than his own pushed him forward and he found himself kissing her forehead, then her cheek and finally her lips with a release and abandon which, till now, had been entirely alien to him. She was the first women to whom he had opened himself in twenty-eight years and he was stunned by his own actions. Instead of shrinking away from him she seemed to be somewhere between the polite and receptive as he talked to and then kissed her in turn and again. Finally, without any comment on his behaviour, she told him she had a dinner engagement. They rose from the bench and he showed her to the door.

He had no address for her, apart from her email, or any knowledge of her circumstances, excepting some blurb on her website and after she had gone he sat down again and stared at that painting as if it might supply him with an answer. What does a polite man do, living largely within convention, when he has stepped outside himself and kissed a lady so? The painting offered no advice.

Posted in character, Fiction, Peter Wells, Romance, writing | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

A Brief Update On My Fitness Goals

Ok, I don’t really have any, but that doesn’t stop me measuring so I can see how every thing is going wrong over a bottle or two of Malbec or Pino Grigio if the weather is too warm.

As recently as two years ago I acquired one of those quietly flashy IPhone things which just shows those who pass me in the Mall that I might look moth-eaten, and badly dressed to boot, but yet I am  clearly still “In the groove”

Now, with the aid of my Ambassador to all things Technical, I’ve put a sort of diet and fitness thing on my phone and laptop and connected it to something clever which counts the number of steps you take, cakes you eat and then says something at the end of the day like, “If you continue to guzzle anything you can get your greedy hands on like you have today you will be 800 lbs by the end of the week.”

As a snarky aside, I heard it mention that “Gettting out of bed, and stopping pretending that every vintage film you notice in the TV schedule is a “Must See” is a major advantage to those seeking beach fitness.

I am not seeking beach fitness, but I wouldn’t mind looking a bit dapper while I eat an afternoon tea, the recognised reward for anyone who spurned that third sausage at breakfast and refused ice cream with his sticky toffee pudding. Will power is everything is it not ?

Posted in character, community, Fiction, fitness, humour, Peter Wells | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Excerpt From “The Man Who Missed The Boat”

This is an excerpt from my new novel in which one of the main characters is brought face to face with the consequences of his actions.

” He stood in the cold outside his former life and home and discovered the reality of what it is to be an exile. To see a world continue, but no longer be a part of it. With all that gone, he knew that he could not just knock on the door. Say he was “only passing” and “Could he have a cup of tea”, Standing there, looking at the small front lawn, he remembered planting it about twelve years before, and even recalling, cruel as the memory now seemed, his wife Ruth coming out to him with tea and with a young Amy, then just two years ,old clinging to her dress. The very picture of an ordered family, now decimated by his lack of will, destroyed by a temptation unimagined in those sweet early years. What had he done?

There were no tears, but only a deepening sadness and that sense of isolation, until at last, he turned on his heel, and set off back to his new lodgings. For now at least, he would find no comfort here, and he must do his best to build a life out of the ruins he created. There is a phrase, largely in disuse, but somehow it surfaced in his mind. He had become ‘Beyond the pale’ whatever that might mean, and climbing back out of it was a journey he had difficulty to contemplating.

The adverts say there is always sunshine, but there is not always sunshine. We feel there must be hope but, for some, there is not always hope, and the world without it is a dark and exposing place. Giles walked his walk more alone in mind and spirit than he had ever been. The wilderness rose up around him, as if by some strange magic, and grappled at his limbs with merciless stamina. There seemed no  destination left with  purpose. The journey home, or whatever that place was called, was one of instinct rather than direction. Free of strategy, and without any emotional bearings he moved because he had no other choice. It was the last thing he had left, and he would just keep moving and praying, because that was all there was, apart from his engrossing solitude.”

Will life get better or worse for Giles. If you are curious, click on the blue image beside this post and find out !

Posted in Fiction, Peter Wells, Romance, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments