This made me chuckle….
I was browsing in a tee shirt shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when I found a shirt that had SAIL NAKED printed on the front. I held it up to the checkout guy and said:
“Is this irony?”
“No, you can just let it drip dry,” he replied.
Here’s a very rare venture into dystopian fiction:
The shadows of the headstones creep across the ground as the sun sets and I pull my jacket tighter against the evening chill.
It’s my birthday tomorrow. That birthday.
We don’t celebrate birthdays the way we used to. When I was young we had birthday parties, a cake with candles to blow out, joyful friends singing your name and clapping, faces smiling, happy. That all ended by the time I reached, what, sixty? Twenty years ago. Fucking revolution.
The others will be at the house now. Bert and Emily and Joe. That’s all. It’s enough, though. I told everyone I didn’t want them here when it was time but I knew those three wouldn’t listen. They’re good friends from the old days.
I’d once hoped to be buried here in this cemetery, the old-fashioned way. It’s so pretty with the wild flowers and the ancient oaks. A lovely place for that eternal sleep. The headstones are interesting: They all died at different ages. That’s how it used to be, pre-revolution. Now we have CoMo.
I get it. I really do. How can you provide health care, pensions, housing, food and water if people are dying untidily at all ages, some getting to a hundred or more? Controlled Mortality. I get it. The Revolutionary Council wants a tidy, controlled society. No surprises. Eighty years is enough they decided after takeover. That was when we had the cull. When my parents went. That was tough to take, I must say.
Things are going well now, apparently, so RevCo are putting it up another two years starting next year. Just my luck, eh?
Oh well, best stop these silly thoughts, wander back to the house and get cracking with the last supper. They’re coming for me at midnight.
Happy fucking birthday.
My short stay in Bahrain was immensely improved by this incident which I witnessed from the hotel coffee lounge on the mezzanine level, overlooking the lobby. Whilst one group of Japanese tourists filed out through the magnificent plate-glass revolving door another group started filing in. For Japanese people to fail to bow to each other is unthinkable and so they did; the sound of foreheads hitting glass was like a crate of apples being poured onto a wooden floor. The door was jammed with concussed Japanese and the lobby was littered with others stumbling and falling, unable to avoid crashing into the people ahead when the line abruptly halted. Some guests thought it a terrorist attack and screamed and ran for cover. O Joy.
Back in England after a couple of weeks in Texas, shared between Clear Lake, south of Houston, and Gruene, in the hill country to the west of Houston.
It was all good. Here are a few pictures:
If you’re looking for a second-hand pair of cowboy boots, I know just the place. Here’s a small section of their stock.
Weathered board and corrugated tin seems to be the decor of choice for a hill country town trying to maintain authenticity:
Here’s one of the wineries:
And I’m sure you all know what this is. No? It is, of course, a Letz 350D feed grinder. Having spent a lifetime in cereal processing it was of some vague interest.
That’s all for now folks.
The sun blazed down from a Texas sky the colour of faded Levis as we strolled through the streets of the quaint little town of Gruene, Texas. We sought temporary refuge from the sweltering heat in air-conditioned shops selling tee-shirts, antiques, fishing tackle, candy and ice-cream, olive derivatives (really) and souvenirs. There were several inviting bars and restaurants – we had fish tacos and a couple of ice cold beers in a Mexican tavern nestled in a grove of oak trees where a red squirrel sat nearby and scoffed a few nachos. A couple of local wineries are crying out to be tried before we leave town.
The Gruene River Hotel and Retreat is a splendid establishment in the style of a southern mansion sitting in mature grounds on the banks of the Guadalupe River. From the balcony of the Hemingway Room, our home for three nights, we watched a wild red deer munching industriously on the succulent vegetation aware of but unconcerned by our presence. The Hemingway Room was what it says on the tin – large, airy, high-ceilinged and fitted out with manly furniture and paraphernalia reminiscent of the great writer and hell-raiser. A log fire occupied one corner and animal hide rugs were scattered here and there. It was the best of rooms, it was the worst of rooms; sadly it didn’t provide me with any great measure of literary inspiration. One obvious omission was a table or desk on which to work. I’m sure Ernest didn’t sit on the leather sofa with his Smith-Corona plonked on his lap bashing out The Old Man and the Sea.
Gruene Hall is the oldest dancehall in Texas, built about 1878. It’s a barn-like building with a pitched tin roof and open sides and long benches and tables and a stage where most nights a band plays. They get some big names from time to time and you have to buy tickets but this week was all free. Up front is a scruffy bar with a few battered tables and chairs and a plank floor where we had a few beers and listened to a local trio belting it out whilst couples twirled around the dance floor doing the Texas two-step and variations of it.
More on Gruene and the area in my next post. Take care, y’all.
For most of the day tomorrow I’ll be hurtling westward towards Texas locked inside a metal tube bashing its way through the lower stratosphere pushed by a gazillion horsepower. Thousands of components and miles of tubing and wiring will be doing their bit to keep the missile flying straight and true through the hostile vastness. Inside, though, all will be tranquil, calm, comforting. Meals will be served, wine poured, blankets handed round, movies flickering on little screens.
Just four hours by the clock will have elapsed when ten hours later I’m released into the hands of Homeland Security and then, bags retrieved, the Customs service. Groggy and disoriented I’ll finally reach the welcoming embrace of family. The holiday will begin.
It’s 1992 and we’re on our sailboat, Adriana, anchored in the small port of Luperon on the north coast of Dominican Republic. Choice of provisions was sparse in Luperon so Carol and I decided we’d take the gua-gua to the much larger Puerto Plata in search of more interesting items, perhaps with sell-by dates still in the future:
Early morning, pleasantly cool, the sun still only a splash of lilac on the eastern horizon as we make our way to the bus stop where the gua-gua for Puerto Plata is boarded. We sit on the back seat of the Mitsubishi mini-van watching in growing wonder as a steady flow of passengers file down the bus and take their seats. Carol and I scrunch closer together as we’re joined by four others on the rear bench. As each subsequent row is filled short planks are deployed to span the passageway so extra passengers can be seated and before long the capacity of the bus as contemplated by its manufacturer is impressively exceeded. In fact, fourteen passengers and a driver are aboard the eight-seater as the journey begins.
On the outskirts of Luperon we stop to pick up a policeman and his wife, a youth with a broken arm, a woman towing a small child, and a cock-fight enthusiast with his prize bantam held aloft, presumably to avoid injury.
With a mind-boggling twenty-one souls (not counting the chicken) squashed within, the gua-gua bounces its way over hill and dale, weaving an erratic course around pot-holes and ruts, toward Puerto Plata. Julio Inglasias at 50 watts per channel tries vainly to drown out the happy chattering of this compressed humanity.
Ah, the memories.
This young man has thought deeply about his career:
“I want to be a captain when I grow up because it’s a cool job that’s easy to do. Captains don’t have to go to school such a long time. They only need to learn figures so they can read instruments. I think they also have to be able to read maps so they don’t get lost when they sail.
“Captains have to be brave so they don’t get scared when it’s so foggy that they can’t see and when the propeller falls off they have to know what to do about it. Captains have to have eyes that can see through clouds and they mustn’t be afraid of thunder and lightning which they have closer to them than what we have.
“The captain’s wages is another thing I like. They earn more than they can spend. That’s because most people think it’s dangerous to drive a boat, except captains, because they know how easy it is. There’s not much I don’t like, except that girls like captains. All the girls want to marry a captain, so captains are always having to chase them away to get some peace.
“I hope I don’t get seasick, because if I get seasick I can’t be a captain and I’ll have to start working.”
The lad certainly knows what he wants out of life!