Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Falling From The Stars (My Life-The First Twenty Years)

Okay, so should I begin with my story? I will have to begin at when I was four and a very strange dream I still can remember to this day.

I was sitting on my bed, which I shared with my brother, it was the smallest of four bedrooms in 11 Clydach Street and only consisted of two single beds and a wardrobe.

The carpet had vanished and I was looking down on trees, conifers, and a river as if my bedroom was flying high above the world, it was so realistic that I was too frightened to shout to my parents and in the end I just drifted back to sleep only to wake as if nothing had happened.

I think that must be when my imagination must have kicked into gear and it is amazing how a child can have the greatest of fantasties.

I always had a strange imagination, as I got older my brother would want stories and I would pretend to pluck imaginary books from the wall and read imaginary stories that came to mind, even at a young age I liked to keep my mind active but we are at an innocent age then and have no idea how terrible the future can be.

I suffered from a condition of the tendons in my right hand, klumpensky palsy which meant i couldn't straighten my fingers, similar to an accident when the shoulder is damaged and your tendons in the hand are restricted.

School was never easy, I seemed to get on with the girls better than the boys, children can be cruel and because of my birth defect with my right hand I found myself a loner, apart from the odd game of Kiss Chase but as I got older I sank into stories.

As I got older, I discovered the wonder of books, well actually it started with my brother and I using our pocket money to buy the best stories in a Ladybird book editions from our school in Grangetown, Cardiff.

To read Robinson Cruesoe, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood and the list just went on.

Okay, my brother just collected but I read those pages, my mother and father would then put away in case we decided to draw on them in crayon (I never did). And then my third brother was born, I was only six and I always seemed to be the least favourite.

My mother doted on Andrew, the newborn whilst my father always paid more attention to Paul, my grandmother would always be there for me, a strong Scottish woman who would never bow down to anyone.

Violet Eason Smith, she was proud and very strong willed but she doted and protected me and with what would happen in the future she would never let anything happen to me.

But we all make mistakes but that will come later on, Junior School I made a few friends but two of them would become true friends through school and my early twenties, Stephen Pedrick and Araf Ali Haq would be at my side through some very strange times.

But I am getting ahead of myself, how could I forget to mention Neil Robjohn who original lived across the lane until his father won the pools and they moved, not too far, to Penarth Road.

Paul was friends with Neil's brother Shaun, I had this fasination about old Look-in comics because I loved the art in the Six Million Dollar Man comic strip plus the Space 1999 comic strip was good.

He had a few and would sell them to me, that is when I got my first taste of Marvel comics.

A very old American Spider-man comic, #44 featuring the Lizard and even though the comic had this horrible crease down the middle, I still bought it for ten pence.

Andrew was now three and would follow me and Neil so we had to look after him when we went out to play and that was when something horrible would happen to me and I would never forget it.

Okay, this will not be easy to write but here goes.

I was seven, I was playing with Neil and Andrew had come along with us when we discovered an empty work garage at the top of the lane, the gates were open and we just had to explore what was inside.

It was two floors, old tools and and shelves were all around us as we came through the shutters, the door was wide open.

Upstairs was an old sofa, a radio and some rude Mayfair magazines, Neil and I glanced through them but we wouldn't let Andrew near them.

We decided to go, but at the shutters stood a man dressed scruffy, I can't remember too much to this day of what he looked like.

He ignored Andrew and grabbed Neil as he tried to escape and pulled down Neils trousers and then let him go to the back of the garage.

He then grabbed me and pulled down my trousers and touched me below, he held one hand on my throat then sank to his knees.

I have blanked out what he did, trying to take me in his mouth but he didn't get the effect he wanted then tried to pull me to my knees as he stood up.

It was then Andrew started screaming and the man ran off down the lane, we went home at told my father what had happened. My father was working a night shift at Ely paper mill and still in bed.

He told us to wait downstairs so he could get dressed, then he phoned the police.

I spent the rest of the day at the Central Police Station in Cardiff, I know they also spoke to Neil, Andrew was too young to know anything.

I scanned through photo after photo, some looked like the man, who knew there were so many people like this on the loose out there. I just wanted to go home and try to forget it ever happened.

But I never have, it still haunts me to this day. There was another incident that happened a few months after because once news got around about what happened my life got a lot worse.

Like I said children can be cruel.

My neighbour was known as Reggie Mental, he lived with his elderly mother and aunt and saw me playing in my backyard, he peered over our wall.

Our backyard was just concrete and he called over to ask if I wanted to see something special, like a fool I went to the back gate and he opened it and let me in.

He told me there was something upstairs he wanted to show me, and once up there he tried to take down my trousers as he unzipped and played with himself.

I kicked him between the legs and ran down the stairs and out the front door, I had gone through hell about what happened before so never reported it, I already was being called names and Reggie seemed to think I was into that regardless of only being seven.

I'm older now and will fight for the victims who are too scared to come forward, it did effect me as I became more withdrawn into myself and didn't trust anyone for a long time, I just scribbled stories in my own private world.

It was Araf and Stephen that got me out of my shell, now let's talk about them.

I had a lot to endure in the final years of Junior School at Grangetown Council, I didn't get on with most people, especially with the rumours and horrible name calling and I had a falling out with Neil so we parted as friends and ended up as enemies.

My teacher, Mister Price was a character, large built with glasses, sort of a welsh Jack Duckworth from the TV show Coronation Street.

If you misbehaved he would put you in the well under his desk which he called his "Dog Kennel". I think I ended up under there twice that year.

Stephen Pedrick was blonde haired and we became friends, mainly because we both had a thing for Ghosts, Ufology and any other strange things going on.

Araf Ali Haq was a Pakistani, and became a very close friend, he also had a wicked sense of humour but more about that later.

We all left Junior School and began High School together, Fitzalan High School in Canton, but the first time we went for a visit with our old school to ready us for highschool.

Stephen and myself wandered to the back of the swimming pool and saw a big boy from Cardiff Docks banging the head of another boy against the wall and saying "Where's my protection money?".  Even though we tried to say we wanted to go somewhere else we still ended up going to that school in the new term.

All three of us had a fasination about American Comic books, especially the Marvel ones and it even led to us starting the short lived "Spidey Gang" where we all dressed up as Spider-Man and thought we could fight crime.

It was around this time my parents separated, even though I went with my mother at first, I felt unwanted and went back to live with my father and it was later I discovered the truth about him.

My mother and brothers lived with Alice May Evans, an Ambulance Officer who worked with my mother (we would later on see her as a favourite aunt), and I had to suffer in school as others learnt of the separation with torments like "where's your mother gone?" and "awwwww mummy left you because you're a cripple".

Like I said, children can be cruel.

I was now thirteen.
I think it came as a big shock learning my father was bisexual, well I never thought anything about his male friends he would come home with, and my grandmother never said anything. I think it was when Dave came to stay and my fathers good friend, an elderly man called Len who lived in Clive Street that it became obvious.

We had a lodger, I forget his name, but he was violent and Andrew had come to stay the weekend. We were sent to Lens' to stay a night while my father dealt with this angry lodger and I thought nothing of the comment my father said to Len, "touch my boys and I'll break your neck".

Len was a kind old man and always bought us preasents, the next day everything was back to normal and we went home. Dave was there to stay and we thought nothing of it, Andrew went back home to Canton with our Mum and May.

It was only three months later I learnt Len was dead, he had met a young man in his twenties and took him home, the man had battered him to death and burnt down the flat. The police caught him and it was revealed it had been the violent lodger that had stayed with us.

Unfortunately, when friends called around to visit, they found some very graphic magazines with naked men. That didn't improve things for me when that got spread around the High School. But he was still my dad and I respected him.

Yes I discovered girls, and came close a couple of times but because of my dad I always backed off because I was too embarrassed of my home life.

Okay, it screwed me up finding out that my Mother and May shared a bedroom, I think I started to drift off the rails and just read more comics and books. That was when I first began to read Edgar Allan Poe and his poem, The Raven just blew me away.

I even read a book of a First World War poet, and his poetry was just a pure delight. Try telling your friends in school you read poetry after things about your home life had been broadcast. A couple of times my temper would become dark.

I still enjoyed reading new poems, Dylan Thomas became a firm favourite and his Death Have No Dominion would be a classic read for me.

It was trying to explain to Andrew when he asked about mum and dad, why dad slept with Dave and mum slept with May. What was I supposed to tell him?. The only thing I could think of was dad was a martian and mum was a robot, Andrew got the hint but they were our parents and we loved them.

After all, Grampy Abe was family and he was a wonderful black African.
I only knew one grandfather, even though my mothers father lived in Bridgend I do not remember him, as for my fathers side, I only knew my grandmother as that grandfather had gone long before I was born to South Africa.

As for my grandmother on my mothers side, I knew Grampy, the man of that nans' second marriage. I respected and loved my Grampy Abe as he was the only true grandfather I ever knew.

He wore a Triby hat and yes he was a black African, a proud man and he loved us all and would always be there for us. The stories I heard about him from my aunts showed us what a great man he was.

This is one of those stories...

He had come home the worst for wear for drink and accidentally opened a neighbours gate and began going up the path, realised his mistake, he backtracked back out and shut the gate.

But then he returned through the gate and knocked his neighbours door so he could apologise for accidentally opening the gate in the first place, in later years when I was old enough to drink he would introduce me to his white colleagues that drank with him down the Dusty Forge in Ely, Cardiff. When they asked how he had a white grandson?. He would say "The ol' black magic".

Alas the Dusty Forge has long closed.

My aunties were both dark, and they would protect anyone in the family, they were and still are wonderful women.

Yes I know I have a strange story, with lots of strange events, and I have introduced my family to you and now I must continue the rest of my life of my younger years.

But there is a part of my younger years I forgot to mention ofwhen my brother Paul and I would climb on to the roof of the house (there was a side roof just outside our bedroom window that let us) and this one Halloween night we sat as high as we could get in the hopes we might see a Witch fly past on her broomstick.

The imagination of children and it is funny how we never see the danger because there is no way I would ever sit up that high on a room again.

We had bad experiences with our "Spidey Gang", firstly was when we managed to climb on to the roof from my bedroom (which overlooked the toilet so it was easy to climb especial with that lower roof as well) and as we tried to get back in we were nearly caught by my grandmother.

Araf, Stephen and myself then used to travel the lanes in Grangetown dressed in full Siper-man costume, we got seen by some gangs of our age and got ridiculed when we went to school, so makes you wonder how these comic book heroes get away with it.

Araf came up with a new idea, Ufology, ghosts, mysteries and so the Soyiter Club was born, don't ask me what it stood for because only Araf knew. It would lead a very strange event.

We all met one evening and at the end of Araf's' street was a Moonie Cult house (as we called it) and as we passed we noticed a man with a brief case who ran off when he saw us, on a window ledge was a big stone which Araf knocked off to the floor.

That was when we saw the note which read "The money will be delivered, the girl will be completely stunned...Esab", firstly we argued it was a set up and one of us must have done it for a laugh but that was when we wondered why that man had run off.

The house had a small back garden that was open to the street, so out of curiousity we looked in the window and saw a man sitted on a chair, eyes wide open and looking into space, a door opened and someone came in and that was when we ran all the way back to Arafs' house.

The strangest thing was when we dared to go back about three days later a wall had been built and there was a locked gate, why didn't we report it?. Who would believe three fourteen year olds that dressed up sometimes as a comic book hero.

We all tried to forget about it, we never did and it still baffles me to this day, did Araf plant the note for a joke?, and if so what exactly did we see?.

I had a part time job after High school, I offered to do it for nothing but John Lynch the shop keeper insisted I was paid so we agreed on £1.50 per week.

He owned a newsagents in Corporation Road in Grangetown and his mother had a dog which I was to walk, a Pekenese by the name of Rocket and I thought the world of that little scamp.

Rocket had a habit of barking at the bigger dogs and hiding behind my legs so I was in the direct line of Alsatians or any other big dog so had to pick up Rocket and run a few times.

Rocket also stopped every few minutes to sniff and cock his leg so it would take forever to walk him at times, every Saturday, during the football season, I also sold the Football Echo over the Conservative Club on Corporation Road and made tips by being told to keep the change.

It was around this time when Maturity hit me, discovering in the bathroom the excitement of thinking about a girl in school and her budding chest. Finding out what I can do with my right hand, it was like having a new toy to play with.

But the first time it happened, I forgot to lock the toilet door so I was faced with my grandmother opening it and who just shook her head and tutted and closed the door . Funny how something like that makes you loose interest quite quickly.

Also both Pedrick and myself didn't understand the 'lumps' developing on our testicles and thanks to Araf we were told it was natures way for us to develop pubic hair so we were relieved we weren't freaks.

Life is so confusing when you are still young.

Okay we had our share of bullies but I managed to shrug it off, I am one to talk because I actually did a small bit of being a bully myself but outgrew it.

Gareth "Cocker" Williams, around six foot and would think it funny to creep up behind you and scare you when trying to throw you down the top of a staircase, three floors up.

Daren O,Neil, small boy in school, but made up with it, he would put a razor blade to your face and ask for money. You didn't argue.

You hear the rumours they flush new boys heads down the toilets, well that was true in my school, and new comers would be greeted with an empty coke can filled of urine as well.

The girls were just as bad, notes would be handed around in case and you might get offered a blow job for a small price, if you were idiot enough to accept, then their boyfriends would be waiting to take the money and kick you where it hurts so you never got what she promised you.

I never fell for things like that, I think I actually spent more time bunking off school when I was fourteen, hanging around in my special hiding place at Sophia Gardens, a big bush hidden away where you could sit on the grass and never be seen. I read umpteen Incredible Hulk comic books and various books such as the Target Doctor Who books and books like The Executioner series and the Edge westerns by George G Gilman.

Thinking back, I was very lucky that no pervert chanced where I hid for a school boy would have been easy prey on his own, yes I did have a couple of lucky escapes when a man came and sat on a bench next to me and touched my knee and some old man with four dogs asked if I wanted to go and watch porn with him.

So then I started bunking off with friends and we would go to the Cardiff City Football grounds and get paid for helping put up the advertising boards around the playing field. We also got to watch the players practising which really made our day. Also  when we bunked off  some girls from another school joined us, okay I never lost my virginity then but got to fondle under a girls' top once or twice.

And even though I got caught and couldn't bunk off again, I did the following year and that it is around this time, of being fifteen I first meet Mark Kane, the one who encouraged the start of me writing poetry.
My English teacher, Mister Cronin would inspire me to write, he used to read my horror stories out in class.

But High school would finish and I only took four exams (English passed at level 3, maths at level 3, Art/Design level 2 and History which I failed).

I made friends with Mark, and various others like Paul Peachey, Paul Dite and Nilla. That was when I got into David Bowie music and actually heard my first two Chris De Burgh albums, Spanish Train and Crusader and I became a fan.

I started a Youth Training Scheme at Llanmaes Student Accomodation just off Sophia Gardens as a gardener/handyman and it took for ever to weed a long rose bed by hand and that is where I got my first taste of crime, I forget the name of the older boy that got me involved.

We had to mop out the Student Union bar and he opened the till, he handed me three five pound notes and I just took them, I was stunned, he put some money in his pocket and I just went on working. I never spent the money and the next day Mister Morris called me into the office and asked if I knew anything about missing money.

I took out the three five pounds and handed it back and he smiled, they knew what we had done and the other boy had denied everything, I kept my job but they fired the other boy. If I had kept the money then the police would have been called, they deducted what the other boy had took from his wages.

Mark and the others liked to go out and get involved in fights, I was sixteen and this was all new to me, and when I first meet Maria Connolly my heart missed a beat, she was Mark's girl friend and her long dark hair and green eyes had me melting but I could hardly talk to her.

I had arguments with my father around this time and became homeless for three days, Araf was the one who took me in and actually give up his bed and slept on the sofa for those days. I patched things up and eventually went home, but I never did thank Araf enough for for what he did.

I started college then, leaving the Youth Scheme, and began a course on General Horticulture and gained the nick name Mite for reasons unknown.

I never knew what the future would hold for me and I would loose a special friend.

Death would come knocking three times and I would be unprepared to face it.

My gran in Ely died but I never was told, the only time I found out was when my father got a phone call from my Aunt Kay that there was a cheque left for me from her will.

I never was told about the funeral, all because my mother held it against me for going back to live with my father and I will never forgive her from keeping it from me.

The second death was the mother of John Lynch, she had been a passenger in a car when a motorbike had came too fast around a corner and hit the car.

The shock had caused her chest pains and it lead her to going into hospital and she died of a heart attack. When I found out I actually broke down, she had been a wonderful and special woman. She was also the owner of the Pekenese Rocket.

Soon Rocket was pining for her and it wasn't long until I couldn't take him for a walk as he started becoming very ill.

It was raining on the day I went to the shop to see if he had improved and was told he had died in the night, he was my special friend as well as a dog and I felt a part of me had been torn out.

Death might come knocking but you never expect it.

I passed the college, General Horticulture Phase One, with distinction. But I am glad I was not there when they would have finally opened my locker. Reason being is I was given certain seeds that if they had been planted, would have grown into a certain plant used to smoke a certain wacky tobacco. I just forgot they were there.

Mark wanted to start a Punk band called Exit The Monk, I could not play any instruments so I began writing lyrics. They did use one or two of them and used to practise at Marks' house or Paul Dites' garage. Unfortunely they never got passed that stage.

Nilla and his girl friend actually liked my writing so it just progressed into poetry, (lyrics without a chorus is how I looked at it at the time).

I attempted to plant grass seed for Marks' brother, it ending in disaster, I dug it over and did everything right....until I planted the grass seed in furrows which resulted in strips of grass instead of a lawn.

When I tried again for Nilla, I actually did it right and he was pleased with the end result. I got involved in stupid things around this time, climbing over a shop wall (whilst drunk, yes I was young) and stealing a box of oranges, I placed them on top of the wall and jumped over with them....and a police car just happened to be there waiting, I can imagine the smirks they must have done when I had to do a statement.

Being involved in handling a stolen computer was the worst, I actually took the blame for my father because I wanted to protect him, I got a heavy fine for first offence.

Mark would call for me, even came knocking the door in a fur coat and yeti boots, you never knew what he would do. He even caled high on magic mushrooms and when I played a record he would laugh at the happy songs and burst into tears at the sad ones.

He even called for Maria one Halloween, with a long pole with a werewolf mask stuffed with newspaper which he used to tap on her bedroom window...we thought it was funny but Maria found it terrifying when she opened her curtains to it.

Life was never dull with Mark and the gang, he never stayed with Maria and I never did try to win her, in truth she was sex mad and I was the last person she would ever look at. I was too scared to get too involved especially if I had to explain why my father lived with a man and my mother lived with a woman. But that was all to change.

Dark times were to come.
I was seventeen, I was doing another Youth Train Scheme (amongst doing two paper rounds morning and evenings) and I was working at Glamorgan Cricket Gronds at Sophia Gardens. Sometimes we worked at the Cardiff Rugby ground, which was next to the big international grounds at Cardiff arms Park (which is now known as Cardiff Millennium Stadium).

That was when I met Jen, she was nineteen and I just fell for her, she worked near the Arms Park as a temp. She had her own bedsit at Cathedral Road and she actually invited me over one dinner break.

I was smitten, she had long brown hair and dark brown eyes, she was taller than me (I was only five foot seven and she was six foot). She had condoms in her room and my first time was as she hitched up her skirt and took down her knickers and undid my trousers. She put the condom on me and I couldn't resist.

I thought I was in love, we did it again the next dinner break (next day) and she told me I was never to call in the evening or at weekends and I agreed to that.

The next week she invited me back after work but she had run out of condoms, that never stopped us and passion consumed me, the next evening was the same and I asked if I could stay one night and she told me it was not possible.

I actually called on that saturday morning because I just wanted to be with her, as I knocked her bedsit door she opened it in her dressing gown and wouldn't let through the door. She wasn't happy to see me.

She said she wasn't well and would see me in work on Monday, I never did see her  and when I called a few days later I found she had moved out and I knew I maybe wouldn't see her again.

I started smoking Dope around marks flat where a lot of people always turned up, that was where I met Liam Roach, a friend of Stephen Pedricks. That night he woke up and looked pale and afraid, Maria was there (we were the only two who couldn't sleep) and she asked Liam what was wrong and he said he thought his heart had stopped.

She said if that was the case he wouldn't be speaking to us and that he was stoned, he then apologised and said he had checked the wrong side of his chest and could feel his heart and he nodded off.

It was when I was around Araf's house, with the usually tea and biscuits that I told him of Jen and he told me I should forget her as I was most likely one of many she went with. I had to agree with him and we waited for Stephen so we could watch the banned video called the Exocist.

We had to wait until Araf's family were asleep and yes that film did give us the creeps. Stephen and I left that night to go home, we walked down a lane and heard this hacking noise, just like in the film, and we ran. We look back, both of us shaking, and saw a little old man walking his dog. The old man stopped and gave a hacking cough and we both laughed at how silly we had been.

It was when I was coming back after a visit to my mother, coming through the town and passing a night club I saw Jen. I had to speak to her, and she just ignored me as she queued with her friends to get in. In the end she walked over to the corner of the street and called me. I asked her why did she go like that.

She told me she had had a termination and got rid of my baby because she didn't want a child with a weirdo with parents like mine. That hurt me, she also said she was only here in Cardiff for a couple of days and going back to her boyfriend in Middlesex. She also told me she had slept with lots of people the same time as me and I was the worst one she had ever had sex with.

I never saw her again, and confided in Araf, he was the only one to ever know about Jen. He told me she might had made it up and if she had a termination there was no proof it had been mine.

I was only young and yes it hit me hard, it was a long time until I found the courage to get involved in love again. There had been dark times before this, dark times I don't like to talk about but I will mention it next before going on.

We must respect our parents and always love them, even when there are times we block out the things we want to forget. I never mentioned why my parents split up or a chain of events that lead up to it but I feel I must go back before going on.

You see, my mother used to hit me, I would be her punch bag at times, she never would hit Paul or Andrew and just me. She never did it all the time, but I think she took things out on me.

I remember my father punching my mother in the side of the head, it would lead to damage to her ear and I felt horror and numb that he would do that. It was the only time I saw him hit her, he never did it in front of us but I would find out later that it happened a lot.

My mother found it hard to cope living with my father, this is why she would take the dog for a walk and that was when I first met Alice May Evans. She seemed to always be at the places my mother would go.
I never connected it had all been planned for my mother to leave my father for May (as we came to call her).

I can remember when if Paul or myself did something wrong when we were growing up how my father would use the belt, especially the buckle, to punish us. Andrew was the lucky one, he never did have to face the belt as he was always protected by my mother.

It would be a lie to pretend that all my childhood had been happy but as I said, before I can carry on relating my life I have to go back and relive those dark times of childhood.

Funny how even now we try to hide those bad times away at the back of the mind, there is more but I am afraid that those other things will remain secret. After all, we must respect our parents.

Mustn't we?.

I reached eighteen, and had a new job. I was working as a gardener/groundsman at the University Hospital of Wales and my birthday had been a great day.

I had a party and was surprised by all the friends that came, my mother had got me a second hand fruit machine (maximum you could put in for fifty pece and the jackpot was five pound), my father had got me a gold letter C neck chain (white gold).

Even though my family, mother, father, brothers, nan, Dave, May, all stayed in the front room the rest of the house was open for my friends and me.

The high light of the night was a kiss from Maria, but I never had that puppy love feeling for her no more. I think what happened with Jen left me feeling empty in the love department.

Makes me wonder what my friends are doing today, what ever became of Mark? did he ever become that singer he wanted to be. I wonder if Maria ever found happiness. If Paul Peachey and Nilla had a great life, I still got a lot to mention about Araf and Stephen so won't broadcast their future just yet.

I lost the gold "C", must have been when I was cutting the grass in work because I never realised it was gone. I always have been clumsy with jewellery. And work always kept me busy.

Clubbing was good, it was like a social gathering where we would all meet up. I was one of the shy ones who rarely went on the dance floor.

There was Clifford Jones, he was a great Cliff Richards fan and there was the the time he was depressed over the break up with his girl friend. We tried to stop him but he jumped off the bridge over the river by the Cardiff Bus Station and sank into the mud up to his waist.

Stephen Pedrick and Liam Roach had to go in and get him out.

I was just as bad one night, we had seen the film Porkies earlier that day and I was the worst of wear for drink. There was a toy factory at corner of Penarth Road where the police used to park as a speed trap.

Araf and Chris Willdig (our new lodger) were ahead of me that night and turned to see where I had got to, all they saw was this person run across the road and jump body first across the bonnet of the parked police car and start shouting "Boogie, boogie boogie" over and over.

Needless to say the two police men just sat there stunned and watched Araf pull me off the bonnet, Chris and Araf just put my arms around their shoulders.

Araf said sorry and the police just told him to take me home before they changed their mind about arresting me. They didn't want to have to do the paperwork to explain this incident.

The next morning I could vaguely remember and when Araf explained (yes he was angry over it), I felt like an idiot.

The holiday I went on with Stephen, his cousin Peter, and Liam was a nightmare.

We packed light for our holiday.

We all went in Stephen's car and got to the camp site, it was on farm land and two miles out of Tenby and the seaside, we quickly got the tents ready and all got involved in the CB radio Stephen had in his car.

We only were there for five days and in that time Stephen picked up a girl, Liam and Peter tried and also got a couple of girls, I just wanted to read and still was hurting from before but I never told the others whar had happened and had always keep it secret, apart from telling Araf who I trusted.

Stephen brought the girl he had met on the CB radio back to the tents and I was in our tent and he had to use Liam and Peter's tent (who were out at the time). My foot was sticking out with my trainer showing, but unfortunately Stephen had told the girl there was nobody else there. Stephen made excuses it was an empty trainer. I slowly moved my foot and trainer back through the tent and carryed on reading.

When Stephen and the girl had finished he had a difficult time explaining the missing trainer, and took her home in his car.

Also the next night Stephen vanished when we all went to the town, we ended coming back to the campsite without him. At two that morning he woke me up when he stumbled throught the tent entrance.

He was covered in scratches where he had gone through bushes, two girls had put him in their car and were going to take him back to their place as he was too drunk.

But for some reason he thought they were kipnapping him and he dived out the back door of their car at a roundabout and scrambled through bushes back to the campsite, terrified they were going to get him and keep him prisoner.

In the morning he cursed himself, he had turned down two beautiful women through his drunkard paranoia. He always got the girls with his blond hair and brown eyes.

On the last but one day, I stayed in the car talking on the CB radio (I was skint with no money left so never went for the final drink) and the wind had picked up and a storm blasted through the camp site.

Suddenly two tents came flying past and I just looked out of the car in a state of shock, not long after everybody came back and as the rain lashed down and the wind blew we got the tents in the car boot. All four of us spent a restless night in the car. Now I know what sardines feel like.

That holiday came back to haunt Stephen three days after we got home, the day was hot and he was giving his mother a lift to the City. She pulled down the sun shade of the passenger side and something fell into her lap. Stephen had forgotten all about the used condom he had placed there as his trophy from the girl he took in the tent and his face was scarlet as he took it from his mother who just stared at him.

That was a holiday to Tenby that turned into a holiday never to forget.

I am going to look back over those pets I was raised with in my first twenty years. And remember them of how special they were.


He was a white poodle, not one of the toy poodles but the other kind and he was independent and unafraid. He even faced off a Tortoise in the lane but I think poor Nikky couldn't understand why it just ignored him. Nikky was killed when he was knocked down by a police car.


Tiger was a kitten my grandmother found abandoned in the lane one night when it was raining hard, we had her for two years where she had a litter of kittens and we kept a male one who looked just like her (a grey tabby). Tiger moved in with her sellected new owner about four doors down.


He was the kitten we kept and we had him for 16 years, he was my best friend and he had that rogue element about him, when I was sixteen and my father raised his hand to hit me, Sammy ran from under the table and sank his teeth into my fathers' leg. When we moved to Ely, Sammy travelled the five miles back to Grangetown. A month later he came home to Ely. He died when someone poisoned him, his last act at the vets was to very gently bite my hand as to say goodbye.


She was one of the two kittens I rescued, abandoned by their mother. She was beautifully multicoloured and was the one we kept as the other went to a good home. She went missing and we never found her, unfortunately there were people who would grab cats for dog fighting.


You know about Rocket, the dog I was paid to walk, my good friend.


My mother bought a Pekenese called Scampi, now poor Scampi would be picked on by Sammy. I came down early one morning to find six cats (brought in by Sammy) just sitting there staring at a scared Scampi. They ran out the cat flap when they noticed me leaving Scampi still shivering. I took her for a walk with Paul but she saw a car she believed was my mothers and ran in front of it and was killed.


My father got me a Corgi called Toby when I was about fifteen, he would sleep on my bed and growl at anyone who passed my door. Dave didn't like Toby and would kick him everytime. Toby was abour nine years old when I got him, he lived with me for only a year and had to be put to sleep when he was diagnosed with cancer. I never thought animals could die of something like cancer until then.


This was a remarkable Alsatian, one day when my grandmother was ill she slowly made herself upstairs to go to bed, holding on to the stair rail. Bruno was moving up one step below, coming up sideways so if my grandmother fell she would land on him first. My father came in from work as was stunned at what he saw, Bruno would never hurt a fly. He died of old age of thirteen.

That year my father was forced to sell the horse in Clydach Street, my mother took three quarters of the money for the house and we had to move to Ely in Cardiff, to Macross Road near the cemetry. I had to meet my father at Ely Fire Station so he could show me to our new home.

I had built up an impressive comic collection with what would many collectors items today (first Wolverine in Incredible Hulk #181, Brand New X-men in #94 and the first appearance of Punisher in Amazing Spider-man #129 plus many more) but my father had given it all away to the boy who had lived next door in Clydach Street. But he would still hurt me more.

During the first month, my father had a stone clad fire place built, a gas fire in the middle. What he didn't tell me was he used my One Armed Fruit Machine as a way to pay for it so it was gone by the time I got home.

Okay I had to endure my father's boyfriend Dave, and my father always turned a blind eye when Dave used to threaten me with his bowie knife. Dave was always trying to be big because he carried knives about with him. Just because he happened to had been in a Hells Angel gang or something like that. I just spent time walking to Fairwater to visit my aunt and cousins and we became close. I was always there for Debbie, Julie and Joanne, I even spent time with Debbie in my dinner hour at work as she worked near by the University Hospital in Cardiff.

My mother and brothers even moved home from Canton to Fairwater with May. Stephen had met Susan Jones and they moved into a flat together. I visited and stayed over once or twice and one time Liam was there and managed to trick me. We had been drinking the night before and he had made my face up to look like a clown with Susans' make up.

I had awoken, didn't look in any mirror and had rushed to get home and had to cycle a couple of miles. I wondered why people were starring at me and it wasn't until I got home that my Nan told me what the hell had I put on my face.

Looking back it is funny now, but you can bet I wasn't laughing at the time.

So my first saga nows comes to an end, I would shortly meet the woman who would become my first wife. This would change me and take to dark places in the mind, introduce me to new friends and set the stage for the future.

Half my life (Chris Smith)

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