Peachy Syrup

In central Kiev it’s cheaper to get a prostitute than it is to get a decent quality meal. With the former it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll “make good times for you”, with the latter you’ll end up crying into a bitter grapefruit juice, while wretching down jellied eels – after your toga wearing waitress takes your order incorrectly.

Why the hell would your waitress be wearing a toga? Because you’re in a Roman themed restaurant. Why the fuck are you in a Roman themed restaurant? Well it was either that or the pirate themed one. In Kiev the cream of the restaurant crop are all themed. If you want good food, be prepared to talk to somebody dressed in a loin-cloth and if you want a bit of variety there’s always the Jewish-themed restaurant.

Continue reading Peachy Syrup

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Welcome to Cairo!

You arrive in a strange new country with a wad of bank notes and nothing much else. You’re desperate for the toilet and thankfully an airport urinal relieves your pain. After your business is finished you decide to wash your hands – it’s the civilized thing to do after all – and as you look around for a way to dry up you see a kindly Arab man holding out a paper towel. What do you do?

A/ Wipe your hands on your pants – aint nobody handing me a towel.
B/ Thank the kind Arab gentleman before you, take the towel and dry your hands before leaving.
C/ Unroll your pile of new currency – realising you only have large notes – then throw the lowest note in the man’s face, running from the room and losing 10 English pound in the process.
D/ Dry your hands, calmly shake one of your valuable notes into the man’s hand and strut from the room with a wink.

If you answered D then you are well on your way to happiness, the man is satisfied, he got his money and you are content because you managed to leave the bathroom without making a scene.

Continue reading Welcome to Cairo!

Stuck In Casablanca

Our flight is cancelled, rescheduled. We’re stuck in Casablanca for one more day, which is 24 hours more of excruciating pain.

Thirty seconds in Casablanca is long enough to make even the most positive of people depressed – so it’s no surprise that after 3 days I want to strangle my friend. So little is there to see in Casablanca that you search inside yourself for beauty and look to others for stimulus. Unfortunately this analysis forces you to notice that your travel partners once endearing qualities are now actually TOTALLY FUCKING ANNOYING!

Remember the way your friend used to say funny, random things out loud? Remember how you used to laugh? Those funny things no longer amuse you, your friend is now just talking aloud, saying random phrases – babbling like an idiot. Why wont he just shut the fuck up? Tell him to shut the fuck up. Just do it. Go on. Might make the day go by quicker. “Shut the fuck up!” “Fuck you, you twat!” “No. Fuck you!” “Fuck YOU” “FUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCK YOU!” After 10 minutes the words “fuck” and “you” have no more meaning and you both stop speaking and start sulking. The sulking ends when your friend rebuilds his confidence and starts to talk bollocks again. Then the whole cycle restarts.

The only thing preventing Porter and I from strangling each other is the fact that neither of us snore. If I snored I’ve no doubt I’d wake upon being smothered by a pillow. I’d be happy to die though as upon waking up I’d have still been in Casablanca.

Casablanca sucks away your spirit, you dream of home. You think about your warm comfortable bed, a cup of warm tea with milk, hell even a chav telling me to fuck off would be enough. We search for a little slice of home and one night we stumble across a McDonalds. Porter almost cries with happiness, and I admit I have to struggle back the tears myself. The big mac tastes the same, the fries are just as salty. We sit upstairs at the back of the room and pretend we’re back at home. For 10 minutes we feel like we’re miles away from Casablanca and for the first time in days we don’t want to kill each other.

This is what Casablanca does to you. McDonalds is your saviour. That little yellow M is the thing that gets you through the day.

By the time we walk back to the hotel from McDonalds the streets have sucked away the happiness the big mac has provided for us. As a young man whispers “hash?” into my ear for the 10th time in a minute I feel I’m about to break. Porter hearing the young man whisper starts to whisper quickly into my ear himself, his words flow quickly, one long string of sounds. “Hash-hash-hash. Wansome-hash?” I feel it on the tip of my tongue as he continues, singing the words now. “Wansome-hash? Wansome-hash?” I shout with scorn: “SHUT THE FUCK UP, PORTER!” “FUCK YOU, YOU TWAT!” “NO! FUCK YOU!” We retort, back and forth. The cycle is set and that’s how we spend the rest of our night, no doubt the rest of our time in Casablanca, until we find another little yellow M.

3 Act Self-Help

3 Act Structure and How To Use It In Life

When you start to learn about stories and how to make them, one of the first things you’ll encounter is the 3-act structure. Although you may not know the ins and outs of 3-act structure, we all learn a little about it at some point in our lives. Remember in school when your teacher told you to write a story and she said “remember, all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end!” Well, believe it or not, that was 3-act structure:

Act 1: Beginning
Act 2: Middle
Act 3: End

Continue reading 3 Act Self-Help

The Problem

I’m a little tipsy. I’ve had a few pints. And I’m walking through the bus station. Smiling.

I don’t know why but when I’m tipsy it’s like I act as a magnet to every other person who’s reality is skewered. It’s like crazy can smell crazy, and everyone knows I can’t think straight.

I walk by a homeless man. He’s lying in a shop doorway, slowly licking a cigarette he’s in the middle of rolling. I’m still smiling to myself when I make eye contact. An invite. He stops licking the cigarette and stares back, shouting up into the doorway “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! CAN YOU SPARE SOME CHANGE!” and I know he’s really saying “you, can YOU spare some change” but by the time he’s finished his sentence I’m no longer looking at him and I’m pretending he’s not there and I can feel his eyes watching me as I walk by.

I sit down in the bus station. Wait for my bus.

I feel guilty. I ignored something in plain sight. A man looked into my eyes, I looked back. Then moments later I pretended he wasn’t there. I feel disgusted with myself. But I don’t go back and give him any change. I’m too ashamed. I wonder why I’m too ashamed to give money to a person in need. He needs the money more than I. But I feel like everyone would look at me, say “look at him, giving money to a homeless person.” I don’t have the guts.

I wallow in self-pity.

Then another man comes over. He wears a cream coloured suit, slightly dusty after what was obviously a good night. The good night is spread on his face in the form of a wide smile, each muscle of his face joins in on the activity.

“When do you reckon the bus is coming?”

I know when the bus is coming. He knows when the bus is coming. There’s a digital sign beside us, telling us when the bus is coming. I humour him anyway.

“About 10 minutes, mate.”

He’s not my mate, but I’m tipsy and he looks like the type of person that would make a good mate. He repeats my answer through his wide grin “about 10 minutes?” and he laughs loudly.

I get caught up in the laugh and I laugh with him, “aye, about 10 minutes!” I say. He laughs again. I laugh again. I’m laughing at a joke I don’t understand, a joke he probably doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t matter because we’re both happy and we’re laughing.

He skulks off a bit to talk with other people. But I know he’ll be back. Jovial people in white suits always come back.

He comes back.

“Hey mate!” he says. I turn to him, we make eye contact, but he says it again, just incase I’m looking through him. “Hey mate! I’ve got a problem.” I don’t say anything, but he knows I want him to continue.

As he tells me his problem he continues to smile, the happiest man alive. “I’ve only gone and got myself two girlfriends haven’t I?!”

He laughs. I laugh. We laugh. “Two girlfriends?! How’s that a problem?!” He laughs again. I laugh again. We laugh again.

“Well” he says “I love ’em both, don’t I!” His grin seems to get wilder, so happy about his problem. I grin back and my moral side speaks up “maybe you should own up?”

Stupid suggestion. He shakes his head. Walks away for a few steps, staring at the ground, mulling over the thought. He paces back “nah, I can’t man. I can’t!” He pleads with me, begs me to give him better advice, the wrong advice.

“How’d you get yourself into this mess?” I wonder aloud.

He runs his hand through his curly grey hair. His mouth still grins but his forehead wrinkles, deep in thought.

Well…she broke up with him didn’t she! Then when he was out the next week. You know, at that pub just around the corner. Just over there. He met the other one didn’t he, and she was amazing man, wasn’t she! Then a few days later his lass rang up didn’t she. Said she might have made a mistake, wanted him back didn’t she. Then he was stuck with both of them wasn’t he.

I sigh deeply. “I think you’ve got to pick one of them over the other, mate.” And he is my mate now.

He doesn’t even let me finish the sentence though. “You don’t understand man..” he brings out his hands, places them in front of him. “You see..” he shakes his right hand “..this one has a great house…” he shakes his left hand “..and this one has a great house.”

He looks at me as though it should make sense, but we both know it doesn’t, he swings his hands back down and sighs. He paces away again, but a presence stays in his place, a piece of energy holds his spot. He jumps back and tries to explain it again.

“You see mate, this type of thing…like…” his eyes dart about as he tries to figure out the words to tell me. “The chances of this happening are like, one hundred thousand to one.”

I tell him. He has to choose. One of them. He has to choose.

He shakes his head, continues to grin. “I can’t choose man. I just can’t. And this whole thing, you know. It tears me apart. In here.” He points to his chest, the grin still wide across his face. But he’s betrayed by his eyes. The eyes tell me the smile is a lie and the eyes turn the grin into a grimace.

I think of what to say, some choice words of wisdom and  but after a few moments he walks away. Gone.

This time he doesn’t come back.

Another Letter From The Past

Here’s another letter from my family history. The subject the same as in the last post: my grandmas brother. This time the letter to my gran, from her mother.

To help understand the letter: Sgt. Gaulette was a member of the crew in the same plane as my great-uncle and the letter is a description of his last flight etc.

The 50% towards the end means of the people that marched from the camps I imagine.

Sat afternoon.

My dear Martha,
It is with a broken heart I am writing this, as I recieved a letter from Mrs Biggane the same time I got yours yesterday and she said she had seen Sgt. Gaulette on Monday. He was one of those prisoners who were marched across Germany from that camp in Silesia. One of the few survivors who were found by the Americans at a camp near Leipzig. Sgt. Sanders was seperated from his somewhere on the way and nothing has been heard of him since.

Sgt. Gaulette told Mrs Biggane the whole story of their last flight, they were unfortunately half an hour late in starting, owing to their having to go in a different plane at the last minute, so when they reached Munich they were the last to go in and every available searchlight and gun was concentrated on them. They were hit over the target and one engine set on fire, but they managed to put the fire out, but they had to come home on three engines which of course meant that the plane was much less manoeuvrable and was an easy target for fighters.

As they neared Heidelburg they were attacked by an ME.109. and there was a running fight for 3/4 an hour then it broke off the fight and they thought they had shaken it off. But unfortunately it came in again from underneath their blind spot and shot them with its guns from end to end setting the starboard wing on fire. Then the pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft. They were by then down to 1000ft. Sgt. Gaulette went first, then Sgt. Imrie (but unfortunately his parachute did not open and he was killed), then Sgt. Sanders. Those were the only three who managed to get out.

Sgt. Gaulette landed in a field and saw the plane go down just above the tree tops. It flattened out as though the pilot was going to make a crash landing but on hitting the ground it blew up. The Germans told him next day that they had identified the pilot by the wings on his tunic.

Sgt. Sanders who had landed near a different village met the German pilot who had shot them down in the the Burgomasters office. He congratulated them on the splendid fight they had put up. When they told him they had been flying on 3 engines he could hardly believe it and he said they aught to be flying with the Luftwaffe instead of the R.A.F. He was a boy of 19 and they were his 15th victim. She said Sgt. Gaulette could not tell her anything specially about Dick but he hoped to see me later on.

It will be very hard for Mrs Sanders if her husband doesn’t turn up after going through what they have as Sgt. Gaulette said they were both in chains for a whole year in reprisal of Dieppe. But Sgt. Gaulette said that 50% of them must have died by the way and before that in the camp at Lamsdorf. She says we must be thankful that our dear boys was spared all that and the misery of the long seperation from those they loved.

They fought a good fight and by their courage and their sacrifice made possible the victory at which the world is rejoicing now. For if those boys had not done what they did in those days when everything seemed against us and evil so triumphantly strong this victory would never have been possible and when one sees all these miserable slaves released in their millions and that wicked evil system overthrown, however heartbroken one feels oneself one knows that the sacrifice – both theirs and ours – was worthwhile.

Susie and I are going to Church in the morning, I had so looked forward to seeing him again, but now I will have to console myself that God has taken him as he needs him moreso than me. It is my loss but Gods good gain, and I know he would not wish me to grieve too much. I can only remember his words. “Someone must do it, to save our country.” Therefore God has picked on us to pay the price for victory, and one day we shall meet again but in a better land and there will be a great re-union in the life to come.

I know he is not far from us, as all these long and terrible months I have suffered he has been close to me and I can still feel his cheek on mine from our last parting.

Don’t forget Martha just to offer a little prayer for him as that is all we can do for him now and I know he will hear you.

So cheerio dear.

From your loving mam, dad and sister.
xxxx
xxxx

Letter From The Past

Recently my mam has been clearing out my grandmas house as my grandma has moved out. During the clearing she found this old letter. The letter is from my grandmas brother to my grandma during the second world war.

For a little context it’s worth knowing my gran’s brother went on bombing runs during WW2 as a gunner in a Lancaster bomber. At the time my gran was also working for the RAF.

This was the last letter he sent to my gran as he was later killed in action.

1577367 Sgt. R. Cook
Sgts. Mess
R.A.F. Waddington
Lincs.

Mr Dear Sister,
At last I write to you. I’m very sorry my darling but you know what I am for writing letters. I can hardly find time to write to Mam and it’s a month since I wrote to Joan. Mam keeps telling me that you think I don’t care for you well my dear I don’t even want you to think that again because I do care for you very much after all you’re my sister aren’t you and I’m proud of you too. I’m always showing your photo to the boys. By the way I had mine taken when I was home but Mam will be sending you one as she has them all. Yes it was rather a pity you couldn’t have your leave a week later. You went back on the Saturday and I went on leave on the Monday so you just missed me, but I’ll be going on leave again on the 18th of January. You seen now that I’m on operations. I get 7 days leave every 6 week, not bad eh. But we need it. Since I got my stripes I’ve done 9 raids. I came back off leave last Monday and last Tuesday and Wednesday I went on both the big Turin raids. Yes my dear I’ve been around a bit since I start, I’ve been to

Turn – 4 times
Genoa – 3 times
Hamburg – 1 time
Stuttgart – 1 time

If i keep on at this rate I’ll soon have 30 done, then settle down for a nice 6 months rest as an instructor. Well now that Xmas is getting near I guess I’l have to be looking around for a Xmas box for you, I haven’t the faintest idea what to get you but I’ll dig something up. Mam told me you had got me a fountain pen and shaving stuff well the pen is just what I wanted but you needn’t have bothered about the shaving stuff as I’ve got plenty of that but never mind I’ll be able to use it and thank you very much my darling. Well I guess I’ve said about all I can now so with all my love to you I’ll say cheerio till next time.

Your Ever Loving Brother
Dick xxxxxxxxxxx

P.S. Give my love to all the A.T.S. girls down there. HA! HA!

Random thoughts on life and travel.