Brace yourself…and damn you Leonardo DiCaprio….

Brace yourself…and damn you Leonardo DiCaprio….

Oh yes we’ve run out of feckin’ bread! Now it’s storm Emma and the Beast from the East, bringing Arctic conditions to our little, green Island. Sure won’t white be nice for a change? There is an element of panic that always slightly amuses and considerably annoys me. I guarantee you, alcohol sales have shot through the roof, along with there not being a scrap of bread in the shops. You wouldn’t want to be caught out without a drop of gargle in a snow storm now would you?

On Monday, official Ireland responded with some wonderful language. The worst winter weather in 36 years is predicted, but the Met Office said,” there may be a possibility of a large snow event.” Sounds like the Winter Olympics are coming! But don’t panic, the Government have vowed to “Keep the country open.” That being said, they’ll close the schools for a start, then the buses will stop, forget the LUAS!

Keep the country open! The first hint of snow always means my usual half hour trip home takes three hours, as every fecker who has never seen snow on a road before, will panic or just flippin’ crash into something for the sake of it.

 

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We’ve been told to brace ourselves and get winter ready. When has an Irish person EVER been winter ready? Rain ready yes, but snow…Jaybus no! Where are all those LIDL and ALDI snow shovels when you need them eh? Brace ourselves indeed – it sounds like how the Nuns used to explain foreplay to good Catholic girls back in 1970’s Ireland.

“You’ll kneel down, say a prayer that you’ll conceive of this act then turn the lights out wait for your husband to come to bed and then you brace yourself.”

There is nothin’ like Catholic shame and guilt to get you in the mood. On that very subject, rumour has it that Arctic storms like this tend to result in a spike in births 9 months later – so – brace yourself ladies. Perhaps that’s what the government meant to say?

Somewhere in Russia, they are flicking through clickbait on the internet and seeing that there is a possibility of blizzards and -10 degree centigrade in Ireland. Some Ivan or Ivana is looking skyward and thinking “sounds delightful.” Those Vodka drinkin’ hardy boys and girls would be swimming in the Volga at -10.

There are Canadians, Scandinavians and a whole bunch of other ‘ians, laughing their holes off wondering what’s the big deal. Well let me tell you guys there is a difference. Countries that are familiar with the snow and cold, are prepared. They have winter tyres, snow chains, 4X4’s, proper snow shovels, not just a spade you use to plant tulips. They have fur coats made from animals they have shot with their own rifles and deer meat hanging on the back porch to get them through. They have gritted roads, snow ploughs, gloves – proper ones that don’t soak up the snow, snow shoes, winter- proof houses and common sense.

We have fella’s driving Nissan Micras with bald tyres at 4mph down the motorway being overtaken by BMW’s with summer tyres passing them in the fast lane at 100mph thinking they are invincible. There’ll be people, feckin’ dinner salt on the snow two days after it lands, pouring kettles of boiling water on their front steps where they’ll invariably come a cropper later on that day.

Some auld langer in a pair of speedos will be on the telly swimming in the 40 foot, saying that he has swam there every day since Jesus was a boy and a little bit of snow won’t stop him. Keep the country open? If this storm is a quarter as bad as predicted, we’ll be scavenging for food and turning on each other with pikes before the week is out. Remember that book and film Alive, about the Argentinian rugby team who crashed in the Andes and started eating their dead. Well that’s were we are headed if we’re not careful.

 

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Don’t Panic? I’ve already dug a fallout shelter in case we get cut off from the rest of the world and the Trumpster starts feckin’ missiles at the Russians for telling on him about the whole election fraud thingy. There could be an all-out nuclear war and we won’t even hear about it!

This morning we woke up to find out that in fact, the Met office underestimated the early snowfall.  Had to dig my way out and the roads were a flippin’ disaster. Of course I had no problem, because I engage the thing called ‘my brain’ when driving in the snow. Honestly, if you don’t know how to drive in the snow – DON’T DO IT! Strictly speaking it’s not hard, higher gear than usual, low speed, no sudden movements, don’t brake unnecessarily and keep your distance.  You’d want to see the Muppets I met on the road this morning.

Now the problem for me is getting home of course. All the eejits I met this morning will  be heading back, only in more of a hurry to get home than they were to get to work.  Lucky I’m a man with lots and lots of  patience. So long as I remember to have a wazz before I leave, I’ll be fine.

Now the yellow alert has jumped through orange to red alert. We have the Beast from the East, meeting up with storm Emma, to deliver the apocalypse sometime on Thursday night and in the meantime what we’re getting, is just getting worse.

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Maybe I’m overreacting. Perhaps the sense of impending terror that RTE news has induced in me, is starting to make me lose the plot, I’m not sure. But you never know, I still have to drive home and anything can happen.  If you don’t hear from me in ten hours, don’t bother sending out a search party. While there are strictly speaking no wolves in Ireland, going by the weather forecast, every stretch of water between here and the Baltic will be frozen solid, so the wolves will just walk here. Like I say don’t come looking for me, it won’t be safe. Just assume the wolves have got me.
Or worse still… Oh my God what about the bears – (that we don’t strictly have here yet – the same rule applies like the wolves).  I completely forgot about the bears.  I should never have watched The Revenant – Damn you Leonardo DiCaprio! Now I can’t get that image out of my head. What image? – Look it up if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s the only part worth watching anyway and I won’t be spoiling it for you. According to the forecast- if you haven’t seen it by now…you’re probably too late…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

all 5

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In search of testicular fortitude…Rejected, neglected and dejected in our droves…

In search of testicular fortitude…Rejected, neglected and dejected in our droves…

When you are as handsome as I am, you have to be careful on Valentine’s Day.  I learned early as a teenager, that I should dress down and carry a big stick to beat the women back. What can I say?  My fabulousness aside, I do have an odd fondness for today, which I shouldn’t have as I am pretty much against the whole Hallmark thing.  The reason of course is nostalgia and the truth about me is far from the Mr. Fabulous I like to joke about.

They say nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, but I think it keeps getting better.  My little affection for this day, dates back to childhood.  My Mam used to make sure I got a card when I was pint-sized. Back then I went to an all-boys school and the only girls I interacted with, were the girls from our road that we played Queenie-I-O with and they didn’t count. The net result was that my Mam was my secret Valentine. She thought us lots of little rhymes, roses are red etc. and even  a few less romantic ones like;

She sat upon a moonlit bridge, her legs were all a quiver, she let a cough, her legs fell off, and went floating down the river.

Importantly she encouraged me to make up my own; perhaps the early spark to ignite my writing juices.  I was brutal but I tried.  By the time we reached the ripe old age of twelve, left to our own devices and devoid of any real female peer interaction, us boys were making up all sorts of shite in poetic terms and in relation to lies about all the girls that fancied them.

“How many d’you get?” It was a trap of course.  There was no right answer, for the asker inevitable got more, or so he would say.  If you went too high you’d be called out as a liar or worse still, you’d have your bluff called and be asked to produce the evidence. We’d spend the week before, making up rude Valentine poems, always trying to out-do each other with cheekiness. I tried to be intellectual with the old; Roses are red violets are blue, some poems rhyme but this one doesn’t. That went down like a lead balloon. They were all awful to be fair.  The harder we tried to be funny the worse they got. Roses are red, your Da’s on the Dole, if he catches me sniffin’, I’ll get a kick in the hole. You can see the influence of the classics can’t you?

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But then we started actually fancying girls and that got tricky. We were boys not quite, but men not for some time, and in our confusion we got rejected, neglected and dejected in our droves.  There’s nothing like a knock-back to dent a young lad’s confidence. I struggled to find sufficient testicular fortitude (the balls) to give a girl a Valentine’s card for quite some time.  When I was thirteen, I did fancy a girl and I was genuinely afraid to talk to her, so I bought her a card in the hope of opening up a dialogue. I hid it in case my older brother would take the proverbial and snook it out when alone, to repeatedly add little verses and hearts, X’s and drawings. It was a work of heartfelt art by the time I finished with it.

I remember it had a big red heart on the front and the envelope was red too, it was the pinnacle of romantic gestures I thought. In hindsight it is a bit sad I know, but they were very different times. On Valentine’s Day, I tucked it into my school bag between the pages of my geography book.  I didn’t have geography that day so I knew I couldn’t possibly pull it out by accident in class.  That mortification would have been too much to get over.

I knew that after school if I headed down towards the California Hills as we called the fields at the end of our road back then, I’d have a good chance of seeing her, and then I could give her the card that I had spent so much time on. It was an act of foolishness from a boy with a bit of a crush and very little sense.

That was a very long day I can tell you.  The desire to take the card out to look at it again and maybe even to add to it, was almost overwhelming.  That however would have been impossible.  The notion that one of the lads would see me with the card was too risky.  The potential for humiliation was enormous. The other problem of course was that the girl in question was the sister of one of the boys in my class.  If I was caught, there would be a class-wide investigation if not interrogation, and while I feared no one in normal circumstances, this involved delicate sensitivities and under pressure I knew I would crack.

3

By the time I got to the California Hills, I was already embarrassed. Quite literally.  I was blushing as I walked. My mouth was dry and I began to sweat.  Much of what happened next is a blank but from what little memory I can access, I can tell you that I waited at the corner near the edge of the field for what felt like hours, most likely  ten minutes in reality. I took the card out, almost but not quite, afraid that someone would see me with a big red envelope in my hand, standing like a loser on the corner on Valentine’s Day like some pathetic, stood-up saddo.

Of course I wasn’t stood-up because I didn’t actually have a date – wait – now I do sound like a saddo?  I was standing there with some higher aspirations, trying to remember what seemed good about this idea when it first formulated in what was fast becoming obvious, was a smaller brain than I had previously given myself credit for.

Then I saw her. She sort of came out of nowhere.  My plan had made sense after all.  Now I remembered, she came home from school this way, that’s why I was standing there.  She was with her friend who I vaguely recall may have been called Ursula and she had a permanent look on her face that said “Don’t you talk to me.”

I reached into my satchel and touched the card with my fingertips and my face exploded in a visual cacophony of crimson, screaming to the world “Look at me.”   I felt quite sick and she was only a few feet away.  It was easy in my head when I had planned it, but of course I had planned nothing, not really. She had her head down.  I knew she had noticed me before and as she approached she lowered her head in a demonstration of shyness or coyness perhaps, her long dark hair falling about her face, making it even harder to make a connection.

I almost stepped forward away from the wall.  As I watched her and tried to make eye contact, she flicked her eyes up and looked at me. My blushes were too much and I didn’t want her to see my embarrassment so I (very coolly) reached up and tried to cover my face by slowly running my fingers through my long hair,  letting it fall across my red cheeks as I dropped my chin. I must have looked like an idiot.

And then she was gone. I didn’t follow her with my eyes, but rather stared out across the piece of Dublin wasteland with a much more exotic name than it deserved and accepted defeat. I was a coward, a fool, a sad little boy who I just knew would never have the courage to talk to a pretty girl that I liked, let alone hand her a card filled with loved-up words of romance and forget-me-nots.

I honestly don’t remember what I did with that card.  But I do remember the apparent significance of the day at the time. Maybe that’s why it is more than a Hallmark day for me now.  I have fond memories of my Mam and of my own innocence before the world became real. It reminds me of my childhood and of a different time, so forgive me if I’m a fool that still considers today a little special.

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I am very fortunate to have survived the trauma of those teenage years without too much distress. We all go through those horrors and think that minor moments are the end of the world when we are learning how to be adults.  Now I am lucky, fortunate indeed to actually have a very special reason to enjoy Valentine’s Day, for I have found the love I imagined all those years ago and more.  It took me longer than expected but she was worth the wait.  Happy Valentine’s day to anyone with a hint of romance in them… and even to those that don’t…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

all 5

Fecked if I was going to touch anything that came out of that creature’s pocket…

Fecked if I was going to touch anything that came out of that creature’s pocket…

There’s a lot to be said for having a wazz in peace. For the most part, toilet etiquette is something you are not thought but rather learn through experience. I’m not talking about your relaxed, at home, singing a song as you widdle experience. What I am referring to, is the public arena and most likely this relates primarily to men, although the ladies out there may find some cross-over – who knows?

I was hugely traumatised as a little waif, by a penis in the zipper tragedy which I have blogged about before but that aside, like most people I have my own take on the whole area of going to the loo, particularly when I’m not at home. 

Where I grew up, you didn’t go to the toilet, loo, bathroom or ‘facility’ – you went to the Jax. The Jax was a different animal in my childhood , especially public conveniences.  For one thing, at home we flushed the Jax by pulling on a long chain that dangled from an overhead cistern.  To this day I use the term ‘flush the chain’ despite the fact there hasn’t been a chain in our house for the past thirty five years.

As a nipper, I was warned off the public Jax where you literally had to spend a penny to use one. I was told little about why I shouldn’t ,only that they were places not to go alone, so I always avoided them without quite knowing why.   If you had to go when you were out and about, pubs were always a good bet. To be fair they are everywhere in this country, but they were not always of the best quality back then when Ireland was still just a child and hadn’t learned to wash its hands.

Oh how things have changed.  Now if you go to the toilet in a pub, you will generally find a clean and hygienic environment but back in the day…you had to be a bit of an acrobat sometimes.  I remember going into a pub in the midlands about thirty odd years ago.  I was bursting for a widdle and the barman gave me an annoyed nod in the direction of a door towards the back of the pub.  Annoyed because I wasn’t buying.

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I opened the door and found myself outside. There was a corrugated roof of sorts, with I suspect the intention of keeping you dry as you made your way across the yard to the toilet.  At the end of the tin covered walkway, was a doorway with no door and inside was a room with one wall. Making any sense?  Above, the corrugated roof theme was continued, supported by thick wooden beams.  The one wall had a trough at the bottom, overflowing with perhaps rainwater, perhaps something else, I couldn’t be sure, but I had to tiptoe my way across what was essentially over grown, wazzle covered concrete, to find a dry place to stand and pee.  Someone had actually glued a strip of beige lino to the ground to give the impression of an inside space.  There was hardly any of it left and what was there was covered in mould and worse. You had to avoid it because it had the look of a disease infested ice rink. 

The whitewashed stone wall was green with algae and it was freezing as the wind and drizzle lashed my back. Sometimes you have to go, and I had to go so I went.  It was one of those “aaaaah” wazzles where the sheer relief of emptying your bladder is so great, that for a few moments you savour the  fact that you have made it to a toilet before it was too late.  A few seconds in, I began to survey my surroundings. I wondered where one might go for a number two but that question went uncomfortably unanswered.  There was a lot of waste ground behind me and I began to get an unpleasant stench as the joy of relief was replaced by the fear of what I might catch if I touched anything.

An auld lad came in mid-stream and gave me a flick of his chin, before he stood uncomfortably close to me and unzipped his trousers to unburden himself.

3

“Sofowldee” he muttered without looking at me and as my brain translated his thick country accent into “Soft old day” I noticed he had adopted the drunk lean stance.  For the unfamiliar, the drunk lean occurs, when a fella has had too much to drink and needs to support himself as he piddles by bracing himself with one hand against the wall, whilst holding his appendage in the other hand to wee. Usually it is not something to be concerned about, but in this instance the wall in question was host to  a number of unintentional biological experiments, dripping in slime and ick – which I believe is the technical term and the less than subtle aroma wafting from its surface, was beyond belief.   I felt dirty just peeing against it.

“’Tis surely.” I replied to his observation about the softness of the day and I looked about for somewhere to wash my hands, immediately realising that there was no chance of that.  We both finished our toilet at the same time. Clearly, I had a lot more need to go than he as his visit was short.

“RyeupfmDublin?”  We had zipped up but he was blocking my path. Again I needed all my experience to get through the accent, to reimagine his question into “Are you up from Dublin?”

The bang of gargle off him nearly made me gag and it was only two in the afternoon.

“I am for sure.”  I found myself mimicking his rhythm and cadence and it came out as something along the lines of “Yamforsuoor.”  I just wanted to get out of the kip before he shook my feckin ’hand.  I could still see him leaning against that wall.

“JayzImrunninlate.” Now talking in his unique dialect (I’m a quick learner) I suggested that I was running behind schedule and he sucked on the woodbine that had been dangling in the corner of his mouth.  He still blocked my path, seemingly determined to demonstrate his friendliness and he then plucked the fag butt from his mouth and flicked it into the yard.

“Hawldon dere boy a minute.”

I don’t know whether he was becoming more coherent, or if I was really starting to speak his lingo, but I completely understood him. He was digging into his pockets with both hands.  I had no choice but to stand there and wait.  I watched him as he struggled to first get his hands into, and then out of his filthy auld jean pockets. He wore the scruffiest beard I had ever seen and atop his head, was a mop of brown hair that had probably not seen water except for rain in many’s the month. He eventually produced a crumpled pack of fags.

“Dya Schmoke?”

Back then I did smoke, but I was fecked if I was going to touch anything that came out of that creature’s pocket, so I politely declined and squeezed past him. I said my good-byes and escaped the pub back onto the street.  I felt like I needed a wash. To be fair I have travelled a fair bit and seen some toiletry sights I can tell you, but  when it comes to rustic lavatorial experiences – that one was right up there. Normally I’d walk straight back out  the door if conditions are excessively poor, but sometimes a man’s got to go…

Thinking about it now, there have been worse, but none that I could comfortably put into print.  If I told you the story of a the petrol station toilet, two nuns, a bags of potatoes and a spectacular yet very tragic balancing act, those of a delicate disposition might need to go somewhere quiet to recover..  Maybe some other time eh?….

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

all 5

It’s a wonder I ever left the house…

It’s a wonder I ever left the house…

I could talk to Nick himself. Seriously, I can practically hold a conversation with myself although some people might think that’s not a good thing. This morning I was discussing this very fact with a colleague in work and he said that if a goat walked up to me, I could have a conversation with him. He’s not wrong.

Talking is an assumed trait of the Irish.  We have the gift of the Gab as they say. But of course like most stereotypes, this is far from the truth.  Most people I know are fearful of new situations, meeting new people, and in particular of speaking in public. The Irish however, when stuck in one room together, have an affliction whereby silence must be filled – hence the reputation.

I started life as a little show-off and gradually imploded with adult insecurities like the rest of us.  When I was a tiny little waif, you couldn’t shut me up.  I discovered early on that I could make people laugh by doing impressions. So, there I was, a skinny-arsed, little blonde tadpole, doing impressions of James Mason and Peter Lorre for anyone who might listen. I’m sure I was absolutely brutal.  No doubt their laughter was a result of my precociousness, but I didn’t care.  I suspect my adult verbosity has its roots in the little twinkle that I once was. Sometimes I miss my littler self.

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Of course I eventually became a teenager and more than my voice dropped. I became self-aware in a different, altogether more negative way as many teenagers do.  It knocked some of the wind from my sails at least temporarily, and the challenge of discovering a new perspective on girls was a shock to the system.

There was a big chunk of my life, at that stage pretty much all of it, where girls pinched or punched you and annoyed the living Bejebus out of you most of the time. That’s just the way they were and I never suspected for one minute that this might change.  They held little of interest for me. Girls played games that were boring, didn’t like to play cowboys for the most part, were generally crap at the type of ‘intellectual’ activities us boys engaged in, and they quite often and seemingly deliberately, disrupted our play for no apparent reason.

At some point they sucked us in to play games like spin the bottle. We were dared to kiss them when the bottle eventually pointed in our direction. Worse still they played kiss-chasing. Nah! I thought that was the way the world was until I started to see things differently.  Things are always the same until they are different as they say.

We didn’t have any sex education in school until we were about thirteen and that was doled out in the austere setting of the Christian Brothers dining room in the monastery. I came away from that lesson, less informed than I went in.  They were different times, so you picked up your sex education by osmosis from what you heard around you. I can’t say we were well informed.

As far as parents and teachers were concerned, the key points were that you didn’t have sex before marriage, with the conflicting message of don’t get a girl pregnant.  I say conflicting because if people didn’t have sex before marriage, then how did you get a girl pregnant? There was an implied message in there somewhere, that some people clearly did have sex prior to their wedding. I was taught to be respectful of girls and that any girl who didn’t respect herself should be avoided like the plague, for fear of that auld pregnancy malarkey.  I hadn’t a clue, except that I was starting to develop a new fondness for girls and it was all mighty confusing.

I guess for the most part I was a ‘good’ boy and I was generally attracted to similarly ‘good’ girls.  I suspect this was due to the highly effective brainwashing techniques used by my mother. She frequently pointed out the sort of girl I had better not ever bring home to her house and what consequences might befall me if I ever did.  Not that I should be thinking about bringing any girl back to her house in the first place.  She was pretty convincing in an over my dead body sort of way.

The lads? Well they were no feckin’ help.  I knew at least a half a dozen methods of getting a girl pregnant, none of which were true and at least two of which were physical impossibilities.  We had limited access back then, to any evidence relating to the correct anatomical make up of women except the occasional contraband copy of National Geographic.  They showed photos of bare-breasted African tribeswomen, carrying babies or making bread.  Of course the Brother’s had taught us that these were heathen folk  who had not yet been thought the Christian value of modesty, so that explained their apparent disregard for their shamelessness. 

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We were ravenously curious. That which was kept from us was only more interesting,  so we lived in hope and anticipation that we might somehow know more. Sometimes, some scut might bring in something torn from the centre pages of a racy magazine and there would be a crush in the schoolyard to get a peek through the crowd. It was theoretical pornography.  It meant nothing to most of us other than raising more questions that it answered. We weren’t lascivious little letches, rather befuddled boys who needed explanations. To be honest what little I saw back then,only made me more afraid of girls.

By the time I got to go on my first teenage date,I was terrified to kiss the girl, because while I sort of knew that kissing couldn’t get a girl pregnant, there were those rumours that French kissing could. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what French kissing was anyway, so you can imagine my confusion and trepidation. My desire had awakened but my knowledge bank was in the red when it came to girls.  I remember blushing for the first time when a girl I fancied spoke to me.  I had been taught shame very effectively through years of Christian Brother’s education. Although my parents brought me up well, they came from an even more repressed generation and were more of a hindrance than a help when it came to my adolescent flowering.  

My very first teenage girlfriend survived our half a dozen dates without having to suffer the trauma of my inexperienced lips, such was my angst.  When I eventually did get to kiss a girl, it was such a bizarre event, marked by miscommunication, lack of understanding and experience, that we essentially mimicked two blind puffer fish, accidently colliding in the dark.  It was not what I had expected and to be fair, I doubt it is one of those moments that the poor girl will hold high in her list of romantic memories.  It seems my mirror-practice was not the ideal preparation after all. Although in fairness, she may have never kissed a boy again after that disaster in which case, I’m top of her best kiss list ever!  Yeah…I’ll go with that one I think.

In all honesty, it seems like overnight, I went from a self confident little boy who knew the world loved him,  to a helpless, self-conscious twat, who tried to impress girls through the clever conceptual art form known as acting like an idiot.  For some reason we all seem to go through a phase were our version of what appeals to girls is the complete opposite of what actually impresses them.  I suspect some ‘boys’ never get past this phase.

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Looking back on my innocence, the deeply instilled sense of guilt and shame for even considering the thoughts that had begun to enter my young man’s head, my dearth of knowledge and my burgeoning sexuality, it is amazing that I ever managed to leave the house. But that was the way of the world back then.  I’m not sure it has ever been any different regardless of time, religion, education or place. If not my schooling or my generation, there would be something else impacting on me through those confusing early years of my adolescence.

It is a time of confusion for everyone.  But like the rest of the world, I survived even the most embarrassing of moments. Most I daren’t share, for even now I might blush thinking back, but survive I did.  My few years of regression passed and I grew back into my voice. Much like when I was a fledgling, all big-eyed and filled with a smile for every day, you can’t shut me up.  I am growing into an old(er) gentleman and the older I get, the more I talk.  I cannot deny it – I talk too much.  There is a lot more I could tell you, especially if you could persuade me to join you in a little tipple, but wait…let me warn you.. stick a few drinks into me and I never shut up…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

all 5

 

The odd thwack to the knackers…an acceptable risk…

The odd thwack to the knackers…an acceptable risk…

I have spent the whole week in a good deal of pain with my left knee and to be honest, I don’t even know how I injured it.  Now I’m not so old that I have reached the stage where I cannot remember what I did, but apparently old enough to injure myself if I don’t do a warm up before I decide to stand up. There was a time when I had to lie about my injuries because of my recklessness, but that is called youth.

God be with the days when I’d twist my ankle jumping from a four metre high shed and  just get up and carry on regardless.. and that was when I was eight!  My Ma would have killed me if she knew how I did it, so I’d lie and say I went over on my ankle stepping off a footpath or some such auld guff.

The problem with my Ma was that she didn’t like us doing anything dangerous. I walked the railings outside our house on a near daily basis with my neighbour Martin, often timing who was the fastest.  We both fell off on a regular basis and occasionally we fell straight down to land astride the metal railings. I’m surprised I was able to father children I did it so often.

But you see, because my Ma was so unjustly strict about doing dangerous stuff, there was no way you could go crying to her so you had to just suck it up. For the most part, the odd thwack to the knackers was an acceptable risk for the pleasure we got from being high wire artists (in our heads), but sometimes you fell on the spikey part and that could leave a mark or cut you.

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Pain was easy to hide, but my mother had a sharp eye for a cut or a bruise and at eight, she still put me into a bath every Saturday night whether I needed one or not, so you couldn’t conceal such things easily.

The lies I told about cuts, abrasions and bruises, you would be ashamed to hear them I’m telling you. The other problem was that my mother was as sharp as a tack when it came to sniffing out a fib. She’d skelp my skinny little arse for lying and she could read me like a book, so I had to be good at coming up with a cover story.  I was never good enough to be totally convincing, but the excitement of doing something stupid like climbing too high on a tree was always worth the ear bashing if she found out.

Of course now I seem to get injured going to the fridge. Seriously!  I’ve actually twisted my wrist opening the fridge door.  I mean COME ON! I blame it on all the sport I used to do. We didn’t have the same information or education, not to mention proper equipment like kids today have. Half the time we ran in the wrong shoes and played a lot of sport on dodgy tarmac. Bish- bash–bosh. As for correct physical education… we had one teacher who coached the football team (that’s soccer to my American friends) whose primary advice was, that if we couldn’t get the man, we should try to get the ball. We won the league that year if I recall.

I broke fingers, tore ligaments, sprained wrists and ankles, fractured ribs, had my nose split open, been stitched several times and generally put my body through the wringer over the first twenty odd years of my life. I’m paying for it now.  I should have stayed in my bed eating chocolate.

The problem was that back in the day when things were in black and white, just before many can remember but shortly after the dinosaurs, we didn’t have daytime TV, computer games, or any such nonsense.  I read a lot for sure, but that too had its limitations and my mother would inevitably feck you out the door,  as long as it was bright and it wasn’t raining. I was bound to get into mischief and break the odd bone or two.

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I once fell out of a tree onto a fella on a bike – no joke. He didn’t even really break my fall. I sort of hit the front wheel and handlebars, then he bounced up in the air and landed on me.  He wasn’t happy I can tell you.  He was a big lad and he would have kicked the living sh**e out of me, only I escaped before he had time to get over the shock of a kid falling out of the sky. The weird thing was, I hadn’t a mark on me.

We played stuntman using our shed as a fall off point. The game was simple.  One of us would take aim with a toy Winchester and shoot the other… “Percherrrowwww” the sound would ricochet around the imaginary canyon as you shot.  Whoever was on top of the shed, had to take the hit, dramatically clutching their chest, maybe with a spin if you decided the bullet hit you high to one side, or a double over and stagger, if you were gut-shot.   Then came the tricky part; the fall from the roof of the shed into Mrs. Malone’s garden of nettles next door.  It was not a game for the feint hearted.

The worst injury any of us got was a scuffed elbow or knee, or the occasional nettle sting if we hadn’t cleared enough of them away.  I missed the last stair the other day; I nearly threw out a hip for feck sake.  Honestly, it’s not funny.

I no longer wonder about random, unexplained pains that appear and disappear for no reason.  I only count the ones that hang around for more than a week these days.  It’s not that I’m a complete crock or anything, I’m actually not in bad shape, but someone should tell my bits.

The worst thing is when you forget that you are no longer twenty.  There may or may not be alcohol involved, but … well you know.  Anyway, it can be a bit of music that gets you twerking or whatever, or in my case something silly that starts me off…I’m a bit of a child at heart and my head sometimes remembers what it was like to be free to throw myself about with abandon.  Not a good idea anymore.  Still I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My biggest worry is that I will seriously injure myself doing something entirely inappropriate for a man of my supposed maturity, and then have to tell the emergency room triage nurse, exactly how I did the damage.  I suspect when that day comes, I’ll revert to the skills I learned dodging the questions my mother used to ask me… and lie…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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…the very smile and quip and jest of me…

…the very smile and quip and jest of me…

There can be nothing more beautiful than a smile on the face of your darling. I have a very special darling in my life, yet I use the term with caution.  Darling is an old word and from my understanding, its origin points to the term ‘favourite minion’. My love is no minion for she is indeed mighty. Time, custom and practice have altered the meaning of the word however, and for me the modern intention of the word is more suitable.

Yet,that she is dear to me, is an insufficient expression of how much my darling means to me. I have never placed my happiness into the hands of another. That hefty chore is a responsibility that will always rest on my shoulders. My love, is given to a girl who adds to my life in a way that tricked my imagination. I thought my mind could explore the world unfettered by restriction, yet she fooled me, surprised me by showing me what true love really means, and it is something I honestly could never have imagined if left to my own devices. She has outsmarted my senses, overwhelmed my defences and enhanced my life.

Today  I slipped away to work under the cover of early morning darkness before she awoke. This day is special for it is her birthday. If anyone should mark or celebrate this day, it should be me and all of those whose lives she has touched, for by the mere shadow of her existence crossing our paths, we have been enriched.

thI2UP9YBEHow lucky am I to have been gifted the chance to spend my life with such a beauty. Inside and out, through and through, I am by her grace made a little lighter each day, a little kinder perhaps, a result of her soft teachings, and because of her, I possess a broader smile.

There can be no love song written, nor ode to her that can ever do justice to the girl I love. And love her I do. My other self, my sad-faced boy with a soul that broods on too many things, is enriched and enlivened with the mere touch of her hand.

We look to each other she and I. We look for each other and take care to nurture that which cannot be made. My heart is my heart, to ache or break, but she fills my heart with the joy of love that I could never have wished for.  As a young man, I dreamed of such a thing.  I thought it would never come sometimes yet here I am, immersed in the tranquility that comes from loving the finest of women.

The best of me, the rest of me, the very smile and quip, and jest of me, could never find the way to top, without my darling Jo, without my love. And so I celebrate her birthday deserving more than she, for it is me… that is the lucky one… Happy birthday Joanna…My Darling…

black-and-white-drawing-heart-love-Favim.com-1809160

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

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Missing the big, agricultural men, who looked like they had spent their formative years pulling bullocks from ditches…

Missing the big, agricultural men, who looked like they had spent their formative years pulling bullocks from ditches…

Hi-Viz jackets and de-culchification has ruined the way we look at the police in Ireland. I was stopped recently by a young lad who looked like he was embarrassed to ask me a question. There was a time when a Garda was seen in an altogether more respected light.  If you come from outside these shores, I should explain that in Ireland the police force is called “An Garda Síochána” translated to the guardians of the peace. A single one is called a Garda and the plural is Gardaí (Gard-ee).

Now you see, back in the day you’d be afraid of your sh**e to cross a Garda.  He’d give you a puck at the very least and you’d soon be put in your place. I say he for while there were female officers, (Ban Gardaí) they were another thing altogether for which I think I’d need a whole other blog. In my experience, back in the days of yore from whence I came, they were all very much big, agricultural men, who looked like they had spent their formative years pulling bullocks from ditches, wearing flat Paddy caps, collarless shirts with the sleeves rolled up past their elbows, and tweed trousers held up with braces and a length of rope.

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They had proper Garda jackets with shiny buttons and in the winter, they wore thick long coats of navy blue. They were not men worried about being seen in the dark!  Not for them the Hi-Viz jackets that make our current Gardaí look like security guards in a car park, oh no.  They took pride in the fact that the only things likely to be illuminated in the dark, were the buttons on their tunics or the shine on their shoes.  There is something about Hi-Viz that screams small-minded, bureaucratic, health-and-safety obsessed box-ticker. I’m sorry folks, it had to be said and if that’s your actual job title, I can only offer my condolences.

The Hi-Viz is one thing but the de-culchification is probably a more serious matter. Again an explanation for the unfamiliar. A Culchie (Kull-Chee) is any Irish person not fortunate enough to have been born in the great county of Dublin. There was a time when it seemed that every Garda you came across was a Culchie and there is a difference between a Dublin Garda and a Culchie Garda.

You see it’s a well-known fact, though not always accepted by those outside the pale, (and yes the original pale from which that expression comes was in fact centred on Dublin) that Dublin is the centre of excellence when it comes to Gaelic football.  On the other hand, Dubs never quite got the hang of our other national sport Hurling.  That is more of a Culchie thing.

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With that in mind, your average Garda being a Culchie back in the day, let’s say some big heap of a lad from Tipperary, would be familiar with swinging a caman (the big stick used in Hurling), so they had a natural ability with the baton carried by all Gardaí.  Dublin lads just haven’t got the same natural ability with a big stick I’m afraid, and like I said earlier, the sheer agricultural build of a fella from the bog compared to a soft-handed, soft spoken Dub, just held a bit more weight.

I haven’t even mentioned the hair.  They let them have hair now too. Skinny, soft-handed Dublin Gardaí with hair meeting the collar! No wonder there is so little respect for the men in blue, or should I say bright yellow these days. What was wrong with a proper short back and sides?  And… and… they have stopped growing moustaches. Once upon a time there wasn’t a sergeant worth his salt who didn’t sport a fine thick military moustache. 

But still that’s not the end of it.  They even removed the height requirement and replaced it with a physical competency test. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no giant myself but when it comes to me looking down on a small twelve year old, clean-shaven, long, haired, soft-handed Dublin Garda in a Hi-Viz… well I despair!

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I’ll briefly address the women for there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The Dublinification of the female side of the force has seen a significant improvement in the fashion stakes, at least that‘s my opinion.  With the influence of the more cosmopolitan style of the Dublin ladies in the force, gone are the past-the-knee woollen skirts and 500 denier tights in favour of practical yet stylish slacks. 

While the hair length for men has lowered their masculine threat level, the opposite has occurred with the women in the force as suddenly Gardaí of the female variety, (we can’t say Ban Garda anymore) actually look quite professional as opposed to something one might to expect to find holding a cell door open for you in Stalinist Russia.

First-Women-1959

At this point, lest you think I’m a misogynistic, racist, sizesist, pro-mustachio, Culchie hating, Hi-Vizaphobic, Dubliner stuck in the past, let me tell you something important. I am not saying that ladies from outside our fair city of Dublin are less fashionable – God forbid they’d string me up – oh no and indeedthere has been a rebalancing in the fashion stakes in recent years. I am of course making a historical comparison, least you forget. STOP I hear you scream. Why am I focusing on the potential for brutality in the men and fashion when it comes to the women? What sort of twonk am I? Well pay attention if that’s what is going through your head, I repeat -this a satirical piece, focusing on historical values … memories and attitudes translated from a time now long past. (I’m turning into an old geezer)

So too with the notion of the Culchie Garda for while it may seem like a derogatory term to the outside eye, there is not a Culchie in the country who doesn’t have at least one similar term for the fine gentlemen and ladies of Dublin, or indeed for the fella down the road from the actual bog. We in Ireland have a fine tradition of slagging – we take the proverbial out of each other pretty much all the time so fear not , no offence has been caused except when it comes to the mention of Dublin being the best team at the football – In Mayo that’s a sore point, but it’s their own fault, there is the curse after all…

And Hi-Viz wearers, I mean you no harm; it is just not appropriate attire for Garda who has to take on knife wielding, gangsters.  It’s hard to take a man quite as seriously in a Hi-Viz, it just is.  Builders rock the look but apart from that there can be little argument.

So what of it you might say.  Well I’m not just picking on the fine men and women in blue, rather the way society has changed, expectations have changed and opinions have changed and how, little changes within the context of the big picture, can actually greatly impact on our perception.

Now that example has been exhausted let’s move on to politicians.. No… wait… that really is a whole new blog!

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower
https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com
fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood
http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II
http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy
http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn
http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

all 5