Miscellaneous

Other things I’ve written down, and at some point posted to my website…

Even as I Gaze

Posted here on: August 17th, 2011

 

Even as I gaze at my cup, I see a cat hair in the light from the window floating down into it, and clinging to the skin that is the surface of my apple and blackberry drink. It is followed by my thumb and finger that pick the hair from the liquid and wipe it on to the couch arm. I drink a little and sigh, looking through the pattern of the carpet seeking some idea to promote motivation for my lazy body. I take a sheet of paper and unlid a pen. Then, after thinking it through, I write an account of my last few moments existence.

15:09 . 7/8/1990 . TUESDAY
Music playing - Salzarainr. volume III, movement 6
Film on television - One Hundred Men and a Girl (volume mute)
Temperature - comfortably warm
Thoughts - what would a reader other than myself think to this?

Copied neater:
13:53 . 8/8/1990 . WEDNESDAY
Music playing - Moody Blues
Temperature - comfortably warm
Thoughts - what am I thinking?

Typed with a typewriter:
23:13 . 7/2/1992 . FRIDAY
Programme on television - The Word
Temperature - comfortably warm
Thoughts - my coffee has gone cold

Posted to my website:
15:40 . 17/8/2011 . WEDNESDAY
Music playing - The Damned, on jango.com
Temperature - comfortably warm
Thoughts - need... food... must... eat...

Man in Passing

Posted here on: August 5th, 2011

 

The rage of man goes on within and without and plagues and summons a deeper rage that only he can know for from time gone by to time to come he lives in a world that he can not know yet yearns to know from the root of his being and so must reach but never touch and so must suffer as a slave to life with only the gift of choice to satisfy his torment and give him cause to stay in this existence unrequested and his choices only avert the rage that dwells or his choices let loose the rage that dwells which brings the innate power to destroy or the great power to create yet his power is an illusion and just the same as the plant's to grow and bear fruit because for all his thinking and inventing and digging for meaning and killing and drinking in the joy of his own perceived magnificence he is the same as the sand or the air or the flea or the weeds or the slime on the rocks or the dead.

 

This is the edited and typed version created in August 2005, 10 years after the events in these memoirs. Then posted here on my website in August 2011...

I just happened to keep notes during this particular adventure...

The Hitch-hiking Tour de FranceThe trip to France was a spur of the moment thing a couple of weeks after I turned 26. I hadn’t known my friend Richard all that long and it was his idea that we go away. I never had any money in those days but Richard had offered to pay.

It was less than six months after the big upset of finishing with my girlfriend of five and a half years. It was a bitter end to that relationship and I still wasn’t accepting how hard it had hit me. The week in France was great for refreshing my mind and getting a clearer perspective on my problems.

While editing this version I could see just how fond of drink I was in those days. It seemed strange to me while editing it in 2005, as a practical teetotaller. I also smoked roll-ups amongst other things and had less confidence in myself but was much more reckless. A lot can change in 10 years! Even my name had changed, from Victor Waine to Victor Taylor in 1999.

So The Hitch-hiking Tour de France is basically a journal of what happened on my nine day journey - the first couple of days were with Richard but most of the time I was on my own.

It’s just a personal record but I don’t mind if other people read it… At gunpoint if necessary.

Extra Notes, Aug 2011:

- I took some photos using Richard's camera but unfortunately, if he ever got them developed I never got to see them or get copies...

- I'm not a teetotaller and do drink again, and smoke occasionally, but nowhere near as much as I did back then.

- I found some old bits from the trip, such as a French fag packet, so have scanned them and stuck them in the pages at the relevant parts.

The map picked up from somewhere and used the whole trip

DAY 1 – June 30 1995 – Friday

Posted here on: August 5th, 2011

 

We’re on the road! (The M1.) Heading due South. Everything is going smoothly enough so far. We’ve just been picked up by a man who’s going to South London. It’s a lovely hot day and Richard is chain-smoking in the front passenger seat. I want a fag but there are no ashtrays in the back of the car. I’ll improvise by folding some paper into a tray shape… What a brilliant plan when I could have just opened a window.

We’ve got a long way to go, with stupid Country and Western music playing on the stereo.

o-----o0o-----o

We’re on a ring road of the M25 and have been waiting for over half an hour. The heat is merciless as it melts our reddening bodies. Flies and the hope of getting a lift are our only friends. Sweat drips from us and the sun beats down relentlessly as, one by one the vehicles continue to sweep past…

We will surely end our days on this lonely island.

o-----o0o-----o

By some miracle, after an hour or so, a man in a van stops to give us a lift. Suddenly, as we’re about to jump in, a young dread-locked man and, presumably his dread-locked girlfriend appear out of nowhere to cadge a lift from the same man.

The man says OK so Richard jumps into the front seat while the couple and I climb into the back to sit amongst sacks and bags of who-knows-what.

On the way I attempt to make conversation with the couple but they seem to be shy. Ahh, young love. There isn’t much of a view here in the back of the van so I don’t know where we are but, we should be on our way to the M2 where we will have to get another lift to Dover.

o-----o0o-----o

We got another lift and here we are in Dover.

We’re trying to get a lift from any truck driver willing to take us because it’s £25 each on the ferry. We (Richard) might end up paying it if we have to but for now we wait, with our thumbs up. At least it’s cooler now and we’ve got a bottle of Pepsi Max…

---

A copper has moved us up the road a bit to a legal spot for hitching and informed us that truck drivers are only usually allowed to take one passenger. Still, we shall try…

---

Nearly two hours later - we agree to try for a lift separately and to meet each other in France, having only had one offer of a lift from two folk in a transit van.

The people in the van said they would check to see if they have to pay extra with passengers and, if not they would take us both. This they had said to Richard while I was further up the road.

After they pulled off I’d walked over to find out what they had said. Richard had begun to explain when he realized that he could have told them that we (Rich) would have paid the difference if they were required to pay extra – so he ran after them, nearly being killed by a coach but didn’t reach them in time.

Let me be the last one to call him an idiot.

o-----o0o-----o

So here we are, looking over the docks and car parks having bought two ‘5 Day Return’ ferry tickets with a discount of £10.

The time is about 21:45. Everything is beautiful: The clean air; the light gray-blue sky; the cries of seagulls; the little figures walking below wearing green luminous jackets; the ferries drifting away…

Our ferry is due to leave at 22:15. I go to the toilet but as I sit, my peaceful pleasure is interrupted by the announcement for us to leave for the ferry! I have to rush but thankfully we’ve made it on to the small bus that is taking us to the boat.

---

We are now sitting in a quiet part of the ferry – The Pride of Dover – gently swaying with the motion of the craft as Rich quietly sings and plays his guitar.

Outside it is black.

DAY 2 – July 1 1995 – Saturday

Posted here on: August 5th, 2011

 

You could buy 'One Year' Passports in 1995We are sitting on a wall, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, waiting for a lift at about 1:30, French time. We’re a bit tired. We’ve got an apple each and I’m eating mine in the ‘slice it with a knife’ fashion.

There’s hardly any traffic and we wait for approximately one and a quarter hours, then we accept a lift from an English van driver who is going to Boulogne.

It appears that because of his work, he travels the same route every day. On the way to Boulogne he offers to take us back across the water if we meet him one day… Say, next Saturday, the Eighth of July.

We say, “Yeah man! Wicked!” This will save us from having to go back to England on Wednesday with the ‘5 Day Return’ ferry tickets.

---

The man, Gary, dropped us off and we are continuing through the night, walking as we hitch…

Finally, after 3 km of countryside and not getting a lift we scramble over a small fence, down a grass bank in the dark. The intention is to sleep in a field. There are a lot of thistles. Across the way we can just see what seems to be the dark outline of, maybe a farmhouse.

As it’s too dark to set up the tent, that we haven’t tried out yet, we settle down on the fly-sheet. The thistles aren’t very happy with us and make sure we know. We have a roll-up each and lie back, gazing into the starry heavens.

What utter peace I feel lying here.

There’s a falling star! It burns in a marvellous streak of colour to silently break into nothing. An ambassador for the wars in my mind.

o-----o0o-----o

The Tabac, which lasted until Day 9I awake in the wetness of dew, finding Richard already awake and packing. We share a carrot for breakfast and see that the farmhouse was actually the skeleton of an old barn.

Another kilometre on up the road we stop and wait for a lift at a crossroad junction, hopefully to Paris. Across the road from us are a few shops that aren’t open yet as it’s still quite early.

When the shops open we buy some bread, cheese, milk and loads of ‘tabac’ which all go down a treat.

All in all we wait for two or three hours, trying to look French, until we get a lift to… Paris! The French man who picked us up speaks as much English as we speak French, so here we are – three silent people heading for Gaye Paris!

o-----o0o-----o

We are dropped off 2 km from Paris because the man who gave us the lift is continuing South. Maybe we should have stayed with him?

After fifteen sweltering minutes we get a lift into the city from a black Frenchman named Eric.

We arrive at midday, making it a twenty four hour trip from Nottingham to Paris. We wander around and then sit outside a bar to have two beers each. Afterwards we work out that they had cost £15!!

After that catastrophe we walk to the Gare du Nord train station. Rich has gone walkies trying to find the Information Centre and Bureau de Change. I’m left sitting here on the floor of the huge train station watching various people of various cultures but mainly watching women.

---

Quite a while (fifty minutes) has passed. I have been hassled by a woman begging money for her baby. It seemed like a con to me, but who knows. I said, “Imposseeblé”. Also a young man tried to sell me drugs. At first he thought I was Italian, which I found quite flattering. Perhaps I have caught the sun a bit.

I am enjoying all this immensely.

---

Rich returned and left again. He’d been in a queue waiting for information and then he went to get some French money.

Now we do a spot of busking in the Metro and I discover that not only can I play the wooden whistle/flute that I bought with me but I can also do it in front of strangers. We make about a quid and, knackered, catch a tube train to a bus stop and a bus to a campsite.

---

Without paying the campsite fee we set up tent next to another tent occupied by three young ladies… and promptly fall to sleep in front of our tent for a bit.

o-----o0o-----o

It’s beginning to get dark and a heavy thunderstorm has begun!

We dive into the supposed safety of the tent but soon the tent is soaked and battered by the rain and we have to vacate.

We decide to abandon the tent there because it’s crap.

We end up under the shelter of a veranda next to some lockers.

Here we chat and sign language with an Italian called Davida.

Later, two of his friends have joined us: Mathew (“Maitew”) and a quiet one whose name is unknown to us. They have been to a Rolling Stones concert that can’t be far away because we can hear the music slightly and fireworks as the concert ends.

Richard has decided that what with the rain and things, enough is enough and he will be going back home tomorrow…

He goes for a shower and then I do, after which Rich and Davida take it in turns playing the guitar while we all sing songs. I’m having a fantastic time. We drink a bit of beer. I fall to sleep first.