Oxwich.

The sturdy hotel, hanging green parasols and comforting wisps of cigarette smoke, prodded my memory for the second time this week.

Hello I thought, another sandy Goweronian  scene, to tempt my creative juices.

Not so.

All I could do was remember a two-week caravan jaunt in Horton, with a Roedean whippersnapper of magnificent proportions and an appetite for the impossible.

We were both young and untried, it was the 70’s with everything to play for. It rained and rained but the touch was always the same, the kisses always certain and the love bespoke one minute and ready-made the next.

Half a pint of bitter, a Woodbine, a smile or two and roughing it, suddenly meant everything.

Girls were different then. They knew less, but knew all things too. They knew how to charm, they knew how to chase,  they knew how to seduce.

But more than anything else, they knew how to be female.

JR

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Mumbles.

What a silly name!

A little place peppered with little streets and little shops hiding behind dusty postcards and pink fishing nets, waiting for a childish tug and a few pennies more.

Grey seas rattle outside tea and coffee cups,  while Joe looks on and tries to decide what creamy concoction to come up with next. Knickerbockers are ‘so yesterday’, so old hat and don’t have mobile phones as a two for one.

Mumbles ice cream, Joe’s ice cream, must never die but what can we do next? Time has taken over, Mumbles has turned a new 4×4 leaf, a new crammed in wealth, sick to death of all the rest. It is the only place to be you know, Sweyn’s Eye can groan and grumble, but the nobs and nobness of silly Mumbles rule the waves.

So sit tight and enjoy the ride!

JR

PS For those unfamiliar with Swansea, Mumbles appears on the cover of ‘An Equal Judge’.

Middle Age.

Have you noticed how hitting fifty brings certain obligations? Obligations that hitherto could only be imagined in some sci-fi novel.

I refer of course to the mandatory Aspirin and Statin. Both are apparently in league with one another, and both are dependant on a symbiotic synthesis of mutual co-operation.

Otherwise we die.

At least this is the current medical wisdom so who am I, a humble scribbler, to argue.

My point is this – do we really want to live forever, dribbling away in some nursing home while filling our pants with carefree abandon, or do we want to help the next generation by saying ‘Bugger life, I’m off! Just make sure there’s plenty of fags and whisky in the coffin to help me on my way to nowhere’ – actually better make that Flora and boiled fish, better for you I’m told.

You decide.

JR

Green Huts and Wrinkled Up Memories.

What a mixture! Some Lunch Club members, the odd pair of female lips bent with cheeky nostalgia, a Classic car or two and a row of green beach huts full of Viagra free memory.

I had been taken back to a place I had once known intimately, a place of youth, pretty girls and endless nights of hopeful young love and brash Valentine’s Day cards.

The bright red Gilbern sports car, with its squeaky suspension and lingering aroma of Welsh car making greatness (and failure), had brought four of us to Langland Bay for a once and for all blast of times gone by – and hadn’t they just!

Echoes of ‘Amanda’s’ laughter at what could have been, reminded us of slippery kisses and iron clad bra-straps that just wouldn’t let go, even when the time was right. Barbecue fires and browned up flagons of Strongbow still burned and glistened, in memories untainted by ‘apps’, mobile emotion and computerised calamity.

The girls had been real then, their kisses neat and tidy…… and Langland Bay?

Well it was still there, but it just wasn’t the same.

JR

Supper-time.

My wife enjoys entertaining, I enjoy good conversation. Nine cases out of ten the two go rather well together.

Anyway, it was Saturday night at the Rucks – supper-time. As usual the missus did her thing with the grub, while I looked on and admired.

I’ve always found admiration to be the most admirable of qualities where hanging around a kitchen is concerned; anything else strikes me as far too demanding. Some things really are best left to the female of the species – thought I’d get that in just to annoy all those haute cuisine feminists out there.

The guests were of a distinctly eclectic hue – I’m trying to get bloody clever with my vocabulary now, ignore it – one English, one Scot (no doubt peeling an orange in his pocket with a boxing glove on, you know what they’re like, oh and he will probably tuck his own bottle of Mateus Rosé at the back of the booze tray and hope to God that it will remain untouched, so that he can take it home with him to be used at another supper-time, the mean bastard), one American and one……well I’m not too sure about his provenance, he was English, of the Surrey variety, but has been a native of the Eastern seaboard of America for some 35 years, so maybe he’s a cross between a Pilgrim Father and an itinerant immigrant, you figure it out.

The pure English and American varieties were female and I have to say thoroughly charming, although I think the English lady had been a recent victim of hairdresser insanity – her multi coloured hairdo was as striped as a badgers bum but we won’t go onto that.

So there we all were, as usual bobbing up and down in the kitchen (why bother having sitting-rooms one may well ask), picking away at some sushi (take that for Lidl’s smoked salmon European left overs) and hitting the booze like there was no tomorrow.

Now as far as I am concerned, a successful supper-time relies entirely on the state of one’s guests at around 1.00 am. If they can’t move or speak, job done as they say.If one of the guests suggests some wife swapping, then most definitely job done, although this of course depends on the state of his wife – he could be seeking a happy release, I mean have you seen the state of some of these middle-aged wives? Orange County they certainly are not! Although to be fair, who would want a woman with a rubber bosom, a voice that could stop a gay chat show host in his tracks and a face that would stretch the fat arse of a Sumo wrestler, you tell me.

Well, the night progressed in its own inimitable way. The men disappeared for some air, a cigar (it still happens you know, although on this occasion I was the only smoker) and a few bottles of port while the ladies stayed in the kitchen and put the world to rights.

You know, I’ve always believed that if women ruled the world it would be a more peaceful place…..providing they didn’t rule on period days that is!

By 2.00 am, one couple had fallen asleep on a settee, another couple had been unable to get passed the front door and my dear wife and I?………..well, we just went to bed thinking ‘another successful supper-time, middle-agers still know how to enjoy themselves and maybe the young and celebrities don’t rule the world after all’.

JR

Arty Farty.

You know I can’t help it, but I’m not so sure about this lump of slate that’s piled up in this new Welsh ‘Art Gallery’.Contemporary art or is it Conceptual art? Damned if I know.

Nevermind, takes all sorts I suppose, actually believe it or not I’ve been thinking of submitting one of my used up toilet rolls for the next Turner Prize – it will be exhibited as ‘The End of Hope’.

JR

Fashion Icons.

Men and women really do copy what the stars and Royalty wear. I think I’ll stick with my 20 year old Church’s, battered corduroys and outspoken tweeds, far more convenient, far less expensive, always dependable but more to the point always ‘me’ !

JR

Male Conceit V Female Vanity.

Someone wrote somewhere that, masculine conceit and sinewy chauvinism as a means to conquer, leaves an unimpressive veneer on the more subtle yet self-expressive vanity of a woman.

Contrary to popular belief the intelligent woman is not ruled by emotion but by intuition; a woman’s vanity therefore is merely an attempt at perfection and an acceptance of her own experience. Conversely men are always too busy worrying about muscles and sport, no contest is there!

JR

PS My ‘muscles’ disappeared a long time ago and ‘sport’ of any description bores me to tears. Perhaps that’s why so many of my main characters tend to be women, you are after all, a damn sight more interesting than men, and so magnificently complicated…….or maybe not, being complicated that is.

The Jogging Feminist.

Sometimes brain cells have a nasty habit of crashing into each other ie ideas and thoughts jump on top of one another or in between one another or even alongside one another. You get my drift, at least I hope you do.

The point is I was out walking Norman earlier on – that’s our dog by the way not my father, although I appreciate the fact that these days one would have to be an old ‘un with a name like ‘Norman’.

Be that as it may, now where was I? Ah yes, jumping thoughts.Well, whilst walking along a country road not far from my house, this gangly female jogger overtook me (joggers always have a habit of doing this, smug buggers).

She was wearing a red tee-shirt, I couldn’t miss it because printed on the back in bold black letters was ‘Fxxx Men!’. Now,  I have never quite understood the sense of all this ‘jogging’ business, simply because if one is healthy one doesn’t need to do it, and if one is unhealthy one shouldn’t be doing it anyway. This aside, as I watched the jogger’s sweaty back disappear around a bend, I thought, oh dear, another man-hater, what on earth is the matter with her –  we men gave her the vote didn’t we? And where would the suffragette movement have been without us in the first place?!

See what I mean about jumping thoughts?

JR