Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"If time were like a passage of music, you could keep going back until you got it right," as Joyce Johnson said in her book Minor Characters.

When I think honestly for a moment about all the people I've been, it makes me want to run and hide down the nearest cellar.

A strange reflection? Perhaps one we all share as we approach, and then slip our knees under the picnic blanket of, middle age.

"Every place we go together it's like a pilgrimmage," my girlfriend said yesterday, as we walked around Kettering (where a bird defecated on my shoulder, which everyone assures me signifies good luck).

She's right. Memories are everywhere, and the compulsion to revisit them is overwhelming. It's as if your journey can't be rerouted away from the past and towards whatever lies ahead until you have been back to all the places that figured in it so significantly.

Little Harrowden, for me.
Wicksteed Park.
Emberton Park and Olney.
The streets and back alleys, the parks around Wellingborough.
The Railway Club.
Tresham College, Kettering.
Southbank and Elm Bank.

What a pity you can so rarely find the people who figured in your life as easily as you can find the places, especially when you've made as many huge, uncorrectable mistakes as me.

People die. Others can't forgive you.

It's the bleeding human tragedy we live with and usually we learn too late.


Ralph Murre said...

the thing about the picnic blanket of middle age . . . it's not quite so long as you might wish . . . my feet already feel a chill . . .

BRUCE'S DAD said...

Well, Bruce, you've got me worried. Let's hear no more talk of revisiting, or the human tragedy, or of picnic blankets of middle-age, the latter being something I don't recognise or feel the need for, despite having turned 70. I reckon that you, as the fruit of my loins, should and possibly could, feel the same. If you can, simply enjoy, and make the most of, the here and now, and remember there actually are people who care about you and love you, without conditions, such as your old reprobate of a father.
I'm an awkward old bugger, still feeling much as I did when I was around 18; reassure me and your band of followers that you're not so very different, eh!

Bruce Hodder said...


I know what you mean, sir. Perhaps that chill is what made me write this post yesterday!

Bruce Hodder said...

Don't worry, please! I'm not as depressed as I probably sound. Life is going fairly well actually, although I had to leave my job because of bullying and persecution by my manager. I'm trying to get back into education now, which is what I probably should have done all along...I'm applying to do an English degree. And in the meantime writing a novel about the company I just left.

I wouldn't say I felt like I did when I was 18 either physically or emotionally, though...and distance from the emotional 18 year old I was, who hung around until I was about 40, is probably a good thing, because I've grown to dislike the memory of the peculiar, isolated, arrogant, sel-righteous, selfish little bastard he was! I certainly wouldn't want to have a cup of coffee with him, anyway. He'd make me pay and then say nothing the whole time we were drinking it.

I've just got a bit reflective and emotional too in the last couple of years. Do you know the other day I actually found myself crying as I listened to Elvis singing "Old Shep"? Jesus. I'm trying to grow up, at last, and be honest with myself about the wrongs I've done so that I can avoid doing them in the future. But I get a bit masochistic while I'm considering these matters sometimes, which doesn't do me or anybody else any good.It's better not to think so much.

Thank you for your lovely words, anyway. They mean a lot more than I can probably put over here or anywhere.