I disappeared on to the train on Sunday.
I glimspsed 2 Mallards drifting on the early morning Aire and felt a little sprite in my feet. I could actually travel for ever and never get tired(oh I’d be bone weary). Moving through Leeds City Station I pick up a cup of coffee and a Mcdonald’s McMuffin and jog along the platform to await our first leg. I spy a copy of the Daily Star and am about to pounce when the guy beside me just gets there first. I don’t read newspapers as I feel they bend your ear and corrode your soul, but then I haven’t read any newspaper in a long time so I was ever so slightly moth like for a fleeting moment. That guy saved me an indignity and helped me recover from news melancholy.
The first leg is 3 hours from Leeds to Birmingham New Street. I find the carriage with the fewest sets and get a forward facing table chair. I have a dislike of the squeeze that the rest of the seating arrangements provide on any mainline train and 95% of the time manage to find the table seating. The whole journey passes quickly with me playing trivial computer games. Calling at Wakefield, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby and Lichfield(never been here before) we finally pull into Birmingham New Street to gather our travel bags and find the Coach which will deliver us to Gloucester to carry on our journey.
Gloucester sounds lovely and oldie Englandie, and perhaps it was once in oldie Englandie times, but its just another gutter town. ‘Down and Out’ along the same line as Mansfield, Rotherham, Colchester, Ipswich and a dozen boarded up towns throughout England. Its drab, parallel, squared and pushchair filled with Lonsdale wearing and Superdry sporting Chav and Chavette: branded by their accent only as being the same angry sweaty pointless entities Leeds displays in its thousands. I have had to linger in Gloucester a number of times to get to Cheltenham, Bristol or Birmingham prior.
England has become a tourist resort, as a last resort now the industry has gone and the Whitweek holiday has gone we have condensed and reduced and concentrated the essence of the market place towards the bland repetative High Street in every Town and/or Large Villiage. Easter is approaching – the latest I’ve known for many a year – so now the tacky everpresent holiday resort villiage up and down England is cleaning and painting and creating the facade of perfection. Employing Painters, Decorators, Plumbers, Gas fitters, etc, with gathering pace. Everyone is in a rush to be ready. Everyone fears and hates the Holiday season who has to find work in it. The coming of the marching masses who require the best fish and chips, Cornish pasties, clotted cream, Jersey icecream and I Love Padstow sweaters money can buy. The facade extends to the food as well. So many claims of locally sourced produce which suggests the products are haphazard and individual and not provided by large scale operations farming their products locally. Its only words.
In the St. Mawes Hotel every jack of them who break and chatter with Cornish lilt on last nights football results is the same discussion repeated by all the mechanicals in the getting ready season. Just to earn enough for our pint of cyder, beer, coffee, bacon sarnies and, I guess, fill up an other wise empty of meaning life. The zombies who have second homes are no better in their conventions. The threads are more expensive, but their still all made to order in PRC. So a Pink’s shirted Old Etonian feeds his face in mock tudor or exposed beam victoriana that is there for his pleasure and knows not how much the clean facade shades hatred and insane jealousy that you have such a life where 1 house isn’t enough, but you have come here destoryed all industry but to slave the Working Class man to the trades who circulate like flies on our Middle Class man’s leisure. Up pulls the 3663 catering van to perpetuate this facade of locally produced and source marketting ploy.
A long haul across the warmest England I’ve known in April. I don’t know why I am going actually. I want to feel inspired to take up this position, but something about being a woeful slave for the massed hoards of England who bring their whining children, posh or poor, to Cornwall for clotted cream and oggy oggy oggy leaves me cold as never before. It doesn’t help to have picked up Down and Out in London and Paris for 99p from the NSPCC in Falmouth and write this in retrospect? I think I understand where I am on this road. I am not a Tramp and I don’t know how I could cope being reduced to 2 francs per day and then turning to Hotel X, but I turn to St Mawes with £120 of dole, but all my debts outstanding since March and actually do know how, without credit, i’d be stuck in Leeds furiously eating at the Marriott and Manchester United table.
Having seen Leeds at 9pm at the conclusion of a sunny day while being sober reminded me that it is only the drunks who don’t know how they reek and wobble in the Co-op. I felt pressure from two lip licking and eye rolling and simply swearing boys in their early 20’s – I just ignored what was going on in that queue. Everyone but I was in this 9pm haze. I believe the boys were off to a BBQ. They needed sedation.
However, the things I have had to do to try to make ends meet are ridiculous the last few years. It’s all to try to get a job that lasts. I know it’s shit to have to ask her and to put pressure on her, but if I didn’t then I probably have given up trying many years ago. One day all this effort will amount to something: then she’ll feel she helped me accomplish the impossible. How many people does anyone know who would go to the lengths I do to try to make life something worthwhile. I’ve been worthless for 39 years. How long can it last?
Anyway the sun is shining, I’ve a job in St Mawes, something good will come if I just work like I did at Pucelli’s and at Millies. Someone will say ‘hey he works hard and he deserves respect and is worthy’. I hate being worthless. It’s why I don’t sleep. When you hold me up to the light then I am very clearly transparent.
And at a glance our Philip is hardly anything to be compared next to: by her very words he is a financial drain on a very elderly mother: what does he do for anyone? I am trying to do what I do so one day you’ll all be proud of me?
I just picked up a copy of Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. Brill. 99p from charity shop. Just read the first chapter in an instant. The sordid and corrosive underbelly of Paris. Grim and dirty makes you wonder what happens to people to reduce them to such squallor: poverty is a fear.
I will be catching the ferry at 1315 to St Mawes,but sure I am a down and out, and have been since I left for Australia in 1999, even with a job to go to. Funny how I feel written about in this novel/memoirs without realizing I was ever down and out before. This must be why I snigger in my hands to this feeling that the world always suffers the same.
I’ve known that fear of being unable to do anything for the last year or so. The funds I used to savage regularly either a credit card, a loan or borrowing from family and friends is now famined and reduced to a big naught so I purloin a credit card I can’t really use as mother will rage at me and I’ll feel weak and pointless having to bank up an unreal debt.
I currently can’t afford any bills, I have decided I will deal with them by the end if May if this job in St Mawes works out. I know it’s a matter of just slaving for 5 to 6 months.
I am a slave, but without some few coins to carry me from slumber to twilight I can’t be fettered to the system. I’m a none person and real underclass and i wander from café to café dunking my silent pain au raisin and being silent in my rotting chair.
Being close to zero is a state I’ve been in since 1999…and 2007 and bankruptcy. I’m a slave without the means to act like a slave should.
I am in Jam in Falmouth and now two wizened ladies with high pitched voices cluttered to my left and to my right a turquoise octogenarian stands on a window sill waving frantically and one of the ladies to the left lady talks to noone and apologizes for talking to noone, but continues talking to noone. I feel like this is an insane revelation: who was she appologising for? I photo’d them in the flurry of greycurls. She reminds me of a hamster or a Enid Blyton caricature of a hamster. Yet she can’t stop the reverence to nothing. In a Cornish prose mutters into a Bodum cup hearing the echo of coffee grounds.
32 the high street.
This is the old housekeeper in ’10’, Dudley Moore’s only rot free film, farting free.
Michael Chapman 1970 on harvest on the player.
I descend to clear my bowels for the 4th time today and then venture for truffles a la Cornwall: ubiquitous pasties(Veggie and Reggae Reggae).
Now we bob and weave on the Falmouth to St. Mawes ferry. I pay the ferryman to cross to heaven?
The wind is up. The clouds are coming from Bodmin Moor. Oh April how a day changes you?
I arrived in St Mawes with a dwindling flow of cash. I am a fiver off this fundamental zero. I have nothing I can do to increase this amount.
I just need to feel fundamental.
So mark the fax for the yellow team.
Wondered along the coves from Gyllyngvase, Swanpool to Maenporth. I exchanged words with a naturalist to get me back on the oft tread path having dropped off the coastal route too early. Scrambled up and used some ropes to clamber back on to the coastal path. I followed one person all the way almost until she took one of the hidden paths. What an ass. And now I trot back to Swanpool.
Oh, how I wish the whole family lived near this beautiful place. A snoop dog is scamping on Gyllyngvase beach.
I’ve just found this lively palm infested park off from the beach. The weather is bliss. I need to sort my head out and make a real go of tomorrow rather than thus feeling if impending doom. Queen Mary’s gardens I just asked a leather faced fellow reader.
It’ll never happen as a whole segment of my age is so woebegotten.
The song is what a difference a day makes. Such a cliche but Wednesday is a bleak windy affair. It would be easy to forget the last couple of weeks. The wind is blowing north easterly up the river Percuil. The ferry will bob and rock. I start at 2pm and I suppose on a day like this it’s a matter of rolling up my sleeves and working like a man possessed. You can’t feel like you’re missing things on a choppy hurricane of a day.