Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Atta Matta

Needless to say there is nothing to say or tell anyone this week - but that's par for the course I suppose - unless you count the fact that my appeal solicitor, that paragon of ineptitude, has written me a two line letter telling me that she will not represent me at the European Court of Human Rights. Oh I can fully understand why she takes that attitude - her inadequacies would be exposed for all to see in no time at all. Well, I've got news for her - they will anyway, it will just take a little longer, that's all.

However, let us not be vindictive. Put that to one side and concentrate on the fact that there is nothing of a positive nature in any direction - sorry about that.

So, there I was, midweek some time, and I got to thinking, as is my wont on a rainy afternoon when I've got bugger-all to do, which is most of the time around the Lazy L. I got to thinking...

Now, thinking and brooding on the ills (real or imaginary) that are done to us are two entirely different kettles of fish. I was thinking, not brooding. I never brood - I don't allow myself that little luxury, as delightful as it may seem. No, I was cogitating, musing and, of course, I was randomly browsing through memories. Well, memories are a safe area, we can adjust things to suit ourselves - selective memories - and there are no surprises in the past, just little things that make us grin from time to time.

A casual observer would have seen my smile and instantly reached for the phone to the men in white coats - but never mind them. I was thinking about my childhood and the characters I either met or saw, from a distance, as a child of six or seven. There were a lot of them around the town of Sunderland in those days. Samson Beresford, the strongest man in the world (according to him), springs to mind,  but I am not going to itemise them all. The one I want to mention is an old woman who wandered the markets and poorer quarters of the town, always dressed in black with her dress down to her ankles and almost covering the black boots she wore. She was, in fact, the epitome of everyone's idea of a witch in a fairy story. (These days, of course, that position has been taken by Boudica, and no doubt she will make me pay for THAT crack. Ah, see if I care...) So, this old lady...

I have no idea what her name was, but everyone called her Atta Matta. She got that name because whenever she saw an unhappy child (and she saw plenty around Sunderland in the early 1950's) she would crouch over the child, wipe his tears and say in a sympathetic voice, "Atta matta, son?" She was a kindly soul I expect - all the time in the world for unhappy children. It's a pity there weren't a few more like her. She will have been dead for years now, of course - Atta Matta was an old lady even in those days.

This got me onto mortality in general and, of course, my own mortality in particular. I start my twenty-sixth year in prison on the 9th of this month and I wonder how many years I've got left. It can't be all that many - I'll be sixty-five this year!

Boudica gets annoyed when I discuss this subject - maybe she is a bit reluctant to face the fact that I am not immortal. Well, I'm not. I might go on a diet, do all the right exercises, stop smoking and all manner of things to prolong my life, but I can never escape my inevitable end - none of us can. But this is no reason to be sad or upset, not a bit of it. I shall get on Charon's ferry when the time comes, hand over my copper fare and, when I get to the other side of the Styx, I shall get off and I will be approached by a figure dressed in a black dress down to her ankles and black boots and she will wipe the tears from my eyes and say, "Atta matta, son?"

The Voice In The Wilderness

No comments: