Tuesday, March 20, 2012


As any reader of this drivel will be fully aware by now, I spend quite a lot of time each day simply wandering around the place in liberty and unfettered abandon, making up for the years of restricted movement elsewhere. (Ha! Several elsewheres really - forty-eight of them in fact.)

So, I wander about the place. I get up at my leisure each day (although I am always fully operational by seven in the morning) and begin my daily stint of perambulations normally around eight-thirty in the ack emma, as they say in military circles. These nomadic wanderings take me to many varied and exotic locations, such as going to see how Rambo the gigantic pig is doing, hand-feeding a ram which, for reasons of its own, runs to see me as soon as I appear on the scene. Actually, it's a strange creature. I arrive at its little field/enclosure, which it shares with half a dozen of the farm's healthy but disgustingly filthy rams, and as soon as I shout, "Come on!" it runs across to the fence, tries to climb over and I pull up tufts of grass and feed it. Others come too, of course, but they are kind of reluctant to take the fodder from my hand. The ram slobbers all over me so I've probably got all manner of diseases by now, such as scrapie, whatever that is. Anyway, when I get fed up of pulling up grass, I usually scratch his head for him for a short while and wander off about my daily  rounds.

I go to several places where I know folk and have a few words, I go to the library, places like that. I also run into quite a lot of people who say, "Hello" in passing and from time to time I stop and have little conversations with someone I've run into. It is one such conversation that has attracted my attention this week and, seeing as I am not allowed to name anyone, I won't. However, as will become blatantly obvious from the narrative, this person was a fellow of importance in the grand scheme of things here at the Home for Gay Sailors.

There I was the other day, just having departed from feeding the friendly ram and shaking the slobber off my hand, when I ran into this important fellow who, for obvious reasons, will be henceforth referred to as "The Important Fellow". (See - I don't use people's names!)

"Ah!" said this fellow. "Good morning."

"And a good morning to you," says I, not one to be outdone for manners. "How 'r' ye?"

"I'm fine," said he. "Can I ask, why is it that every time I see you you seem to be very smartly dressed and wandering around doing nothing?"

"Ah," said I. "I can help you there. I'm just lucky."

This reply seemed to disconcert him a little because he went on to ask, "What do you do all day?"

Me: "As little as possible."

That reply didn't go down too well either. "What is your job?"

"I haven't got one," said I. "I'm a member of the idle poor."

"You haven't got a job?" said he. "How long have you been here?"

"Since December the twenty-ninth," I replied pleasantly.

"And you haven't got a job!" said he. "Why not?"

"I can help you there too," said I. "I'm retired."

"Retired?" said he. "How old are you?"

"Sixty-five," replied myself.

"Sixty-five? Are you sure?"

I sniffed deeply. "I think so."

Clearly "The Important Fellow" had psyched himself up to give me gainful employment at the very first opportunity AND give a right royal bollocking to whoever was allowing me to do nothing. Having been informed that I am retired killed that plan.

"Oh," said he. "Are you enjoying the leisure?"

"Well," said I, "it's better than what I was used to."

"Fine, fine," said he. "Well, carry on."

"I'm managing stress," said I.

"Managing stress?" said he. "You don't look stressed to me."

"Must be working then, eh?" said I and smiled my usual grin.

He just grunted and went on his way.

As I continued my wanderings it occurred to me that he hadn't asked me my name - he KNEW!  Well, well, well. It's true - a fellow never knows what is or isn't being said behind the scenes - do we?

The Voice In The Wilderness

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