Grandad smokes pot. Shuffling words for lost men.


Grandad smokes pot – three words, but how much information do they impart? I found seven meanings to ponder: a man who is old has children who have children he smokes forbidden substances Here’s my memory of my father’s step-father. He should have smoked pot, when crippled with arthritis, after a life of work, tooContinue reading “Grandad smokes pot. Shuffling words for lost men.”

She Knew


Because we were not blood related, I listened. Because I am British, she thought she owed an explanation. I knew she grew up near Königsberg, then Germany’s most eastern city, now called Kaliningrad, now Russia’s most westerly. I knew she was married for 2 weeks before her husband fell, that she conceived a daughter inContinue reading “She Knew”

Gift – Or imagining the dark side.


We are writers. Imagination is our most powerful gift. Imagine the impossible – being a Spitfire pilot in a dogfight, being your sister, especially if you don’t have a sister. Then you have to imagine her brother or sister, too, who isn’t you. And you can safely imagine your dark side. Crime writers imagine theContinue reading “Gift – Or imagining the dark side.”

Life in a Vauxhall Velox


Camping in the 60s It’s 1961. My dad decides it’s time we see Scotland. We pack our camping stuff. He has 10 days paid leave and our 1953 Vauxhall Velox will carry everything for a family of four for a fortnight. It was a crazy car and he was so proud of it. 2.2 litreContinue reading “Life in a Vauxhall Velox”

Christian Values?


I’d like to tell you about the Reverend Gilbert, or Gobby Gilbert as we children referred to him, due to his predilection for spraying the front dozen rows with saliva during assemblies. Have a look at those jowls in the cricket team picture. He didn’t always soak the first years – only when he becameContinue reading “Christian Values?”

The 60s. Dance Hall Teenage Angst


Dance Hall – A coming of age story. The mirror sphere rotated. It was all my dreams, scattered across walls and ceilings, even the floor, where pretty maids trod on them. Only now, do I realise, their agonies equalled mine. My mate, Bill Prentice said, ‘If you can’t pull off the walls of the CroydonContinue reading “The 60s. Dance Hall Teenage Angst”

60s Teenage Angst 2 – The Red House


The Red House A red house, in Gander Green Lane, was not lost not lost on smart school kids, as a clash of colour identity. ‘I wonder why it’s called Gander Green Lane,’ Paul asked. ‘It sounds like an old name, from the times when one shoed geese to get them to market,’ I offered.Continue reading “60s Teenage Angst 2 – The Red House”

60s Teenage Angst 3 – Workplace


Little Town Blues – or why I became a science teacher. Little Town, Essex. Real name – Stanford-le-Hope. Better named back then, Stanford-no-Hope. A just reminder that the ‘good old days,’ were actually, crap! The pictures of it look great, now! Put Stanford-le-Hope Fertilizers into your search engine and check out images. Not so pretty!Continue reading “60s Teenage Angst 3 – Workplace”

My Grandma was a most amazing girl – part 1


 My grandmother, Aunt Joan and father. (1932) 16 Apr 2016 by 6 Comments  © Clive La Pensée There is a much-loved German children’s song. It starts, ‘Meine Oma fährt im Hühnerstall Motorrad’. Translated freely one gets ‘My Grandma rides her Honda in the henhouse, and the chorus is, ‘My Grandma is a most amazing girl.’Continue reading “My Grandma was a most amazing girl – part 1”

My Grandma was a most amazing girl – part 2


Aunty Joan – #metoo – nothing new! That summer’s day, I saw my great uncle Ray for the last time. I knew I would never see him again, so it was a chance to get a few questions answered. The one I chose to open with received such a baffling and horrific answer, that IContinue reading “My Grandma was a most amazing girl – part 2”