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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

454



In the next quiet patch, Keith said to Jason,
“Ya’d girlfriends too, didn’t ya?”
“Yeah.  And a boyfriend at school.”
“Ya did?  What happened?”
“I think he was just randy.  I don’t know truly.  But he just moved on when he went to varsity.  As if all our intimacy and closeness was nothing. When we met by chance again … he was …. There was nothing between us.  I think I was starting to dislike that upper class stuff even then.  He was married and plump and obsessed with all that—you know, holidays in the right place, the right wife, the right suit, shoes from Church’s.”
“Church’s?”
“They make bespoke brogues.  Two or three thousand pounds a pair.”
“Amazin’.”
“And because of that … shit … I lost Brent.”  Jason was silent for a while.  Keith put his hand on Jason’s back.  It radiated warmth and comfort.
“We all make mistakes,” Keith said.
“That what grandam said when we talked about it at lunch.  But she never made mistakes.”
“OK, mate.  We might not all make mistakes, but we all have regrets, roight?”

“Yes.  True.  Mr Wisdom. Even you?”



Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

453



When Jason got there, The Lord Grey was busy, as it almost always was at that time of the evening.  He started work immediately. 
In a lull, he and Keith rested on the counter, side by side, their bodies touching.  It was comforting to be close to each other, a natural intimacy and companionship.
“D’ya think Cody and Lou will work it out?” asked Keith.
“I dunno.  Cody is bi.  He’ll need women.  Or anyway, lust after them.”
“Well, I like women too.  I dunno.  I kinda think that if my dad hadn’t chucked me out, I’d still be there, straight.”
“I thought he threw you out because you were gay?” asked Jason, close enough to Keith to feel the warmth of his body, to smell his body, fresh and older sweat after a day of work, Keith’s own essence.  Being there with him at that time seemed exactly right.  Perfect. 
“There is that,” conceded Keith.

Their conversation was interrupted by several blokes coming up at the same time to the bar for drinks.  Jason wondered why it always happened like that, like starlings or pigeons.



Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

452



After, they talked of less fraught topics—the perfect autumn weather, the beauty of the scenery, the food and the wine.
On the way home, Lucasta dozed.  Eleanor drove.  She had been careful to have only two glasses of champagne over lunch, so that she was still safe to drive.
“I should get an Ozzie driving licence,” Jason observed.
“Do you have a UK licence?”
“Yes, but it’s not valid here.”
“Yes it is.  For a while, anyway, as far as I know.  Until it expires or until you change citizenship.”
“I didn’t know.  It’s valid for another five years, then.  That’s good news.  I thought I would have to take my driving test again.  All that palaver.”
“Well, you will, but not for the next few years.”
“I’ll be able to borrow Keith’s car.  He doesn’t use it that much because he lives near to the pub.”
“You could borrow this car.”
Jason turned to look at Eleanor.
“You’ve been very kind to me already,” he murmured.
“Nonsense.  It’s a pleasure having you.”
Jason knew she was lonely, and often oppressed by thoughts of Bart and his suicide.  She thinks of me as her son, he thought.  Why not?  She means more to me than my real mother.
He smiled at her.  “Well, when you’re not using it.  But public transport here is so good, like London, I don’t feel the lack of a car.  It’s just that one of these days, I’d like to go and see the countryside, drive up to Sydney.”
“You must take the route along the coast.  It’s quite lovely.  All those deserted beaches.”




Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 

More episodes soon!

I haven't written anything, really, for a while.  Lots of reasons; health, depression, time.  But I am in writing mode again, have written several episodes of Majorca Flats, enough to post one a day for week, and in fact I'll be posting one later today.  Thanks for your patience.

Plus I'm working on another writerly project which has me really enthused.  I'll keep you posted.



Saturday, 13 July 2013

451


“He’s was such a dear lad.  So funny and clever and wise.  But he was, well, sensitive.  No, let me be truthful.  He was a little effeminate.  But such a joy to be with, so bright and lovely.  And then he started to lose his sparkle. At first, you know, I didn’t worry.  Teenagers can be so moody.  It’s such a difficult and awkward time.  But it got worse.  I guessed he was being bullied at school.  I asked him about it but I … I didn’t think I should intervene.  I thought he should be toughened up.  Which is another way of saying, “made more manly”.  May God forgive me!”  She stopped and stared out over the peaceful vineyards.  Very quietly, she said,  “ One day he hanged himself.”
“My dear!” said Lucasta softly and put her hand on the other woman’s. 
Jason watched the two old ladies in silence, wanting, as he had the first time he’d heard the story, to weep, to howl at the universe, to strike and thump the haters.
The waiter arrived with more champagne, and topped up their glasses.
There was a long silence.  At last, Jason said, “Well you both know about me and Brent.”  “My own selfish stupidity!”
Jason didn’t expect either woman to disagree with him.  His grandmother wasn’t the kind of woman not to face facts, and nor was Eleanor.  For all their kindness and compassion there was a bleak resolution at the heart of their characters, the kind of character strength that comes from loss faced with courage. 
His grandmother said, “We all make mistakes, Jason my dear, mistakes which we wish with all our hearts we could undo.”
He smiled at her.  “I don’t believe you ever made a mistake in your life, grandam!”
She just smiled at him.
“Come!” she said.  “Let us toast something and be happy.  To friends and family!”
They raised their glasses and echoed her toast.  The champagne was pale gold in the flutes, and caught the afternoon sun which slanted through the French doors nearby.

 “You are both, to me,” said Jason, looking in turn at the two women.  Very moved, they both raised their glasses to him, but didn’t speak.



Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

450


They all looked at each other, and then smiled simultaneously. 
“We are a silly bunch of plonkers aren’t we?” observed Eleanor.  “Going on an outing and talking of our sorrows.”
“I always mistrusted people who only talk about happy things life is so full of sorrow and what are friends for but to share our losses who else is there?”  Lucasta’s comment was so like her, so elliptical and wandering and yet to the point that Jason couldn’t help smiling at her.
“Don’t die yet, grandam.”
“I’ll try not to,” replied Lucasta drily.
“This visit here brought back memories of my son Bart.  We used to come here often.”

Lucasta looked at Eleanor and her eyes were so kind and wise that Eleanor found herself telling the other woman the whole story.





Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

449


“Yes, I feel that about Bolt, too.”
“I’ll look after him, Eleanor.  You don’t have to worry.”
Eleanor gave him a sad smile.  She had been put into a melancholy mood by the memories which crowded into her head. 
“Well, one day you’ll go back to England,” she said.
“No.  Not to live.  To visit grandam and my sister.  Yes.  But … no.  I want to stay here.  People here … people have made me welcome.  I’ve made some true friends.  Eleanor, I feel at home here.  As if I have a new family.  Who love me for what I am, or anyway, despite what I am, without judging.  You, and Key and Lou and Esmé.  Australians have been so welcoming and kind.”  He looked at his grandmother.  “You know what mum’s like, grandam.”
“So fussed about status and who you know and who you are but in the end what matters is who loves you and who is your friend your real friend.  I loved your grandfather very much but that was more because we were thrown together and I loved him though he could be tiresome but the basis was always love though it helped that we were from the same circles but with you and Brent I could see how much you loved it other and I just wish …”

Jason couldn’t speak.  He smiled at her, his eyes wet.


Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 

Monday, 1 July 2013

448

Esther before Ahasuerus, by Valentin Lefevre


At the vineyard’s restaurant, they talked about neutral simple things until they had all ordered and had a couple of sips of champagne.
Lucasta had seen the hug Jason had given Eleanor, and she’d wondered.  She was too polite to quiz either of them about it.  And Jason didn’t want to say anything—it was Eleanor’s secret.
“I’ve offered to work for a couple of hours at the bar tonight,” he said looking from one face to the other.  “Between nine and eleven.  That’s when it’s busiest and Keith could do with my help.”
“Oh, my dear, I expect we’ll both be in bed when you get back.”
“Well, I’ll try not to wake you up!”  Turning to his grandmother he said, “When I first started to stay at Majorca Flats, Bolt would bark when I came home.  He has such acute hearing, it didn’t matter how quiet I was, he always heard me and would get so excited.  But I managed to train him not to bark.  He’s very intelligent.”
“Fox terriers are,” said his grandmother, “such clever nervy little dogs, almost like people really.  I have some friends who are less intelligent than my own dog.”
Eleanor laughed.  “What sort of dog do you have?”
“A little Pekingese.  I used to have a Siamese cat called Ahasuerus but he died.  Such a dignified and intelligent animal.”
“I remember,” said Jason.  He’d loved Ahasuerus, but Parker had adored the cat, even more than his grandmother.  “Why didn’t you get another cat, grandam?”

“You can’t just go out and buy a new kitten or puppy when you lose the one you’ve got.  They’re not interchangeable, dear.  And anyway I’m old.  I don’t want them to grieve for me when I’m gone.”




Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter 
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