You may remember back in February this year that I got back in touch with my best mate Jim from childhood.
We used to play together, eat together, occasionally get in fights together, started going to the dancing together .. You get the idea!
Jim was a Rangers fan and I was a Celtic fan, we still are, something’s change but your team remains your team forever.
Did it make any difference when we were growing up and some bigger boys tried to steal our ball?
Did it heck!
We ran away just like everyone else!!
Anyhoo Jim and I lost touch when we were about 20, life just seemed to get in the way and back then we didn’t have mobile phones or Facebook.
When I contacted him I was going to see The Stranglers who were the first band we saw as kids.
I wondered if he was going, but as it turned out he was going camping with his brother Tommy up to Tighnabruich were we used to go as kids, cycling from Dunoon on a 30 mile journey along a few mountain roads and around the hilly coastline that would challenge the Tour De France with our fishing rods on the bar and our tents and gear on our backs, including a load of canned food that my mum packed for me.
The thought of it!! 🙂
I can remember listening to The Stranglers and The Sex Pistols, pogo-ing round the campfire on the beach and slagging Tommy for his love of Elton John.
Back in Feb, Jim said that I’d be welcome to come along another time.
So tonight is that time and I’m looking forward to catching up with my childhood pals after a gap of almost 30 years and a whole lot of living.
Just remembered that on one of our fortnight stints there, probably the first one aged 16, we were fishing for mackerel off Tighnabruich pier when the paddle steamer The Waverley came in on a trip down from Glasgow … It was a fine sight to see coming up The Kyles Of Bute and docking in this relatively small pier.
We had to wait on the passengers getting off before we could continue fishing.
And there they were .. my mum dad and brothers down to see how I was doing.
Woke up this morning, another song from back in the day still stuck in my head, maybe because Sky Arts were playing a feature on The Cure.
Or maybe because I’m reminiscing and looking forward to meeting old pals.
I will confess to being a little anxious about spending so much time with them after such a long gap.
I’m staying positive and I’m sure everything will be fine.
Let’s hope that Nostalgia is what it used to be!
Actually with further thoughts on this, it wasn’t just Jim, Tommy and myself that did these yearly trips to Tighnabruich.
There was also George, Georges older brother Robert, his mate Gerry who was a mad Irishman and had joined the Marines..
And last not but not least Hammy.
Hammy was a case, small, fat and his father, a drunken bitter bully of a man beat him frequently.
But the wee man’s spirit was insurmountable or so it seemed at the time, he was a bit mad, latched on to the latest crazes and didn’t let his father get to him.
With hindsight it did, the crazes and being a daftie were attention seeking .. I wish I’d known then.
George joined the marines with Gerry and then joined another regiment and disappeared never to be seen again.
Tommy, Jim and I got married, all pretty young and our lives moved on.
Hammy, disappeared into drugs, drink and chasing women that didn’t want him.
One day in the late 80s, I met his mum who told me that he had attempted suicide, pouring a can of petrol over himself and setting it alight.
Fortunately he was saved by a couple of workers who ran from a building site into the park to douse the flames.
I went to see him at the hospital, just me and him at the time and he told me the story of the girl he loved that didn’t love him back.
It was tragic.
Later, Hammy on the serious painkiller Tarmizipan turned up at my door a few times wanting to talk.
By this time Alison was pregnant and expecting our first born Steven, now 25.
Alison didn’t like Hammy, she was a bit frightened by him and didn’t want him coming to the house.
For a while I’d go and see him in his dodgy bedsit flat, but we were so different by then that there was nothing left of the boy I used to know.
Feeling a bit sad writing this ..
Just had a text from Tommy, George and him are still in touch every now and then.
Hammy hasn’t been heard of since 98.
The above has all the makings of a Ken Loach film