The Billy Bud Un-Familiar Face is Returning.



The thing about VeeDub buses is their character. And the main part of that character for me, lies in this full front aspect. It’s the bit that brings smiles to the faces of the people who see them. You get so many different individual looking buses by the way they present themselves all over. Inside, outside, front to back, side to side, up top and down bottom. People finish them with so much individuality that no two look the same. And that extends when you think of types. T2 Splittie, Bay, T25, T4 and 5’s. But, the mainstay is that face. The simplicity of iconic design.


Whether it has a spare wheel or bull bars on the front or not can change the appearance though. Or if it has one of those ‘bra’s’. Or windscreen mesh canopy, eyelashes, extra fog lights or a couple or more transfer stickers. Me? I love the simple clean outside original look and let the inside do the ‘this is the individual ‘Me, Sputnik Billy Bud’, look’. Extras for outside? Not for me. Maybe a roof rack looks really cool with old trunks and rusty petrol cans up top. But with the miles per gallon petrol considerations, I reckon the cleaner the better. Wind resistance and all that. Also, the  spare wheel up on the front?

When I bought Sputty Billy, it did have this spare wheel up front arrangement. But, in the unfortunate possibility of a front smash impact crash? Dangerous. The wheel sticks out further than the bumper and the bumper has a purpose. It collapses and you avoid the whole of the front buckling. If the wheel is the first to hit something? It pushes the whole front panel inwards. So, simplicity in all it’s glory for me.

So, we’re getting there. Billy is coming along nicely. Inside considerations at present too. Need some curtains, throws, sleeping essentials, cushions, my metal merchant seaman box filled with simple survival essentials and a jute mat to gather dirt, snow and sand that can be smacked off with a carpet beater. A few books, a cassette player, gentle lighting, a foldaway table and chairs. Oh! And a survival toolkit.

Then, we’ll be “Off (on the) Road to Everywhere”.

That should keep Sputnik Billy smiling.



The Whistling Song for the Day



I remember watching ‘The Good Life’ and was fascinated by Tom’s chirpy little whistle. Every time I’d finished watching an episode, I never hummed that catchy theme tune at the start afterwards. I’d always whistle that little trill. Even though he may not have whistled it in a ‘just watched’ episode. Years and years later, I came across a Richard Briers interview. He divulged that the tune was from the song Somewhere over the Rainbow. I was gobsmacked. How come I never realised? The bit that goes:

’If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, Why oh why can’t I?’

Why hadn’t I realised? He whistles half of it. Omits the ending. Which would have made the penny drop. Strange. It’s an incomplete tune for what he dreams and hopes will become a complete lifestyle. Does he have reservations, nerves, it may collapse, fail. Doubts? Worriesome thoughts that they may not ultimately succeed. So he stops half way through unintentionally without realising why. Why that tune? It was certainly linked to his lifestyle choices I’d like to believe. It was his choice for inclusion in the sitcom. Not John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, the writers. An inner psychological inclusion, brought out in melody/lyric form, of his wishes to escape the normality and everyday trudge of life. I’d whistle that little ditty all day long.

I often whistle a song which pops into my head, from out of nowhere, during the day and suddenly realise it’s linked to my situation at the time. A scenario that has just happened or thoughts to what may be experienced later. Usually the sentiment comes from one line of lyric. Not the overall meaning of the song. A line of tune that stabs at that moment in time. If I’m experiencing abdominal discomfort from surgery I once had? Nilsson’s ‘Coconut’ song pops into my head. Every time. A couple of days ago I kept humming, whistling and singing  ‘Follow the Sun’ by the Beatles after a hard day at work? ‘One day, you’ll look, to see I’ve gone, for tomorrow may rain so….I’ll follow the sun’. Escaping the job.

I don’t go around whistling outright. Loud, get on your nerves whistling. Usually alone in a task and not a true whistle. Why? Because I can’t whistle anymore. I’ve lost the capability. Gone forever. Wind with slight gentle rasp whistle inclusion is my extent nowadays. No loud volume. Just hushed and self healing noise for the mind.

Today? This is my whistling song for the day. I thought of Slim Whitman through a process of thoughts that began with an alien film we watched last night on Netflix. Well ‘Extinction’ wasn’t an alien film, but it made you think it was at the start. SPOILER. It was humans dressed like aliens. Then the Tim Burton film ‘Mars Attacks’ came into my head. And what kills the Tim Burton comic yet hostile aliens? Slim Whitman’s music. I was very offended! Slim Whitman is one of a few singers that can make me cry. You’d think a voice as pure as his would be clinically and emotionally sterile. No way. Emotion in the voice is portrayed in many ways.

Lyrical content can hit a spot inside your mind that blows you away. I remember sitting in my car, tears rolling down my cheeks when I heard a Morrissey song. ‘Please, please, please, let me get what I want’ and it caught me at a low ebb.

‘See the life I’ve had…..can make a good man….bad’. THAT line.

Oh! Sorry got diverted. Back again to today? ‘Rose Marie’, is a beautiful song. Just a heartfelt love story of one’s feelings of another. I was fascinated by the Andy Kaufman rendition. The presented imagery and initial laughter. Then the song begins and blows the whole comic experience apart. Suddenly, the song becomes everything. No more laughter. Just the song and it’s sentiment. Andy Kaufman genius. Read into this little story what you will. He’s done this for a reason. And you can enquire into your own analysis.

Back to ‘Whistling’. So…….I sat there one morning with my brothers old guitar from the 1980s. A cheap little affair with his original strings on it. And sat looking at the childrens’ goldfish. I thought of them whistling their own song for the day. And I quickly wrote and whistled this little tune. I’d forgotten all about it. Made me laugh at the timing when the fish at the end kisses stone.


So. Nice links below to get you whistling. Mind you. Some are pretty sinister. Wild child? Never heard of them until I began looking for this whistling topic through links on the internet. What a great band! I tapped into about half a dozen of their songs on YouTube. I reckon I’ll buy a few of their CDs.

First link below is pretty neat with lots of whistling song links.

These are direct to: American Horror Story……..very uncomfortable, but absolutely worth watching.


Window into Faerie Land


Your view of the world creeps up on you unchallenged. ‘Hey’! You say. ‘Not the same! Nah! Not the same. I could see much more way back when. Damn stuff has got in the way. Clouded and impacted on my vision out there’.

I moved to Wales 24 years ago. Visitors marvelled at the views from the house. Wherever they sat. Out front? The distant sea, Aberdovey and the bay to the right, the wetland bogs before Borth to the left. Out back? The forests and fields. Forests on a massive hillside leading to Bedd Taliesin (Taliesin’s Grave). The fields full of bleating sheep and clucking hens and chickens. We see it all from the immediate surroundings of our house. High up in the back garden. Low down at the side and front of the house.

Time rolls by and Mother Nature does it’s thing……and simply grows and expands. But. At first considerations…..In the immediate surroundings. The beech tree grows taller/wider. The trees and hedges in front of the house and across the road do the same. Out back in the garden? Damson and apple trees get confident and slightly larger. Fruit trees, probably planted in the late 1800s or early 1900s become the focus. You can’t use the word claustrophobia because nature doesn’t work that way. It is there to sit and be wondered at. Apples and damsons growing. Beech tree alive with honey bees a buzzing. We are in a situation of development of the “immediate natural elements and are surrounded by awesome inclusions “.

But……where are those easily accessible distant views now? Hidden. Unless you move your body and seek a different position to look out at the “what once was”. What’s wrong with moving from your comfort zone? I and visitors no longer see the same views. But move out of our safe haven and seek a different perspective? Walk down the village, left up a staircase of a track, steep, relentless and loves to take the breath from your lungs, right along a forestry path, up into the shadows of trees, silent footsteps in the thick fall of leaves and evergreen brown needles, out into a glade and turn. Wow! A collective Wow! What once was, still is. But so different. Same sea, but a wider, deeper stretch in view, same wet bog lands, but a tapestry of rustic colour that presents itself like a quilt on the land. Same estuary, but full with glittering starbursts from the water, and same seaside houses in the distance, but fuller, richer and imagined life teams within their surrounding streets. We’ve reached a higher standpoint with the intentions of looking back from there to a moment in time we all want to remember. And it works. A warmth of rememberance, but seen through new perspective, steeps into the bones, psyche and social comforts. Holistic. No longer restricted by nearby purpose, harmony and development. All encompassing pure joy.

Now? The beauty of nurtured and close by growth which enhances the immediate joy of looking. Whilst those distant loved scenarios have never changed. Always there? So……stay and enjoy the immediate comfort of safe and recognised envelopment/development. And…..move to a different perspective in order to seek the comfort of memories once again! You can never go home again. But you can accept that home is where the heart is.

What I’m trying to say is “Don’t destroy what is nurturing before your eyes just to get at the memories of the past. Change your way of thinking. Shift perspective and move to a place where you can still find sustenance in the past which never really changes. And look at what is growing and developing before you”.

I am not going to remove a Beech tree of beauty, a collective of fruit trees or ask the neighbours to trim their hedges to see the beauty of once was. I’ll simply move myself to a different spot. The view was always there, but maybe a bit higher up the hillside. But then, nothing wrong in staying in the same contentment. Because the ultimate? An ever changing sky. Heaven. You can always stay in the same place, look upwards and always look at the beauty of everchanging everyday stories of clouds and the permanence of stars. Well, stars with the odd story to tell of death and birth.


Nearly there.


Today 12th August 2018. Have been on my forum today and catching up historically. Hadn’t realised, but I bought my bus back in 2009. How time flies. Which means I traveled around in her daily for 5 years before I swallowed my disappointment and SORNED the old girl. I had a feeling, because the previous years MOT highlighted rot and rust (R and R…….not, unfortunately R and R = rock and roll). Got it repaired to get her through. But felt it was patch up safely and go. It would last a year. But no longer. Not a great feeling sitting within a bus’s machinations with the possibility of being a dangerous commodity on the road. I knew the next MOT would show more R and R number 1 = the negative kind.

So. I took the decision that I’d bite the bullet and get her off the road. She sat on the driveway for 2 years whilst metal to human exchange of telepathically beating and berating my brain for my not looking at or after her. That is….not at her every time she came into my vision…..but looking the other way. Suddenly the Beech Nut tree to the left of the VeeDub became very interesting. I simply ignored the presence of my, once, pride and joy. No longer my VeeDub Sputnik (fellow traveller). She became my cast aside. Actually….I couldn’t look her in the eye, so parked her right up against a wall. Her view for 2 years was that, as said, cream coloured wall. Where once was Mother Nature through the headlight eyes on the daily journeys, was now a badly painted breeze block monstrosity. A scenario akin to Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’. Two years of Sputnik’s mechanical reflection and meditation? Like circling the Earth, looking at either the stars or the blackness in between. Enlightenment or emptiness? I suppose the Old Girl has more insight into life than I will never/ever have. I’d like to think she looked at the stars….and also appreciated the blackness for forced relaxation, insight and the seeking of the unfathomed unknowing. Nothing and yet…..everything. Yin and yang.

So…….Everyday I looked at the back end of the bus and let the close proximity of the overgrown hedge provide an excuse for my not getting into the inside of the bus to check her over. Wall only vision and, as said, a subsequent profound insight that the bus would learn of an A to Z  (Antar mouna to Zen) Buddhist enlightenment was a hoped for. When the VeeDub was roadworthy? It would have a vision of peace and understanding.

But…reality bites. So, back to reality. My granddaughter loved the bus. After 2 years SORNED I opened the drivers door to let her look in……and she screamed. Wouldn’t go inside. Wouldn’t even put a foot down to touch the bus. I felt really sorry for my granddaughter. I’d let her down. I also felt really sorry for the VeeDub. Since when did metal and all the inherents become a heartfelt “Sorry, I’ve let you down”. Alongside? “Sorry Granddaughter. I’ve let you down too”. My granddaughter wouldn’t touch the bus. My bus wouldn’t be what she once was and be a memory of loveliness. Just smelled damp and horrid. Despite all the promises and cajoling in the world. A trip to Aberystwyth McDonalds. Even Honey Nut loops or Chocolate Krispies for breakfast instead of lumpy ReadyBrek failed. Not the bus. They don’t like Burgers or eat Kellog’s….they eat oil, petrol, money and human belief in the German philosophy of “it’ll last forever dreamlike status”. My granddaughter needed reassurance. It’s fine. It’s the old campervan you loved. NO WAY!! No way are my feet touching this monstrosity. OMG. If Kellog’s and the ultimate promise of McDonalds failed, then a big decision would have to be made. Do I get rid? Or repair?

I’ve spoken of this before, so you know that repair was the decision. And now?

Just look at the result up to now. It’s an absolute joy. My granddaughter will be over the moon. As will her brother, new sister and cousins. I await verbally exclaimed descriptions from the grandkids of the ‘through a child’s eyes and wonder’ kind. Probably?………Well………You can’t think like a child can you? Maybe it’ll be of the nature of……”Fliff/Flaff/Floff, Screemy Weemy, It’s a……..Bus!!! Or, Oh my gosh…that’s an improvement I must say” or words of that similar kind. By the way….Previous threads show the inside. Now all that needs doing to finish the renovation process?

From the Guru Paul who is renovating the bus:

“It’s just a good polish, fit the doors, glass and lights bumpers and rubbers….. fingers crossed all done!!!!”

However….words, real or granddaughter imaginary, are not enough. So here are the photos.

I’ll go with an accompanied by a Rik Mayall Frumph…….

Fliff, Flaff, Floff !!! Why? Because the old girl is akin to the Phoenix rising from the ashes. Essentially………rebirth. And it’s what my youngest grandchild would probably say.




Optimistically Imaginative to Deep Melancholy.

Concerning? Self seeking ambitions and interests and being quietly independent.

You pick up books, vinyl or cassette tapes, a guitar, clay to sculpture, pen and paper, a camera with film, go to college and university with an inquisitive mind, you read sign language and anatomy, physiology and pathology books.

Books. There for life. Endless books and journeys to who knows where. Tolkien, H G Wells, Conan Doyle, and so very many more. Earlier in life, Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton, Dickens, and again, so very many more. Words that beautifully haunt your life.

Vinyl or cassette tapes. You’ve listened to both, the music has been ever present in your life. CD and MP3 format a poor substitute because the unique qualities of vinyl and tape have a sound that imprints into your psyche and never leaves. Melody’s that beautifully haunt your life.

Guitar. You write songs, you learn others’ songs, play local pubs, improve enthusiastically, go on tour, ambition to reach for the stars. Tunes, self penned, that beautifully haunt your life.

Clay. You make Celtic inspired pieces, buy a kiln, go to craft fares, have exhibitions, write poetry, stories about your clay characters and get them printed. Imagery, self made, that beautifully haunts your life.

Camera. You use only film because you believe in the magical Latent Imagery concept, build a photography darkroom, read all about iconic photographers out there, and avidly seek the photograph that mind blows. Exhibit your work in galleries. Scenes of nature that beautifully haunt your life.

College. You go to learn British Sign Language. It takes 5 years of your life in learning within college walls, both part time and full time. Support students in their educational experiences. You chase to improve your skills daily and are self critical. But still you swallow your angst and try. Learning that beautifully haunts your life.

University. You seek to become a Staff Nurse. 3 years of your life in University, Community and the Hospital wards. You chase to improve your skills on a daily basis. You are a Staff Nurse. Still self critical. But also have criticism thrust upon you from the media and how nurses are viewed nowadays. You’re daily experience always involves fear and self realised vulnerability. But still swallow your angst and try. Skills that beautifully haunt your life.

So, as always, I place the Buddha statue alongside tinkling bells, singing bowls, background silence, nature’s sound dance or gentle music, light resins or joss sticks and meditate to my best ability. But. Meditation, reflection and realising inner peace no longer work. They’re gone. All have been replaced with something else. Melancholy.

Where once was hope, imagination, ambition, independence, artistic seeking, the friendship in the nature of books, writing and music. Recently? Within the last two years probably. It has been replaced. No longer to pick up a book and actually finish it. No longer put music on and truly listen to it. No longer write a song and get past writing lyrics to the first verse and chorus. And such horribly negative lyrics too on reflection. No longer pick up a camera and seek interest as to what lay before my eyes. No longer seeking to avidly learn following my Masters Degree experience. Get by day to day and sigh with relief that I’ve actually got to the end of yet another day. Day’s are now simply lost endeavours. They come. They go.

So. I suppose I am either at a stage of deep, deep melancholy. Or maybe just an older person with a free bus pass who has just shrugged his shoulders and said to himself:

“Enough of seeking. There’s a lot to be said in simply sitting in the moment, drinking good coffee, eating great biscuits, drinking good bourbon, smoking decent pipe tobacco and simply looking at the trees and stars”.

Facetime, Emails and new promise.

Sometimes I find myself at get together birthday, wedding, works do parties. Trying to listen. Asking for enquiry. Or. Replying to broad spectrum statements from others. With no indication of them having heard. Certainly no confirmation responses. Maybe a nod, a shrug or a turning of the head to look elsewhere. Maybe my low voice frequency, external overwhelming noise or the others you are chatting, nay shouting to, are in a state of excitement or intoxicating alcohol induced lack of focus. The conversation exchange should be given up as a frustrating exercise. It’s like this at party’s where the disco is so loud you can shout yourself hoarse. If it were a music band, then there is focus. So, I sit and sink back into reverie. I’ve never been an interested watcher. A people watcher. So, the party becomes one of a strange waiting game. Waiting for it to finish and then go home. Unless you dance. I don’t dance. I don’t find Dad dancing style a nice experience. People video you and chuck it onto Facebook so people can laugh.

If I have my profoundly Deaf nephew at the party? Then, my sign language skill is being used in order to communicate with my nephew. Suddenly I notice eyes on our interaction. Visual interest with the onlookers having, possibly, no idea of conversational content. But they still look. My family sign. So we, as a family, suddenly all communicate. Despite the noise. It’s a shame there is no universal understanding. How enriching it would be. Talking universally. And more intimately. Chatting at parties.

I remember accompanying a profoundly Deaf friend to Bristol and being the interpreter for him at an assessment process so he could join a Circus for Performing Arts. He paid me by paying for some egg, chips and peas in a Fish and Chip shop/restaurant. Two older ladies sat at the next table making statements. “Ah! Look at them. Isn’t it wonderful that they can talk to each other. Looks very strange though. All that pulling of faces. A bit off putting isn’t it?” Other comments that made me feel I was observed as an oddity. I spoke of what they were saying to my friend. He just smiled and laughed. “That’s the way it is…..always” he says. With his hands. Three signs. “Happens always same” accompanied with a world weary smile and a shrug of the shoulders.

At the end of the meal, we stood to go. I smiled at the two ladies. “They make superb chips don’t they?” I said to them. “Yes they do”, one replied. Not an insight, jaw drop or blush or stammer of awareness of the way they had spoken. I often wonder if the penny dropped later.

A voice is a powerful tool. Words are powerful tools. Sign language is also a powerful tool. I have supported students through their courses in both Further and Higher education. I have argued with lecturers for long periods regarding my voice overs of, what was then, video presentations from Deaf students. They watch the visual expression of British Sign Language and it’s own conceptual inclusions and try to link it to the recorded spoken word accompanying the video presentation. My translations were based on both the manual hand shapes vocabulary signs and visual non manual features. If they described sadness, confusion, happiness, shock, interest, etc. then the facial expression would be presented as to the enormity of those feelings. Placement, directional verbs, timelines, question techniques, plurality, orientation, direction and perfection of hand shapes. This, when translated over to an English format, invariably confused lecturers and teachers. Once I explained the grammar process, their inquisitive minds became fascinated.

So, why the title ‘Facetime, emails and new promise?’ Because the Deaf community now have access to each other and are able to get on with their lives. Immediacy in the new, modern world and how it has developed. When I was employed in the field, it was all Minicom telephone typing if you had no face to face opportunity. Wonderful thing technology. And those chips did taste good, despite the close company sitting at the next table.


Once again…we lose. Or do we? England’s 2018 World Cup? We could of, and in reality, should have reached the final. Does it matter? It does and doesn’t. Why? Because football is a matter of excitement, disappointment, analysis, reflective insights and future hoped for’s. When I was playing football in my teens, I was pretty decent. I enjoyed the sport. It was a collective of emotional turmoil. All dependant on the moment. We won and lost. But reflection was on my improvement and how the team supported each other. One or two players were weak. But support from the surrounding players gave those players belief. A few more were consistent. And the standouts were simply that. Standouts. Where did I play? School team, over on the local fields with local street teams and the Cub Scout tournament. I was a cub. It became a Life changer? Why the cubs or, in fact, hopeful future scouts?

To explain…….I was a cub, in the 90th pack, awaiting to go up to the scouts. We played the 80th pack in the tournaments final. We won. The outcome of one 80th pack adult’s intentions to seek out an answer to escape football and competition failure and disappointment? An episode of disbelief. Of…..’What?’ An adult seeking someone or something to blame for their loss. Result from the enquiry? I didn’t bother becoming a scout. Why? Nasty taste after the politics. In the cubs, as said, we won the tournament final. My younger brother alongside me, we scored a fair few goals. Him the most. The opposition team (the 80th), the team we played in the final, found I was 11 days too old according to the rules, complained and a replay was the result. That’s when I realised there were sore losers. Ideology, excitement of 11 players (children) winning and the fact an adult chose to challenge the system because they LOST, was a bit of a life changer. For all concerned. Firstly, my team mates. Because my friends in the cubs had to play again. And this time they lost the match. Success was torn from them. And me because I was portrayed a cheat. An unknowing cheat. But a cheat nonetheless. Because those 11 days turned me into Pele apparently. I was so influential, because I was practically an 11 year old adult, that it was deemed unfair. Can’t remember ages of what cubs or scouts should be. A team mate, born 14 days earlier to me was still a cub child! Losers? Went by the rules and not the moment. And certainly not with children’s psychology. I didn’t intentionally go into the match knowing I was a week and a half over age according to the rules. I went into the match as a cub. Not a scout. Pathetic is the adult who actually inquired into all inherent as to repair the damage that the 80th NEVER lost. They didn’t lose. They were deemed the best! And no longer so? Seek something to change all that. What mind looks into finding something that changes outcomes. Especially one that affects childrens’ euphoria. Very, very sad. They actually LOST. Unthinkable. Blame a boy who has the actual temerity to be 11 days over age. Thanks for that. You deemed me a cheat. Not the adult who ran the 90th, my team, who didn’t intentionally or knowingly put me into the team. We were all unknowing.

Roy’s goal above. He scores a goal to be remembered. Sod the score line. It is a beautiful thing to behold. Seek one positive in the negatives. England played some great football this tournament. So. I’ll remember the positives and know that those experiences will make the players stronger for the next matches.

So, what does this all mean? It highlights for me the complexities of football and the rules. The inconsistency of decision making. A high extended dangerous ‘possible kick in the face from a foot’ goal by Croatia and a decision of ‘it was OK and valid’ by the same referee who sent Nani off for a similar high foot intervention challenge in a champion’s league match between Manchester United and Real Madrid shows exactly that. One rule for one. One rule for another. Does it matter? Not really. Because that’s what football and life is about. A collective where individual inconsistency and injustice is highlighted. Because everything is captured on film we can reflect and moan. But there’s no point. What is done is done. Move on.

We then reflect of what might have been. Not the collective 90 minutes of to and fro. But individual actions that damage psyche. All we need to do is accept and carry on. Injustice? Hopefully justice eventually outweighs it. We can but hope. You can’t analyse or determine. So much depends on ‘luck’. So much depends on strange decisions. VAR even gets it wrong on analysis and reflection. You just have to sometimes accept. And move on. The next championships? England? We’ll be European champions. Unless sore losers are inherent.