This post was updated on .
My friends impress me, perhaps that's why they're my friends, and one such is the oft mentioned, John McEntee, aka Maxi. He'll have no recollection of a small incident that took place outside our village hall in the mid 1960's, but it has always stayed in my mind. One of the chaps was boasting about his previous nights conquest with a local lass, when Maxi firmly told him to be quiet. "She's a nice girl," John said, "if you struck lucky, keep it to yourself!" That was Maxi's creed and the boasting man recognised the menace in his tone of voice. So he wisely changed the subject, he may have lacked scruples, but he was not a fool. I'm in accord with Maxi's mode of thought and so this tale of my early girlfriends will always be respectful!
On his recent visit to me, Chris Bushell, aka Bush, told me that a girl from our school days had joined his bowls club and her name was Madeline Newman. When Bush asked if I remembered the lady I inwardly smiled but, my other visitor, Colin Bowbrick, aka Bojey, outwardly laughed at the question. Bojey went on to say how besotted I had once been with the lovely girl we all called Madge Newman. He added that I was not alone in my admiration for her, for all the boys seemed to like young Madge. He remarked how I was always taking sweets to give to her at school and she was all I wanted to talk about. My affection for her continued throughout my entire primary school days and I recall the excitement the ten year old me felt when a boy called Pat May, aka Yam, said he had a message for me from Madge. To my delight he informed me that she wanted to meet me that evening at a place of romantic renown known to us all as the Dell!
At the appointed time I entered the copse that was part of the grounds of a large house called, Thanescroft, and I made my way to the small wooden hut we all called the Dell. Everything was perfect, right down to the warm breeze of that early summer evening, only one thing was missing, Madge Newman! Of course, after waiting for an hour, I realised that I'd been duped by that bloody Yam and I went home sad and angry. I remember seeing Yam at playtime the next day and I can still see his grin as he asked me how I'd got on. When I told him I hadn't gone, the lying sod said Madge would be disappointed. Later he even came back with another, made up, message, saying she still wanted to meet. The years passed and I've forgiven Yam, but I do regret that I never even got to play kiss chase with the first big crush of my life, Madge Newman!
Life went on and I had many girls I could call friends but, at the age of thirteen, I was yet to have a what I could call a girlfriend. Around this time our form teacher, a Mr. McCormack, discovered that a couple of the class dim-wits achieved maths results identical to mine and he punished me for letting them cheat. I don't know if Mr. McCormack secretly liked me, but his punishment took the form of making me sit between two girls, one was Margaret Oliver and the other was Linda Hart. Both these girls were delightful, both in looks and personality, and I happily sat with them for the rest of my school days, but neither was fated to become my first girlfriend. However, I didn't have to wait long for that magical adventure to start and it did, thanks to my friend Peter Thompson's date with a new girl to the village. Her name was Virginia Setford and Pete and I were walking along, Long Common, with her and her older sister. I was tagging along because I had nothing better to do and I had no romantic thoughts in my head at all. Virginia was Peter's, if she wanted him, and I knew that the older girl, called Stephanie, was out of my league, she had boobs for heavens sake.
I can recall exactly where we were on the long path that cut away from, Long Common, and led towards the Church, when Stephanie complained of being cold. I immediately took of my coat and placed it around her shoulders and, looking surprised, she said, "How very gallant." In truth, I wasn't quite sure what the word meant, but she looked happy and so was I. That simple act changed everything, for Stephanie was suddenly different towards me. As the walk went on, we quickly lost the other two and somehow we were holding hands. She was easy to talk to and by the time we'd reached her gate, I'd found myself asking if I could see her again that evening. She said Yes and, out of the blue, I realised I'd got myself my first girlfriend!
What she saw in me I still don't know, for physically she was far more mature than I. The comedian, Al Murray, would have said, "Blimey mate, you're punching above your weight!" and he'd have been right. However, Stephanie and I were to stay together until just after my fifteenth birthday and I have the happiest memories of our teenage romance. Bojey remarked, at our recent get together, how I was always around Stephanie's house, and I was. I was aware of the kudos I'd gained by having this curvaceous girlfriend but I was just grateful for meeting someone so nice. In the months that followed she and I'd sit together daily on the school bus and within minutes of getting home we'd be together again. I liked her parents and she liked mine, but the most important thing was we so liked each other. I recall with great affection being made welcome whenever we visited my sister Dot in her caravan home in the nearby village of Shalford. I also have great memories of being together on Shalfold's Funfair days and of the music they played by Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly, Adam, Cliff and Elvis. I'm so very pleased that I once gallantly loaned Stephanie Setford my coat!
I did have quite a few girlfriends over the years for, if I liked someone, I was not shy in asking them out. I think, if truth be told, I've had more girls not turn up for dates than most men but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have, however, one last success story to tell that my old friend, Georgie Bush, now recalls with amusement, although it wasn't thus on the day it happened. My friends anger was shown in his uniquely traditional manner on an evening that had started so well. It began at a party he'd been invited to and, not wanting to go alone, he'd invited me. On arrival we found there were only two unattached girls and before long we were chatting to them. The trouble was I'd quickly surmised that one of the girls was tuppence short of a shilling, not the brightest button that ever shone. Her friend, however, shone like a movie star. She was funny and truly beautiful, and I was instantly attracted to her, regrettably, so was Bush. Speaking at the first opportunity in the Gents loo, we agreed that neither of us was interested in, 'Tuppence Short,' and it would be unkind for us both to hit on, 'Miss Beautiful.' So we heroically agreed we would talk, laugh and dance, but make no romantic move towards this gorgeous girl of our dreams!
So that's what happened, and we had a great time. After each record was played, we changed partners, and I could see how Bush's persona altered, depending on which girl he was dancing with. When it was my turn to dance with, 'Miss Beautiful,' I was in heaven. She responded to my conversation and with every dance she held me closer. Bush noticed this and, when we were next in the loo, he angrily reminded me of our agreement. I noticed that just a trace of his infamous tongue was beginning to emerge. The evening continued and I could tell all was well between Bush and I again but then I noticed the girls whispering together, giggling as they did so, and looking at me. When my next four minutes of dancing with, 'Miss Beautiful' ended, I realised what the girls had been planning, for she continued to hold me tight and close. 'Tuppence Short,' did the same and kept a firm hold of an alarmed Bush. The music resumed, and we danced on and as I passed Bush I quietly said, "What can I do?" He was facing the other way when my partner started to kiss me and I had several seconds of bliss before he turned and witnessed my heaven sent good fortune!
Was this old and trusted friend happy that I had captured the affection of a potential Miss World I hear you ask? The answer was, NO HE WAS NOT! His normally gentle face became puce with anger as the 'BUSHELL TONGUE OF RAGE' emerged in all it's ferocious glory. He almost dragged me to the gents, using all the strength of an ancient 'Berserker,' and illogically shouting, "Can't," or "Kent," or something similar, as he demanded that we go home immediately. When I declined, I pointing at my boots and jokingly quoting a line from a Nancy Sinatra song, but Bush was not amused at all. I actually have no recollection of how I did get home that night, but I do recall many more dances with the girl I still think of as, 'Miss Beautiful.' I was to date her for some time and why we broke up is a unique story in it's own right, one day I will tell it.
This memory began with a quote from Maxi and ended with another tale of Bush's tongue of rage. In between are my reflections of some of the lovely ladies I have known, I hope their lives have been as happy as mine. It's been said I'm an overly sentimental man and perhaps this line written on a scrap of paper, proves I'm a realist as well. It says, 'Be Patient, be kind, make space for each other, and don't expect roses everyday!' I've carried it in my wallet for decades and it's helped guide the way I think and the advice I've given and been given. But in addition to everything else that works so well in my marriage we've always ensured we kept the romance in our relationship alive. That's why I've added to that scrap of paper the sentence, 'And Never Forget The Romance!'
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|