Wednesday, 21 February 2018

and he had a gun....

A friend has just had his 64th birthday and it'll be mine later this year. Because he lives in Southampton I doubt he'll be renting a cottage on the Isle of Wight and if he ever does stay out till quarter to four there'll be  a search party long before anyone locks the door.

In the early 1980's I spent a year living in the United States and I didn't know anyone that I knew had a gun. Of course this doesn't mean that none of my American friends did, just that they didn't choose to talk about it.

A decade later we took our young family on a camping trip to the North West coast and spent a few nights camped half way up Mount Spokane in Washington State. Along with the marvelous views and an entertaining troupe of gophers we shared our campsite with, among others, a couple of old hippies in a camper van. 

Now one of the things about life under canvas is that you get to hear everything that's going on around you. The sound of rain, on a well pitched tent with a decent flysheet, is actually quite comforting but an unwanted trample through the Beatles back catalogue at half past three in the morning isn't. 

Not being particularly sensible, and by then sleep deprived and bad tempered, I crawled out of the tent, went over to the hippies camper van and politely asked them in that passive aggressive English way if they'd mind turning the music down. "I've got small children and we'd really like to sleep"

It worked, the music stopped, I calmed down and dropped off.

The next day I overheard the hippies discussing the incident with another camper. The final words were "and he had a gun.."

A family of gophers watching an idiot risk his life in a land full of guns


  1. Andy,

    In bed by 11:30 these days... Just around the time the city centre nightlife is starting up. Before she left home, the daughter used to stagger home from "clubbing" (whatever that is) between 3 and 4, and I could finally pretend to be asleep. But nowadays I'm generally awake around then, anyway, to visit the bathroom... It seems unfair.

    Several tasteless jokes about guns and pyjamas come to mind, but we're too old for that sort of nonsense.

    I'd quite like a gun, actually, to deal with the foxes and cats that start yowling out the back most nights. Deer can be surprisingly noisy, too. I suppose a loud cap pistol might do. Bang! I'm pretty sure the neighbours would thank me.


  2. Mike

    I suppose the advantage of having small town boys, as opposed to big city girls, is that we never felt the need to stay awake until they got in.

    As for the getting up in the night thing, there have only been a few times in recent years when it's only been once. I read somewhere that the older male bladder doesn't actually lose its capacity but becomes more sensitive to the "need to go" (which of course can only be dealt with by "going") My cracked femur experience lends support to this. While waiting to get operated on I hadn't been able to use the cardboard bed bottle and felt obliged to warn the theatre nurse that I had an extremely full bladder (which I didn't want to empty all over the operating table). I woke up catheterised and, when I asked, was told that I'd been holding on to 1.5 litres. My Dad had adopted the apparently common tactic of not really drinking anything after about 4 in the afternoon (he had balance problems, was embarrassed at using a bed side bottle and didn't want to fall over on his way to the loo). It seems this tactic quite often leads to urinary tract infections.

    As for guns, on the same holiday our hire car had an unfortunate encounter with a deer. When I ran back down the road to see if it was OK it tried to stand up and a leg bone popped straight up through it's skin. Another passing motorist suggested that I shoot it, was surprised when I said I didn't have a gun and pointed out that she'd seen a highway maintenance truck back down the road, that if I told them they'd see to it and that in Washington State the dead deer would be handed over to the local food bank. I suppose a nice piece of fresh venison is better than the tins of spaghetti hoops that you might find here.

  3. You clearly *look* like the gun-totin' sort...

    And don't get me started on catheters... I could do a whole stand-up routine on the subject. Hmm, maybe I should.. It would be a public service.