Monday, 2 May 2011

Lola on the sands.

She'd never been to the beach before, she'd never felt the sand between her pads. It was time to take little Lola to the sunny shores of Kent; to Margate. So we packed up the old Fiesta, filled up the tank, bought the daily papers and set sail down the M25. Lola was excited but anxious; the car usually means a trip to the vets for a claw clip or an injection, but not today....... today she'd be eating ice cream with the rest of the fatties.

So I bought a 99, which now costs about £1.50, Jennifer had a Cornetto and Lola had a Mini Milk. She bit through it like a pissed up fella going through a kebab, it was a sight worth seeing. She was hot to trot and on the prowl for a well off Kent guy. Unfortunately, Margate was as dead as Bin Laden....... even the Primark looked like it was going out of business. But this wasn't going to dampen our day. We strolled down to the beach front hunting down a gentleman beagle that would steal little Lola's heart.

I'm always a bit wary of letting her roam free, as I have had many close calls in which Lola has run for the hills, only to be waiting at the front door when I have been searching Epping Forest high and low for the cheeky bitch. There were also some evil looking bastard mongrels roaming the shore, so I kept her by my side and hobbled across the golden sands.

She paddled once but seemed to hate the sensation of the ice cold salt water lashing against her paws, so spent her time digging holes in the sand. We were having more fun than Del Boy and Rodney on the Jolly Boy's Outing and didn't want the day to end.

Even a miserable prick like myself couldn't help but smile as the sea air swept through my badly trimmed hair. Jennifer jogged across the beach playing catch with the pup and I limped behind, like one of those old, fat Essex boys with a hanky on his head; it was a picture perfect scene.

Like most English beach towns, Margate has a bad rep. Rundown hotels, shit pubs, crappy arcades and half dead residents. However, I was liking the vibe and with rumours of an upgrade along the front, Lola will be visiting again soon, perhaps with a little sister in tow........ you never know.

We danced along the shallow water, the metal in my leg rusting with every splash, Lola shaking in the fresh Spring breeze. We knew it was time to go home; back to the big smoke, where the only fresh water is found in the Ching or the Lea Valley Viaduct.

A quick family portrait amongst the Margate crowds and a short stroll to the top of the hill took us back to the old Fiesta, sitting shimmering in the sun. She fired up gracefully and powered off towards the East End of London, hoping to return to the sea on another clear English day.

Next stop...... Bognar Regis.

Billy Byron continues.........

The silence was deafening. It had never been so quiet on Galleon lane. The wheels on Billy's chair were covered with the deep claret stain of fresh blood as he slowly edged towards the bathroom door. He pushed the handle, it was jammed shut. Billy pushed harder, but he barely had the strength to get out of bed in the morning; so the door did not move. He kicked it with his remaining leg; once, twice and then a third time. It jarred open and a sea of blood swept across the landing; the smell of death was overwhelming.Remove formatting from selection

At any other time Billy would have shied away. He was a broken boy since the day he had lost his leg; but on this occasion he felt a flush of bravery. Billy wanted to see more. He rolled across the swamp of blood and peered behind the sink towards the bath. It was full. The water was twinkling under the bathroom light. The ripples hypnotised Billy. He moved closer. Under the surface of the warm, tranquil water, Billy could see thousands of gold coins. He could not see the bottom of the tub, it seemed to go on for miles. He focused his eyes to try to see the chipped porcelain at the base of the bath, but it was not there. Just thousands of sparkling coins floating through the undercurrents.

Billy had not bathed since that warm Autumn day of the lorry attack. He never looked at the stump where his leg used to be. He would clean and dress it only occasionally and his mother would get upset whenever he said that he didn't care if it rotted away; slowly eating at the rest of his body so that he no longer existed. He felt no better than the dust on his bedside table. Dirty and useless. But at this eerie moment, Billy had the urge to dive into the inviting bath water. He began to rip his clothes off, not caring that they teared and ripped. He pulled his fragile frame from his throne and dragged himself onto the side of the tub. He could feel the warmth of the water massage his dry skin. He let go of the side and slowly fell in backwards. But he did not feel afraid. The water welcomed him in; the coins were still shining as he fell deeper. He kept falling. The weightlessness seemed to take all of the pain away; Billy felt alive again.