Travelling Back In Time To Break My Father’s Nose, or, The Weirdest Story I Have Ever Written

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Do you think you could beat your father in a fight? What about when he was in his prime? My uncle asked this very question at my father’s birthday dinner last weekend, and my father, without a hint of irony or humour, gazed straight into my eyes and told me he would ‘massacre’ me, even now. He’s 59 years old with a hernia and a beer gut, I am 25. The hubris. This simply won’t stand. Something must be done.

I am going to break your nose, old man. Not now, not today, while you’re old and feeble and your best years are behind you. There’d be no satisfaction in that, there’d be no challenge. No, father, I’m going to go back to the 1980’s, I’m going to find you, and I’m going to make you wish I’d never been born. Continue reading

Jill

Last week, on a sunny Thursday evening after work, I’d had a couple of beers with friends who were heading off to watch the rugby. I said goodbye, and hopped on a bus home. I was on the back seat and watched the bus slowly fill with people. An old woman stepped on, and headed straight for my back seat. She asked me if I minded her sitting next to me, and I smiled and shifted along to give her more room. I didn’t pay her much attention. She was wearing a pink t-shirt, and had her hair in a ponytail. She didn’t look very old, for an old person. Continue reading

The Night Train

Leaving the air con cool of the hotel, we walked out into the oily heat of a Saigon evening. Our guide, a tiny 57 year old Thai woman called Lek, who seemed to hate everything Vietnamese, hailed a taxi. We climbed in and were whisked through the chaos of whirring motorbikes beneath the infinite mass of telephone lines. We arrived at the train station after dark. Continue reading

A Forgotten Conversation

As you advance through countries, you will find that you assemble a patchwork quilt of memories. There are countless stories and moments which you take in your stride while you’re travelling. Some of them stick with you forever. Many are forgotten, and the memory dredged up years later while flicking through an old journal, jerked out of the subconscious by the scruff of its neck. Continue reading

The Definition of Freedom

11-3-2015Enjoying-bia-hoi-in-Vietnamese-way

I know, right? Intense title for a blog post.

I’ve been around the world a couple of times, and I’ve learned a few things. One of the most prevailing is this: freedom is a completely subjective concept. Some of the most liberated individuals I’ve met have come from countries we view as oppressive. To illustrate this, let’s compare Vietnam with the good old US of A. Continue reading