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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

Month

January 2016

Joshua: The Band

Josh squinted as the full rays of the sun hit his face. He pulled his cap off his head and ran a hand through his hair. It felt greasy under his touch, and he realized that he’d skipped having a shower this morning. Drat her! he thought. He sat up and looked around. His head still felt sore, but the worst of the hangover had abated.

‘Back with us then mate!’ the deep voice of Luke boomed out from the back seat. His voice sounded muffled as if he was eating. Josh looked back to where the rest of the band usually sat. Mad Mikey was by the window, staring out at the rolling hills of Northumberland as if in a trance. Next to him, Luke was holding a package which had a strong smell wafting off it. He held it up to Josh, waving the paper as if it were a raggedy dolly.

‘Here, have a bite. You must be famished, you haven’t eaten anything all day. We didn’t want to wake you from your slumbers. Your girlfriend has been texting you all day. She wants to know where the next gig is. Didn’t you tell her?’ Luke grinned at him, enjoying his discomfort. Josh turned back and pulled on his cap.

It had become a standing joke now with the band: him and Anna. He had met her at one of the earlier gigs, about two years ago. She would stand at the front of the stage, swaying to the noise that came from the speakers. In those days, it was just a load of feedback and static. They had become more sophisticated since then, more stylish. After a few gigs, she had progressed to selling some of their CDs and t shirts from the sideline of the stage. As the gigs became more and more popular, they filled up, until a bunch of girls stood in front of the stage, bopping away. Most liked Josh, his good looks and strong voice sending them in raptures. The fans would know all the words to their songs, and would hold up their hands in raptures.

There was usually a party afterwards. Anna made sure she was at every one of them. Josh was flattered by her at first; the way she would hang onto every word he said, beer can in his hand, putting the world to rights. He remembered the first night they’d slept together. Or rather, he’d fallen into a spare room bed at Luke’s place, and Anna had snuggled up beside him. He had woken the next day, naked and disorientated, with a fuzzy taste in his mouth. A naked Anna had snored beside him, a small form under the huge duvet.

Since then, he’d spent most nights with her, or whenever there had been a gig. He still lived at his folks’ place, and his mother did not like him bringing women home. ‘Can you see how one night stands are the curse of society, Josh? I won’t have it in my house!’ she had bleated at him, whilst his dad had hidden behind a newspaper. Still, they had liked Anna. She had been nineteen at the time, but looked so much younger. Maybe his parents’ disapproval was the reason he had been put off by her? He opened his eyes a fraction, just as the van slowed down at some traffic lights. The road was bumpy and pot holed here, and his stomach lurched. He’d had to convince himself that he was not taking advantage of her, but she was totally mesmerized by him!

Two years later, they were an ‘item.’ Josh knew that he treated her badly, but she seemed to come back for more. She was like an irritating puppy, all wagging tail and gorgeous looks, that you could not ignore.  He ridiculed her in front of the other band members, but she was still around. He very rarely took her out on a date, and when he did it was always takeaway pizza on his mum’s couch and a quick fumble before he told her to leave. She would look at him with a disappointed look on her face, as he opened the front door into the cold of the night. Still, she came back for more.

As the van rattled and shook on the motorway, he thought of Sophie. Now, she was a classy girl! He had first laid eyes on her at an after party gig in a pub on the fringes of Newcastle, just a few weeks back. She was the landlord’s daughter, back home from university. She had been standing in the corner area of the bar with a young bloke, who had his arms around her shoulders. It was obvious to anyone in the room that they were a couple, but this had not deterred Josh.

He had made his way to where she stood, and introduced himself as the front man in the band. For once, a girl had not been impressed by him! His good looks and success seemed not penetrate her at all, and he had felt deflated by the experience. This was new to him, used as he was to the attention of women. He remembered grabbing Anna and dragging her upstairs that night. He had wanted to make Sophie jealous!

Now, he felt ashamed of himself. He had used Anna, and she did not deserve this treatment from him. Last night was proof of that. He would have to tell her that they were finished. Then maybe he could get with Sophie?

The thought cheered him up, and he sat upright in the passenger seat, just as the sign for Newcastle upon Tyne rushed past the window. The sun was setting on the horizon, and things were looking up.

Copyright Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

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The Band

‘Ding! Ding!’

The mobile gave forth its annoying ring, and Josh reached across to turn it off. He raised his head, and a sharp chink of light pierced his eyes, causing him to blink rapidly. He felt a dull ache at the back of his head. As he pulled across his bed cover a movement to the left of him confirmed his worst fears; Anna’s unruly curls were poking out from under the bedclothes.

He groaned inside. Why does she always end up in my bed? Slowly and stealthily, he pushed his legs down onto the floor, trying to make as little sound as possible. He could not face her needy looks this morning…. Let’s save that until I’m awake, he thought.

His feet touched a soft object, and he grabbed his socks and placed them on the bed. He could see his jeans splayed out on the chair in the corner – he was nothing but not neat, even when drunk! He stood up in just his boxers, and pulled the denims over his legs, buttoning them at his waist. A sudden movement, followed by a soft snore, told him that Anna had not woken yet. Maybe the huge bottle of wine she’d demolished last night had something to do with it. He could see a sock jutting from her side; bright pink with yellow pineapples on them.

Josh opened the bedroom door, making sure not to disturb his bed companion. Another one night stand with Anna! He groaned to himself. It’s becoming a habit now, I have to break. She’s a nice girl and all that, but those cow eyes are the the death of me!

The door creaked slightly, and he found himself on top of a pair of narrow stairs. He could hear sounds from below; muffled talking and the clinking of glasses, sporadic spurts of music permeating the air. A door to the left of him opened, and the ruffled face of Luke appeared.

‘Josh mate! Where did you get off to last night? Me and the lads have dossed down in here, but you’d had a few. Did you get off with Anna again? She had a room to herself, paid for by her daddy. What’s a rich girl like her doing with us bunch of ruffians, that’s what I want to know! But I think your the attraction mate!’

Luke walked behind Josh, pulling on a crumpled t shirt with a picture of The Beatles on the front. Paul McCartney had a red wine stain across his face, and there was a blob of ink running across the sleeve. Josh headed downstairs, suddenly feeling famished. The smell of bacon frying hit his nose as he entered the kitchen. The other band member John, known as Jazz, was sat at the large wooden table, shoveling a large forkful of eggs into his mouth. John grinned when he saw him.

‘Can’t take you nowhere, Josh; you grabbed the girl again!’ John lifted up his mug of tea as if in salute. ‘Is she still asleep up there? You’ll have to tell her that we have an early start. Got to hit the road to the North this morning or we’ll have to leave her behind. Grab yourselves some breakfast, mate, we have to be heading off.’

Half an hour later, and Josh had finished a hearty fried breakfast washed down with a mug of tea and some painkillers. No hangover in the world had put him his food; he was proud of that. Outside, the roar of an engine told him that the van was being tested for its long journey to the edges of Scotland. They had four gigs around the pubs of Glasgow, and three further south. The band was getting more and more popular, and had radio play last week. They were aiming high. Josh was their front man, with a booming powerful voice that sent the women wild.

Jazz popped his head around the door of the pub kitchen door. The pub had become their local, and they had a free bed and breakfast as long as they played. Josh gingerly made his way outside, still feeling the excesses of the night. He was fine with beer, but he vaguely remembered someone passing around a bottle of vodka….:(

Luke and the lads were already in the van or loading up.

‘Come on, get yourself in gear! We have to hit the roads.’

Josh climbed into the front seat. Just then, a cry could be heard coming from the pub.

‘You’ve left me behind again! That’s it – we’re through!’

Josh turned to see Anna standing on the tarmac outside the pub. Her hair was a mass of curls and her eyes looked black as if  she’d been crying. She was wearing a t shirt that his mum had bought him for Christmas; The Rolling Stones brazened on the front with the familiar red mouth as their moniker. Why do women always want to wear our clothes? was his first thought. He would have to get another one now!

‘There’s some bacon left for you Sleeping Beauty! See you in Scotland!’ Luke called out from the back of the van.

Luke sunk further into the shiny front seat, and pulled a cap over his eyes. Within moments he was asleep….

Copyright Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

 

 

 

 

Morning Tea

It has been a hectic few weeks. Christmas and New Year seems to be in the realms of the distant past, so much has happened in my usually quiet household. I have barely had chance to think, let alone write. It proves to me how family takes over all your life, in a wonderful way.

Firstly, Jeff’s sister and her husband flew back to London last weekend. I must say, the house has become remarkably quiet since their departures. I adore my sister in law, and love to see her visit, but gee, it’s exhausting! Gillian can talk ‘a glass eye to sleep’ (a quaint little phrase that my dad left me), whereas the hubby, Alan is the opposite. So, most nights we would sit around the dinner table, drinking red wine by the bottle and putting the world to rights, whilst Alan would sit alone on the patio reading his kindle. Gillian is an artist, and her paintings reflect her personality; bright colours and lively hues adorn every piece of her work. She paints gorgeously exotic flowers with rich blooms and exquisite portraits of wild animals from the many travels that she has been on. They are breathtaking.

I was amused by her husband’s habits though. Every morning, Alan’s silhouette could be seen against the bright glare of the sun, as he sat, in his endless pursuit of words and stories.  One morning, I decided to approach him. Gillian was still in the shower, and all other members of the household were asleep – even the dog! Being an avid reader myself, I know how easy it is to escape into the world of your story, and it seems that Alan is no exception. I opened my patio doors, a cup of English breakfast in my hand, and asked him what he was so engrossed in. Alan is a doctor, and is so calm and collected; nothing seems to ruffle him whatever situation he’s put into. However, he has become slightly deaf in one ear, and obviously did not hear me. When I spoke, he jumped, throwing the kindle in the air, and spilling ash onto the patio from his favorite cigar. He put his hand to his chest and his glasses fell off, rattling onto the glass table in front of him. I took a step back, and nearly stepped on the dog as he rushed out through the glass doors.

I stood in shock, teacup clinking in my hand, tea spilling out onto the saucer. We both looked at each other, and I started to giggle. Alan put his glasses on and gave a hearty laugh at the silliness of it all. Jeff walked onto the patio, to see both Alan and I in fits of laughter!

I never found out what he was reading either….!

Secondly, Liam is touring all this week with a new band. On Friday night, I had the whole band over to stay. Needless to say, they had to sleep on mattresses on the floor of the TV room. With ten for breakfast Saturday morning it was a chaos in a nice way. Bacon and eggs and toast all round, and plenty to spare. 🙂

 

 

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Decadent Day

Today we visited the plush Versace hotel on the edge of the sparkling coastline of the Gold Coast. Queensland is known for its pristine beaches, endless blue skies and white sands, and we were not disappointed. We strolled along the boardwalk placed around the back of the hotel where the views of the harbour are breathtaking. We looked up at the creamy coloured facade and imagined staying in one of the luxurious suites and being cossetted all day! Fantastic.
As we watched, the pelicans flew overhead from their homes on the sandbanks, and settled in front of Peter;s fish market, anticipating their tea. The men came out with buckets of fish entrails, and fed them. They are surprisingly delicate for such big birds and have huge beaks. We watched as the fish tails could be seen over the beaks, and then swallowed rapidly.
Then, it wa time for High Tea in the lobby. Delicate salmon sandwiches vied for room among the luscious pastries and sweet meringues. This was accompanied by champagne and English breakfast tea. Such decadence. 🙂

The Visit

I have Jeff’s sister and her husband over for a visit. They have braved the cold of England to the heat of the Gold Coast, and are loving it. They went on a mini break to Vanuatu (which we have yet to see!) and enjoyed the friendliness of the people there, and the chilled back ambiance. Now back for a few days, we decided to ‘hit’ the shops yesterday. We went down to Robina, and with instructions to the men to ‘go grab a coffee,’ we descended on one vulnerable little shop! The shop assistants were as helpful as could be, considering the amount of people (and space!) that they had to deal with. They recommended outfits, colours and styles to us which made it a very pleasant shopping experience. As a result, we stayed there for over two hours (the longest time I have ever browsed in a shop, and with Jeff outside!). I even managed to get my daughter Jess (who hates trying on clothes) into the changing room. This in itself rang all my bells.

Today, another day in paradise, and we are going down to the beach; that timeless movement of water upon sand which will be there long after the trendy shops have decided to pack up and leave. Very philosophically put! 🙂

 

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