His Last Supper

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His Last Supper
His LAST SUPPER
H
Hiiss
L
LA
ASST
T SSU
UP
PP
PE
ER
R
By Dr.K
2
Dr.K
This book, for the major part, is based on a true story
and, in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, is purely intentional.
Dr.K has asserted his right under the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the
author of this work.
ISBN…*** * **** **** *
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall
not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired
out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s
prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than
that in which it is published and without a similar
condition, including this condition, being imposed on
the subsequent purchaser.
Typeset in 10pt Verdana.
Graphics by Dr.K
Copyright © 2009 Kenny Pask. All rights reserved.
This work is registered with the UK copyright Service: Registration
No: 303236
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His LAST SUPPER
In Memory Of My Old Friend Tone
“Life Will Never Be The Same”
“In the face of adversity find strength and inspiration.”
Dr.K
Acknowledgements:
Special thanks to Shirl’s, Lee and Nick
4
Dr.K
CHAPTER ONE
Kenft awoke to the sound of lapping water and
rigging clattering in a gentle breeze, rubbing his eyes;
dazzled, as the warm glow of a beautiful sunrise greets
him through the porthole of his cabin, taking in a deep
breath, filling his nostrils with the aroma of the
mahogany and pine timber structure of the schooner,
fused with the ozone rich fresh sea air, and sensing the
very slight undulating movement as the vessel gently
pitched and rolled in unison with the wonderfully clear
azure sea, he rolled onto his side lifting himself onto his
elbow for a better look, squinting slightly, it was just as
he imagined it, a piece of heaven, stark contrast to the
tiled roofs, chimneys and television aerials he was
accustomed to, he thought he was dreaming. He found
himself aboard a Turkish gulet, the ‘Arrammis’, moored
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in the secluded rugged Gerbeske Bay south of Marmaris
in the Mediterranean.
The twenty metre long ketch having twin mast´s
and accompaniment of furled sails, a traditional
aesthetic sleek design of the region primarily used by
fishermen, sponge divers in days gone by, nowadays
modified for the more lucrative charter business,
renowned for their canopy covered large deck area´s
and spacious cabins below, ideally suited for outdoor
living and the Mediterranean climate. The ‘Arrammis’ is
kitted out specifically for ‘live aboard’ functionality, with
six cabins, showers, toilets, a well fitted galley area,
diesel engine and generator providing an alternative
means of propulsion and full electrics, everything you
need, all the comforts of home.
It has to be, as from now on Kenft will be calling
this home. He has taken the bold step of selling up all
his worldly possessions in England providing him with
the required collateral to purchase the ‘Arrammis’ and
to live the adventure he had only dreamt of, while he
still has time. Now in his mid fifties and not as fit or as
trim as he used to be, but with a mindset of twenty
five, thirty-ish, his body reminding him now and again
of his actual age, feels this is his last chance before he
grows too old and infirm.
Slipping into a pair of knee length denim shorts
and after a quick face wash and brush of his teeth in
his en-suite washroom, he made for topside and the
saloon area. Here he was met by Yasin standing at the
helm, former captain and owner of the ‘Arrammis’, a
tall thin well tanned man wearing long brilliant white
cool cotton trousers and the obligatory captains cap,
who had generously agreed to give Kenft a lesson on
how to sail her, taking him out for a few days before
officially handing her over. This was day two.
“Good morning captain.”
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Dr.K
“Good morning Mr Kenft, I trust you slept well?”
“Like a baby Yasin, thank-you.”
“You are captain now Mr Kenft.”
“Not yet Yasin, not yet,” said Kenft shaking his
head.
Kenft had little to no sailing experience but, as
he was born on an Island and originating from what
was commonly referred to as Nelson’s county, not to
mention his father being ex-Royal Navy, he felt he
must have some sea legs there somewhere. He loved
the sea, especially sea clear enough to view the
bottom, the coral reefs and their wonderful array of
colourful abundant life; natural history had always been
an interest of his. The closest he had been to this idyll
was a fortnight’s holiday in Mauritius where he had
taken the opportunity to snorkel and learn to scuba
dive, it was a similar environment. This, what he
classed as a once in a lifetime experience, coupled with
his boyhood wonderment of Jacques Cousteau on the
Calypso, David Attenborough documentaries, and the
odd underwater adventure film, still vivid in his
imagination, was his inspiration.
Back home, at times when life wasn’t being too
kind, he would often make for the coast, a fifteen
minute drive north, he would sit awhile on the dunes
staring out to sea collecting his thoughts, trying to put
things into perspective. It usually worked, the cobwebs
cleared from his mind he would return back to the fold,
re-vigourated along with his usual outwardly happy go
lucky demeanour. On board, the saloon area of the
‘Arrammis’ is an ideal vantage point, with its large
glazed windows on three sides and double doors astern,
afford panoramic views of the surrounding scenery and
housed the ketch’s controls, galley, bar, a seating area
and table. Kenft observed all around him. The prow
pointed easterly, seawards toward the horizon, anchor
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His LAST SUPPER
rope taught holding firm, to the stern a dinghy sat
cradled in outstretched davit arms under the suspended
gangway, faced a rugged shoreline on three sides,
shades of grey rounded boulders rose steeply towards a
clear blue sky amidst green olive groves partially hiding
ancient derelict buildings and what remains of an old
church, a tranquil anchorage.
Salik, Yasin’s loyal crewmate of several years,
shorter in height, a thicker set frame than that of the
captain’s but equally tanned, adorned in a pair of
football shorts emblazoned in Turkey’s national colours
and motif, served food and drinks.
“Okay Yasin, I´m ready for my next lesson,”
enthused
Kenft
rubbing
his
hands
together,
“yesterday´s instruction on the sales and rigging was
good, I enjoyed that, my arms are still aching,”
reflected Kenft massaging his left bicep.
“You will get use to it Mr Kenft, but we use the
diesel engine mostly. Today I will show you the
navigation equipment, yes.”
Yasin continued to instruct Kenft on the global
positioning system, the depth sounder and compass,
using charts of the area and sharing his local
knowledge, while his mate Salik busied himself keeping
things shipshape and prepared provisions for dinner
that evening. Kenft had a lot to take on board, literally,
but Yasin re-assured him he would always be there to
help him whenever he could. He proved to be a good
instructor, clear and concise, even with his accent, and
the patience of a saint. By now it was the middle of the
afternoon and Kenft preferred to spend the remainder
of the day snorkelling.
“I´ve had enough tuition for one day Yasin, my
heads buzzing, mind if I called it a day, that water is
looking so inviting, I can put to use what I´ve learnt
tomorrow, maybe.”
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Dr.K
“Sure! No problem, I will lower the steps for
you.”
Kenft observed Yasin lower the steps over the
side allowing access from the deck to sea level before
fetching his snorkelling gear. Sat on the bottom step he
slipped the flippers onto his feet, moistened and
cleaned the inside of the mask before stretching the
strap over his head and position the mask over his
face, pulling the strap tighter. Biting onto the snorkels
mouthpiece and, without hesitation or any sign of fear,
lowered himself into the welcoming warm crystal clear
water, the med, thought to be the natural birthing pool
and nursery of the great white shark, but he never
gave it any consideration, no more than he had of the
possible dangers scuba diving in the Indian ocean.
Floating effortlessly face down drawing air through the
snorkel tube into his lungs, he slowly propelled himself
forward with a gentle kick of the legs, holding position
with sculling motions of his hands. He is now in a world
of his own and lost himself completely as he
meandered and observed all beneath him, wide eyed
and in awe, diving occasionally for a closer look at
some life form dwelling on the sea floor, satisfying his
curiosity before floating slowly back to the surface,
ejecting a spray of sea water from his snorkel using
what little air he had left in his lungs before taking his
next breath and continuing on. Salik had completed his
tasks as far as he could; taking the opportunity to have
a dip himself dived in from off the deck, hardly making
a splash. The Captain meanwhile, retired to his cabin
for a couple of hour´s siesta.
Time passed by so quickly, the sun, with a
shimmering orange glow, slowly began slipping away
and wouldn’t be long before disappearing altogether
behind those boulders and trees. Kenft thought it was
time to climb out of the water, his fingertips now
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wrinkled with water ingress from being submerged for
so long. Salik had already returned aboard, showered
and having an hour to himself before starting to
prepare dinner. Kenft did likewise, after his shower
collapsing on his bed, lying on his back with legs
draped over the side, his eyelids grew heavy and
closed. Kenft awoke with a start, his body suddenly
jerked back to life as though awaking from out of a
coma. He had the feeling he should be doing something
before realising where he was. He took a deep breath
and calmed down again. It was almost dark now and
wondering how long he had been asleep checked his
watch on the shelf beside his bed, ‘blimey the captain
will think I’ve mutinied,’ he thought worriedly. Putting
on a short-sleeved shirt he made for the saloon. Salik
was putting the finishing touches to dinner.
“Ah! Just in time Mr Kenft.”
“Sorry Salik, I fell asleep, anything I can help
you with?”
“No problem Mr Kenft, we have no plane to
catch, between you and me I fall asleep also. You can
help me carry these tray’s to the table outside to the
captain,” said Salik, raising his eyebrows and nodding
his head in the general direction.
“Flipping heck Salik, you expecting the navy to
turn up?” Salik, just like Kenft’s old friend Tone, had
overdone the quantity bit.
Kenft collects two tray’s, walks outside through
the open saloon doors to the table laid out on the rear
deck, where he finds the captain relaxing with a
cigarette.
“Mr Kenft, you surface, enjoy your swim?”
“Brilliant Yasin, that’s one of the reasons why
I’m here,” enthused Kenft.
Salik placed the remaining trays on the table
returns to the saloon for a bottle of wine before joining
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Dr.K
the others at the table. It was a warm evening, the
canopy over the rear deck flapped with the occasional
waft of an equally warm breeze, a low light emitted
from three lanterns, two hung either side from the
canopy frame the third centre table, creating the most
astoundingly calming ambience. All three settle down
for what was to be a very convivial evening, indeed,
one of many, tucking into the delicious food and
drinking copious amounts of tongue loosening wine.
“Well Yasin, I’ve given you my life’s savings for
this beautiful vessel, what will you be spending the
money on?” quizzed Kenft.
“I can assure you Mr Kenft it has already been
spent, and spent wisely. It will be used to help me
purchase my next gulet; she will be a little bigger so I
can carry more passengers. It’s almost ready for
launching and its maiden voyage, I would very much
like you to join us for that memorable day when it
arrives.”
“I would be very honoured, thank you.”
“How do you like the Arrammis?” quizzed Salik.
“She is everything I dreamt her to be Salik and
more, the photographs did not do her justice. How did
she come by her name, was she shot at by arrows that
missed?”
“Ha, no! We have no Mongolian archers here Mr
Kenft, they have long gone,” Salik continued to explain
the best he could, “it is how you say, er, of Marmaris.”
“Ah! An anagram, of course very clever, it also
sounds very much like the name of the ‘Three
Musketeers’ character.”
“You suit her well Mr Kenft, with your moustache
and the little bit on your chin, no! Are you handy with
the sword?”
“Afraid not, why! We’re not likely to encounter
the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew are we,”
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His LAST SUPPER
smiled Kenft, appreciating their sense of humour and
assuming they had seen the film.
Yasin’s idiom changed momentarily to one of a
more serious, concerned nature,
“Earlier you mention the sea as being one of the
reasons why you are here. I guess there are also other
reasons. Forgive me for being forward Mr Kenft but you
are wearing a gold ring on your right hand and another,
similar, on the gold chain around your neck, am I right
to think maybe a woman is also involved?” holding up
his hands Yasin apologises immediately, “forgive me, I
am intruding.” Yasin places both hands on the table,
palms down.
Gaze averted to the table and nervously fiddling
with the base of his wine glass, Kenft’s expression and
mood changed immediately to one of reflection.
“No, not at all, you’re not wrong. I’ve spent far
too many days, sunny days, very much like today
cooped up in an office or on a factory floor somewhere,
as for these, they are a constant reminder not to
become so involved again.” Kenft toys with the wedding
ring suspended on the gold chain around his neck and
continues, “its only fair that if I’m going to be any
where near accepted in your community you should
know a little about me, my intentions, after all I don’t
want you thinking I’m a mad axe-man or something,
mad maybe! You can count yourself very lucky Yasin,
from what I’ve witnessed so far you have a wonderful
loyal loving wife and family at home. I on the other
hand have not been so fortunate, but it’s a little
complicated, there is more than one person or event
involved, each linked in some way to the other. The
past eight years have been what you could say,
colourful, and the last year, traumatic. It’s a bit of a
long story, I wouldn’t know where to start.” Kenft takes
a sip of his wine.
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Dr.K
“Try in the beginning, it is always a good place,”
advised Yasin.
“We are not going anywhere and have all night
Mr Kenft. I will fetch us another bottle of wine,” Salik
left the table for the saloon.
“Cheers, I guess it will probably take more than
one bottle though, Salik.”
Kenft filling his glass ponders for a moment, ‘am
I going to live to regret this? Oh what the hell, what
have I got to lose, they’ll probably lose interest and fall
asleep within an hour’, he composed himself to deliver
a part of his life’s history, turning back the clock to
when he first encountered his ‘wife to be’.
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His LAST SUPPER
CHAPTER TWO
Kenft described himself as a lean, long legged
fresh-faced teenager a shy, sensitive Sagittarian,
shoulder length fair hair, the odd spot or two and the
start of a moustache on an otherwise boyish
complexion, stretched out on the settee in the lounge,
settling down to an evenings viewing on the television.
His parents, along with his two sisters had gone out for
the evening, leaving him to baby-sit his kid brother. A
drink stood on the coffee table with a side plate of
nibbles. Totally relaxed and ready for a quiet evening to
himself, with little brother, who he thought the world
of, fast asleep in his bed and usually no trouble.
Checking the program listings in the local newspaper,
he could watch any program he wanted, making a
pleasant change, dad usually had control over the
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Dr.K
viewing material, as was the case in most households
in those days. An hour or so had quickly passed when a
knock on the door disturbed his serenity.
“Bugger! Who the hell can that be?” Swearing
under his breath. ‘Oh! Perhaps it’s Clive calling round to
see if I’m going out tonight’, he thought to himself as
he quickly rose to his feet.
He walked through to the kitchen heading
towards the main door, he noticed it wasn’t Clive’s
silhouette he could see highlighted by the porch
security light, through the frosted glass.
‘He has someone with him’, Kenft deliberated as
he reached for the door handle, opening the door, a
little gingerly now, not knowing what or who to expect,
he was taken completely by surprise to find June
standing in the porch way.
“Ah, hello!”
It was all Kenft could think to say, on the spur of
the moment, as he peered round the corner to see if
she was accompanied by anyone, half expecting to see
Clive or at least her friend Debbie. It was the first time
June had ever called so he was totally taken aback to
see her standing there on her own, bold as brass,
without hesitation June asked if she could keep him
company for the evening. Boy! was that surprise
number two.
Kenft hardly new this girl and certainly had no
designs on her at the time, or for that matter had any
idea that she was at all interested in him. Although
underage, they had socialised occasionally in the local
pub with their respective friends and lived only a few
doors from each other. She was a bubbly character,
short, a little on the plump side, puppy fat you could
say, lovely long straight natural fine blonde hair, wore
black-framed specs partially obscuring big blue eyes
fringed with long lash’s, highlighted with just a hint of
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His LAST SUPPER
mascara, endearingly her cheeks dimpled when she
smiled or laughed, a little blonde version of Nana
Mouskouri.
It was a sultry evening so she dressed
accordingly, a short-sleeved dark green dress with
large white buttons at the front, from top to bottom,
and platform shoes making her appear a lot taller than
she actually was. Kenft wondered how she knew he was
at home babysitting on his own. He reflected a moment
trying to remember as to who he may have told of his
plans that evening. Unsure of himself, or for that
matter her motives, he replied to her initial request.
“Er - no I don’t think so, sorry.”
“Why not?” she immediately felt rejected.
Her big blue eyes started to fill up with tears and
sparkled in the light, Kenft couldn’t understand this
immediate, what he considered, over-reaction and
struggled to find an excuse.
“I’m not sure when my parents will be home,”
was the best he could come up with.
“I won’t stay long,” she quickly replied.
Kenft stood his ground, head bowed not able to
look her directly in the eye, shook his head,
“No–sorry.”
Devastated, June turned to leave, sobbing. Kenft
now felt awful thinking he had hurt her feelings or even
offended her, she had obviously set her heart on
spending some time with him, he slowly began to close
the door as his conscience kicked in and took over. ‘I
suppose a few minutes, a chat and a drink would have
been ok, less rude, more civilised and gentlemanly’, he
thought, after all she had taken the trouble to seek him
out and make the bold move, more than he would have
done. Quickly, Kenft opened the door again and called
her back before she had time to reach the arched
wrought iron gate at the end of the porch way.
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Dr.K
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, of course you
can stay, for a while at least, please, come in.”
desperately hoping to redeem himself in some way.
He wouldn’t be at all surprised, or indeed blame
her if she refused the offer and carried on walking, he
half expected it. Looking over her shoulder she smiled
and the dimples returned, she walked back and entered
the kitchen. Kenft closed the door behind her and
pointing the way asked her to make herself at home in
the lounge while he put the kettle on,
“Tea or coffee?”
“Tea please, no sugar.”
Now Kenft felt very awkward, he wasn’t very
good at small talk at the best of times, he was very shy
as a boy and only now beginning to find his way having
recently started his apprenticeship and working life.
The banter at work and making new friends, male and
female, were bringing him out of his shell, bit by bit, he
was growing up. He was thinking hard, probably too
hard, how to start the conversation as he walked
through to the lounge with June’s cup of tea. Sitting
down beside her on the settee Kenft places the tea on
the coffee table and asks if it’s to her liking. June picks
it up, takes a cautious sip and nods,
“Mmm, that’s fine thanks,” placing the cup back
onto the table.
“Help yourself to nibbles,” Kenft continued, not
realising they were not the kind of nibbles she had in
mind.
June, obviously a girl who believed action spoke
louder than words, before Kenft could ask her what she
wanted to watch on TV, took hold of his hand leant
across him and began to kiss him. Bloody hell, was that
surprise number three. The kiss became a lingering kiss
and then a full on snog. That certainly broke the ice,
any thoughts Kenft had at the time were completely
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His LAST SUPPER
nullified, he was dumbfounded, they stopped to catch
their breath.
“Mmm, wasn’t expecting that!”
Embracing each other they continued with what
is usually described as heavy petting, simultaneously
sliding sideways and down along the back of the settee
until June was lying on top of Kenft, to say he was now
in a state of arousal would be an understatement, lads
of this age only had to thinks of breasts to initiate an
immediate reaction. June lifted herself up with her
arms, pressing her pubic bone onto his now obvious
erection. Her long blonde hair brushes his face; he
glimpses her cleavage as the loose dress falls away
slightly, revealing her ample breasts held firmly in place
by a white lacy bra. No thought processes were in play
now as they continued to enjoy their embracing and
kissing. It was all unconscious instinct. The TV was
entertaining itself, the nibbles untouched and the drinks
cold. By now the roles had reversed, Kenft on top of
June, she put up no resistance as he began to toy with
the large white buttons of her dress. One by one, he
slowly undid the first three buttons from the top,
fumbling slightly, and peeled the dress away until her
neck, shoulders and bra were fully visible and
accessible. Nuzzling and kissing the left side of her neck
and fondling her right breast over the silky smooth
fabric of the lace, oblivious to all, they were totally
immersed in their self-indulgence, enjoying the
moment with an intensity they had never experienced
before, June moaned with pleasurable delight, ecstasy,
then, out of nowhere, they hear a little voice,
“What you doin? Can I have a drink?”
Little brother stood by the doorway, rubbing his
eyes, no doubt disturbed by all the commotion,
engrossed in each other they never heard the door
open from the hallway. With ardour dampened in an
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Dr.K
instant, embarrassingly Kenft climbed off June and the
settee to see to little Danny while June hurriedly
dressed herself. Kenft resettled little brother returned
to the lounge and asks June if she would like a fresh
cup of tea, continuing where they left off was going to
be difficult. They could easily be disturbed again. It was
like a mutual understanding.
“Yes please, then I had better go, your parents
may be home soon.”
June finished her tea grabbing a handful of
nibbles from the table, unceremoniously Kenft escorted
her to the door, June straightens her dress and checks
to see it’s buttoned correctly, kisses him goodnight.
“Perhaps see you at the youth club disco
Friday?”
“Sure, Clive and I will be there no doubt.”
June turns away, says ‘Bye’, walks down the lit
passageway in a much better frame of mind than
before, opens the wrought iron gate and disappears
into the night. Kenft turns, closes the door and walks
back to the lounge scratching the back of his head,
bemused, still a virgin and probably just as well. Kenft
again settles down to continue watching TV, he’s
looking at the screen but his mind is now elsewhere,
wondering where things go from here, anticipating the
imminent return of the family from their night out.
A hubbub of activity erupts as they entered the
home, excitedly chatting about the evening’s events,
mum wanders into the living room checking on Kenft,
“Everything alright?”
“Yeah! Fine thanks mum.”
Mum collects two cups from the coffee table, she
smiles knowingly to herself and walks back to the
kitchen. This encounter with June triggered Kenft’s
memory, the memory of a somewhat brief experience
he’d had with a girl by the name of Sharon,
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His LAST SUPPER
subconsciously serving as a bit of a warning to him.
Sharon, a petite attractive coloured girl, happened to
be Junes neighbour at the time, it was one of those
rear occasions when Kenft made the first move,
probably due to the drinks consumed, providing him
with the much-needed Dutch courage.
They were at a local barn dance, a well-attended
charity function. Kenft, with a gang of mates, would
rarely have gone anywhere on his own, he wouldn’t
normally have been within a mile of this place but
because it were for charity, they appeared to be holding
up the bar, the majority underage, drinking, smoking,
laughing at each others jokes and anecdotes, at the
same time keeping one eye on the girls on the dance
floor. At one point Kenft had to take the weight off his
feet and sat down for a moment, sipping his pint then
drawing on his cigarette and generally minding his own
business. A particular young lady, a complete stranger,
obviously with an eye for Kenft seized this opportunity
to sit on his lap using the excuse she had nowhere else
to sit. Well Kenft didn’t mind, he was happy with the
attention. The lads on the other hand thought she was
a bit of a ‘minger’ and crudely transmitted their
thoughts to Kenft by gesticulating, in no uncertain
terms, behind her back. Politely they exchanged
names, where they were from and all that kind of thing.
“I hope you’re not one of those dirty,
misbehaving sort,” she said in a highbrow tone, nose in
the air with her arm around Kenft’s shoulders, meaning
she hoped he was, probably.
Kenft reeled back a bit to look her in the face,
his eyes wide open surprised she’d come out with such
a statement.
“Noooo….” He replied emphatically, embarrassed
slightly he felt his face go warm as he coloured up,
then again maybe he was.
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Dr.K
After a while she explained she had to be home
by a certain time, thanked Kenft for a pleasant evening
and left, much to the amusement of the others. One or
two of the gang had drifted off and one of the guy’s,
Steve, had paired up with Sharon’s friend leaving her
standing at the bar on her own. Kenft now found
himself the proverbial ‘spare prick at a wedding’,
sauntered up to the bar to buy another drink and
offered Sharon the same. She politely refused but Kenft
insisted until she relented,
“Ok then, but don’t think you’re getting
anything,” she said abruptly.
‘Hmm, that’s a little presumptuous and to the
point’, thought Kenft, nothing could have been further
from his mind, what did she take him for, probably
an indication of the type of company she usually
associated with. Well that told him and at least he knew
were he stood. He ordered the drinks, placing her
remark completely to the back of his mind and carried
on chatting, more drinks followed, Sharon returning the
favour. The function was drawing to a close and Kenft
did the gentlemanly thing and offered to walk Sharon
home, as her friend, along with Steve had disappeared.
Grabbing their coats they left the venue, Sharon held
on to Kenft’s arm for a sense of security, it was very
dark and no streetlights.
“There you go, home safe and sound,” said
Kenft as they approached the back door of Sharon’s
home.
She kissed him on his cheek then demurely
asked if he cared to come in for a coffee. Kenft thanked
her but refused the invitation and started to make for
home. It was her turn to be persistent,
“Please do,” she insisted.
It wasn’t long before they made themselves
comfortable on the sofa, mugs of coffee in hand, but
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His LAST SUPPER
not a lot of communicating going on. Her mum and
younger sister were asleep upstairs so didn’t want to
make too much commotion as to wake them. Sharon
explained, very quietly, that her dad was an American
serviceman and was back in America, which put
Kenft straight because he was under the impression she
had been adopted or something, not that any of it
mattered, Sharon was Sharon. It was something to
chat
about.
Coffee
finished
and
Kenft
was
contemplating leaving, Sharon sensing this had other
ideas. She placed her empty mug beside Kenft’s on the
coffee table, arose from the sofa, turned off the light,
sat back down and confirmed her intentions further by
assisting Kenft in removing his jacket.
Heavy petting and fondling ensued, exploring
each other’s bodies under their loosened clothing.
Kenft, noticing the texture of her skin as his hands
wandered under her silk blouse, lifting her bra over her
small breasts revealing pert nipples, sensuously finger
tips barely touching, sliding his right hand downwards,
hitting the spot he could feel her tense her stomach
muscles, trembling slightly, his hand moves under her
jeans, running his fingers through her coarse hair,
teasing her pleasure dome stimulated and erect,
himself close to the point of over excitement from the
smooth reciprocating action of her hand.
It was obvious the writhing Sharon wanted to
take it further as she arched her back, lifting her pelvis
clear of the sofa, struggling to remove her jeans past
her hips, then grasping hold of his wrist firmly, not
wanting him to stop his gentle caressing, forcing his
hand slightly, lower. Kenft, thinking on his feet,
figuratively speaking, considering earlier in the evening
he was told he wasn’t getting anything, but more
importantly mum or sister could walk in on them at any
moment, and even more importantly Kenft didn’t have
22
Dr.K
any contraception on his person, stopped the
proceedings.
“Er! Think I’d better go,” whispering, making his
excuses, putting on his jacket he thanked her for the
coffee, kissed her on the cheek and left, left her
wanting.
Steve caught up with Kenft the next day.
“Oy! You’re a bit of a dark horse,” and went on
to explain how he had made an impression on Sharon’s
friend and that Sharon had been in touch and excitedly
told how Kenft had made an impression on her also.
“They want to meet up with us again.” Steve
continued with the broadest grin.
Steve made all the arrangements, dinner
reservation for four at ‘The Bull’ restaurant. Kenft was
the last to be picked up and on seeing Sharon his eyes
nearly popped out of his head, it was as if she had
undergone some kind of transformation. A slinky
revealing dress, a new hairstyle looking like a
sculpture, ‘Boney-M’ style, and heavier on the makeup. She looked a picture, someone who would look
more at home strutting the red carpet at a film
premier, but totally out of place where they were going.
Loud was the word, and vociferously loud also as she
exuded confidence in the company of her friend,
drawing the attention of everyone in the restaurant.
Under different circumstances Kenft would have felt a
million dollars and proud to have her on his arm. If she
was trying to make an impression she certainly did so,
but unfortunately the wrong one. Kenft enjoyed the
evening but wasn’t sure that he would continue seeing
Sharon. Steve was of the same opinion with his
companion and much to the disappointment of the
girls, never dated them again. Sharon fell pregnant by
her next boyfriend and married, Steve moved away
shortly afterwards.
23
His LAST SUPPER
CHAPTER THREE
At this tender age time seems to stand still,
especially when there’s something to look forward to. It
was going to feel like at least a month until Friday
arrives and the youth club disco, although it’s only a
few days away in reality. In the mean time between
work, college day release and associated homework,
Kenft found the time to wander to the pub on a couple
of evenings hoping to bump into Clive. He preferred to
be out and about rather than at home, it meant he
could enjoy a cigarette away from the gaze of a
disapproving father, who once smoked himself but
recently given up. The first occasion no Clive, which
was just as well because no sooner had Kenft ordered
his pint of bitter his eye’s had started streaming. Arch
eye, welding during the day had affected his eyes. He
24
Dr.K
couldn’t understand as he was always careful and took
all the precautions, as he was taught. He could only
think that maybe he had caught someone else’s
welding from the inside of his shield reflected off of
aluminium bodywork. They were hurting like mad, it
felt like someone scratching the inside of his eyeballs
and streaming non-stop, it looked as though he was
constantly crying, not able to finish his pint he left.
Walking home the fresh air helped to sooth his
eyes and, not far from home, in the dim light could see
Barry walking up the hill. Curious, as to where he may
be heading at this time of night and in the opposite
direction from where he lives, Kenft stopped in his
tracks and observed from a distance, un-noticed.
“Junes, he’s gone round Junes, and to think he’s
dating little Miss Middleton, don’t think she would be
too pleased if she found out,” cursed Kenft under his
breath, ‘guess that’s blown me out with June’, not that
he had made a conscious decision to take that any
further anyway. Barry and Kenft had a transgression
many years earlier, at a young impressionable age,
which would have a profound consequence on Kenft
later in life. Whenever Kenft had what he desired,
materialistic or otherwise, he was convinced that
someone would try to take it from him, one way or
another, as if he wasn’t meant to have it in the first
place, so was it da-ja-vous? Maybe June was not meant
to be his either!
Kenft eventually caught up with his mate Clive
and made the arrangements for the coming disco night.
Clive was to pick Kenft up in his newly acquired car, a
light blue mark one Cortina, nothing flash, a tidy little
number.
Kenft made himself ready, bathed, shaved
leaving his top lip hoping to grow a ‘tache’, Brut
aftershave, dark brown bum hugging flared trousers
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His LAST SUPPER
with thin grey pin-stripes and turn-ups, plain but smart
tapered fit shirt with large collar, platform shoes. Clive
turned up a little later than planned and pip’s his horn
to let Kenft know he was there. Kenft quickly put on his
blue Denim jacket making sure his cigarette’s and
lighter were out of site in the top right hand pocket,
and hurriedly brushed his long shoulder length hair.
“See you later mum,” and left before she even
had time to reply, closing the kitchen door behind him.
“Hiya mate everything ok?” Kenft greeted Clive
as he sat himself down into the front passenger seat of
the car, closing the door.
“Yep, fine thanks, sorry I’m a bit late, held up at
work.”
“No problem,” replied Kenft as Clive set off.
There was nothing flash about Clive either, not a
dedicated follower of fashion, what you see is what you
get, he’s a great character, fun to be with, he and Kenft
had some crazy times together and there was more to
come.
They arrived at the venue, the disco in full swing
with flashing lights loud music and people raising their
voices to be heard, paid their entrance fee and walked
in. Kenft always felt self-conscious at first and took a
little while until he settled, but once in the groove
wouldn’t want to leave. Making for the bar, they
scanned the room to see who they could recognise, the
dark areas of the hall randomly illuminated by the
rotating coloured disco lights, momentarily revealing
peoples faces as the lights quickly spun round. It wasn’t
long before they themselves were recognised and a
couple of guy’s made a beeline for them, one or two of
the girls making sure they were noticed at the same
time, gyrating on the dance floor and making eye
contact, and continued to do so throughout the
evening. Sure, June was there with Debbie, Kenft
26
Dr.K
acknowledged them with a nod and a wave, nothing
more and Tina, who plainly fancied Kenft, was making
her presence felt. She will anonymously phone him at
some point over the weekend no doubt, as previously,
laughing and giggling with a friend at the other end of
the line.
Exchanging pleasantries, Clive immediately
started the banter by taking the mickey, at the same
time noticing they were attracting the attention from a
gorgeous blonde sitting with her companion at the side
of the hall,
“Who’s that, not seen her before.”
The guy’s, not making it look too obvious, much,
quickly
glanced
over
their
shoulders
in
the
general direction Clive had indicated using his eye’s,
thinking he was probably winding them up. Sure
enough, there she sat large as life, a natural beauty,
too good for the likes of them, they concluded,
confidence not being their strongest attribute. The
banter continued and they even made fools of
themselves on the dance floor as and when the DJ
played the appropriate records. Taking a break Kenft
headed outside reaching for his cigarettes as he went
closely followed by Clive who wanted the opportunity to
have a chat.
“I’m thinking of taking a weeks holiday and go
camping somewhere, like the Lake District, a bit of an
adventure and give me a chance to try out the car. I’d
like you to come with me.”
“I’d love to mate, any idea when.”
“There’s a bank holiday coming up soon,
thought maybe then, and it coincides with my brother
who’s planning on visiting family up north. Thought
maybe we could tag along with him and his family.”
Kenft, stubbing out his cigarette, puts his hand
on Clive’s shoulder, they both turn to re-enter the hall,
27
His LAST SUPPER
“Sounds like a great idea, looking forward to it
already.”
A while later, Kenft was approached by Hil’
accompanied by his girlfriend Susan. Hil’, short for
Hilary, he was named after Sir Edmund, is the only
fellow Kenft had hit with his fist in anger, when they
were much younger, just kids. Without thinking of the
consequences, Kenft had squared up to Hil’, although
bigger built than Kenft, in an effort to defuse a situation
and protect Paul, a very timid boy, from being teased
and bullied. After planting one square on Hil’s chin
Kenft thought he was now in for a pasting himself,
instead Hil’ reeled back clutching his face complaining.
“Ouch! What was that for?” Knowing full well as
to why and not really needing an explanation.
Problem solved instantly, Kenft and Hil’ became
good friends after that little encounter, and would often
be seen playing football and table tennis together, or
enjoy excursions out with Hil’s mother, invitations to
his birthday parties or helping out on the smallholding,
straw carting, Hil’s mum liked to keep a few animals.
Kenft now bore the brunt of Hil’s teasing and simply
went home if it became too much, rather than being
aggressive as before, that was just a flash in the pan
reaction, but he would be back, usually the next day.
Years later, now similar in height, hairstyle, and
dress sense, they were, at times, mistakenly taken to
be brother’s, twins even, their birthdays only eight days
apart.
“What are you like at reading a map,” Hil’ asked
Kenft.
“Er, don’t know, I’ve not really had the
necessity, but guess I could find my way about, why?”
enquired Kenft.
“Remember when we use to regularly ride the
bikes as fast as we could through the woods.”
28
Dr.K
(Emulating Paddy Hopkirk or Roger Clark, and before
mountain biking was ever invented), Kenft nodded his
head, screwing up his eyebrows with a quizzical
affirmative, “well, I now have a full stage rally prepared
mark one Escort and in need a navigator/co-driver, are
you up for it?”
With eyebrows raised, Kenft’s jaw dropped not
knowing what he’s likely to be letting himself in for,
didn’t commit himself. Before he had a chance to reply
Hil’ encouraged Kenft outside to have a look at the car,
conveniently parked on the gravel car park out front,
under the floodlight.
“Wow, brilliant the dogs bollocks, I had no idea
you were thinking of changing the Lotus Cortina.”
Although not sure about the colour, a very dark
purple best describes it, but who cares about that. It
had the full roll cage, full harness seat belts, Recaro
bucket seats, fire extinguisher’s, rear seat removed and
replaced with the spare wheel, tyres with enough tread
better suited on a tractor, alloy wheels, flared wheel
arches, a row of Cibie lights that could illuminate a
football pitch and a sixteen hundred cc twin cam race
engine, it certainly looked the part.
“Fancy a spin?” said Hil’,
Opening the navigators door Kenft eagerly
eased himself into the bucket seat, which instantly felt
very snug, Hil’ helped him with the full harness seat
belt and closed the door. Hil’ made his way round to
the drivers side while Kenft familiarised himself with the
cars interior. Before Hil’ started the car he leant over to
switch on the prehensile reading lamp, moving it into
position as he handed Kenft a map with a route already
marked out, ‘crafty bugger’, Kenft thought to himself.
“Right, this won’t take long. Take us round that
route I’ve marked out. We take a left out of here,”
pointing to the position on the map.
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His LAST SUPPER
“Ok,” Kenft said with great trepidation,
struggling to find his bearings, talk about being put on
the spot.
Hil’ turned the ignition key, the engine roared
into life, sounding superb, it oozed power and with a
spin of the rear wheels they left the car park. Fifteen,
twenty minutes at the most and they were back, Hil’
certainly didn’t hang about and Kenft soon had him
back on track after sending him the wrong way a
couple of times. Hil’ parked up in the same spot, a blip
of the throttle before he turned the key and instantly
killed the engine.
“Well, the jobs yours if you’re interested.”
Map reading, head down in a moving vehicle,
especially at night, can have an adverse affect on
people if they don’t have the stomach for it, but Kenft
was feeling fine, he didn’t need much persuading and
soon made a decision.
“Yeah, ok I’ll give it a go. I suppose I have to be
clued-up with the likes of tulips, herringbones,
longitudes and latitudes and all that stuff.”
“I can give you a hand with that, you’ll soon get
to grips. We’ll probably do a club night road rally
first. I’ll be in touch later during the week with the
details.”
They extracted themselves from the car and
headed back to the hall, Hil’ giving a brief description of
the cars specification to Kenft as they went, much of it
going straight over his head. What a night this is
turning out to be, Kenft still exhilarated from the drive,
legs trembling with adrenalin and still not one hundred
percent sure what he’s let himself in for, time will tell.
Once back inside they exchanged pleasantries
and went their separate ways, Hil’ drifted off to find
Susan at the same time Kenft felt a tap on his shoulder,
it was Clive.
30
Dr.K
“Been looking for you everywhere.”
“Sorry mate, Hilary’s just taken me for a spin in
his rally car and tested me on my map reading skills or
should I say the lack of them. Wants me to navigate for
him. Why what’s up.”
“Well, you now that lovely blonde I was talking
about earlier, turns out she’s interested in you.”
“Never,” exclaimed Kenft.
“Yep and she wants you to go talk to her.”
“Hey you’re not setting me up here are you? I
know you?”
“No way, take a look for yourself, what have
you got to lose.”
Kenft decided not to look straight away but to
pick his moment when he was good and ready; he
didn’t want to appear too obvious, ‘bloody hell’, he
thought, ‘that would be the icing on the cake’. What a
night, everyone wanted a piece of him, he’s never been
so popular, he was feeling great, on top of the world,
legs still trembling slightly, probably due to the cocktail
of adrenalin, alcohol, and now testosterone coursing
through his system.
“Come on Clive, I need a drink.”
Drink in hand curiosity got the better of him and
he glanced in the direction where he had last seen the
blonde, she wasn’t there. Kenft immediately thought
the worst, he’d taken too long, she had lost interest
and gone home. Clive, knowing Kenft was looking for
her, nudged him with his elbow.
“Oy, she has legs you know,” as discretely as
possible he pointed Kenft in her direction.
She was looking straight at him, their gaze met
and she shyly turned to her friend smiling and said
something. Kenft, hoping the evening’s vibes were
going to continue, asked Clive to look after his drink, on
impulse he bravely walked over to the girl. Feeling a
31
His LAST SUPPER
little apprehensive, Kenft introduced himself and
politely asked her name; communication was going to
be difficult, as the girl’s had moved closer to the sound
system.
“Philippa.” Kenft struggling to hear only made
out part of her name, Philip’.
“Unusual name for a girl,” he said instantly
realising his mistake, he felt a right goon.
“Everyone calls me Pip.”
“Ah! Ok, where are you from?” he asked feeling
a little more at ease.
“South Africa.”
“Blimey, that’s a long way to come for a disco
night.”
“No, we’ve just moved back to England, My dad
was a plantation manager and has just retired. I’m
staying with my school friend.”
There was a hint of an accent and she had a
lovely bronzed tan, so must have lived in South Africa
for some time Kenft concluded, she was gorgeous.
Kenft didn’t want to mess this up and took things very
slowly. They continued chatting, Pip introduced her
friend, who was also a new face, a pleasant one at that,
and she lived locally. Kenft bought drinks and had a
couple of slow dances with Pip. He couldn’t believe his
luck. The disco was drawing to a close, Pip had to leave
with her friend and said goodbye to Kenft, but not
before making arrangements to meet up again. The
music died and people started to filter off, Kenft, feeling
pretty happy with him-self, located Clive. They would
have plenty to talk about as they drove home.
The night had one last twist for Kenft. As Clive
dropped him off Kenft, car door already open with one
leg out and foot on the pavement, twisted towards him
and thanked him for the lift and for being a good mate,
he confirmed that he would see him tomorrow night
32
Dr.K
before he closed the door. Clive drove off for home as
Kenft made his way down the path for the porch and
the kitchen door. Not known for his swearing.
“Fuck! The bloody door’s locked.”
Sister had locked the door thinking she was the
last one home and Kenft never carried a key, till now
he never had to. Not wanting to be an inconvenience
and wake someone, least of all his parents, he looked
for an alternative way in. Fortunately the little window
to his bedroom was ajar and, looking up to the
heavens, thanked a god they lived in a bungalow. He
was able to climb onto the window ledge, put his arm
through the little window, unlatch the big window, and
he was in, hoping no one saw him, or heard him. As the
bedrooms faced the main road he could have easily
been mistaken for a burglar. Closing the window behind
him, he warily undressed and with the thoughts and
sounds of the night still buzzing in his head slowly
snuggled into the double bed he had to share with his
little brother, being careful not to wake him.
Kenft was now a very busy boy with plenty to
occupy him. He was enjoying the experience at work,
even volunteering for overtime when available, day
release for college plus one evening a week and it’s
necessary evil - homework, football at least twice a
week plus training night and squeezed in a game of
table tennis for the village team. Now he has the car
rallies to think about and the holiday with Clive to look
forward to, but first and foremost on his mind
now was Pip. He could think of nothing else, her
beautiful image constantly in his head, he was smitten.
Pip lived over five miles away on the edge of
town and Kenft was still learning to drive, his test not
due for a month or so. This wasn’t going to deter him
from seeing her, he would walk if he had to, and he did
on numerous occasions, day or night. One dark
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His LAST SUPPER
moonless night, hitch-hiking home well past midnight,
he narrowly escapes death, serious injury at least,
when two cars racing each other without lights, he
could hear them if he couldn’t see them, they forced
Kenft to take evasive action, diving into the hedge. How
they missed him he never knows and cursed his luck at
missing out on a possible lift home. Thankfully at times
the generous Clive, who with Kenft would have a few
pints in their local pub before driving into town for fish
and chips, leaving Kenft to spend time at Pip’s. Pip
would then work her charm on her dad and try to talk
him into taking him home. This didn’t work every time
as Kenft was insistent on not taking things for granted
and often turned the opportunity of a lift down. He
never had the nerve to trouble his dad for a ride, too
shy to ask or probably knew he would be flatly refused,
in return his dad never enquired as to his where-about’s or show any concern regarding the late nights.
Kenft hoped it was because he was trusted rather than
through any lack of concern.
Kenft, believe it or not, in a way, looked forward
to saying goodnight to Pip on his fleeting visits to her
house, even though he had the walk home to contend
with. It was the only time they had alone together.
Passionately kissing and embracing on the doorstep,
Kenft was happy wrapped in her arms and boy, was she
passionate and boy, could she kiss. They would explore
each others bodies and both wanted to go further not
caring if they were caught or not, but they both knew it
was neither the time nor the place and had to bide their
time. Grudgingly Kenft had to leave her, sooner rather
than later, and wrench himself away, knowing full well
he needed to be home to catch some sleep before
going to work, now only a few hours away. Hearts
pounding the last kiss would be long and lingering,
implanting the sweetest taste of her lips on his.
34
Dr.K
It would be past one thirty am by the time he
found his way home and had to be up for work at
seven. Chris, who usually picked him up for work, often
found himself honking the cars horn to hurry Kenft up,
probably still struggling to climb out of his bed, even
though mum had called him several times previously.
No time for breakfast, eye’s still half closed, he would
fall into Chris’s car, apologising for keeping him waiting.
Chris would have to drive ‘hell for leather’ to arrive at
work on time to clock in, with only a couple of minutes
to spare. This was becoming a regular occurrence, and
Kenft wouldn’t blame Chris if he asked him to find
another way to work in future, but Chris remembered
he was Kenft’s age once. Kenft met Chris through work
and not only did some of his training with him but also
played football for the works team together. They had a
good rapport and neither wanted to jeopardise that in
any way.
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His LAST SUPPER
CHAPTER FOUR
Holiday time, Kenft had his bag packed with the
essentials, all ready to go and patiently waited for Clive
to pick him up. Pip was sorry he was going away but
didn’t complain too hard. She didn’t want to seem to be
holding him back, ‘under the thumb’ so to speak. Kenft
had reservations; he was going to miss Pip but didn’t
want to let Clive down at the last minute. A quick check
on supplies; petrol, tent, sleeping bags, a few
provisions mostly cans, and cash, atm’s hadn’t been
invented yet.
“Right, ready to rock and roll, lets go,” and off
they set to rendezvous with Clive’s brother.
Taking their time they headed for the A1
motorway, Clive and Kenft following close behind
Clive’s brother who was towing a caravan, picking up
36
Dr.K
the A62, across to Selby Road, Leeds, the weather was
good and they endured the usual hold ups created by
road works and volume of traffic. Aunt and Uncle,
pleased to see them, gave them all a warm welcome
and made Kenft feel like part of the family. As Auntie
fussed making them comfortable with refreshments,
Uncle explained his intentions, his itinery.
“Thought we would give you a little time to
settle, show you to your rooms, a freshen up and
change of cloth’s maybe, then later to the working
men’s club for dinner and entertainment. It should be a
good night tonight and it’s only a bit of a way up the
road, walking distance. Does that sound ok for
everybody?” he said with a slight northern accent,
Kenft surprised he wasn’t wearing a cloth cap; it
sounded like a plan and everyone in total agreement.
The club atmosphere was fantastic, a hearty
meal, good company, the compare and comedian had
them all in stitches, and the band in turn had them
singing their hearts out, distracting Kenft from thinking
too much of Pip or from feeling homesick. They
staggered home at the end of a thoroughly entertaining
evening, and exhausted, collapsed into their respective
beds sleeping soundly till morning.
Greeted by a bright sunny start to the next day
went some way to offset how they were all feeling after
their heavy session the previous night. After a light
breakfast and showing their gratitude to Aunt and
Uncle, the intrepid adventurers set off on the next
stage of their journey. Heading west to find the A65
taking them in the direction of Kendal, gateway to the
Lake District. Not far from the town Clive’s brother pulls
off the road into a lay bye for a break and to admire the
view, Clive pulls in behind him. The view was aweinspiring, with mountainous countryside in the
background, well mountainous compared to their home
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His LAST SUPPER
county, and a bird’s eye view of the town nestled in the
valley below.
Taking a gamble the decision was made to leave
the caravan in the lay bye and use the one car to
venture into town to sample some of the local
hospitality. A walk round town and a couple of pints
later they head back to the lay bye half expecting to
find car and caravan gone or broken into, but their
fears were unfounded, fortunately, and thought as they
were on a quiet road nobody would mind if they spent
the night there. It was a perfect spot, Kenft and Clive
pitched their two-man tent in the adjacent field, over
the dry stonewall. Light was beginning to fade and after
sharing a meal in the caravan, the boy’s retired to their
tent, worrying they may be disturbed by an irate
farmer not appreciating them camping on his land
without permission.
The first night in the tent was a little
uncomfortable with the uneven ground and tall grass to
contend with, but thankfully nobody snored too loudly.
They were woken in the morning at first light, not by an
irate farmer, but by his herd of Frisian cows
surrounding the tent, noisily munching at the grass and
snorting occasionally. Kenft, sill sleepy stuck his head
out of the tent yawning, hoping there wasn’t a bull
amongst them as he paid close attention the tackle
between the legs of some of the beasts close by.
Breakfast consisted of a bowl of cereal for
convenience, the tent dismantled, trying not to disturb
the cows too much, and stored away in the boot of the
car. After consulting his wife and with only a couple of
days to themselves before they had to head home,
Clive’s brother informed him they were going to find a
campsite in this area to use as a base, while Clive and
Kenft sought to try their luck further on, as they had
the whole week ahead of them. Clive thanked his
38
Dr.K
brother for allowing them to tag along, said their
goodbyes and went their separate ways.
Reaching lake Windermere, only a few miles up
the road, Clive and Kenft stopped awhile taking in their
new surroundings before continuing north-northwest to
Ambleside, Clive contemplated finding their base camp
and put it to Kenft.
“How about we find somewhere around here to
set up camp? It will give us plenty of time to look
elsewhere if we don’t like it.” Kenft agreed.
Road signs indicated likely campsites close by,
turning right away from the lake steeply up hill, the
road narrowed to barely one cars width. They wondered
were this was going to take them. A camp sign directed
them into what initially looked like another cow field,
similar to where they spent their first night, but further
down the track discovered other tents and caravans
and on closer inspection found the large barn at the
very top housing the club room, bar and entertainment
facilities. They would give it a try and after paying their
dues claimed a spot to pitch their tent.
“Well I think that will do us nicely,” exclaimed
Clive, feeling very pleased with himself.
Next a spot of lunch was the order of the day,
out with the gas stove, utensils and a few tins of
vegetables to choose from to complement the Cornish
pasties they’d bought from the corner shop close by the
lake. It wasn’t long before a saucepan of water, placed
onto the lit stove positioned just in front of the tent,
was being brought to the boil, into which they had
emptied a can of new potatoes. It was at this stage
they realised the slope was steeper than at first
thought, upsetting the saucepan spilling the potatoes,
Clive and Kenft chased after them as they rolled
downhill, the potatoes collecting pieces of grass as they
went. Placing them back into the saucepan and onto
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His LAST SUPPER
the stove, they looked as though they had been
sprinkled with fresh parsley.
“A bit of dirt never hurt anyone,” said Clive still
laughing at the thought of chasing spuds down a hill.
Lunch over, pots and pans washed up and
cleared away the lads decide to go on a ‘sortie’,
exploring rather than hang around the campsite. So far
Clive’s new car had not missed a beat it drove superbly,
he took the opportunity to check the fluid
levels before they ventured out. Looking at the map
lake Coniston was not far, only ten miles or so.
“Wasn’t that where Donald Campbell bought it
on his last speed record attempt in Bluebird?” asked
Kenft.
“If you say so,” Clive not too sure of the facts,
“We’ll head for there then.”
The closer to Coniston the surer Kenft was about
his facts and the demise of Campbell. As they drove the
length of the lake Kenft could picture Bluebird
skimming across its glass like waters as he had seen on
the televised news items back in ‘67. It was difficult to
comprehend there was enough lake for Campbell to
reach those high speeds, slow down, turn round and try
for a second run.
Clive pulled off the road at a convenient point
close to the lake. Walking along its boulder-strewn
shoreline, surrounded by pine-covered fells and the
sound of the lake gently lapping the shoreline, Kenft
staring out across the reflecting water recollects
Campbell’s last record attempt.
“Imagine Clive, he was doing over three
hundred miles an hour when Bluebirds nose lifted
slightly, and over she flipped, like a piece of paper
caught by the wind, he hit the water and disintegrated,
instantly sinking into the murky depths. He didn’t stand
a chance, just think he’s still down there somewhere,
40
Dr.K
he, or the wreckage of Bluebird for that matter, have
never been recovered, it was tragic.”
“I remember now that you mention it. Do you
think they will ever try to recover what remains?”
“Someone probably will one day, if there’s no
umbrage from family or friends, they may prefer to
leave him where he is, as a mark of respect.”
They continued a little further along the shore
taking in the scenery and enjoying the tranquillity then
headed back to the car and back at camp, they checked
nothing had been disturbed in the tent and spent the
evening at the bar in the barn, trying the local nectar.
“This is a bit different from our usual tipple,”
exclaimed Clive, “a little stronger too, lovely.”
“Yep, I can certainly get use to this, no
problem,” replied Kenft.
Looking around people were a bit thin on the
ground, it was early season so you couldn’t expect
anything else.
“Not much talent about,” commented Clive.
“If there were I’d only be looking.”
“No I suspect your thoughts are firmly thinking
about the gorgeous Pip.”
“You’re not wrong there,” exclaimed Kenft, Clive
continued.
“How are you two getting along? I know you’ve
only been seeing her for a few weeks.”
“Fine thanks, I would like to see more of her,
can’t wait to pass my driving test.”
“I bet you would you lucky bastard.” Clive
hesitated, “what do you think of Debbie? Junes friend.”
“Oh! She’s a big girl, a right bundle of fun I’d
say. Why, fancy her do you?”
“Wouldn’t say no.”
“Well I’ve a sneaky feeling she’s engaged to a
guy in the army, he’s away quite a bit which would
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His LAST SUPPER
explain why she’s out and about with June, acting as
her chaperone no doubt. I’ll have a word when we go
back if you like.”
“Yeah ok then, thanks.”
They finish drinking for the night and decide to
hit the hey, or in their case the sleeping bags. Not
bothering to undress, other than slipping off their
shoes, they slid straight into their bags and chatted
some more until they both dropped off to sleep.
It wasn’t to be the best of nights, firstly due to
the consumption of a few pints and the night air being
a bit nippy, regular trips to the loo were a necessity,
secondly, due to the fact they had pitched on a slope
they were constantly having to re-adjust their position
as they slid to the bottom of the nylon sleeping bags
playing havoc on their toes, ankles and knees as they
buckled inside their cocoons, and finally, they endured
an horrendous thunder storm, bright flashes of
lightning illuminating the inside of the tent like a faulty
flickering strip light and torrential rain battering the
tent relentlessly, forcing rain drops through the fabric in
a fine misty spray. It was as if all hell had let loose,
world war three.
“Fucking hell,” complained Clive, “we’re going
through the mill tonight,” looking across to Kenft
making sure he was ok, as he re-adjusts his position
once again.
“Some consolation at pitching on a slope, at
least the run-off will go straight through the tent,
rather than drown us,” laughed Kenft.
Only his head visible, his body cocooned in his
sleeping bag, feeling a bit of a chill and hoping he didn’t
want the loo again in a hurry, you would think they
were enacting a scene from a ‘Carry-On’ film.
Dawn breaks and the first rays of sun gradually
began to raise the temperature. A peace transcends the
42
Dr.K
campsite, everyone is sound asleep after the disruptive
night, making the most of the quiet and stillness, as the
moisture laden tents and surrounding countryside
evaporates, rising into the atmosphere, momentarily
covering the campsite in a blanket of mist before the
sun had sufficient strength to burn it off. Slowly the
boy’s begin to stir as they hear other campers going
about their morning ablutions. Stretching their muscles
outside of the tent, soaking up some heat from the sun.
“Think the first thing we should do is move the
tent?” suggested Kenft.
“Yep, guess your right, how about over there?”
yawning Clive points to a piece of ground he considered
level.
The rest of the week carried on in a similar vein,
touring round the lakes, sightseeing, venturing into
towns such as Keswick, they ventured into Barrow-inFurness, not the place to be on a damp dull day, all
pretty much uneventful, a laid back approach, totally
stress free. Not that they had too much stress in their
lives at this moment in time, taking most things in their
stride, but it did them good to be independent and to
expand their horizons. Come Friday, they’d had
enough, their thoughts elsewhere, Kenft thinking of Pip
and Clive hoping to try his luck with Debbie, they
packed up their gear and headed for home.
“We should be back in time for the youth club
disco night,” enthused Clive, obviously thinking what
Kenft could find out about Debbie current situation.
Kenft on the other hand concerned himself with
his busy itinerary for the coming weekend and the
following week, looking forward to meeting up with Pip,
his imagination running wild as he reminisces their last
embrace. Closing his eye’s he could still taste her sweet
lips on his.
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His LAST SUPPER
CHAPTER FIVE
Arriving home it felt as though they had been
away for months, it was great to have gone away for a
few days, but it was equally good to be home, Kenft
collected his bits and pieces from the car.
“See you around seven o’clock.”
“OK! Cheers, - bye.”
Clive drives off and Kenft enters the kitchen,
“Hi mum,” catching her by surprise.
“Oh! Hello, weren’t expecting you back just yet,
have a good time?”
She was obviously pleased to see him home but
did not express any physical signs of emotion, no hugs
no kisses, it wasn’t the done thing in Kenft’s family.
“Yes thanks, any calls, any mail for me?”
“Some girl called the day after you left, didn’t
say who, and there’s a letter on the table.”
44
Dr.K
Brilliant, it was confirmation of Kenft’s driving
test, as for the phone call it could only have been Tina,
mucking about as usual. Clive calls for Kenft at seven
as arranged and headed for the youth club, now it
seems as though they had never been away, all the
familiar faces, and one or two new ones, the venue
becoming ever more popular. Tina was the first to
notice Kenft
“And where were you last Sunday?” she quizzed.
“I’ve been away, on holiday, for a few days,”
confirming he now knows who called him that day.
Next it was June and Debbie, Clive looking a
little embarrassed hoping Kenft wasn’t going to give the
game away in his presence.
“Missed you two last week, you haven’t been in
the Kings Head all week.”
“No, we’ve been away all week, Lake District,
nice to be missed though,” chipped in Clive quickly as
Kenft, smiling politely, looked round the hall trying to
see if he could spot Pip.
“Ah! Hello Mike, what are you doing here?”
Mike, one of Kenft’s new workmates and fellow
students, surprised him with his presence.
“Well as you know I’ve passed my test, now I
have a car and as you talked about this place, thought
I’d give it a look, I can also pick you up on Monday and
take you to college.”
“Hey that’s brilliant, thanks. Are you on your
own?’
“Nope, I have Richard with me.”
“Ok good, stick around and I’ll introduce the pair
of you to some of the gang.”
Mike recognises Gary, another workmate of
theirs.
“There’s Gary, I’ll have a quick word with him.”
“Ok catch up with you later.”
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His LAST SUPPER
Kenft, pint in hand, watched the girls doing their
thing on the dance floor, one in particular stood out.
Susan, Hil’s girlfriend, head banging to Status Quo,
obviously a favourite of hers, Kenft thinking Hil will
probably want a word with him regarding the pending
night rally. In the mean time Gary’s sister Sharon (No,
this is different Sharon), approached Kenft and
complimented on his attire, a plain white shirt, Levi’s
and cowboy boots.
“Smart, simple and very fetching.”
“Why thank you Sharon that’s very kind of you
to say so, which bit are you referring to as simple?”
Kenft replied raising his eyebrows in amusement.
“Oh you know what I mean,” she quickly
changed the subject,
“Who’s that guy talking to Gary?”
‘Ah! Now we know where this is heading’,
thought Kenft.
“That’s my mate Mike fancy him do you? I’ll
have a word with him later.” Kenft now has a night of
matchmaking to do by the looks of it.
Kenft could see the attraction; Mike had a
muscular build and, at a glance, could easily be
mistaken for Paul Michael Glaser, ‘Starsky’ of the
‘Starsky and Hutch’ duo, especially when he donned a
leather jacket worn with the collar up. Sharon slaps
Kenft on the arm.
“Don’t you dare,” and shyly returns to her
friends on the dance floor.
Kenft continued to keep an eye out for Pip, still
no sign, he was beginning to think maybe he should
have called her to let her know he was back and not try
to surprise her. Mike returns with Richard and Kenft
introduces them to a few of the others as promised,
turning to Mike, Kenft immediately informs him of his
admirer, bringing an instant smirk to his face and
46
Dr.K
knowing it would make his night, left him to it. Kenft
bumps into Hil’ at the bar.
“Wutch’ya mate how you doin? I see Susan’s
enjoying herself on the dance floor.”
“Yeah, she’ll be doing herself some damage,
brain damage, if she carries on like that. Changing the
subject how are you fixed for next week’s rally,
Thursday night.”
“No problem, but I do need to seriously practice
my map reading. I’ve managed to obtain a compass
and a romer.”
“Ok, call round mine tomorrow morning, I have
a few articles from rallying magazines on the subject of
navigating which should help.”
Kenft handed his money over the bar picking up
two pints, looking over his shoulder.
“Cheers mate see you in the morning. Any idea
where Clive is?”
“Last time I see him he was talking to two girls
over in the corner.”
Kenft spots him and draws Clive’s attention to
the fact he had bought him a drink by raising a glass in
his direction. Clive responds and walks over to collect
his pint.
“Cheers”, taking hold of his drink and taking a
sip, “forget talking to Debbie, I’ve noticed the
engagement ring, I’m sure she wasn’t wearing it the
last time.”
“Sorry mate, I know how disappointed you must
be, my Pip hasn’t shown up either, so guess we can
drown our sorrows together.”
Kenft’s priority the next day, before calling
round to see Hil, was to phone Pip to let her know he
was home and that her presence at the disco last night
sorely missed. He apologised for not calling earlier and
Pip explained her friend, being unwell, meant she
47
His LAST SUPPER
couldn’t stay over and therefore didn’t make it to the
disco. They arranged to meet up on Sunday as they
both had commitments for Saturday. Borrowing his
fathers cycle Kenft peddled the five miles or so to see
Pip, it was a lovely sunny day. On arriving he leant the
cycle against the wall of the house, composed himself
and approached the front door, knocked, took one step
back and with excited apprehension, waited. Pip’s
mother answered the door.
“Hello, Pip is taking a nap right now, come in
and I’ll take you to her.”
Following her mother through the hallway of the
house, she proceeded up the stairway and along the
landing to an area best described as an enclosed, halftimber, half glazed veranda, the perfect suntrap. There,
outstretched on the chaise lounge under the window lay
Pip, asleep as her mother said, with a smile on her
face, Kenft hoping she was dreaming of him. They
stood awhile, together, looking down admiring this
sleeping beauty.
“Doesn’t she look like an angel,” whispered
mother.
“Oh! She certainly does, absolutely gorgeous,”
replied Kenft, as he imagined kissing her on those
lovely sweet lips.
Pip, subconsciously aware of their presence,
began to stir and opened her eyes to see them both
looking down on her, smiling admiringly. At this point
mother allows them some privacy and leaves via the
stairs. Choosing his moment Kenft slowly kneels and
gently kisses Pip on the lips, and looking her in the
eyes.
“Oh boy! Have I missed you!”
Kenft stays for the remainder of the afternoon
and gratefully accepts the invitation to stay for tea, he
couldn’t think of wanting to be anywhere else. Pip
48
Dr.K
shows Kenft around the house and grounds, he
had only been as far as the living room on previous
occasions, introduces him to her visiting brother, and
spent their time generally larking about, Pip being told
off by her mother at one point for tying Kenft’s hair up
in plats. Not that he minded she could do anything she
wanted as far as he was concerned.
Time was getting on and Kenft, apologising,
explained to Pip he had no lights on his dad’s bicycle
and had better make his way home before daylight
fades. Reluctantly she agreed and offered to walk with
him as far as the main road. Kenft thanks her family for
his tea and allowing him to stay, says goodbye and
hoped to see them soon.
Slowly they walk together down the narrow lane
towards the main road, Kenft pushing his bicycle,
stopping frequently for a little petting and that all
important bodily contact. End of the lane and Kenft,
leaning on the crossbar, reaches inside his jacket
pocket and pulls out the present he had bought her
while on holiday and hands it to her. Pip pulls out the
pendant from its wrapping, thanks him and wanting to
wear it straight away turns her back.
“Do it up for me please!”
Kenft duly obliges at the same time letting her
know his driving test was soon and they would be able
to see more of each other.
“I’ll look forward to that,” she said with a smile,
hugging him.
One more, long last snog then Kenft hops onto
the bike leans over and with left hand cradling
the side of her face kisses her tenderly on the forehead.
“Bye, speak to you soon, missing you already,”
and rides off.
49
His LAST SUPPER
CHAPTER SIX
Monday morning and Mike, true to his word,
calls for Kenft in his new prized possession, his Ford
Anglia, and drives them to college. They had not
travelled far when Mike thanks Kenft for setting him up
with Sharon.
“No, you did that all yourself mate, it’s just that
little bit easier when you know someone’s interested.
I’m sure you would have done the same for me. Seeing
her again?”
“Yep.”
“Good, I’m pleased.”
Kenft enquires as to how well Mike had
progressed with their latest homework assignment. Not
as academically astute as Mike, Kenft has to work ten
times
harder
to
achieve
the
same
results
50
Dr.K
and tends to drag his heels and now, with the growing
distractions, was going to find the going progressively
tougher. Mike would help him as much as he could.
Mike and Kenft were now close friends and colleagues.
It was never to be a dull moment, striking up good
friendships with Mike, Clive and Hil’ meant Kenft was in
demand, not to mention his growing popularity with the
girls and having to handle his natural animal instincts
which did not combine well with shy retiring types.
***
Their first night rally, naturally they were going
to be nervous, but for the sake of each other both
appeared calm, cool and collected. Hil’ concerned
himself with the cars set up and reliability, while Kenft
with his navigation prowess, or the lack of it should we
say. He had prepared himself the best he could with the
time available. Instruments and maps in hand and one
more check on the car, they set off to rendezvous at
the designated start venue. All twelve competitors
arrive more or less at the same time, the only delay in
the proceedings, scrutineering. The cars were given the
once over by the official race scrutineer ensuring all
safety regulations had been adhered to. Through the
purchase and setting up of the car, not to mention club
membership, Hil’ was acquainted with one or two of the
guy’s while to Kenft, all strangers and a little unsure of
the correct protocol. The reserved side of his nature
kicked in, making him look maybe a little
unapproachable to the others. As a new face perhaps
they thought Hil’s navigator was an expert and
therefore posed as a possible threat to their future
success, they need have no fear in that respect, but
unknowingly it could have turned out to be a
psychological advantage by giving the other crews
something else to worry about. The envelopes
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His LAST SUPPER
containing all necessary route instructions were handed
out to the teams and each given a few minutes to
digest the instructions and start mapping out the first
few miles of the intended route. Unlike a treasure hunt
you didn’t have the security of the little sealed envelope
concealing the finish destination, in case of
emergencies, like getting lost. They were all there;
herringbones, height spots, tulips, latitude and
longitude co-ordinates, area’s to be avoided, black
spots, all to be plotted out on the move. Kenft flapped
a bit with all this information to be dealt with, plus to
simultaneously shout instructions to Hil’ and to make
himself heard above the rev’s of that race engine. All
Hil’ had to do was drive, drive as fast as he dare, within
the legal boundaries of course. That was, until his
driving lights failed, that slowed him down a fraction.
Hil’ stops the car to see if he can rectify the situation
but sadly to no avail, he had them working again but
only temporarily. He was, in rallying terms, flying
virtually blind. This coupled with Kenft missing one or
two check points and, fast running out of time, they
decided to unanimously call it a day and head for the
finish.
“Well, we’ll put that one down to experience,”
exclaimed Hil’, ashamedly disappointed somewhat, then
declared, “I didn’t enjoy that too much, did you? Think
we should attempt a special stage rally next.”
Kenft attempted to put it into perspective.
“To be fair, it was our first ever rally, so should
not expect too much Hil’, we cant become experts
overnight mate, and you couldn’t help what happened
with the lights, just one of those things. My navigating
will improve with experience. From the driving angle
though, I personally think special stage would be more
enjoyable, especially with that competitive edge of
yours. I’ll go with whatever you decide, no problem.”
52
Dr.K
On their way home they discuss the matter
further, Hil taking onboard Kenft’s comments and
highlighting the fact additional equipment would be a
necessity, in the form of fireproof overalls and crash
helmets for example, not to mention insurance cover.
Hil’ drops off Kenft, thanks him for being his navigator
and promises to contact him with any details of any
local upcoming events in which they could possibly
compete. Over the next few days Kenft dwelt on the
subject of special stage rallying, following the fortunes
of the professional crews on TV and reading a few
articles in the publications Hil’ had lent him. He quickly
became aware navigators were not called navigators
but co-drivers and worried at what point does he have
to drive, plus the fact he had not yet passed his driving
test. It was another important reason for Kenft to pass,
but not as important as being able to see more of his
beloved Pip.
The day of his driving test duly arrived, he was
very, very nervous, so much so his knees were
knocking. This was going to be the absolute worst test
he was ever going to undertake. All his previous
academic exams would pale to insignificance compared
to this. He had put a lot of importance on passing first
time. Kenft’s instructor picked him up from home in his
Viva ushering him into the driving seat and drove off,
heading to the city for an hour’s lesson before the
dreaded test. The lesson went reasonably well, his
instructor pointed out a couple of things but
encouraged him by saying he would do just fine in an
attempt to settle his obvious nerves. Kenft’s normal
‘happy go lucky’ attitude to exams or tests for some
reason had disserted him on this occasion, probably
because he’d attached so much importance to it.
Arriving at the test centre both instructor and
student entered the building to complete the formalities
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His LAST SUPPER
of meeting the examiner and signing documentation
before walking outside for the obligatory eye test. Kenft
failed to understand why it was left so late in the day
for an eye test, surely if his eyesight were below the
necessary requirement he would not have made it to
the test centre in the first place. Reading the number
plate from whatever distance, Kenft felt the nerves
getting the better of him, his knee caps physically
jumping up and down, he felt awful, walking round to
the drivers door he took a few deep breath’s to steady
himself. The examiner gave the instructions to start the
car and to proceed out of the test centre, turning right.
Kenft’s brain, like the car, was in neutral, momentarily,
just for a split second, he froze, and his mind went
blank. ‘Bullshit!’ In a flash he remembered the bullshit
procedure to satisfy the examiner before he started the
cars engine, even though he were the last person to
drive the car. Be physically seen to carry out the
following, Step 1; ensure gearshift was in neutral and
handbrake on, Step 2; move the seat to a comfortable
position, Step 3; adjust the rear view mirror. Kenft
started the car and slowly drove off. Twenty minutes or
so had passed, which seemed an eternity, and they
were back at the test centre. A few questions on the
Highway Code before the examiner gave his
assessment. It felt more like a verdict being read out
by a judge in court.
“I am sorry to inform you that on this occasion
you have failed,” then continued stating his reasons.
It was three points at most, and those Kenft felt
inconspicuous, he could only put it down to his obvious
nervousness, the examiner interpreting this as a lack of
confidence maybe. Kenft was gutted, his mouth was
dry, a headache from concentrating hard and a knot in
his stomach best described how he felt. The instructor,
disappointed, suggested Kenft drove home in an
54
Dr.K
attempt to instil confidence. Kenft drove home without
fault, pulled up outside his home and paid his fees to
the instructor, who advised him to put in for
another test without delay then made the appointment
for the next lesson. Thanking the instructor, Kenft
closed the car door; dejectedly he walked down the
pathway and disappeared into his home. Mother didn’t
have to ask how he did, she could tell instantly and
thought best not to say anything that may aggravate
the situation. He will deal with it his way. Kenft went
very quiet for a couple of days, analysing the pros and
cons in his head, and generally feeling sorry for
himself, wondering how he was going to break the
news to people, hoping they wouldn’t think badly of
him for his failure. It was almost too much to tolerate;
he wanted so desperately to pass.
Pip, how was he going to tell Pip? He decided he
would call her but choose his moment when in the
house alone, not wanting his conversation to be
overheard. It was his shyness thing taking over again.
Dialling her number he rehearsed a few words in his
mind, words he forgot the moment the receiver was
lifted and heard the word.
“Hello!”
“Er, hello could I speak to Pip please.”
“Yeah sure, hold on I’ll go find her,” replied her
Mother.
“Hi,” came back her gentle sexy voice.
“Hi, how are you?” and before Pip answered he
couldn’t help but continue, sadly, “I just called to say
I’ve failed my driving test I’m afraid.”
She consoled him the best she could over the
phone but his wavering tone of voice could not
conceal his obvious disenchantment. He so desperately
wanted to see her.
“When can I see you again?”
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His LAST SUPPER
“Well, I’m not sure, I’ve just taken on a part
time job for the holidays, and don’t have the details of
my hours yet, sorry.”
“Oh great, I’m not going to see much of you at
all then,” Kenft unable to hide his disappointment.
The phone went quiet for a while, Pip wasn’t too
sure how to handle this, Kenft showing anger for the
first time unnerved her a little. Kenft cut the
conversation short,
“Ok, see you when I see you, bye,” and hung
up.
He was convinced she didn’t want to see him
again because he had failed his driving test then
thought to himself, ‘she always left it to me to do all
the phoning, perhaps she wasn’t that keen on me
anyway, if she wants to see me again it’s up to her to
call me back and advise me when’, his pride had taken
another knock, up until now things had been going
well. He waited and waited she never called him back.
If only he were a shade more streetwise and had the
courage to call her back to apologise for his abruptness,
his mood and stupid pride held him back. In hindsight,
he should have left it a little longer before he called
her, when he was in a better frame of mind, things may
have turned out differently, if he had passed his test it
would have definitely turned out differently.
56
Dr.K
CHAPTER SEVEN
It wasn’t long before Kenft was back to his old
self, his ‘happy go lucky’ demeanour disguising his
recent disappointments. He was soon socialising again,
meeting up with his mates, smiling from ear to ear,
laughing and joking like nothing had happened. His
nickname should have been smiley, but that was his
exterior façade to the world, inside that shy little boy
always lurked occasionally surfacing from time to time,
on his serious side he was a bit of a worrier and a deep
thinker. Since his escapade with Hil, at that very early
age, he hated confrontation and avoided it at any cost,
walking away the easiest tactic.
Disco night was looming again and Kenft
decided to splash out on some new gear. Clive called
for him as usual. Kenft felt good as he approached
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His LAST SUPPER
the main door of the hall in his new white flared
trousers, black and white chequered tank top, wide
collared shirt and platforms. He looked the business. He
was a little ahead of his time, as ‘Saturday Night Fever’
hadn’t been made yet. Once inside the selfconsciousness took over and he could sense the eyes
staring at him and thought maybe he should have stuck
with Levi’s. All the same faces were there, including
Pip, now he felt a little nervous wondering how she
would react considering they hadn’t spoken since their
last phone call. Kenft wasn’t going to make the first
move it appeared she was with someone else. Kenft,
now feeling jealous and envious but knew it was his
own fault, unfortunately he couldn’t hide his
displeasure, everyone knew he was not happy his smile
had gone.
To her credit Pip did make the first move and
approached Kenft as he sat, looking glum, on one of
the tables at the side of the hall. She walked straight
up to him and positioned herself between his legs
fussed round him and commented on how good he
looked, and not to be sad, giving the impression that
maybe she would have preferred to be with him, but
not wanting to upset her present fella, staying with him
for as long as she dare before going back from whence
she came. Gary’s sister Sharon had been observing
from a distance and as soon as Pip left his side moved
in and knowing what was transpiring placed a
reassuring hand on his thigh and stood by him. Kenft
never saw Pip again she simply disappeared, as if she
had been purely a figment of his imagination, he should
have phoned her.
It took a little while but Kenft, eventually
clearing Pip from his mind, concentrated on the many
other facets occupying his life. He abandoned driving
lessons for the time being, totally discouraged. He
58
Dr.K
never wore those white trousers ever again either,
opting instead to giving them away to his sister.
Between them Clive, Mike and Hil had plenty in store
for Kenft, keeping his social calendar pretty much fully
booked. Regular visits to the pub with Clive ensued
during the week, they hated sitting at home, they
would much rather socialise in the evenings with a
game of darts or pool with the gang. Eddy, Slim,
Peanut were regular faces together with some of the
older guy’s always having a laugh, fun times, and
occasionally bumping into June and Debbie. Weekends
were mainly taken up with football, but out of season
frequent visits to Speedway meetings, stock car races
and in Kenft’s case, special stage rallying with Hil, not
to mention regular village dances with disco’s and live
bands. At the dances Clive and Kenft, after a couple of
pints, would soon be seen making fools of themselves
on the dance floor as usual, if not Susan would bodily
drag them onto the floor. Hil didn’t care too much for
that sort of thing, happy just to watch the proceedings.
Kenft only seemed to be at home for meal times or to
catch a few hours sleep.
Kenft and Susan hit it off pretty much straight
away, so much so, as they both worked in town, they
started to meet up for lunch. On one occasion walking
back to work together the inevitable happened.
Chatting about life in general as they progressed along
the footpath beside Kenft’s workplace the conversation
veered onto the subject of feelings, predominantly how
they felt towards one another. They stopped in their
tracks facing each other surprised, but not surprised.
Surprised they were being so open and honest, but not
surprised with the feelings they were both harbouring.
Now standing eyeball-to-eyeball, uncontrollably the
urge too great to resist, they embraced and kissed,
something they both had wanted to do for some time.
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His LAST SUPPER
Not another word spoken, that one kiss spoke volumes,
they walked to the end of the footpath and went their
separate ways, in opposite directions. Kenft, now
racked with guilt at the same time his heart raced with
the excitement of holding her close, clocked in for work
late, none of his workmates said anything even though
it was unusual for this to happen, they could tell Kenft
had something on his mind. Kenft couldn’t believe what
happened just happened, or the fact he let it happen.
‘What an idiot, how could I do such a thing
behind Hil’s back, that was unforgivable’, words that
passed through his thoughts constantly as he wrestled
with his conscience. How was he going to face Hil the
next time he saw him? There was only one thing for
it and that was to treat it as though it never happened
and not to tempt providence, he has to put a stop to
seeing Susan at lunchtimes and hope she understands,
with a bit of luck she will be likeminded, an element of
doubt entered his head, ‘what if she’s not, after all that
was said and done, is she prepared to sacrifice her
relationship with Hil’, for him’? From Kenft’s point of
view maybe this was just a knock-on effect from
finishing with Pip, is he experiencing an ‘on the
rebound’ knee-jerk reaction? Jerk being the operative
word. Kenft was in a quandary not knowing what Susan
had in mind or how Hil’ would take it, then a
distraction, a workmate throws his oily rag at Kenft to
attract his attention.
“Hey, did you hear that message for you over
the tannoy mate?” Kenft, stooping over his work
appearing to be in some kind of trance, daydreaming
he stood up.
“Nope!” Kenft snapped out it.
The message was repeated, it requested Kenft
to urgently report to Stephanie. This was obviously a
personal request not normally given over the tannoy
60
Dr.K
system, much to the amusement of his co-workers,
now all jeering and embarrassing Kenft, his face turning
a bright red. Kenft ignored the message. Stephanie, a
single girl and of a similar age to Kenft, eventually
caught up with him.
“Didn’t you hear my message?”
Sparing his blushes he replied, “No, sorry I
didn’t, what’s the problem.”
“Oh! No problem, Its just that I have a spare
ticket for the concert this weekend and wondered if you
would be interested.”
Kenft, felt very flattered to be asked and that
she was prepared to advertise her interest to the entire
factory, the five workshop bays, the parts fabrication
centre and the paint shops.
“Sorry Steph, thanks for the offer but I’m
already committed this weekend, perhaps some other
time,” politely he turned her down.
“Well, if you change your mind the offer’s still
open.”
“Cheers for that, appreciate it.”
Kenft wasn’t committed, or indeed one hundred
percent sure if he’d done the right thing, mixing it with
others would possibly mean avoiding the current issues
with Susan, giving him breathing space, or maybe
secretly he wanted things to work out with Susan to his
advantage? Everything appeared to carry on as normal,
Susan obviously never said anything more about the
incident to anyone or even spoke to Kenft about it and
they never did lunch again. Kenft wasn’t going to do
anything to upset his mate Hil’ and thought Susan had
much more to lose if she left him. It was some weeks
later, much to Kenft’s relief, although tinged with a
little envy, that Hil’ and Susan announced they were to
marry and asked Kenft if would take the honour of
being best man. The honour he duly accepted.
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Whilst all this was going on Mike and Sharon’s
relationship unfortunately, and much to Kenft’s
disappointment, never developed and Clive was doing
some manoeuvring of his own behind the scenes. The
next time they were to meet for drinks in the King’s
Head Clive had a big favour to ask of Kenft, one he felt
he couldn’t refuse after all the running about Clive had
done for him in the past, hesitantly Clive choose his
moment when there was no danger of them being
overheard, carefully he broached the subject,
“You couldn’t do me a big favour could you?”
“Anything for you old mate, what’s up?”
“Well, I have it under good authority that Debbie
has broken off her engagement with her army chum.”
“Interesting, and?”
“Well, if I organise a date would you do the
decent thing?”
“A foursome you mean? You want me to take
care of June while you do your thing with Debbie, call
that the decent thing.”
“I wouldn’t put it quite like that, but in a
nutshell, yeah!”
Kenft deliberated for a moment before
answering.
“Ok! You’re on, only because it’s you mind.
Where and when?”
“I don’t know yet, I had to clear things with you
first. I’ll let you know as soon as, thanks mate.”
“No problem, get the beers in.”
It was to be a several days before Clive
managed to arrange something, Kenft worried about
how he was going to handle the situation, bearing in
mind what had transpired between June and himself
previously. In the meantime Kenft and Hil’ busied
themselves, preparing for their first special stage rally.
First on the agenda was to organise fireproof overalls
62
Dr.K
and obligatory crash helmets, ‘not very reassuring’,
thought Kenft.
“What do we do about insurance?” enquired
Kenft.
“Not a problem, we pay an additional amount on
top of the entrance fee for each rally as we enter,
simple, but we also need a race licence.”
“A race licence! Where in hell do we obtain
those?”
“The RAC, here are the application forms, have a
browse through that brochure and choose our overalls
and helmets at the same time.”
“You’ve obviously done your homework, how is
the car coming along?”
“A few finishing touches to fireproof the
bulkhead, then I need to strengthen the gearbox
mounting and she should be ready.”
“What do you need for that gearbox?”
“Lets go and have a look.”
Kenft put the brochures and application forms to
one side and followed Hil’ out to the garage. The strip
lights flickered into life revealing the car in all her glory.
Up on jacks, wheels off, and looking as though she
meant business, the sight of her gave Kenft a bit of a
buzz. He crawled under the car with Hil’ who
proceeded, with the aid of an inspection lamp, to
explain his requirements.
“Right, there’s the gearbox mounting, I need
something light but strong enough to take the weight,
plus the battering it’s likely to take from flying stones
or any other obstacles it’s liable to encounter, and pick
up on those mount positions on the chassis, there and
there.”
“Ok, I think I can help you there. A nice thick
piece of HE30 aluminium plate should do the trick, do
you have a measuring tape handy?”
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His LAST SUPPER
“Do bears shit in the woods.” Hil’ extricated
himself from under the vehicle to find the tape measure
and handed it to Kenft. A few minutes and Kenft
crawled out from under the car.
“Yep! I should be able to find something at work
that will suffice. I’ll sort it first thing in the morning and
drop it round to you in the evening and give you a hand
to fit it.”
“That would be great if you can, thanks.”
Hil’ gave Kenft a tour of the work he had done
and what he had left to finish off.
“You have been a busy boy,” remarked Kenft.
Hil’s mechanical prowess was self-taught,
dismantling his fathers bakery delivery vehicles just for
the hell of it being a good start, and at an age when
most boys would still be playing ‘cowboys and
Indians’, (or in Kenft’s case probably ‘doctors and
nurses’) and this, coupled with his thorough approach,
clearly evident in the final results of his labour. Turning
off the lights and locking the garage door behind them
they returned to the house and the pending paperwork.
Kenft wrote down his likely size requirements beside his
selection from the catalogue while Hil’ explained maybe
they should join the SCCON car club and have a go at
their Midsummer Stages Rally.
“Whoa! Hang fire Hil’, we haven’t sorted this
little lot out yet old matey.”
“We’ve plenty of time before then, and anyway
I’ve entered us for this one.” Hil’ handed Kenft the
details.
“Oh good, that gives us a few weeks. Well at
least it’s local.”
“Yeah! But before then, how about a few days
holiday? I’ve a few days off soon, I fancy a trip
somewhere, get me attuned to driving the car? Susan
can’t get any time off work, can you?”
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Dr.K
“Talk about on the spur of the moment, it would
be good though, I’ll see what I can do.”
Kenft decides to call it a night finish’s filling in
the forms, collects what he needs to take with him
leaving Hil’ to order their gear chosen from the
brochure. The pressure is now on, not only
preparations for the coming special stage rally, their
first one, but Kenft also had college exams to contend
with coupled with his ongoing apprenticeship training,
on top of which the pending foursome Clive was
arranging. Now Kenft wasn’t sure if all was well
between Hil’ and Susan and the holiday thing, thinking
‘not being able to arrange time off work’ maybe just a
lame excuse. Okay, so Kenft had a lot on his mind so
hardly surprising if he were often found wanting in the
concentration department and seemingly at times
distant, or quiet at the very least. But he was to take
all in his stride as and when each event or situation
presented itself, prepared or otherwise.
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His LAST SUPPER
CHAPTER EIGHT
Kenft was able to book a few days off work for
that all-important break Hil was looking forward to and
found himself heading north again, this time the peak
district.
“What’s our destination Hil?”
“I want to revisit a location I went to on a school
geography trip, a place called Ingleton.”
“Can’t say I’ve heard of it, give us a clue as to
its whereabouts.”
“Straight up the A1, left across to Skipton on the
A59, then picking up the A65 for about 25 miles
towards Kendal, Ingleton is a small village on the right
situated at the base of the Ingleborough peak in the
North Yorkshire Dales.”
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Dr.K
“Well that was quite a definitive answer Hil, lets
find it on the map, Kendal, I know Kendal, been
there with Clive.” Kenft reached for the small collection
of Ordinance Survey maps located in the net
compartment on his door panel, “this looks like the
one, sheet number 103.”
Kenft unravels the map like a Chinese puzzle,
finds his bearings and locates where they are headed,
good map reading practice. Hil’ on the other hand was
driving steadily but taking every opportunity to open up
the throttle of the Escort, overtaking vehicles at the
slightest chance, he loved it, the resonance of the
engine and instantaneous acceleration. They could have
been regarded as the first generation of ‘boy racers’ but
at least their machine had been designed and built for a
reason not just for riding up and down streets to create
as much of a disturbance as possible.
A trouble free trip they arrived at their
destination, Ingleton, now all they have to do is find
somewhere to stay, they cruised the streets looking to
find a Bed & Breakfast establishment.
“Here’s a possibility,”
Hil pulls up along side a parked vehicle and
reverses into the available slot at the side of the road,
immediately in front of a B&B with the vacancies board
in the front window. The row of terraced buildings all
looked pretty similar, constructed using the locally
quarried stone, making them appear a little forbidding
at first, but once inside a warm welcome from the
landlady dispelled any un-easiness. Hil’ and Kenft
booked in for a few days and the landlady, after filling
in the formalities in the register, shows them to their
room. Up a couple of flights of stairs, a short corridor
and then turning right into a twin room, spick and span,
not a thing out of place furnished with nothing but the
essentials, with wash facilities across the hall.
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Dumping their bags in their room they decide to have a
look around the village, it would be a couple of hours
before dinner. After dinner, and watching a bit of TV,
they retire to their room and discuss the itinerary for
the next few days.
“Done any potholing?” asked Hil’.
“Can’t say I have, not much call for it round our
part of the world. Shouldn’t we have proper gear to do
that sort of thing?”
“Well we can do a bit of caving, like potholing
but not in the true sense of the word.”
“Okay, we can take a look at some holes, what
else is there?” enquired Kenft.
“Fell walking, we can find the waterfalls, take a
look at the viaduct and we’ve got to do the peak,
Ingleborough. Plus, if we can, find the most infamous
pothole of them all, Gaping Gill.”
“Fine, that’s tomorrow sorted,” smiled Kenft
glancing at the map of the area.
“Ha! I think we would be hard pressed to do the
peak and Gaping Gill in a day, comfortably that is.
Better get some sleep, breakfast at eight.”
Kenft nuzzles down into his bed and closes his
eyes the second his head hits the pillow, slowly drifting
off
into
semi-consciousness.
Body
tense
his
inner voice tells him to relax, he takes in a deep breath,
exhaling gradually he feels the tension leave like a
weight lifted. A procedure he finds himself repeating on
a daily basis not necessarily restricted to this particular
time of day.
Something wasn’t right. Part way through the
night his breathing became laboured and his chest
tightened and wheezed loudly, a deep sleep impossible
he wakes to see if he’s troubling Hil’. Hil’ was restless
and
Kenft
embarrassingly
apologises
for
the
disturbance, worryingly not understanding what’s
68
Dr.K
happening. Eventually everything calms down and he
manages a couple of hours sleep before breakfast.
Hil’, an early riser busied himself getting ready
for breakfast, waking Kenft as he did so.
“Morning, how do you feel?”
“Knackered Hil’, sorry about last night, I’ve no
idea what that was all about, perhaps it’s the fags.”
“I doubt it if you’ve not had problems before.”
Nothing more was said on the subject as they
ventured downstairs to enjoy a full English breakfast,
something they would traditionally only enjoy on a
Sunday back home, if they were lucky. Suitably
nourished it was time for exploration. Hil’ had to go for
a drive first, fired up the motor and off they went, not
heading for anywhere in particular. It turned out to be
an impromptu sight seeing tour for Kenft’s benefit, Hil’
passing on the knowledge gained from his past
geography trip, what he could remember of it.
Travelling eastwards, as the crow flies, to Horton at the
base of the Pen-y-Ghent peak stopping a while to take
in the scene then northwest to Whernside.
“You’ve just done the infamous three peaks,
Ingleborough, the highest, then Pen-y-Ghent and
Whernside.”
“Cheers Hil’, the easy way, hard to think people
can run the three in a day let alone walk it. I can
imagine it’s a very bleak harsh place in the middle of
winter.”
A seemingly remote expansive part of the
English countryside, quite desolate but at the same
time in its own way beautiful, a sloping open moor land
landscape, crisscrossed by age old dry stone walls,
some in decay others patched up, a few sporadic trees,
then rising to the rugged rocky scars and peaks
peppered with potholes circumnavigating at their base.
It was out of season so the usual rampages of tourists
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His LAST SUPPER
were few to non-existent, probably the ideal time to be
there. Heading back Ingleborough only a short
distance, to the opposite side of the peak from where
they were staying, Hil’ pulls off the road.
“Time to stretch the legs and do a bit of fell
walking.”
Armed with only light rally jackets, should the
weather turn nasty, and a torch each, off they set
across the Dales, at first following a well beaten track
before venturing across the grassy moor, veering
towards an outcrop of exposed rock. As they
approached the outcrop a distinct unpleasant odour
filled their nostrils, complaining to one another they
deduce it was coming from the direction of the rocks
and sought to investigate. A rotting carcass of a sheep,
probably having lost it’s footing and fell to its death, lay
on a boulder to the entrance of a pot system.
“Lets go take a look.”
Hil’ takes out his torch and makes for the
entrance, a black hole big enough to walk into not quite
standing upright, and rapidly he disappears from view.
Kenft almost immediately catches up with him as Hil’
had stopped to slip on his jacket grasping his torch
between his knees.
“It’s a bit cold down here,” exclaimed Hil’ as his
exhaled breath, like a jet of steam, caught in the beam
of light emitted from Kenft’s torch.
Kenft had his jacket on before he entered
thinking he’ll be needing both hands free and not
holding onto some jacket. Intrepidly they slowly made
their way deeper into the system not knowing what lay
ahead or how far they could go. The limestone walls
began to narrow and soon found their way blocked by a
stretch of chalky, murky water at their feet and couldn’t
tell how deep it was. Hil’ goaded Kenft into trying to
ford the water by climbing across the top, with his back
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Dr.K
on one wall and his feet bracing him on the other he
started to shuffle his way across. His confidence
disserted him and sensibly decided to turn back, there
was further to go than first thought. Relieved he drops
his feet back onto the ground.
“Nope, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”
“Ten out of ten for trying, I wasn’t even going to
attempt it,” chuckled Hil’.
“Oh cheers mate.”
They turned and made their way back from
where they came and emerged from the pot, the
daylight hurting their eye’s, they climbed the short
distance back up onto the moor and the stench from
the rotting carcass. That was Kenft’s initiation to
caving. Walking a little further they stumble on another
possible entrance to a pot system, probably leading to
the same one as before.
“This looks a little more promising.”
Although the entrance was small it opened up to
a wider passageway, in they ventured.
“Hope our batteries don’t give up Hil’,” Kenft’s
feeble attempt at being over cautious.
“We’ll be fine, come on.”
Deeper and deeper into the blackness, now this
was fast becoming serious stuff as they progressed
unimpeded. Evidence of past adventurers presents
itself with the first harsh obstacle in the form of a
wobbly deal plank, a temporary walkway laid across the
centre of a subterranean pond, a sump being the
technical term, the exit being a steep slippery slope
with vertical grooves channelled into the limestone by
the steadily running water, and rounded at the top.
Kenft had to take two attempts, the limestone hard on
the knees as he clawed his way to the top. If he drops
and loses his torch here, he’s in trouble. This delay
was long enough for him to lose sight of Hil’ who had
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His LAST SUPPER
raced ahead. Hil’ stopped where their tunnel was about
to intersect another just previous to which was a
gapping hole providing a window from one to the other.
Here Hil’ had stopped and waited for Kenft to catch up.
“Shush…I think I can hear voices,” Hil raising a
hand.
Kenft stops and listens along side, he wasn’t
wrong and the voices grew louder, people were drawing
closer. The tunnel the other side of the window lit up
from the lamps worn on the hard hats of the potholer’s
as they passed by like an underground train,
nonchalantly chatting away to themselves as though
they were traversing the high street, oblivious to the
presence of Kenft and Hil’, which was just as well as
these were the experts, kitted out in their wetsuits,
hard hats, lamps, battery belts and ropes and also
looked as though they knew where they were going,
they would have laughed at those two and no doubt
offer them the benefit of some free advice had they
spotted them. The sight of those guys prompted Hil’
into action, after they had gone.
“Time must be getting on. The first sign of an
exit and we’re out of here.”
He probably didn’t want to miss dinner. They
enter the second tunnel, travelling in the opposite
direction to the others, not knowing if they were
coming in or going out. This tunnel appeared large
enough to be a main artery of the system; it was a
walk in the park. Hil’ spots a small stream just ahead
flowing in from the right and a splash of light.
“Could be a way out.”
Sure enough, level with the stream and daylight
but not a lot. They turn right and continue the short
distance up stream crouching towards the sliver of
daylight, to exit the system they were going to have to
crawl, commando style, and up to their bellies in ice-
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Dr.K
cold water. They emerge to the wide outdoors into the
warm sunlight and accustom their eyes to the
brightness, soaking wet.
“Well that was fun, better be heading back to
the digs.”
“Yep, and those guys back there made me feel
just a little under dressed,” replied Kenft with a hint of
sarcasm.
They followed their noses until re-orientating
themselves as to their position relative to where they
had left the car, and in doing so casually stumbled
across something quite remarkable, something quite
awesome. They didn’t know it at the time but they were
staring straight down a colossal chasm known locally as
Alum Cave. Once seen never forgotten, it was as if the
earth had opened its huge mouth ready to devour
anything or anyone who strayed too close, a direct
route to hell. They stayed awhile to take it all in, the
sun peered from behind a cloud, light penetrating deep
revealing one half of the craggy void, making out the
potholer’s yellow hard hats, illuminated like beacons,
and faint echoing voices calling out instructions to one
another, maybe the very people they had passed along
the way, appearing to be no bigger than the size of
ants as they clung precariously to the wall of the
chasm.
Kenft had witnessed nothing like it before and
realising this is where they could have ended up,
trapped, had they not surfaced when they did. They
made it back to their digs for dinner with time to spare
for a shower and a change of clothing, and then a
couple of pints in the local were in order. A good old
fashioned public house, by today’s standards, brilliant.
The long oak bar, low white washed ceiling, highlighting
exposed beams and the obligatory dartboard, but more
importantly, traditional ale and local characters.
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His LAST SUPPER
Kenft orders two pints of their best bitter and
joins Hil’ at a table, settles down and reminisce the
day’s events before realising the relevance of artwork
on the facing wall. It was obviously an establishment
used regularly by potholers, headquarters for the local
caving club and rescue teams no doubt. On the wall, in
the form of cartoons depicting the dos and don’ts of
potholing. Kenft and Hil look at each other with a wry
smile on their faces knowing they’ve foolishly just
broken every rule in the book, all in that one day,
probably. Looking back they were not even that well
prepared for their fell walking exploits considering the
area, but never strayed far from the safety of the car or
their digs, it was good team building preparation for
their part time rallying careers, the possible dire
consequences not given a second thought.
The number one cardinal sin was not telling
anyone of their intended activities or indeed timescales
so if anything untoward were to happen they wouldn’t
have been missed or indeed knowing where to start a
search. Experienced people have been found wanting
only a short distance from safety so you can’t be too
careful. Lesson learnt from the cartoons, maybe they’d
done all the caving they need to do.
Back to the digs, now feeling totally knackered,
Kenft thought he would sleep well that night, especially
after the previous nights escapade and he’d had no
problems with his chest all day. Tomorrow they plan to
climb to the top of Ingleborough and take a look at
Gaping Gill, if they can find it. They retire to their room
looking forward to tomorrow’s full English breakfast and
their next adventure. Sadly Kenft was to have another
rough night, again his chest tightened and wheezed
loudly as he struggled to breathe. It must be something
in the room, something he’s become allergic to. He’s
not asthmatic, nor eaten anything different to normal,
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Dr.K
it can only be something in that room, but what?
Soldiering on he eventually manages to catch some
sleep; this would be the pattern for the remainder of
their stay.
Next morning they are greeted with driving rain
hammering on the window, they make their way down
for breakfast. The landlady enquires as to their plans
then informs them the forecast is rain for most
of the day. Hil’, not happy with the thought of doing the
climb in atrocious conditions or staying in the digs all
day, twiddling his thumbs, contemplated an alternative.
“How about touring the lakes, the Lake District
is what, thirty odd miles from here?” Hil’ deliberates
looking over the map.
Kenft takes a glance out of the dining room
window, “Skies certainly heavy with it, looks pretty
much as though it’s set in for the day mate.”
Before he knew it Kenft was traversing the
periphery of lake Coniston again, but its not as he
remembers it, this time appearing hostile and
inhospitable in the continuous rain and a blanket of low
grey cloud dramatically hanging over top of the
surrounding fells. The weather was a real dampener on
proceedings but Hil’ and Kenft tried to keep chirpy and
their spirits up. Coniston was to feature again in the not
too distant future, a stopping off point when they
followed the RAC rally later on that year, sleeping in the
car as they’d left it too late to find digs, ill prepared it
was late November and bloody freezing, Kenft couldn’t
wait for morning.
Making it back to their lodgings the only way to
finish what can only be described as a washout of a
day, would be a nice warm shower, change of clothing
and straight down the pub to sample some of their
cuisine washed down with a flagon of ale and a chat
with the locals, ‘cushdi’ as Del boy would say.
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The following day contrasted with the previous,
although the ground remained soaking wet an
intermittent sun broke though white cumulus drifting
clouds, noticeably feeling a degree or two warmer,
today it’s the summit for sure. A hearty breakfast and
off they set, not needing the car it was left parked
outside the B&B. The ascent started easy enough but
the further they progressed the steeper the climb and
as fit as they were found themselves puffing a bit. A
little treacherous under foot with the damp grass
proving slippery and closer to the top loose shale to
contend with, needing a little more effort from those
leg muscles. But it was worth it; upon reaching the
summit the view was tremendous, wind in their faces
ruffling
their
long
hair,
and
a
feeling
of
accomplishment, Kenft felt flushed with a true sense of
freedom and not a care in the world. Surveying all
before them, Ingleton and the viaduct, spinning
through 360 degrees taking in the complete panoramic,
Clapham, Horton and Pen-y-Ghent continuing round to
Whernside before swinging back looking towards
Ingleton.
The sound of an approaching jet and
instinctively they both gaze skywards as it darts past
approximately 100 metres below them, just catching
sight of it before completely disappearing behind the
scenery.
With their fill of natural wonderment the
descent on the opposite side was completely different,
with a slope more gradual and easier going.
“Why didn’t we come up this way Hil’,” mused
Kenft.
“That would have been just too easy.”
“Fair comment.”
“Now if my sense of direction is on the ball,
when we reach somewhere near the base, veering
round to the right heading in the direction of Clapham
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Dr.K
we should fall into Gaping Gill,” adds Hil’, pointing the
way as he goes.
It was a lot further than he at first thought,
thinking they had missed it backtracked before turning
and again headed towards Clapham but at a slightly
different elevation, avoiding any temptation to explore
any ambiguous potholes they would come across. Then
bingo, a hollow in the ground, one side raised and part
enveloping, looking a little similar to an amphitheatre.
Hil’ immediately recognises it as Gaping Gill. Kenft was
disappointed expecting to see a huge chasm, a twin of
Alum Cave but bigger, but this was deceiving. Their’s
evidence of human activity with well-trodden tracks and
discarded equipment in the shape of a tubular support
structure of some kind. Hil’ explains at a certain time of
year members of the public can be lowered to the
bottom of the cave using a bosons chair on a winch.
Gingerly Kenft approached the pot entrance and
nervously peered over the edge, he was right to be
cautious, the small opening at the top concealing a
gigantic dark chasm, Alum Cave but with a roof, from
where he was standing he couldn’t see any sign of the
bottom, that was about as much as they were going to
see.
It had been a reasonable trek and both enjoyed
every minute of it and continued to make tracks across
country for Ingleton, in an indirect way, hoping maybe
to discover the waterfalls but not too sure exactly
where they were located.
“Pity one of us didn’t think to bring a camera,”
commented Hil’ with a regretful expression.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. We could have
had some good shots these past few days. Never mind
we have our memories.”
Neither were ardent photographers at the time,
but nothing could take away the pictures and
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experiences, those they’ve had or yet to have, from
their memories, their whole life lay ahead of them.
Back to their lodgings and they inform the
landlady it was to be their last night and will be leaving
for home the following morning, after breakfast.
Finishing dinner they head for the pub for a nightcap or
three, say their goodbyes. Kenft again struggled for a
good nights sleep but never had the heart to say
anything to the landlady for fear of offending her;
otherwise their stay had been more than a pleasant
one.
The usual spread was before them on the
breakfast table in the morning and by now the quantity
had taken its toll, Kenft could only manage a fraction of
his usual indulgence, leaving the cereal and toast,
finishing off with a coffee. Explaining, although they
were sad they couldn’t stay longer, but the preparation
for their pending first stages rally, work and other
commitments beckoned, forcing them to return home
before they would have liked. Bags packed they paid
the landlady and after thanking her for her hospitality,
loaded up the car fired her up and headed off, for
home.
***
The first special stage rally turned out to be a bit
of a damp squib. The car behaved itself, no problem,
Kenft slow off the mark, or should we say careful not
wanting to make mistakes, which he inevitably did, got
the ball rolling with signing in, obtaining all the
paperwork and nervously starting to mark out the
route, while Hil’ had the car scrutinised.
Special stage rallying meant they had to use
public roads, adhering to the highway code avoiding
black spots, that’s villages and places that didn’t
appreciate them being there, before reaching the
designated special stage which was off road, where
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they could go hell for leather against the clock covering
a multitude of varying surfaces from tarmac to mud, so
tyre choice was important, except Hil and Kenft only
had one choice, the ones on the car. With no service
crew a tyre change was a luxury they didn’t have, they
had to take it as it come with the one set. The number
of stages to be negotiated would vary, depending on
any cancellation of stages for safety reasons; the crew
home to the finish with the fastest aggregate time over
the stages deemed the winners. They didn’t have it all
their own way on the open road either, if seen entering
a black spot or arriving at a stage before expected
(meaning they had been speeding), it was instant
disqualification from the event. Unfortunately their
competition came to an abrupt termination with what is
described as ‘a visit to the scenery’, and driver error.
Kenft didn’t blame Hil’, after all he had to learn the
ropes somehow, although angry with himself for
making a mistake Hil’ never lost his rag when Kenft,
confused, sent him the wrong way a couple of times.
On the stages there were no pace notes at this level of
competition, you were driving blind, only direction
arrows whose angle at which they were nailed to the
post giving some indication as to the severity and
direction of the next bend. Inevitably one was travelling
a little too fast for the conditions and their tyres being
less than ideal on one stage, they ended up off the
track and unable to rejoin.
Spending the remainder of the rally as
spectators was bad and frustrating enough, as the rally
car was un-driveable they still had to find a way home.
Managing to get a message back to the finish they sat
and waited in the chilly evening air hoping someone
would have the heart to double back and pick them up.
In true rallying spirit one crew did, Mr Abram’s and his
co-driver, Colin. The only problem was their special
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little machine was a mini, no not a saloon, a pick-up
truck. Ever thankful for small mercies, they climbed
aboard donning their fireproof overalls, rally jackets
and crash helmets. They were going to need them as
Hil’ sat himself on the battery cover and Kenft
precariously on the fuel tank. It was cold but fun,
holding on to the roll cage for dare life facing rearwards
as Mr Abram raced home with flames jetting out of the
hot exhaust. She was a nippy little thing. Mr Clarkson
would have been proud of their endeavour.
Welcome to the sport of club special stage
rallying. Hil’ would return later the next day equipped
with a borrowed trailer and recover the stricken car,
determined, in future if they had to travel any distance
to the start of a rally then a trailer would be the best
option, but that costs money, money neither of them
had.
Mike called for Kenft the following morning for
college.
“Morning, good break?”
“Yeah great thanks Mike and you, have a good
weekend?”
“Not bad, lost at football though.”
“Oh! I think we play you soon don’t we.”
Kenft continued to tell Mike what he and Hil’
were up to on their break in the peaks and their first
rally disaster before changing the subject completely.
“How did you do with the homework assignment
Mike? Only as you can appreciate I haven’t had a lot of
time for study.”
“It’s in the top of my bag, take a look if you
like.”
Kenft reaches for Mikes bag on the back seat,
takes out the first folder and opens it towards the back
section.
“This it,” he asks.
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Mike quickly takes his eyes off the road and
points to the relative page.
“Mind if I make a few notes Mike.”
“No, help yourself.”
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CHAPTER NINE
Clive excitedly announces to Kenft he had fixed
it up with the girls, he’d arranged to meet up at the
dance organised for this coming weekend, and his big
chance to hit it off with Debbie. Kenft on the other hand
wasn’t feeling quite so ecstatic but not prepared to
renege his side of the deal, his word was his bond.
They decide to walk to the venue, as it’s local, and call
into the pub for a couple of beer’s, it wasn’t too far out
of their way, just to start the evening off. Leaving the
pub in good spirits they made their way to the hall, a
quarter of a mile or so, made their grand entrance and
made straight for the bar.
The girls were already there, enjoying
themselves on the dance floor within a larger group,
dancing round their handbags abandoned in the centre,
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keeping one eye on the door watching out for the lads.
Debbie was the first to notice their arrival and,
attempting to maintain her rhythmic gyrating in time
with the music, lent forward to inform June they were
there. Kenft and Clive stood shoulder to shoulder a
couple of steps away from the bar with pints in hand
looking around the hall, acknowledging the faces they
new and watching the band on stage. Clive spots
Debbie and gave Kenft a little nudge as if to say ‘follow
me’, and slowly made his way around the perimeter of
the dance floor, like a lion stalking his pray, staking a
claim to some spare seats, at the same time keeping
one eye on his quarry. The pair sat themselves down,
sipping at their pints of bitter, Kenft drawing on a
Lambert & Butler; they observed the dancers, Clive
obviously looking in one direction and with one
objective on his mind. Debbie and June choose the end
of the next number to finish dancing, collected their
handbags up from off the floor and made their way
over to confront the lads, probably not too sure as to
whether or not the pre-made arrangements were
genuine.
“Evening,” said Debbie a little shyly, reaching
into her handbag searching for her cigarettes daring not
to look anyone directly in the eye.
June looked on somewhat cautiously not too
sure how things would pan out.
“Evening,” replied the lads in unison.
“Here, have one mine.”
Kenft presented his pack from his jacket pocket
and invites the girls to take one of his cigarettes, which
they duly accepted. The lads offered the girls their
seats and to buy them drinks, Kenft volunteers to fetch
the beverage’s leaving Clive to chat up the girls. Kenft
took a little while, stopping to chat with others giving
him time to collect his thoughts on how he was going to
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deal with this, in the end thinking, ‘what the hell, I’ll
just go with the flow’.
Kenft returned with the drinks to find Clive had
been enticed onto the dance floor and doing his thing,
Kenft places the glasses under the seats takes a draw
on his cigarette then stubs it out, takes a sip of his
drink and joins them. The Dutch courage had kicked in
bearing in mind they had had a few in the pub before
hand. Once on the dance floor they didn’t want to stop,
they had a great time, shirts wringing wet with sweat
from all the effort put into their dancing. Then, true to
form the band played two or three slow numbers before
wrapping it up for the night, it was now past midnight.
The dance floor is now full of couples in close embrace
and Clive seizes his moment, takes Debbie by the hand
wrapping his other arm around her waste and pulls her
close to him. Leaving Kenft with no option, he does
likewise with June, and as they sway to the music
wonders how June had been roped into this little
charade. As they had truly a fantastic night and
enjoyed each other’s company, he decides to say
nothing that would upset the ‘apple cart’ leaving all
recollections of previous encounters well behind them.
The entertainment draws to a close and after staying a
while longer to chat with others, Kenft and Clive walk
the girl’s home.
Debbie, it transpired, was spending the night at
June’s; it was about a fifteen-minute leisurely walk.
Standing in the porch-way the lads were contemplating
saying their goodnights when June invites them in.
Removing shoes and coats they made their way to the
living room where they were welcomed by a lovely
warm glowing fire. Everyone made themselves
comfortable while June added a shovel of coal to keep
the fire going a while longer. By this time Debbie and
Clive couldn’t keep their hands off one another,
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eventually disappearing behind the settee to carry on
the intimacies with a little more privacy, Debbie
giggling as they did so. June, laughing quietly to her
self, suggested they tried to keep the noise down as
her parents, although probably sedated with sleeping
pills, were asleep upstairs. She switched off the light,
the room now illuminated only by the flickering flames
emanating from the fire. Either because of the effect of
the alcohol consumed, or the fact there maybe an
element of attraction, or just plain lust driven by animal
instinct, Kenft and June feeling left out wanted a piece
of the action, aroused (brewers droop not being a
problem) they found themselves grappling with one
another on the rug in front of the fire. Things were
hotting up in more ways than one, June not wasting
anytime, keeping her dress on to avoid being caught
out by any sudden re-emergence of Debbie or Clive or
one her parents for that matter, removed her
undergarments. History was repeating itself, they were
continuing where they had left off from their first
encounter, they were embroiled in each other to the
point were all sense and sensibility was lost. So was
Kenft’s virginity. It was over far too quickly, Kenft felt
his ardour subside instantaneously and overcome with
the feeling of ineptness, having had no time to
stimulate her, for her it must have felt like a non-event,
she didn’t complain, chosing her moment she uttered
those three immortal words,
“I love you,” she whispered.
Kenft, unsure how to respond, had this sickening
feeling in the pit of his stomach thinking he had let her
down in some way, too eager to get on with the
business rather than foreplay, not being alone together
probably paid its part. Slightly embarrassed they
separated and dressed themselves, Debbie and Clive
surfacing shortly afterwards, looking a little dishevelled,
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somewhat self-conscious and red faced. June quickly
hid her underwear under a cushion as she left the room
for the kitchen to prepare refreshments, closely
followed by Debbie. Clive sat himself down on the
settee leaned back and closed his eyes, probably
having over exerted himself, ‘now he’s either fallen
asleep or merely re-living the pleasurable last half hour
or so’, thought Kenft, ‘or both’.
Kenft, glassy eyed staring into the fire,
mesmerised by the flickering flames, now feeling a little
edgy. The sobering thought crossed his mind, he had
not used any contraception, he recollects his brief
escapade with Sharon and realised he’d learned
nothing. He hoped June had taken care of that
department, as she was so keen, after all she never
said, at any appropriate moment during proceedings,
‘stop, aren’t you forgetting something?’ or words to
that effect!
June and Debbie returned to the room
brandishing mugs of coffee and tea. Debbie nudges
Clive to bring him back to consciousness handing him
his mug. Conversation was light, not forgetting mum
and dad were upstairs, it was getting late and everyone
now feeling pretty tired. Clive and Kenft finish their
drinks and thought they had better not overstay their
welcome and begin making their way home. Clive
kisses Debbie goodnight and suggest they all meet up
again tomorrow evening. Kenft hesitantly agrees,
wondering how long he has to keep up this charade for
Clive? But somewhat chauvinistically could appreciate
its benefits.
The following evening the girls were expecting
the lads to call round for them but never showed. The
lads, catching cold feet, had already made their way to
the pub taking a short cut across the fields then via the
back lane, unaware they had been spotted. The girls,
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having none of it or wasted any time, made their own
way to rendezvous with the lads. In the meantime Clive
and Kenft, pints in hand, settled for a game of darts
with their mates. The girls, not far behind, entered the
pub bought a drink and walked over to the lads.
“Evening,” said Debbie without hesitation,
“Enjoy your little walk over the field did we,” she
continued with a chuckle.
“Hiya girls,” replied Clive showing obvious
embarrassment and losing concentration on his game,
“Thought you’d already be here waiting for us.
Well, now you’re here fancy taking us on at darts?”
June being quick on the uptake snatched the
darts from Kenft’s hand,
“Yeah sure.” Giving one of those ‘I am not
happy’ sideways glares from the corner of her eyes.
Kenft sensing her obvious displeasure, none too
pleased with him-self or the situation, seized a quiet
moment to broach the subject of the night before.
“June, about last night, we got a little carried
away and we neglected to…” June stopped him in his
tracks knowing full well what he was on about.
“Its ok, I’ve taken precautions.” She’d taken a
morning after pill.
Kenft relaxed a bit, then she hit him with a
bombshell.
“But I do have something to tell you.”
“Oh! What’s that,” Kenft quizzically screwed up
his forehead.
“Last night, Debbie was under the impression,
and hoping, that you and her were going to get it
together! But that was before Clive grabbed her first.”
“You what!” exclaimed Kenft, eyebrows raised.
Kenft was lost for words, he did not know how
to respond to that little piece of news, (other than
laugh to himself), taking him completely by surprise.
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Now what was he suppose to do? June left him with
that to think about and rejoined the game, feeling a
little pleased with her-self no doubt. ‘Clive must have
left it slightly open ended with the initial invitation’,
guessed Kenft, as he extracted his pack of cigarettes
from his top left hand jacket pocket. Not wanting to
upset his mate Clive, after all he had his heart set on
hitting it off with Debbie, he decides on the status quo
and carried on as if nothing had been said.
“Right! Whose throw is it?”
Kenft now realising June had been coerced into
playing the same game, as he had been, but not with
the guy she at first thought, putting a whole new
complexion on their situation. Now he felt a little sorry
for her and also a little confused, Debbie seems happy
to be with Clive? As for Clive, he’s got what he wanted.
For a while the foursome continued and eventually the
parings became more permanent fixtures. Over time
the socialising together became less and less as Clive
and Kenft were introduced to their girl’s respective
families and family things gradually began to take
precedence. Kenft was now seeing a lot more of June
and soon accepted by her family, and a large family it
was too. She was the youngest of eight, a bit of a
mistake, certainly not planned, her mum being in her
forties when she conceived, she was the baby of the
family and definitely spoilt by her older brothers and
sisters.
Typically Kenft would finish work and, invited to
Junes for a spot of tea, make his way around after a
wash and change of clothes. June cooked, under the
watchful eye of her mother. She didn’t need much
supervision as she had been taught well, her mum
being a good cook; it was if he were at home relishing
his mothers cooking. While June and Kenft ate her
mum and dad would change and make themselves
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scarce, popping out to socialise for a couple of hours.
Kenft and June would seize their opportunity and head
straight upstairs to her bedroom, strip off their clothes
and dive under the bed sheets. Dive being the
operative word, they loved the foreplay, the long
sensuous kissing, before slowly making his way lower,
caressing her breasts, sucking erect nipples, lower,
kissing her smooth torso as he went, now between her
legs, his tongue doing most of the work, playing,
teasing, she laid there letting him do what he wanted
before taking him by the shoulders, pulling him back
indicating for him to return, and more kissing, the
gentle tender motion of the contact, lips touching lips,
she wanting him inside her, and to the point of no
return, the moment nearly lost as they stop to apply
the sheath, then penetration, slowly thrusting his hips
forward, she hugs him tightly clasping his round
buttocks pulling him in harder, with the over
excitement it was quick a few strokes and his whole
body stiffened and jerked as he groaned with pleasure.
They lay awhile, breathing heavy in each others
embrace before calming down, relaxing, breathing and
heart rates return to normal, dozing almost asleep, she
nudges him to signal it’s time to freshen up and get
dressed before her mum and dad return home.
The back door opens and closes, mum and dad
removing their coats enter the living room to find the
pair of them sitting together on the settee supping
coffee and tea watching television, like butter wouldn’t
melt in their mouth. Chitchat ensued about nothing in
particular and mum and dad call it a night and
disappear upstairs to bed. Kenft would also call it a
night, oh what a night, time for home and work
tomorrow. On one occasion, for some inexplicable
reason, he had to enquire. He knew he wasn’t the first
but he was curious to know who was. She wasn’t going
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to let on, and quite rightly so, but he asked her again,
she relented, she didn’t name names merely suggested
who it may have been, it didn’t take a genius to work it
out, it was her brother in law, the dastardly deed done
when he’d brought her home from babysitting for them
one night. Kenft was immediately incensed, angry at
the same time jealous, uncontrollably thumping the
wall in a rage, infuriated to think it was a family
member taking advantage, so much for trust. Now he
wished he’d never asked, embarrassed at his outburst,
she in turn sorry to have told him not realising he
would take it so badly. Kenft apologised and appeared
sheepish for a few days but both soon forgot all about
it, although his friendship with her brother in law, a
renowned philanderer, was never quite the same.
Dance night in the city, a works due, with Clive
and Debbie they clamber aboard the transport to a
roudy reception and head off. June was happy, a
smiling round face exposing her dimples, she looked
good wearing a long ankle length silky emerald green
dress hugging her in all the right places, they danced
the night away doing their thing to ‘Kung Fu Fighting’.
Either one drink too many or not quite accustomed to
her highheals she takes a tumble and bangs her head
on the floor, someone inadvertently stands on her
lovely long blonde hair, she seemed to momentarily
pass out. Helped to her feet she was then escorted to a
chair and sat down, a member of the management
comes over to check things out; June’s not at all happy,
groggy. The manager wanted to ensure of no comeback
on the establishment insisted she is checked over by a
doctor and called for an ambulance. Kenft naturally
rides with her to the hospital, Junes now asleep on the
stretcher in the ambulance under close scrutiny from
the medic, constantly checking her vital signs. The
doctor at A & E asks Kenft for his version of events as
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he examines his patient, June half conscious answers a
couple of questions directed to her, her name, where
does she live, then goes back to sleep probably feeling
embarrassed with all the fuss being made. The doctor
suspects with all the dancing and, with the help of a
few drinks, it’s taken it out of her and she’s feeling very
tired, because she has had a knock to the head they’ll
keep an eye on her for couple of hours as there could
be a slight concussion. Given the all clear transport was
arranged to take them home, June slept all the way,
Kenft on the other hand couldn’t sleep keeping a
watchful eye on his girlfriend and ensured she got
home to bed safely, it was now something like three or
four o’clock in the morning.
Kenft was shocked to learn June had gone to
work the next day as if nothing had happened, he was
too knackered worrying about her, but then again she
was asleep for most of the time so probably felt as
fresh as a daisy. Kenft meets her out of work to ensure
she’s okay and describing the previous nights events,
more than surprised, if not angry, at the cold shoulder
rection he’d received in return, so much so Kenft
thought he’d better give her some space and go home
with strong feelings of rejection burning into him. The
following morning he prepared for work, with little sleep
June’s reaction played on his mind, he’s upset
considering the devotion he’d shown to her welfare, he
writes a note, leaving it on his bed, explaining he didn’t
think anyone cared for him and he was leaving. He
didn’t get off the bus, instead carried on to the city with
the notion of finding passage to some distant foreign
shore. He’d gone only a few miles daydreaming out of
the window and comes to his senses, realised how
stupid he’d been, knowing how much his mum would be
panicking on finding the note, he wanders around the
city before taking the next bus home. Not sure what he
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or his mother was going to say, he sheepishly enters
the home, finding mother sitting in the living room
clutching his note.
“Sorry mum.”
The relief on her face said it all, she said nothing
walked into kitchen and filled the kettle. She’d
previously gone round to inform Doris, Junes mother
showing her the note. June called to see Kenft the
moment she’d heard what had transpired and instantly
made amends for her insensitivity, probably after
receiving some advice from her mother. Should he
have kept going?
It was on one of those now rare evenings out
socialising with Clive and Debbie and June drops
another one of her bombshells. Canoodling on the back
seat as Clive drives them home she whispers to Kenft,
“I think we should get engaged.”
Well not so much of a whisper, she said it loud
enough so the others could just make it out. Looking
back Kenft realises it could have been a severe case of
one-upmanship, or in this case one-upwomanship, but
never the less he gave it serious consideration, they
had been together for almost a year.
The next few days he mulled things over.
‘We do get along well together, no arguments; I
like spending time with her, whenever and wherever;
I’d rather be with her than anyone else; her family
treat me as one of their own, I really feel at home with
them all; I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach,
love or lust? The sex is good and getting better, but still
experiencing those inept guilty feelings from the first
time, thank goodness for foreplay. Is it just the sex and
the convenience? We’re great on the dance floor
together; I’d hate to see her with someone else’.
To Kenft it felt right to be with June, he felt
comfortable and relaxed with her, at ease, he didn’t
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have to put on any false heirs or graces, he could be
himself. The next time he sees her he agrees they
should get engaged. They buy and exchange rings the
very next weekend and announce it to the family. June
excitedly tells her mum, flashing the ring on her finger,
a sparkling diamond at the centre surrounded with dark
blue sapphires mounted on a rugged grooved band of
gold, doing likewise with the rest of her family at the
first opportunity. Kenft, on the other hand, tackled it
with more of a low-key approach, informing only his
mum in a ‘matter of fact’ kind of way and the response
equally measured. Kenft bumps into his mum in the
hallway as he approached the bathroom from his
bedroom, plucking up the courage, he quietly
announced,
“Mum, June and I have got engaged.”
“Oh – right,” Mum caught completely off guard
noticing his black onyx ring and carried on with her
housekeeping. She would inform his dad later but he
never said a single word on the subject to Kenft, so
never knew if he approved or not, not that he cared
much, either way.
Future mother in law had other idea’s, she was
obviously over the moon her daughter’s now engaged
to be married, but had her concerns and adamant she
would air those concerns. At the first opportunity she
sat June and Kenft down to have a little chat.
“I just want to say a few words to you two now
you’re engaged. I am very happy for you both and I
know the sort of things you’ll be getting up to,
sex I mean,” ‘blimey’, thought Kenft, ‘we’re being read
the riot act on the birds and the bees, she’s a bit late
on that score’, smirking to himself and fought hard to
conceal it. She continued,
“I want you to do the right thing and ensure you
take the appropriate precautions.” She said sternly.
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She was of the old school and would find
pregnancy out of wedlock socially unacceptable and
bring shame and embarrassment to her and the family.
Kenft admired her for it, knowing full well his side of
the family are not the sort to express themselves so
vividly or honestly. She needn’t have worried, apart
from their first time they had since taken the
appropriate precautions, June was soon to go on the
pill, but until then Kenft used contraception bought
from the staff shop at work, finding it less
embarrassing than using the chemists, or at times of
extreme emergency, nicked condoms from his fathers
supply found discretely hidden in his bedside cabinet,
thinking he would never notice.
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CHAPTER TEN
A period of modicum success ensued as Kenft
continued to pass his examinations at college, the
opportunity to progress up the career ladder under the
new human resources regime, realising one ambition of
his, to work in a design office on the drawing board. He
was now playing football at the highest level he was
ever going to attain continuing to find the net, banging
in the goals, and he’d done his bit at Hilary and Susan’s
wedding. Being Hil’s best man the most daunting task
he’d ever been asked to perform, on the day more
nervous than the bridegroom. Kenft did what was
asked of him saying a few words, keeping it short and
sweet, and reading out a few cards from well-wishers,
June attended as Kenft’s guest.
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June meanwhile had changed occupation, now
working along side two of her sisters on the production
lines at a frozen food factory, she’d had also passed her
driving test, first time. Kenft purchased their first car, a
tidy little mini for the princely sum of £250 with fully
comprehensive insurance at £255 for the year, adding a
pair of ‘L’ plates for himself. Mother and father in law to
be, taking full advantage of the availability of the new
transport with frequent requests for a lift to town, or to
the coast, to partake in their favourite pastime, bingo.
Hil and Kenft even surprised themselves in their
next rallying event, the local TCM Special Stages Rally,
the start being a short journey to the north coast,
finishing seventh overall and picking up the best
novices award.
“You know what that means don’t you.’”
“Er! No,” replied Kenft, “enlighten me.”
“We will no longer be classed as novices but
deemed as experts.”
Which simply meant they were going to have to
try even harder than before, improving their machine
and techniques, to stand any chance of winning
anything in the future. Kenft was just happy to be
taking part. They felt very pleased with themselves and
rightly so, but Kenft knew only too well that pride came
before a fall and it wasn’t long before his fears were
justified.
A few weeks down the line and the next event, a
lot further afield, so if they encountered any
problems it was going to be a good deal harder to find
their way home, still not managing to secure the use of
a second towing vehicle with trailer. Kenft sacrificed an
important game of football, and Hil’, probably an
equally important table tennis tournament, to take
part. They travel early morning to reach the designated
start venue. On arrival they slip into their light blue
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fireproof overalls and rally jackets before grappling with
the organisational preliminaries. Having collected his
route details, head down buried in the map, Kenft
busied him-self plotting out as much of their course as
possible, which he would continue plotting en-route,
directing his driver as they go. Hil’ stuck their
designated car number decal on the doors once the car
had passed scrutineering. Each competing crew were
flagged off the start rostrum at regular intervals,
witnessed by a crowd of spectators and enthusiasts.
The morning session went reasonably well, no technical
hitches, holding their own, considering the various
stage conditions and using the same set of tyres as
before. Hil’ was performing better and better and
considerably quicker and quicker as the day
progressed, his confidence growing by the hour.
The next special stage, the first of the afternoon
period, Kenft instructs Hil’ to turn off the road, next left
into the farm entrance, and to follow the concrete
single-track road meandering through the farm
buildings
into
the
countryside,
taking
their
place in the small queue of fellow competitors and
waited their turn. The start marshals counting down the
seconds allowing each crew to leave their control in
two-minute intervals. Car doors slung wide open, it was
mild weather and quite warm with the sun shining
through the glass windows quickly heating up the cars
like a greenhouse, letting in some fresh air as they
were feeling quite knackered after their early start and
wanting to try and stay alert, not drowsy. Kenft tidied
up his maps and paperwork stowing what he didn’t
need out of the way in the cargo net on his door panel,
Hil’ taking time to check tyre pressures and a cursory
look under the bonnet before re-locating it back in
place using the security spring clips. They were now
only two cars away from starting their run at the stage.
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Hil’ returned to the drivers seat wiped his hands of any
dirt or grease and both donned their crash helmets and
clipped themselves in with the full harness seat belts.
He turns on the ignition switch and starts up the
engine; the car vibrates into life and trembles, with
ears covered and no intercom they shout to converse to
one another over the din emanating from the engine.
Gradually they inch forward, keeping a safe
distance from the car in front and any flying debris
likely to be kicked up from its tyres as it accelerates
away, disappearing like grease lightening down the
track and round the first bend, in a cloud of dust.
Hil’ draws his car level with the start board and
the marshal, who leans forward peering through
Kenft’s open window showing him the start time on the
official clock and fills in the time card on Kenft’s
clipboard.
No pace notes so they’re driving blind.
Kenft places his clipboard onto his lap and sets
up the top dial on the dual trip/timer instrument on the
dash in front of him.
Hil’ shifts into first gear, blipping the throttle
keeping the engine revs up, rev counter rapidly spins
from just under 1000rpm to 6000 and back again,
apprehensively wringing his hands on the steering
wheel, hoping he doesn’t stall.
Two minutes! Shouts the start marshal, feels
more like five, sitting on the concrete start, waiting for
the final count down. The concrete finishes just up
ahead immediately turning to a loose dirt track.
Hil’ scanning ahead and sees the first direction
arrow pointing upwards at forty-five degrees to the left.
Concentration refocuses on the start marshal as
he commenced the countdown, shouting the out the
seconds and counting down with the fingers on his left
hand at the same time, so Hil’ can see if he can’t hear.
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“Five, four,”
Hil’ revs harder and holds it there,
“Three, two, one and go!”
Hil’, on go, instantaneously lifts the clutch; the
rear wheels spin momentarily, burning rubber, the car
lurches forward leaving a cloud of burning rubber and
dust in its wake, the engine dies slightly as the tyres
grip before gaining torque and propels the car forward
at full acceleration, 0 to 60 in under 6 seconds.
Off the concrete and onto the loose, changing
gear, stones picked up by the tyres pummel the
underside of the floor pan with a deafening din, akin to
huge hailstones on a tin roof, the handling of the car
instantly changes, Hil’ wrestles with the steering wheel
keeping on track, the rear stepping out slightly, sliding
the car round the first bend.
Kenft by this time had made himself
comfortable, right hand holding the clipboard on his
lap, window wound up preventing any scenery ingress,
left hand now gripping the handle above the door with
legs straight and feet firmly on the footrest. His duty
now to call out what he sees in the way of direction
arrows and the severity of the bends ahead.
Hil’ has the bit firmly between his teeth,
adrenalin in full flow, at full throttle driving as fast as
he dares, through a ‘mickey mouse’ section, steering
now opposite lock as the car slides to the left then
instantly straightens up accelerating forward, frantically
changing gear,
“100 yards - 90 left” shouts Kenft, although Hil’
had probably already seen it.
Hil’ selects the gear he wants keeping his foot
hard on the gas, with a right flick of the steering and a
dab on the brakes the rear steps out left, a left flick
the rear moves over to the opposite side in a power
slide, now opposite lock to the right and hey presto,
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bend negotiated like a slithering snake and facing the
right way, the Scandinavian flick.
Kenft was well impressed he’d not seen Hil’ do
that before, Hil’ accelerated hard changing gears in
quick succession. No time to wallow in admiration the
next bend looms up fast, this time 180 degrees. No
time for any fancy flicks here but the hydraulic hand
brake comes in pretty handy.
Hil’ changes down as quick as he went up, this
time applying the handbrake as he turns into the corner
causing the rear to spin on a sixpence about the axis of
the front wheels. Hil’ lets go of the handbrake which
automatically releases and springs to the floor and full
throttle again, rear wheels kicking up dirt and stones,
sorted, spectators turn and duck out of the way of
flying debris.
The car’s going great guns, a bit of light relief, a
dead straight section, finding themselves on a disused
section of a railway line, Hil’ puts his foot hard to the
floor and soon reach top speed, 130mph plus, whizzing
past information boards embedded either side in the
embankment painted with what appeared to be a very
large red exclamation mark, but because of their speed
was just a blur.
“What was that?” shouted Hil’
Hil’ looks at Kenft, Kenft looks at Hil’.
“I think that’s what’s called approach with
caution,” shouted Kenft.
Hil’ turns, looking down the straight, he lifts off
the throttle Kenft also faces forward.
“I can’t see any hazards,” exclaimed Hil’.
Making an instant decision he puts his foot hard
down again. Ahead it was as straight as the eye could
see, a track of compacted clinker foundations
overgrown with a short layer of grass and moss in the
middle, further down what looked like five bar gates
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either side, continuing with a line of tall poplar trees on
the left parallel with the track, open freshly ploughed
fields on the right. They’re now doing what must be
approaching 100 miles per hour.
Then…BANG…they were now literally flying, it
felt like hitting a brick wall, launching them straight up
into the air, all four wheels, they were totally airborne,
uncontrollably their heads shot forward and snapped
back again with the impact, shoulders pinned back by
the full harness, necks strained with the extra weight of
their crash helmets, a beautiful clear bright blue sky,
hurting their eyes, and the tops of trees was all they
could see, green uniform heart shaped leaves fluttered
in the breeze, Kenft and Hil’s hearts fluttered to, the
throttle had jammed wide-open engine revving its guts
out they were in the air for what seemed ages. Kenft
could only hold on for dear life, his maps and
paperwork strewn all over the car with the impact, he
sat tight and observed as Hil’ prepared himself for what
was going to be a heavy landing.
Both hands off the steering wheel Hil’ turned off
the ignition, killing the engine dead, saving it from
further punishment or permanent damage, shifted his
torso from side to side and back into his seat ensuring
firm all round bodily support, the best he was going to
get anyway, he tightens his seatbelt, that’s two
shoulder straps and the one across his lap, before
calmly placing both hands back onto the steering
wheel, arms outstretched, rigid, bracing himself for the
landing, all they could hear was the sound of wind as
the car whistled through the air ‘with the greatest of
ease’.
By this time the car had reached the top of its
climb levelled out, level with the top of the five bar
gates, then started to nose dive and plummet to the
ground, back to earth, to the occupants all in apparent
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slow motion. ‘This is gonna hurt if take off was anything
to go by’, thought Kenft, but there was no time to panic
or worry, they were going to have to take whatever
fate delivers. Hurtling towards terra firma the car
biased towards the drivers front wheel, the landing
could be awkward, if landing on one wheel it could
result in the car being spun out of control and a serious
visit to scenery unavoidable. Hil’ was gripping the
steering wheel like his life depended on it, an almighty
thump as they grounded, again their heads lurched
forward, Hil’ wrestled that wheel as if it were a deadly
snake with his arms held out straight, any more
vigorously and he was likely to wrench it off the
steering column, determined to keep the car on the
track and the right way up, knowing full well if he could
save the car he saved himself and Kenft from possible
serious injury, otherwise their next line of defence to
come into play and put to the test would be the full roll
cage.
It wasn’t needed, Hil’ held it all together, ending
up back on four wheels, thankfully, they coasted to a
halt, Hil’ making sure he was as far too one side as
possible not blocking the track allowing other cars to
pass them with ease. He pulled over to the left close to
the trees, as if he were still adhering to the Highway
Code and parking at the kerbside. Kenft put that down
to natural instinct. Hil’ attempted to restart the car, not
one to give up too easily. Turning over the engine it
was immediately evident they were going nowhere, a
clanging noise indicated a serious problem, Hil’
instantly turns everything off.
“That’s it, our rallies finished, sounds like crank
on sump,” Hil’ announced angrily “what the hell
happened there?”
They had hit what they didn’t see as being a
hazard, level with the gates, railway sleepers, sitting
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proud off the track by only three or four inches at most,
(ten centimetres), barely noticeable from their position,
the resultant impact inconceivable.
“Er! Hil’, my door won’t open.”
“Too close to the trees?”
“Nope, it’s jammed, window wont budge either.”
“Damn, mine won’t open either, ah! that’s a
relief my windows open.” It weren’t just open it had all
together disappeared.
It was abandon ship, luckily it hadn’t caught fire
or they may have been fried, both scrambled out of the
missing window and to safety, no worse for wear in
spite of their ordeal, not really appreciating what they
had just done. A competitor whizzes past them. Hil’,
still thinking on his feet, goes to the rear of the car and
turns off the battery isolator switch reducing the fire
risk, before both retreated off the track just in case
someone decides to plough into the back of them.
Now that was failure, failure in a big expensive
way, looking back at the car they could see why the
bloody doors wouldn’t open, the front of the car had
been pushed to the back crumpling the doors hard
against the pillars, that’s serious damage to the whole
shell, let alone the engine.
The
sound
of
another
escort,
rapidly
approaching the hazard, instinctively turning their
heads towards the five bar gates. A large crowd had
gathered at the gates both sides, along with the official
photographer for the event. These people were
obviously seasoned spectators and knew this particular
location well, the reason for the gathering should have
been a warning to all, as Hil’ and Kenft found to their
cost. The escort headed skywards, imitating an F15
leaving the runway at Lakenheath, it hit the sleepers,
revealing
its
entire
underside,
the
height
reached equal to if not higher than those five bar gates.
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Kenft and Hil’ watched, horrified, as the true scale of
their ordeal unfolded before their very eyes, an action
replay. Except not quite, bits were falling off this car as
it flew through the air and its landing totally different.
Hil’, half expecting his car would be acting as a brake if
this one crashes into the back of his, was relieved when
it disappears sideways through the trees into the field
beyond, totally amazed how it missed the trees
altogether. Hil’ and Kenft raced towards the car,
stumbling and turning ankles in the uneven ground, to
see if the crew needed any help, only to find the
occupants already out of the vehicle, neatly parked
level with the track and trees facing the way they were
headed but in the field with parts missing, the driver,
prop shaft in hand trying desperately to prize the front
wing off the wheel.
“I don’t under stand it, I approached it at the
same speed as I did last year, last year no problem,”
he mumbled as some sort of explanation for his
demise, then adding despondently, “oh dear! What is
the wife going to say,” obviously she controlled the
purse strings.
At least Hil’ and Kenft had the feeble excuse this
was their first time although should have, on reflection,
heeded the warning signs. Now all they can do is watch
the remainder of the rally and think about how to get
home, with or without the stricken car. Making their
way to the opposite side of the track, they head for the
gates and the gathered crowd, deciding to watch the
remaining competitors from the same vantage point.
Walking along the edge of the ploughed field reaching
halfway between their abandoned car and gates, the
next competitor could be heard entering the straight.
Hil’ and Kenft stopped in their tracks to watch this crew
negotiate the sleepers. If they heard the driver lift off
the throttle they new he may stand a chance of
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surviving the hazard, but this guy was making the
same mistake, he didn’t lift. BANG! Straight up into air
as before, except this was a Hillman Imp, a rear engine
job and a centre of gravity all wrong to be flying
through the air. The weight and momentum of the
engine causing the car, on landing, to nose dive into
the ground and cartwheel end over end several times,
the crew and spectators alike praying for the
engineering integrity to hold, before coming to rest
upside down at the side of the track, almost in the
ploughed field. Hil’ and Kenft are nearest, fearing the
worst they run to aid their fellow competitors again, Hil’
hits the battery isolator, Kenft and others assist the
crew out of the vehicle, the co-driver sustaining nothing
more than a cut to his elbow, otherwise another
fortunate escape, justification for the compliance to the
regulatory and rigorous safety measures.
The remaining crews complete the stage without
too much incident, even those approaching at relatively
low speeds were leaving the ground with all four wheels
but obviously not attaining anywhere near the same
heights as the stricken crews. A chap approached Hil’
and Kenft, a camera slung around his neck and carrying
a holdall, he was the events official photographer.
“You boys the owners of that escort parked
down there?”
“Afraid so,” acknowledged Hil’
“Small consolation I know, but I think I’ve got
some good shots of you trying to clear those gates,”
and handed Hil a business card.
“If you don’t make it to the finish give me a call
and I’ll send you some prints.”
“Cheers,” said Hil’ a little glumly.
Hil’ and Kenft wandered down to their vehicle to
have a proper inspection, now the action had stopped,
pondering the repercussions as well as trying to think
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how to get home. The shell was badly twisted and will
need a hydraulic jig to straighten it, even then the true
extent wont be known until the vehicle is completely
stripped down, as for the engine? Hil’ crawled
underneath and reported a badly damaged and holed
sump only then discovering the trail of oil leading from
the car back towards the hazard.
“Well, I don’t know of anyone with a hydraulic
jig and that engine is going to need a complete
rebuild,” commented Hil’ feeling very dejected.
“Looks a though our seasons finished then Hil’,”
Kenft replied, not helping matters, “on the upside
though, another couple of seconds in mid air
and we qualify for our pilots licence,” added Kenft,
trying to lighten things up a bit.
An hour or so later, after the last competitor had
past through, the control car, lights flashing, traverses
the stage before officially closing it. They pull along side
Hil’ and Kenft.
“You boys okay, need any help?”
“Sure, thanks for stopping, yes could you get a
message to someone at the finish telling who and
where we are, we could do with a lift home if anyone is
going our way.” Kenft handed the driver a piece of
paper with their details.
“No problem, we have to radio through to
control once we’ve cleared the stage, take care now,”
and they drove off.
All Hil’ and Kenft could do now was patiently sit
tight, leaning on the still warm bonnet of their car and
waited, hoping their message had got through. The
hours passed, the light was beginning to fade, the sun
setting, the sky aglow, orange, highlighting wispy
clouds as they drift slowly away from them into the
distance. All was quiet, the dust had settled and the
countryside returned to its natural inhabitants as the
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Dr.K
birds began to sing their chorus; doubts were being
raised, were they ever going to be picked up?
“I’ll give it another hour then we start walking.”
Hil’ looks at his watch.
Another forty-five minutes passed and they were
both now pretty much feeling pissed off and just
wanted to get home, both now very fidgety with
the idea of walking home daunting. Then car lights
could be seen coming from the direction of the stage
finish, fingers crossed they hoped it was their ride
home. It was a white escort, a competition car, it still
had its competition numbers on the doors, it drew
along side and the window wound down.
“Someone here needing a lift home.”
“Yes please, boy, are you a sight for sore eye’s,
thanks.”
Hil’ and Kenft climbed into the back, no seats as
it is in their vehicle, everything not needed is stripped
out to save weight, it’s going to be uncomfortable but
who’s complaining. They introduce themselves and off
they set for home. These two had a successful day by
the sound of it with their trophy hall rattling in the front
of the car, Hil’ nudges Kenft pointing out the six speed
gear shift, which was a novelty and a luxury with this
only being at club level, and five speed gearbox’s only
now beginning to appear in standard road vehicles. It
only goes to show how far they have to go to compete
with the big boys; they were feeling a little envious.
The driver, Mr Gamble, was a true gent; dropping his
car off at his garage he swapped it for his every day
road car, a Jenson Interceptor, and offered to take the
boys home to their door. Hil’ and Kenft were indebted
to him and thanked him for his generosity, just glad to
be home.
Two weeks later Hil’ called for Kenft, he had
struck it lucky and found a local garage with the
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equipment necessary to straighten the rally cars shell,
work on the repair had already begun, they set off to
inspect how things were progressing. It was amazing
that Hil’ found this place, a village establishment off the
beaten track and equipped with something as
sophisticated as a hydraulic jig, not an every day
requirement. Hil’ couldn’t believe his luck half expecting
to have to send everything hundreds of miles away to
some works racing organisation and costing him a
bomb. The car had already been stripped down and the
bare shell found sitting in the jig with all the removed
parts neatly stacked to one side along the wall. Hil’
introduced his co-driver/navigator to the crew. Rodney,
the works foreman, enthusiastically showed them
round, to him this was an exciting project compared to
the run of the mill accident repairs he was use to. They
were a great bunch of guy’s, from Rodney to his boss,
(the garage owner), and the boss’s son, happy in their
work and all taking a personal interest in the rally car.
Rod highlighted some of the damage pointing out the
obvious
misalignments,
hard
to
comprehend
considering the heavy welded tubular roll cage that was
in situ at the time, now removed. Kenft wouldn’t
believe it if he hadn’t been in the car at the time. Rod
then proceeded to point out to them some of the less
obvious. First Hil’s steering wheel, he pulled it out from
the pile of bits, it was totally out of shape, indented at
the two positions where his hands had gripped on to it
for dear life. If the steering wheel hadn’t given way
Hil’s outstretched rigid arms could have been wrenched
from their sockets at the shoulders. Placing the wheel
back on to the pile Rod pointed to Kenft,
“You didn’t do so bad either.”
Walking round to the nearside of the shell he
directed Kenft’s gaze to the buckled footrest then the
handhold above the door, a steel bar, he’d completely
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Dr.K
snapped it in two. Neither Hil’ nor Kenft had noticed
these subtle points before, both now feeling extremely
lucky, and a little smug, to have escaped unhurt.
Rod was hooked and enquired if he could tag
along with them somehow when they were ready for
the next rally. He had already spoken to the boss who
was more than happy for Rod to use the works van. Hil’
thought that would be brilliant, the prospect of a
service crew, spare parts and an alternative set of
wheels and tyres, it would be like having their own
sponsor. He even agreed to have the garage logo on
the car on completion of the work. It would be an
added dimension for Kenft also as he would have to
work out the rendezvous points and timings with the
service crew, who were only permitted at predetermined locations along the route of the rally.
Things were looking up, Hil’ had also decided not to
refurbish the engine but to replace it with a race
prepared power unit, a smaller capacity but better
performance, Kenft was sceptical. The only drawback, it
was in Plymouth, Hil’ wasn’t fazed.
The following weekend he borrowed his mothers
brand new Ford Capri (special edition), collected Kenft
on the Saturday and headed for the South West, all the
time Kenft thinking, how the hell are we gonna get an
engine in here? It was a bit of a haul; they booked into
a bed and breakfast for the night, had dinner and
toured the immediate area on foot, taking in the sights
and sounds of Plymouth Hoe to kill a bit of time, before
retiring to their room.
After a hearty breakfast they headed out of town
to pick up the engine. It wasn’t going to fit in the boot,
Hil’ wasn’t even going to attempt it, instead he
proceeded to opened both the drivers and passenger
doors, folded down both seats and, with assistance
from the vendor, the three of them shoe horned the
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engine onto the back seat, ‘if Hil’s mother knew what
was happening with her car, she would have a fit’. It
wasn’t particularly secure either, at a set of traffic lights
on the way home Hil’ had to apply the brakes a little
harder than usual, the lights changing quicker than
anticipated. The engine on the back seat shot forward
into the back of Kenft’s seat, pinning him between it
and the dashboard, his seatbelt rendered useless. Hil
considered it highly amusing with Kenft’s nose hard
pressed, flattened, against the windscreen.
Much later now, with the car re-assembled,
complete with the new 1300cc BDA power plant, it was
time for a test drive; the acceleration was phenomenal
compared to the previous one, considering it being of
smaller capacity. Kenft, though sceptical at first, was
well impressed.
Although too late for the rest of this season,
they were ready, and looking forward to the next with
renewed dynamism.
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CHAPTER ELEVEN
Back to reality and back to work, June starts to
complain Kenft’s away too much, doing his own thing,
rallying, football, etc. ‘Mother-in-law to be’ jumps to his
defence saying she should let him have his interest’s,
he devotes his entire spare time to her and is allowed
to stay at the weekends when he lives only a few doors
away. They are never authorised to share the same bed
though, that wouldn’t do. June starts to accompany
Kenft to his football match’s, driving him to meet up
with his team mates, taking him to training session’s
midweek, generally taking an interest and being an
integral part of his scene, she was made more than
welcome and she enjoyed the driving immensely.
There was a semi-detached cottage Kenft was
interested in for sale in the village, it needed doing
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up, modernising, in a great position and equally great
opportunity, an ideal home for him to share with June,
he applied for a mortgage. Unfortunately his timing was
all wrong, mortgages were hard to come by, you had to
be on a waiting list, a ten percent deposit needed and
your annual income had to be at a certain level, he was
still on apprenticeship wages. Kenft failed to qualify on
all counts unable even to have the comfort of being put
on a waiting list. Economically it was hard times for
everyone, money for capital projects in very short
supply internationally and nationally.
June had their names added to the council
housing list not long after getting engaged, under the
recommendation of her parents, and were pleasantly
surprised when their mums had both received a visit
from the housing officer, completely unexpected,
unannounced. Apparently a new housing development,
currently under construction in town, will be allocated
to selected people meeting certain criteria. Only it
wasn’t specified what that criteria was, but a visit to
inspect the current home environment of prospective
candidates was part of the selection process. The
housing officer made his notes and implied they would
be contacted if successful. To their surprise, within a
couple of months, June received notification from the
council that their application had been successful and
were offered a terraced town house on the new
development, and that it’s scheduled to be ready to
move into by a given date. Accepting the offer dictated
the date of their wedding plans, forcing their hand
somewhat, bringing it forward or possibly losing the
opportunity. June the fifth was pencilled in, the day
before June’s birthday, couldn’t be better, this was
several months away and plenty of time to organise.
The organising machine sprung into action,
meetings with the vicar, reading of the bans, booking
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the church and the village hall for the reception,
choosing bridesmaids, the best man, what’s going to be
worn, what’s not going to be worn, who to invite and
how many, catering who’s going to do the catering,
then there was the house, decoration, what furniture is
required, when can the keys be collected and, where is
it? Honeymoon, where are they going on their
honeymoon. That one was easy, they wouldn’t be able
to afford one so a week’s holiday in their new home
was the best they could hope for, they seemed happy
with that under the circumstances and the current
economic climate.
All appeared to be going to plan and the day of
reckoning looming ever closer, but Kenft encountered
problems he hadn’t envisaged. First, little brother, he
was becoming more and more troubled as the wedding
day approached, he didn’t want big brother to marry
and leave home, to the point were he started to despise
June, it’s was all her fault as far as he was concerned,
she was taking his brother away from him. He would lie
in his bed crying his eyes out, too upset to speak. Kenft
tried to explain but the little fellow didn’t understand
mum tried to make it clear that he too would find
someone and leave one day, she consoled him the best
she could.
There was worse to come, was June getting cold
feet, Kenft suspected something wasn’t quite right
thinking someone else maybe on the scene. He couldn’t
believe it, all the preparations were in place, some
larger items of furniture were in temporary storage,
and they’re only waiting for the keys to the house and
can start moving stuff in. Sure Kenft had his little
moments; there were two sides to him as there is with
everybody, but nothing sinister. Usually it was the odd
occasion when he wasn’t happy about something, he
would go quiet for a while, rather than making a
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spectacle of himself and discuss things he would deal
with it his way, mulling things over in his head, make
choices putting things into perspective and, if he was
left alone, resurface as though nothing was wrong. On
this occasion there was something wrong, there were
signs of bleeding, when he urinated, it was beginning to
hurt, worsening by the day he was very worried. A
typical bloke, he kept it to himself, he thought it would
resolve its self and disappear just as quickly as it had
appeared, he was wrong. It was now at the point where
he was painfully passing clots, he had to tell someone,
he turned to June and advised her of his problem, she
was sympathetic, she to had a worried look about her,
a guilty kind of worried and advised an obvious visit to
the doctors was required. He made the appointment.
Nervously he sat in the surgery waiting room fearfully
waiting his turn. His name was called. Tentatively he
rose to his feet asking for directions, this not being a
place he frequented very often, courteously he knocked
on the door before entering. The doctor was new, a
stranger, a bespectacled thin featured man in a grey
suit, quietly spoken and made Kenft feel at ease
straight away. He described his symptoms, the doctor
made an instant diagnoses, a water infection, and
prescribed a course of antibiotics to clear it up. Kenft
enquired how he could possibly have become infected
in the first place. The doc attempted to play it down
explaining it was a common occurrence with new
relationships and not to worry himself about it. Kenft
didn’t think he was being totally honest with him but
didn’t dwell on the subject, thanked him for seeing him
and left.
It was after a night out with his parents; they
were at a dinner and dance that evening, everything
was fine up to a point, nice meal a few drinks a dance
or two, then for no apparent reason Kenft wanted to
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leave. Overcome with feelings of intense uneasiness,
not wanting to be with his parents, fidgety, he couldn’t
relax or explain it. Perhaps, with the exception of his
parents, it was the hall, full of strangers that had
unnerved him, he wasn’t with his usual gang of mates,
or preferring now to spend time alone with his ‘wife to
be’, he felt he’d done his duty by attending. He made
his excuses and they left. They would spend the night
at June’s parents, Kenft as usual made himself ready in
the spare room, waiting for June to come through to
say goodnight before retiring to her room. A double
bed, all to himself, he lay and waited, door ajar the
room dimly lit from the light on the landing. June
entered the room still dressed, normally she would be
in her nightdress, and Kenft sensed he wasn’t in for his
usual goodnight. June stood over Kenft beside the bed
her frame almost in silhouette from the light in the
doorway.
“I think we should call it off,” she said coldly.
“What, why?” he replied, she couldn’t explain.
“Look, I apologise for my behaviour tonight, I
don’t know what came over me, I had to leave, I dunno
why, it felt kind of claustrophobic or something, I just
had to get the hell out of there.”
June stood still, said nothing, unmoved by his
remarks. Kenft continued, becoming visibly upset, his
eyes welling up with tears,
“We cant split, think of all the preparations for
the wedding, the people we’ll let down. I love you.”
He reached out for her hand, she remained
unmoved, her mother hears the commotion and enters
the room, amazed at seeing Kenft’s reaction, now she
knows how much he loved her daughter for sure,
gesturing with her smiling eyes she turned her head to
face June and with a reassuring arm around her waste.
“Aw bless him he’s sobbing his heart out.”
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She leaves the room; June turns and follows
closing the door behind her. Kenft now had all sorts of
questions and doubts going through his head, is it
going to be the same old same old, is someone going to
spoil it for him and take her away from him? One
minute she complains of not seeing enough of him,
when he’s off doing his thing, then she’s eagerly
pushing things along with the wedding, then this? ‘It
couldn’t surely be just because of tonight, could it’? His
eyes grew heavy with all the emotional fallout and falls
asleep.
The next few days were a little strained, June
changes her mind, a little reluctantly Kenft feels, and
life returns to normal, the wedding still on. Kenft thinks
it time he had booked his holiday off work for the
wedding, fills in the appropriate form and hands it to
his departmental manager, the father figure of the
department, close to retirement.
“Two weeks holiday, going anywhere nice!”
“No sir, I’m getting married, the first week to
complete setting up the home and the second our
honeymoon.”
“I had no idea you were planning to marry,
you’ve kept that quiet.” His manager hands him back
the form duly signed looking, disapprovingly, over the
black rims of his glasses.
“Stupid boy.”
“Thank you sir.” Kenft taking the form leaves his
office like an embarrassed scolded schoolboy.
Through his future mother in law, Kenft accepts
the assistance of a close neighbour and the use of his
works van to transport their collection of bits and
pieces to their new home, no offer of assistance from
his father was forthcoming.
June and Kenft proceeded to carpet the rooms
and arrange their belongings, dining table and bench
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style seats in the kitchen/diner along with all the
bottom drawer items neatly stacked in cupboards and
drawers, black leather sofa and matching swivel chairs
in the lounge and a new double bed and wardrobe in
the master bedroom. The other two bedrooms would be
furnished on an as and when basis. All windows were
fitted with new rails and curtains painstakingly chosen,
colour co-ordinated imperative, with the help from
family.
“Television, we haven’t sorted out a TV mum,”
exclaimed June.
“We rent ours off of Bertie, why don’t you have
a word with him, he’s very good.”
“Oh, why didn’t I think of that, we were over his
only the other week,” she replied.
Television was the last thing on Kenft’s mind,
Bertie ran his own television rental and repair business
and a very close friend of June’s family, regarded as
family by most, he was a quietly spoken man nothing
was too much trouble, usually very busy, you had to be
patient at times and be prepared to wait a couple of
day’s or more until he found the time to deal with your
requirement. Kenft reflected on their last visit when
they were invited to Bertie’s for Sunday tea, he had it
all, a beautiful wife, two lovely daughters, a gorgeous
bungalow set in large landscaped gardens, with his long
annexed workshop, the length of a double garage from
where he ran his successful business. He was only too
pleased to help them out supplying them with a new
television, fitted a new aerial in the loft, dispensing with
the communal aerial connection and tuned it in, all at a
very reasonable rate, any problems he would just
change the television for another model. He never
worried much about the money side of things, calling
round whenever he was in the area to collect what was
owed, a cup of tea and a chat.
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The day of the wedding, butterflies in his
stomach, water infection still present but showing signs
of improvement hoping it doesn’t spoil things too much.
Kenft prepares himself, bath, suit, buttonhole and
ready. Mr Sparrow, Ray his best man, calls and takes
him down to the tavern, out of the way and a couple of
drinks to calm the nerves before driving him to the
church. Why Mr Sparrow as best man? It should have
been Hil’, Clive, Mike or Chris, but he couldn’t choose
between them, he knew he would end up offending
someone, so it was Mr Ray Sparrow to the rescue,
husband to Judy, Junes cousin.
The ceremony goes without a hitch, June 5th a
lovely day a little blustery, a traditional event the
church filled partly with people he didn’t know and
relatives he’d not seen since he were a mere boy. The
wedding march is blasted out on the church organ
pipes, everyone stands, Kenft wanted to look round but
daren’t, he faced front with his best man. Standing at
the alter beside his bride, knees knocking he turns
towards her, noticing the different hairdo, very nice but
still preferred the long straight natural look she had
when they first met rather than the perm, repeating the
words parrot fashion after the vicar.
Thirty minutes tops and the vicar utters those
mortal words,
“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may
kiss the bride,” he smiles to the couple.
Kenft duly obliges with the kiss, then the signing
of the marriage certificates and the discrete passing of
the white envelope with the enclosed fee to the vicar.
Formalities completed, signed and sealed and the
embarrassing walk down the isle and outside for the
photographic session. The photographer ushered his
subjects into position as they spilled from the church,
35mm camera slung around his neck, he was a popular
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choice and known by all as he plied his trade at most
functions in the area, ably assisted by his smiling
female associate who Kenft looked at a little coyly, she
had made a pass at him at the last wedding they had
attended. It was taking ages as usual, but it has to be
correct, the photographer not wanting to miss anyone
out. They had plenty of time, as it wasn’t far to the
village hall and the reception, it would be easier to walk
rather than climb aboard the customary wedding car.
All finished, bride and groom arm in arm, bride
clutching
her
bouquet,
and
the
picturesque
walk along the tree lined pavement to the church gates
to the waiting car adorned in white ribbons. Kenft was
amazed at the size of the waiting crowd consisting of
those unable to be invited due to the number
restrictions, confetti in hand, still wanting to be part of
proceedings. They would have loved to invite everyone
but that just wasn’t possible. It was hardly surprising,
in hindsight, everyone knew everyone in the village,
most knowing Kenft from the day he was born. The
multi coloured and shaped confetti scattered with a
whoop and a holla and blowing in the breeze covered
bride and groom and guests alike, finding those little
places you wouldn’t expect. Kenft asked if they could
walk, instantly over ruled he and June were ushered
into the car, more photographs before driving the
ludicrously short distance to the hall.
With the reception now in full swing Kenft and
his now wife retired to what is now his mother in laws,
for a change of clothing, June keen to remove her
restrictive wedding dress to enjoy the rest of the day’s
festivities which were sure to continue to the early
hours. She liked to dance. On leaving the bathroom,
after freshening up, Kenft enters the bedroom half
expecting June to have already changed, instead
surprised to find her staring out of the window,
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daydreaming, still in her wedding dress. A cold shiver
shot down his spine. Kenft walked up behind her,
embraced her, his arms around her waste and asks if
she’s okay before attempting to gently kiss her on the
side of her neck. She pulled away, turned and started
undressing without uttering a single word. It was at this
point the message sank in, Kenft realised its been a big
mistake, she didn’t want him, she doesn’t love him, its
been a complete sham, he had her bodily but not
spiritually, he doesn’t have her heart. He didn’t press
her for an explanation her body language said it all, he
helped her out of the dress and waited for her
downstairs. Returning to the reception they entered the
hall and back into the fray and carried on as though
everything was hunky dory.
Kenft and June, waved off by their guests left for
their new home, their car, to everyone’s amusement,
had been adorned with a covering of trifle, custard,
ribbons and a few items tied to the rear bumper. On
arrival at their new home, feeling totally shattered,
they retired to their new bed and instantly fell asleep.
Kenft’s little brother could not face being at
home and at the soonest opportunity, burdened with
the heavy feeling of loss in his heart, snuck out and
disappeared, unable to restrain himself he’d ran away
from home. Mother realising he had gone rang the
alarm bells and frantically began the search
immediately. A diminutive figure had been seen
entering a farmyard in the village, mother and father
investigated and found the poor little mite bedded down
for the night in a haystack, sobbing his eyes out, they
managed to coax him down and take him home. Kenft
was oblivious to the dilemma his mother never told
him, keeping it a secret from him for several years,
knowing how sensitive he was and how it could have
affected him.
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Clive and Debbie married, not long after June
and Kenft, and moved into a similar house on the same
development.
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CHAPTER TWELVE
Things were settling down nicely, now in their
new home, a brand new mid-terraced three bed
roomed house situated on the outskirts of town. An
unconventional build technique of its time, the inner
studwork type walls were constructed first then the
brick outer wall forming the insulated cavity last, a
simple functional layout. The front door led into the
hallway with the kitchen/dining room leading off to the
left with the bare essentials of sink drainer and a few
cupboards, the living room straight ahead, immediately
to the right the stairs to three good-sized bedrooms
and family bathroom. A small garden at the rear,
accessed from the back door in the living room,
complete with prefabricated concrete garden shed and
ample parking. Kenft constructed a stud wall with a
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louver door providing extra storage space under the
stairs and later converted the storage cupboard in the
living room into a makeshift darkroom, a new interest
of his, also housing the drawing board he used for his
part time work, providing the much needed extra
income.
Appearing content, for the time being, at playing
happy families, June had the use and independence of
the car, the necessary transport for work in the next
town ten miles away, while Kenft could cycle, or about
a twenty minute or so walk if push came to shove, as
the company he worked for was located just the other
side of town. Initially he cycled but the heavy traffic at
rush hour was certainly off putting and not conducive to
feeling particularly safe, but the mishap he encountered
cycling home one day put him off cycling to work for
good.
He had enjoyed a typical day at the office the
weather was good and only had the thoughts of looking
forward to spending the evening with his wife. He was
about halfway home, cycling through the high street a
narrow road, rush hour, cars behind him, and cars
coming towards him, then the unthinkable happened.
In the blink of an eye, and for no apparent reason, he
found himself on all fours on the road with the bicycle
between his legs. ‘Ouch! that hurt’, knees and hands
skin scraped, not to mention the frame sandwiched
between his legs. Smarting a bit and totally
embarrassed as cars swerved to avoid him and
pedestrians looked on, bemused and amused, not one
offer of help of any kind. He picked himself and the
bicycle up off the road before dusting himself down,
then proceeded to inspect the cycle for any damage
and endeavoured to discover what had transpired to
bring him to his knees so suddenly. The front brake
handle was missing from the handlebars; it had worked
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loose and, still attached to the cable, had swung
through the spokes of the front wheel jamming against
the forks stopping the bicycle dead, instantly sending
Kenft flying over the handlebars. Removing the brake
handle from the wheel he wrapped the cable around the
handlebars, hopped back on and continued his cycle
home, hands and knees still smarting. The bicycle
didn’t have quite the same feel about it, upon reaching
home further inspection revealed a buckled wheel, bent
spokes and forks and slightly twisted handlebars. Now
totally pissed off he discarded the bicycle, throwing it in
the shed were it never saw the light of day again, well
not until it was transported unceremoniously to the
public tip for recycling that is. Kenft was happy to walk
from then on and seriously considering re-taking his
driving test.
Kenft had been placed on a managerial course
at Oxford University, Keble College, along with his
friend and colleague Gary. Although not wanting to be
apart from his new wife he was excited at the prospect
of being able to sample university life, albeit for only
one week, it was something his father thought he
would never do. Kenft informed his dad, during a rear
discussion earlier in life, that he would rather like to be
an architect when he left school, he could design the
buildings and dad, being a bricky, could construct
them, to which father replied,
“You have to be a clever sort and go to
university for a degree to do that.”
More or less implying Kenft wasn’t intelligent
enough. Being ex Royal Navy, he had also discouraged
him from the notion of joining the merchant navy as a
navigation officer. Kenft was under the impression that
all parents wanted to see their offspring do better than
themselves and quite prepared to offer all the
encouragement necessary, obviously he was wrong.
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Stopping off in Saffron Walden on the way so
Gary could spend time to visit an old girlfriend of his,
Kenft had to play gooseberry, leaving him feeling very
awkward although he never let on, he didn’t like it one
little bit. Glad to have finally arrived in Oxford and
Kenft was immediately impressed with the architecture
of the place, its spires, gothic arches, quadrangles with
neatly mowed lawns, enclaves, dormitories and large
halls all seemingly frozen in a passage of time, having
not changed much, if at all, over the millennia. The
atmosphere was instant and Kenft couldn’t help but
wonder at whose footsteps he was walking in. The
place certainly wasn’t geared up for the car; they
looked totally out of character in these surroundings
and some of the furnishings appearing as old as the
Tudor Rose, dark knarled oak desks and tables and not
a straight edge. The weeks work was broken up into
various tasks, some written, some oral, while others
entailed just listening. Split into groups the delegates
came from far and wide and from various industries, a
colourful bunch, Kenft felt fortunate at being given this
opportunity. Entertainment had been laid on for some
evenings, failing this it was down the pub but the very
last night the entertainment was the delegates
themselves, one pair doing a very good job of
emulating the great Peter Cook and Dudley Moore duo
re-enacting a few of their famous comedy sketches, the
best act by far and could quit easily have given up their
day job for an alternative career, but that was only
Kenft’s opinion, not peoples usual advice in these
situations. The week soon reached its finale, a brief
interlude, a mere blip in the delegates usual work
routine, and were soon on their way home, hopefully all
gaining something from the experience.
Kenft didn’t receive the warm welcome home he
was expecting. Gary dropped him off; he entered by
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the front door dropping his bag on the floor by the
stairs.
“Hi, I’m home,” and made for the living room.
He was half expecting June to greet him by the
doorway with a big hug and a kiss, instead he’d made it
to the doorway to the living room finding June standing
on a stool hanging the curtains she had washed, aware
of his presence she briefly turned her head towards him
and all she could find to say was,
“Hi,” with no emotion, sullen, and carried on as
if he wasn’t there.
Disappointed wasn’t the word, at that moment
he wished he weren’t there, Kenft turned and headed
for the kitchen, he made himself a coffee feeling totally
dejected, rejected even, further proof her of true
feelings? Again Kenft didn’t press her for an
explanation, actions spoke louder than words. She had
probably enjoyed the freedom of being on her own, to
do as she liked, socialising and learning a few bad
habits from Wendy no doubt, a work colleague recently
moved in across the road with her new husband Steve.
There was a lot to be said by these girls, women on
production lines intimating with innuendo and subtle
hints, none able to completely hold onto secrets and
partly letting the cat out of the bag hoping to up stage
one another. Each wanting a piece of the ‘behind the
scenes’ action, thinking they’re missing out, envious,
jealous, stupidly not satisfied with what or who they
had waiting for them back home. They could be catty,
bitches, worse than a pack of wolves, supervisors
having a hell of a time keeping them in order and to
concentrate on what they were really there for.
Kenft returned to work reporting back to his
boss and the personnel manager with details of the
past weeks experience and what he felt he had gained
from it, did he consider it worthwhile. Kenft
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Dr.K
couldn’t see any reason to be negative about it and
expressed how glad he was being given the chance to
participate, at the same time hiding the gutted feelings
regarding his welcomed return home, or the lack of it.
He confided in his colleague, Bruce, who worked on the
drawing board immediately behind him. They kept
things between the two of them. Bruce’s wife suffered
from epilepsy, as did Kenft’s younger sister, through
this they had something in common and an instant
understanding. Kenft struggled to concentrate on his
work, his imagination could only picture who his wife
could be messing about with, or what she was up to. If
week days weren’t bad enough weekends would be
worse, when she would have a night out with her
workmates, not returning home till the early hours of
the morning. Kenft could only speculate and agonise
until she returned home, June completely unaware how
it was tearing him apart as he tortured himself with the
mixed emotions of anger, jealousy, envy, resentment
and suspicion. Bruce was his shoulder to cry on he
listened but didn’t pass judgement or make
recommendations; he didn’t need to. At least Kenft had
some respite, the participating in his other activities
and the support of his friends. The day would come
when the tables would turn.
Kenft was learning to live with it, as was June,
neither stopping the other from doing what they
wanted to do, within the restrictions of their financial
circumstances, and there must be some feelings
there, as one couldn’t bring themselves to leave the
other.
The first year of married life is always the most
difficult. Kenft attempted to involve June in anything he
was doing, even more so in the times ahead and June
started to do likewise with him. He started driving
lessons again, using the same instructor as she had
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done, but with the added bonus of more road
experience driving their little mini around. Both would
argue who was going to drive, which was a healthy sign
as each compromised and shared the driving equally.
On the day of his driving test Kenft had time for lunch
with his workmates, a pint would steady his nerves,
while they went back to work he, after consuming a few
mints to disguise the fact he’d been drinking, met up
with his instructor and drove to the test centre in the
city. A nerve-racking half hour but he thought he did
well enough, then the Highway Code questions back at
the centre, he wished he’d done a little more revision
but that wasn’t his style, if he doesn’t know it now then
he never will. Kenft was suspiciously asked a couple of
extra questions making him feel uneasy, then the
result.
“On this occasion,” ‘oh no he’s going to fail me’,
“I am pleased to inform you that you have passed,
but,” he hesitated, “I must stress you should brush up
on your Highway Code.”
Kenft obviously didn’t impress the examiner with
his answers, but nonetheless he had never felt so
euphoric in passing an exam and thanked the examiner
with the broadest of grins, it was like being given a
ticket to freedom, he felt ten foot tall, he didn’t have to
rely on others any more.
June thought it would be a good idea to
introduce Kenft to her work mate Elaine, with some
trepidation he agreed, wondering if there were some
ulterior motive in play, hatched between the pair of
them in an attempt to keep him occupied in some way
while they carried on with their skulduggery. Kenft was
a little unsure what to expect. It was all arranged in
advance for a Saturday morning, they drove into town
and onto St. Peter’s, an estate on the outskirts, parking
in the nearest available space to their residence.
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Leaving the car Kenft surveys the area, it’s all
unfamiliar territory to him, a short walk along the
pavement, panelled fencing either side formed an
alleyway leading to a small, galvanised steel mesh gate
located at the rear of the brick outhouse. A cemented
pathway led them around this building to the blue back
door. June knocks and walks straight in calling,
‘Hello, anyone home.’
Kenft follows behind her into the kitchen diner.
She makes herself at home, sitting herself down on a
chair to the side of the drop leaf table standing against
the wall, just as Elaine enters the room from the
hallway. June introduces her still standing husband to
Elaine who requests he makes himself comfortable and
to take a seat, he duly obliges, while Elaine instinctively
fills the kettle to makes drinks. The girls, Elaine’s
teenage daughters, eagerly enter the room wanting to
find out what Kenft was all about, what he looked like,
he now finds himself in a room full of woman and under
close scrutiny as June, who had obviously described
him at length to them previously, introduces Tracey
and her younger sister Vanessa, affectionately known
as Nessie.
The usual pleasantries were embarrassingly
exchanged and after five or ten minutes, satisfying
themselves he was an all right kind of guy, they went
about their daily chores with a spring in their step. The
atmosphere soon relaxed as they made fun of one
another, with plenty of innuendo for good measure, and
all hit it off pretty well. It wasn’t as bad as Kenft
thought it would be and he soon felt quite at home.
Elaine filled Kenft in with a bit of their life history,
briefly describing her ex-husband and the nasty piece
of work he could be on a bad day, then picking up on
Kenft’s relaxed vibes took the opportunity, through
June, to ask him a big favour, knowing he wouldn’t
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refuse if he were asked in front of everyone, taking
liberties with his good nature.
“We were wondering if you would be kind
enough to sit with the girls when Elaine and I plan a
night out.”
Elaine added, “Yes, I would feel a lot happier if
someone were with them, I don’t like to leave them
here on their own under the circumstances.”
Kenft deliberated for a moment as he
contemplated the obviously contrived ‘ulterior motives’
and wondered how they had managed before, but they
new him all too well, finding it hard to say no he
accepted the task, far too predictably. Finishing off
their second cups of tea and coffee, June and Kenft
made their excuses and left, Kenft had a more pressing
engagement, football. It wouldn’t be long before sitting
duties were required of him, the very next weekend in
fact.
Not sure how these girls were going to behave,
knowing he could be easily embarrassed and how
others would miss construe and take it all out of
context, Kenft faced this task with a little anxiety. One
thing was for sure, he was put in a position of trust, as
with anyone else he wouldn’t harm a single hair on
their heads, he wouldn’t be there otherwise. Elaine was
ready to go as soon as they arrived and left Kenft to it,
collecting her handbag shouted last minute instructions
to the girls as she left the house with June, via the back
door, no indication as to when they were likely to be
back, to say they were eager to be going would be an
understatement. Kenft made his way to the living
room, the girls followed, making himself at home on
the sofa to watch television, Tracey joined him, flicking
over the channels until finding something they were
both interested in. Nessie, the more studious of the two
girls, deciding to do some school homework. Tracey,
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only half interested in the programs, preferred to
humorously chat, sitting part sideways legs tucked up
on the sofa facing Kenft, periodically turning her head
towards the television standing in the corner at the
opposite end of the room. Nessie joined in with
conversations at pertinent moments while scribing
notes in her exercise books. This would become a
frequent event in the months to come, each time
Tracey increasingly asking more searching questions of
him, joking and larking about, in an attempt to find out
what made him tick no doubt, as he and the girls
formed a good friendship. If there was one bloke they
could trust, if not their father, it was Kenft and even he
had to admit he didn’t mind looking out for these two,
but he always had his mind on his wife and the antics
she was probably up to.
They had been married almost two years now
and, as they were settling down in bed one evening,
June broached the subject of starting a family. Until
then Kenft hadn’t given it much thought and wondered
what had brought this on, at times she didn’t want to
know him then the next she wanted a family by him.
They certainly hadn’t discussed it before but at some
point in time he knew he would like to have a couple of
kids and why not now, not believing it was a case of
having the finances otherwise they would be waiting
forever, so the decision was made there and then to try
for a family.
Around this time Kenft was saddened to hear Hil
and Susan had parted company, he hoped he had
played no part in their decision, his only crime was to
steal a kiss, he half expected Susan to get in touch, she
didn’t. It also signalled the end to their rallying career
as Hil’s priorities took a drastic change in direction.
A social evening, out drinking in the Standard
with some of Kenft’s workmates and close friends,
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Mike, now with Tina, Duncan and his girlfriend Miss
Lake, June quietly announces to Kenft, almost
whispering in his ear, she believed she was pregnant.
Why she chose that particular moment in time he’d
never know, probably because Miss Lake was being a
little flirtatious with him, instantly he had to tell
everyone and that called for a celebration and another
round of drinks.
Both she and Kenft gave up smoking as
encouraged by the NHS advertisements, for the sake of
the baby; June retired from working life at the
appropriate time. A little over nine months later, she’s
feeling a little uncomfortable at the least and in
hospital, with the baby being a little late in arriving the
doctor decided to induce the birth. The nursing staff,
assumed Kenft wanted to be present at the birth,
instructed him to be there first thing in the morning,
eight thirty, sharp. You wouldn’t be able to keep him
away; no way was he going to miss this spectacle. He
would have been there before eight thirty but had
terrible trouble finding somewhere to park, a common
complaint, giving up he more or less abandoned his car
as close as possible to the maternity block, but on
double yellow lines, he had no choice, he had to be with
his wife. By the time he found his way to the ward June
was already in labour and desperately trying to follow
the instructions of the midwife, red faced with the effort
and the pain, breathing deeply and working hard. Kenft
stood by her side held her by the hand and feeling
completely helpless. The midwife, between June’s legs,
is doing her stuff, instructing her it’s not time to push
yet, contradicting all the signals of her bodies’ natural
instinct. June’s body was telling her to push with all her
might and yet she had to hold back, Kenft’s hand
crushed now feeling only half the size it should be until
no feeling at all. Dilation now at the appropriate
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diameter she could now push and she pushed with all
her might, stopped awhile catching her breath then
again pushed, the pain almost too much for her she
nearly passed out, the midwife snapped her out of it.
“Almost there one last effort.”
The baby filled its lungs and let out a loud
reassuring cry.
“It’s a girl,” said the midwife, as she cut the
umbilical.
She carefully wrapped the baby in a white towel
and placed her in June’s arms. Having witnessed the
entire trauma, the pain, the anguish, if June said she
never wanted to go through all that ever again, he
wouldn’t argue with her. Kenft was ecstatic, June totally
exhausted, the best days work she’d ever done in his
book, it all happened quite quickly by some standards
but probably felt an eternity to June, it had just gone
mid-day. The baby was taken away for a clean up,
weighed and to have a couple of intrinsic tests,
meanwhile a porter wheeled June down to the ward
with Kenft following, their baby brought to them
seconds later and placed at the foot of June’s bed
snugly wrapped up in her hospital crib, a clear acrylic
tub on a stainless steel frame and swivelling casters,
with a lid it could easily resemble an incubator. Kenft
picked up his daughter and held her in his arms for the
first time and scrutinised her features, her squished
nose, puffy eyes closed tight, cute little mouth perfect
pouting lips and tiny fingers. Momentarily he gazed out
the window, they were several floors up, he then had to
take a second look, a figure walking along the
pavement caught his eye, moving his head forward as if
to focus for a detailed look recognised a uniformed
person, a traffic warden, walking towards his car.
Carefully he handed baby to her mother.
“Got to go, think I’m about to get a ticket.”
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He hurried as fast as he could, taking the stairs
rather than waiting for the lift, reaching the ground
floor he burst though the doors, outside and running to
his car hoping he could move it before the traffic
warden…too late, a ticket flapped in the breeze held in
place on his windscreen under the wiper blade. A little
old lady walked passed.
“I see him, he’s just put it on your car, what an
unkind thing to do,” she sympathised with Kenft’s
predicament.
He thanked her for her concern but he really
didn’t care that much as he’d just become a proud dad,
he walked back to the hospital, caught the lift back to
the ward and his wife and their new baby daughter.
Later he phoned his mother-in-law then his mum to tell
them the good news and that mother and baby were
both doing well. Kenft’s workmates, congratulated him
on the arrival of his daughter, advised him to
write to the Chief Constable pleading mitigating
circumstances, on the understanding, if he has a heart
he’ll let him off. Kenft followed their advice and to his
surprise he received a reply, which stated words to the
effect,
‘We are pleased to hear the good news of the
birth of your daughter, nevertheless you had committed
an offence contrary to road traffic act bla bla bla, and is
subject to the following penalties bla bla bla. However,
on this occasion, and this occasion only, he was
prepared to accept the mitigating circumstances and
waver the fore mentioned penalty charges’.
Kenft thought ‘what a very nice man’, but he
hadn’t counted on Kenft’s wife having a second child
nearly two years later, a son, in the same hospital, the
same ward, the same road, the same car and probably
the same traffic warden, but hopefully a different Chief
Constable. This time Kenft had to present his
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particulars to his local police station, handing them
over, with every intention of paying the fine this time,
not wanting to push his luck. The constable asked if he
had any mitigating circumstances. Kenft couldn’t help
himself.
“Well, now that you mention it, you will see the
road is outside the maternity block of the hospital, my
wife was giving birth to my son at the time of the
offence officer,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
The constable then wanted to double-check the
dates and times, Kenft messed this up a bit,
which wrongly implied that his wife had been in labour
for thirty-six hours. The constable did the maths,
“Thirty-six hours, that’s is a long time for a
woman to be in labour sir,” he said sympathetically.
Kenft now realised his mistake but didn’t feel the
urge to correct him, thinking maybe the sympathy vote
would help his cause, and it did, they kindly let him off,
again. The pregnancy or the birth of his son hadn’t
gone quite so smoothly as his daughters. The same
procedure, he had to be there at eight thirty, parking
an issue as ever, but more importantly son was in
trouble, reluctant to be delivered and showing signs of
distress indicated by the monitors June was hooked up
to. Then the moment his heart stopped beating the
doctor, now really concerned discretely, so as not to
alarm June any more than she already was, told his
staff to immediately prepare the theatre for a
caesarean section. Kenft instinctively knew something
was not right a nurse invited him outside for a coffee
privately informing him of the severity of the situation,
not wanting June to over hear, hysterics at this point
would only serve to complicate matters. Within seconds
she was whisked away, Kenft wasn’t allowed in theatre,
he didn’t get the coffee; all he could do was pass the
time in the waiting room, this is where the dads start to
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pace up and down, he was no different. He need not
have worried, his son was delivered safe and sound,
the umbilical cord had wrapped around his neck like a
noose, it held him back, preventing a natural delivery,
the caesarean saved his and probably June’s life, its all
taken for granted these days. Two kids, Kenft took life
a lot more seriously, now he had responsibilities,
responsible for the lives of two little ones at times
made him very anxious, as he was sure most parents
were, he was constantly on tenterhooks. Recently he’d
been transferred to the branch services department at
work, busy at his desk he receives a phone call,
expecting the voice at the other end to be a branch or
engineering manager armed with a question or two, but
it wasn’t it was June, sobbing, panicking,
“It’s Karl,” it was all she had time to say.
His son was in trouble, he didn’t know what
kind, instantly he reacted, the receiver left his hand
and crashed to the desk as he flew out of the office
door and down the stairs to the car park, not saying a
word to his colleagues, he didn’t have time, he ran to
his car and drove home like a madman. He parked the
car outside the front of the house and ran indoors,
there was nobody there, ‘where the hell are they’?
Thinking maybe they’d already gone to the hospital, a
neighbour enters through the back door to inform him
of their whereabouts,
“They’re over Clive and Debbie’s,”
He hurried over to find them sat in the living
room, Karl was in his mum’s arms, lifeless, June
distraught with fear, sobbing.
“The ambulance is on its way.”
“Oh good, thanks Debbie.” Kenft said slightly
out of breath.
None of them had a clue what to do, trying
desperately to stay calm. Kenft suspected a convulsion
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but he couldn’t be sure, he’d seen his little nephew
suffer from one, but these things can sometimes have a
habit of turning into something more sinister. The
ambulance crew turn up and they take one look at him.
“Okay, think we better get him to the hospital,
pronto,” Karl’s lips had turned blue.
At a blink of an eye wife and son were ushered
into the ambulance and soon on their way to the city
hospital, with Kenft in hot pursuit. He caught them up
staying a safe distance, they were on the main road
now, when suddenly the blue lights were turned on,
flashing, simultaneously the siren sounded and they
accelerated away from him, ‘oh my dear god’, Kenft put
his foot down to keep up. In the city and traffic lights,
the ambulance drove straight through, irrespective of
which colour, Kenft hedged his bets at first until they
hit a red and thought better of it. The ambulance
carried on and disappeared from view, Kenft nervously
tapped his fingers on the steering wheel,
“Come on,” he sat impatiently, waiting for the
lights to change, thinking the worst.
He never saw the ambulance again until he
reached the accident and emergency department,
ambulance doors still wide open, they had already been
taken inside, Kenft headed for the reception desk, he
asked the nurse on duty.
“Er, hello, I wonder if you could help me
please,” he could hear a youngster crying further down
the ward, he turned his head and looked in that
direction, “a little boy has just been admitted, I’m his
dad.”
“Certainly, follow me please.”
She pulled back the curtain to the cubicle
revealing the poor little mite lying on his side, stripped
stark naked, a fan blasted cold air at him as he cried
his eyes out, shivering, and calling for his daddy.
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Mother and nurse stood by his side watching him
closely; dad knelt down beside him.
“It’s okay, daddy’s here,” and reassuringly
rubbed his cold little arm.
The little fellow, totally confused, didn’t
understand what was happening to him. He’d had a
convulsion and the ambulance crew were worried they
were going to lose him as his condition worsened in
transit and there was always the worry of something
more serious, possibly some form of meningitis. Panic
over, his temperature back to normal, the hospital kept
him in a little while to check him over, a couple of days
and he was soon running around as though nothing had
happened, Kenft on the other hand had never been so
scared.
June was a good mother, in spite of her
philandering, she and Kenft doted on their kids and
nothing but the best would do for them, June took on
part time evening work to help raise the funds for their
needs, money was tight. Assistance from relatives was
plentiful, many treating them as though they were their
own, and spoilt them rotten.
Now, with the arrival of the two little ones it was
Tracey and Nessie’s turn to do the baby-sitting and
Elaine automatically became known as Aunty Elaine, all
playing happy families, this happy scene hid the
realities. How they could face Kenft knowing what June,
now socialising again, was up to behind his back, was
unfathomable, but then again Elaine, probably guilty of
encouraging it, no angel herself playing around with a
married man, Tracey in and out of trouble, having had
an abortion at one point, as for Nessie, seen as the
sensible one, a bit of a dark horse.
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CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Kenft and June have a bit of luck, a nice little
win on the football pools, not a fortune but enough. The
Saturday it all happened, Kenft just home from playing
football checked the results on the television, June was
doing a bit of sewing and the kids were amusing
themselves. Kenft was getting a little excitable, he had
seven score draws and needed one more, it all rested
on a late result, they had to sweat it out, Tranmere
Rovers versus Bury. The program was drawing to a
close and piling on the anguish, still no result, at the
last minute it was read out by the presenter.
“One last final result in before we go, in division
three, Tranmere Rovers 1, Bury 1.”
Kenft couldn’t believe it, it was eight score
draws out of a possible nine, meaning it wasn’t going
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to be a huge payout as it would be shared out with
other lucky winners, but it would be a reasonable
amount nonetheless, they would have to wait a few
days to find out. Kenft nervously, at the same time
excitedly, rang through to confirm if they were indeed
winners.
“Congratulations on your win sir, you will be
notified by post,” said a calm voice at the other end.
Kenft couldn’t settle after that, he had to go for
a drive to try and calm himself down, which probably
wasn’t the wisest thing to do, he could have had an
accident and miss out on the chance to enjoy their
winnings. The middle of the following week and the
envelope drops through the letterbox. June left it until
Kenft came home from work, they opened it together,
it wasn’t just the notification it was the cheque itself, a
cheque made out to June, her name was on the
coupon, a little over thirty thousand pounds, enough to
buy them the house they’d always dreamt of. At first
June was disappointed, she was greedily expecting it to
be a lot more, Kenft had to explain to her why it wasn’t
the amount she was dreaming off, plus the fact they
had to share the top payout with ten other winners.
Then the amount they actually had won began
to sink in and she fantasised what she could spend it
on, window-shopping took on a whole new meaning.
“Oh, I could buy that if I wanted to,” she would
merrily comment walking round the shopping centres.
Kenft had to admit it had that certain feel good
factor knowing they could spoil themselves with a few
of life’s luxuries, but both had bricks and mortar as
their number one priority. Paying the cheque into the
bank the thought of it being made out to June attached
a kind of stigma to it, a stigma that never left him,
Kenft considered the money as being Junes, as they
passed the cheque over to a smiling bank manager,
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‘that’s a first, a bank manager visibly pleased to see
me’! Now they had to decide were they wanted to live
and how much they were going to spend, a whole new
experience for them, before they had to accept what
was on offer by the council, now they had freedom of
choice, a choice obviously dependant on what was on
the market.
Trying to keep it low key more and more people
learned of their good fortune, it was met with a mixed
reception. There were those genuinely happy for them
and, incomprehensively, others who were not, tinged
with a bit of envy no doubt, you could tell instantly who
they were and Kenft felt aggrieved by this reaction but,
at the end of the day, it was their problem not his. To
his astonishment he also noticed one or two of his close
colleagues, the genuine ones, who wouldn’t allow him
to buy them a drink, always reaching for their pockets
first, no doubt subconsciously thinking if they were
seen accepting a drink from him it would be regarded
by onlookers as though they were taking advantage,
hangers on so to speak, Kenft soon put a stop to that
nonsense. On one occasion when visiting a colleague
shortly afterwards, a relative of his colleague, aware of
their good fortune, asked the leading question.
“Had the win changed their life?”
“Oh yes,” he replied with his usual smile.
“In what way?” he was quizzed.
Sensing his embarrassment his colleague quickly
changed the subject and the question never answered,
‘it wasn’t the money that changed their lives, it was
people’s perception of them that had changed, some
positive others negative’, Kenft thought to himself, but
would have probably said something completely
different given the chance, just to be polite.
House hunting, June and Kenft perused the local
newspapers and often seen peering in estate agents
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windows trying to decide on what type of property and
what location, they took their time there was no need
to hurry. It wasn’t going to be as straightforward as
they thought. June’s parents had recently retired and
moved into sheltered accommodation in another
village, a single bed roomed bungalow with a smaller
garden, her father, Reggie, forced to retire early
through ill health. A chalet bungalow came onto the
market in the same village and within their budget,
after inspection they put in an offer with the estate
agent, other properties they had looked at didn’t come
close. Their offer accepted it would take several weeks
before the formalities were completed and they could
move in.
Kenft, born into this world with nothing and, as
with every other being on the planet, would leave with
nothing, didn’t think he was better than anyone else,
he considered their little bit of luck as their opportunity
to catch up with everyone, a house they could call their
own, a half decent car instead of an old banger and a
little spare cash to spoil the kids, the chance to take
them abroad on holiday, on a jet plane, as he had
promised he would do, one day.
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CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Life was pretty good, settling in to their new
home, brother-in-law busy upgrading the kitchen, the
new double glazing was on order, the kids quickly
settled in their new school making new friends, Kenft’s
father-in-law enjoyed himself sorting out the garden,
mother-in-law could pop round whenever she wanted,
their new car, a black Escort XR3, stood proudly on the
drive, paintwork gleaming. Bertie called upgrading their
television set and tuned it in.
Kenft attempted to involve his dad, with his new
home drawing on his expertise asking him for his
advice how to tackle a structural issue with the
fireplace, but wasted his time. He called round once to
inspect the situation but never appeared interested, he
never called again; he had not offered help of any
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description, not even with the initial move. It later
transpired June had contacted him, off her own back,
throwing in a few derogatory comments for good
measure, a few home truths no doubt delivered in her
usual manner, abrupt and to the point, which obviously
and understandably, discouraged him. Kenft was not
best pleased, his relationship with his dad wasn’t all
that brilliant at it was, they weren’t what you’d call
close and that certainly didn’t help the situation. His
mother wouldn’t go anywhere without an invite, a trait
Kenft inherited.
June, now with time on her hands, found herself
a part time job at a local flower seed producer and
seemed to enjoy it. She also continued with her
excursions into town to socialise with Elaine. Kenft,
enjoyed work in his new department, he had the
opportunity to broaden his horizons with visits to other
locations within the national branch network and also
liaisons with foreign affiliates. Company re-organisation
resulted in the department being integrated within the
main drawing office relocating to the main production
plant, head office, and Sally was taken on as their new
secretary.
Kenft’s manager lived in the same village and
often gave him lifts in to work allowing June the use of
the car on occasions during the week. He was a great
guy and great to work with. Friday was get together
night for the department, meeting up with the others
for a few drinks before moving on and a game of
snooker at the club. This became a regular night out to
mark the success of finishing another week. Over a
period of time June did not like this arrangement one
little bit, complaining of receiving phone calls while he
was out, someone claiming he was not playing snooker
but seeing another woman. Pure fabrication, Kenft
reassured her she had no cause for concern, he was
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with the guy’s all evening, it was some idiot just trying
to stir up trouble. This was now happening every time
Kenft went out and tiring of it, he confided in a
colleague.
“Sounds to me she could be making it all up
mate, jealousy maybe, she trying to stop you from
going out, in a way I hope I’m wrong.”
“Well that would be turning the tables, after
what she’s put me through.”
“Tell you what, before we jump to conclusions
have you got a tape recorder.”
“Tape the phone calls you mean.”
“Yes precisely, if she is making it up there will
be nothing to record, on the hand if there is you could
find out who it is.”
“Brilliant idea.”
The following Friday Kenft rigs up the tape
recorder close to the phone before he leaves the house,
June enquires what he’s up to.
“If you have another one of those calls when I’m
out just hit that record button, there, and we can find
out who the culprit is and put a stop to this once and
for all, ok.”
“Yes, ok,” she agreed, Kenft leaves for his game
of snooker.
The following week his colleague caught up with
him, “How did it go?”
“The recording session you mean, I think we
may have caught her out, there was no call, on the
other hand she didn’t object to the set up either.”
“Funny that don’t you think.”
“Yeah, appears your hunch was right but I think
I’ll keep it going just to make sure though.”
“Fair enough, but if you ask me I think she’s
trying it on I’m sorry to say, I’m sure the problem will
disappear now.”
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Kenft kept it up for the rest of the month just to
be sure, but he had that niggling doubt that if she was
receiving calls the perpetrator may have been given a
tip off about the recording fiasco. Nothing more was
heard or said, Kenft gave her the benefit of the doubt.
More trouble was soon to follow. Kenft received
a phone call from his Aunt, which was more than
unusual, so it had to be serious. It was late afternoon.
“Hello, your Auntie Barbara here, I’ve got your
mum here with me, sobbing her heart out, your dad
has just walked out on her,” she said close to tears
herself.
“Jesus Christ, er okay,” said Kenft, not too sure
how to react.
“Can you come over?”
“Yeah sure, I’ll have a word with my boss,
explain things and see if he’ll let me off early. I’ll be
there as soon as I can.”
Kenft immediately has a word with his manager
who sympathetically allows him time off. He leaves
work and sets off to drive the five miles to his Aunt’s
with no idea as to what the hell was going on, or what
he was going to do when he got there. He arrived in
minutes and knocked on the door, he was shown to his
mum in the living room. She immediately latches onto
Kenft, buries her head into his chest holding onto him
tightly, sobbing uncontrollably, and trying to explain
what had happened.
His father had left her for another woman and
had moved in with her, the bombshell hit him when told
who the other woman was, Mrs Woods. Mrs Woods, a
widow, older than Kenft’s mother and ran the village
post office with her husband before his death. His dad
had built her new bungalow for her, Kenft had even
helped him, labouring for him, mixing cement, stacking
bricks, cleaning up, he had no idea, not an inkling
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anything was going on. His dad had told him mum was
acting strange lately, little wonder, she knew what was
going on behind her back; she knew she was losing her
husband.
“Where is he now mum?” Kenft asked.
“He’s with her, in the new bungalow,” she
replied in a gruff voice, hatred in her heart.
“Okay, I’ll go and have a word, will you be
alright here for a while?” Auntie nods an affirmative.
Kenft nervously walks the short distance to the
new dwelling, now the love nest, thinking what on earth
was he going to say. His dad answers the door, half
expecting a visit and asks him in, they walk through to
the lounge, Kenft new the way but it was the first time
he’d seen the place furnished, impressive! Calmly,
Kenft attempts to talk his dad out of it, Mrs Woods
having none of it, quick to reply on his behalf when he
hesitated struggling for an explanation, interjecting
with smart comments ensuring he wasn’t to be swayed.
Kenft was wasting his time and left, respect for his dad
left with him, he could see he was only there for the
money and the security it brought with it, this hurt him
deeply, if he had left his mum because they argued and
fought all the time, an irretrievable relationship
breakdown and he’d fallen in love with someone else he
could have accepted that, maybe. Mrs Woods had been
devious, with few to no relatives, now on her own, she
seized the opportunity to work on Kenft’s dad, and his
vulnerability, over the months it took him to construct
her new home, slowly planting ideas into his head when
they were together, when alone, on the building site.
All Kenft’s efforts will now be focused on helping his
mum and her well being, he returned to his Aunt’s, and
to his mum.
“Come on mum, I did my best, let’s collect a few
things and I’ll take you home with me.”
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Mother struggled to come to terms, as they all
did, Kenft’s dad was the only man she had ever
known, she was close to a having a breakdown, if not
having a break down. Kenft had seen her close to this
before when she struggled to look after both her ageing
parents and a young family, she’d taken on too much,
it would have been too much for anyone, she gave her
all, better than most, but this was worse, much worse,
she probably would have coped better if he had died.
Big sis thought their mother would be better off staying
with her, Kenft didn’t argue, but thought she was doing
okay where she was, he concentrated instead on
supporting her with her hospital appointments, with the
psychiatrist then later on visits to the solicitors and the
divorce proceedings, Kenft was beside her all the way,
making the arrangements and providing the transport.
Both mother and brother were going through
hell, mental torture, despairingly torturing themselves
to the point where mother felt her only consolation was
suicide. Kenft first to receive the call as usual, his
mother had been admitted to hospital, she had
swallowed a bottle of pills and had the indignity of
having her stomach pumped. With guilty fears of his
own, he stood by her bed in casualty trying his best to
comfort her, questioning himself, had he failed her in
any way? The same guilty fears he had when his little
brother had run away from home after his wedding,
later he too sought solace in attempting suicide but
caught in time explaining it was his cry for help, Kenft
blamed himself for his torment.
The decree nisi, to Kenft, the intermediary, felt
he to had also divorced his dad. On the rear moments
when he needed to converse or see him, desperately he
tried to act natural as though everything were fine
between the two of them, but inside he had that awful
feeling he was betraying his mother in some way, he
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would never forgive his father for leaving her as he did.
Eventually mother’s resilience came to the fore and
strong enough to return home but then forced to sell
the family home, this Kenft couldn’t understand, his
father had walked out on her, to allegedly better
himself, why should his mother have to pay the price
and part with her home, the home financed by her
inheritance in the first place, enough to purchase the
plot of land and start the dream, the family home Kenft
helped his dad to build with blood, sweat and toil, and
remembered the fun he’d had at the same time.
Back in the office Kenft had to take liberties,
using the works time, and phone, busy organising his
mother’s affairs, all were privy to his conversations and
therefore fully aware of his endeavours. Eventually
everything calmed down after mother had sold up and
moved home, into town closer to her eldest daughter,
understandably not wanting to stay in the same village
and the wagging tongues and pointing fingers. Kenft’s
father sold up shortly afterwards, down sizing he
moved to the coast with his new woman, living off the
proceeds he could take early retirement, his thought
process now self evident, confirming Kenft’s initial
deliberations, golf became his new passion; he would
suffer his comeuppance one day. Kenft could now go
back to concentrating on his family, work and circle of
friends and hopefully normality, if that were at all
possible.
Frustratingly for Kenft and Sally there was an
instant attraction for one another, working close
together, both married with kids, both found it difficult
to conceal their affections, flirted profusely, it was
obvious to anyone who knew them closely. Kenft would
wake to every new day glad to be alive, with a spring in
his step, going to the office wasn’t quite the chore it
use to be, Sally would be there, she always had that
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telling smile for him, Martyn, the office joker
guaranteed a good belly laugh or two, every day he
would have Kenft in stitch’s, as with the rest of the
guys he was a joy to work with, it was a great team, a
team which slowly and sadly over a period of time
eventually begin to disintegrate.
Kenft and Sally would find any excuse just to
share time with one another, they would never be a
couple though and kept it purely platonic, neither had
the courage to deceive their respective marriage
partners, most social events they would be there, Kenft
disappointed if she wasn’t for any reason. Tracey would
baby sit, bringing along her current boyfriend for
company. Back at work, in the office, Kenft and Sally’s
supervisor, standing it no longer, loses it and
commented.
“For Christ sake you two get a room and get it
out of your system,” this guy was known to like the
ladies so maybe their interactions were driving him
mad, knowing what he’d rather be doing, and who with,
at that precise moment in time.
One by one people began to leave the
department, and the company, each left their own
indelible mark, their individual characters difficult to
replace or even accept they’d gone. Ken, the more
senior, the first to leave, aggrieved at being overlooked
for promotion, then Mike, often advising Kenft he
needed a mistress, having extensively extended his
home, and his family, grasped an opportunity to earn
extra income to pay for it.
Kenft, sensed the mood of the office beginning
to change, it would never be the same, decided to
leave next, to broaden his horizons and maybe improve
himself as a design engineer, encouraged by Mike who
would make a few quid if Kenft jumped ship and joined
the same agency. It was a wrench, after fourteen years
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Dr.K
with the company he wasn’t going to find it easy, it
would be like leaving home, people were sad to see him
go especially the hierarchy, surprisingly to Kenft their
mannerisms suggested disappointment, offended,
taking it personally the thought of him leaving. He
wouldn’t see Sally again, he had no choice, he had to
forget her. More individuals left the department shortly
after.
Disappointment, disillusionment, was soon to
follow. The making of new friends, new colleagues
and a new environment made no difference. Kenft was
promised at least an eighteen-month contract with a
sports car manufacturer, considered a reasonable term
by contractor’s standards, and set him off on a good
solid start.
This was short lived, informed that the company
had overspent their multi-million pound budget they
had to make cutbacks. Contractors were the first,
easiest targets; it was last in first out, Kenft was one of
the last in. Less than halfway through his contract he
was told he would be the first to go, but not before they
attempted to find him a permanent position. He was
marched round all the departments in a vain attempt to
find a use for his talents and keep him on, but sadly it
was to no avail, he thanked them for their efforts, he
must have made some kind of impression for them to
endeavour in the first place. To add to the aggravation
it became evident exactly how much the agents were
making, scandalous, Kenft was being paid only a third
of what the company was being charged so he wasn’t
the only one being ripped off, little wonder the budget
soon disappeared, along with Kenft’s contract. Other
contractors rallied round giving Kenft as many contact
names as possible hopefully helping him to soon find
another contract and also highlighted the ones to avoid
like the plague. Before he left he had an invite to a stag
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night, one of the contractors, soon to be married, had
an evening in the city organised on his behalf. Mike was
up for it too, arranged to pick Kenft up and set off to
the meet the others in the local close to the
manufacturing plant. Drinks all round, food laid on and
a game of pool, then the police women entered the
establishment, the bridegroom identified she made
straight for him.
“Excuse me sir, is that your car parked outside,”
in an authoritative tone of voice.
The fellow looked a little pensive, but he had a
suspicion as to what was about to transpire, although
there’s always that element of doubt, right up to the
moment before she started stripping off her uniform.
First the tunic, revealing a white blouse straining at the
buttons in all the right places, provocatively she
gyrates in front of her subject, her skirt drops to the
floor, she kicks it away, the high heels should have
been a give away, slowly undoing her blouse she slides
up and down his leg, flaunting herself flicking her long
auburn hair from side to side the bra, g-string,
stockings and suspenders all off, the guy took it in his
stride enjoyed the attention, picking her up in his arms
he parades her, bottom first, around the gathering each
planting a kiss on her pert buttocks.
Finished with her he puts her down and kisses
her on the cheek as a mark of gratitude, quickly she
collected her garments and left with her escort,
applauded as she went.
“Okay guy’s there’s a mini bus outside for those
who want to carry on partying up the city, it
will be leaving in the next half hour,” proclaimed the
chief instigator.
Kenft looked at Mike, Mike looked at Kenft.
“Up for it? I can leave the car here and pick it up
over the weekend,” said Mike with a devilish grin.
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Dr.K
“If that’s okay with you, sure your car will be
okay. It would be rude not to wouldn’t it.”
They joined the others, climbed aboard the mini
bus and went clubbing in the city. They were all having
a good time, it was certainly a good send off for the
bridegroom as they raucously made their way along the
street and vanished into another nightclub, Kenft
headed for bar for a round of drinks, it was dimly lit but
he could just recognise the figure standing beside him.
“Hello, don’t I know you…aren’t you the…. ah
yes, sorry I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on.”
“Hi, yes I am but can you keep it to yourself, I
don’t want everyone to know.”
“No problem.” Kenft collected his drinks and
returned to his gang and never saw the girl again.
Early hours of the morning now and everyone
feeling a little worse for wear started to drift off,
making their way home. Kenft and Mike take a taxi,
they only just had enough cash left for the fare, it
wasn’t cheap at that time of day and the distance they
had to travel.
Kenft finished his contract and spent time calling
agents, introducing himself, letting them know he was
available, posting off copies of his resume. Within the
first week an agent contacted him with a possibility and
made arrangements for an interview, Kenft all ready to
go and the phone rings, it’s his mother. Kenft’s heart
sank thinking she was in trouble of some kind but no, it
was his brother, he’d had an accident and in hospital.
This time brother wasn’t going to be second, stuff the
interview, instead he made straight for the hospital
picking up mum on the way. Danny had, with the help
of his dad foolishly offering to be his guarantor,
purchased a very fast Yamaha motorcycle, he’d not had
it long and the inevitable happened. He described the
events as he lay in his hospital bed, his face rearranged
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from the impact with the ground and anything else he
may have had contact with, cotton wool was stuffed up
both nostrils of his broken nose and a drip in his arm.
Kenft under the immediate impression his brother had
probably caused the accident was soon put in his place;
a witness had made a statement saying he was instead
the hero; he hadn’t been the cause but the unlucky
victim. He had taken avoiding action, sacrificing himself
preventing further casualties, landing up in her front
garden. Kenft, angry his brother was riding such a
beast on L-plates, but ever thankful he had survived.
His father on the other hand had to sort out the deal
with the finance company, the bike being a write off.
Mike’s contract carried on for a few more weeks
before he too found himself looking for another
position. Kenft heard through the grapevine he had
secured another contract in the automobile industry,
this time having to work away from home, living out of
a suitcase. Kenft hadn’t seen nor heard from him since
and it wasn’t long before news had reached him that he
had split up from his wife.
Before Kenft embarked on the next stage of his
career, contracting, he’d had a heart to heart discussion
with his wife June, highlighting the fact he would need
her wholehearted support while he found his feet with
all the pro’s and con’s, at the time she intimated she
was behind him all the way. Now he was looking for his
next contract she wasn’t as supportive as he would
have liked, on his back pushing him rather than the
reassurance of an arm round the shoulder, or a cuddle
even, coupled with utterance of encouragement,
‘something will turn up, don’t worry’, words that would
have gone a long way to boosting his confidence, words
he would not have hesitated to use had the shoe been
on the other foot, ‘women, you cant live with them, you
cant live without them, or shoot em’.
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Dr.K
As it was he were only out of contract for two weeks
before being offered another, which was good going as
contracts were few and far between with the economic
climate in a downturn, but no lies this time he was
warned it would only be for a couple of weeks to help
out with a few sales general arrangement plant layout
drawings, he was there for over two years, only
terminating it when it suited him. He enjoyed working
with this crowd, it was also a new discipline, a whole
new industry, but he had to travel. Working for this
company, so nearly, could have cost him his life, he
was now clocking up the miles, not only to the office
but site visits to, it was only a matter of time before his
luck would run out, and run out it eventually did a little
later.
Coaxed out of early retirement by an old football
colleague, Jimmy encouraged Kenft to play again,
Sunday league football for his pub team, the Rampant
Horse.
“Oh come on, it’s only for a bit of fun, nothing
serious. A good excuse to get out for a few beers, and
they are a good bunch of lads.”
Kenft was hesitant, remembering why he’d hung
up his boots in the first place, but then thinking it
would be good for him, its all work at the moment, as
well as help keep him fit, it would be something to look
forward to at weekends again, convinced himself
maybe he should and agreed to his request.
Jimmy’s other favourite pastime was banger
racing; he would often seek the assistance of the other
drivers for setting up the cars or obtaining parts. There
was a comradery attitude amongst the drivers and
crews who were only too pleased to help each other
out, after all, if they didn’t they would have no one to
race against. Kenft, interested in any form of motor
sport spurred on from his past involvement from his
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special stage rallying exploits with Hil’, tagged along
one Saturday morning with Jimmy. Needing some
advice they called round to see Tone, a fellow racer and
mechanic by trade, Jimmy promptly introduced Kenft to
Tone and his wife Jane. It was a small world; it
transpired Jane was an old school friend of Kenft’s wife.
June re-acquainted herself with Jane and also Jimmy’s
wife Elli, who turned out to be something of a
revelation, and before you new it they were all
socialising together. From that day forth, Tone and
Kenft never looked back and became very close friends,
drinking buddies, and a friendship only to be reinforced
at a later date.
Kenft’s timekeeping wasn’t one hundred
percent, always struggling to rise from his bed or
delayed leaving home for work till the very last minute,
as if struggling to face up to a new day, the smallest of
hold ups on his journey would regularly result in him
arriving for work five or ten minutes late. Even though
he still put in at least a nine hour day and willing to do
extra without question when asked, his manager had to
call him to one side advising him to improve on his
timekeeping. Kenft thought this instruction had come
from higher up, nevertheless he took it on board, his
colleagues feeling a little incensed as he did the
required hours expected of him and more. This wasn’t
long after he’d changed his car for the hotter, fuelinjected version of the one he’d had, spending more
money on a car than he had ever done before, which
frightened him more than driving the car itself.
He made a special effort to be on time in the
future, not wanting to cause any trouble, but there
were still occasions when he allowed things to slip. On
one such morning he was cutting things a little fine, he
set off at a pace knowing were he could make up time,
road conditions appeared good, he had the hammer
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Dr.K
down, pushing the car within his limits, not the cars,
less than five miles from home he approached a twisty
part of his journey. Ahead he hadn’t banked on there
being a localised downpour some minutes previous to
his arrival, he had no need to have his wipers on and
had no idea of the conditions that lay ahead of him, but
the drainage in this area was unable to cope with a
recent deluge, the road ahead was flooded, blind just
around the next bend. Seeing the small lake on his side
of the road at the last minute he immediately took
evasive action veering to the opposite side of the road,
surprising him before he could finish his manoeuvre an
oncoming vehicle forced him back onto the left hand
side, with nowhere else to go he drove into the water,
narrowly avoiding a head on collision. Losing the back
end his car aquaplaned out of control, Kenft applied full
opposite lock to the steering wheel in a vain attempt to
correct the slide, sliding sideways, first one way then
the other, he was now taking up virtually the whole
width of the road, he stood no chance if another vehicle
were to appear around the next bend, coming towards
him.
It was all in slow motion and in the lap of the
gods, hanging on for dear life to the steering wheel the
nearside front wheel clips the hedgerow bank, flipping
him over, and over, and over before finally coming to
rest upside down facing the way he’d came, neatly
parked off the road in a cut in the hedgerow, the
farmers entrance to a field, he’d taken a bang on the
head, the roof collapsing in on him, he hung upside
down held in place by his seat belt with his full weight
on his right shoulder and hips, he heard a voice.
“Hello, are you okay?”
Fortunately it wasn’t the voice of a god or an
angel, but it should have been. The driver of the vehicle
he had avoided observed the rolling car in his rear view
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mirror, stopping instantly he instructed his son to run
home and call for an ambulance as he saw to the
accident’s victim, expecting the worst and the
possibility of no reply to his question.
“Hi, yep I think I’m okay.” Kenft replied.
Disorientated he struggled to release himself. He
fell to the roof of the car, banging his head again, the
only way out through the drivers door window which
opportunely, depending how you look at it, had either
fallen out completely or disappeared into the door
panel, he emerged from the wreckage crawling on his
hands and knees into the field, picked himself up
cleaned the mud from off the knees of his trousers and
rubbed his hands, very embarrassed, straightening his
tie, he faced his would be rescuer, apparently
unscathed, he surveyed the damage. The wheels facing
skywards were still spinning, the roof caved in and the
windscreen gone, ‘it needed a new paint job anyway’,
he was invited to the thatched cottage just down the
road to regain his composure, a cup of tea and the use
of the telephone.
“I half expected to find you dead, I saw it all
happening in my mirror, it’s amazing you’re not hurt,
are you sure you’re okay,” explained the gentleman.
He had only just left home for work, it was a
short walk as he ushered a visibly stunned but
amazingly calm Kenft to his cottage, Kenft did a mental
check, he could feel no pain anywhere, no broken
bones, no cuts, no blood oozing from gaping gashes,
just a dull headache and wobbly knees, shock, probably
excess adrenalin.
“No, honestly, I feel fine, thanks.”
Welcomed into the kitchen by the gents wife,
still in her dressing gown clearing away the breakfast
things, Kenft apologised for the inconvenience as she
handed him a cup of tea, she was very quiet, probably
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Dr.K
embarrassed having a total stranger in the house and
in her dressing gown. Minutes later, as he sat by a
window, sipping his tea, a paramedic rushed into the
room, kit bag slung over her shoulder, leaning on the
back of a chair catching her breath, she looked to
Kenft.
“Are you the driver?”
“Yes,” admitted Kenft
Coyly he looked over the top of his cup and
carried on sipping his tea, with a hint of a smile.
“Thank goodness for that, I’ve just ran from that
wreck of a car expecting to find blood and guts
everywhere.”
Unexpectedly she was quickly followed through
the door by Doctor Hanson, Kenft’s general practitioner,
who had seen the upturned car with attending
ambulance on his way to the surgery. He stopped to
see if he could be of any assistance.
“That’s a good start to the day,” recognising his
patient, “any damage?” he continued, referring to
Kenft’s well being.
“Just a slight bang on the head Doc.”
“Okay, can you stand up for me?”
Kenft does as the doctor asks, rose to his feet,
allowing him to check him over.
“Follow my finger.” The doctor lifts his index
finger in front of Kenft’s nose and moves it from side to
side watching his eyes dilation closely and any signs of
possible concussion.
“Good, any problems, if that headache doesn’t
go away, come and see me at the surgery straight
away.”
“Thank you doctor, I will.”
The doctor and paramedic, both satisfied Kenft
was okay, left the building, leaving Kenft to make two
phone calls, the first to his wife to explain the pickle he
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was in, the second to organise the recovery of his car.
He tapped out his home phone number thinking how he
was going to explain the situation. June answers the
call,
“Hello.”
“Hello, only me.”
Instinctively she knew something was wrong,
Kenft wouldn’t be calling her otherwise.
“What’s up,” she answered, concerned.
“I’m afraid I’ve just had an accident.”
“Bad?” Kenft wasn’t her immediate concern
assuming he must be all right to be able to talk to her,
instead enquired as to the condition of the car. Kenft
described the events and wasn’t sure how well the car
would come out of it, whether it was a write off or not,
sarcastically Kenft finished the conversation.
“Yes dear, I’m fine thank you, see you later,”
and hangs up.
Borrowing the phone book he looked up the
number of a local garage he knew and proceeded to
arrange the recovery of his car, he thanked the people
for their assistance, their generosity, for the use of
their phone and again apologised, embarrassingly, for
the inconvenience, before making his way back to his
upturned excuse of a car. The police were waiting for
him, blue lights full on, flashing, drawing everyone’s
attention to his dilemma, ‘now I’m in for it’. At least his
car was off the road, not causing an obstruction, unlike
the police car. He was able to reach inside the wreck to
retrieve
his
suitcase
as
the
police
officers,
simultaneously, extracted themselves from their vehicle
and approached him, menacingly.
“Morning sir, we’re right to assume you are the
driver of this vehicle.”
“Afraid so officer.” Kenft quaking in his boots
waited for the book to be thrown at him.
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Dr.K
“Well, we’ve had a good look round and all
seems to be in order, no obvious defects. Would you
please join us in the police car sir.”
Kenft hadn’t been in a police car before, ‘bloody
hell they’re going to arrest me and take me back to the
station’. Courteously they opened the rear door for him,
sat themselves back in their front seats and continued
to question him before making comment.
“It seems to be a severe case of TFF to me sir,”
then silently waited for Kenft to respond, the odd
squelch emitting from their radio transmitter.
‘TFF, TFF’? Kenft racked his brains trying to work
it out.
“Sorry officer you will have to enlighten me,
TFF?”
“Too Fucking Fast.” They took pleasure in telling
him, they were experience policemen, due for
retirement by all accounts and had instantly worked out
the scenario but still had Kenft confirm it.
“Were you wearing a seat belt sir?”
“Yes officer, I was.”
“That probably saved your life, you are a very
lucky man to walk away from that,” added the officer,
Kenft didn’t need telling.
“Nice car to drive, had the car long sir,” they
piled on the agony.
“No, I’ve not had it long, and yes it was a nice
car to drive.” with emphasis on was.
“Do you have any documents on you sir,” they
continued, suspicions aroused.
“Nope, sorry, I don’t carry my documents with
me officer.”
“No problem, were do you live?”
Kenft informed them of his address and the fact
he’d arranged for his car to be recovered. They radioed
through to cancel their own recovery, at the same time
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informing the station the driver of the vehicle was okay,
then proceeded to give him a lift home and with it the
opportunity to view all his documentation relative to the
vehicle. Kenft, not too sure if June would be pleased to
see him or not, entered his house to find the paperwork
for the police officers, briefly they scanned his licence,
insurance and log book. Kenft thanked them for the lift
home before they drove off satisfied all was in order,
then went back inside to call work and let them know
the good news. Later that afternoon he walked to
collect his two kids from out of primary school, they
were pleased to see him, though surprised.
Hiring a car from Hil’, an old bus of a Volvo,
Kenft returned to work the very next day and had the
warmest welcome ever from the managing director.
“This man here was so keen to be working with
us yesterday he nearly killed himself in the effort to get
here.” embracing him enthusiastically in front of his
colleagues.
Kenft’s face shone a bright red. Later that week
Kenft did some detective work and found out the name
and postal address of the family who had
welcomed him into their home, providing him sanctuary
after his accident, seeing to his welfare. He typed out a
letter of gratitude on the Sinclair spectrum and inserted
money into the envelope, suggesting they spend it on
themselves or donation to a charity of their choice
perhaps, hoping they wouldn’t be offended. He would
never forget them.
The subject of timekeeping was never
mentioned again. It was better to arrive five minutes
late in this world rather than early in the next.
Sometime later, during a busy period, another
contractor was taken on and because of the distance he
had to travel, allowed to start an hour later than
everyone else and paid mileage to boot. Kenft not best
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Dr.K
pleased aired his views and in an attempt for fair play
encouraged by his manager to claim mileage, back
dated to his start date, this amounted to several
hundred pounds and as expected the claim fell onto
stony ground.
Although grateful for the use of, travelling in the
Volvo became a drudge, it took eight weeks for his XR3i
to be rebuilt, Kenft was rather hoping it would be
written off, on inspection June was amazed how he
escaped, there was hardly a straight panel on the car,
the roof had caved in, but remarkably the sunroof had
remained intact preventing Kenft from sustaining
possible further injury. Kenft guessed it was just
another piece of merchandise, a possession, he was not
meant to have. He couldn’t hide his delight when he
received the call from the garage to say his car was
ready to be collected, complete with new body shell and
gleaming rosso red paintwork. Tone gave it the once
over spotting one or two area’s that had been
neglected; overall not a bad job, but it never felt the
same.
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CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Roger and Diane both worked with Kenft in the
drawing office, helping him to settle in, along with
manager Paul and fellow draughtsman Neil, a Scotsman
hailing from Glasgow. Roger was only too pleased to
assist and show him the ropes, he and Diane an item
unsurprisingly, of similar ages they went to college
together and joined the firm more or less at the same
time. They made a good couple, Roger liked his
motorbikes, he was of average height, short crew cut
black hair, he had an excellent sense of humour and
Diane a gorgeous petit girl, broad shoulders with a
round face, pale complexion, with fluffed up hair, with
an equal sense of humour, it went with the territory.
Kenft had been working with them for several months
and more than a little disappointed on hearing the news
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Dr.K
they’d split up a few days after the event, and even
then only grasping the situation by piecing together
snippets of conversation, both attempted to keep it
hush, hush, not wanting people to interfere, it would be
difficult, made harder working together, being together
every day. Roger appeared to take it the hardest, Kenft
assumed it was Diane who finished it, Kenft felt for
him. Several weeks had passed they were now settled,
doing their own thing, Roger had found a new
girlfriend, like Kenft he was a one woman man and
wouldn’t mess her about, a home maker, Diane on the
other hand gave the impression she wanted to live a
little, let her hair down, play the field, out socialising
regularly with her friends.
Kenft socialised to, attending a dance in town
with June, Elle and Jimmy, Jane and Tone, his new
football team mates were there and a few of the local
stock car drivers who tried to encourage him to take up
the sport. Tracey had also turned up, recently returned
from a holiday in the states, looking fit, slim and
tanned. She caught up with Kenft, taking him
pleasantly by surprise as he stood talking to Roger, a
football teammate, suggested to him,
“If you ever wanted to have an affair?” she said
looking up at him directly out of the corner of her big
blue eyes.
She adjusted the waste band of her trousers
emphasising her tanned figure and leaving nothing to
the imagination, Kenft couldn’t believe what he was
hearing or seeing, stunned at her directness he simply
laughed it off thinking she was only larking about,
but no, she was serious. Kenft, some would consider
foolishly, and much later with hindsight inclined to
agree, declined her kind offer.
Jimmy’s wife, Elle, had lost weight and with it
her inhibitions, she had transformed from the chubby,
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shy homely type to a brazen, over confident man-eater.
It was now common knowledge she was seeing
someone else and he was at the dance, she made no
secret of the fact openly flaunting his presence and
Jimmy, outwardly, didn’t seem to care. Kenft, having
sunk a few pints, made it plain to everyone he did not
approve, irritated with Elle and her behaviour he
wanted the smash the living daylights out of this guy
she was seeing, it wasn’t healthy, he could see where
things were heading, thinking of their kids, Emily and
Ashley. Physically dissuaded from doing anything rash,
eventually he calmed down and saw sense, others
pointed out the fact it had nothing to do with him.
Back at work and Kenft had to venture into the
loft to search for drawings rolled up in the archives, the
loft access being in the small kitchenette. Watching his
step, careful not to put his foot through the ceiling
boards, he began his search, then aware he was being
watched he turned his head towards the access hatch,
it was Diane, standing on the ladder only her head and
shoulders visible, a bit of small talk, in his mind he
wanted to crawl up to her and kiss her sweet lips, he
resisted the temptation, was she thinking the same? A
few days later and probably the answer to his question,
a social gathering with his workmates, Kenft stayed for
a couple of hours before deciding to leave for home,
one of the first to leave, as he had a bit of a distance to
travel, he and Diane left the venue at the same time.
She walked ahead of him towards her car, Kenft
shouted goodnight to her as he unlocked his car door,
she turned back walked straight up to him, fervently
she kissed him full on the lips, sweet, that gave him
something to think about, he considered chasing after
her, before he’d recovered from the shock and started
his car and emerge from the car park she’d gone and
driven out of sight, Kenft slow on the uptake as usual.
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In the office, plucking up the courage, he
handed Diane a slip of paper on it he wrote a short note
asking her out, the opportunity for a private word was
difficult, ‘what am I doing’? Catching his eye moments
later she nodded to him in acceptance. Kenft, now not
sure he’d done the right thing, wasn’t going to back
down, retribution on his mind. They arranged to meet
after work. Kenft was going to have to do a few miles
that evening. Having dinner with his family he
explained he was going out for a drink with work
colleagues, June immediately assumed he was seeing
someone and said as much in front of the children to
show him up, to make him feel awkward and guilty,
typical woman using the kids as a weapon, he stood his
ground, how did she know, judging him by her own
standards, maybe she’d been tipped off, his body
language wasn’t that loud surely?
He left, drove all the way back, meeting Diane in
the same pub; she’s already there, waiting for him. A
few drinks and the conversation quickly dried up, Kenft
useless at small talk. To rescue the situation Diane
suggested a game of snooker at the club in town, she
knew her hometown better than Kenft, he agreed. Best
of three, Kenft couldn’t keep his eyes off her, game
over she was hungry and wanted chips, they chatted
eating chips in the car. Kenft felt awkward, and
overcome with guilt, she was all his, he only had to
make the right moves, she’d shown him she was
interested, made it easy for him, but he couldn’t bring
himself to carry it through, his conscience in the way
again. A passionate embrace in the car then went their
separate ways and home. Kenft never asked Diane out
again.
Was he only looking for revenge, a chance to
get one back at his wife? As it turned out he hadn’t told
a lie, he said he’d only gone out for a drink with a
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workmate, something he will live to regret, maybe.
Kenft receives an angry phone call from his
brother in law.
“Meet me in ten minutes, in the car park
opposite the post office,” he ordered, with an air of
authority.
Kenft obliged, unaware of the reasons, Kenft
pulled along side and Norman invited him into his car,
Brother in law was direct and to the point.
“Are you having an affair?” he asked outright.
He was angry and quite prepared to knock the
living daylights out of Kenft and shaped up as if he was
going to, Kenft now understood what was going on,
June had called him, distressed, complaining of Kenft’s
recent behaviour.
“Now calm down Norman, perhaps you should
have asked that question to your beloved little sister,
before you start accusing me of any wrongdoings,” said
Kenft in his defence, hopefully defusing the situation.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, maybe she isn’t the little angel you think
she is, in any case I’ve done nothing wrong, in spite of
what you may have been told. What do you constitute
as having an affair Norman, sexual relations?”
“Precisely, what else.”
“If all this fuss is about the other night I can
assure you nothing serious transpired, it could have but
I couldn’t go through with it, a few drinks and a game
of snooker with a work colleague, nothing more,” said
Kenft, attempting to vindicate himself.
Norman calmed down, climbed off his high
horse, as Kenft went on to describe certain facets of his
life in a little more detail, filling him in with a few facts
he was unaware off, he sympathised with Kenft’s
situation, nothing more was said. Kenft didn’t think
badly of Norman, he was only looking out for family, as
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Dr.K
he should do, but he’d fallen into the old trap, there are
always two sides to every story.
House prises begun to escalate alarmingly, on a
month-by-month basis, Kenft and June would soon see
the value of their chalet bungalow almost triple. Kenft
toyed with the idea of selling and building his own, June
on the other hand just wanted to move into town,
closer to their social life, it wasn’t hard to guess why.
Kenft prepared a set of plans and had a quote from a
local builder, but prices of building plots and their
availability knocked his idea on the head. Moving into
town wasn’t such a bad idea, not only socially, it wont
be long before Tanya and Karl were of the age to move
up to secondary school and a ten minute walk to school
would be more beneficial than wasting time waiting and
travelling on a bus, as it was in Kenft’s day, he would
often hitchhike and be home well before the bus.
A property on the market, located at the north
end of town, a possibility, on first inspection Kenft
didn’t have the ‘I want to live here,’ vibes, although for
similar money they would be swapping three bedrooms
for four. Looking across the cul-de-sac, a similar
property and a double garage, also for sale but
unfortunately not within their budget. They went away
to think about it. Disappointedly not many properties
were on the market; they went back for a second look.
This time Kenft convinced himself of it’s suitability,
more room, handy for town and the schools, quiet culde-sac location, smaller manageable garden and the
same price as the chalet, after all it doesn’t have to be
permanent they could always move again when the
kids finish school and become more independent. They
put in an offer and their chalet went on the market
straight away.
Both Roger’s offered to assist Kenft and his
family move home, it went like clockwork, even though
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their buyer’s moved in the same day they moved out. It
didn’t take long for them to settle in and June had a
little run about car for herself for her part time work.
They had it all, or so it would seem, a nice house, a car
each, two lovely kids, one of each, steady work and
hence income, what more could they want? It still
wasn’t enough. Kenft bumps into Tracey in the town’s
small shopping precinct, pushing a pram with a
youngster only a few months old, he was surprised to
learn it was hers, he hadn’t seen her for some time and
not even aware she’d fell pregnant. She looked uneasy,
not her usual self, not at all happy, ‘postnatal
depression maybe’. Kenft didn’t pry, made a fuss of the
little one, it was good to see her, physically she looked
fine, long wavy hair and dapper in her long Kashmir
coat.
Bertie continued to provide his usual service,
without falter, calling to collect his dues, standing in the
kitchen he chatted for a while, confiding in June and
Kenft, divulging aspects of his private life over a cup of
tea. Only this time it was slightly different, he appeared
a little anxious, not his usual calm demeanour, as
though nothing could rattle him, he more or less left
them that day with a cryptic clue, with clouded
thoughts of possible unfolding events in the not too
distant future, a warning something strange or unusual
was likely to happen, involving him, mystical as if he’d
had a vision. On a previous visit, a month or so earlier,
he described how his wife had her heart set on moving
to a picturesque cottage but Bertie wasn’t so keen, not
wanting to uproot at that moment in time because of
his business and the location of his workshop. This
time, his conversation on the same tack, but now his
wife’s dream of having her picturesque cottage had
become an obsession, to the point where her behaviour
had become unreasonable, demanding she has to have
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Dr.K
it, he described it as uncharacteristic of her, beating
him, threatening the very fabric of their relationship
and ultimately their marriage, he was duly worried and
it showed, but there was a twist.
Bertie admitted to seeing another woman, he
stressed it was purely platonic, they’d known each
other since they were kids, went to school together
and always been close friends, as far as he was
concerned he was doing nothing wrong, visiting her,
chatting to her as he’d always done, like brother and
sister. June and Kenft had no reason to disbelieve him,
Bertie continued to explained as best he could, the
woman was married but had recently split up from her
husband, it was an off and on kind of relationship, he
being the very jealous kind accused her of all sorts of
wrong doings, threatening violence. She confided in
Bertie, as he was doing with June and Kenft, he was
her shoulder to cry on, her estranged husband saw it
differently to the point of being unstable, Bertie, in his
way, was expressing his concern for their safety.
Bertie left them that day parting with what
turned out to be a, ‘watch this space’ throwaway
statement,
“You’ve paid me quite a few quid over the years,
enough to probably have paid for all your televisions.”
he said before walking out the door, thanking them for
the cup of tea, and their custom.
“Ah, yes but you’ve always given us a good
reliable service Bertie,” said Kenft not realising what he
was trying to convey to them at the time.
“Do be careful, don’t go getting into any trouble,
you take care of yourself, see you next time.”
Continued June, showing deep concern for his
problems.
She’d had never seen him like this before, or
conversed with him so candidly. Bertie left, walking up
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the shingle drive to his workhorse, his estate car, he
checked the security of the ladder strapped to the roof
rack before getting in. Looking at his paperwork on the
passenger seat and his next port of call, he started the
car, he glanced towards the kitchen window gave a
wave and drove off. Puzzled, June and Kenft attempted
to put that conversation into some kind of perspective,
what was he driving at, what did he mean, ‘they’ve
paid for their televisions?’ had he spoken to anyone
else about this, his predicament, they were left in a
quandary and worried.
Several day’s had passed, Kenft returned home
from his usual daily grind and home to the usual
barrage of issues from June, she starts on him before
he’s hardly had time to land, standing in the open
doorway, briefcase still in his hand.
“It’s Bertie,” she snapped, not knowing how to
put it.
“It’s Bertie what?” ‘Could she be more specific’,
thinking maybe his wife had walked out on him or he’d
had an accident or something.
“He’s been found dead.”
“You’re joking, how?”
“He’s been murdered, someone’s killed him.”
“You what!’ not believing what he had just heard
he put down his briefcase and closed the door, “are you
sure, you’re not pulling my leg are you,” then answered
his own question, “no, I suppose you wouldn’t joke
about something like that. Do we know who and why?”
June had no more information to tell him,
silence, neither of them not knowing what to say,
incidents like that just don’t happen in their neck of the
woods, especially to people they know. Kenft,
unable to face his microwave meal that evening, not
that he would have enjoyed it anyway, surmised it
must have been something to do with the woman he’d
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Dr.K
spoken to them about and her problems with the
estranged husband, poor old Bertie had been caught in
the middle of it all and his demise being a complete
accident, a case of being in the wrong place at the
wrong time. Meeting up with family members other
details came to light confirming his hypothesis, except
it had been no accident, it was horrific and difficult to
comprehend. The guy, in a blinding jealous rage, lay in
wait for anyone calling to see his wife. Bertie was
attacked, the murder weapon a billhook virtually taking
his head off, decapitated. The murderer, unable to face
the consequences committed suicide, found hanging in
a barn close by. In their last conversation with Bertie
he had tried to warn them, he knew something serious
was about to happen, that he was directly in the firing
line, June and Kenft had no idea it would be this kind of
serious, struggled to come to terms with the fact their
last conversation with him was their very last.
His funeral would be just as difficult to face, as
was his wife, knowing how tricky her relationship with
Bertie was at the time, maybe it was all relative, they
had to show impartiality. He was a very popular, well
thought of individual, the church, filled to its rafters,
over spilled outside into every available space in the
churchyard. If every one, other than family and friends,
were customers of his then little wonder he was a very
busy man. Month’s later Bertie’s business was sold as a
going concern; Kenft anticipated a visit, a phone call,
no doubt an invoice, or at least a letter, explaining the
situation from the new proprietors, nothing. Kenft
suspected he and June were not the only ones whose
details were missing from Bertie’s files.
Kenft now faced problems at work, the middle
management were unsettled, not happy with the
directors and their proposed plans to move the
company forward, unable to compromise they left to
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set up a company of their own, in direct competition, it
was as if they had taken the soul of the company with
them. Kenft, not confident of the future looked for
another contract, he found one in the city, responding
to an agents timely advertisement in the paper, he was
encouraged to stay where he was with the lure of more
money but he’d already accepted the new contract, he
wouldn’t go back on his word. It was a small world and
he would meet up with his contemporaries again in the
not too distant future.
Well aware the new contract would only be short
term, Kenft worked all the hours available to him,
taking good advantage earning as much as possible so
he had that bit of a buffer built up should he encounter
problems obtaining his next follow on contract. He was
starting work at 7 am and at times working through till
mid-night, when special efforts were required to meet
deadlines. The finishing touches to machinery still in
progress, even while they were being loaded onto the
transportation being made ready for delivery. For his
efforts he was given an extra month’s work when other
contractors were laid off, peak levels had now tapered
off, his agent also took him out to lunch to show
gratitude for his work ethic and attitude. Kenft
appreciated the thought, but would have felt much
better if the guy went out of his way to find him
another contract; surely he’d earned it? He never heard
anything from them, Kenft’s respect for agents had
been tainted again, that’s two out of three.
During this contract Roger gives him a call
keeping him up to date with recent happenings,
“We’ve been bought out, sold.” he informed
Kenft.
“Oh no, is that good or bad? I didn’t expect
things to go that wrong, whatever’s happened, the
enquiry book was pretty healthy, wasn’t it?”
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“Good in one respect we still have a job, but bad
in another, we have to relocate, the banks foreclosed,
withdrawing credit, the factory is being sold off.”
“I suppose relocation is deterring a lot of people,
how about you, what have you decided to do.”
“For what its worth I’m taking redundancy, Paul
has offered me a job with his new company.”
Kenft, amazed at how quickly the company had
folded, but at the same time pleased Roger had
something sorted out, as did all the others, in time. The
success of the middle managements new company
grew rapidly as a result, Kenft meanwhile secured
himself another contract through the second agent he
had used, again in the city, quickly settling in he was
soon offered a permanent position but turned it down.
He may live to regret that decision as the company,
over the next few years, grew into a multi-million
pound organisation, relocating to purpose built
premises, no telling where the company and his career
could have taken him, if he had stayed. Receiving a call
from the ex director of the folded company, Kenft was
asked if he could spare a few weeks to help them on a
contract they were working on, not knowing of anyone
else with his product knowledge, namely semiautomatic depalletising machines. He was more than
happy to help but wanted to also honour the contract
with his present customer and sought their permission.
Kenft explained the situation asking if they could spare
him for four weeks, to help these guys out, then come
back to finish the special project he was working on, if
it didn’t inconvenience their planned program too
much.
They kindly agreed to release him, keeping
everyone happy. He returned as planned to see the
completion of the first prototype of his special design,
again he was asked if he wanted to stay on as
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permanent, but he’d also been asked to extend his
contract to supervise the build of the depalletiser,
deciding on the latter. He was now travelling over
seventy miles per day to the office, a ten-hour day
before back home to his delicious microwave meal, a
half hour power nap before summoning the enthusiasm
to start again having taken on additional work from
another company, he was burning the candle at both
ends.
This kept the taxman happy, the regulations
forever
changing,
the
bureaucratic
red
tape
complicating matters, continually putting up brick walls
and expense for the self-employed. The transition from
the drawing board to computer aided design had to be
contended with at the same time, as he was contracting
no company would train him up at their expense, so he
had to teach himself, to stay in the game let alone
ahead of it, meaning he had to purchase his own
computer and software, another steep learning curve.
At home he had to discard his drawing board to
concentrate on the computer, slowing him up, the
mouse thrown at the wall on a few occasions in
frustration, he had a lot on his plate.
None of this appeared to be taken into
consideration, the commitment to his work, things at
home were not brilliant because of it, he would often
come home, quizzed if he were as much as five minutes
late, and find his dinner in the microwave, more often
than not and in need of a re-heat, it never tasted quite
the same and he ate alone, just as well he didn’t have a
dog. With strong feelings of alienation in the family he
made the difficult choice, he decided to call it a day,
telling June he’d had enough and was leaving. He
hadn’t thought it through, he had nowhere to go, June
surprised him, outwardly she was visibly upset, ‘she’s
acting’, inwardly probably applauding.
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“Where are you going to go, is their someone
else? You’ll have to tell the kids,” resorting to the tactic
of emotional blackmail, and it worked.
Kenft thought about the kids, no way did he
want some other cretin involved in bringing them up,
he’d brought them into the world, they were his
responsibility and will remain that way, they were his
one and only consideration, nothing else mattered,
remembering the vows he’d made in front of family and
friends, ‘for better or for worse, till death us do part’,
he changed his mind, and no, he wasn’t seeing
someone else, as if he ever had the time, though you
couldn’t blame him if he was.
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CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Kenft would meet up with Jimmy and the rest of
the football team on a Sunday morning, play the game
of footy, back to the pub for couple of pints to discuss
where they went wrong, occasionally where they went
right, home to collect the wife and kids then off to the
raceway to watch Tone and Jimmy perform on the track
in the afternoon. Early evening Kenft would fit in a
game of squash with wife June and friend Pat’c before
heading back to the pub, meeting up with the gang and
having a good laugh talking about the day’s events
over another couple of drinks. Then back to Tones for
coffee and sandwiches, prepared by Jane before Kenft,
hopefully not overstaying his welcome, left for home. A
fun filled packed day spoilt only with the thought of
having to go back to work the next day.
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Christmas day, Tone and Jane were invited for
dinner, a day that stuck in Tone’s memory, he always
commented,
“That was the best Chrimbo I ever had.”
A day of total merriment, eating, drinking and
playing with the Kids and the board games they were
given as presents. Tones face was a picture, as they sat
on the floor around the coffee table, the tears of
laughter running down his cheeks, it was a shame the
day had to come to an end.
Race weekends continued on a regular basis and
Kenft would join Tone whenever he could, work
commitments permitting. Tone’s pinnacle of success
culminating with winning the national championship one
year, boy was he chuffed, and deservedly so. Those
boy’s, and girls, put so much time, effort and cash into
their sport, they all deserve a bit of success from time
to time, but like Tone, they did it just for the sheer hell
of it and the exhilaration.
Tone often helped to keep Kenft’s cars on the
road with MOT’s and servicing, and on one occasion
having to tow him back home one morning. Timing belt
having snapped, without warning, forced Kenft to coast
into the nearest lay-by then needing to find a
telephone, to summon assistance. It was before the
days of mobile phones. Mother-in-law wasn’t far away
and Kenft could walk that, but before he knew it a
vehicle drew alongside, stopped and offered to give him
a lift. It was Barry on his rounds on his milk float. Ever
grateful for small mercies, lift accepted and Kenft was
on his way to mother-in-laws to make that all
important call to his old mate Tone, who instantly
dropped what he was doing and responded to the call
of distress without hesitation.
Mother-in law however, upon seeing this fellow
walking towards her abode at that time of day, carrying
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a suitcase, not realising who it was thought it were the
doctor on a house call, watching him closely, concerned
as to who may be unwell, bless her.
Tone was soon on the scene, manoeuvred the
stricken car onto the trailer, with help from Hippy‘D’,
Tones nephew, picked Kenft up from his mother-inlaw’s and proceeded to take him home. Tone had the
car back on the road in next to no time. Then it was
down the pub to celebrate a job well done. On buying
the first round of drinks Kenft commended Tone and
Hippy‘D’ on the professional execution of the recovery
and repair, and grateful for their assistance. Tone then
came out with a phrase Kenft would never forget, which
was to be repeated probably on a weekly basis from
then on,
“We don’t do stress, we don’t do panic,” then
added in his usual jovial manner, lighting up a
cigarette, “only too pleased to be of help, that’s what
we are here for ol’mate.”
Drinking sessions, mainly restricted to weekends
or the occasional day off were frequent, using the same
establishment most of the time because of the friendly
landlord and the likewise atmosphere. Tone liked his
music and did a bit of disc jockeying when invited, he
had all the gear, and if he could spare the time. They
were great times and Tone would have them all
dancing. He could sing a bit too, so wasn’t adverse to a
bit of impromptu karaoke, never shy at coming forward
and always the life and sole of the party. On the down
side, Tones business acumen was a little bit to be
desired and as a result his business hit hard times and
forced to close. This is not a criticism of the man; on
the contrary, its failure was because of his generosity,
often undertaking work but not charging for what its
worth. He knew his stuff, he was an intelligent chap,
and grammar school educated, what he didn’t know he
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Dr.K
could improvise. But, like most of us, embarrassed
when it came to dealing with money and, as a result,
under selling ourselves, ending up as busy fools. Tone
found himself out of work and Kenft now found he was
in the position were he could help out his old mate.
After a word with a work colleague Tone was offered a
job, which meant he could earn good money, but would
have to spend time away from home, site installation
crew. Sceptical at first, Tone accepted the position, it
was work he could do with one arm tied behind his
back and eyes closed. He would be installing equipment
Kenft had designed and the company manufactured. He
soon settled in and became a key player.
Unfortunately Kenft believed this was the reason
for the demise of Tone’s marriage to Jane, the
weeks, maybe two or three, spent away from home at
any one time had taken its toll. This affected everyone,
all missed his presence, Tone was the main man, but at
least he was paying the mortgage keeping the wolf
from the door. Unfortunately it became too much for
Jane, she didn’t appreciate Tone being away for so
long, they parted company.
Kenft initially was kept in the dark unaware of
his problems, Tone probably under the misguided
impression that Kenft, his wife June being her close
friend, would take Jane’s side. The first he knew of any
problems was the day June informed him that Jane had
moved out into a flat close to where she worked, in the
next town, and planned to visit her at the weekend.
Kenft went along, he didn’t want to fall out with either
of them. Tone moved away, up north, without a single
word to Kenft, he kept out of his way, he still worked
for the company but kept his visits to headquarters to a
minimum, eventually he left. Kenft lost contact with
him and felt totally responsible for what had transpired,
to the point of being very depressed with the outcome,
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so much so he changed jobs himself and vowed he
would never try to help anyone again.
The cracks began to appear, the pressure of
work, the travelling, long hours, the atmosphere at
home, the psychological torment of his parents divorce,
blaming of himself for his brothers situation and now
Tones separation from Jane, understandably he felt the
strain, something had to give and it did. From the
outside he looked as steady as a rock but inside he was
quaking in his shoes, a nervous wreck, he hid it the
best he could. Private moments would find him tearful
at the drop of a hat. He began to experience what he
thought were stomach cramps, a sharp pain in his
abdomen doubling him up in pain or at least forcing
him to wince, then the bleeding started. ‘Jesus I’m
turning into a woman, I’ve started having periods’, oral
sex being a favourite jokingly he thought maybe he was
taking on too many female hormones, too much
oestrogen but that wasn’t now possible, June’s woman
problems increasing in their severity forced her to
undergo a hysterectomy and no longer in need of the
contraception pill. The bleeding from his rectum began
as just a smear at first, when he defecated, and noticed
an increase in flatulence, bodily functions embarrassed
him at the best of times, this was now adding to his
struggle.
As with all males he tried to ignore the
symptoms hoping they would vanish as quickly as
they’d inexplicably appeared, the body able to repair
itself. Visits to the lavatory became more frequent and
urgent, the bleeding increasing, excretion of a clear
fluid and mucus, diarrhoea and the flatulence becoming
what’s best described as explosive, now he dreaded
going to the loo, it certainly affected his confidence and
his social life. A rear weekend trip out with the family
brought the severity of the problem home to him, at
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Dr.K
the zoo and stomach pains too uncomfortable to
withstand, he thought he was going to explode,
hanging on for as long as he could hoping the
symptoms would subside, not wanting to spoil the day,
apologising to his kids they had to leave and go home.
He made the appointment to see his doctor and
what would be his first visit to the surgery since moving
into town. Quietly he knocked on the consultation room
door, the voice on the other side beckoned him to
enter. Kenft sat himself down on the chair beside the
doctor’s desk, facing him.
“Good morning and what can I do for you?”
Kenft explained his situation.
2How long have you had these symptoms?”
Kenft didn’t want to appear stupid and lied not
wanting the doctor to think he took so long to seek his
help, the doctor wasn’t stupid either and could tell he
had lied, He couldn’t lie to save his life.
“Now look here, lets not get off to a bad start,
for me to sort this out we have to trust one another, so
I’ll ask that question again.” He said very sternly,
looking directly at Kenft over the rims of his spectacles.
‘Boy! He must have had a bad weekend’. Kenft,
already feeling low showed it, extended the time frame
but still wasn’t sure of its accuracy, it had been so long
he couldn’t rightly remember exactly.
“What do you think it is? Its obviously worrying
you,” said the doctor, now showing his sympathetic
side, it was like the hard man soft man approach you’d
expect at the police station, what a strange question,
‘shouldn’t he be telling me’?
“Well, the big ‘C’ had crossed my mind,” replied
Kenft in a quivering voice.
He wasn’t able to bring himself to say the word
cancer as it conjured up all kinds of nightmares and
fears.
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“Right, lets get one thing out of the way, its not
cancer, you’re far too young for us to even consider
that,” he answered assertively, reaching for his
reference book.
“Oh, okay that’s good,” ‘how could he be so
sure’. His cousin, of similar age, suffered the indignity
of bowel cancer later claiming his life.
“I think what we have here is possibly colitis,
ulcerative colitis,” ‘only possibly, not so sure of yourself
now’, “an inflammation or irritation of the intestines
particularly the large colon, we’re not sure what causes
it or triggers it off, in your case probably stress, we’ll
have to do some tests. A sample of your stools will be
needed to send off to the lab, the nurse will help you
with a container and the procedure when she takes a
blood sample. This is what we’re going to do; I’m going
to put you on a short course of steroids, to boost your
immune
system
and
sulphasalazine,
an
antiinflammatory.”
The doctor typed the details into his computer
and printed out Kenft’s prescription.
“I’ll refer you to see a consultant at the hospital
and I need a blood test from you every two weeks to
check for any side effects from the medication, any
questions,” he said, looking at Kenft one elbow leaning
on his desk.
“No, I don’t think so doctor.”
Kenft was now eager to leave and return to
work.
“Okay, could you pop onto the bed for me, a
quick examination, lay on you back and drop your
trousers and pants.” Kenft reluctantly does as he’s
asked. The doctor lifts Kenft’s shirt revealing his belly
and pressed hard in several places, asking if it hurt,
then instructed him to lay on his side facing the wall
and lift his knees up towards his chest.
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Dr.K
“I just need to check the prostate, this will feel a
little uncomfortable.” The doctor pulled on the gloves
and applied the jelly.
“That’s fine, all finished, you can get dressed
know.” He washed and dried his hands and handed
Kenft his prescription.
“If things worsen come and see me straight
away, I want to see you in two weeks anyway, make an
appointment at reception, okay.”
“Yes, thank you very much, bye.”
Kenft left the consultation room, closing the
door he took a deep breath, a sigh of relief, that was a
weight off his shoulders, he made his next appointment
with the receptionist who directed him to the nurse’s
station for his blood test.
The medication began to weave its magic, the
symptoms subsided he was in remission. The doctor
was pleased with his progress but did warn him he
could easily have other attacks in the future, there was
no cure, once you’ve had one attack that’s it you’ve got
it for life, it wasn’t contagious, it was a matter now of
keeping it in check, you can go weeks, months, years
nothing, then something happens to trigger it off again.
A letter drops through the letterbox, onto the doormat;
it was from the hospital, his appointment to see the
consultant. Kenft was in the consultation room again
and repeating everything he had told his doctor. The
consultant asked what was Kenft’s occupation, he
explained, the consultant’s response unexpected.
“Ah you must know my friend John then?” he
then went on to describe who this friend was. Kenft
new John, new him well, he had worked with him and
surprised to learn he suffered from a similar complaint.
“You guy’s absolutely amaze me, how you can
design and manufacture something out of nothing,
starting with nothing but a clean sheet of paper.”
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Kenft took the compliment, you didn’t receive
many of those in his game, appreciating it all the more
from where it came from, doctors and consultants
being held in higher esteem.
“I would like to examine you now.”
‘Oh no, not again’, Kenft climbed onto the
examination bed and resumed the natural position.
“Before I start, would be okay if I have one of
my students joins us.”
“No not at all, we all have to start somewhere,”
replied Kenft, thinking he’d do his bit for the
furtherance of medical science, well at least someone’s
career; he would soon eat those words.
The consultant called for the student to enter
the room, in walks a gorgeous blond in a white
overcoat, Kenft, half naked from the waist down, felt
the warm sensation as his cheeks turned a bright
crimson, the cheeks on his face that is, now regretting
to agreeing he wished he were somewhere else and
hoped his imagination didn’t get the better of him,
‘what was someone like her doing specialising on this
part of the human body? Maybe she hated men, this
was one way she could wreak her revenge, a lesbian,
what was she wearing under that white coat’?
The consultant and his lovely student finished
examining and discussing his case, she disappeared
from whence she came, the consultation continued on a
one on one basis.
“The prostate looks normal, but there is only so
far I can go with the rudimentary equipment I have
here, I think it would be wise for you to have a
colonoscopy, a biopsy, just to make sure there’s
nothing sinister going on.”
Kenft was feeling fine by this time and didn’t
much like the idea of a colonoscopy, he had no problem
enduring pain to cure pain, surely it would be more
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beneficial if the procedure went ahead when he has a
relapse and the cause possibly self evident, but who
was he to argue? A few weeks later the procedure went
ahead, the first of a few he would have to endure, a
biopsy in the bargain, for good measure, small pieces
of intestine removed for the lab, he didn’t care much
for the enemas giving violent stomach cramps or the
insertion of the optronics, thanking his lucky stars he
didn’t have to swallow the damn thing and the fact he
was heterosexual. The result returned favourable but
the sulphasalazine had to be stopped immediately and
exchanged for a milder version, it was having an
adverse effect on his liver and kidney’s, as the results
from his last blood test had revealed.
Kenft was now working for a smaller company
but with greater responsibility, more or less second in
command, technical manager. It was hard work the
firm, desperately trying to establish itself, was either
struggling to find work or very busy, busy with
contracts other companies didn’t want, either due to
the nature of the work or its timing, holiday shutdowns,
often resulting in working long unsociable hours, at
home and abroad. Kenft was busily occupied at all
times irrespective of actual orders being progressed, if
he wasn’t tendering for the next job he was designing
or helping to construct the present. It was soul
destroying chasing orders, a great deal of ground work
went into every quotation each with its expected
complimentary outline drawings, a lot of effort for no
return in ninety percent of cases, there were no
guarantees, it was strongly believed you were only as
good as your last job, this didn’t hold true as the
playing field was indeed not level, often combating
against the brown envelope brigade, corruption was rife
throughout the industry, at all levels. The relationship
with his wife began to show the strain. He’d just
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returned from overseeing an installation in Holland, at
times a gruelling task it was no picnic and wondered
why he did it, he had been away for almost two weeks
and found himself on the receiving end of his worst
welcome home yet, not that his previous one’s were
anything to write about, but this one would shake him
to his very core, he’d barely had time to unpack when
June hit him between the eye’s.
“I’m leaving you, I’ve told the kids.”
As blunt as that, no pre-amble, no breaking it to
him gently, no reasons given, unaware she had selfishly
spent the last week away, enjoying herself, leaving Karl
to fend for himself, Tanya was in France with the
college. Kenft had nothing to say, he had nothing left to
give, he was burnt out, he could feel nothing, numb of
all feelings, all he could think of was the well being of
his kids, as far as he was concerned she could do what
the hell she liked, this time he’d definitely had enough.
Had he known of her little jaunt he might have gone
ballistic and thrown her out anyway, in the past he had
been that angry with her he couldn’t speak, opening his
mouth but the words failed him, his vocal chords
locked.
She had packed a few things and left, her
parting words were just as terse,
“Don’t think you’ll be getting any maintenance
off me cause you wont, I wont be able to afford it.”
So much for sexual equality, she drove off, now
Kenft had to face the kids, whatever must they have
been thinking, up to this point they had made
themselves scarce, they dealt with the situation
admirably, never complained once, but timing couldn’t
be more wrong for Karl, he had his final exams to
contend with. Kenft liked his music and at that moment
in time the lyrics became more poignant, as with
everyone he had his favourites, Gabrielle’s album ‘Rise’
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Dr.K
he played the most, he wasn’t the only person in the
world going through a rough time but it was as if it was
written with him in mind and brought a tear to his eye,
‘So much hurt
So much pain
Takes awhile to regain
What is lost, inside
And I hope that in time you’ll be out of my mind
I’ll be over you
And now I’m, confused
My hearts bruised
Was I ever loved by you
Out of reach
So far
I never had your heart
Out of reach
Couldn’t see
We were never meant to be.’
Gabrielle.
Kenft continued the best he could, working from
home, daughter had joined the Royal Air Force, son
now at college, and eventually he returned to work at
the office. Several months had passed and now
established in his new routine, too busy to think about
anything other than get on with things, running around
clocking up the miles after son and daughter,
backwards and forwards to work, housework, shopping
and attempting to be both mother and father, it was a
little hectic.
Jacqui, a sales representative, began to call at
the office on a regular basis, she was known to Kenft’s
boss, he would tease her, wind her up, her visits
became more frequent and usually when Kenft was on
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his own, holding the fort. Kenft became suspicious,
thinking he’s being set up, it wouldn’t surprise him, it
was the kind of thing his boss would do, he’d told
another female visitor, in the workshop behind Kenft’s
back, that they were gay, she had to say something
reassuring to let them know she understood and was
okay with that, standing in the doorway to the office
she expressed her opinion.
“I think that’s lovely, nice, nice that you can
work together as well, just lovely, really lovely,” in
reality she wanted to get the hell out of there as quickly
as possible. The boss stood behind her laughing all over
his face.
Jacqui was a pretty little thing, in her dark blue
suit, jacket and skirt a white blouse, short blonde hair,
Kenft began to look forward to her visits, he noticed the
scar on the side of her face, heavily disguised with
make up but it didn’t detract from her good looks, she
was obviously showing an interest and letting out
snippets of personal information about herself each
time. She warned him of her boy friends very jealous
nature and described instances when he resorted to
threatening behaviour and violence. Kenft could
understand, to a certain extent, and thought she was
looking for a way out of the relationship but too scared
to, warning Kenft what he had to possibly stand up to if
he was going to take things further, no way was he
going to be instrumental in breaking up a relationship
and certainly wasn’t looking for that kind of hassle,
pity, he liked her. Then again he still had his demons to
contend with, the barriers were firmly in place,
preventing anyone from getting close to him.
Tone and Kenft unknowingly divorced their
wives more or less simultaneously, as if the women had
colluded with one another. Figuratively speaking they
were now doing their stint in the wilderness, as if their
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professions weren’t hard enough, doing their stint of
forty days and forty nights, except this would be more
like three years, taking their separate paths. This
wasn’t to be the end of this friendship, true friendships
never die, for Tone and Kenft were destined to meet up
again and the bond, even stronger.
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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
Eight years later, it’s a typical April day, April
23 to be exact, Saint Georges day, warm sunshine
penetrating through broken clouds and the threat of an
odd shower or two. The small Norfolk market town
prepares for Tones funeral, attendees making their way
from the town centre to the church, hoping they will
cope okay, while others busy themselves with their
usual routine, unaware of the significance of the day.
To them it’s only a Wednesday, just another mundane
working day of the week.
The church tower reaches ever skywards, its
clock chiming every fifteen-minutes. Mischievous
resident Jackdaws sporadically wheeled and soared
around the church ramparts. Ramparts seemingly
attempting to grasp at the pale blue sky, like the
rd
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outstretched fingers of your hand, clutching at a
passing cloud, reaching out for answers to untold
questions. The flag of Saint George, at half-mast,
flutters in the strong breeze and the occasional roar
from the jet engines of F15 fighters interrupt the
otherwise serene country ambiance as they pass
overhead, ignored by the majority of the people as
their appearance and sound is as regular as the church
clock itself.
Tone was a colourful character known and
respected by many people from far and wide, so the
church was going to be full, full to the brim with those
wanting to pay their last respects. The town will miss
him dearly, having lived there for more than fifty years.
The family would regularly holiday in Norfolk when he
was but a small lad and decided to move up from the
south permanently, his parents taking over as landlords
in one of the town’s popular public houses.
Gone, the cheery sole just down the narrow
staithe road off the market square, an historic part of
town, a bit of an extrovert or at least larger than life
was Tone, but not without his own insecurities, as we
all have, which would rise to the surface from time to
time, recognised only by those close to him.
He could fix your car, do a bit of welding, or
would readily stop and chat to give advice as you
wander by his usually wide-open grey steel garage
doors. Those doors wont be open quite so often
anymore, if at all. Better still was to meet up with him
of an evening in his favourite local bar, rarely on his
own but with a group of people, where he wouldn’t
hesitate to put his hand into his pocket to buy you a
pint, simultaneously telling you a joke or two.
Tones portly, blue overalled profile would often
be seen standing by those south facing garage doors,
acting like giant radiators when hit by the suns rays,
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with thumbs busily depressing the buttons on his
mobile phone held closely to his chest. You could bet
your bottom dollar if he wasn’t ordering spare parts,
arranging an mot for someone, or sorting out details for
his next project, he would be texting a few jokes to
everyone on his list and making sure they were
available to meet up in the pub that evening. He was
constantly in contact with someone and his mobiles,
taking a bit of a hammering as a result, were either
replaced on a regular basis or, as on a couple of
occasions, accidentally flushed down the toilet. The
next one ordered came complete with a rubber
protective cover, a wet suit, just in case.
At the green just outside of town his entourage,
a cavalcade of cars made up of off-road four by four’s,
this type of vehicle having been Tones passion for the
last decade or so, and car club members in their classic
cars, gathered in numbers and took their place behind
the hearse. The owner-drivers all having benefited from
Tones experience in one-way or another. People like
Tommo sitting proudly, and rightly so, in his bright red
Challenger, a jaguar ‘E’ type replica and constructed
with Tones assistance, or Neville who turned up, with
Olive his African Queen, in his newly acquired GT40,
superb examples. Two fellows who were as distraught
as Kenft with their loss as Tone played a big part in
their daily routines. Kenft, as Tone would call him, was
more of the introverted type, or shall we say outwardly
quiet sort, the straight man in a double act, until you
got to know him better, there was an extrovert in
there, somewhere!
Sedately, the cortège headed for the town
centre. The first vehicle transporting immediate family
members, Tone’s (fourth) wife, his step son, his sister
and brother in law, the second more family and his
closest friend Kenft, who was always regarded as family
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anyway. Tone and Kenft had known each other for the
best part of thirty years or more, and Kenft, devastated
at the loss of his old mate, inconsolable. When Tone
died a piece of Kenft died with him. Hard as he tried to
compose himself he could not control the lump in his
throat or prevent the tears from welling up in his eyes,
it was going to be a most difficult time for him. The
start of the year had been quite traumatic enough
without losing his close buddy. He had painfully finished
a somewhat intense relationship with his fiancée and,
as a consequence, found it difficult to concentrate on
the unreasonable demands of his managing director,
resigned from his job. It was by far the darkest period
of his life, his annus horribilis. Talk about things
happening in three’s, friendless, fiancée-less, jobless,
situation - hopeless. All this on top of the constant
worry of his now destitute brother, naturally he felt
pretty low and, struggling to hold it all together, hoped
something positive would result from the anguish.
Tone’s wife Shirl’s tried to put it into perspective by
commenting,
“I strongly believe everything happens for a
reason and is part of our life’s destiny.” Kenft hoped he
would be able to find that reason or reasons.
As some consolation, he was able to spend as
much time as possible with Tone, not knowing how
much time Tone actually had left, so that was one
positive. The losing of two close friends, Tone and his
ex-fiancée, cant see any positives there, would later
prove to be too much for him to contend with.
Those who new him, fully aware of his
sensitivity, thought it wise for Kenft not to drive that
day. Kenft’s daughter Tanya, who had flown up from
her new home in Cornwall especially, also tried to put
her context on the unfolding events, for the benefit of
her visibly distressed father, she didn’t like to see him
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hurting so much. In a soft sympathetic voice she told
him,
“Dad, this day is a very special day and one we
shall never forget. Today is your grandson Kyle’s third
birthday, Uncle Bryan has his operation, and Tone is
put to rest. Think of it as a celebration! Let’s celebrate
the start of a life, the preservation of a life and to an
end of a life.”
Kenft was not too sure about celebrating the end
of a life but new what she meant, ‘a celebration of a
life’, wise words indeed, again events happening in
three’s, uncanny.
Winding its way, at a snails pace through the
town’s streets, stopping traffic and pedestrians alike,
solemn faces and one or two doffed caps, the cortege
arrived
at
the
church.
Not
surprisingly
the
congregation, too large to be contained inside that
many had to be happy to stand outside, hoping it
wasn’t going to rain. The coffin was slowly removed
from the hearse, family and friends alighted from their
vehicles, a slight pause in proceedings giving drivers
time to park up and re-join the procession, at the
command the cortege made its way towards the arched
doorway, through the gathered crowd, some dressed
traditionally in black, others more casually, Tone didn’t
want anyone in black, sedately they were swallowed by
the church as they disappeared into the dimly lit
entrance, emotions running high, handkerchiefs at the
ready. The church clock chimed on the hour the bell
struck out its macabre tone, bong!….bong! 2.00pm,
approaching the large imposing faded oak doorway,
music could be heard emanating from within:
‘A hand above the water
An angel reaching for the sky
Is it raining in heaven -
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Do you want us to cry?
And everywhere the broken-hearted
On every lonely avenue
No-one could reach them
No-one but you
One by one
Only the Good die young
They're only flying too close to the sun
And life goes on Without you...’
‘No-One But You’, Queen.
Kenft was beside himself with emotion as he
walked down the isle, looking down at his feet, not
wanting to show the staring congregation any signs of
sentiment, thinking to himself angrily,
‘This should have been my wedding to Tracey,
not Tones bloody funeral’.
Tone would have undoubtedly been his best
man, without question. Kenft took his place in the pew,
clutching the ‘Order of Service’ sat down, head bowed,
son Karl and daughter Tanya either side of him, a quick
glance across the isle to Shirl’s and Lee, to make sure
they were okay, not that he was in any position to do
anything.
The Order of Service read:
Processional Music: No-One But You…Queen
Introduction
Opening Prayer
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Reading:
’Togetherness’
Music: Goodbye Again…John Denver
Tribute:
He Would Call Me Kenft
Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 13 vs. 1-8a
Hymn: The Old Rugged Cross
Tribute:
by Tommo
Address
The Prayers
The Lords Prayer
Hymn: The Lord’s my Shepherd
A poem sent by Tony to a Friend
Commendation
The Blessing
Recessional Music: Little children Sleep…Precious
Few
A private cremation then all invited for
refreshments and recollections at the Rugby Club.
Shafts of divine light shone brightly through
stained glass windows, particles of dust glistened
diamonds as they drifted through the air, caught in
rays of golden light surrounding and reflecting off
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the
like
the
the
Dr.K
highly polished surface of Tones coffin, standing on
trestles at the alter and encircled with the flowered
tributes, centre stage, where he liked to be, giving that
eerie feeling that a certain someone, a celestial being
was looking down on him from on high, maybe there
was? Even if you weren’t a believer you had to be
moved by this dramatic scene, a movie set director
couldn’t have done it any better.
‘Agnostic atheist’ Tone described himself one
day when Kenft visited him in hospital, he was in a
great deal of discomfort and Kenft could understand his
feelings and the asking of the question as to why, why
him? After all he was of no age in today’s terms, not
knowingly done anyone any serious harm, the odd
disagreements obviously, who hasn’t, then pondering a
moment he reflected,
“But I have had a ball though,” he said with a
boyish cheeky grin, hunching his head into his
shoulders.
He had lived life a little on the edge, especially
in his younger days, informing everyone of one or two
escapades, and to think he use to be a choirboy, in this
very church. Kenft would occasionally look up to the
heavens, for a brief moment, in a vain attempt to
regain his composure, the bright light hurting his eyes
forced him to bow his head again. A reassuring hand on
the leg would appear from son or daughter, or an arm
round the shoulder, he put on an artificial smile to show
gratitude. Memories of the good and the not so good
times came flooding back as the vicar started to
conduct the service, opening the proceedings with an
Introduction; introducing himself he thanked everyone
for the excellent turn out with the spectacular
cavalcade of vehicles and informed the gathered
congregation how the town had ground to a halt with
the sheer volume of vehicles.
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This would serve only as a distraction. Like an
automaton Kenft stood or sat when others did, not
being able to sing a single note of a hymn for the lump
in his throat, he couldn’t see to read the words most of
the time anyway, his eye’s flooded with tears, blurred
his vision, it was as if his mind were on a different
planet.
Tone’s funeral service commenced with the
Opening Prayer, and so did Kenft’s flashbacks, each
lasting only a few seconds, travelling back to the time
he and Tone rediscovered their friendship for one
another, it was eight years ago and the bond would
become stronger, much stronger than before.
***
Kenft, forced to sell his house, paying off the
mortgage and splitting the remaining proceeds fiftyfifty with his now ex-wife, even used the same solicitor
saving expense and the added hassle of the bickering
had there been two, moved into rented accommodation
with his son until they decide where to re-locate, if
need be. His daughter had joined the Women’s Royal
Air Force at this time, doing her basic training at RAF
Halton in Aylesbury, a little afraid of going by train on
her first day she asked dad if he would take her. He
wouldn’t have it any other way, although he had a
reliability issue with his car, much to the amusement of
the recruitment officer, he made sure she got there but
leaving her there he found very difficult, as any dad
would, badly disguising his emotions, watery eyes and
the tugging on his heart strings, only to be repeated
again eight weeks later, her passing out parade, this
time the overwhelming emotion was pride, the end
result was the same, with the one exception, this time
he had the broadest of smiles on his face.
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A year passed and Kenft’s landlord decided to
sell the property forcing him to make a move. This was
not a bad thing as it turned out, he did not need a four
bed roomed pad and unknowingly house prices were
about to escalate. Purchasing a new town house on a
brown field development proved to be the right
decision, not only from the monetary point of view but
also location. House prices started to rise alarmingly
shortly afterwards. A lovely summers day, sun ablaze,
Kenft decides to walk into town to see how close
construction on the new house was to completion, as
the pending moving date was looming ever closer.
Walking down Hall Staithe towards the old fire station,
Kenft notices a couple giving this building close
scrutiny. Moving nearer, Tone and Kenft finally
recognised each other, but Kenft didn’t recognise the
person who accompanied him thinking maybe it was an
estate agent.
“Hello Kenft.” Tone said jovially, though a little
nervously.
“Hiya Tone, how you doing?” asked a surprised
Kenft in reply, also with a little trepidation.
Both, pleased as punch to see each other, but a
little unsure of the feelings of the other, bearing in
mind their past history. They need not have worried; it
was as if nothing had happened at all, the banter
carried on as though they had spoken to each other
only yesterday.
“I’m fine thanks, put on a little weight,” tapping
himself on his self evident expanded rotund waste line,
“Like to introduce you to my wife Shirley, you’ve
not met before have you?”
“Wife,” exclaimed Kenft surprisingly, now
understanding Tone’s nervousness, after all he was still
with Jane the last time they’d spoken to one another.
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“Er! No I haven’t, pleased to meet you Shirley.
Why are you looking at the old fire station?” Kenft
asked politely.
Almost in unison, they replied,
“We’ve just bought the place.”
“Have you? Good for you, for business?” Kenft
enquired.
“Probably, but we’re going to do it up as a
residence and live here as well.”
“Brilliant, a big project that.” Kenft paused for a
moment, “that means we’re going to be neighbours.”
Kenft then went on to explain he had purchased
and was soon to move into one of the new properties
on the development just around the corner from the
malting’s at the end of the road, he was just on his way
to have a look at how things were progressing. Tone,
although unaware of the development, thought this was
fantastic.
“So you’ll be living in my back garden then.” he
said, then continued with a chuckle, “what are you
doing tonight?” with every intention to continue where
they’d left off, some three years ago.
Tone and Kenft arranged to meet up that very
evening for a drink in the Crown, they had some
serious catching up to do. Kenft entered the Crown as
arranged, somewhat gingerly. It’s been a while since he
had socialised and felt a little uneasy entering the
establishment on his own. He soon picked out Tone and
made his way towards him, feeling more confident.
Tone, ordering a round of drinks, started the
conversation by describing his problems with Jane and
work commitments, then, on a happier note, continued
with how he met up with Shirley. Kenft on the other
hand, aggrieved at missing out on a stag night and a
wedding, explained his divorce from June, that he was
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Dr.K
still unattached, after all these years, and filled him in
with an update on what his kids were up to.
Tone was soon earning a few quid for himself
working from home, the garage annex to the Old Fire
Station, where he had installed a four-post lift and Little
Legs (Mark) had helped to fit out the necessary
electrics. He was set up to repair and restore cars and
vans and to construct the odd fabrication or two. He
was pretty handy with a welder. It wasn’t unusual for
people to pop down with a sketchy idea and before no
time Tone had interpreted and fashioned their request
using the various materials available to him. Kenft was
no exception.
“Tone, I need a new wrought iron gate for the
access to my back garden, and a gothic arch shaped
door for the relic of a building I’m going to be using as
a shed around the back, how are you fixed for time?”
“Any idea as to what you want Kenft?”
“Nope ol’mate, I’ll leave it entirely up to you. All
I will ask is that the you incorporate the number eight
in the gate and we leave an opening in the door
somewhere, I have a pair of swallows nesting in the
outbuilding.”
“Oky-doky-blokey, I’ll pop round to have a look
and measure up.”
Kenft trusted Tone’s design and fabrication
talents, from previous experience, and after a few days
Tone described his ideas and estimated costs, Kenft
agreed without hesitation and paid a deposit to cover
materials. Tone started construction of the said gate
and door, Kenft called into the workshop to check
progress regularly on his way home from work. The
gate was fairly straightforward and taking shape nicely
using decorative castings and incorporating the house
number, the framework for the gothic door was also in
the making, this to be panelled in later with dark
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stained timber planks and square headed rivets, giving
it the 'olde worlde' look, in-keeping with the buildings
structure, a remnant apparently of the old monastery
dating back to don’t know when. Fabrication completed,
installed and looking brilliant, a few photographs were
taken for Tone’s portfolio helping to illustrate his talents
and helping, hopefully, to drum up new business. Tone
quickly became a very busy chap, balancing the need
to earn cash from his garage, coupled with the need to
save cash, doing much of the fire station conversion to
residential work himself. He also needed to maintain his
social standing with his mates down the pub and his
growing interest with the off road four by four scene,
his social calendar, at times being as hectic as work
commitments. He also liked to do the cooking, loved his
food, and although he was a very active man he had
noticeably and unashamedly put on a few pounds in
weight.
The Crown Hotel was the entertainment hub of
the town under the ownership of Americans, Bob and
Nikki. Tone and Kenft were to get to know them well as
they continued to meet at the Crown after work
regularly and later even more frequent, becoming their
second home almost. At other times Tone would invite
Kenft to join him for dinner with his new family
consisting of wife, stepson Lee, nicknamed Fred by
Tone because Shirl’s said she had named him Lee for
the fact it could not be shortened, and not forgetting
the dogs, Webster and Ace.
Through Tone, Kenft’s social life took off again.
Since his divorce he had kept himself to himself,
concentrating on his work and making sure the kids
were okay. The thought of finding another partner had
never crossed his mind, permanent or otherwise, onenight stands he could never aspire to, a ‘once bitten
twice-shy’
sort
of
mentality.
The
seemingly
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Dr.K
impenetrable psychological barriers protecting him from
further derision were firmly in place, but this stigma
was to eventually change as he became increasingly
exposed to the social scene.
The Reading:
‘Togetherness’
(Henry Scott-Holland)
‘Death is nothing at all – I have only slipped
away into the next room. Whatever I was to you, that I
am still. Call me by my name speak to me in the easy
way which you always used. Laugh as we always
laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play,
smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the
household word that it always was. Let it be spoken
without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is
the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken
continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I
am out of your sight? I am waiting for you, for an
interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well. Nothing is past: nothing is lost. One brief
moment and all will be as it was before – only better.
Infinitely happier and for ever – we will be one family
together with Christ.’
***
Tone and Kenft were having a whale of a time
now, work and a regular income financing the muchimproved social life for the both of them,
frequenting the watering holes of the town, making
new friends and sharing new experiences. A couple of
evenings a week they would regularly enjoy a couple of
ale’s and share a plate of ‘chilly cheesy chips’ after
work. Then weekends, maybe on a Saturday, a rowdy
night at the Crown after finishing work in the garage.
You could hardly move inside the doorway for people
and the music loud from ‘The Mob’, one of the regular
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bands, or the disco. Everyone was happy and friendly,
just the odd misdemeanours from the usual characters
when they’ve had one or two drinks too many, nothing
too serious. Kenft soaked up the atmosphere and even
enjoyed the attention from one or two females and,
unnervingly, males too. But that was only David. He
made no secret of his sexuality, took a lot of stick for it
to and referred to Kenft as ‘dinky’? The females, over
time, became a little apprehensive too, as Kenft’s
reactions to their obvious advances seemed a little
confusing to them and maybe began to doubt his
sexuality. No fear there, they just needed to give him
time, time to settle and find his feet as he felt he was
the ‘new kid on the block’ so to speak, not knowing who
was who and not wanting to put his foot in it, no way
was David, being an outfitter, going to measure his
inside leg! He was just being over cautious, afraid of
making a fool of himself. Tone was in his element,
probably the result of being brought up in a pub
atmosphere? The young acquaintances he regarded his
adopted sons or daughters whilst the elders he had
probably worked with, worked for, or advised on
something mechanical at some time or another, or
simply enjoyed one of his highly entertaining disco
nights.
Many excursions were enjoyed through the
auspices of the local car club, Tone being a member,
even joined forces with the flying club just out of town.
The flyboys taking the opportunity for a burn in one or
two of the car club creations and in return the petrol
heads had a chance to take to the air. Tone and Kenft
seized their chance and took to the skies in a Cessna,
Tone ensured he sat in the back forcing Kenft into the
vacant co-pilots seat, Dominic, who had a foot in both
camps, took photographs as they strapped themselves
in, Tone with bushy moustache and a serious
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expression on his face looked like Sadam Hussain trying
to make a quick escape out of the country, Kenft
donned a set of air phones observed and communicated
with the pilot, who asked,
“Where to, where would you like to go?”
They were airbourne in an instant, three
thousand feet, just under the cloudbase and headed for
the town giving Tone the ideal photoshoot, decending
to two hundred and fifty feet they banked hard to
starboard to circled the town centre and the old fire
station.
“I shouldn’t really be doing this.” Informed the
pilot as Tone merrily clicked away with his camera.
Time up the pilot straightened, levelled the
Cessna gained height and headed away from town back
towards the aerodrome.
“Okay she’s all yours, you have control,” he
blurted out without warning.
“Excuse me, you what?” Kenft not believing
what he’d hurd crasped hold of the yoke.
“Keep the nose up level with the horizon.”
Kenft said nothing, didn’t even have time to be
scared, peering through the spinning propeller he
concentrated on instructions and the horizon, moving
the yoke in and out with the smallest of adjustments.
“Ninety degrees to the right.”
Kenft did as he was told, turned the yoke to the
right, guessed when he’d gone through ninety degrees
then levelled, a quick glance at the instrument panel in
an attempt to find the compass but dicided it would be
better to keep his attention firmly on the horizon.
“That’s fine, now ninty left.”
Kenft repeated to process in the opposite
direction, they were now lined up with the runway,
‘Christ, I hope he’s not letting me land this thing’, Kenft
was now a little concerned.
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“It’s okay, I’ve got her now.”
The pilot took control for a perfect landing and
taxi’d to the standing area to take aboard the next
group of joy riders. Kenft’s knees were trembling,
adrenelin pumping, as he and Tone climbed out of the
aircraft thanking the pilot, Kenft chuffed to bits to think
he’d flown a plane, albeit briefly, something he’s always
wanted to do, but till then, never had the chance.
Now Tone was not shy of speaking as he found
but he could do it in such a way that you wouldn’t take
offence. This was a good icebreaker with the girls.
Kenft, at this point in time, now understood probably
why Tone had been married four times to his only once,
maybe? Although not aware of all the details of his first
two marriages, he could be a terrible flirt. If he thought
they had a rather large bottom or an ample set of
breasts, then he would say so, he could get away with
murder, they loved it. He instigated a code known only
to himself and Kenft. Terms like featheredge, axe-head,
and 4 by 2 were used frequently in public places. It
always brought a smile to their faces should one of
them give a nudge and a wink and exclaiming for
example “featheredge”. No one had any idea as to what
they were on about. This boyish game had nearly
brought Kenft a spot of bother; it would be typical of
him to be caught red handed. Sitting at the table by the
fireplace in the Crown, they had been there a little
while so had downed a couple and the pub started to fill
up with people, all familiar faces. Now, because it was
unusual for them to be sitting at that location it wasn’t
just the faces they were looking at, after all it wasn’t
the faces that were at eyelevel. Tone started to give
Kenft, in true ‘Monty Python’ style, the nod and a wink.
“Axe-head that one.” he said quietly.
Kenft only had to turn his head slightly sideways
to find a lovely well filled tight pair of jeans right in
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front of his very nose. Well it was pretty crowded by
now. Kenft admiring the view and in total agreement
with Tones observation was not immediately aware of
the stare he was attracting from the bloke standing
close by. Kenft could feel the eye’s glaring at him and
looked up for a moment, on recognising who it was and
realising he had just been eyeing up his wife’s rear,
acknowledged his presence and apologetically turned
his head away, totally embarrassed. Lesson learnt
there, he would be more cautious in future, cheers
Tone.
After sinking a few bevies, a few too many,
trying any new ale’s on tap and becoming rather partial
to the real ale’s, being made ever more popular by the
‘CAMRA’ campaign at the time, and ears taking a
bashing from the music, throats sore from trying to
have conversations at the same time, they would
stagger back to Tones. A coffee or two, a sandwich and
a film on the television finished off the evening.
Halfway through the film Tone would inevitably fall
asleep, Kenft made his excuses to Shirl’s and Lee and
leaves for home, just round the corner. The following
day, nursing hangovers or at least feeling a little worse
for wear, Tone would call Kenft on his mobile, giving
him the nod.
“Time for lunch and the Grand Prix, see ya in a
bit.”
It was back to the Crown, order the roast of
their choice, prepared for them by the hotels chef
‘Fitzy’, a fantastic chef, always gave value for money,
served piping hot with all the condiments in time for
the start of the race, all washed down with a couple of
‘hair-of-the-dog’, perfect! This became a typical
weekend occurrence, especially for Grand Prix
weekends, a must for all petrol heads. Other sporting
events were not ignored either, be it football or rugby
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for example. The 2002 football world cup in Japan,
obviously had a time difference to contend with, so
there they were in the Crown at what could only be
described as early, early morning, Tone and Kenft with
half the town, taking time off work and enjoyed a live
game with the offer of a full English breakfast.
The atmosphere was stimulating, some even
enjoying a drink or two, to think at that time of day.
The rugby world cup two years later was no different
with exception that Tone, being an Honorary Vice
President and sponsor of the local club, ensured he and
Kenft and anyone else who were interested, join them
at the club house by kind invitation of the rugby club.
You can imagine the scene on final day, England v
Australia, full English breakfast, a must for Tone never
to miss an opportunity for some food, plenty of beer for
those who wish to partake in true rugby club style and
Johnny Wilkinson kicking the winner in the dying
moments of the game. Unbelievable! One club member
an Australian no less, complete with hat and brim full of
dangling corks, now he didn’t take much stick, did he?
In his capacity as HVP, sponsor and ex-player,
Tone always organised a table inviting his favourite
people for rugby club match day lunches, he enjoyed
being part of the scene. They were excellent
afternoons, a good three-course meal, copious amounts
of wine, beer and spirits, a couple of glasses of port and
a great game of rugger to watch. Those boys didn’t pull
any punches zealously going in were it hurts, fearless
of having to spill blood, even if it were their own. Kenft
would bump into Tracey on odd occasions, their
friendship going way back as described, she would
always make a beeline to him whenever she saw him.
It was obvious they thought a lot of each other and
their paths would cross on a more regular basis in the
years to come. Kenft spent a great deal of time with
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Tone and his family, sharing a meal or two, Christmas
time no exception, a knock on Tones door, Shirl’s sees
to who it is leaving the others to tuck into their
sandwich’s. A female voice is heard as Shirl’s opened
the door.
“Hello, is Kenny here?”
Kenft vaguely hearing his name stops mid bite,
eyebrows raised and looking towards Tone in
wonderment, ‘who the hell is that’? Tracey boldly walks
into the room, Nessie close behind her. Kenft now
bemused, not knowing what to say or why they’ve
specifically come looking for him, Shirl’s makes them a
drink, as Nessie now lived in the states Kenft was all
the more surprised to be graced with her presence.
Tracey began to explain,
“We had hoped to find you in the Crown,
thinking it were your second home.”
“No, this is my second home, I think the Crown
could be considered my first or third, depending how
you look at it, on second thoughts maybe you were
right first time.” replied Kenft with a smile.
He continued to eat his sandwich.
“We did say we’d have a drink next time Nessie
was over, the last time we spoke.”
“Yes we did,” agreed Kenft, “it’s good to see you
both, how’s life in the states?”
“Oh, that’s fine thanks,” said Nessie almost in a
trance her mind elsewhere, “I’ve left Bob back home to
look after the cat, only I’m over earlier than expected,
it was granddad’s funeral.”
“I am sorry to hear that, I didn’t know, I didn’t
know he was unwell.” Kenft sympathised, he had met
their grandfather on more than one occasion.
As for her husband, Bob, her second, Kenft
hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting him, an ex US
serviceman, having spent all the time he wanted in the
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UK he was happy to stay at home, letting Nessie do all
the travelling by herself. Kenft would later learn their
mother, aunty Elaine, wasn’t at all keen on Americans
and men in general, the proverbial chip on her
shoulder, Bob probably sensing this thought it wise not
to travel. Nessie in future would try to save enough to
visit at least twice a year, not only to visit family, Kenft
was sure there was another element to this equation, a
hidden agenda. It was now too late to continue their
meeting in a drinking establishment, the girls finished
their drinks and left,
“Right, bye then, till next time.” leaving Kenft
still stunned to think they took the trouble to come
looking for him.
Music: Goodbye Again…John Denver
‘It's five o'clock this morning,
and the sun is on the rise
There's frosting on the windowpane,
and sorrow in your eyes
The stars are fading quietly,
the night is nearly gone
And so you turn away from me,
and tears begin to come
And it's goodbye again,
I'm sorry to be leavin' you
Goodbye again,
as if you didn't know
It's goodbye again,
and I wish you could tell me…’
(Why does music, and its lyrics, have such a profound
effect on the human sole?)
***
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By now Tone had finished kitting out his garage,
four post lift, welders the lot and busy converting the
old fire station at the same time, exhausting stuff. You
had to admire him for the endeavour. He even found
time to help out at the malting’s with the Elizabeth
Fitzroy Foundation, the day care centre for people with
learning difficulties, often enlisting the assistance from
Kenft and Hippy‘D’ with a few of their organised
functions, they had a lot of fun helping out, it was a
great pleasure associating with those guy’s. Help was at
hand from Mark and his son Paul, assisting with the
electrical wiring, plastering and a bit of carpentry, while
Les Mitch sorted out the plumbing and heating system,
Hippy‘D’ lending a hand in the garage and general
labouring duties. Payment for services rendered was
made in kind, with Tone working on their vehicles for
free or allowing them to use his facilities as and when
needed. This arrangement worked fine, most of the
time. Tone being Tone would invite the guys at the first
opportunity to his favourite watering hole.
“Thirsty work lads, I think we should settle the
dust with a few beers.”
“Sounds like a plan,” the standard reply.
Off they toddled, you guessed it, to the Crown,
it would be early evening and Kenft would join them on
returning home from work after parking the car at his
home, usually around six thirty. The clan would have
had a couple by then but Tone would have a pint ready
and waiting for him. Discussions took place as to how
they had progressed with the project in hand, what the
plan is likely to be for the next get-together, who
needed what and when, loads of jovial banter mixed in
and generally taking the piss out of each other. Tone
would also take this opportunity to inform Kenft of his
next possible forthcoming social event, and invite
anyone else along, if interested. Kenft usually didn’t
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need asking twice. These gatherings became ever more
frequent, more and more people joined in, and as you
can appreciate a round of drinks became a very large
proposition, even more so with one or two individuals
finding it hard to dip into their pockets, not being so
well off, but it didn’t matter.
A blast from the past, Kenft notices a happy
smiling face whose laugh and conversation increased in
volume the more she drank, he knew this person but
couldn’t put a name to her, she knew his name so it
bugged him. It took a couple of meeting before he
realised, ‘of course Loretta’, or Retta as he knew her,
they grew up together, next-door neighbours and only
months between their birthdays. He wondered why he
was attracting the smile, now it all fell into place, now
he was embarrassed not having recognised her the first
time, having said that she no longer resembled the tall
thin slip of a girl with very short cropped blonde hair,
as he remembers her, now she looks more like her
mother but not half as much as her older sister Sonia,
she was a spitting image. From then on they always
found time to chat, usually about old times, she was
hooked up with Tom, a guy who had left his wife and
kids to be with her and she, Retta, openly admitted he
was jealous of Kenft, Kenft couldn’t understand why, he
considered himself more of a brother to her rather than
a suitor.
Tone thought these gatherings should have a
name, like a club or something, and every time they
met up they could use the excuse, as if one was
needed,
“It must be time for the next Ungolf Club-Golf
Club’s committee meeting.” Tone had decided, the
unofficial chairman, the centre pin.
Ungolf club-golf club? Yep, this was decided to
be the official name for the sessions, like a golf club
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Dr.K
committee meeting, plenty of drinking, plates of chilli
cheesy chips, joviality and making plans, but nothing to
do with golf, none of the members played golf so hence
the un-golf bit. Attendees, regular or otherwise, would
be Tone, his wife Shirl’s, son Lee and Kenft obviously;
Mark (little legs) wife Lynn and son Paul and his
girlfriend Leanne; Hippy‘D’; Les and at times his wife
Roe and son Lee; Erica, Carol, Bernie; Graham and his
little lad Sam; Sammy Pap the Butcher, a good contact
for Tone’s meat supply; Chick, Neville (Whiz), Tommo;
Bob and his wife to be Amy, and last but not least Kate,
to name a few, apologies if anyone have been left out.
Kate appeared on the scene as if out of
nowhere, seemed like she crawled out of the woodwork
one day. The committee noticed her presence when she
popped in for a quick drink before leaving for aerobic
class or seen talking to Graham on a few occasions, at
the bar. Tone would comment disapprovingly to Kenft,
knowing what Graham was like with the ladies and
maybe knowing more than the others.
“Kate was old enough to be his mother,” he
commented, or so he thought.
Kenft made no reply or judgement, simply
observed, she was a lot older, slimly built, like a rake,
so didn’t need the aerobics other than for the social
side or to just tone up, she wore a long Kashmir coat
making her look even taller than she already was and
made conversation easy. Although he didn’t comment,
Kenft was non-too pleased, knowing Graham was
dating Tracey at the time, and didn’t approve of anyone
being messed about, it was a personal thing based on
his own experience, though knowing Tracey as he did
probably meant she was giving as good as she got. This
didn’t appear to carry on for very long and Kate was
soon distracted to join the committee, but there would
be repercussions later. The domestic scene at Kenft’s
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place was changing regularly and at a pace, it took
some keeping up with, never a monotonous minute. His
son decided he wanted to elope with his girlfriend,
daughter and her fiancé parting company, younger
sister’s hospital appointments and pending operation in
London, younger brothers accounts and dire situation
and not to mention keeping up with his ever varying
work commitments. Kenft borrowed the works van,
loaded up everything from his son’s bedroom, collected
girlfriend, who he considered far too young to be
leaving home, and duly delivered them all to their
required destination, her aunt’s in Bedford. This was
against Kenft’s better judgement but thought they had
to find their own way in life and learn by their mistakes,
as we all have to do, it’s a continuous learning process
and don’t always get it right. Kenft thought now he was
going to at least be able to have some quality time on
his own. He closely monitored the situation from a
distance knowing full well that it wouldn’t work out. His
fears were justified, work was hard to find and debts
were mounting up, Kenft offered them a lifeline.
“If you are both prepared to return to Norfolk, I
am confident I can find you work and also a flat so you
can stay together, what do you think?”
“That would be great Dad, if you can do it.”
“Leave it to me, I’ll get back to you as soon as
possible.”
While this was going on daughter had left the
RAF, now doing care work while waiting for a place at
University for nurse training. Her fiancé Robbie, had left
the RAF also and chosen to join the police force where,
unfortunately, he’d met someone else during his basic
training away from home. Daughter, desperately
wanting to keep her man and their lovely home, sought
assistance from dad, he helped her out with a few DIY
jobs around the house, ensuring it was nice and
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Dr.K
straight so Robbie could relax on his time off, or he
looked after Max their springer spaniel, when away for
a weeks break, time on their own to sort things out.
Kenft sensed things were not going well, he awoke
suddenly in the middle of the night, startled sitting bolt
upright, convinced he’d heard the sound of his
daughters voice crying for help, spooky, she was miles
away, but sadly he wasn’t wrong. All his efforts were to
no avail, days later they parted company, devastated
Tanya called her dad sobbing her heart out, Kenft
immediately dropped what he was doing and drove
over to see her, finding her friend and near neighbour
Vicky doing her best to comfort her, having just gone
through a similar situation herself. The phone rang, it
was Robbie, now the ex, whatever he said upset her,
hanging up she flung herself to the floor in despair
reminiscent of her tantrums as a child, except this was
different, all dad could do was be there for her.
Eventually she sold the house and moved back in with
dad, re-decorating his spare room to her liking. Robbie,
out of guilt, sent Kenft a text stating his case, looking
for forgiveness or acceptance, Kenft too angry to
become embroiled couldn’t be objective and kept out of
it, he didn’t reply, he considered it a stab in the back,
he’d helped Robbie with his police force application,
also acted as his referee. Kenft would now see a lot
more of his daughter, and Vicky, as they both joined
him on occasions to socialise with his merry group of
friends, the committee, they were made more than
welcome. Vicky, a very pleasant girl, a little taller
slightly bigger build than his daughter but with the
same long blond hair she spoke with a slight northern
accent and he couldn’t understand, as with his
daughter, how they could be treated so unkindly by
their respective partners, but then again he would
naturally be biased, who wouldn’t.
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***
Now Kenft’s little sister’s hour, or should we say
several hours, of need. She was in the most
unfortunate of positions, having to live with epilepsy
from the age of six months. Only a year younger it
could have quite easily have been him, contracting
German measles had literally killed part of her brain but
this wasn’t detectable until modern advancements in
medical science had developed methods of diagnosis
involving computer technology. Up until now she had
managed reasonably well, married twice raising a
family and surviving many seizers, some resulting in
hospitalisation, due to falling into open fires for
example, but her general condition the last few years
grew considerably worse. Medication alone was not
enough to control her situation, if anything it was
causing complications, losing weight and losing interest
in life altogether, she was sitting by the fireside most of
the day, vegetating, sleeping, wasting away, looking
like an old lady waiting to die. Then a ray of hope, a
change of doctors at her local surgery, a younger man
more attuned to modern advances perhaps. Adjusting
her medication yet again but this time recommending
she should see a consultant he knew in London who
had had some success treating people suffering from
similar conditions, using modern revolutionary and
quite dramatic techniques, still regarded as being in
their infancy. It was entirely at her discretion what she
wanted to do, the doctor only had to write a letter of
recommendation and she was there.
Needing no encouragement she agreed, she had
to, in her own mind she had no choice, but it was going
to take over three years of painstaking tests and
consultations before they were one hundred percent
sure of their facts and final decisions made, even then
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Dr.K
there were no guarantees. They had to be more than
sure of their facts, at the end of the day, given her
consent; they were going to have to operate on her
brain. That’s three years backwards and forwards to the
London’s national hospital of neurology and Chalfont St
Peters. Kelvin’s dad, a retired ambulance driver, kindly
volunteered to transport Kenft’s sister to Queen
Square, London, dropping her off at the door, she
wouldn’t tolerate travelling by any other means and
Kelvin couldn’t cope with the stress of driving out of
Norfolk, let alone through London. After the first round
of consultations Kelvin’s dads own health took a dive,
after loosing his wife he progressively deteriorated, he
couldn’t continue, Kenft took over the reins. He could
understand Kelvin’s reluctance to drive and to cap it all
Mr Ken Livingston’s recently introduced congestion
charge, another kick in the groin area, another tax to
be paid.
Kenft’s first trip of many and he takes mother
along for the ride, just so she feels part of the process
and not feel left out, which was very brave of her
because Kenft doesn’t hang about, especially on
motorways. They drive south to the end of the M11
then head for the West End, Southampton Row and
Queen Square, adjacent to Great Ormond Street, a
three-hour drive and for the uninitiated, a nightmare.
It’s approximately 2.00pm and Kenft’s luck is in,
surprisingly finding a spare parking place in the square
itself, he slots four or five pound coins into the nearest
parking meter giving him almost two hours. Kenft sticks
the ticket onto his windscreen, now he could relax a
little, pleased within himself, he’d got them there.
The layout of the square was something out of
Eastenders, as he imagined it would be but more
grandeur, pathways crisscross a long rectangular
grassed area the centre stocked with mature trees and
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well attended shrubberies, decorative iron railing
painted black circumnavigate its periphery as does the
road and the multi story buildings of various
shapes, ages and state of repair. The hospital of
neurology being one of the oldest, undergoing
restoration and modernisation with sections of
scaffolding of galvanised poles, clamps, deal boards
and ladders, scale part of the front wall. Construction
workers decked out with hard hats, florescent vests,
overalls covered in cement, big boots, tool belts and
harnesses, afforded them protection as they busy
themselves, scampering about the scaffolding as they
noisily hammer and chisel into the block work. Sitting
awhile on a bench seat little sis, Kelvin and mother
enjoy a cigarette and the sunshine before their
appointment, a Boeing 747 skims across the clear blue
sky, visible only for a short time before it disappeared
behind the buildings, heading for Heathrow, soon
followed by another. They too disappeared, into the
hospital building, up the steps and through the grand
pillared entrance and the reception hall. Tall ceilings,
blue grey walls and shiny floors, Kenft notices the
plaques mounted on the wall listing eminent people
associated with the hospital, one name in particular
stood out, Sir Roger Banister, ‘ah! So this was his day
job’. Kelvin, hesitated occasionally, trying to remember
the way turning right, through swing doors, left past
the chapel and down the corridor towards the rear
modernised part of the establishment, finding the lifts
and up to the ward.
This was another consultation with Professor
Duncan to discuss her diary, a log of the frequency
and severity of her seizures, then across the square to
see the psychiatrist, if she undergoes the operation,
and it were a complete success, without question she
would encounter problems in adjusting to a life of near
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Dr.K
normality, having lived with her problem for over forty
years, not knowing anything different.
Kenft had a dilemma, this was taking longer
than he anticipated, the parking meter was soon to run
out of time, he had to either move the car and not
return within an hour, as the notice instructed, or
gamble. The gamble was to add more coinage to the
meter and leave the car where it was or just move to
the next available space, to make it look as though he’d
applied to the law giving the impression he’d only just
arrived, hoping neither option had been spotted by a
power hungry traffic warden. No way was he likely to
leave the area, parking spaces were at a premium and
he sure as hell didn’t want to give up the one he’d
acquired. ‘This is absurd, there was sister soon having
to make a life threatening decision as to whether or not
to go under the surgeons knife and here’s me worrying
about a stupid car parking place’, nonchalantly he
slotted more coins into the meter and left the car where
it was, sod the consequences. He made his way back to
the waiting area and patiently waited for the family to
re-emerge. All done they left for home around 5.00pm,
rush hour, talking through the afternoons deliberations
as they went.
A few weeks later and the next visit, this time
some serious stuff, she will be staying for a few days
hooked up to a computer. No sooner had they arrived
she was shown to her room and the orderly proceeded
to glue twenty or more sensors to her scalp, a myriad
of cables snake their way terminating at the back of the
computer. Her medication confiscated to induce
seizures and to monitor their origins and severity, the
orderly types her details into the software and runs the
program.
Five days and tests completed, Kenft and Kelvin
returned to collect her and take her home, she had
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been bored stiff laying on the bed permanently hooked
up to the electronics. Her results wouldn’t be ready for
quite some time, months rather than weeks. Back they
go to London again and another meeting with the
professor who had bad news and good news. The bad
news, as expected, there was damage to the brain
located behind the ear this area completely dead
believed to have been killed by the measles bug. The
good news, as it was restricted to one side, based on
previous results on other patients he was 80 percent
confident of a complete cure. Overall this was good
news the decision for her to have the operation made
easier as a result. She would have to undergo the same
tests again, this time for a longer period to double
check their results and re-affirm their diagnosis.
The appointment for her pending return would
be posted to her. Little sis phoned Kenft as soon as she
knew the date, mum wouldn’t travel quite so often
now, the distance and regularity becoming too much for
her, or maybe it was Kenft’s driving. This time big sis
took the opportunity to accompany them; a short
detour of a few miles Kenft picked her up. She was
impressed with her brother’s knowledge of the area and
how he handled driving in the big city, commented on
the fact he didn’t hang about, unlike her husband who
tended to dawdle somewhat. An added bonus, she
would be able to see her daughter who now worked in
the ‘Glasshouse Stores’, a pub restaurant in Brewer
Street, Soho, a twenty minute or so walk to the
hospital, she would meet them there if she could.
The same routine repeated, the attachment of
sensors, the boredom, the unrelenting seizers, but at
least the cessation of her medication gave her body
some respite from the ingestion of alien compounds.
Kenft and big sis would visit their little sis part way
through her treatment, as her stay was considerably
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Dr.K
longer than before, work commitments prevented
Kelvin from attending, any more time off and he would
lose his Christmas bonus at the end of the year. Big
sis’s daughter, Chloe, invited them to dinner, so the
opportunity for a change of plan with transport
arrangements, it was Sunday, this time driving as far
as Cockfosters catching the tube train to Piccadilly
Circus, sis made the observation no one spoke to one
another stony silence only the sound of the train
running along its track and the screeching of brakes
slowing for the next station. On foot now and across
the busy junction at Piccadilly, up Sherwood street,
hotel on the left, the theatre and vagabonds, begging,
wrapped in cardboard lying in the doorway on the right,
this upsetting the pair of them they were not use to
seeing people begging, Brewer street, now left or right?
Venturing right they found the ‘Glasshouse Stores’, you
couldn’t miss it, its frontage, although small, concealed
its true size a tardis, it stood out from its surroundings
with an olde worlde façade with a naturally stained,
short panelled timber framework, central bay window
with large intricately etched glass panes obscuring the
casual glances of passers bye, and its entrance to one
side. You could imagine the bow street runners chasing
villains up the street blowing their whistles in alarm. Its
name sign written in gold adorned the facia board with
flower boxes in full bloom atop along its length.
Through the door into the bar, it was quiet, it had a
traditional feel about it and attended by an odd looking
barmaid, perhaps odd wasn’t the correct description,
odd but not in an unpleasant way, at first Kenft couldn’t
decide if it were male or female, definitely foreign
though as a, definitely female, friend turned up and
muttered something, leaning across the bar, probably
Polish. He found himself coyly staring for a few seconds
until they were met with a warm welcome from Chloe,
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His LAST SUPPER
beaming smile as usual, glad to see her mum giving
her a hug, she invited them to follow her upstairs and
to the flat above.
The managers of the establishment had taken a
holiday; Chloe and her flatmate Dawn were standing in
as relief managers, taking care of the joint. They had
made good time, lunch, a delicious roast, was almost
ready and there was football on the telly, Man United,
Dawn was a fan. Dawn a lot older than Chloe and to
Kenft a face vaguely familiar, he thought he knew her
from somewhere, picturing her face, not so round,
smaller features and probably over twenty years ago, in
their late teens early twenties, he recollects slowly
driving through town one night with his mate Duncan in
his red Capri. Duncan had wound down his drivers door
window and shouted something across the road to a
group of people standing on the pavement, Kenft
assumed people he knew, one person immediately took
offence, what was said he couldn’t remember but that
person he believed was Dawn, enraged she ran across
the road kicking Duncan’s door shouting abuse. A
laughing Duncan drove off. Kenft never said anything to
her, just in case he was wrong, it was a long time ago,
Duncan? He married and had emigrated to Canada.
Lunch and football finished it was time to make
their way to the hospital, Chloe would join them and
show them the way, preferring to walk rather than
using the tube. They meandered through the narrow
streets of Soho, turning a blind eye to the seedy side,
to Oxford Street and the opportunity for a little
window-shopping; they made their way down
Bloomsbury Way across Southampton Row and into
Queen Square via Old Gloucester Street. The
hospital layout was now very familiar to them, they
were soon by little sis’s bedside, she was pleased to see
them, she didn’t know they were coming it was totally
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Dr.K
unexpected. Big sis handed over a carrier bag full of
goodies, something to munch, magazines and puzzle
books to help while away the time and commented on
how well she looked. Although bored out of her mind,
still wired to the computer resembling a vehicle in the
garage for its mot and connected up to a diagnostics
machine, the stay in hospital and temporarily off the
medication obviously had its benefits, she had put on a
little weight and getting along famously with the staff,
but did complain of having difficulty understanding
some of them with their accents. Kenft explained he
would be back in a few days to collect her and take her
home, said their goodbyes and left, they had stayed a
couple of hours. They set off to find the Russell Square
tube station, which was close by, Kenft was astounded,
the only way in and out of the place, as far as he could
tell, was by lift, he shuddered at the thought of having
to escape from the place in an emergency. Chloe
tearfully hugged her mum, then Kenft before going
their separate ways, travelling in opposite directions,
Chloe back to Piccadilly mum and Kenft to Cockfosters.
Brother-in-law Kelvin called Kenft as soon as
he’d heard from the hospital and arranged pick up,
mum came along for this trip. This meant driving up to
the door again, the last visit by tube he found a lot
easier. Little sis was just about ready but had to wait
for the nursing staff to sort out her medication. While
they waited all four went out to the lift vestibule, the
space designated as a smoking area, it was here little
sis broke the news, complications, she had her test
results already. Glumly she explained they had
detected another affected area, this time on the
opposite side, but appeared smaller.
The professor had explained clearly to her that
they could only operate on one side of the brain, as the
other side would be able to take over, to a degree, and
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His LAST SUPPER
compensate if there were any problems. This would
mean they would have to leave the less affected side
untouched and therefore still leave a risk she may
continue having seizures of some measure. The brain
could not deal with having a part of it effectively dead,
this caused the build up of neurological impulses up to
a certain magnitude, a magnitude that could not be
held indefinitely and released, this caused the seizers, it
was rather like the build up of a thunder storm then the
flash of lightening releasing the stored energy. Now
they had discovered that the brain was able to cope
much easier and compensate by removing the dead
area, there would be no build up impulses and a
reduction or eradication of seizures completely, in most
patients. However, because the problem has now been
detected on both sides the professor had to reduce the
possible success rate to a lowly twenty percent. This
posed the question of whether or not it was going to be
viable going ahead with the procedure; it was a big
disappointment to her, she asked Kenft for his opinion.
Firstly he was astonished at how well she had grasped
the situation and the facts, she was clearly worried.
Kenft expressed his views the best he could without
trying to influence her final decision,
“Well, the way I see it is this, you’ve come a
long long way having had all the tests, gone through
the pain and the discomfort, especially that last
procedure, having that electrode or transducer,
whatever it was, passed up through the vein in your
thigh to the inside of your head, all while still conscious,
I cant begin to think how that must have felt, you were
very brave. Having gone through all that only to
discover the chances have been radically reduced, I
could understand you wanting to say enough is enough,
I cant go through any more. On the other hand there is
a small chance it could be a success or at least reduce
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Dr.K
the frequency, or the severity of the seizures, or both,
and possibly less reliant on medication. Unfortunately
its your decision, we cant make it for you, but we stand
by you whichever one you take, we’ll not think any less
of you either way.” Mum and Kelvin both agreed and
reiterated on a couple of points in an attempt to
reassure her. She stands looking out of the window
with her back to everyone, drawing on her cigarette,
asking herself the question over and over again in her
head. Kenft felt for her, he would have the operation
for her if that were possible, stupid notion he knows.
Slowly and deliberately, she turned around and faced
them, a tear in her eye,
“I have to do it, I will let you all down if I don’t,
you’ve done so much for me, I’ll do it for you,” she
insisted.
“No sis, you have to do it because you want to
do it, for yourself. We have only helped in giving you
the chance, the opportunity as you once put it, ‘to be
normal.’ We would have done anything to give you this
choice, now don’t go upsetting yourself that wont do,”
said Kenft, putting it to her straight.
He felt like crying with her, she was scared and
who wouldn’t be, she still agreed to go through with it,
collecting her medication she informed the professor of
her decision. It would be months of agonising waiting
before the date of her operation came through.
***
As promised Kenft, with the assistance of his
brother-in-law, found his son Karl a job. The job was
guaranteed but the formalities of an interview were
necessary to fill in the obligatory paperwork. Kenft
drove the ninety-five miles to collect his son at the
earliest opportunity. It was the weekend, after meeting
up with brother-in-law Kelvin it was just a matter of,
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“When
can
you
start,
I
need
people
desperately?” He had to rely extensively on immigrant
workers.
“Give us a week to organise accommodation and
get him and his girlfriend moved in, and he can start
the next Monday,” asserted Kenft.
Kelvin was more than happy with that, Kenft
had a flat lined up to inspect that morning but let down
at the last moment, so it was back to square one to
finding a place for them to stay. On their way back to
Kenft’s they decide to stop in town for a drink and a
bite to eat. After parking up it was a short walk into the
town centre, passing a newsagents Kenft notices an
advertisement in a newsagents window.
‘Available
shortly,
two
bedroom
studio
apartment for rent.’ Followed by a contact name and
phone number.
Brilliant thought Kenft and made a note of the
contact details. That afternoon Kenft called the landlord
arranging to meet up to take a look at the flat the
following Tuesday, Karl would stay with his dad for the
remainder of the weekend and along with his sister
treated them to a Sunday roast lunch at the Crown,
before taking him back. Sitting at the table with the
bay window and the sun at their backs enjoying their
meal a silhouetted figure of a person sat at the table at
the end of the bar opposite them, Kenft didn’t take
much notice at first until he heard the unmistakable
laughter. It was Tracey, he acknowledged her presence
with a little wave of his hand and she immediately
joined them for a quick word.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it was you. I didn’t
mean to ignore you, I couldn’t make out who it was in
the bad light,” said Kenft apologetically.
“That’s okay I’m use to being ignored,” she
replied jokingly, followed by her raucous laugh.
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Dr.K
She had just finished work and having a quick
drink and cigarette before going home. They hadn’t
seen each other for quite a while so she wanted to
catch up on the events, Kenft briefly told her the score
as to what was happening in their lives, were they
lived, worked and so on.
Kenft took his son the ninety-five miles back to
his girlfriend and would let him know how things
progress after looking at the flat on Tuesday. Upon
inspection the property would be ideal for them and
already vacated, he paid the down payment, two
months rent, writing out a check. Kenft informed them
immediately and confirmed he would collect them and
their belongings to move into their new flat the next
weekend. They were very pleased to say the least,
although the work wasn’t going to be easy and would
mean cycling at least three miles to get there and in all
weather’s. Kenft borrowed the works van again, loaded
them up and brought them home, sorted, or so he
thought. All moved in by the Sunday lunchtime, Kenft
thought he had done his bit, took the works van back
then home to join Tone for drinks in the evening.
Afterwards, he and Tanya had no sooner closed the
door and the phone rang. Karl’s girlfriend and she
sounded concerned, he had come down with
something, feeling very ill he wasn’t sure he would be
fit for work the next day. Kenft couldn’t drive he’d been
drinking; he turned to Tanya who unenthusiastically
agreed to drive him, it was at least a forty minutes
drive to get there and she would rather spend the time
preparing for work in the morning.
He wasn’t putting it on, he had a high
temperature, feeling feverish and a sore throat, no way
could he go to work like that. Kenft, applying a cold
flannel onto his forehead, put it down to the stress of
the move, the new job and the thought of letting
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His LAST SUPPER
everyone down. He needed a day or two to settle. By
now it was late, Kenft wanted to keep an eye on Karl
and decided to stay the night, meaning he and Tanya
would have to sleep rough on the living room floor.
Monday morning, embarrassingly Kenft informs Kelvin
of the situation who was very understanding, before
driving Tanya to work, then back to check on Karl’s
condition. By the end of the day he felt much better
and indicated he would be okay for work tomorrow,
Kenft thought no way was he one hundred percent,
maybe another day, but if he was sure. Kenft satisfied
himself they were both happy then returned for Tanya
to take her home after her shift. Several weeks passed,
Karl and girlfriend were now settled and Tanya, dating
again.
***
The big one, little sis’s brain operation, everyone
was feeling nervous for her, she put on a brave face,
appeared calm cool and collected, and the drive back to
the big city, to the smoke as they use to say. Her life in
their hands, they would be drilling into the side of her
skull, keyhole surgery, she had to remain fully
conscious, they would tell from her reactions if they’d
gone too far. Kenft didn’t know who were the bravest,
the surgeons or the patient. Kenft and Kelvin dropped
her off at the hospital and accompanied her to her
ward, staying awhile, ensuring she was made
comfortable before they head back for home. Her
operation scheduled for next day, she nervously
scribbled her signature on the paperwork giving the
authority to proceed.
Anxiously they went about their daily routine but
all the time wondering how things were progressing,
wondering on the possible outcome, hoping for the best
possible results, for her sake. Kenft could wait no
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Dr.K
longer he called the hospital, to the ward directly,
introduced himself as her brother he enquired how she
was and how the operation had gone.
“She has done very well, it all went very
smoothly and she’s now back on her ward, resting,” the
nurse said reassuringly.
“Excellent, how soon can she have visitors.”
“I would say the day after tomorrow, possibly.
Check with us first.”
“Okay, thank you very much, please tell her we
called, bye.”
Kenft felt much better knowing that’s the worst
bit was over, fingers crossed he hoped it was a success.
He called Kelvin at the first opportunity for a long chat
before calling the others. Again, Kelvin couldn’t make
the time for a visit to see his wife which annoyed Kenft,
even more so this time. He kept his feelings to himself,
not wanting to cause any animosity. Kenft and big sis
took the decision to visit, taking the opportunity to use
the tube and to see Chloe again, as they had done
before. This time the manager and manageress,
Stephen and Jill were present, a great couple, strange
them not talking with the dialect synonymous with the
area though, they were from Sheffield. It was obvious
from the moment they were introduced why they were
in the hospitality business, Kenft and sis were made
more than welcome, they chatted over coffee
discussing their holiday, how sorry they were having
missed them last time, describing what it was like
working in London, how everyone in the business made
it their business to know everyone connected within the
business, doing favours for one another even though
they were competition.
“You must have lunch with us,” they insisted.
“Thank you very much but we should really be
going on to the hospital,” sis said grudgingly.
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His LAST SUPPER
“Oh mum, you’ve got plenty of time, pleeeease,”
protested Chloe, wanting to spend as much time as she
could with her mum.
She looked to Kenft for some help. He simply
looked back at her with his expressive smiling eyes and
raised eyebrows knowing what she really wanted to do.
“Oh, okay then, but we mustn’t be too long,”
explained sis, not wanting to offend anyone.
“Good,’ said Jill, “another coffee anyone?”
Another cappuccino enjoyed before setting off
on what turned out to be quite a hike and at a pace,
Kenft had trouble keeping up and didn’t have a clue
where they were going, it would turn out to be an
education. Winding their way through Soho again,
desperately trying to keep up with their host’s, past
Chinatown and all its colourful banners and decorations,
Kenft’s head gazing all over place trying to take it all in,
he was approached at one point by a gentleman of
African origin tempting him to buy a bottle of what
looked like whisky, Kenft declined his kind invitation
and just as well as later he was advised it was probably
an old bottle filled with cold tea, he caught up with the
others, they were heading for Covent Garden.
The place was alive with people, anywhere else
would be positively dead on a Sunday, a quick look
around the market then into a bar for a drink, the place
was crowded, shoulder to shoulder, upstairs another
bar, drinks in hand and onto the terrace. What an
atmosphere, they were now peering down to the piazza
below, entertainers in the middle of their wellrehearsed routines, drawing a crowd and probably
hoping their talents would be discovered. Kenft was
quite happy to stay there but they had to move on.
‘Now where are we going’? he mused as off they went
again, recognising some of the famous place names,
Bow Street, Royal Opera House, Tavistock, Drury Lane
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Dr.K
and theatres around every conceivable corner, then
whisked into a restaurant, so fast he never caught the
name of the place, but he did notice the classic Rolls
Royce parked outside, the tables and chairs on the
pavement and climbing plants all over the outside wall.
This building was like no other along Drury Lane
and if he thought the outside was different for the city
centre he certainly wasn’t prepared for the inside. This
was Sarastro, serving Greek cuisine and the décor, an
extravagant theatre land with an opulent operatic
theme, the lighting deliberately kept low and opera
music played quietly in the background. They choose
the table at the back of the restaurant, an elevated
position, up the stairs to the royal box and a table large
enough to seat eight comfortably so the six of them
were well accommodated. This was certainly a place to
woo the ladies. The waiter welcomed them and handed
out the menus. Kenft couldn’t believe his eyes, not only
was the manageress, Jill his co-host, revealing quit a
bit of cleavage, well if she’s going to put them on
display he’s going to take a look, but a three-course
meal for a tenner; he hoped the quality didn’t let them
down too badly. It was passable, the wine helped, it
was also late, late afternoon and they should really
start considering making a move. Kenft, nudging big sis
drawing her attention to the time, reached for his wallet
inside his jacket pocket,
“Its been an absolute joy in meeting you guys
but unfortunately we have to love you and leave you
and head for the hospital,” said Kenft gradually rising to
his feet, being careful not to disturb anything on the
table, he’s been known to tip over the odd glass of
wine.
“Don’t worry about the money, I will cover that,
the owner owes me a favour, its been a pleasure,”
replied Stephen, their host.
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His LAST SUPPER
Kenft thanked him profusely shaking his and his
wife’s hand in gratitude and left the restaurant, Chloe
followed, to say goodbye and show them the way to the
Covent Garden tube station. Finally, with an element of
guilt feelings, they arrive at the hospital to see their
little sis, half expecting to see her heavily bandaged
and on a drip or something and feeling not at all well.
No, she was doing absolutely fine, no bandages
everything covered by her long hair, totally mobile
sitting bolt upright watching the aeroplanes passing
overhead and tower cranes going about their business
hovering above the roof line, you would hardly know
she’d had an operation, but it was early days before
they would know how successful it had been. She was
pleased to see them and talked them through her
ordeal, it was hard to grasp she had to remain
conscious throughout, she had done remarkably well
and could be proud of herself no matter what the
result. Kenft would return in a few days time, with
Kelvin, to take her home. Another trip would be
necessary in a few weeks to enable the professor to
assess her progress or the lack of it, he warned them it
would take a little time for things to settle down before
the true results would be known. Kenft would call her at
home regularly to check on her, the early signs were
encouraging, by the time she re-visited the professor
she was completely free from any seizures, surprising
even the professor, a complete cure, fantastic
everything had paid off. Later Kenft helped Kelvin
compose a letter of thanks to the professor and his
staff, little sis’s condition continued to improve, she was
putting on weight and trying hard to shake off old
attitudes, even given permission to start driving
lessons, unbelievable.
***
234
Dr.K
Tribute:
He Would Call Me Kenft.
“Anthony Way, Milky or Tony! I knew him
affectionately as Tone or simply, my old mate. Tone
liked to give nicknames to people; he would call me
Kenft, (an abbreviated corruption of my Christian name
Kenneth), Doctor Kenft or The Gnome. Doctor, probably
due to the fact I had to wear the white overcoat and
usually carried a suitcase or clipboard on site visits. The
Gnome, not because of my stature, but because I lived
in what he classified as ‘the shed at the bottom of his
garden’, otherwise known as Vine Court to everyone
else.
The biggest compliment he paid to me, when
talking to his nurse only a couple of days before he
passedaway, was to tell us I was the nearest he had to
having a brother. I was deeply moved, but I knew there
were others before me who he held with equal
affection. We were like brothers in many ways. We
shared the same interests; work, wheels and women
(our version of www.com), but you know our Tone, he
would often say,
‘If it’s got wheels or a pair of brace & bits,
means there’s going to be trouble!’ or words to that
effect. Well, he got me in and out of trouble on both
counts, a few times I can tell you.
Tone was the kind of guy in the category of
‘once met, never forgotten’, and on an International
scale. This best illustrated when an acquaintance of his
came into our local one evening and made a bee line to
Tone as soon as he realised he was there. This fellow
then proceeded to tell us of his recent skiing holiday
and of the fact that there he was, chatting with a
complete stranger at the top of this ski slope in the
Pyrenees, and on informing this chap of his origins was
taken totally by surprise at the response,
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His LAST SUPPER
‘Ah Fakenham you say? Well you must know
Tony Way then.’ (His rightful ‘claim to fame’ maybe?)
Tone’s sense of humour was second to none, he
didn’t care where or who he was with or what language
was used, he had an instant rapport with everyone and
would make light of many a situation with his jovial
demeanour, and he liked to party.
Socially Tone was our catalyst, organising gettogethers for everyone, whether it be for a meal at his
place, meeting up at the local or a table for ten at the
Rugby Club. Inviting those who looked as though they
could do with a bit of company, befriending a complete
stranger who might be ‘sat on the fringes’ so to speak.
Generous to a fault was our Tone. By fault I
mean he would often do a job and expect nothing in
return. Now that’s not good when you’re running your
own business. Tone was not driven by the word ‘profit’;
he didn’t like to see anyone in a muddle.
Our little get-togethers started as a couple of
drinks after work for the pair of us, just to unwind a bit,
maybe two nights a week. Before you knew it we
quickly grew to a party of over fourteen and most of us
meeting up nearly every evening. We enjoyed each
others company and Tone started to call our little group
‘The Committee’. This was later to be abbreviated to
‘Comty’ for text messaging purposes. A typical text
from Tone during the day would be ‘Comty meet
6.00pm, be there’, and if we could we would. Happy
days.
Now we all know there’s a bit of the Victor
Meldrew’s in all of us and Tone was no exception. At
times, in the last few weeks, he would be angry, angry
within himself of the fact he was a mechanic, not a
doctor, and didn’t have the tools to fix this job. His last
words to us (David and I) were, ‘Hello boy’s, who won
the Grand Prix?’ heavily sedated he closed his eye’s
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Dr.K
again, then ironically the film ‘Mission Impossible’
started to play on his bedside monitor. Tone passed
away early the following morning.
Tone, you saw me through my bad times and,
more often than not, responsible for my good times,
you were my ‘rock’, I’m gonna miss you big-time.
RIP – the Gnome.”
It was at this point Kenft’s son admitted he
could not hold back his emotions any longer and Kenft
himself just wanted the cold grey floor slabs to open up
and engulf him.
***
The committee were kept up to date with all the
goings on and eagerly awaited the next instalment to
Kenft’s dilemma’s, at the same time chipping in with
stories and developments of their own. Les had similar
encounters with his son and daughter; the girls, Erica,
Carol and Bernie with their boyfriend problems;
Graham, the likable rogue, telling tales of his escapades
with the law, up to his old tricks and not being a very
good role model for his son, especially after he had one
drink too many, which was often, Hippy‘D’ trying to find
a bob or two so he didn’t have to sponge off others, not
liking to labour for anyone other than his uncle Tone,
he found it difficult to hold down a permanent job
elsewhere.
Now, don’t go thinking that Tone and Kenft are
always staggering about their hometown stinking drunk
all the time, now that would be totally the wrong
impression. No, they did travel a bit further afield in
pursuit of their interests, and they could handle their
drink, most of the time, knowing their limitations, they
were not alcoholics, far from it. Excursions to the
Carpenters Arms for live music, good pub grub or The
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His LAST SUPPER
Three Horseshoes with the car club proved popular
venues. Whiz would introduce them to the sport of
powerboat racing on the Broad’s, which was all exiting
stuff still involving roaring engines and speed for the
petrol heads. The evening finished off by dropping into
a city pub on the way home, Whiz new there would be
live music, Lee Vasey and his band always popular
locally. Classic Gold weekends at Vauxhall were a riot
with Kenft’s sister and brother-in-law, recapturing their
youth entertained by tribute acts and groups of their
era, still earning a crust from their successes of the
past, including the one hit wonders. Tone not wanting
to see his old mate left out and spending too much time
on his own would invite him along to umpteen events
on his social calendar including bonfire nights and
barbeques at Sandra’s, his sister. They enjoyed stock
car racing at the local oval circuits, the Goodwood
festival of speed, four by four off roading, and visits to
Rockingham raceway for the NASCAR events. Tommo,
chairman of the newly formed Challenger Owners Club,
the challenger’s being Jaguar E’ type replicas, made
Tone their Technical Advisor/Show Steward for his
expertise
gained
whilst
constructing
Tommo’s
Challenger, the driving force behind the club he
organised his members to attend classic and kit car
events throughout the UK with their creations, if they
could, helping with the promotion of their club, their
replicas and the E’ type mark. Tone and Kenft would
always be there to help out, camping on site over the
weekend,
providing
the
hospitality
equipment,
provisions and security for any vehicles left on the
stands overnight.
It was on one of the evening excursions to
powerboat racing on the broads with Whiz, Tone and
DC, DC being a close friend and business associate of
Whiz’s, that Kate had first shown an interest in Kenft,
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although adamant she wasn’t looking for a relationship
having just split from her husband. Kenft was under the
impression that Kate would be more suited to DC, not
being short of a bob or two and having a boat moored
in the South of Spain somewhere.
It was a fantastic evenings entertainment, the
racing fast and furious, Whiz’s contacts gave them
access to the clubhouse, the late Tom Persival
memorabilia everywhere, this was the home base of
the ex formula one world champion. Kenft asks Kate if
she was enjoying herself, she replied with a simple ‘yes
thank you’, and planted a kiss on his cheek, Kenft was
not expecting that. Racing and drinks finished time for
home, no rush they walked back to the car park at a
leisurely pace. Now, Whiz was a little hard at hearing
thinking they were all aboard he proceeded to drive off,
Kenft had not quite made it, he hurriedly removed his
left leg, part planted inside the car and closed the door
as the car moved off, leaving him standing in the
middle of the car park alone, stranded, gesturing with
his arms outstretched hunching his shoulders, he
couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t until they had nearly
reached the exit the message got through to Whiz, the
fact he was one passenger light, he stopped, turned the
car around and went back. The car pulled up beside
him, Kenft opened the door to the sight and sound of
its occupants rolling about in hysterics, Kenft laughed
with them. It was a little while before the laughter
subsided and the moment forgotten. Whiz detoured
through the city and turned off the main route at a set
of traffic lights.
“There’s a nice little place down here with live
music on a Thursday night, we should be in time for a
couple of drinks before closing.”
He parked the car as close to the venue as
possible, down a side street, what few parking spaces
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there were, all taken. ‘The Cottage’ was heaving with
people, shoulder to shoulder, standing room only, all
melodiously accompanying the band, Lee Vasey and his
guests, now a familiar face. It was a vibrant
atmosphere, reminiscent of the Carpenters Arms.
They dropped DC off at his door en-route home,
leaving Kate and Kenft in the back of the car, Kate
initially sitting in the middle made no intention of
readjusting her position, instead the opposite, moving
closer laying all over Kenft. Whiz drops off his
remaining three passengers in town then head home.
Tone, Kate and Kenft make their way down the staithe
towards the old fire station, Kenft invites them round
his for coffee’s to finish the evening off, Tone declines
said goodnight and disappeared through the gateway to
his side door, Kate accepted without wavering.
Kenft made coffee, Kate made herself at home
in the living room, he joined her on the sofa,
unashamedly she draped her long legs over his lap her
short denim skirt rode up revealing next weeks
washing, making no attempt to re adjust, then
proceeded to enlighten him with part of her life’s
history. The kids, three marriages, spending time with
husband number one when married to number two or
was it three? What went wrong, what went right, saying
she wasn’t looking for a new relationship etc, etc, Kenft
didn’t want to know about her past, not in the detail
she was prepared to go into anyway. He invited to walk
her home or stay the night, he had a spare room, as
they’d been drinking he couldn’t drive her. She refused
the offer to stay but made the point she would be only
too pleased to, another time, not in the spare room
either, meanwhile she was quite happy to walk home
on her own. She put on her jacket placed her hands on
his shoulders kissed him goodnight and walked out the
door, Kenft watched her, she walked with an element of
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deportment her head held high shoulders and back
straight, now he could see why Tone called her ‘the
duchess’, hand bag clutched under her arm, high heels
noisily clip-clopped on the paved driveway, she rounded
the corner and out of sight. Closing the door he went
straight to bed, work tomorrow.
Bible Reading
1 Corinthians 13 versus 1-18a
Kenft and Kate moved their relationship to the
next, intimate, level. Kenft had also recently moved
into what was considered the ‘lucky bedroom’, on the
sunny side of his house. Their first night together and
Kenft wondered if he would encounter those gut
feelings, those first experienced when he were much
younger, the butterflies in the pit of the stomach, the
excitement exploring the female form. Kenft having
only ever slept with one women, his ex wife, until now
unsure as to how well he’d make out, how well he
would perform, could he please her, how long he would
last, would he be over excited? Kate freshened up in
the bathroom, Kenft undressed and slipped under the
duvet, she entered the bedroom and finished
undressing in the dim light of the bedside lamp, totally
naked she turned, walking round to the side of the bed,
Kenft watched studying her form. She must have been
six feet tall, long slender legs, a torso to match, not an
ounce of fat, taught to, not a single stretch mark and
silky smooth to the touch, her small breasts sporting
pert, erect nipples. Perhaps those aerobic classes had
paid off, any woman would have been glad to have her
figure at half her age. She slipped under the duvet, a
smile on her face, a gleaming white smile, immediately
turning on her side, with her left arm and leg slung
over Kenft she began to kiss him. He was instantly
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aroused, ‘bloody hell this won’t last long’! He was very
much mistaken, he could have gone all night, only his
stamina prevented him, even so they were at it for
what seemed hours, as hard as he tried he couldn’t
climax, at first concerned thinking something was
wrong with him, tension over anxious maybe, but he
wasn’t disappointed, this was a thousand times better
than premature ejaculation, as far as he was
concerned, and Kate seemed to enjoy herself. So much
so she was soon back for more and Kenft, well he had a
lot of lost time to make up for. It would be several
attempts before he was able to finalise events, not that
he was in any hurry to and hoped it wouldn’t impede
his future performances. At the first opportunity he
sent a text to his mate Tone, one word, Eureka! He
probably didn’t understand its significance, it was to be
the start of a very eventful relationship, and Kenft’s reawakening.
Through the committee, Kate already new
Kenft’s circle of friends, he was soon to be introduced
to her children Ben and Rachel, both at university, her
workmates on trips to Newmarket races, and extensive
travelling to meet close friends and family, not to
mention ‘Diesy’ the dog and her mother who had
retired, buying a new bungalow close to Kate. Her
mum, not being her most favourite person, she had
walked out on her dad for another man when she,
along with her brother and sister, were just kids.
A pattern began to emerge; there was
fornication in Florida, sex in Sweden, mucky in Malmo,
humping in Hempton, nooky in Newcastle and heaven
knows what went on in Cornwall. That, just the tip of
the iceberg, as far as travelling was concerned. The
committee even enjoyed a Christmas dinner in July, yes
July, the hottest day of the year and Chris, landlord of
the Carpenters Arms, organised the Christmas dinner
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Dr.K
with all the trimmings, to the extent of exchanging
cards and presents, and entertainment laid on by the
singing duo, ‘Thick and Thin’, one guy being
considerably bigger than the other.
Kate and Kenft hadn’t been together for very
long, enjoying and evening out on the town, in the
Bistro, the police came looking for her, ‘what the hell
am I involved with here’, thought Kenft, ‘what is she
wanted for’? She and her kids often joked her previous
husbands were buried under the patio. No, they had
sought her out to inform her of bad news, her father
had died, instantly she broke down, in tears Kenft
comforted her the best he could.
They were now seeing quite a bit of one
another; she accompanied him on his camping
weekends with Tone and his wife Shirl’s at classic car
shows. Kenft had never used his mobile so much,
sending and receiving text messages and emailing to
one another. At the end of each working day Kate,
excitedly, admitting she had that tingly feeling every
time he walked in the room, would wait along with Tone
and the rest of the committee for Kenft to turn up and
complete the committee meeting. It wasn’t long and
Kate was talking of marriage, dropping the odd hint
here and there, Kenft made it quite plain he wasn’t
interested in marriage, once bitten twice shy, where as
Kate on the other hand wasn’t at all afraid of making
him husband number four. She now had an instant
dislike of June, Kenft’s ex wife, even though they’d
never met, it was because of her he was afraid to take
the plunge again. Kate, meanwhile, was going through
with her divorce from Bob, he had left her for one of his
workers, a Lithuanian, but she continued do the
secretarial and accountancy duties on his behalf, for a
remuneration, helping to pay the mortgage. She was
still pretty much cutup being dumped for this immigrant
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worker and quite prepared to spoil his party any way
she could, as he had allegedly used illegal workers she
had some leverage. Kenft would soon find himself
unwittingly entangled in her acts of vengeance.
Kate had learnt Bobs new woman had returned
home to her family in Lithuania for a few days and
seized the opportunity to visit him, staying overnight,
seeking revenge for the time when Bob had entertained
this woman in her bed, in her absence. Kenft wasn’t
best pleased, she was reacting with no thought or
concern for him, he could only think of Kate describing
her meeting up with her first husband, who was on a
trip back to England from his home in New Zealand,
behind the back of her then husband of the time. Kenft
made his feelings known and quite prepared to call off
their association.
Kate had other ideas and enlisted the help from
a work colleague. Kenft received a very long email from
her on Kate’s behalf, explaining nothing had happened,
Kenft didn’t believe her, she pleaded with him not to
give her up, he was the best thing that had ever
happened to her, relenting he gave her a second
chance, but still didn’t believe her.
She wanted to ‘dob him in’ as she described it,
Bob that is, reveal his exploits to the authorities letting
them know of his whereabouts, she was sure he
continued to use illegal immigrants, cheap labour and
big profits for his business. Using this workforce
coupled with fortunate coincidences, factory blazes for
example, enabled his company to grow. In a way she’d
be doing herself no favours trying to get back at him
this way, after all he was still lining her pocket, so
Kenft found her behaviour hypocritical to say the least.
Unbelievably Kenft found himself assisting her with a
stakeout at a location where she new Bob had regular
work, identifying his vehicle and hopefully his
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Dr.K
workforce, then pass the information on to customs and
border control. She knew he had left the country at one
point but not sure from where or when, on a hunch she
made for the local international airport, her hunch was
right, finding his vehicle in the car park, again she
informed the authorities hoping they would catch him
on his return, in the act of doing something illegal. A
swat team, now fully aware of his activities, took her by
surprise one evening, launching a raid at her home, on
a tip off hoping to catch Bob there, excitedly she told
Kenft of the charade. Whatever happened didn’t stop
Bob from continuing his business, he was still using
immigrant workers but curtailed or very clever utilising
any illegal content, avoiding prosecution. Kenft had
learnt one vital lesson during these unconventional
moments, sticking up for Kate during an instance when
she felt vulnerable and used, he text Bob stating his
concerns, his reply direct and to the point.
‘Don’t become involved with things that do not
concern you, especially when you are not in possession
of all the facts.’
He was one hundred percent correct, what the
hell did Kenft think he was doing, he must need his
head examining getting involved so deeply, acting
purely on information from one side of the fence, an
over emotional one at that. Well it did provide a little
intrigue into their lives, albeit briefly, and Kenft had to
be seen supporting his dearest in her moment of need,
more exciting tales to tell at the next committee
meeting. Kenft never would forget Bob’s text and
always kept it in mind for the future, whatever the
circumstance or with whomever.
***
Tone and Shirl’s were beginning to look a little
jaded to say the least, their project taking it out of
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them, both working hard to earn the money to pay for
the development, the refurbishment of the old fire
station, burning the candle at both ends, Kenft
understood, he could read the signs having been there
done that bought the T shirt. He suggested they need
to take a break, find the time for a holiday, it had been
years since either of them had been away anywhere.
Both were reluctant to entertain Kenft’s suggestion,
Shirl’s had the added burden of tending to her ageing
father, living on his own and finding it increasingly
difficult to fend for himself, resulting in her making
regular visits, initially restricted to weekends, a fifty
mile round trip, Tone would cook a meal for her to take
to him.
It was looking as though Shirl’s may not have
another opportunity, as her father, a stubborn self
reliant ex-paratrooper, would eventually need total care
and, in time, move in with them permanently, Kenft
struck while the iron was hot. Discussing the subject of
holiday destinations Shirl’s indicated, given the chance,
she would ideally love to spend some time in Scotland;
Kenft did his usual research on the Internet. At the
next comty meeting,
“Do you want the good news or the bad news
first?” asked Kenft, with the look of buggerment all
over his face.
“What have you been up to?” Shirl’s enquired, “I
know you, you’re up to something.”
“The good news is, as you know, I think you two
disserve a break, a holiday.”
“Yes, we discussed that the other evening, and
the bad news,” she said smiling, knowing there wasn’t
any bad news.
“The bad news is, I’ve booked a log cabin for a
week, it’s all paid for so you have to go now, like it or
not.”
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“Well that’s a bugger.” Says Tone.
Kenft went on to describe where and when, a
place on the west coast of Scotland, Lagnakeil a couple
of miles south of Oban on the banks of Loch Feochan.
Tone was a little reluctant at first but soon acclimatised
to the idea to the point were he began to look forward
to it and hoped the weather would be kind and do it
justice, as for Shirl’s, she was more than happy.
Weeks later and they loaded up Tones Volvo and
the four of them headed north to Scotland, taking a
short detour and planned for an overnight stop at
Barnard Castle, approximately half distance. It didn’t
quite go according to plan. Tone pulled into the market
square at Barnard Castle and found the first available
space to park, dipping the clutch he coasted the last
few millimetres before applying the brakes,
“Right that’s it, were going nowhere,” he said
disappointedly.
“Yeah I know,” said Shirl’s, “we are staying here
tonight.” She didn’t fully understand the implication of
Tone’s statement.
“No I mean we can’t go anywhere, even if we
wanted to, the clutch has gone on the car,” he
explained, knowing full well it’s not going to be easy to
find spare parts at the weekend, “I felt it go as we
coasted in to the parking space, damn.”
The girls head off to find a bed and breakfast
establishment and someone in authority to explain they
can’t move the car because it had broken down, so
please don’t give us a parking fine, while the lads
contact the RAC and find out exactly what the problem
is. Central control informed them roadside assistance
would be with them in less than an hour, Tone and
Kenft retired to a hotel bar, handily situated right
behind them, enjoyed a pint while they waited. Shirl’s
and Kate returned from their foray, they had found
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somewhere to stay and booked two rooms, as for
parking they had found the police station where the
nice sergeant on duty humorously informed them
they’d wasted their time, there had not been a traffic
warden around those parts for as long as he could
remember.
The RAC mechanic inspected the damage but
was of no help, to Tones surprise the actual clutch
pedal had broken, snapped in two, so it wasn’t a simple
case of finding and fitting a new cable, a
new clutch pedal isn’t something they would carry as a
spare part. An auto spares shop was staring them in
the face immediately in front of them across the other
side of the road but closed for the day, they hoped it
would be open for business in the morning and able to
offer some kind of assistance. Locking up the car they
headed off to their digs, there was nothing they could
do until morning.
Now they were in trouble, the spares shop could
not help, there was nowhere open the assistant knew
of, which would have the required spare part, they
were stuck, whatever the outcome it looked like
another night spent in Barnard Castle. Scratching their
heads not sure as to what exactly would be the next
course of action they headed back to the digs to make
sure they still had rooms for the night and Kenft rang
ahead to inform those at their intended final destination
they had hit a snag and inevitably result in them
arriving later than planned. A stroke of luck, not only
were their rooms available but the landlord knew of
someone who may be able to assist, a back street lad
with a garage business, a character of similar ilk to
Tone himself, there has to be one in every town, the
landlord gave directions as to his whereabouts.
Finishing their drinks they ventured round, this guy did
for Tone as Tone would have done himself, help out
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Dr.K
anyone in a muddle, Tone described the situation they
were in.
“Okay leave it with us, I’ll have a ring round and
see what we can do, come back in an hour and
hopefully I’ll have something sorted.”
Tone was more than thankful, an hour later he
and Kenft returned to the garage.
“Any luck,” enquired Tone with his fingers
crossed.
“I was hoping the clutch pedal on my Volvo you
see parked down the side would be of use, but
unfortunately it’s a different model and probably
wouldn’t fit. The best plan of action would be a
breakers yard the nearest being Bishop Auckland, that’s
several miles away.”
“Whatever it takes ol’mate, I’ll make it worth
your while.”
“Okay, where did you say you were staying?”
“The Coach and Horses, it was the landlord who
gave us your name.”
“I’ll pop down with the part as soon as I get
back, it will take the best part of two hours mind.”
“No problem, see ya laters.”
True to his word he turned up with the spare
part, he did better than just supply the part he
completed the task insisting he fitted it to the car
himself. Tone crossed his palm with silver in the form of
several notes, he was more than generous making it
worth his while as he said, then stood talking for ages,
they had a lot in common. Having booked their rooms
for another night and now with spare time on their
hands, they decide to take the opportunity for some
site seeing, the castle ruins being the obvious choice,
quite fortuitous, in its day it must have been an
impressive building. The place was steeped in history
you could imagine the people living there; the castle
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perched high on the outcrop of rock overlooking the
river Tees, an ideal vantage point, it must have been
an imposing sight. They eventually made it to their
destination and the week just flew by, spending days
out surveying all before them, it had to be seen to be
truly appreciated, the town of Oban with its fantastic
views of the islands from McCaig’s tower, Loch Ness,
Fort William, Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, the memorial
dedicated to the Commando’s, past and present,
Cruachan power station, Dunstaffnage Castle, which no
one knew how to pronounce so Tone edited in his usual
imitable style, it became known as Dustyfanny Castle
disguised with a hint of a very bad Scottish accent, the
Bonawe iron foundry, they crossed the bridge over the
Atlantic and finished up visiting the Wallace monument
in Stirling, the William Wallace of Braveheart fame, a
sight to behold on their way home, magnificent.
***
A night in town, ending up in the conservative
club drinking with Graham, of all people, now engaged
to Tracey, he began to stir up trouble between Kenft
and Kate. The pair of them turned on Kenft accusing
him of sexual liaisons with Tracey when she was
younger, a preposterous total fabrication, what was he
hoping to gain, was he having relationship problems
with Tracey or had Trace told him a whole pack of lies
for her own ends, either way Kenft incensed angrily
disclaimed their remarks as pure nonsense, finished his
drink and left, left them to it. What Kenft had done to
deserve that was beyond him, so much for sticking up
for Kate. She, on the other hand regarded Kenft’s angry
response as confirmation, that’s women’s logic for you,
he stood no chance. Kate had elaborated earlier on her
past involvement with Graham, indicating she was only
trying to help him and Tracey through a difficult time
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and that Tracey had secretly read their text messages
to one another, totally misunderstanding their meaning.
Now she was insulting Kenft’s intelligence, he didn’t
believe what anybody was saying, to a point he really
couldn’t care about what either of them did to one
another in the past, it had nothing to do with him, he
was only interested in the here and now. He would
learn of Tracey’s side of the situation much later,
whether he wanted to or not.
It all blew over and surprisingly they stayed a
couple, why he didn’t walk away and leave them all to
it was beyond even his comprehension, he never had
any of this hassle until he became involved with
woman. Kenft’s tolerance was being stretched almost to
the limit. Kate and her daughter, not always seeing eye
to eye, would argue on a regular basis, Kenft caught in
the middle either kept out of it or, hating confrontation,
attempted to calm things down, all apparently heated
up over nothing. Kenft had a fatherly chat with Rachel
who’s sat on the floor playing cd’s, sounding off feeling
unloved, Kenft finalised his words of wisdom, sealing
them with a kiss planted on her forehead, taking her
completely unawares, quiet and calm restored, until
next time.
At least Kenft and Diesy, their black Labrador,
had no problems or so he thought; if Diesy wasn’t
trying to tear his big fluffy toy rabbit apart he was
trying to shag it. Kenft wasn’t even free from ridicule
here, always finding time to take him for long walks,
being a working dog he needed it, along the disused
railway track, now a public footpath, Kate would accuse
him of taking the dog for a walk just to spend time
away from her? Kenft ignored the ridiculous notion, she
had joined them on their very first excursion, but
declined subsequent offers thereafter, so she only had
herself to blame there.
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July the 4th, American Independence Day and
what’s that to do with anything, this is England. The
Crown Hotel, under the ownership of Bob and Niki,
Americans, always celebrated Independence Day. In
the evening they laid on live entertainment, the mob,
barbeque, fireworks, a great night, you had to pay to
enter the proceeds given to charity and you were given
a free bottle of Budweiser. The place would be heaving.
Kenft made arrangements to meet Kate there, he would
bump into people he knew from way back even Karl’s
ex girlfriends would stop for a chat, especially Anne, a
petit lively little number, chirpy full of life, Kenft took a
shine to her.
‘Susan Bugdale, I don’t believe it’, not her
married name, if indeed she was married, Kenft
assumed she was, a girl who use to live just the other
side of the road when they were kids, she was his
girlfriend for a while lasted all of a week, if that. Kenft’s
shy awkwardness soon put a stop to that, he had no
idea how to treat girls then, probably still doesn’t now.
They hadn’t seen one another for years but instantly
recognised each other, they talked of old times, Kenft
enquiring how her cousin Jonathan was, a close friend
when they were boys, asking what was he up to these
days as she complained of her size and how her dress
touched her body in all the wrong places, almost to the
point of apologising for the fact, she was double the
size she use to be but she did have a family, ‘still a
lovely girl though’, he thought. Kenft caught up with
Kate, who was with a group of people he didn’t know,
she proudly introduced him. First to Art and Nancy, two
more Americans, very good friends of hers, they use to
work for the corporation in town, Art, as general
manager, until the losses could be sustained no longer
the parent company selling it off to a competitor, Kate
back then his personal assistant, he was now on a new
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assignment in Sweden. During their time in the UK they
became well acquainted with Bob and Niki, as did Kate
who dealt with them on a business level, using their
hotel accommodation for customers and company
visitors alike.
Then there was Carmen, little Carmen, Spanish
as her name suggests, five foot nothing, short dark hair
with a red highlighted strip brushed to the side and a
heavy accent, a workaholic constantly chipmonking on
her BlackBerry, she worked with Art for the same
corporation, all pretty close knit and welcomed Kenft
with open arms, any friend of Kate’s was a friend of
theirs. The invitations came thick and fast, Kenft’s
mobile kept busy with all the texting.
It had never been so busy; dinner at the Thai
restaurant out of town; Art and Nancy requested their
presence in Sweden on two occasions, Nancy inviting
Kenft back anytime with or without Kate, followed by
two weeks spent with them in their new home in
Orlando, Florida; Kenft’s niece Michelle’s wedding, Bob
and Amy’s wedding reception; Swany and Niki’s
wedding reception, Kenft couldn’t understand why
Tracey didn’t attend, Niki being her best friend;
Newcastle visiting Ben studying at university and
Rachel, not far away in Sunderland; Several dinners
with Tone and family; classic rock weekends with
Kenft’s sis, brother in law Verdun, Tone and Shirl’s and
the rest of the crowd; Classic and kit car events up and
down the country with Tone, Shirl’s and the Challenger
club; the holiday in Scotland with Tone and Shirl’s; the
grand opening of the Bistro with Bob and Niki; Visits to
various members of Kate’s family in Milton Keynes,
staying at Kate’s sisters, football in High Wycombe, her
father a past player and ardent supporter, their home
town, and the spreading of his ashes in the local park;
an invitation to Lynn and Neil’s wedding in Mauritius; a
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tour of Devon and Cornwall; Bob and Amy’s for drinks
helping them move to their new home; works dinners
and Sunday lunches, Christmas dinner at the Ostrich,
at South Creake, the chef, Fitzy, formally of the Crown,
his talents in the kitchen highly regarded, although
they see him the night before pissed out of his head
and wondered what dinner was going to be like, they
needn’t have worried he had help at hand. Not
forgetting those wonderful Saturday afternoons
attending the rugby club luncheons, at Tone’s kind
invitation, this timescale amounting to some three
years, a period considered by Kate, as the best years of
her life, a torrid tumultuous era. During this torrid era
Kenft obviously had to fit in work, earning the money to
pay for the extravagances, the plastic also taking a
mighty hit and ever thankful for the generosity of
others.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, not only did he
encounter problems with his work but had his moments
with Kate too.
Tiring of contract work, Kenft had been offered a
permanent position with a company whose employees
he’d had previous work experience with; they had also
been competitors of his in the past, everybody new
everybody in the same game, nationally and in some
instances, internationally, at times working together on
larger projects. He was offered a good salary, he
couldn’t refuse, he quickly settled into his project
engineering role taking over the running of key
contracts allowing the managing director to concentrate
on his sales campaign and promote the company. Kenft
had moved in with Kate, with Ben and Rachel’s
blessing, they were getting along famously, he’d rented
his house out to others, first tenants were the new
owners of the Crown, Hugh and Sue, who Tone
nicknamed Billy and Johnny, only for a short term as a
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favour, three months or so, until their new place was
ready to move into, then for twelve months to three
lads wanting to spread their wings and sample the taste
of independence from living with their respective
families.
The three amigos, as they were affectionately
referred to, were friends and acquaintances of Ben,
Rachel, Karl and Tanya so Kenft felt a degree of
reassurance with them using his home. He had a
tenancy agreement contract drawn up, using local
estate agents who also carried out credit checks, and
organised the obligatory landlord certificates for the gas
and electricity appliances, but he did neglect informing
his mortgage lender of the change of use. Not knowing
how long he’d planned on being a landlord he didn’t
want the hassle of changing his mortgage agreement, it
would have been more expensive and he’d have to
charge a higher rent to cover it, he left it in status quo
for the time being. Now with the running costs of his
property covered he could pay his way with Kate,
helping out with the extortionate expenses she’d been
left to cover after Bob moved out, to his credit he still
contributed, but her mortgage was nearly three times
that of Kenft’s.
Time to change his car, the rover 214, having
recently had an engine rebuild was past it’s best, Kenft
had racked up the miles, the original gave up the ghost
and let go, blew a gasket, plumes of blue grey smoke
spectacularly exuded from the rear of the car as he
made his way home from work. An hour and a half later
picked up and the indignity of finishing his journey on
the back of an AA recovery vehicle. Apart from the
weakness of an alloy head it was a great little car and
served him well, but it was Kenft’s fault it probably
failed in the first instance, leaving the filler cap off the
radiator after checking the fluid levels wasn’t a clever
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thing to do, it was only for a short journey but enough
to create a slight overheating of the head and initiate a
fault that would eventually lead to the catastrophic
failure. The repair lasted for a while until a water leak
developed and progressively worsened, but it did
transport Kenft and Tone to Brands Hatch no problem.
The offer of free tickets to an Indy and touring car race
meeting, Tone wanted to go but the thought of driving
to the London area spooked him, he hated it, normally
he preferred to do all the driving, Kenft reassured him,
“No problem Tone I’ll drive, we can’t miss out on
this opportunity, I’ve never been to Brands Hatch, have
you?”
Tone had never been either, now he was
showing more enthusiasm, and off to Brands Hatch
they would go. Turning off the M25 and heading for
Dartford and the bridge, Kenft loved it, the view of the
Thames its shipping traffic, the wharf’s and buildings
tremendous, Tone was asleep he couldn’t face it, even
as a passenger, he didn’t wake until they were over to
the other side and in the queue to turn off the
motorway. A great day’s racing, but it was during the
walk about Kenft noticed how much Tone was
struggling, overweight and his ankles suffered, he was
in a great deal of discomfort, future events at
Rockingham and Castle Donington would further
highlight his condition, Kenft concerned, attempted to
part with some advice which at the time went
unheeded, Tone liked a cigarette and his food.
Kenft now needed something with a bigger
engine, something more able to withstand the rigors of
his heavy right foot; there was still an element of the
boy racer in him. He quite liked the look of a Toyota
Celica GT4 but he couldn’t find one, they proved to be
rear beasts, especially one within his price bracket.
Tone mentioned the fact that Tommo’s daughter Karen
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had a Mitsubishi FTO and she had frightened the life out
of her dad when she’d taken him for a test drive, she
also liked her motorbikes, a proper tomboy. Kenft, not
too sure what an FTO was, did some research on the
Internet and pleasantly surprised to find it fitted his
requirements. Stylish lines, basically a two seater but
could accommodate a couple of small people in the
back, a quick two litre twenty four valve engine and the
renowned Mitsubishi robustness. Kenft delved a bit
deeper to find out availability and costs. These cars
were grey imports, not sold as new in the UK, he found
an importer some thirty miles away who had two
examples in stock, one black the other silver, liking the
sound of the black one he went for a look and a test
drive. Kate, Ben and Rachel went along for the ride.
The dealer escorted them to a new steel building
annexed from the farmhouse, screened behind a row of
conifers, sliding open the large hanger like corrugated
doors revealed an immaculate interior arranged as a
hospitality suite at a race meeting, you could eat your
dinner off the floor. The two FTO’s stood at an angle
well spaced out, side by side amongst the Subaru’s and
single seater racing cars. Although he initially had the
black FTO on his shopping list the silver one had caught
his eye, it was if it was talking to him, ‘don’t forget me,
buy me,’ its number plate M6FTO. It was just as well
because he’d arrived too late for the black one, it had
been sold that day. He took the silver one out for a test
drive, the dealer drove the first few miles, letting the
car sell itself, highlighting a few features and throwing
the car round corners obviously familiar to him
informing Kenft he use to race them in Japan, before
letting him have a go, it was like having a driving
lesson. Kenft, impressed with the semi-automatic
gearbox and the handling, it was as if it were on rails,
had to have it. After sorting out the finance, he was
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back within two weeks to pick it up. Kate dropped him
off and arranged to meet him back in the Crown for a
drink to celebrate. It took a while to finalise the
paperwork and shown at length what did what inside
the vehicle before he was finally handed the keys.
Proudly Kenft drove his new prized possession out onto
the road and headed for home, he had something he
considered unique, he wasn’t aware of any other
examples in his neck of the woods.
Into the town centre, slowly through the
archway entrance to the car park at the rear of the
Crown Hotel, he couldn’t believe his eyes, not only had
Kate beaten him back in her Frontera 4x4, there was
another FTO, practically identical, already parked up,
gutted was an understatement, he had never seen it
there before. A little disappointed he walked to the bar
to find Kate. She sat patiently waiting, with a drink in
her hand and a glass of red wine for Kenft standing on
the bar.
“Hello dwarling, what kept you? I thought you
were already here when I pulled into the car park and
saw the other FTO!”
Kenft saw the funny side, it wasn’t long before it
caught on, there were soon to be FTO’s everywhere.
The old rover stood up, abandoned for several weeks,
occasionally used by Ben or Rachel in cases of dire
emergency, until the guy delivering a truck load of fire
logs took an interest, asking if it were for sale. Kenft,
highlighted the fact it had no mot and hadn’t been
started up for some time suggesting the battery may
be flat, but if he wanted it to make him an offer.
Cleverly he couldn’t come up with a figure forcing
Kenft’s hand.
“Okay, I have no idea what a car is worth
without a mot, two hundred quid.” ‘To be rid of it’,
thought Kenft.
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The guy instantly knocked him down fifty quid,
after a moment of deliberation Kenft accepted.
“I’ll get the cash and pick it up one night next
week, if that’s okay.”
“Yep, that’s fine.”
Kenft had to borrow Tone’s portable power pack
to start the thing up and hopefully able to charge the
battery. He left it running for a while before turning off
the ignition then attempted to restart it, dead, nothing,
‘damnations’. Kenft removed the battery and connected
it to a charger leaving it over night and all day before
refitting it the following evening. Blowed if he was
going to fit a new battery for the price he’d sold the car
for, he had bought it ‘as seen’ as far as he was
concerned, all it needed was a good run, it had never
been any trouble before. Mind you other people had
been using the car, no telling what they’d been up to
with it, after all they had managed to bump it into a
wall and how or why they tore off the radio aerial is
nobody’s business. He fitted the battery back onto the
car, it still wouldn’t start without the power pack, ‘okay
I’ll wing it on the night’, and left it.
The guy turned up a couple of days later than
planned, it was cold and dark, he had another look
round it, Kenft fired it up,
“I’ve only got a hundred.”
“You what?”
‘The bastard, he’s stitching me up here’. Now
Kenft didn’t feel bad about anything, this guy’s
deserves all he’s got coming to him and lets him have it
for a hundred.
Days later Kenft receives a call from the police,
“Sorry to bother you sir, are you the owner of a
rover 214 registration number…”
“No officer I’ve sold it to this guy only last
week.” Kenft gives them a name and address
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explaining the documents have only just been sent off
to the DVLC before enquiring the reason for the call,
“Why do you ask?”
“We’ve found the car abandoned, broken down
on the side of the road, close to where this guy works.
It figures, just checking to make sure it’s not stolen.
Thanks for your help sir, goodbye.”
So it wasn’t such a steal for him after all, now
he has a repair job on his hands, and judging by the
police officers statement he probably had some
previous form.
Hymn
‘So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down,
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown....’
***
Wedding bells, Bob and Amy, a fantastic couple,
juggling with student fees to pay back, as well as a
mortgage, Bob a rest home manager and Amy a
teacher both doing a grand job, invited the comty
members to their reception at the Bistro. Kate and
Kenft, having a whale of a time and a few drinks too
many, spent most of their evening larking about on the
dance floor, making fools of themselves. Tracey
appeared as if out of nowhere, he was pleased to see
her as usual, he had no idea she was there, she seized
upon Kenft on the dance floor in Kate’s momentary
absence, just as the mood changed to a smoochy
number, which seemed convenient, holding him close
she began to express her affections for him, ‘what is
she trying to do’? He could feel Kate’s disapproving
eyes burning into him as she watched them from a
distance; he attempts to defuse the situation,
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“Tracey, I’ve always looked upon you, and
Nessie, as kind of,” ‘I’m going to regret saying this’,
“well, as my daughters so to speak,” she knew he was
lying.
Shocked, she pushed herself away, holding onto
his waste looked up at him, straight into his eyes and
with a disapproving glare that said as much. Kenft felt
the daggers going into him from all angles. She held
him close again till the end of the number, he kissed
her on the cheek and thanked her for the dance
knowing he’d offended her, she sloped off, now he had
Kate to contend with, she said nothing, but Kenft
sensed she was not at all happy.
Comty meeting a few days later and Lynn,
manageress at the Crown, hands an invitation to Kate,
an invitation to her wedding.
“Hey, look what Lynn has just handed to me,”
excitedly informing Kenft and the committee.
“And what’s that?” Kenft takes a mouthful of red
wine.
“Lynn’s invited us to her wedding, shall we go,
shall we accept.”
“Yeah, sure no problem, love to, when and
where?” Kenft enquires and another mouthful of red
wine.
“Its not until June,” she hesitates before telling
him where, “in, er, Mauritius.”
Kenft chokes on his red wine,
“Its where?” not believing his ears, “I think we
had better consider this one again.”
Over the following weeks Kate and Kenft discuss
the possibility of accepting the invitation, Art and Nancy
could make the second week and the wedding itself.
Bob and Niki, Lynn’s previous employers, would
definitely be there with daughter Shannon. Lynn’s mum
and step dad were not going to miss out on their
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daughters wedding, but Neil sadly had no one from his
side of the family. Kenft preferred to be with a group of
people and considered it a once in a lifetime
opportunity and easily persuaded, throwing caution to
the wind. Tone wouldn’t go he’d turned down the offer
of a trip to Malmo, Sweden to visit Art and Nancy who
were a little disappointed, having enjoyed his kind
hospitality wanted to return the favour. Maybe he’s not
keen on flying, strange being an ex ATC cadet, or can’t
justify spending the resources.
Kate liases with Lynn for the details, then with
Kenft went ahead and booked their holiday, sod the
expense, using the same hotel and for the full two
weeks, with the travel agents, all they had to do now
was earn the money to pay for it. Art and Nancy were
over the moon, Art encouraged Kenft to do the
beginners introductory course in scuba diving then they
could go wreck diving together when they arrived in the
second week, Kenft liked the sound of that.
Le Coco Beach, Belle Mare, Mauritius, a very
small piece of volcanic rock in the Indian Ocean off
Madagascar and the East African coast, a piece of
paradise, Kenft couldn’t believe he was actually there.
The hotel, a self contained complex, a stones throw
from the sea, double crescent shaped architecture with
a centre vestibule, on two floors, accommodating the
reception, administration, shops, restaurants, bar and
dance floor, a swimming pool outside, with its own bar
and barbeque serving food and drinks all day. Lynn and
Neil being the bride and groom were able to pull a few
strings and fortunate enough to be granted an upgrade
from their hotel room and allocated the use of one the
chalet apartments.
They were a little apprehensive spending the
first week with who they regarded as a couple of old
fogies, thinking they would hold them back and be an
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absolute bore. Kate and Kenft didn’t have a problem
with that, they weren’t forced to spend their time with
them if they didn’t want to, they could do as they
please, no offence would be taken. As it turned out
their views were very misguided, they enjoyed each
other’s company, Kenft and Neil snorkelled together
every day, as the women sunbathed. Lynn would have
a go at snorkelling when conditions suited her; Kate on
the other hand wasn’t keen on the water. They tried to
drink each other under the table sampling every
cocktail on the extensive list and then some, preferring
the pina colada’s, Kenft wasn’t a golfer but he had a go,
keeping Neil company on the green, not doing too
badly either after two holes, it was the cruel water
feature at the first, a lake, that proved the most
problematic, losing two balls attempting to avoid the
obstacle, with only one ball left Kenft decided he’d start
at hole two.
As avid followers of sport both kept a close eye
on the progress of their national football team
participating in the European finals, watching every
game on the screen in the bar, the hotel’s multinational clientele adding extra drama to the event.
They danced to the music on the disco floor and even
arranged to meet up and dine together, Kenft sampling
the largest, the most beautifully prepared, succulent
tuna steak ever, enjoyed in the relaxing ambience of
the restaurant by the beach. The one and only time
Kenft didn’t socialise with the others was when he
signed up for the scuba diving beginner’s course, he felt
he had to do it, not only to satisfy his own curiosity he
didn’t want to let Art down, he’d never forgive himself if
he had to say no when asked if he wanted to
accompany him wreck diving. He invited Neil to join
him but he didn’t fancy it, surprising Kenft because he
obviously enjoyed his snorkelling. The day of reckoning
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and Kenft, informing Kate he’d only be about an hour
and meet up with her in the bar afterwards, set off for
his initiation to scuba diving. The dive centre was
literally located at the end of his accommodation block
the other side the beach restaurant, a small square
building of lava blocks and thatched roof, close to the
beach and adjacent jetty stretching out into the
turquoise lagoon, his instructor for the day, the ever
smiling Jeremy, loaded a barrow with the necessary
equipment and headed for the swimming pool, Kenft
walked apprehensively by his side, ‘thank goodness,
they had the entire pool to themselves’, mused Kenft,
no one to observe Kenft making a complete fool of
himself. He had to listen hard as Jeremy’s accent was
difficult to follow at times.
First the gear, Jeremy hands Kenft a wet suit to
put on, he had guessed his probable size and he wasn’t
far out, but it was a struggle to get into and it didn’t do
much to flatter his figure. Both sat on the edge of the
pool, feet submersed, the sun beating down on their
backs, as Jeremy explained the pros and con’s of the
buoyancy control vest then the air cylinder.
“This button, when pressed, inflates the bcv and
you float, this one, when pressed, deflates the bcv and
you sink. You adjust these as a fish adjusts its swim
bladder, until you are happy with your buoyancy and
depth. Do you understand?” Kenft nods his head in
acknowledgement.
“Okay good, now the tank. This, the air cylinder,
it is steel; it holds twelve litres of compressed air at two
thousand psi, pounds per square inch. On average it
will last for approximately forty minutes depending on
how often and deeply you breath, we always save the
last fifty psi as reserve, so irrespective of the time
spent diving if your gauge shows only fifty psi then you
signal to your dive buddy and you surface. Okay?”
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again Kenft, all ears, concentrating hard, nods again in
acknowledgement.
He then went on to explain for slightly longer
dive times they had an eighteen-litre tank holding air at
three thousand psi, and then continued,
“We have two regulators, you put this one, the
main one, into your mouth like so,” Jeremy
demonstrates, “It is a demand valve, when you breathe
in as normal, a valve opens allowing air to pass through
from the tank into your lungs. When you breathe out
this valve is closed and your exhaled breath opens
another valve, releasing it as bubbles into the water.
The second regulator, this one with the yellow button,
is called the buddy regulator. In cases of emergency
you can share your air with another diver, good.”
Jeremy helps Kenft into the apparatus, showing
him how to strap it all in place, then works out what he
feels to be the correct amount of lead weight needed to
compliment his build, assisting the buoyancy, before
suiting up himself, both entered the pool standing
waste deep. Jeremy instructs Kenft to clean and
moisten the inside of his mask and secure it tightly.
“We will now submerge and swim around so you
get a feel for breathing under water and using the bcv,
setting your buoyancy, okay.”
Jeremy signals for them to dive, meandering
close to the bottom in the deep end of the pool, Kenft
practices with the control buttons for the bcv, his
breathing proved no problem, and eventually
overcomes the initial buoyancy synchronisation until
Jeremy was happy, with the okay signal and a thumbs
up both surfaced.
“Okay, happy so far?” Jeremy enquired.
“Yes thanks Jeremy, fine,” replied Kenft.
“We will now go through a couple of exercises,
don’t worry we will progress to the next one only when
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I think you’re proficient with the first, in your own time.
Clearing your mask of water, if you have water inside of
your mask there are two methods of removing it,
tipping the mask slightly at the same time blowing
through your nose or using the bubbles from your
regulator.”
Jeremy demonstrates both methods, one at a
time Kenft has to copy him. As hard as he tried he
couldn’t force air out of his nose, ‘failed damn’, he’d
tensed up, it felt like someone was holding his nose, as
hard as he tried he could not expel air from his nose, it
was psychological, he panicked with the water rising
inside his mask and surfaced, ashamed of himself he
apologised for his stupidity, then recomposed himself
for another try. This time more relaxed he succeeded,
then repeated it a couple of times to satisfy Jeremy
before using the alternative method, the bubbles from
the regulator was much easier.
“Okay, now recovery of the regulator, say if it
was accidentally knocked out of your mouth for
instance.”
He describes the methodology before diving and
repeated the sequence underwater, Kenft mimics him,
taking the regulator from his mouth, allowing it to float
a few of seconds to find its natural position, stretched
out his right arm, horizontally to his side, and moving it
in a circular motion the tube connecting the regulator is
automatically located, the regulator recovered and
replaced it into his mouth. Kenft repeated the process,
this time with his eyes shut, no problem, both then
surfaced.
“Good, all finished.” Jeremy was satisfied with
his student’s progress.
Kenft didn’t think that was too bad for a
beginner but still miffed with the momentary panic,
Jeremy told him not to worry, it was no problem. They
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removed their gear, placing it back into the barrow and
trudged back to the dive centre, Kenft feeling pretty
pleased with himself, he’d done it, he’d accomplished
something, he couldn’t wait to meet up with Art next
week and being asked to go diving. Except he had not
quite finished, Jeremy had a surprise for him, he didn’t
stop at the dive centre he carried on to the jetty, they
kitted up again, a proper dive in the clear blue water of
the lagoon, five metres to the sandy bottom and up to
the reef protecting the shoreline, creating the blue
lagoon and hopefully keeping any nasty’s in the form of
sharks out. A dream realised, exploring the depths,
danger in any form never entered his head, he had full
confidence in his instructor, but he did look at his
pressure gauge with regularity beyond necessity
indicating an underlying nervousness and concentration
on self-preservation.
Kenft met up with Kate and the others as
planned, he was wet, not from diving but because he’d
been caught in the unusual event of a rain shower
walking back to the hotel bar, they were concerned
thinking something had happened, he’d been gone for
over two hours not the one hour as he’d thought.
Proudly he presented them with his little yellow strip of
a certificate proving he had completed the course and
his permit to dive for one month, briefly describing to
them his last two hours over a cocktail. Pride hit him
for a second time; Neil had enjoyed his first week on
the island with Kenft and asked if he would do him the
kindness and be his witness at his wedding, ‘so much
for the old fogy bit eh!’ expressed he would be
honoured to,
“Another pina colada Mister Neil?”
“Love one Mister Kenny.”
Mister Neil and Mister Kenny were the handles
given to them by the bar staff, mistaking their Christian
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names for their surnames, a very friendly bunch of
people who were in competition with one another for
the title of employee of the season, as voted by the
guests. The names stuck; even today they always greet
one another as Mister Neil and Mister Kenny.
The remaining guests, making up the full
compliment for the wedding party, joined them for
second week. Art and Nancy booked into a chalet close
to Lynn and Neil, bringing with them all their own scuba
diving gear lugging it all the way from Sweden, while
Bob, Niki, Lynn’s mother and step dad chose to book
into different hotels close by. The La Coco Beach hotel,
being the livelier location, became the entertainment
hub for the entire group most evenings, with the
exception of one evening when they were invited over
to Bob and Niki’s for drinks. After inspecting the
standard of their room and amenities it was off to the
bar for copious amounts of red wine and reggae
dancing to the music from the live band, before
heading back to La Coco. Kenft found himself leading
the way, advised to take a short cut across the grass
along the top of a wall jumping down onto the beach,
he stood on the sand offering assistance to the others,
Nancy was first. He offered his hand to her as she stood
on the wall at the same time she grabbed at a branch
of a nearby tree, the tree broke, she fell knocking Kenft
to the ground landing on top of him, laughing their
heads off, she was in no hurry to get off him,
“Oy you two, get a room,” commented Art.
The following day Art asks Kenft if he’d done the
introductory diving course, he proudly produces his
diving permit.
“Great, lets go book us a dive at the dive
centre.”
Off they went, booked their dive for later on that
day with dive manager Dave, then meeting up with the
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others for a couple of hours relaxation on the beach,
giving a little more time for the alcohol consumed the
night before to leave their system. Kate and Nancy
drew their attention to the tree, it’s branch held back in
place by means of a white bandage, looking like the
tree surgeon had done his job, making them feel bad
vandalising the tree, albeit accidentally.
There was a stiff breeze blowing that day as
Kenft and Art climbed into the boat from the jetty to
take them scuba diving, accompanied by the boats
helmsman, Dave the dive manager and one other dive
buddy, Kenft didn’t catch his name, he would keep a
close eye on Kenft, at his request. As Kate didn’t like
the water Nancy persuaded her to try her hand at horse
riding to pass the time while the men went scuba
diving, she was still a little tentative, but we all have
fears to overcome, she overcame hers, preferring to
face a horse rather than the deep blue sea. The
helmsman slowly reversed away from the jetty then
forward, turning the boat horizontal to the beach before
opening full throttle, the speed was exhilarating, the
boat rose out of the water then slap back down as it
bounced along the waters surface, spray hitting them
full in the face as they held on tightly, their bodies
absorbing the forces as the boat hit the water, eyes
watering the wind rushing by brushing their hair,
straining follicles at their roots. Kenft had no idea
where they were headed, about level with the spot
where he and Neil liked to snorkel the helmsman spun
the helm anticlockwise, the boat veered sharply left in
an instant, taking Kenft by surprise, they now faced
directly at the white turbulent surf breaking over the
reef.
“Hold on,” cried Dave.
The boat was launched into the breaking waves
and propelled into the air, landing on the other side;
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they were now in deep, dark blue water out of the
safety of the relatively calm waters of the azure blue
lagoon. The ocean was very choppy, the breeze kicking
up the waves and the boat tossed about like a cork, the
helmsman chose his spot then dropped anchor. Putting
on the gear proved difficult in those conditions, Art
called for assistance, Kenft looked on helplessly as he
struggled with his own, both would have found it easier
if they stood up but neither had the confidence knowing
they’d find themselves over board prematurely. Dave
assisted Art with his tank, Kenft then stupidly gouged
out a chunk of his finger on the barbed clasp on his
weight belt, ‘oh, typical clumsy me’, it was only a nick
but it bled profusely, strangely Kenft’s thoughts turned
to a National Geographic film reminding him of the
extremely receptive sense of smell, specifically blood,
that is the attribute of a sub species of the genus
selachimorpha, or to put it simply, shark, his blood
trickled down to his wrist dripping into the bottom of
the boat as he held up his arm in a vain attempt to
stem the flow. He imagined his dive was now in
jeopardy, if he dived his life and the lives of his buddies
would be at risk. He was over reacting, his dive buddy
reached for the first aid kit stowed in the bow of the
boat, pulled out a blue elastoplast, if there was any
significance in its colour he didn’t know, and he
promptly wrapped it around Kenft’s bleeding finger.
Dive manager Dave gave some last minute instructions
stamping his mark of authority on the proceedings
before going over the side, how he could stand up
without holding on was incomprehensible with the boat
randomly lurching all over the place in the turbulent
water.
“We stay together as a group, the four of us,
once in the water we will descend one metre at a time
clearing our ears as we go,” for Kenft’s benefit he
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Dr.K
demonstrated holding his nose, “I shall lead, stay
behind me at all times. Keep your hands and arms
tucked under your chest, out of harms way, and don’t
touch anything in the coral, some things could take a
finger or give you a nasty sting.” Kenft looks at his
bleeding finger, thinking he’s going to become fish bait.
“Finally, when I give the signal to surface, we
will surface together taking our time, the same manner
we go down, before you break surface raise your arm
above your head checking for any obstacles, like the
boat for instance, which may be right above you, okay,
lets go diving.”
Kenft watched the others closely, last minute
checks of the equipment, like making sure the air was
turned on and flowing freely through the regulator,
then he followed Art, they sat on the side of the boat
backs to the water, Dave shouted out the instruction,
“After three.”
This will be another first for Kenft, just as he’d
seen them do it in the films, will he instinctively go on
command, will he hesitate, or will he lose his nerve
completely and freeze.
“One, two, three!”
Splash, Kenft lost all sense of orientation, didn’t
know what was up or down as he floundered in the
choppy sea, the laws of buoyancy sorted it out for him
as his head broke the surface, with Art close by.
Reaching for the bcv controls Kenft depressed the
deflate button to begin the decent, one metre at a
time, past the five metre mark his previous depth in
the lagoon, he had no idea how deep they were going,
then he felt the pressure build up, his ears started to
hurt, as instructed he held his nose and forced air into
his eustachian tubes equalising the pressure in his
middle ears, repeating the process several times before
they reached their goal, they were rock bottom. Kenft
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momentarily was in fear for his life, checking his
pressure gauge, thanking his lucky stars his mask
wasn’t filling up with water, watching Dave closely
copying his posture, arms tucked underneath,
controlling his breathing contending with the extra
pressure of water pressing in on him and constantly
adjusting his buoyancy level. Then he began to relax,
completely forgetting his gashed finger and any
threatening danger it presented, he began taking notice
of the alien environment, banks of coral encrusted rock
to the right and to the left, an underwater canyon, a
mixture of rock and sandy sea floor, this area was
known as the Japanese garden, in better conditions
Kenft could imagine the myriad of colours as different
corals exposed themselves from the safety of their
excreted calcious incarcerations.
Visibility wasn’t great, but good enough not to
spoil the dive, the turbulent waters had stirred things
up a bit and suspended sediments slightly clouded the
scene, the fun bit as the sea surged backwards and
forwards through the coral corridors taking the divers
with it, at one point forcing Kenft towards a bank of
coral, he had no choice but to break the rules and put a
hand out to stop himself colliding into it. His confidence
grew by the minute, Dave was keeping an eye out for
any possible dangers, Kenft’s dive buddy kept a vigilant
eye on him adjusting his gear as they went reassuringly
letting him know he was there and showing one or two
tips on technique, Art meanwhile began larking about
swimming on his back blowing bubble rings and taking
photographs. Disappointingly they didn’t encounter
much marine life, the odd grouper or eel, he’d hoped to
encounter something a little bigger than he had seen in
the shallows and no wrecks either, Kenft had seen
more snorkelling in the shallows of the lagoon but
experiencing diving at that depth was enough in itself.
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Time to surface, Dave gave the signal, he
couldn’t have chosen a better spot, an expanse of white
coral sand encircled by a few black volcanic rocks, it
had an almost spiritual feel about it as slowly, serenely,
they began to surface, Kenft wanted to stay there
forever, forever in suspended animation, weightless, it
was surreal. Only now, while suspended a few metres
from the bottom could he truly appreciate the incidence
of depth and vastness as he peered out from his mask,
wide eyed, surveying all around him, in awe, looking far
out into the dark blue yonder. If he weren’t careful he
would be left behind as he lost himself in the moment.
Gradually inflating his bcv he eventually broke surface,
forgetting to raise his arm as he did so, only a short
distance from the boat, still being tossed about in the
rough surf, climbing out was going to be tricky. Kenft
was first, struggling to remove his flippers with one
hand as he held onto the boat with the other, it was
physically demanding being knocked from pillar to post
by the waves, eventually getting a grip he made it,
hauling himself out of the water followed closely by the
others.
All safely aboard the helmsman made way, this
time allowing the power of the waves to take them
back into the lagoon, feathering the throttle ever so
slightly to maintain directional control.
Energy sapped the divers warily removed their
apparatus stowing it in the bottom of the boat, Dave
patted Kenft on the back.
“Well done you survived, your breathing was
good. Now you do your diving course back home and
qualify proper, yes.”
“Cheers, thanks Dave that was brilliant.”
Words of encouragement indeed as they sped
back to the jetty, now Kenft felt like he was a scuba
diver, he checked with Dave of the actual depth they
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had reached, Dave twisted his left wrist to look at his
chronometer.
“Twenty metres,” informed Dave.
‘Blimey, that’s about sixty five feet’. After
embarrassing himself falling out of the boat onto the
beach, it was off with the wetsuit soaking it in the tank
of freshwater at the dive station and a fresh plaster on
his still bleeding finger. He bought the tee shirt, he
thought he’d earned it, and Art referred to him as his
dive buddy from then on.
That wasn’t the end of the holiday adventure,
next up was deep-sea fishing then the wedding, almost
forgetting the reason why they were there in the first
place. Early morning and a short taxi ride to the capital,
Port Louis, the hotel provided lunch in the form of a
picnic basket, they set out a mile or so from the port.
The captain and his two crew members kept an eye out
for feeding birds diving into the water, signifying the
presence of a shoal of smaller fish, attracting larger
fish, their quarry. The captain heads straight for the
bird’s position, his crew prepared four rods, adding the
lures and casting them out, dragging them behind the
boat, then the waiting game, Kenft observed from the
top deck, a choppy sea made the ride a little more
interesting.
One by one the tip of each rod twitched and
bent as the bait was taken, the crew boys called to
their paying guest’s to start hauling them in, each
taking their turn, Mr Neil, a keen angler first to grab a
rod. Yellow fin tuna and Dorado’s, Dorado a member of
the sail fin family, known as mahi-mahi by the
Hawaiians, formed the majority of the catch. This
process repeated several times, scanning the horizon
for the next flock of diving birds, Kenft marvelled at the
sightings of the occasional flying fish, much bigger than
he imagined and quite a spectacle as they glide using
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Dr.K
their elongated pectoral fins, skimming the surface and
attaining distances much further than he ever
envisaged. Fishing all day they certainly had value for
money, considering it was out of season they didn’t do
too badly catching well over twenty specimens in total,
the captain was pleased with the hall, as it’s his boat he
stakes a claim for the majority of them and gives his
customers a few specimens to take back for the hotel
chef to prepare, none went to waste and on the menu
that evening.
The day of the wedding, the reason they were
there, a bright sunny day, a slight onshore breeze
ruffling the cloth adorned the ceremonial table under
the pagoda on the beech. While the girls did their thing,
busily pampering themselves, Mr Neil feeling the nerves
needed to kill a bit of time, suggested a round of pitch
and putt, he along with Kenft and Art hit a few balls.
Art complaining it had been some time since he last
played proceeded to wipe them off the table, he played
like a pro. The bride, beautiful in the traditional white
wedding dress she’d literally carried all the way from
England, ringlets in her hair, the groom smart in his
white suit, Kenft, not knowing he was to be witness, in
his Hawaiian style, blue, palm tree motiffed, short
sleeved shirt and cool baggy white cotton trousers. The
procession was escorted to the pagoda on the beach to
the lively sound and rhythm of Mauritian Creole music
and song, performed by the equally colourfully dressed
band. The minister addressed the couple and gathered
crowd, other hotel guest’s looking on admiringly, as he
preached. It wasn’t a religious ceremony, instead, after
the formalities of the ‘Do you take and the I do’s’, he
genuinely spoke from the heart, no notes or transcripts,
he spoke about two people and their love for one
another and how they will progress through life,
passionately,
compassionately
and
devotedly,
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emphasising their path will inevitably be strewn with
difficulties of varying degrees, but their love for one
another and support of their all their friends and family
will always see them through. A few tears were shed,
Kate wiping away a tear maybe with a tinge of envy, as
the couple were pronounced man and wife and sat at
the table to sign the certificates, the witnesses,
Shannon and Kenft, stood proudly by their side, taking
their turn to add their signatures, simultaneously the
photographer moved amongst the gathering taking his
shots from all angles the guests doing likewise. A
reception was held in the nearby beach restaurant, it
would be a wedding never to be forgotten, a blessing in
the town church took place shortly after their return
home, Kenft wore the same shirt and cotton trousers to
mark the occasion.
Tribute
By Tommo.
***
Months later, back to the everyday routine and
Kenft was to find out the FTO was yet another piece of
merchandise he wasn’t meant to have. He was driving
home from having his hair cut at his sisters; it was
dark, headlights dipped for passing cars travelling in
the opposite direction and having just gone through
town onto the open road, his right foot gently
depressed the accelerator, the car began to pick up
speed, at the first opportunity he flicked the headlights
onto full beam.
“OH FUCK!”
His eyeballs nearly popping out of his head with
fright, to his horror and amazement, there, stood in the
middle of the road, frozen by his lights, a large furry
beast, a huge array of antlers protruding from its head
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and eyes aglow like beacons, the eyes of the devil
himself staring straight at him, snorting its breath from
its nostrils. With little time to react Kenft instinctively
braked, arms outstretched, elbows locked, white
knuckles gripped the steering wheel, desperately he
took evasive action swerving to the right, his heart
missed a beat, ‘bloody hell a woolly mammoth, this is
it, I’m a dead man’, heart now pounding in his chest
cavity with visions of a mangled car and flesh, some of
it his, a smashed windscreen and the hairy beast in his
lap. Well it was big from his perspective, sure not quite
as big as a mammoth, but it might as well had been.
Kenft’s car caught its hindquarters, knocking the
stag from off its hooves, spinning it around
hitting the rear of his car probably with its head as it
passed by. Unlike the time when he rolled his car this
all happened so quickly, there was no time to think,
amazed to be in one piece, facing the right way, still on
the road and still travelling, he pulled over to the side
of the road. Checking his wing mirror for traffic, shaken
he gingerly emerged to inspect his car for subsequent
damage, the best he could in the dark, in the glare
from his headlights, he didn’t have a torch on him,
make that ‘headlight’, one off, the nearside headlamp
was out smashed to pieces, he could just make out
some damage to the cars wing, making sure it was
clear of the wheel his thoughts turned to the animal,
‘was it dead, should I go look for it, those antlers could
do me a great deal of damage if it’s only injured, it isn’t
going to be happy, would I be able to find it in the
dark, vets can be expensive, stupid animal’. Kenft
decided he didn’t want to know, best leave well alone,
hopefully it’s only stunned and ran off into the
undergrowth to recover, but judging by the damage to
his car it was probably a false hope. He returned to his
car pulled away leaving the scene and limped home,
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fingers crossed nothing would fall off on the way. It
seemed ages before he arrived home, he reversed his
car into it’s usual place in Kate’s drive, beside the
house, just in front of the Frontera, he walked along
the front pathway to the other side of the house and
entered the front door, welcomed home with a bark
followed by a rapid wagging tail and the offering of the
big fluffy rabbit as a present from Diesy. Annoyed, he
explained his evening’s escapade to Kate and no, he
hadn’t fetched the fish and chips. If only he had
accepted that offer of another cup of coffee from sis, he
would have been ten minutes later and no stag.
Daylight, the following morning and the extent
of the visible damage revealed, headlight gone as he
suspected, driving light dangling towards the ground
held in place only by its wiring, wing, front valance and
bonnet badly crumpled as was the rear panel on the
same side, remnant of stag, tufts of coarse hair trapped
between cracked and flaking paintwork, ‘aha! DNA
evidence for the insurance company,’ he left it in situ
along with the smearing of dung, at least the car, if not
legal, was drivable. Now for the hassle, and the call to
the insurance company to inform them of the good
news, he searched for his documents and their phone
number. Surprisingly they were brilliant and efficient,
as long as Kenft continued paying his instalments, if he
took the car to their recommended garage an initial
assessment would be made and if needed a hire car
would be allocated to him. Kenft had to drive the wreck
to the city, rush hour and passes a road traffic accident
on the way attracting discerning looks from other
motorists, ‘I know what you are all thinking and you’re
all wrong’.
The assessor, made aware of his pending
arrival, is waiting for him, clipboard in hand; he makes
an instant ‘on the spot’ decision.
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“You won’t be driving this vehicle anywhere else
today sir, I’ll sort out another car for you.”
Filling in the forms with all his details, an
explanation of the events leading up to the accident
and pointing out the DNA evidence, still attached to the
front of the vehicle, Kenft is handed the keys to a hire
car and told he will be informed as to the extent of the
damage and the resultant course of action to be taken.
Over a week later and Kenft has to chase them up,
then wished he hadn’t, they wrote it off, too costly to
repair, he couldn’t believe it, it would be close to, if not
more than, five thousand pounds to put back on the
road and as Kenft’s previous experience told him, it
would never feel quite the same.
So the haggling began with the loss adjusters
over the settlement, in the end losing almost two
thousand in depreciation, the best he could do,
compounding his sense of loss, feeling really hard done
by, now the aggravation of finding a replacement, and
with less collateral. Eventually, over time, his hatred for
the stag subsided and thanked his lucky stars he was
alive and able to tell the tale, it could have been a
different story. That’s two serious accidents, two cars
written off and he’s walked away from both of them,
the consequences of the bump on the head from the
first may manifest itself someway, sometime in the
future, who knows, he’s not looking forward to the
third, everything happens in three’s, it may not be third
time lucky.
Biding his time before finding a replacement, but
the hire car had to eventually go back, impatience got
the better of him, another FTO, black, for sale privately,
Kenft went for a look, a test drive and impulse
convinced him to buy it, it was a mistake its quality
nowhere near the same as the silver one, but his
budget now limited. Tone always advised never to buy
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a vehicle when there’s an R in the month, this was
December and it was snowing. Kenft kept the
registration from the silver FTO and transferred it to his
black one.
Kenft had not chosen wisely when he decided to
change jobs, he’d been head hunted and made the
offer he just couldn’t refuse, but he should have
checked the company’s financial position first, done his
homework. They were in trouble, which was a pity,
they had a good team and turned out a good product
and service, so he found it hard to accept, he was
enjoying his work at the time, but redundancy loomed.
It was a Monday morning and everyone were called to
an extraordinary meeting in the workshop, Jason, the
companies managing director, announced the company
had stopped trading, a black Monday. Tuesday, and the
company is declared insolvent, everyone were now
redundant with immediate effect, it wasn’t a nice
feeling, after filling in forms for the assessor’s Kenft,
along with the others, dejectedly went home to break
the news to their respective families.
Kenft updated his resume, uploaded copies to
various agents, busy researched vacancies on the
internet, making phone calls, he was then thrown an
unexpected lifeline, Kate returned home from work with
word from her employers.
“They have expressed an interest in taking on
your lot,” she said keenly, sensing she’s in a position of
some power, a position to do some good.
“How do you mean, take on, to what extent.”
Kenft was interested, especially if it meant he
could keep the team together, honour their current
contracts and commitments, keeping the customers
happy, it wouldn’t work any other way.
“Well, in the day’s when we were part of the
corporation, owned by the Americans, we had a
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department which specialised in your game, material
handling, plant and processing equipment.”
“Yes, I was aware of that, at one stage I had
applied for a position as project engineer, but it all went
rather quiet, it was then I leant your company was
being sold off and assumed the position no longer
available.”
“Morris, Julian and Robert, our heads of
department, have had a meeting, they’re always
thinking about new ideas to supplement our current
products, to boost turnover and profitability, we lead a
hand to mouth existence, doing well one minute and
struggling the next, so maybe they thought this could
be an ideal opportunity to get back into the materials
handling game. Would you be interested?”
“Sure, why not, I would be happy to listen to
anything they may have to say, as you well know Kate
I always leave my options open,” enthused Kenft.
“Okay, I’ll tell Morris, he’s talking to the head
honchos in Holland, if he has any success he’ll be in
touch.” The seed had been planted.
Morris called Kenft in for a meeting, he had to
strike while the iron was hot, the defunct company’s
assets were in the process of being broken up and sold
off. Kate shows him to the conference room and makes
him a coffee, informing him Morris was currently on the
phone but would be with him shortly and wished him
luck. Kenft didn’t know what to expect, this was new
territory to him, he’d not met Morris before. Morris
entered the room and introduced himself, a tall slender
man, shirt and tie, relaxed, made himself a coffee and
sat down at the head of the table, a position he was
obviously used to, of a friendly disposition he made
Kenft feel at ease, he was easy to talk to. He wanted to
know everything Kenft knew about the company and he
told him anything he was privy to, the state of the
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enquiry book, it’s estimated value, number of
employee’s, what they were like to work for, the
customer base and so on. Morris gave Kenft a bit of
background on their situation; their current owners,
their working practices and philosophy, then gave him a
tour of the factory.
Both took heart from their meeting, it was
positive, Morris would report back to his guys, Kenft
meanwhile considered it prudent to involve the
directors of the company his end, he called them to find
out if they would be interested in working together
again, keeping the team together but under the
umbrella of a larger concern, that’s how Kenft
envisaged it, that’s how Kenft ideally wanted it. The
next stage a meeting arranged with all interested
parties, the Dutch owner, Morris, Kenft and his ex
employers, all sat around the table. All gave positive
feedback, with the exception of Jason, he remained
guarded, tentative, holding back, the others listened
but remained relatively quiet. The meeting broke up,
Kenft not sure of its pending outcome or who will be
contacting who, as far as Kenft was concerned he was
the minnow, he and Kate merely the go-betweens, the
instigators bringing the bigger fish together.
Ex-workmates from the workshop remained in
contact with Kenft, wanting to know what was
transpiring, wanting the opportunity to work with him
again, they in turn fed Kenft with information of
unfolding events and their current situation, some had
been kept in work contracting directly to the customer,
keeping their ears to the ground. Kenft discovered why
Jason attended the meeting and the reason behind his
manner, he had no intention of setting up with Morris,
he had already began setting up another business,
before he’d even announced the insolvency of his
existing company and the inevitable redundancies.
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Dr.K
Kenft, felt betrayed, he was on his own, the Dutchman,
through Morris, offered him a temporary three month
contract to start things off and agreed to secure the
purchase of intellectual property rights from the
insolvency company, giving them a head start, Kenft
agreed terms, he had nothing else on the table, so
grabbed the opportunity. Kate was happy, she’d helped
her man and now they would be working together.
Working hard, Kenft contacted the entire
customer base informing them of the situation and
the new set-up, tendering outstanding and resultant
new enquiries, arranging meetings, site visits,
formulating design and layout drawings, pricing and
quotations, working on orders successfully won,
acclimatising to new procedures and surroundings,
working himself into the ground desperately trying to
win over the confidence of key customers made all the
more difficult with Jason and others calling in past
favours.
Again Kenft found the metaphoric brick walls put
before him, to be scaled or knocked down and were
becoming tiresome, he’d been here many times before.
Although, eventually, he had assistance, it all began to
stack up against him. The first three months were up;
he was only offered another temporary contract on a
month-by-month basis, scant reward for all the effort
he’d put in. He considered it a kick in the teeth and
unethical to continue without the reassurance and
commitment of at least a permanent contract, he
turned down their offer. Morris, disappointed,
desperately tried to talk Kenft to accept the offer but to
no avail, his last ditch effort, he arranged to meet him
face to face, with Robert his design office manager for
support, on neutral ground to discuss things further. An
improved contract was put on the table, permanent and
more money. Kenft was given a couple of days to think
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about it and the meeting adjourned. As they left the
bar, Robert, out of earshot from Morris, tells Kenft he
didn’t have everyone’s one hundred percent support,
the passing shot that confirmed Kenft’s initial decision
as the correct one and his first impressions of the
company in general. The company was a shadow of its
former self and the empathy of its workforce reflected
this, appearing to go through the motions, there was
no urgency or enthusiasm about the place, a lack of
direction or leadership, no one had a good word to say,
waiting, expecting or hoping for the company to fold or
to be laid off, it was dire. Needless to say Kenft never
returned, if he didn’t have everyone behind him, one
hundred percent committed to the task, as he would
have been, then he would be flogging a dead horse.
During this time Kenft’s health had suffered a
relapse, his old problem had resurfaced and flared up
again so it was back to the doctors, another course of
mezalazine, frequent blood tests and the usual referral
to see the consultant and the dreaded possibility of yet
another biopsy.
***
A shocker of a phone call, Kenft’s father was
dying, dying of cancer, his partner, Beryl, telephones
him to let him know, it was at an advanced stage. He
hadn’t seen or heard from his father for years, the last
time was visiting him in hospital; he’d had a heart
attack playing golf on the links and underwent a
quadruple heart bypass. He didn’t want to know Kenft
at the time; he was only interested in talking golf with
his other visitors. That aside Kenft felt it was his duty
to see him, asking his sisters and brother if they
wanted to join him. Elder sis was reluctant at first,
husband Verdun persuaded her telling her that
although he understood why she didn’t want to she
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may live to regret it later, like Kenft she had never
forgiven him.
Kenft picked them all up and drove over to see
him. He was pleased, and Beryl, under the
misapprehension she now had the family together,
made them welcome, they had only come to say their
goodbyes. Big sis couldn’t bring herself to see him
again, Kenft called twice more, the last time at Beryl’s
request to discuss the will and funeral details, the guy
wasn’t even dead yet, although on his last legs spaced
out on morphine, he thought it a smidgen premature.
“Your father doesn’t have much, we’ve scrapped
enough together to pay for his funeral.”
“Oh good.”
“Now, being almost the last one in my family I’m
due to inherit quite a bit of cash, your fathers wish,
should he have survived longer than me, was to leave it
to your younger sister,” she paused to wait for a
reaction, none was forthcoming, “do you want me to
change it?” she added hoping to gain Kenft’s
acceptance and gratitude.
Kenft wasn’t interested,
“No, I know he has nothing, and no I don’t want
you to change it,” Kenft thought it despicable even to
suggest it; she wasn’t going to buy him.
“Are there any of his belongings here that you
would like, books, photo albums?”
“No, nothing thanks.”
Kenft was edgy, uncomfortable, he wanted to
leave.
“Would you and the rest of the family
accompany me at the crematorium?” she asked
sheepishly, looking for some degree of sympathy.
“I don’t know I’ll have to ask the others,”
‘Crematorium? Dad always spoke of leaving his
body to medical science, no doubt she’s changed that’.
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Kenft left it at that saying he would be in touch
regarding her request.
Beryl contacted Kenft a couple of days later to
inform him his dad had passed away. Kenft felt sorrow,
but no sense of loss, no grief, the thoughts of helping
his mother pick up the shattered remains of her life
over twenty years ago still fresh in his mind.
“The funeral, are you going to his funeral?”
Kenft’s family enquired of him, “we’re not going if your
not.” the collective response.
‘What the hell has it got to do with me who goes
to his funeral or not, it’s a free country, you can all do
what you want, no one will bother one way or the
other, especially me’.
“Yes, I guess I will probably go, after all he was
my dad at the end of the day, no getting away from
that, last respects and all.”
With the exception of younger brother, who just
couldn’t face it, big sis and Verdun, little sis and Kelvin,
along with mother, Kate, Tanya and Karl, a family party
of sorts decided to go. Kenft didn’t have the nerve to
tell them of Beryl’s request; he knew it would be an
emphatic, ‘no way’; he called her and informed her of
such. It was like gate-crashing, Kenft felt he was gatecrashing his own father’s funeral and shouldn’t be
there, felt he didn’t have the right to be there, he felt
like an outsider, the others probably felt the same way.
One spare pew towards the front, on the right
hand side of the isle, enough room for five, Verdun and
Kate stood at the back, little sis and Kelvin had arrived
early and sat further forward on the opposite side.
Beryl arrived alone, comforted by one of Kenft’s aunt’s,
his dads sister, they sat in the front pew, callously he
felt nothing for her, his mother had shown no signs of
grieving, she was all cried out, she had shed enough
tears over him twenty years ago, anger still heavy in
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Dr.K
her heart. His dad was well represented by the naval
association and his golf club, the vicar spoke for Beryl
describing the last twenty years and the wonderful life
she had shared with him, which must have hurt his
mother immensely, Kenft would totally understand if
she broke down at this point and wanted to leave, but
surprisingly she held firm. Kenft, his mother, brother
and sisters did get a mention, but to Kenft it sounded
more of an addendum, an after thought, an ‘oh yes, by
the way there were other people involved in his life,
inconsequential people, hardly worthy of a mention
though’. Hasten to say they didn’t stay long, Kenft
shook hands, recognised by some of his dad’s old
associates,
then
shunned
anything
organised
afterwards, instead choosing to meet up with little
brother who had organised a wake in his fathers
memory, drinks and food in a pub several miles away.
Months later and moving house, the contents
that is, their mothers house, the two brothers help their
mother to move to her new retirement home, a
maisonette closer to the town centre, she will be more
comfortable there, no more twisty stairs to climb with
her arthritic leg, a newer place so no maintenance
problems to worry about. Offloading in the dark, the
final load, Kenft opens the rear doors to the van, the
van is stacked full, to the limit, he shifts a box
disturbing others and watched, his hands full he is
helpless, as if in slow motion an insignificant mirror,
insignificant in as much it is nothing to look at,
worthless, but significant in as much it has been in the
family since he can remember, over fifty five years, at
least a lot older than he was, he watched as it slid out
of the van and smashed onto the road at his feet, in
pieces, he’s frozen to the spot, agape the look of horror
is etched on his pale face highlighted by the orange
glow from the nearby street light, seven years, a time
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span of seven years instantly imprinted into his
subconscious, will it be seven years of bad luck? He
doesn’t regard himself as superstitious but this for
some reason had unnerved him. The mirror triggers his
memory, his thoughts turned to images, images of that
mirror hanging on the living room wall of the family
home when he was a kid, images of his father combing
back his black hair, using that mirror, was this a sign,
was this going to be the start of something sinister,
was his father going to come back in some way, to
haunt him, or was he just being stupid?
***
Some time later, bedtime and Kenft had already
made himself comfortable under the duvet, Kate enters
the room, for no reason she sounded off with a tirade
of abuse aimed at Kenft, he didn’t understand why, was
it too much white wine, the curse of the mirror kicking
in, or was she just looking for confrontation, she’d
picked on the wrong guy at the wrong time, whichever,
as far as he was concerned he’d done nothing wrong.
Unable to fathom why he was being subjected to such a
rant he wasn’t going to stand for it, not wanting any
confrontation, without saying a word flung back the
duvet, dressed and, to her astonishment, walked out.
Kenft drove off in his car aiming for anywhere, he
certainly didn’t want to spend the night with Kate, he
couldn’t go to his home, he didn’t want to disturb
anyone at that time of night, he kept on driving and
driving, for most of the night. His final destination, his
sanctuary, the coast, parking up he slept uncomfortably
in the car for a couple of hours before venturing out,
sat atop the shingle bank, alone, the waves crashing
onto the beach a stiff onshore breeze, then watched the
sunrise, the orange orb rising out of the sea, peace and
tranquillity. The voice in his head asking questions, he
racked his brains thinking hard to try and work out
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what had sparked it all off, he was clueless, if she was
looking for attention, some understanding of some kind
then she’d gone about it completely the wrong way.
Kenft drove home, not to Kate’s but parked outside the
front of Tones at the old fire station, it was early so he
waited for signs of life before venturing out. Tone
understood the situation only too well; he’d been there
a few times himself and offered Kenft a room.
“We don’t do stress and we don’t do panic, stay
as long as you want ol’mate.”
Kenft accepted without hesitation, he stayed
eight week’s, Tone had a door key cut for him. Out of
work Kenft helped Tone in his workshop, one
interesting project was rebuilding the suspension on a
classic Scimitar, completely stripping it out, fitting new
bushes, cleaning components, a fresh coat of paint,
new brake pipes, the full works, Kenft earns his keep,
but he knew he couldn’t carry on like this, or being a
burden on Tone, it had to be short term. Although they
did have a ball, working together, comty meetings,
back home for one of Tone’s special dinners, and
impromptu music nights, Tone cleaning the dust off his
DJ gear and having a good sing along to the golden
oldies, usually ending up with tears of laughter running
down their cheeks.
First he had to find employment. The company
he had left to join Jason for were restructuring and
looking for two project engineers, he receives a
message to call the design manager, if he was at all
interested. The thought of going back, he had left on
good terms, he ran it through his mind a few times
before he picked up the phone and agreed to an
interview. The interview goes well and he’s offered the
position, they agree a start date, the following month.
Simultaneously he makes up with Kate and moves back
in with her, things were working out nicely, before
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Kenft started his new job he and Kate decide to embark
on a week’s tour of Devon and Cornwall and by all
accounts had a jolly good time.
The job went well, training on the new 3D
computer design software, visits abroad to Ireland and
Denmark and sharing the burden of driving the thirty
two miles to work with Nick, Tones son. The tenancy
agreement with the lads in his house was coming up to
twelve months and renewal, but they were going their
separate ways so wouldn’t be continuing with the
agreement. This wasn’t a problem, Kenft’s son Karl
wanted a change, he wanted to move back, with his
family, to his hometown and asked his dad if he could
rent the house, Kenft agreed in principle, but only on
the proviso he finds employment in town first. This he
does and Kenft hires a van to move one tenant out and
his next tenant in.
Art, contemplating his future, made noises
within his organisation; he’d had enough of Sweden
and foreign assignments and wanted to move back
home permanently. He had to bide his time until a
position became available. As it was a large corporation
he didn’t have to wait long, he knew people; he had
contacts in influential positions and could pull a few
strings. He was given a choice of three possibilities,
preferring somewhere warm he and Nancy chose
Florida, Orlando, Nancy dished out the invites to her
new home before she’d even started packing, Kate
being one of the first on her list.
Kenft’s life appeared to be back on track, a half
decent job paying reasonably well and putting the
hours in, domestically he and Kate appearing to be
doing just fine, Kate’s two offspring, Ben and Rachel
continuing with their university education, Kenft’s
Tanya was settled with her new man Al, looking after
their home and new addition to the family grandson
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Kieran, at the same time studying at the university
hospital for her nursing qualifications, while Karl had
bettered himself with his new job and moved into his
dad’s house with Learhna and their new addition to the
family grandson Kyle, a pattern emerging with the
names, an influx of K’s? Socially, comty meetings
continued as did the rugby club lunches, invitations
abound to various classic car and off road functions
with Tone, the works Christmas dinners and the
accepted invitation to join Art and Nancy for two weeks
in Orlando, it couldn’t be better.
The Prayers
(Everyone bowed their heads, believers and nonbelievers alike, as the vicar delivered from the bible.)
***
Much later and everything goes pear shaped,
work and he’s given an ultimatum, he’s not picking up
the new software as quickly as they would like, he’s
called into the design manager’s office.
“How soon do you think you will be up to speed
on the software?”
“How long is a piece of string?” replied Kenft
curtly, “we don’t all learn at the same rate, you don’t
need me to tell you that. I had no problem with 2D and
that I mostly taught myself,” defending his corner. “3D
is a whole new ballgame.”
Kenft didn’t have the benefit of his university
education, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t do it, he
was just a little slower, needing time to built up his
confidence. The day previous, Brian, the managing
director had been pacing up and down the office like a
demented dickensian dictator, watching everyone
closely and had obviously voiced his opinions to the
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design office manager. If he understood what else was
going on then maybe he would have thought twice
before doing so. Kenft had spoken his mind, voiced his
opinion when asked, it wasn’t the right time or place
but said what he had to say, defending other members
of staff on the Denmark trip, this was probably his
punishment. Brian tended to go off on one on a regular
basis; if it was your turn in the firing line nothing was
going to stop him. He’s not the sort of person you could
always look up to, not because he was only five foot
nothing but because he strutted around in T-shirt,
shorts and trainers, summer and winter, regardless of
the weather, running on how great America is and
letting everyone know who’s boss, while everybody else
had to adhere to the health and safety regulations in
overalls, steel toe caps and all the rest of the personal
protection paraphernalia. Generally he wasn’t a bad
guy, especially if he lay off the drink. He was probably
also pissed off with the fact Kenft was off to Florida, his
neck of the woods, the location of his holiday home and
the companies American agent.
“How long have I got then,” continued Kenft.
“Do you think four weeks is enough?”
“And if not, what’s the alternative?”
“Then I’ll have no choice but to accept your
resignation.”
He new this wasn’t what the design manager
wanted, he was purely acting as Brian’s puppet, he and
Kenft generally worked well together.
“Then you give me no choice, I’m handing in my
notice.”
Kenft wasn’t going to be bullied by anyone.
He considered the situation untenable, as far as
he was concerned he had nothing to prove and not
prepared to work under that kind of pressure, he didn’t
need it. At least he lasted longer than the other guy
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who started the same time as Kenft. He was soon given
his marching orders because he wouldn’t work the
overtime, give his required pound of flesh, the poor
chap couldn’t please anybody, he was also under the
cosh from his wife, he was between a rock and a hard
place and Kenft sympathised. Kenft walked out that
night and didn’t go back, ‘stuff working my notice
either, they can swivel’.
Kenft told Kate he’d resigned; she wasn’t at best
pleased and gave him another verbal lashing, her
daughter Rachel jumped to his defence.
“Ma, after what he’s been through I don’t think
they are the words he wants to hear right now, do
you?”
‘Hurrah! I have an ally, someone on my side, at
last’, Kenft couldn’t have appreciated her words more.
Kate was obviously more concerned with her
housekeeping money, their trip to America was all
booked so no going back there, plus he was still paying
for his Mauritius jaunt, splashing out not thinking he’d
be doing anything along those lines ever again. Back
from their two weeks in Orlando, Orange County,
Seminole country, and time for Kenft to concentrate on
finding another occupation, again. To move around
from company to company was the occupational hazard
for contract staff but now preferred something
permanent, he’d had enough of moving around and
wanted to put down roots, but for the moment he
would accept anything on offer even short term.
Looking back, Art and Nancy were suburb hosts
as ever, although Art had to work Nancy had organised
the itinerary along with Carmen. Their new home, on a
gated development, was adorably large and airy with
spacious accommodation with high ceilings, outdoor
heated swimming pool and jacousy; the double garage
housed the black modern corvette with the older classic
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red and white corvette alongside, Arts pride and joy.
They spoilt Kate and Kenft with visits to Cocoa beach
and a view of the shuttle launch pad on the east coast,
St.Pete’s beach, Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico in the
west, an airboat ride with captain Bill, showing off with
his high speed three sixty turns and demonstrating the
craft’s high power by skimming over sand banks,
mixing it with the gator’s in the everglades and enjoyed
a meal of gator tail and home made crisps in a café
nearby, a night out in the old town then Universal
studio’s, the Hard Rock Café and Pat O’Brien’s bar, a
meal with the buxom gal’s at Hooter’s, Busch gardens,
the helter skelter ride and the tigers, the amazing
Cirque du Soleil, Disney World and the weekends
visitor’s, Flash with his wife and daughter. Art and
Kenft cruised the boulevards in the classic corvette, and
dubbed Crockett and Tubbs by the girls. Two wonderful
weeks and people he would never forget and hold dear
to his heart. There was a down side, unfortunately, with
Art at work the girls and Kenft take a drive, downtown
Orlando, the roof down Kenft lorded it, arms out
stretched on the back seat relishing the cool breeze
taking in the sights as the girls chatted in the front.
How or why? Kate choose to ridicule Kenft in front of
Nancy by bringing up the subject of Tracey and
Graham, making derogatory remarks unjustifiably
implicating Kenft, he was astounded to silence, he
wasn’t going to bite and take the bait nodding his head
with eyebrows raised, he couldn’t believe it, Nancy,
noticing Kenft’s reaction of disgust in her rear view
mirror quickly, diplomatically changed the subject, later
pulling into Brannigans for refreshments, something to
eat and drink.
Kenft loved the swimming pool enjoying a dip at
every opportunity; Art wouldn’t enter the water unless
its temperature was in excess of eighty degrees. Flash’s
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young daughter couldn’t wait to jump in, with her
inflated armbands, Kenft wanted to interact as he
would have done with his grandsons, he loved playing
with kids but he felt he was under constant
observation, like he was some kind of pervert or
something, this unnerved him greatly, awkwardly and
unnaturally he held back, making matters worse
probably, but unfortunately that was the sign of the
times.
Back home and Kenft receives an email from an
agent, a job opportunity twenty or so miles away, Kenft
responded, as requested, with a little more bullshit
explaining how the company would benefit from his
experience and skill set, an interview had been won.
The position was design engineering but in a slightly
different environment, a different product to what he
was used to, and manufacturing techniques, batch
production. The interview with the engineering director
went well and he was shown round the factory, the
company well established and had been in existence for
well over two decades, they were looking for someone
for an immediate start, a replacement, no problem
there.
Kenft went home and awaited the call. The
engineering director called that very evening, he asked
a couple more questions before divulging he was in
negotiations with the agent, he was obviously haggling
over the fee, why use agents if you don’t like paying
their fees, he confirmed he was interested in taking
Kenft on and would call him, one way or the other,
tomorrow. He called, as promised, and offered Kenft
the job. That was a positive in the continuing melee of
negatives, Karl and Learhna were having problems,
she’d walked out taking son Kyle with her, and Kenft
began settling into his new job when Kate kicks off
again.
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A visit from her ex sister in law and her new
husband Vinny, they were staying for the weekend. All
they talked about was family feuds and past partners,
how Vinny put up with it was beyond Kenft, he was an
all right kind of guy, a bit if a Del boy full of chat liked
his beer. He relished the idea of escaping from the
women and having a couple down the Bull and a crafty
fag, he’s supposed to have given up. Chatting and
drinking continued into the early hours, around the
kitchen table, the usual subject. Kenft was bored but
kept up the pretence. Again Kate rounded on Kenft, out
of the blue, choosing the moment to show him up in
front of the guests, knowing full well ex sister-in-law
would more likely back her up, where as last time it
had failed with Nancy. Kate had consumed a fear
amount of wine; it was becoming an increasing
problem. She begun discussing their private life,
complaining Kenft didn’t love her and going on about
feelings and other virtues, Vinny gave Kenft the look,
‘you’re being picked on here old mate’.
Kenft was having none of it.
“If this is how you are going to carry on then I’ll
leave you to it, I’m going to bed.” Kenft angrily rose to
his feet and left the room.
The guests left the following day and Kenft was
not happy, what the hell was he going to be hit with
next. It wasn’t long before he found out. Kate hit him
with the next brainstormer, as they climbed into bed.
“You’re not with me just for the sex are you?”
“Whatever ever do you mean?”
Aggrieved he instantly disclaimed the notion, he
had always been under the impression sex was part
and parcel of the relationship, and it had to be right.
She knew she’d upset him and said nothing more. Kenft
was hurt to think she had such thoughts, ‘believe you
me, if I were here just for sex I wouldn’t hang around
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Dr.K
afterwards’. He couldn’t take any more of this; he’d had
enough and questioned himself, ‘why are people
continually asking questions of him, why is he
constantly having to prove something’? Totally ignoring
her he turned over and went to sleep, the next morning
he showered as usual, placed a couple of hundred quid
on his pillow, she’d get the message, collected a few of
his things and left, he wasn’t coming back. He moved
back home, with his son, later that day, early evening,
Kate turned up, drove into an available parking slot,
opened the rear doors of the Frontera, in a tirade of
abuse and anger threw bin liners filled with his
belongings towards the house and promptly drove off.
Embarrassingly he emerged from his front door to
collect the black bin liners from off the sheared
driveway wondering how many of his neighbour’s had
witnessed the debacle. Half his furniture is still with
her, as far as he’s concerned she can keep it, a
constant reminder of her foolishness, he can thank his
lucky stars he didn’t agree to becoming husband
number four.
***
Kenft settled down to bachelorhood once again,
concentrating on his profession, both he and his son
could drown their sorrows together. On the grape vine
Kenft heard rumours Kate was struggling to come to
terms with the split and often seen staggering home
after consuming too much white wine, seen collapsed
on a pavement at one point and had to be helped
home. Kenft felt sorry for her, guilty even, but she only
had herself to blame, a little respect and support when
he needed it, rather than slag him off, and maybe
they’d still be together, it wasn’t to be. If her past was
anything to go by you could be sure she wouldn’t leave
it at that.
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Finding his feet, Kenft was in the Crown with his
mates, having a couple of rum and cokes, when in
bursts Tracey and her sister Nessie. Tracey clasped her
eyes on Kenft straight away and went directly to him,
Nessie followed. She greeted him flinging her arms
around him and kissing him, then asked where his
other half was. He informed her they were no longer
together but suspected she already knew this. He was
pleased to see them as usual, thanked her for the
warm welcome and offered to buy them a drink. They
accepted then promptly drank up and left, they
obviously had made other arrangements.
The following evening Kenft arrived home from
work, it was the start of the weekend, he showered and
changed for the comty meeting, but altered his mind at
the last minute, he didn’t feel much like socialising and
text Tone he couldn’t make it that night, he was feeling
low. He stayed in, watching television with Karl,
slumped on the settee. His mobile phone vibrated on
the coffee table, a text message, from Tracey, he
doesn’t remember giving her his number, she’d
certainly not text him before, it read.
“Me an Nessie in the Ramp, join us for a drink.”
Kenft replied, “Thanks for kind offer, but will
have to decline on this occasion.” Letting her down
gently.
She wasn’t going to take no for an answer,
walking to fetch him personally she called him,
“Hello, I’m on my way to get you, you’re coming
out for a drink with Nessie, and me, oh! It’s bloody
raining now.” She said, slightly out of breath, so she
wasn’t kidding, she was on her way.
“Bloody hell Karl, Tracey’s on her way down
here to drag me out. I wouldn’t touch her with a barge
pole. If you see me getting involved with her shoot
me.” Kenft had mixed feelings.
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Dr.K
He liked the girl but wasn’t in the mood for
socialising, then came the expected knock at the door,
Karl let her in, she was on her own, slightly damp from
the rain she sat herself down, Kenft slouched on the
settee opposite, legs outstretched and crossed looking
like he was bedded in for the night. She asked Kenft
the same question,
“Coming for a drink with me and Nessie in the
Ramp?”
“No, I don’t think so, thanks all the same.”
“Oh, I’ve come down here specially to get you,
and in the rain, you’ve got to come.” She insisted.
Kenft still refused.
“Come on, you’re all dressed up to go out.” She
sensed Kenft’s resolve was beginning to weaken.
“Nessie’s there with her friends and I feel like
the spare prick at the wedding,” She continued to
coerce him.
She appealed to the better side of his nature;
Kenft thought that was unfair, he took in a deep breath
and sighed and relented.
“Oh all right then.” Dragged himself of the
settee and proceeded to find his shoes.
Arm in arm they made their way into town and
the Rampant Horse. Apprehensively he entered the
establishment, it had been a while since he’d been in
the place, Aggie, his old footballing chum, was still
landlord. Kenft was introduced to the others sitting
around the table in the bay window, he new their faces
but not their names, with the exception of Nessie of
course. The drinks flowed the atmosphere relaxed and
photographs taken for posterity, Tracey sat close to
Kenft, begging him to be nice to her, Kenft, forever the
gentleman, did as he was asked.
In the end his fears were unfounded, it turned
out to be an enjoyable evening culminating in Kenft
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walking both the girls home, back to Tracey’s. He was
surprised to find their mum, Elaine, sitting in looking
out for Tracey’s teenage kids, Christopher and Tara;
they were already in bed fast asleep. Elaine didn’t look
at all surprised to see Kenft, he on the other hand felt
the strangest of feelings, being with them all again and
no June, a torrent of water had passed under the
bridge since those days. Elaine put on her coat to walk
home; back home to hers with Nessie, she still lived in
the same house. Kenft is not too sure now what to do
for the best, ‘do I stay for coffee, or say thank you for a
nice evening I’ve done my bit and go home’.
Tracey puts the kettle on and offered Kenft
coffee, no way was she going to let him go that easily,
not after all the effort it took to get him there. Kenft sat
on the sofa, mug of coffee in hand, Tracey searched for
an appropriate compact disc from her collection in the
corner alcove, revealing her G’ string and modest tattoo
on the small of her back as she leant over, she
apologised for the size of her backside and the state
the room was in, inserted the cd into the player then
joined Kenft on the sofa. She wasn’t going to hang
about or feel at all intimidated, forgetting about her
own drink without warning she placed a cushion onto
Kenft’s lap.
“Sorry, but I like to make myself comfortable.”
Kenft, wondering what the hell she was up to,
was forced to lift his arms out of the way careful not to
spill his coffee; Tracey promptly stretches out on the
sofa her head on the cushion on Kenft’s lap. Now if
that’s not being forward, I don’t know what is. She then
started to do all the talking, Kenft um’d and arh’d in all
the right places, sipping at his coffee awkwardly if he
dribbled now it would be all over her face, she wore a
revealing low cut top, Kenft couldn’t help but notice the
cleavage of her ample breast’s heaving up and down
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with each breath as she rambled on about her life, the
sort of person she was, and so on until the early hours
of the morning. He had the unnerving feeling he’d been
here before, not in this house, but at a similar stage in
proceedings, then recalled Kate draping her legs all
over him at his place, as she carried out her version of
the first stage of entrapment, seduction.
She described the tragic loss of her first born to
meningitis at only a year old, her acquiring the house,
how they modified the rooms, Darren, the children’s
father, walking out on her umpteen years ago, what
had transpired between her and Graham, the fact of
how she hated sitting at home on her own when the
kids stayed over at their nans, she could have gone on
all night. It had gone three o’clock in the morning as it
was and Kenft thought it were time he went home, he
didn’t want to give any wrong impressions or signals.
“You don’t have to go, you can stay here if you
want, on the sofa, no problem.” she didn’t want him to
leave, nor push her luck.
Kenft was insistent he had to go, reluctantly
Tracey lifted herself from off his lap to let him up, he
put on his jacket thanked her for a nice evening and
the coffee, kissed her on the cheek and walked home at
the dead of night. Karl bumps into her at the
supermarket and jokingly complained,
“What do you mean keeping my dad out till the
early hours the other night, terrible.”
A week or so later Tracey informs him she had
copies of the photographs taken that night and he was
welcome to have a copy if he wished, emphasising
there was a good one taken of just the two of them.
Kenft called round to collect the photograph and caught
her in a moment of need, her vacuum cleaner had just
packed in, the fuse had blown in a puff of acrid smoke,
damaging the plug. She, being a head strong
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independent type, was more than able to rectify the
problem herself, but Kenft being Kenft, offered to do it
for her, and proceeded to change the plug for another.
The last weekend of July, Tone, Kenft, Tommo
and Whiz were gearing up for the classic race weekend
at Silverstone with the Challenger Owners Club. There
was time for one last comty meet on the Thursday
night before they left on the Friday morning. Tone and
Kenft had commanded their usual spot, the round table
by the window in the Bull, and were soon joined by
other comty members, including Kate. She and Kenft
were on speaking terms appearing none the worse for
their past escapades, having gone their separate ways,
hiding well the deep emotional scars, or so he thought.
The usual merriment ensued, Tone and Kenft discussing
the coming weekends requirements, specifically
provisions, and promptly ordered a case of Magners
cider from the landlord. It was a warm evening, and not
many people about, it was either too early or they were
doing other things, making good use of the fine
weather. Two people rounded the railings heading
sprightly towards the entrance to the pub, caught
Kenft’s eye, it was Tracey accompanied by her
neighbour, Dawn. It was very unusual for them to be
there, raising Kenft’s suspicions, as Tracey was head
housekeeper at the Crown that would be her normal
first port of call, but she’d arrived from the opposite
direction. Kenft’s heart rate increased and instantly felt
a bit edgy, rightly or wrongly thinking she had come
looking for him and wondered how she would react, her
and Kate being mortal enemies. Tone was the only
person who could have told her where he was, he
would have omitted telling her of Kate’s presence, that
didn’t concern him, setting up his mate did. It was all
conjecture on Kenft’s part, but he wasn’t that stupid.
Tracey would have known who was sitting at the table;
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she and Dawn kept their distance ordered their drinks
and stayed at the bar, standing in full view of the table.
Kenft didn’t acknowledge her presence at first, acting
cool he finished his drink and waited for others to do
likewise before offering to buy the next round, ‘I’m not
going to ignore Tracey just because Kate’s here, we are
no longer an item, she had to get use to it’. He
collected a few of the empty glasses and took orders for
their replenishment and sauntered up to the bar.
Standing beside Dawn, Kenft said hello to them both,
ordered the drinks for the comty and asked if they
would like a top up.
“What are you two up to then, up to no good?
Its not usual to see you in here?” enquired Kenft.
“It’s my birthday, so we’re out to paint the town
red,” replied Tracey with the look of devilment.
“Many happy returns.”
Kenft took a couple of drinks over to the table
and returned for the others, little realising he’d been
followed, Kate joined him at the bar, son Karl sensing
possible trouble also joined his dad, he wasn’t wrong,
Kate began to cause a scene. She stood as close as
possible to Kenft, standing behind him facing directly
towards Tracey,
“I’m going to get her to talk to me if it’s the last
thing I do,” she said with a slur.
With gritted determination and jealousy in her
mannerisms she grabbed hold of Kenft’s backside, as if
to say, ‘hands off he’s mine’. She’d had one glass of
white wine too many, she was showing Kenft up,
humiliated he quickly finished his drink.
“Come on Karl, I think we had better leave,” he
didn’t want to be the cause of a scene.
Karl downed the remainder of his pint, without a
further word the pair left the building, Kenft apologised
to Karl as they went.
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“You don’t have to apologise for her dad.”
She wasn’t his favourite person; he’d witnessed
the abuse she’d previously levelled towards his dad.
Slightly unnerved by the events, they eventually settle
down at home content to spend the rest of the evening
watching TV. Kenft’s mobile on the coffee table goes
off, vibrating noisily, a text message, he assumes it’s
from Tone wanting to know what the hell was going on,
he reached for it to send a reply, to apologise, it wasn’t
Tone, it was Tracey.
“Meet me in the Crown at ten.”
Kenft didn’t reply, he shared the information
with Karl; the term barge pole entered his head. Now
he was in a dilemma, the voice in his head questioned
him, should I, shouldn’t I, it’s her birthday, she’ll be
disappointed, offended even, if I don’t. He didn’t want
to rock their friendship in any way. Second by second,
minute by minute, the clock crept closer towards the
hour of ten o’clock, on impulse Kenft sprung to his feet.
“What the hell, I’m off to meet Tracey,”
surprising Karl, who said nothing, but probably thought,
‘crazy fool’.
Kenft put on a pair of shoes and left. It was
more or less ten o’clock and Kenft entered the Crown,
the place was deserted, the only people there, in the
top bar sitting at a table, Tracey, Dawn and a fellow
Kenft didn’t recognise, plus one person behind the bar.
Kenft made for the bottom bar, standing slightly out of
sight, ‘I shouldn’t be here’, he ordered a drink. Loosing
his nerve, he made his mind up, if he wasn’t seen he
would drink up and promptly leave. But he had been
seen and Tracey went over to him in a flash, inviting
him to join them at the table. She was more surprised
than Karl, as she hadn’t received a reply to her earlier
text she’d dispelled any idea’s he would show. The
stranger turned out to be the project manager of the
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new store being constructed in town and plying the
drinks quite readily, as though they were going out of
fashion. ‘Sorry if I’ve pissed on your fire old mate’,
Kenft turning up had probably put a spanner in the
works, upsetting his objective but he didn’t show it.
Who knows maybe Kenft would disappear just as
mysteriously as he had appeared, leaving the coast
clear for him, so to speak. It didn’t take a genius to
work out the scenario and the likely target, Dawn was
no oil painting, although she had her admirers, this was
not her night. If Kenft didn’t show, Tracey had an easy
second choice. The place was dead, Tracey is now
eager to leave and insisted Kenft walk them home, they
said goodnight to the stranger and the bar person then
left the building. Reaching home, they said goodnight
to Dawn and Kenft was invited into Tracey’s, he
expected Elaine to be there as before, she wasn’t, the
house was void of people, Tracey walked into the living
room, placed her handbag on the chair, walked back
into the hall and, taking Kenft by the hand, led him
upstairs and to her bedroom.
She kissed him fervently for the first time,
confirming her intentions, as if needed confirming,
before disappearing into the bathroom to freshen up.
Kenft took the liberty, undressed and climbed into her
bed without invitation. She re-entered the bedroom,
half naked and removed her top, revealing her large
breasts and areola, she wasn’t as slim as she was,
hardly surprising after three kids and working hard to
support them. She looked a little embarrassed as Kenft
watched her slide under the duvet. She couldn’t quite
believe it, with her back to Kenft, she looked over her
right shoulder towards him, coyly.
“I don’t believe I’ve got you into my bed,” she
looked away in disbelief; “pinch me,” she said as she
turned her head back, over her shoulder.
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Kenft gave her a little pinch on her arm proving
he really existed. She turned her body and now faced
him, they petted, affectionately. Kenft wasn’t going to
rush things, he’d got all night, if need be he’d take all
night, he was going to make this a night to remember
for the both of them. She lifted her leg over Kenft,
covering his thighs, taking his erect penis in hand she
rubbed her clitoris and pudenda with its glans and
corona, gently gyrating their hips in unison as they
kissed, moist tongues slowly sliding in and out,
caressing. Tracey rolled onto her back invitingly, the
duvet thrown back, discarded to the foot of the bed,
eventually falling to the floor as the two naked bodies
became absorbed in the act of pleasuring one another,
intensely. Kenft’s finger tips, with a light trembling
touch slowly explored her body, every inch from her
head to her toes. Massaging her full breast he teased
her nipples with his tongue before sucking them, until
hard and pert, her areola tightly contracting with
pleasure. Working lower, he kissed and licked her torso,
delicately, in several places, searching for those G
spots, now between her legs his tongue worked its
magic, and to the point of no return, she held his head
firmly, the intensity increased.
“Don’t stop, please don’t stop,” she begged of
him.
Her body went rigid, arching her back in ecstasy
she groaned loudly with sheer delight, gripping the top
of his arms plunging her sharp nails into his flesh,
drawing blood. Kenft stopped, only momentarily,
ignoring the pain of daggers in his arms, he carried on
caressing her, or attempted to, her body still tingling
with pleasure she couldn’t bare him touching her until
the glorious sensation had subsided. The smile on her
face said it all, now in total embrace, her legs spread
akimbo, in the air, she wanted him inside her, it was
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his turn. As Kenft covered her she inserted his erection,
rhythmically, slowly, he began thrusting in and out,
lifting himself up supporting his upper body on his
hands,
thrusting
deeper,
faster
then
slower,
occasionally lowering himself toying with her hard
nipples, first his tongue then his lips, sensuously kissing
her lips and neck, then kneeling before her, her smile
transfixed, momentarily he caressed the length of her
leg resting on his shoulder, she couldn’t lay still, she
was spinning, right round, like a record, ‘baby keep
spinning and we’ll end up in a heap on the floor with
the duvet at this rate’, until they were spread eagled
covering the width of the bed. Kenft not wanting to
stop repeated the performance over and over, again
her body stiffened and arched, painfully plunging her
daggers into his back and buttocks, releasing thirty
years of pent up feelings and frustration until,
exhausted they fell asleep in each other’s arms as the
sun began to rise with the dawn chorus, and the start
of a new day. After sleeping soundly for about four
hours, Kenft awoke, startled, unaware of the time, he
had to meet Tone as early as possible and didn’t want
to be late. Looking at the sleeping beauty by his side
now he wasn’t sure he wanted to go, gently he brushed
away her hair covering her face and gently kissed her,
she awoke with a smile.
“Thank you, that was the best birthday present I
could have ever have wished for.”
“The pleasure was all mine gorgeous,” replied
Kenft, “sorry but I’ve got to love you and leave you,”
he continued regretfully.
He’d been accused of doing it in the past, now
he has, but that wasn’t the reason why he was there.
He showered and dressed and said his goodbye’s
explaining were he was going, not knowing if that was
the start of something special, not that last night
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wasn’t special in itself, it was truly magical, did he want
it to be the start of something special, or was it just a
one off? He’d never entertained one-night stands
before. Kenft walked the short distance into town and
called at Tones as planned, Grunt, the black v8 range
rover, all prepared loaded up with the necessities for
their weekend, two tents, camp beds and sleeping
bags, tables and chairs, challenger flag and flag pole,
drinks, cooking stoves, and food. Kenft’s suitcase with
his clothes already stowed aboard. Tone had seen the
direction from whence he came, and it wasn’t from the
direction of his home.
“Ah, hello doctor Kenft, judging by that grin on
your face I assume you had a good night last night,
ol’mate,” he chortled in his usual jovial manner, looking
forward to his weekend away.
“Morning Tone. Yep, you can say that again,
eventually, considering how badly it started, sorry I left
you at the pub the way I did,” apologised Kenft.
“No problem Kenft, the duchess has just got to
get used to you not being hers anymore.”
They both climbed aboard Grunt, Tone
struggling with his weight and bad ankles and Kenft a
little gingerly from his previous night’s exertions. This
was to be Kenft’s first ever visit to Silverstone, home of
the British formula one grand prix circuit, and the
weather was glorious. Tone fired up the v8, barking
into life, they set off on their next adventure. Kenft
navigating they arrived at the circuit in good time found
their designated pitch and began offloading the gear
from Grunt. The tent was a new one, Tone had bought
at a bargain price from the last off road show in Billing,
it was bigger, more room and hopefully more
comfortable, now they had to work out how to erect the
damn thing. Their last tent had served its purpose, but
space was cramped if you had to shelter from the
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elements and cook at the same time, as they
discovered last time. Kenft remembers freezing his
bollocks off, proverbial brass-monkey weather and
going for a walk in the early hours desperately trying to
generate some body heat, then huddling round the
stove inside the tent as Tone cooked breakfast, he
looking the epitome of despair hunched in his chair
stirring the beans. On that particular occasion home
was less than ten miles away, but their dogged
determination and not wanting to let the side down
kept them going. They reaped their reward, along with
other stalwarts on the site, and enjoyed a good days off
roading, spirits refreshed, they looked forward to their
comfy beds at home that night.
Silverstone was the exact opposite, the sun was
hot and the larger tent afforded them ample space,
room enough to stand and table and chairs at the
centre and separate bedrooms, camp beds too so they
weren’t sleeping on the ground, it was luxury in
comparison. It was home from home. They didn’t
bother with the second tent, normally used as the
hospitality suite, instead opting for the simplicity of a
gazebo to offer shade and reception for visitors to the
Challenger enclosure. Tone had fabricated an anchor
stand for the flagpole, this was strategically placed,
trapped under the wheel of Tommo’s bright red
challenger, and it wasn’t long before the flag flapped in
the breeze marking their position amid the other car
clubs and organisations. Light was fading and Tones
stomach told him it was time they had something to
eat, dinner, he quickly rustled something up, as they
sat at the table they admired the new tent feeling very
pleased with themselves.
Next morning they awoke early to the sound of
hot air balloons and the roar of their burners inflating
canopies of various shapes and sizes and colours,
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advertisements for finance or insurance companies,
although one did remarkably resemble the shape of a
very large fire extinguisher. One by one they slowly
rose into the air, filling the sky, drifting ever higher and
carried away on the light wind, appearing smaller and
smaller until disappearing altogether, quite a spectacle.
Kenft and Tone took photographs recording the event.
A temporary grandstand had been erected close by,
facing the racing circuit, a left over from the formula
one race meeting the previous weekend, the top of
which an ideal vantage point to determine their location
on the circuit plan and to look down on their
encampment. They were adjacent to a short straight
between the corners of bridge and priory facing luffield
and the corporate stands beyond, a good view, bit of a
trek to the paddock and the garage’s for a closer look
at the racing machines, to the pit straight and trade
stands, but they weren’t complaining. The crowds
began drifting into the grounds and the day warming up
a treat, Whiz arrived on the stand with Olive in his
Jaguar 220, instantly drawing a crowd, it was a good
addition to the Challenger’s who were slowly but surely
increasing in numbers, one or two genuine E’types
drew along side for good measure, complimenting the
replica’s.
Kenft wasn’t in the habit of carrying his mobile
phone around with him all the time, not like some
people constantly having theirs stuck to an ear as if
their life depended on it, he choose to leave his in the
tent most of the time, not expecting anyone needing to
contact him only in cases of emergency, not that he
could respond, with him being so many miles away, but
would take a look at regular intervals as he would
usually receive the odd message or two from his
daughter, checking up on him. Missed calls, ‘oops a
missed call’, from Tracey no less, wonder what she
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wants, she’ll call again if its urgent, his phone rings just
as he throws it back down onto his bed, its Tracey.
“Hello,” said the quiet voice the other end, Kenft
detecting a hint of trepidation.
“Hello gorgeous, how you doing,” he replied,
recollecting the night before.
“Fine thanks, you?”
“Yeah, good ta. What’s up?” quizzed Kenft.
“Oh nothings up, I just wanted to hear your
voice.” She said without a moment of hesitation, taking
Kenft by surprise.
Kenft felt flattered and thanked her for the
sentiment. They briefly carried on with small talk, Kenft
describing the scene at the circuit as a few cars started
on their practice laps, with the conversation all but
dried up they rang off. That was the start; the text
messages began to flow, Kenft now felt obliged to keep
his mobile with him, her last message.
“When will you be home, I’m gagging for it,” or
words to that effect, no, on reflection, they were her
exact words.
She obviously had intensions of continuing their
relationship on an intimate basis. Tone, and Kenft with
Tracey on his mind and back to square one questioning
himself, ‘should I, shouldn’t I’, decide to go for a
wonder with a specific aim in mind, to stand on the
historic pit wall as classic formula one car’s hurtle down
the start straight at full throttle.
“I’ve got to change my T-shirt before we go
Tone, I slept in this one last night, need to freshen up a
bit, try to look respectable, well the best I can
anyway.” Kenft strips off his shirt.
“Bloody hell Kenft, Tracey’s certainly got her
claws into you,” Tone remarks, noticing the array of
cuts and abrasions on his back and arms, just as well
he didn’t decide to change his under pants.
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Kenft said nothing, he didn’t need to, his cheesy
grin spoke volumes. He put on a clean shirt, sprayed on
a little deodorant and set off on their tour. The
experience on the pit wall was breathtaking, clinging
onto the safety fencing the cars flew past accelerating
to top speed in a deafening roar of sheer power, it was
awesome. Blink and you would miss seeing them. Kenft
could have stayed there, glued, all day, attempting to
recognise well known faces, watching the mechanics
working fine tuning their machines, people and cars in
and out of the garages, some being manually reversed
into position, racing cars of all ages and classes, past
champions of their era, the sounds of revving engines,
the smells of their exhaust, hot oils and smouldering
tarmac covered in a layer of rubber, laid down by
screeching wheels encompassed with wide slick black
tyres along the start finish straight just an arms length
away through the safety fencing.
Kenft recalls a social evening in the company of
Clive Chapman, son of Colin Chapman, at his works; a
stones throw from the Lotus manufacturing plant. He
ran a classic racing car company, renovating and
maintaining formula one cars of the past, mainly Lotus
obviously and partook in the world series classic grand
prix’s using donations from his patrons who in turn
bought themselves a seat and the chance to race, the
nearest they could be to being a formula one driver and
live their dream, it wasn’t cheap. A tour of the
workshop, closely scrutinising cars at various stages of
repair or preparation, including that used by Mike
Hawthorn from the year dot, Clive giving a wellinformed, intimate, talk on the cars, their drivers and
his relationship with them and his father as he grew up.
For a bit of fun he organised a competition, simulating
a pit stop and changing a wheel on a formula one
racing car. There were enough people for four teams of
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three; in front of them stood a John Player Special, in
black and gold livery, a car from the eighties driven by
the late Elio de Angelis, a much respected friend of
Clive’s, tragically killed during a practice session testing
for Brabam, it was in full race condition. The
competition was to remove the front offside wheel and
replace it, a race against the clock. Clive described and
demonstrated the sequence to adopt; they would have
only one attempt, one chance to get it right.
“One guy on the jack at the front, a second with
the air spanner and the third to remove the wheel then
place it back, first I need a volunteer, someone to sit in
the car with their foot on the brakes.” He looked round
his assembled guests and choose someone slim enough
to climb into the cockpit, he choose the only female
present. “Now, a word of warning for the guys on the
air spanner, I want you to replace the wheel nut very
carefully, the first three turns by hand, if you cross the
threads that will be a six hundred pound repair bill.”
That put the fear on the faces of one or two
participants, including Kenft. Tone was jack man,
Tommo saw to the wheel and Kenft the dreaded air
spanner. They volunteered to go second, giving them
the chance to witness the procedure one more time. All
four teams successfully completed the exercise without
damaging the wheel nut; Tone, Kenft and Tommo came
second with a time of sixteen seconds, the winners
taking fourteen seconds. Pit crews of today take less
than half that time but they don’t have to worry about
that bloody wheel nut. Tone tugged at Kenft’s T-shirt,
“Come on, let’s go and have a look round the
trade stands, then we can watch Stirling race this
afternoon.”
“Okay, its time I bought you an ice cream
anyway.” They would consume several ice-lollies that
weekend it was very warm.
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***
A night out on the town with Tracey, she and
Kenft were now seeing more of one another, she began
finding the time to join him with the comty meetings
early evenings, on this occasion they stayed out till
late, she’d had one or two over her limit and reeling a
bit, Kenft walked her home, again she’d packed her
kids off to their Nan’s for the weekend, probably at
their request. Kenft hadn’t had the pleasure of being
introduced yet, all in good time. Staggering home
Tracey has to sober up a bit, walking across the green,
a slight detour, taking them longer to reach home. She
doesn’t like the thought of throwing up so will wander
about for ages before attempting to settle down. Home,
she goes upstairs to change into something more
comfortable, a floppy oversized T-shirt, pyjama
bottoms and furry slippers, not what you’d call sexy,
except it was, in Tracey’s way. She had dressed to
continue her walking outside in the fresh air, pacing
around the lawn, it was soaking wet with dew, she now
had soggy slippers.
Kenft put the kettle on, then went outside to
keep an eye on her, she had sat herself down at the
patio table rolling a cigarette, Kenft goes back to the
kitchen to make her a cup of rosy lea and just reaches
the doorway,
“Hey you,” she shouted.
Stopping him in his tracks, Kenft looks over his
shoulder towards her thinking she was going to ask him
to fetch her something else.
“I love you, and that’s not the drink talking,”
‘Priceless’, thought Kenft, he was hooked.
People who knew them well thought they made
a good couple, except Kate that is, she calls to see
Kenft in a drunken stupor to voice her objections, Karl
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asked her to leave, he didn’t mince his words. Tracey
and Kenft bump into an old friend, Pat’c, in the
supermarket, who knew them both very well, a blast
from the past, Kenft’s ex squash partner.
“Well if that’s not a match made in heaven, then
I don’t know what is,” she commented.
Swany, husband to Tracey’s best mate Niki
meets Kenft coming out of the supermarket with a
bouquet of flowers.
“Sucker,” he said to Kenft with a smirk.
Gesticulating with his tongue, pushing his cheek
in and out, sexual connotations, this action he repeated
every time he greeted Tracey, Kenft believes he was
trying to tell him something. Tracey’s mother, pleased
to see them together and probably instrumental in the
entrapment process, advising daughter what to say and
do, no doubt, knowing Kenft’s character as she does,
commented to her daughter,
“I wouldn’t bother buying a lottery ticket, it
looks a though you’ve already won.”
***
The big day, Kenft’s daughters wedding, another
day to remember, everything organised all Kenft had to
do was turn up, turn up at his daughters house. Kenft
is offered strawberries and champagne, June took
photographs, before disappearing upstairs to change
into his hired suit, bridegroom was already at the venue
playing
golf,
grandson
bewildered
not
really
understanding all the fuss, bridesmaids Sarah and
Vicky, adorable, as was the bride, Kenft was choked.
The limo arrives, a classic black and white Bentley,
adorned in white ribbons and driven by a chauffer
dressed in uniform and cap, the sun shone. They had to
drive through the city to the venue, a country estate,
Kenft, a little hot under the collar, felt like a lord and
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waved majestically to onlookers wondering who they
were. A civil ceremony, only one hitch, the bride and
groom thankfully, drinks and photographs outside, then
ushered into another room for the reception. Kenft was
hoping to eat and drink, especially drink and plenty
before the mandatory speeches. Master of ceremonies
had other ideas; addressing the audience he introduced
the father of the bride, ‘oh shit’. Kenft rose to his feet,
observed the eighty or so guests, in an instant he
deemed his prepared speech as inappropriate, much of
it was going to sound more like a sermon, directed at
June and Kate, not a celebration of Tanya’s wedding.
He froze on the spot and mumbled the first things that
came into his head, equally inappropriate, he proposed
a toast and promptly sat down, he felt a complete fool,
apologising to his daughter and the groom’s mother for
his ineptness. Al, the groom, did much better but
overcome with emotion he delivered his speech in
tears, bless him. The best man saved the day, thank
any god, he was witty, charming and impeccable.
Tracey, or Elaine for that matter, hadn’t been
invited to the function, Tracey and Kenft was not an
item when the arrangements were being made, Kenft
was with Kate at the time who, along with Rachel, had
helped with the invitations and the arrangement of
table decorations.
He could only think of Tracey as he observed
everyone having a good time, from a distance standing
close to the bar, all slowly getting plastered, June had
had a confrontation with Kate, Kate being the
aggressor, and she made sure Kenft was aware of the
fact. Later Junes partner, Jan, makes himself at home
having fun on the dance floor with Kenft’s grandson, as
was Kate, Kenft felt they’d hijacked the proceedings.
He’d done what was expected of him, he’d socialised,
politely smiled in all the right places, except the hash
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he made of his speech, he’d never forgive himself for
that, he’d had enough and retired to his room. It was
ten o’clock, he didn’t want to go back down and face
them all again, instead he text Tracey to come and pick
him up, past the point of caring what people would
think of him.
Kenft made his way to the hotel reception, paid
for his room in advance, and Kate’s, gratitude for her
helping out with his daughters reception, then waited
outside for Tracey, texting Karl to let him know the
situation as he did so, Karl would be pleased to learn he
now had the room all to himself. Tracey abandoned her
home and kids, at that time of night she couldn’t
expect her mother to sit with them, but she didn’t want
to leave Kenft there, it would be a way of getting one
over Kate, she’d only be gone an hour or so. She drove
through the main gate, down the long gravel drive and
pulled up in the front car park, Kenft didn’t give her
time to turn off the ignition, opened the door and got
into the car, he was welcomed with a smile, Kenft
apologised for the inconvenience.
“No problem,” she said, leaning over to kiss him,
“I half expected it, mum said you wouldn’t want to
stay.”
“Wise old bird, your mum, she knows me too
well.” They drove off, headed back to Tracey’s.
Karl was rubbing his hands; he’d scored with a
fellow guest and now had the room all to himself.
Getting
down
to
the
nitty-gritty
he
needed
contraception, wise lad, frustratingly he didn’t have
any, frantically he scoured the hotel for a dispensing
machine or something, nothing, dejectedly went back
to his room. He wasn’t going to be beaten and had a
brainwave, ‘of course, why didn’t I think of it before,
room service’, unphased he made the call, ten minutes
and a knock on the door, Karl answers.
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“You rang sir.”
Room service had dutifully delivered standing at
the door with a tray in hand with his order, neatly
placed at its centre.
“Quality, thank you my good man, goodnight.”
“Thank you sir.”
Kenft received a text from Kate the following
day, disgusted with him leaving the way he did, Kenft
replied, telling her straight, the only person that
mattered was Tanya and, more than anybody, she
would understand his reasons, he didn’t have to
explain, it was non of her business, not realising she
was a part of his rationale.
The Lords Prayer
‘Our father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy
name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on
earth...’
***
Both were on cloud nine, Kenft spent as much
time with Tracey and her family as he could,
inseparable, he’d become virtually a permanent fixture,
their lovemaking had to be curtailed, waiting till the
early hours of the morning when they hoped the kids
would be fast asleep before going for it. Kenft would
struggle at work the following day, struggle to stay
awake, by lunchtime his eyes would be so heavy he
had to fight to keep them open, feeling his head
nodding off, as he tried hard to concentrate at his
computer. Tracey’s text messages kept him going. Her
pillow talk was inspirational,
“I don’t care where I am or what I’m doing as
long as I’m with you.”
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“I don’t know why June did what she did when
she had you to come home to.”
“I’ve wanted you for the best part of thirty
years.”
“I love you more than you’ll ever know.”
“I’ve got the man of my dreams,” many a true
word spoken in jest, this she said to acquaintances as
they left the pub one evening, loud enough for all to
hear, under the influence of the truth drug, the uninhibitor, alcohol.
“I would have your babies if I could.”
“I would never hurt you.”
“Don’t leave me,” her moment of insecurity as
they cuddled before going to sleep, Kenft wrapping
himself around her like a blanket.
“You’re the best sex I’ve ever had, the others
were fast and furious, but with you it’s much different.”
Kenft didn’t particularly find that reassuring, the
term the others, obviously he knew there were others
before him but didn’t need reminding of the fact or the
quantity, jealousy an old enemy. She should have left it
there, but she had to continue, with the downside, as if
Kenft was her priest she had the compulsion to confess,
to confess she was prone to telling the odd lie, to
confess she’d had an affair with a married man but
finished it, not appreciating the same happening to her,
then to confess her ex-boss was no angel when his wife
was away, how did she know? To confess she’d secretly
read Graham’s text messages on his mobile phone,
discovering his liaisons with Kate. Kenft didn’t want to
hear any of this and tried hard as he might to shut it
out of his mind, he was looking for the same happiness
as her and didn’t want anything to compromise any
chance of that happening.
Fortune cookie:
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‘The lover that lies to others will lie to you.’
She let him know how special he was to her, as
he sat on the kitchen stool strategically placed, she’d
provocatively dance around him as she prepared
dinner, touching him, kissing him, he was the centre of
her attention, the new centre to her world. Was this all
part of her ploy? Her children, both in their teens,
would readily complain to their Nan, the person they’d
run to at moments of distress, which seemed frequent
and whose comments didn’t help matters,
“She doesn’t want to know you two now, now
she has him,” imparting her so called words of wisdom.
Not exactly words of encouragement, but if the
truth were to be known he was probably being treated,
as the others had been, others who may have been led
up the stairs in a similar fashion, so this probably
wouldn’t be the first time they’ve had to deal with this
situation. Tracey had grown tired of spending nights
alone, she knew one day, hopefully, her kids would fly
the nest, she didn’t want to be left alone, a clone of her
mother, alone bitter and twisted, as she described her,
resentful even. Nessie couldn’t put up with it so she
was happy to be thousands of miles away. Tracey often
complained of her mothers interfering but equally
would be lost without her, although admitting she was
her best friend, she criticised the constant undermining
of her authority over her kids, spoiling them rotten,
letting them get away with things Tracey and Nessie
were not allowed to when they were their age, that hurt
her deeply, double standards. It was obvious she
discussed everything with her mother, all the intimate
details, there could be no secrets between Tracey and
any of her partners, mother would learn of all the
particulars, so here Tracey was her own worst enemy.
There are things said and done in the bedroom, or the
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home, that should have remained in the bedroom or
the home, and gone no further.
Hymn
‘The lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want,
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by…’
***
The first signs of it all going to go so terribly
wrong, Kenft’s sister had organised a classic rock
weekend with hubby and their gang asking Kenft to join
them. Tone started off participating in these weekends,
which had become regular events in their social
calendar but his health problems and having to look
after his elderly father in law prevented his further
participation.
Kenft thought it would be a great idea, he knows
how much Tracey loved dancing and it would be a good
opportunity for her to hit it off with his side of the
family, but instead of mucking in with the others he
decided to spoil her, push the boat out and rent one of
the chalets, more privacy. From Kenft’s point of view it
turns out to be one big terrible mistake, or his saviour.
It all started off reasonably well, Kenft thought some
quality time together, time alone, a rare event. She
would be able to dance around him, do whatever she
liked, without fear of disturbance, no kids to mess
things up. He was wrong on that score, there was none
of that, he was surprised, she was quiet, reserved
even, he put it down to the strange surrounding,
nerves meeting new people and needed time to settle.
The first evening of live music and her
personality goes through a miraculous transformation,
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His LAST SUPPER
extrovert, parading around Kenft on the dance floor like
he was a king, people cleared space for her, and she
drew attention, unfortunately the wrong type of
attention. Kenft introduced her to his sister and her
group of people. She was soon showing off doing her
thing, larking about, but that was Tracey, as Kenft
knew her, she was much different in her home
environment. Colin, a member of the group, lent over
to speak to Kenft above the hubbub,
“You’ve found a lively one there,” he said
through his full beard.
Kenft just smiled, ‘you should see the other side
of her, at home, when her got up and go has got up
and gone, regularly she’d dose on the settee with the
heated wheat bag over her forehead, or around her
shoulders, complaining of a migraine, its like Jeckle and
Hyde’, that was a bit harsh, but true nonetheless. One
member of the gang, nicknamed Pixie, he wasn’t
particularly tall and similarly extroverted, took a shine
to Tracey and asked if she and Kenft were married.
Kenft instantly felt uneasy, ‘regardless if we’re married
or not, we’ve attended this venue as a couple, so hands
off’. Not being married he deemed her as fair game.
Both loud and extrovert they inevitably hit it off and
Kenft suspected they were up to something, his
suspicions aroused, Tracey standing with her back to
Kenft sitting at the table, Pixie in conversation with her
turns facing Kenft, in mid sentence he exuberantly
exclaims to her,
“You will!” quickly glancing at Kenft.
‘You will what’? thought Kenft, but he said
nothing, nor reacted.
The entertainment finished, they left the venue,
Tracey’s behaviour took another twist, she didn’t latch
onto Kenft’s arm, as she would do, she seemed distant
walking beside him but a pace distant. Kenft was now
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Dr.K
nervous her body language confirmed his earlier
suspicions. The following day went reasonably well, but
Tracey was not her normal self, Kenft not entirely sure
what
normal
was
anymore.
The
evening’s
entertainment, they all rendezvous at the same table.
Tracey came alive as she did the previous night, gave
Kenft his special treatment on the dance floor, then
back to the table. A couple more drinks, the next live
act started their gig, Pixie gave Tracey the nod, she
instantly responded and left with him, headed for the
crowded dance floor, not a word said to Kenft, it was as
if he didn’t exist. Kenft stayed with his sister, sat at the
table chatting, ‘one or two dances and she’ll be back,
wanting him to join her on the dance floor’. He was
wrong, they had been gone for the entire act, they
could have gone anywhere, done anything. Kenft said
to himself, ‘I shall stay cool I shall not show any sign of
disapproval, I wont get upset’.
In reality he considered driving home there and
then, leaving her to her own devices, in hindsight
maybe he should have done, it would have saved him a
whole lot of heartache. They returned, Pixie sat down
at the table, on Kenft’s left and with his back to him,
turned his head over his left shoulder and said to Kenft
smugly,
“You can have her back now, now I’ve done with
her,” looking pleased with himself.
Kenft saw red, ‘fucking arsehole!’ Tracey
meanwhile, not helping matters, had rudely walked
straight past Kenft, nothing said again, no touchy feely
and an expression on her face that wrote a book, full of
guilt, promptly she sat down on Kenft’s right and calmly
rolled a cigarette, again it was as if Kenft wasn’t
there, as if he didn’t exist, disrespectful of his feelings.
Kenft was smarting from that, hurting he struggled to
contain his anger,
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“How would you like it if I choose any woman at
random and disappeared with her for over an hour and
not say a word to you, before or after.” She ran outside
crying.
Kenft followed to apologise but felt justified in
his remarks. She knew she’d done wrong, denied it, but
openly admitted she wouldn’t have been happy if he’d
done the same to her.
“So what makes you think I wouldn’t care? After
all those things you’ve said to me, I thought I was the
one you wanted to be with, now I’m not so sure.”
Any trust or respect Kenft had for her had gone
straight out the window that night. If she didn’t want to
see Kenft hurt, she’d not made a very good job of it;
this would seem to be the regular pattern from then on.
Back at the chalet Kenft broke down, it had all become
too much to take, with watery eyes he tried desperately
to vent his feelings, to explained, he revealed his
weakness.
“I’m sorry, but your behaviour upset me, I can’t
accept it, I had twenty or more years of that with June;
I thought you of all people would understand, turns out
you’re no different. I have all this shit to contend with;
trying to sort out my brothers problems, my best mate
due to go into hospital for a biopsy, not to mention the
hassles I have at work.”
Kenft’s brother, a constant worry, was
threatened with eviction, destitute and living in squalor.
At one point with Kenft’s and the combined asserted
efforts from others, it looked as though he’d got his act
together, even able to stand on his own two feet
working earning a little, but it was only temporary and
began sliding downhill, mentally and physically. Kenft
helped him with his paperwork, providing him with
supplies and gave him money, as time progressed
brother found it increasingly difficult, he couldn’t cope,
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Dr.K
Kenft offered him a roof over his head, if need be,
temporarily move in with him until they’d sorted him
out, he declined preferring to live rough, with his dogs.
He’d set up home in a caravan on a remote piece of
land he was allowed to use, thinking he’d be out of
harms way, trying to be self sufficient, even had a few
livestock, but no, people even hassled him here, he’d
obviously made a few enemies.
Filling in all the forms and facing all the
bureaucracy that went with it, Kenft spent months
attempting to obtain any benefits brother was entitled
to, going by the book. Brick wall after brick wall, no one
gave him any assistance, all thinking he was trying to
cheat the system, resenting the fact he was
representing his brother, who by this time had become
more a less a recluse and not able to face any
authority. The last resort Kenft contacted the local MP,
no help there; they were too busy fiddling their
expenses, to do up their mansions. Kenft firmly
believes as a result the government; the tax and the
benefits system are still feudal, the serf’s guilty of
everything unless they can prove themselves innocent.
After all this time they should be able to sort out the
genuine needy cases from the fraudsters, those who’ve
paid into the system on a regular bases is one sure fire
clue they’re in genuine need of help, not ridicule or
stigma.
Tone’s health was deteriorating, a shadow
detected on his lung and nervously waiting for his
biopsy, he’d been shocked the last Christmas with a
scare encouraging him give up cigarettes instantly, he
struggled from that point onward, trying to diet to ease
the pain and discomfort, an attempt to reduce the
weight bearing down on his ankles, his bones ached, he
endured the odd panic attack, just breathing a problem
at times.
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As for work, Kenft’s being bullied into accepting
the position of departmental manager, if he didn’t take
it they’d find a person who would, but someone would
have to go to make room for him. The guy who walked
out of the job months ago had suspiciously shown his
face recently, it’s all falling into place. Understandably
Kenft was feeling the pressure, her response if there
was one, was less than encouraging, she didn’t know
how to handle it, all it needed was to show a little
compassion, there was nothing there, Kenft felt used,
was she using him just to get one back on Kate? That
had tainted the whole weekend, she was all over Pixie
when it came to say goodbye to everyone on the
Monday, just to dig the knife in deeper, she’d learnt
nothing, Pixie looked embarrassingly at Kenft when she
draped herself around his neck, Kenft had to look away.
Leaving the venue, and all that had transpired behind,
they carried on as normal, as if nothing had happened,
a couple again, but occasionally Kenft’s memory would
flash back during moments of vulnerability. He wouldn’t
be going back there again, not for anyone.
The boss, Kenft’s managing director, outlined
what he saw as the key responsibilities for the position
of drawing office manger,
“I want someone to take total charge, total
responsibility for the running of the department, its
efficiency, productivity, to take full control, its staffing
levels and their training requirements, its day to day
organisation, the jobs yours if you want it, I’ll give you
the weekend to think about it.”
He did think about it, he thought about why the
previous guy had walked away from it, he thought
about being out of a job if he didn’t take it, he thought,
‘well if I accept I’m not doing it for a pittance, it’s a
great deal of responsibility and expect suitable
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recompense’. The following week Kenft reported to the
engineering director, (who had kept it a secret he was
leaving the company so the position of DO manager
had become all the more important, to supplement his
departure), indicated his interest in taking on the job,
but wouldn’t do it for less than 30k, even then he
thought he was selling himself cheap.
“Okay, excellent, I’ll pass on your comments to
the MD.”
It wasn’t long before he was called in for a
meeting with the MD and engineering director, they
convened in the conference room.
“Thanks for the interest, that’s brilliant, although
I think 30k is a bit steep.”
Kenft explained his thinking behind his figure
and they struggled to find argument.
“Well, I see it more of an administrative roll,
responsible for the day to day organisational stuff,
controlling work load, that kind of thing,” the MD was
backtracking.
Revising what he had said in the previous
meeting, he downscaled the level of responsibilities, to
get him on the cheap, then offered Kenft a figure he
considered he should do the job for. Kenft sat arms
folded listening intently as the guy was squirming,
ducking and diving, desperately finding the words to
change tack, Kenft supporting his head with his hand
covering his mouth ponders the facts, if I do the job
well he will have no choice but to give what I ask later,
I have to prove myself first I guess, but I’ve got to
watch him.
“Okay I accept.’”
“Good,’ they shake on it, ‘when can you start,”
he said jokingly.
“No time like the present, how about now,”
replied Kenft.
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His LAST SUPPER
“Oh, lets not be too hasty, say the start of next
month, that’s only a week or so away, the start of a
clean sheet.”
The following months Kenft worked hard, the
guys in his department only too happy to rally round
and help him, doing as he asked and coming forward
with their own suggestions for improvement, they were
working well, gelling as a team. The MD proved to be a
little unpredictable, a trait he picked up on in the
previous interviews, one day you had the pat on the
back, your doing a good job, the next, you’re low life
and can’t do anything right, justify this, justify that.
Overall Kenft new he was doing okay and eventually
earned the extra salary he expected, it was awarded to
him, with a pat on the back, just before the Christmas
break, but the drawback came in the new year, the
goalpost’s had moved, the job description back to the
original remit, unconditionally, he had the responsibility
thrown at him to reduce his workforce by two people,
at the same time he piled on the workload. That was
devious, it would make Kenft look like the henchman,
not him, Kenft was not happy, the MD was nothing
more than a turncoat.
By this time Kenft was practically living with
Tracey, spending the odd night at his to escape and
recuperate from the overbearing attention seeking
demands of her kids. He had made sacrifices, helping
out where ever he could, blending in with their
routines, watching what they wanted to watch on the
television, no football, no formula one racing, less time
spent down the pub with Tone. The only change to
Tracey’s routine was to set an extra place
at the table. It was as though he had three households
to look after, his own, occupied by his son, Tracey’s
with her two, and his destitute brother, he was trying
to juggle with several balls in the air at once.
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Dr.K
Nessie’s next visit from the states proved
another turning point, she would stay with her mum
but spend a lot of her time visiting friends and with
Tracey. Nights out on the town with Tracey and her
friends were the usual as per her last visit. On this
occasion Kenft was given a sharp reminder where he
exactly stood in her life, remembering Tracey coming
after him in the rain, begging him to join her, as she
felt left out of things, ‘the spare prick at the wedding’
her exact terminology. Half expecting to be invited out
with them, he was surprised at being given the cold
shoulder, no courtesy explaining what’s happening,
Kenft had to guess from the body language, again it
was as if he were not there, invisible. It got to the point
were he felt he had to ask, reminding Tracey of last
time, his answer.
“Well this time its different.” She said smirking
to her sister.
What was different about it Kenft failed to
understand, he felt rejected; he went home like a
scolded pup, tail between his legs, humiliated. The
following day and Kenft stayed at home, this time he
receives a text from Tracey inviting him to join them in
town, it was gone ten o’clock in the evening and he
didn’t feel much like joining them, and probably be the
butt of their jokes, He text back declining their offer
saying he’d not eaten and didn’t want to drink on an
empty stomach, he should have really spoken his mind
and tell her where to go. She text him back, again
asking him to join them, he wasn’t some puppy at her
beck and call when it suited her and sat tight.
He missed her terribly, she didn’t understand
what she was doing to him, he called round the
following day, mid morning, he just had to see her. She
made him coffee, he sat at the infamous patio table to
drink it, Nessie explained who she was off to visit next
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His LAST SUPPER
and prepared herself to go, Tracey joins them from the
kitchen and promptly sat on Kenft’s lap, all over him
making a fuss, although confused, she didn’t want to
know him the previous nights, he couldn’t help himself,
on impulse he felt compelled to ask her,
“Will you marry me?”
A two second delay tops,
“Yes.”
He had never had feelings for anyone as he was
feeling for her then, in spite of the mental torture being
dished out, the following weekend he bought the
engagement ring; she asked if he wanted one in return,
‘if you have to ask’.
“No, I don’t need one,” saving her the expense.
Tone was in hospital for his biopsy; Tracey and
Kenft visited him, he’s was in high spirits, as long as
someone was seeing to his problems he’s contented. He
was pleased to see them both, sitting in the chair
beside his bed, in his gown and slippers, a tube drained
fluid from his chest into a demijohn on the floor beside
his chair. Tone fills them in with the details of his
procedure and his progress. Kenft and Tracey listened
intently to him then break their news to him at an
opportune moment in the conversation.
“We have some news for you,” said Kenft.
“You do,”
“Shall I tell him or you?” asked Kenft.
“We’ve got engaged,” smiled Tracey.
“Oh, that is fantastic, absolutely brilliant,” his
round face beamed with joy clasping his hands
together, “you don’t know how genuinely happy that
makes me feel, oh that’s superb, I’d better start speech
writing, as I know the pair of you so well I’m going to
have such a ball.”
Tone naturally assumed he was to be best man
and they were going to marry quite quickly, he had the
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Dr.K
best man bit correct anyway. He would be out in a
couple of days Kenft would see him then.
A Poem Sent by Tone to a Friend
‘If one day you feel like crying…
Call me.
I don’t promise you that…
I will make you laugh
But I will cry with you.
If one day you want to run away –
Don’t be afraid to call me.
I don’t promise to ask you to stop,
But I can run with you.
If one day you don’t want to listen
To anybody;
Call me…
I promise to be very quiet.
But…
If one day you call and there is no answer…
Come fast to see me…
Perhaps I need you…’
***
It wasn’t going to work, Kenft is happy to share
most things he has with anybody, and usually had to,
but draws the line at having to share his woman. He
doesn’t ask for much from a relationship, love comes
naturally, too easy perhaps, readily seeing peoples
good side, foremost he expects loyalty and respect, not
too much of an ask, qualities that have eluded him thus
far from all his relationships. So what’s he doing
wrong? He always puts the toilet seat down, politely
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His LAST SUPPER
opens doors, so what’s the problem. Does he try too
hard to fit in, unselfishly giving his body, his soul, his
wallet, his undivided attention, is it people push his
good nature to extremes, adopting the, ‘oh he won’t
mind’, kind of attitude without the decency even to ask,
or consider his feelings, taking him for granted, not
realising like them he is human and he has his limits,
surprised to find he has opinions, morals, certain
standards and, when pushed, is likely to voice them,
sometimes taking exception to what they hear, being
brutally honest is not always best policy, diplomacy the
better part of valour, but that doesn’t mean you have
to tell lies.
Two rules of thumb he lives by are simple, ‘Treat
others as you would like them to treat you!’ but if you
regard him as though he were something you’ve
trodden in, then don’t expect to like the resultant odour
when you try to write him off; rule two, ‘Leave the
place as you would expect to find it!’ he’s not house
proud by any means but everything has its place and
generally left where you would expect to find it.
He wasn’t the man she had built him up to be,
putting him on too high a pedestal, assuming from past
experience he was a person who’d quietly sit in the
corner and take all the crap without complaint, a father
figure for her offspring, and a free spending wallet,
Kenft gives that impression, minding his p’s and q’s
when he’s out, that’s the way he was brought up, to be
seen and not heard, but it’s a different matter in his
own environment, especially in the company of foul
mouthed disrespectful bad mannered teenagers. He
wasn’t wealthy, far from it, he’d re-mortgaged his
home to finance their wedding and the flights to
America, it wasn’t a problem, within his means,
knowing how word travels and people continue to dwell
on the past, probably all under the misapprehension he
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Dr.K
was still in possession of the thirty odd grand, or had
miraculously turned it into millions. In reality, one way
or another, he’d given it all away, some to helping
others.
He was her fantasy, her fixation since she was
that young teenager, feelings she’d harboured through
to her adult life, she’d spoken about him, describing
him with affection to her children, Kenft had a great
deal to live up to, being held in such high esteem
brought pressures of its own.
In contrast, she was everything he thought she
was, too many skeletons in the cupboard and quite
prepared to add to her score. Her son was only too
happy to remind her of the fact, using the term ‘you old
tart’ far to frequently, the excuse; he was quoting from
‘Only fools and horses’, one of his favourite sitcoms.
Kenft initially under the impression he was only
mucking about, but because of the regularity, revised
his thinking, he knows as much if not more of his
mum’s character and merely concurring with Kenft’s
understanding. All the same Kenft didn’t approve and
desperately attempted to correct this young mans
attitude, making a complete hash of it, he came across
as being aggressive, Christopher made a game of it,
finishing it off as a laugh and a joke. Tara took it all
seriously, kneeing Kenft on the top of his thigh giving
him a painful dead leg when he and Christopher were
play fighting, she meant it, Christopher incensed she’d
done such a thing. This behaviour happening behind
their mothers back, the next minute she’d demand
hugs of reassurance. Kenft had a lot to contend with,
little wonder he sought refuge, spending the odd night
or two back home with his son, Tracey would soon
phone to find out where he was. One thing Kenft is not
and that’s pretentious, someone who pretends to be
something they’re not, he had put up with over twenty
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His LAST SUPPER
years of being messed about by June, respecting her
now only as the mother of his kids, no way was he
going to put up with the same again, not at any cost,
why should he.
Kenft thought Tracey would have grasped the
opportunity with both hands, having got ‘the man of
her dreams’, as she put it, do everything in her power
to keep hold of him, to go out of her way to make him
happy and feel at home, not to mess things up as she
had with her previous partners. She’d been engaged,
he thinks at least twice before, but never quite made it
down the isle, now he knows why. She had him right
where she wanted him. In spite of her shortcomings he
had fallen in love with her, he wasn’t a liar, he was
more than prepared to marry her, but not Vegas, that
he considered tacky, preferring something more
traditional back home. He had broached the subject
with her on more than one occasion, asking if she had a
special day, or place in mind but she struggled to hold
any kind of decent conversation on the subject, to the
point where Kenft wondered if she was really that
interested. Even the subject of the marital home was a
thorny one, the ideal scenario would be for Kenft to sell
up and they all move into something a little bigger, a
fresh start for everyone, but no, Tracey wanted to stay
were she was, buy her place from the housing
association and extend. It was another sign Kenft
should have heeded, a lack of commitment, earlier she
implied she would have followed Kenft anywhere, now
he’s not so sure.
If only the holiday hadn’t gone as he had
predicted then maybe things would have turned out
differently. Maybe psychologically she couldn’t do it,
maybe something from her past prevents her doing it.
Maybe she’d been let down that many times she
expected, or subconsciously planned this relationship
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Dr.K
would end up going the same way as all her others.
After all at a very early stage in their relationship she
had hinted at hoping things wouldn’t go wrong and they
ended up as not even being friends. Perhaps Kenft just
wasn’t giving the right positive signals? If only she had
shown him some of the tenderness she had bestowed
upon him previously, simply holding hands, showing
the world they were indeed a couple would have
sufficed. No, the instant she sat herself in the taxi to
the airport she had undergone a personality
transformation. Having said that Kenft doesn’t
remember Nessie and Bob showing a great deal of
affection towards one another and recalls a Nessie
throwaway comment,
“What’s love got to do with it?”
Indicating maybe she wasn’t where she was for
the right reasons either, catching Kenft completely off
guard, not ever thinking she was that kind of a girl, or
maybe that was the girls philosophy, based on their
upbringing, love had nothing to do with it, a case of
grab who or what they can, anyone who would give
them a certain standard of lifestyle, nothing more than
gold-diggers perhaps? It was all beyond Kenft’s
apprehension.
Commendation
***
Quote:
‘You can take the girl out of the bar, but you can’t take
the bar out of the girl.’
On holiday in America, although he really didn’t
want to ever go shopping again for the rest of his life,
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especially Wal-Mart’s, Kenft needed to do a bit of
souvenir hunting, his body language had made it plain
he was not happy, he and Tracey were dropped off at
the mall, the first time they had spent time alone
together, other than bedtime. Kenft was only half
looking, not really interested, he felt uneasy, emotions
were boiling up inside, as Tracey had virtually ignored
him all holiday, he walked around as if she wasn’t
there, tentatively looking at items then putting them
back on the shelf. He’d had enough and walked outside,
Tracey followed, she plucks up the courage to ask,
“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?”
She had obviously planned this with Nessie,
dropping them off, alone, so they could talk, a shopping
precinct is not really the place for a meaningful
discussion. This only led to intensify the situation,
Kenft, ‘like she needed telling what’s wrong’, could ask
her the same question, immediately he loses his cool.
“This is a Tracey and Nessie holiday, nobody
else seem to exist or matter to you,” he instantly
blurted out angrily, regretting it the moment he said it.
“But I thought this would be like a family
holiday,” she replied, almost apologetically.
‘So a family holiday means no signs of affection,
it’s like spending a holiday with a complete stranger’?
“Yeah sure, except it’s two families, I feel more
like the hired help, the babysitter or the fucking butler.”
“This isn’t going to work is it?” She said, calmly
rolling another cigarette.
“Nope I guess not.” Kenft snared.
Obviously she’s not going to try very hard to
make it work either, giving up at the first hurdle,
maybe she’s had a change of heart and didn’t want it to
work? It went quiet, neither said another word, looking
at the ground kicking their heels, they waited to be
picked up by Nessie. Their problem, they just couldn’t
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Dr.K
or wouldn’t effectively communicate, too much of a
kind. Kenft didn’t want a slanging match, or any form
of altercation, especially in public. He knew from
previous experience whatever statement he’d make,
the words would be twisted around and thrown straight
back at him, their meaning exactly the same just put
differently and made to sound as though she’d thought
of it, as June use to do, finding it all tiresome, so he
didn’t bother. The remainder of the so-called holiday,
with several days still to go, was going to be
atmospheric to say the least.
Kenft recalled the instance’s when he was
introduced to members of Bob’s veterans social club,
Kenft’s birthday treat, a few drinks at the club, Tracey,
having
been
there
before,
introduced
Kenft
as her ‘finance’, not her fiancé, nobody thought that
funny except Tracey, then daughter telling him,
“We’re going to take you for all you’ve got then
mums going to dump you,” smirking all over her face.
‘Mmm her last fiancé allegedly went bankrupt’.
Kenft couldn’t believe his ears, the cow, where on earth
does a fourteen year old get that from, she must have
overheard it, she knew what she was trying to do, that
was selfish and callous. She would frequently interject
with comments relating to her mothers past
acquaintances. Tracey couldn’t understand why Kenft
would feel uncomfortable with this. Thousands of miles
from home simply having a bite to eat in a fast food
establishment Tara would come out with a statement,
totally out of nowhere, relating to a past irrelevant
experience with one of her mothers past boyfriends,
entirely detracted from what they were doing, why?
Why would she suddenly feel the need to drag up the
subject, constantly dragging up the past, her mothers
past, it was beyond belief? That was just one
illustration of many and there was no discipline from
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mum, she was simply allowed to get away with it, Kenft
resisted the urge to retaliate. He didn’t trust this girl,
she had the potential to do a lot of harm if she had a
mind to, one wild off the cuff fabricated statement, a
figment of her imagination, and an innocent someone
could end up before the magistrates with an unjustified
tarnished reputation, not to mention the physical
damage she could do, she was a big girl, a big girl with
grudges, a huge chip on her shoulder.
Christopher had his moments to, in your face,
moaning from the time he left home, a pain at
immigration because they had to wait so long, he let
everyone know he didn’t want to be there. He was in
Kenft’s face once to often, Kenft over reacted slapping
him in the face with the back of his hand, he was close
so it wasn’t hard, they’d hurt each other much more
than that play fighting, but his chubby cheeks and open
mouth, amplifying the sound, it echoed, sounded
harder than it actually was, drama queen Chris won his
Oscar making out Kenft had pole axed him, Kenft, with
help from Tara, was now labelled as the villain. Kenft
retired to his bedroom out of further harms way. The
following day Kenft apologised and so does Chris and
soon forgotten, but, as far as mother was concerned,
Kenft was still the villain, he’d over stepped the mark.
Kenft totally regretted the way he was feeling,
the things he had said, and how juvenile he had
handled the whole situation, he felt ashamed. He
should not have allowed a fourteen year old’s glib
remarks, or indeed Chris’s behaviour, bother him, he
should have rose above it, but bother him it did. They
compounded Tracey’s apparent rejection of him. He felt
he should have kept quiet, pretended he was happy
and ride the whole thing out.
Bob and Nessie had recently moved into a new
house on a new development, it was quite lavish,
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Dr.K
plenty of space. Other proerties were at various stages
of completion and those up for sale could be viewed at
will, no need to contact real estate agents or the
construction company, any house with the ‘for sale’
sign out front you could walk straight in, all the details
the price, square footage, number of rooms etc were
posted up the window, easy. Tracey and Kenft’s eyes
fell out of their sockets, Kenft could sell his place back
home, buy a brand new place out here, twice the size
and still have as much again left over, perfect. He
didn’t think he’d have too big a deal finding in his
profession either. Kenft said as much to Tracey to see
what kind of reaction he would get, would she jump up
and down like a demented school girl at the chance of
living close to her sister, hardly, but she never
discounted it either, you could hear the cogs rotating in
her head trying to work out the pro’s and cons. Bob
however wasn’t so keen; he had fears and tribulations
of his own and in his own way said as much,
“I know of an English guy,” he said in his
American accent, “ who moved in with his new wife into
a new place, seemed to have had it made, and after a
few months he came home from work one day to find
his wife had gone, complete with all their belongings,
apparently ran off with his best friend. Last I’d heard
he’d qualified as a pilot and was ferrying hunters to
their hunting grounds in the lakes with his float plane;
black eye’d peas anyone.” Kenft read his message loud
and clear, ‘sounds to me as though the guy had the
best end of the deal’. Kenft has always been interested
in aviation and loved the idea of flying.
Unfortunately he knew exactly how this holiday
was going to pan out from the onset and thought he’d
be able to handle it, he was wrong. He knew Tracey, a
bit of a tomboy, who new what her best assets were,
and Nessie, a young Meg Ryan look-alike, were going to
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lavish all their attention on one another, they were
understandably close, sometimes too close, maybe
taking the sisterly love thing a stage too far, but they
choose to live thousand’s of miles apart? He along with
the kids were going to have to take a back seat, he
knew the kids, as a result, were going to be the
proverbial pain in the arse, now he understood how
they felt when he first arrived into their worldly space,
they didn’t disappoint him. It was for this very reason
he had left the wedding rings, purchased months
earlier, back home, perhaps Tracey, assuming he was
going to whisk her away to LA, knew? To compound his
problem he would be asked to present his divorce
papers, he didn’t have them, he wasn’t sure where they
were and would have to order duplicates, so marriage
at that moment wasn’t an option. If she had asked,
plainly, asked him out right, he would have explained
his reasons and his predicament. Kenft believed if she
truly loved him and wanted him as much as she had
said in the pillow talk, then she would be more than
happy to bide her time and wait until he was ready, a
meaningful relationship is more meaningful than a band
of gold on the finger, but the holiday only served to
reinforce his belief, it was all lies, an enactment,
gullible Kenft had fallen for it, on their return home she
made it quite plain where her thoughts lay.
“Now don’t take this the wrong way…but you
cant stay here anymore.”
How was he supposed to take it?
“Not even weekends.”
“No.” Using the excuse she didn’t want to be
caught out by the housing association and lose her
benefits, he could understand that.
“So this is it…you’re giving me the elbow.”
“No, you’re welcome to come round whenever
you want.”
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Kenft instinctively new different, she was lying,
he’d call round, sometimes sensing the need to phone
for clearance, as each time he was made to feel less
welcome. He eventually obtains copies of his decree
nisi, his divorce papers, and hoped their existence
would sway the situation, prove his sincerity, he was
sadly mistaken.
“Oh, now you come round here with marriage in
mind, as though nothing has happened.” She said
brusquely, sitting at the foot of the stairs.
Kenft was taken aback, stood by the doorway
and shrugged his shoulders, not the reaction he was
hoping for.
“I come as a complete package,” she continued.
Meaning her, her two teenagers, and all the crap
that goes with it. Kenft didn’t think anything otherwise,
but it did work both ways, if he was to take on the
mantle, to contribute, to provide, as a father figure,
then eventually, as past experience dictates, his
opinions, including discipline, would become an issue,
an issue neither herself nor her teenage kids could
accept, Kenft came as a complete package too, sure he
had chastised the kids, as he would his own, when he
considered it necessary, believing he was doing right by
them, affording them some stability and parental
guidance, but it never went down well, he faced the
inevitable.
“You’re not our father, what’s it got to do with
you,” type of mentality.
‘Yep fair enough, but where is he now? How is
he contributing to your upbringing, all you do is moan
about him, every fucking day!’ During his infrequent
visits they’d be so far up his arse they’d suffocate. They
were never slow at holding out their hand if they
wanted something.
“I have to think of my kids,” added Tracey.
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That goes without saying, maybe she should
have thought of that when they were younger, flying in
the face of her previous statements, using them as an
excuse was the easy way out, as if she feared for their
safety, suggesting Kenft was a danger to them, nothing
could be further from the truth, but he’d be damn sure
he’d let them know right from wrong. Apologising, not
that he had anything to apologise for, Kenft left, Tracey
followed him outside to continue,
“I guess my past has caught up with me,” in a
more civil, almost apologetic tone, ‘darling your past
never left you, you’re living with it, constantly’.
Kenft could think of nothing poignant to say, or
look at her, and continued walking, the stuffing
knocked out of him, he didn’t stand a chance, his life
seemed beset with setbacks, he’d all but given up. As
with Graham she wanted Kenft to believe he was the
one who had finished it, why? It didn’t lessen the pain
any. Kenft had obviously failed her, he’d not measured
up to her expectations, she’s looking for her Mr Perfect,
but Mr Perfect doesn’t exist in this world, he’s
languishing in some parallel universe, in the recesses of
her mind. She knew Kenft was the best thing for her, a
loyal partner; otherwise she wouldn’t have gone after
him in the first place, but, unlike Kenft, she wasn’t
prepared to compromise and offer him the same, she
hadn’t lost the bike shed schoolgirl mentality.
A business trip to Dubai, at the third time of
asking, the MD cocking up the travel arrangements to
save a few quid, it wasn’t as exotic as it sounds. Kenft
picks up his colleague at three on Saturday morning
and the pair head for Heathrow and a direct flight to
Dubai. The objective to inspect forty or more
evaporator/condensers, samples of various designs, for
conformity, this considered more cost effective than
shipping the units to the UK, untill now the usual
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procedure. Kenft expected soaring heat and sun, Dubai
obviously being in the desert, instead had to contend
with two days of torrential rain and flooded roads, plus
a state visit from President Bush and all the security
paraphernalia that went with it, some roads and access
routes being closed hindering the locals normal travel
arrangements, much to their annoyance.
Kenft called Tracey when he could; she
struggled to hold any kind of conversation. With the
assistance of his colleague, he only just had enough
time to complete the task at hand, they were hoping to
finalise things a few hours earlier affording them some
time for sightseeing, it was a misguided forethought,
they were scheduled to catch the first flight home on
Tuesday morning and had to be at the airport for the
two o’clock flight. Kindly the owners of the subcontracting company invited them to a meal at a
Lebanese restaurant close to the airport and arranged
to meet them there with two other customers of theirs,
two Americans, competitors, up until then they were
desperate to keep them apart. Close as they dare to
the two o’clock deadline and by now feeling slightly
jaded, it had been a long day, they thanked their hosts
for their kind hospitality but had to leave.
Because of the time difference, the usual delays,
they arrive back in the UK clearing Heathrow at
approximately nine thirty am on the same day, to more
pouring rain and the three hour drive back home, they
were expected in the office that afternoon. Catching
little sleep, Kenft driving, he needed to stop he could
hardly keep his eyes open, the proverbial piss holes in
the snow syndrome; he needed a coffee and pulled into
a roadside café. Kenft dropped of his colleague at his
home early afternoon adamant he wasn’t going in;
Kenft should have had a hospital appointment with his
consultant that afternoon.
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Both where considered lightweights by the MD
and the operations manager the following day. Kenft
dropped off a souvenir and a gift from the duty free to
Tracey’s, neither were appreciated, along with a shit,
less than enthusiastic welcome home, although she did
apologise later, but as far as Kenft was concerned
damage already done, reminding him of Oxford
University, June and Tracey were so alike, unbelievable,
both would deny it.
After the split Kenft could be sure she would
blacken his name about town, a contrivance
experienced at first hand, one she’d used before,
slating off her mother, the father of her children and
Graham, and divulged the antics of god knows who
else, making them out to be the villains and her the
injured party, having no faults of her own, who did
nothing to exacerbate the situation, Kenft remembers
Bob’s text, his passed experience, telling him there is
always two sides to a story, he tried hard not involve
himself, he could see history repeating itself before his
very eyes. It was an effective poison, an aid assisting
her devious plan to bring about her next conquest, the
unwary soul who will be naturally drawn in, made to
feel a degree of sympathy and take her side, but she’s
always found out in the end, That’s why, in her mid
forties, she’s still finds herself single. The people she
involves are in no position to judge Kenft on her say so,
but judge him they will.
A rare email from Tracey, a reply to one of his
where he explains some of the hurt he referred to as
‘affairs of the heart’ he was going through during
troubled times with Kate, not that he’d gone into any
great detail. He recollects her reply being one of sincere
sympathy and didn’t relish in seeing him hurt, little
knowing that, in the future, she would end up hurting
him the most, worse, breaking his heart. She must
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have a heart of stone, Kenft thought long and hard
before entering any relationship, too long, often
missing the boat. Tracey and her kind, the opposites,
happy to flit from one to another, they can’t have a
conscience, or any scruples to speak of. Unable to
concentrate or at all interested in his work, devastated
and despondent, Kenft was short on confidence and
motivation, his self-esteem had taken a huge knock
back, doubting himself, Kenft just needed to get away
from it all, to escape, to find independence from the
constricting confinement of the system, to find his
measure of contentment, somewhere.
Angry and hurt, he’d lost Tracey and losing
Tone, Kenft resigns from his job, he couldn’t face the
unrealistic demands from his MD, he writes an email,
‘I have carefully considered the instruction to
reduce the number of personnel within the drawing
office by two (2), in line with your projections for the
company in the next financial year, a decision required
by you at the end of January.
That time is here and I've decided to hand in my
resignation, rather than dispel others, this will free up
the necessary resources you require.
It would then seem logical to double the role of
the Quality Manager to Quality/Drawing Office Manager
instead of using a replacement, making use of your
existing resources.
Therefore kindly regard this email as my formal
resignation with immediate effect and wish everyone
the very best for the future.’
Best Regards.
He receives no reply, no correspondence, no
attempt to find out his reasons why or talk him out of
it, so as far as Kenft was concerned he’d done the right
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thing, he was considered dispensable, all that hard
work and dedication in the end meant nothing. Later,
still in contact with his now ex-colleagues he learns his
ideas outlined in his email are implemented. The lease
on the factory building would be up for renewal in two
years time, the MD openly discussed his intentions to
buy the building outright thus ensuring the companies
continuation, an attempt to reassure everyone of a
positive future. With more and more units being
procured from abroad and the MD’s track record, Kenft
had his doubts.
The Blessing
***
Tone is now very ill, in and out of hospital on a
regular basis, Kenft now had all the time available, to
be with him every day, by his side to share his burden,
spiritually if not bodily, although he felt his pain. He
was in no hurry to find employment, this was meant to
be, he prepared himself to see this through at the same
time looking for some form of consolation, desperately
he wanted to amend things with Tracey, one way or
another. He felt helpless, on both counts, he was on a
hiding to nothing but in his heart of hearts he hoped
someway he would be proved wrong.
Valentines day and Kenft made a reservation at
a nearby restaurant, Tracey accepted his invitation, he
presents her with a card and gift during the day and
informs her of the time he’ll pick her up later that
evening, saving her the walk, ever thoughtful. Kenft
had spruced himself up and called for her, she presents
him with his card and gift; she had obviously waited to
see what his intentions were before deciding on her
moves. She presents him with a box containing a small
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Dr.K
bottle of red wine, a card and a large fluffy toy dog with
a heart around its neck with the inscription; ‘cuddle
me’, Tracey’s idea of sarcasm. Kenft orders drinks from
the bar and they sit at the table to peruse the menu,
Tracey makes a statement, others could overhear.
“Don’t think I’m happy to be here, cause I’m
not.” She said, leaning back in her chair.
‘Then what the fuck are you doing here, no one
forced you, she could have said no, I’ve a good mind to
walk out, leave her here, go to the loo and slip out the
back, fucking bitch’. Kenft took it on the chin as usual
and said nothing.
‘Should I stay, should I go,
Could I ever really stand to let you go,
Can you now find the right words to say,
That maybe I’m getting in your way...’
Gabrielle.
They order their meal; it was nice but tainted,
tainted by her words, no gratitude. Holding hands Kenft
walked her home, to her door, he’s not invited in for
coffee, he thanks her for her company, for what it was
worth, says goodnight and walks away, home, knowing
he’d wasted his time, just round the corner and out of
sight he heard his name being called aloud, or did he
imagine it. He was infuriated, the desired effect she
was looking for no doubt, he stared at that box in the
corner of his lounge for days, trying to fathom how she
could give him a card with words that spoke of poetic
love, only to treat him with contempt, it was nothing
more than mental persecution, torture.
“Take me to bed,” she would often say as Kenft
recalled some of the good times, but soon brought
himself back to earth remembering a statement
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reminiscent of his time with Kate, perhaps they’d
colluded.
“You’re not here just for the sex are you?”
‘What is it with these women’, thought Kenft, justifiably
incensed by the remark, obviously he’s putting too
much emphasis ensuring that fragment of the
relationship was right, ‘I give them body and bloody
soul, changed my whole routine to be in tune with
theirs and still its not enough. If I were here just for
the sex I wouldn’t hang around and put up with the
efforts of Christopher and Tara, that’s for sure. She’d
be the first to complain if she wasn’t getting any. Mind
you I can’t say it’s the stimulating conversation, hang
on a minute, who led who up the stairs in the first
place, who used sex as the bait? Hypocritical or what!
Then again if I were here just for the sex maybe we’d
still be friends, as she is with the rest of her cohorts.
What else am I suppose to do?’ he didn’t respond,
instead he choose to disregard her comment with the
contempt it deserved.
One of his uncomfortable previous visits, he sat
down in his the usual place, Tracey would have
normally snuggled up to him, hopefully getting to him
before one of her kids did, on this occasion she didn’t,
making the excuse she had to busy herself and do
something productive, another hypocritical moment.
Making his way past the coffee table he notices her
selection of rings symbolically left sprawled on its
surface, he picked out what he thought was his
engagement ring, amongst others that looked similar,
and put it in his pocket before going upstairs to use the
bathroom, he remembers the wedding rings left beside
her bed, they had been there several months, he
wasn’t going to leave without them.
He received an irate text from Tracey the next
day accusing him of stealing and going into her
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Dr.K
bedroom without her permission. On the first count he
was merely taking back what he had given, these items
are normally thrown back in a rage, perhaps she’s
making a collection. On the second count he
remembers she couldn’t wait to have him in her
bedroom and had dreamt of this possibility for years,
oh my how the tables have turned. Kenft returned the
ring, even placed it on her finger again, the ring meant
more to her than Kenft did, at least she had a smile on
her face and not lying on the sofa complaining of a
migraine.
She knew Tone as well as Kenft did, she knew
how much Tone meant to him, what he was going
through, but she shows no sympathy, not a single
shred of consideration, having lost her first born, her
grandfather, people close to her, he had the notion
there would some empathy for his situation, nothing,
she gave him no quarter.
First opportunity Kenft calls round to see his old
mate, as usual he’s tried to do too much, several things
at a time, still trying to fix things for other people, a bit
of welding, a spanner in one hand mobile phone in the
other, bleeding a brake system, dinner on the go for his
father-in-law. No wonder he’s out of breath, Kenft
advises him to take five,
“Lets put the kettle on,” they walk through to
the kitchen.
‘Women! They don’t know what multi-tasking is,
they harp on they’re the only one’s capable, sure you
can hold a baby in one arm, stir a saucepan on the
cooker hob with the other and hold a conversation with
your best friend, about nothing in particular, trapping
the phone to your ear with the shoulder, but you don’t
need a brain for that.
Try juggling with the supervision and design of
half a dozen multi-million pound projects, to a deadline,
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His LAST SUPPER
being innovative, liasing with umpteen members of
staff, departments, sub-contractors and arsehole
customers, using the computer, learning to use new
software, updated on a regular basis then crashing
every
five
minutes,
training
others,
constant
interruptions up setting your train of thought, all while
driving a car at ninety miles an hour on the motorway,
on the hands free, and trying to keep a woman and the
managing director happy, with a constant smile on your
face, all at the same time, that’s what you call multitasking’, ranted Kenft in his head. Tone settled, sat
down took the weight off his feet, panic attack over, he
caught his breath, then swallowed another dose of his
medicine, his bones ached like mad, no respite, he
coughed, the pain stabbed him in his chest from where
he’d had his biopsy, he’d moan like hell, who wouldn’t,
but he wont give up.
Kenft passed him his mug of coffee and sits with
him at the table.
“Cheers doctor Kenft how’s things with you?”
“Mustn’t grumble, I could but I wont.”
“And Tracey, how are things between you two.”
“Not looking good old mate.”
“Want my advice?” Kenft was going to get it,
like it or not, “walk away from it Kenft and don’t look
back, don’t torture yourself about it, you’re not the first
to have failed there and damn sure you wont be the
last. You tried your level best.”
“Yeah, know what you mean, still in love with
the girl though, it’s tough, after all those years, now it’s
like we’re mortal enemies or something, I’ve said things
I shouldn’t have and regret it, apologised for it but it’s
got me nowhere.” Kenft pauses for thought, “enough of
that, more importantly how are you coping ol’mate.”
“I’ve had to up the dosage, its hurting Kenft,
makes no difference if I sit, stand or lay down, can’t
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Dr.K
even sleep at night, it would help if I could, a good
nights sleep, that’s what I need.”
He fidgets on his seat to find some degree of
comfort, Kenft, helpless, he could only sympathise and
imagine the pain he was going through.
“Well, my old mate, you’ve got to take it easy,
don’t try to do so much.”
“It takes my mind off it,” argues Tone.
“Appreciate that chap, slow it down a bit, set
your own pace, sod everyone else.” It was Kenft’s turn
to impart with some advice.
Tone breaks the news to Kenft, he’d had a visit
from the doctor, a real doctor, he hesitated to find the
right approach but in the end put it bluntly and to the
point, it was the only way.
“They’ve given me till Christmas, doctor Kenft.”
It went quiet.
Kenft said nothing, he new the guy was
struggling, suffering big time, in a way Kenft was
already in mourning, the first signs showing on that
disastrous weekend with Tracey, he knew he was losing
his old mate and had no idea how he was going to cope
without him, knowing a timescale made no difference,
it gave Tone something to aim for though and remained
upbeat, finding some resolve.
“I shall damn well make sure I see next
Christmas Kenft.”
Kenft sat stony faced with saddened eyes,
numbed, hoped his ol’mate would make Christmas, and
beyond, but he didn’t like to see him in so much pain,
Kenft’s heart was being torn to shreds, from pillar to
post, its strings being pulled ever tighter, he wasn’t
sure how much he could take, let alone Tone.
Tone was his rock, the guy who had kick started
his life again, made him feel alive and life worth living,
in hind sight he wonders, considering the heartaches,
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whether he should have left things in status quo, eight
years ago. Tone took a turn for the worse and promptly
sent back into hospital, Kenft went along with Tones
wife, Shirl’s, and her son Lee to visit him. They
remained strong, resolute, but Kenft was sure they
must have had their private moments. Tones
medication dosage was fine tuned in line with his pain
threshold, he felt stronger as a result and didn’t want to
stay in hospital any longer than he had to, it just meant
he was higher on the effects of opium, morphine, he
text his old mate to see if he would fetch him out, then
phoned him at the first opportunity for confirmation
before he even had the chance to reply to the text, he
was that desperate.
“Hello doctor Kenft, sorry to trouble you, would
you kindly pick me up from the hospital and bring me
home, only Shirl’s at work and I didn’t want to disturb
her,” sounding like his usual self, the Tone he knew.
“Sure, no problem old mate, anything for you,
what time?” Shirl’s has done a lot of running about, so
a little respite for her wouldn’t go a miss.
“About four thirty should do it, I cant stay in
here Kenft, I got to get out,” his voice wavered.
“No worries Tone, I’ll be there, see you later.”
Kenft arrived early knowing how desperate he
sounded, parked his car and headed for the ward. He
rounded the corner, past the nurses station and stood
at the entrance to Tones side ward, there were six
beds, three each side and Tones was at the far end, by
the window on the left. Kenft’s heart missed a beat,
Tone wasn’t there, instinctively he thought something
had happened. He stood momentarily at the foot of his
bed, not knowing what to do, frozen to the spot, and
then he heard the unmistakable voice.
“Ah, there you are doctor Kenft,” exclaimed a
jovial Tone.
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Dr.K
Kenft turned towards him, his smile returned
instantly when he saw his old mate, but surprised to
see him in a wheelchair, but then again perhaps he
wasn’t. The nurse volunteered her services taking the
responsibility of wheeling Tone down to the pick up
spot; Kenft grabbed his belongings in the two carrier
bags. Tone was on form, chatting up the young nurse,
trying to prise her phone number from her, for the
benefit his old mate of course, as if Kenft wasn’t in
enough trouble, she was young enough to be their
daughter, poor girl, she had a sense of humour and
took it well. She stood by him while Kenft fetched the
car, then helped him to squeeze in, Tone couldn’t thank
her enough as he said goodbye. The drive home and
Tone continued with his gratitude, thanking Kenft
profusely for taking the trouble to collect him, Kenft
emphasised nothing was too much trouble, he would do
anything he could to help him, whenever, wherever.
Tone again asked how things were between him and
Tracey, Kenft opened up, telling him he’d not heard
anything from her and how he regretted everything
that had happened, he’d not only lost her as his lover,
but also as a friend. Tone sympathised and began
planning.
Tone invites Kenft to a dinner party and
wouldn’t take no for an answer, as usual, and informed
him it would be at the ‘Ostrich’ their favourite Sunday
lunch haunt, Kenft surprised it wasn’t a little closer to
home, considering his condition. Tone insisted on
driving, as he wasn’t allowed to drink on top of his
medication, little did he know but he probably wasn’t
allowed to drive on his medication either. On the night
Kenft called round, they climbed aboard Gordon,
Grunt’s replacement, Tone, Shirl’s and Kenft, and they
set off, suspiciously Tone wasn’t heading the right way,
he pulled up outside Tracey’s, she climbed in beside
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Shirl’s in the back, Tone was up to his old tricks. The
car park was at the rear of the pub, a short walk
through the back gate past the water feature to the
rear entrance, Kenft was on edge from the start. At the
bar they were met by Tommo, Jinny and Gary with his
wife Jane, they ordered drinks. The usual faces weren’t
behind the bar, the establishment had been taken over,
so no Fitzy in the kitchen, Kenft recognises Chris, father
of the previous owners and says hello, shaking hands.
The place was traditional, no gaudy themes to contend
with, a long dark natural wood bar, glasses hung above
a selection of real ales and bottles of spirits upside
down in their optic’s occupied the rear wall in a
regimented row, with complimentary furniture of
square tables and chairs, the long table sandwiched
between panels at either end looking as mature and in
keeping with the pub itself, reserved for Tone and his
guests.
They were asked to take their places at the
table, Kenft hung back, he waited for everyone else to
sort themselves out first, Gary and Jane shifted round
onto the bench seat along the wall, window behind
them, Jinny along side with Tommo at the head of the
table, Shirl’s next beside him facing Jinny opposite,
then Tone and Tracey sat herself down beside him.
Tracey promptly, and rudely, placed her handbag on
the table on what would have been the natural place for
Kenft, stating quite emphatically that no way was he
going to be sitting next to her, she’s unable to put their
differences aside for one evening not even for Tones
sake, whatever must the others be thinking. Kenft took
the only available space left to him, the head of the
table opposite Tommo, he felt out on a limb,
embarrassed, awkward, and really wanted to thump
someone, irrespective of their gender and not entirely
sure if he should be associating with this type of
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person. If people had been aggressive towards her in
the past he could understand their feelings, she damn
well asks for it, but when you love someone you have
to make allowances, Kenft assumes or is it just him?
Only Kenft’s normally placid demeanour, the fact the
was a gentleman and didn’t hit girls and the fact this
was Tone’s night and he wasn’t going to make a scene
and spoil it, prevented any wrongdoings, he was right
to be edgy, the adrenalin flowed. It was a reminiscent
of the scene from the last supper, all sat round the
table, Tone the centre of attention surrounded by his
disciples, his Judas, cancer, and already doing its dirty
work.
They ordered their meals from the menu, Tracey
loud making a fuss of Tone, over the top and
completely ignoring Kenft. He didn’t begrudge Tone any
attention, unbeknown to the others sat around the
table that night, this was to be his last supper, the last
time he would see that group of people together. He’d
prepared a speech:
“As you know I’m feeling a little poorly just now.
Whilst I been a bit poorly I tend to notice things that
would otherwise, shall we say ‘slip through the net’. Us
lot are a funny bunch. Please don’t take offence in any
way by what is going to be said, or read in this case.
Let’s call them ‘new’ friends, Gary and Jane.
Here we have a young couple ‘just starting’, I use the
term loosely, Young in years, young children and young
ideas. A family just on life’s ladder and on the way up.
I’ve only known Gary a short time, and in that short
time we have built a strong bond. Along with Jane and
two young sprogs. They’re a family I’m really happy to
have met, and over recent weeks our Garfield’s been a
brick, ‘to coin a phrase’
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Then, there’s the old friends, Mike and Jinny.
Couldn’t do without ‘em…Jinny just one of the bestest.
Still trying to get our Mike to give up the fags, one day,
and as always, there is Mike and a touch of, ‘Jinny
could you print this off please dear.’ Reckon our Mike’s
mastered the good ol ‘puter. One day all ‘puters will
have a Jinny. They’re better ‘an any printer. Anyway
back to it. The kids all grown up, flown the coup, still
see ‘em from time to time, but all in all a steady bunch,
apart from Karen who is just great and has a total will
of her own, but we’re not going there today.
Tony and Shirley, well, ‘seventh heaven’. He’s
her third, she’s his fourth, that’s the score. Been mates
for 33 years, when she got him he came with a free
shed, not every girl can say that. They got two fantastic
boys, one at home who’s puter crazy, the other just
crazy. ‘If you look at the pair you can see which is the
crazy one’, but now he’s settled and hopefully won’t be
any more bother. You just gotta watch out for the ‘new’
batch…yes. They got 4 grand kids.
Now, Tracey and our Kenft, got the best of both
worlds, kids and partners. Two flown the coup‘ish’. With
two still in the nest, needing guidance. Could this be a
‘Split Decision’ (Tone disco), had one of these years
ago. It got resolved. We went into partnership. In the
words of the immortal bard himself, Alan of Rubbette’s
fame, ‘People take my advice, if you really love
someone
don’t think twice’. I’ve known you both forever, and
love you both dearly. Could you please row the same
boat in one direction, instead of two boats in opposite
directions. Cos I’s just getting a might confused, so are
you two. It’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other,
Tracey get off your horse, Kenft get in the saddle.
That’s it, SORTED………”
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Tone had penned those words at three o’clock
one morning, during a moment of discomfort, unable to
settle or sleep.
At the table he was distressed, not able to eat
his meal, no appetite, highly unusual, in a great deal of
pain, physically and mentally, observing Tracey’s
behaviour, he was gutted. Kenft equally so, he had to
leave the table on no less than two occasions, outside
by the water feature to compose himself. Yes sure he
was pissed off with Tracey’s antics but more to the
point upset his old mate was truly now unwell and in so
much pain. Tone could take no more, he made his
excuses, he didn’t need any, and left a lot earlier than
he had planned.
Gary spoke up on Tone’s behalf,
“The reason we’re all here tonight, Tone’s idea,
was for your benefit,” looking directly at Tracey and
Kenft, more Tracey, “to prove to you two that
partnerships do work, by bringing you two together in
the company of other couples, who’ve had their fair
share of obstacles to overcome, made it work. I just
thought you should know.”
Kenft, visibly upset all evening, thanked him,
Tracey, no reaction, silent and cold, he also knew this
was Tone’s way of saying goodbye, knowing he had
little time left. Tommo and Jinny gave them a lift home,
Kenft got out at Tracey’s, one last effort, sitting on the
low wall outside her residence he poured his heart out,
stupidly thinking speaking from the heart would go
some way to win her over, showing his feminine side, it
made little difference, she just stood there coat zipped
up to her neck, her way of saying hands off, no
emotions, undoubtedly showing her masculine side,
said nothing other than to inform Kenft he wasn’t being
invited in, it wasn’t an option, she’s obviously saving
herself for her next victim, maybe he’s already inside,
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she turned away and disappeared into her house,
Kenft, feeling he’d lost all dignity, walked home. Sitting
in his living room staring at the box with the valentine
gift’s, no job, no woman and soon, no best mate, he
couldn’t feel much lower.
The following day he writes a note, ‘I don’t think
you intended these for me!’ placing it in the box, when
Tracey’s car was next seen parked in the Crown car
park, he leaves it on the bonnet. A few days later any
belongings he’d left at Tracey’s were found in a large
box dumped in his back garden. A despondent Kenft,
inspired to begin writing a few of his memoirs, venting
his frustrations, sent a draft copy of relevant pages to
Tracey, by email, under the premise that reading a
paragraph or two highlighting their good times may stir
her emotions and reconsider her position with Kenft, he
was also looking for her approval for his written words
or some explanation. It was to no avail and served only
to aggravate the situation, Tracey dwelling on the
negatives, came forward with no response, neither
acceptance nor denial of its content, as far as his big sis
was concerned she considered her brother had had a
lucky escape, but this was little consolation.
Tone was now in pain, so much so his
medication wasn’t working, he’s at home on his own,
he calls his doctor, who was unsympathetic, he couldn’t
do any more for him and said as much bluntly to Tone.
Tone wasn’t happy with his response; the doctor
suggested if he wasn’t satisfied he should take himself
off directly to the hospital. Disgusted, angry and
hurting bad, Tone slams the phone down, fires up
Gordon and does as the doctor ordered, in a raging
temper he drove himself to the hospital, after only a
few miles the pain proved too much forcing him to stop
briefly at the side of the road until comfortable enough
to carry on, not thinking to call Kenft or anybody. Kenft
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calls round to the old fire station, as was now routine,
calling every day, sitting with him for a few hours,
reminiscing over old times or watching the newly
installed satellite television, exhausted through no sleep
Tone would lay back on the settee, momentarily closing
his eyes and drift off to sleep before the pain wakes
him again, he had no thoughts of spending time in the
workshop now, any energy he had left was to fight,
fight for his life, spending his time in the lounge in front
of the television, medication and the black oxygen
cylinder by his side. Shirl’s fills Kenft in with the latest,
it wasn’t long before they were at his hospital bedside.
Again his medication dosage was adjusted, but
now at a dangerous level, his breathing was laboured
and constantly on oxygen. Tone instructs Kenft to take
Gordon home, in his haste he’d literally abandoned it
outside the A & E, it stood parked in the area reserved
for ambulances, and to use it as much as he needed to
it was totally at his disposal, which was handy the mot
had just run out on his car and it needed some work,
Tone’s garage and equipment was also at his disposal,
to make use of as he wished, advice he gave to
everyone. Kenft visited again, picking up Hippy’D’ as he
did so. Tone had been moved, into a single room, one
bed, on his own with its own waiting room, they were
met by Shirl’s warning them it didn’t look good, the pair
of them walked in. Tone was out, heavily sedated and
on the oxygen, the Bahrain F1 grand prix in full swing
on the monitor swung over his bed on its support arm,
he comes to, realising someone is there turns his head,
Kenft and Hippy‘D’ sat beside his bed.
“Hello boys.” he said, with eyes half closed, his
voice muffled by the oxygen mask, “you don’t normally
walk out of this room,” he informed, preparing them for
the worst.
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He said it so quietly Kenft struggled to hear, or
make sense of it, or choose to ignore it thinking he was
delirious and hoping he was exaggerating. He drifts off
again, Hippy‘D’ adjusts Tones blanket, it was slipping
off, they continue to watch over him, one eye on the
grand prix. The grand prix finishes and Tone comes to
again and tries to hold a conversation.
“Who won the grand prix boys?”
“Ferrari, Massa, Kimi second,” they both replied.
“I thought they might,” he said sleepily then
drifted off again, it was all he could muster.
With the grand prix program and the
advertisements finished the Sunday afternoon film
followed, Mission Impossible, poignantly the boys
looked at each other. Kenft thinks its time to allow
some of the other visitors a chance to spend some time
with him, they sat awhile, glumly in the waiting room,
seemed like hours, Tone was still asleep.
“Come on Hippy‘D’, lets shoot, I’ll bring you
back tomorrow, it’s getting late.”
Kenft drops off Hippy, they arranged the time to
go back to hospital the following day, Kenft parks
Gordon outside the old fire station and walks round the
corner, to home. Mentally, emotionally exhausted,
Kenft goes straight to bed, but its some time before he
drops off, he’s over tired. The phone awakes him, its
daylight again, then that dreaded feeling he knew what
was coming.
“Hi, Ken, its Shirl’s, sorry to phone you so early
but I thought you should be one of the first to know,
Tone passed away this morning, at five o’clock.”
He thanked her for telling him, there was
nothing else to be said, they hung up. Kenft lay in his
bed thinking of his old mate and began sobbing his
heart out; his best mate had finally given up the battle.
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The phone rings again, Kenft lets it ring a while, then
reluctantly, tentatively, he answers,
“Hello.” He said sobbing.
He couldn’t disguise his grief, the person on the
other end of the line hesitated momentarily before
hanging up, without saying a word, Kenft checked who
it was, he dialled 1471, he recognised the number the
voice had given to him, it was Tracey, he didn’t ring
back.
Recessional Music
‘Little children Sleep’
Solemnly, to the voice of Tone singing the lead
to their ballad recorded at the tender age of seventeen,
everybody left the church, filing out a pew at a time,
left and right, spilling out into the central isle, quietly,
slowly, they followed Tones coffin perched on the
shoulders of six pallbearers, Kenft, self consciously
thinking all eyes were on him, staring straight ahead,
blanked everyone.
‘Little children sleep
All the world will sleep
Now the moon runs into the sky
So the stars can gleam
Little children dream
Tenderly they dream
Off to catch a moonbeam,
in a silver stream
Angles hover there, stardust everywhere
Heaven in a dream,
with lots of time to spare
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Silently they sleep
Happiness to keep
Love and peace is found
when little children sleep
Little children sleep
All the world will sleep
Now the moon runs into the sky
So the stars can gleam
Angles hover there, stardust everywhere
Heaven in a dream,
with lots of time to spare.’
Tony Way, The Precious Few.
A private cremation followed, then refreshments
and recollections at the Rugby Club, where all
were welcome.
***
At the wake, Bernie, a committee member and
honorary ‘adopted’ daughter of Tones, one of many,
acknowledges Kenft with a gorgeous welcoming smile
and spends the evening in his company, helping him
through the ordeal, heartbroken, as well as dealing with
the grief; he and Tracey totally ignored one another, he
was still in love with her but afraid to show it. In the
following weeks Bernie and Kenft correspond regularly,
Kenft wanted to take their relationship to the next
stage, but couldn’t. All the signs were there but he had
concerns regarding the age gap, he being older than
her father, afraid of a repeat performance, past
failures, this time thinking with his head and not his
heart, then probably live to regret it.
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Kenft now has a burning desire, a desperate
need to escape, it’s torture for him having to drive or
walk past the old fire station every day, his heart sinks
at the thought of bumping into Tracey walking through
town, he continues to call round regularly to see Shirl’s
and Lee, just to make sure they’re okay.
“Tones not here Kenft, he gone, he’s not going
to be walking through that door ever again!” Shirl’s
tells Kenft on one of his visits.
He’s thinking she’s trying to tell him something,
he has to accept the fact Tone’s gone, his visits are too
frequent, he’s not welcome there anymore?
Well
maybe he did find it hard to accept his best mate had
gone, but at the same time he didn’t want to just
desert them, walk away as if they didn’t matter or
exist. She rescinded those words a couple of days later.
“You’re welcome to call anytime you like, you
know that, you will always be our little gnome,” she
said with smile and a hint of friendly affection.
Kenft thanked her for that, with a tear in his
eye, it meant a lot to him, his visits became less
frequent all the same. He’d found another job,
contracting short term, then offered a permanent
position as design office manager with another
company on the outskirts of the city, it lasted all of
three months, he’d lost the drive, the ambition, any
enthusiasm he had left deserted him, he wasn’t Kenft
anymore. He wanted to sell up, lock stock and barrel,
find adventure, move on, and live a dream. Two things
held him back, his son and Tracey. His son lived with
him, although old enough to look after himself, he
couldn’t bring himself to place their home on the
housing market, effectively throwing him out making
him homeless, he couldn’t bring himself to abandon
him, in spite of his age, as his mother had done many
years previous. As for Tracey, in the back of his mind
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he hoped, one day, she would knock on his door again,
looking for him as she had done before, in the rain.
Just how often is it possible to piece together a
broken heart? The age old question asked countless
times by countless people in countless situations, Kenft,
more than ever had to call upon and rely on his sense
of humour, which was fast diminishing.
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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
Kenft receives a text from a friend in need, its
content asking for advice on a personal problem,
messed up in the head over a relationship, making life
complicated for him, his marriage in jeopardy. Kenft,
the only person he could turn to, the only person he
trusted, in the absence of his father, attempts to put it
into context for him, drawing on all his life’s
experience.
He retires to his bed with the question on his
mind, three o’clock in the morning he couldn’t sleep, he
awakes with words and scenarios whirling around in his
mind, sitting up in bed he reached for his laptop and
began formulating his thoughts, and his reply. He
began tapping at the keys.
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Complicated, you’re not wrong; affairs of the
heart usually are, head buzzing with fuzzy questions
and no clear answers. I can relate exactly to what you
are going through. Confusion, don’t know what to do
for the best, head telling you one thing, heart saying
something else, concentration out of the window as you
can only think of one person at the expense of all
others, especially your family, work becomes difficult to
focus on.
Some words of wisdom based on my experience,
I apologise not for any clichés:
Look to the virtues of your wife, not her faults.
If you have her loyalty and respect you’re one lucky
man.
If she’s prepared to stand by you through the
good and the bad, you’re a lucky man.
Are you arguing and fighting all the time and the
kids suffering as a result?
The grass is not always greener on the other
side, think of what you could lose, and for what gain.
The hurt going to be felt by the innocent, and
you, when those heartstrings are tugged at, hard.
Try to understand why you’re looking to this
other person, is it pure lust, escape from what seems
the mundane grind of everyday life, you feel like an
automaton.
Are you really that unhappy with your current
situation, looking to put the excitement back into life,
maybe your mid-life crisis?
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, how long
will it last? Six months down the line honeymoon period
over and you’re back where you started, or maybe,
worse.
Or, on the positive side, you could have found
the one true love of your life, your soul mate, if you
haven’t already. Hopefully the other person feels the
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same and prepared to make the same commitment, if
so they will make things easier for you, no doubts, one
hundred and ten percent sure, if not you have to let her
go.
Yes, you’re dads death had a profound effect on
a lot of people, non more so than me, I’m still finding it
hard to accept he has gone, and losing Tracey, so I’m
trying to fathom rhyme or reason for it all.
Some would say,
‘It’s better to have loved and lost rather than
not to have loved at all.’
Questionable, it’s not good for the health, for
the state of mind, others could contradict saying,
‘You never miss what you’ve never had.’
Don’t end up like me, with nothing except
memories, not all good ones. Thankfully I have family,
and friends like you, but none can replace the
friendship I had with your dad.
I’ve probably only made matters worse for you,
more questions, but hopefully something to think about
before taking the leap. My father took that leap and lost
his family and their respect.
You are the only one who knows what’s best for
you. It’s your life and you have to make the most of it,
but not at the expense of others, and they likewise to
you. Life, as is your profession, always a compromise,
painful as it is, you have to think hard and make
difficult decisions, no one said it would be easy.
Personally, I would give my eyeteeth for a loyal,
loving wife who respected all the efforts and
commitments I made for her and the family and
accepted me in spite of all my faults.
Kenft considered sending him an emailed reply
but thought a condensed version by way of a text
message would be more secure, he didn’t want to upset
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anyone if read by the wrong person, or persons, and
make matters worse.
Later that same day Kenft had a reply,
‘Thanks Kenft, sorted it out, told her everything,
things are good. You’re right, her always there for me.
See you soon. I might be on facebook later, depends
how bed goes! Drink when you get back, good to have
friends you can trust.’
‘Yes, result’.
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CHAPTER NINETEEN
“So there you have it guy’s. In short, three
serious relationships, three mistakes, I married the girl
I lost my virginity to, which would have been totally
against the philosophy of my head master at school, I
shared her body but never truly captured her heart. It
wasn’t all bad, producing two wonderful kids and
unbelievably stayed married for over twenty years.
Divorced, followed by what seemed to be a sabbatical
of several years, as if walking through the wilderness,
then a fling with an older woman who had been married
three times before, I should have known better.
Worked on various jobs and contracts but really
couldn’t settle in either of them, and engaged to marry
my kid’s babysitter, last but not least, the killer blow, I
lost my dear friend Tone to the big ‘C’, my son
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eventually found a flat and moved in with his girlfriend,
releasing me from any ties, and here I am today,
pouring my heart out to two complete strangers, my
apologies for rambling on. I’m surprised you’ve
maintained interest and not fallen asleep, or at least
dived overboard in despair.”
Yasin stirred from his slouched, semi-comatose
position and sat upright, latching onto one of Kenft’s
nicknames, just to prove he’d been listening,
“Doctor Kenft, the wine works wonders, as for
your life’s story we appreciate you sharing it with us, if
only ours were so eventful. You had good times, you
had bad times, you are a good man, you do your best
for everyone, maybe at times a little misunderstood,
like all of us.”
Warily Yasin rises to his feet, walks around the
table over to Kenft and places a warm hand of
friendship and acceptance on his shoulder, looks him in
the eye and smiles,
“We now understand why you are here, I am
glad you have the ‘Arrammis’, you deserve her, long
may you sail and enjoy her, you are very welcome
here, welcome to our part of the world,” he stretches
raising both arms above his head and yawns, “now I
find my bunk, goodnight see you both at daylight.”
Kenft smiles with gladdened eyes,
“Thanks for that, much appreciated.”
Salik collects the empties from the table and
takes them through to the saloon, placed them on
the drainer then returned to the rear deck, he too
places a hand of friendship on Kenft’s shoulder,
“I go to my cabin now, I agree with the captain,
you have experienced much, you are very welcome.”
“Thank you Salik.”
Salik turns and disappears through to the saloon
again and carried on down the short stairway leading to
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his cabin. Kenft moved to the seating area at the stern
and made himself comfortable, laying on his back
staring up at the stars, in the background the gentle
soothing sound of waves lapped the shoreline, his eyes
clouded with tears of emotion as he continued to reflect
on his past, a part of his heart felt empty, devoid of
something or someone, or just a tinge of
homesickness, the wine finished its job, eyelids heavy
he drifted off to sleep.
After a most pleasant and surprisingly
comfortable night spent sleeping under the stars Kenft
awoke first, feeling quite content within himself. A
feeling he hadn’t had since he don’t know when, a
combination of living the dream, a sense of freedom,
the warmth and tranquillity of the drifting ketch, good
company, and the offloading of a heap full of memories,
it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from off his
shoulders, but there was still that little something
missing, that final touch needed to complete his vision
of total contentment. Kenft made coffee; the aroma
wafted, permeating the entire vessel reaching bellow
deck in the still air, stimulating the senses of Yasin and
Salik.
They wake and join Kenft in the saloon helping
themselves to a mug of fresh coffee and looking a little
worse for wear, not at all surprising considering the
amount of wine they had consumed the previous night.
Kenft appeared keen to get underway and started to
fiddle with the controls and navigation equipment.
Yasin, noticing this, pulls out and unrolls a navigation
chart and invites Kenft to assist him in setting a course,
heads together they discuss their route back to
Marmaris.
“Okay Dr Kenft, we will check the gps, is it
reading our current location?”
Kenft had already activated the unit.
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“Yep, seems okay to me Yasin if you would like
to just double check for me.”
Both double-checked the gps reading with the
chart, just to make sure.
“Fine, now we program in the co-ordinates to
our destination but via this heading.”
Yasin points with his index finger to a pre
determined position on the chart, Kenft taps the coordinates into the gps.
“Ready, okay lets start the engines,”
Yasin instructs Salik to make his way to the
anchor windlass and await his signal, Kenft fires up the
diesel engine, it rumbles into life shooting an initial
plume of black smoke out from the side of the hull. It
seemed a shame to break the silence of the morning
with the mechanical thud of the power plant. The
exhaust plume soon dissipates, the engine settles to
idle speed and allowed to warm up a little before Kenft
moves the throttle control forward slightly increasing
the revs, the ‘Arrammis’ began to inch forward and
Yasin signals to Salik. Anchor safely stowed, Kenft
applies the throttle further, increasing speed forming a
bow wave and rippling the otherwise calm waters,
sedately they begin to leave the seclusion of the bay
and head for open water, Kenft at the helm.
Clear blue sky, a warm breeze and the sea a
little choppy, made for a more interesting final leg of
their journey, Kenft takes a look back towards the bay
before averting his gaze back to their heading, Yasin in
close attendance. It was going to be the most perfect
day. Several nautical miles later, with the rising and
falling coastline in the distance to port, Salik does his
usual and prepared a good lunch for them all,
managing to keep his balance as the ketch lurched
unpredictably in the choppy sea. If Kenft needed to find
his sea legs, now was the time.
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Dr.K
This reminding him of his deep-sea fishing
experience with the guy’s in Mauritius and recollects
the fact he had taken a couple of their equivalent to a
couple of Kwells an hour or so before they set off to
counteract the possibility of sea sickness, which worked
marvellously. Kenft wasn’t quite as prepared this time
and a little concerned, as he had suffered seasickness
in the past on cross channel ferries. Concentrating on
his navigation took his mind off it and as they
progressively changed course turning virtually ninety
degrees to port around the point, the sea calmed, Kenft
was fine.
They were now approaching the port of
Marmaris, its natural harbour now straight ahead of
them, islands to port and starboard guard its entrance,
Yasin, now acting as pilot, guided Kenft safely into port
and meticulously directed him towards the quay and
the essential docking procedure. Picking their allotted
birth Kenft brought the Arrammis slowly and very
carefully about and reversed so the stern faced the
quay, regimentally in line with others already moored
up. Salik threw a rope to a guy standing on the quay
then jumped off the gangway to lash the rope to the
nearest mooring bollard.
Yasin congratulated Kenft on a job well done
before going on deck to check the fenders, protection
against any possible contact with the vessels on either
side. Kenft killed the engine as Salik deployed the
gangway, lowering it onto the quay and terra firma
then finished securing the ketch, Kenft making a
mental note of the adopted procedures for future
reference. All three now stood on the rear deck Kenft
took a deep breath, expanding his lungs, then slowly
exhaled, he was feeling very pleased with himself,
gratefully he shook them both Yasin and Salik by the
hand.
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“Thank you guy’s, very, very much, it’s been a
superb three days and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ll be forever in
your dept.”
Yasin puts an arm around Kenft’s shoulder; Salik
still holding onto his hand, sensed the welling of
emotion in his voice.
“You are captain now doctor Kenft. It’s been our
pleasure, we are here when you need us, don’t be
afraid to ask, you are part of the family now.”
Yasin tugs at Kenft’s shoulder and playfully
ruffles his hair with his other hand, Salik looking on
with the broadest of grins still shaking his hand. Kenft
fights the lump in his throat overwhelmed by their
warmth and friendliness, at the same time filled with
fear and trepidation realising he had dropped his guard,
the superficial barriers in his mind had lowered leaving
himself wide open, allowing himself to develop close
friendships he was desperately trying to avoid, he
didn’t want to experience the sense of loss or hurt
again, but he couldn’t refuse their generosity or open
acceptance and appear inhospitable or disrespectful, it
wasn’t in his character. Once established he didn’t want
to lose it in whatever shape or form it took, however in
the back of his mind, someone was bound to spoil it for
him, as his past history dictated, before leaving home
he’d begun to shun closeness, even those he was
already acquainted with, including family. He was far
too sensitive for his own good. Yasin and Salik head for
the gangway to make their way home to their families,
living a short walk up a side street inland from the
quayside. With one foot on the gangway Yasin
momentarily stops and looks round to Kenft,
“Join us for a drink later tonight in the tavern,”
raising his arm horizontal and pointing in its direction,
“tomorrow I introduce you to my family.” Yasin turns
and leaves raising his hand to say goodbye.
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Dr.K
“Sure, see you later.” Replied Kenft now feeling
more collected.
Hands in his pockets Kenft surveys the scene,
standing on board his own gulet, now on his own he
can’t believe it, he’s done it. Straight away it feels
strange, eerie almost, the quiet, the anti climax as he
watches Yasin and Salik disappear in the same direction
up the side street.
‘Right, this wont do’, he thinks to himself,
snapping out of a trance, after clearing a few things
away he then retired to his cabin to freshen up.
Inadvertently he’d taken a power nap, half an hour
tops, but woke up feeling groggy, he first shaved then
showered to bring himself round before dressing in
something half decent, jeans, short sleeved shirt and
sandals, then made for topside. The nightlife had
emerged, people wandered along the quay looking in
shop windows, others eating at tables outside
restaurants, while some stood outside taverns drinking
and smoking.
The atmosphere was relaxed, the quayside lit
up, the artificial lights giving a balmy glow and the
temperature still warm enough for just a tee shirt and
shorts. Kenft loved this place and it’s people. He locked
up the doors to his saloon area, though he probably
didn’t need to, habit, then made his way down the
gangway onto the quay and across to the shop frontage
on the other side. Here he stopped awhile at first
looking in a shop window but not really noticing what it
was selling as he had to turn and admire his new
acquisition, his new home, from a distance. He now felt
part of the scene as he went looking for the tavern and
to find Yasin. Entering the first drinking establishment
he stumbled across he scanned the place for a familiar
face and found Yasin standing at the bar, he sensed
Kenft’s arrival, turned his head in his direction.
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“Ah! My friend doctor Kenft,” he exclaimed
holding out his arm ready to greet him and immediately
welcomed him into the fold introducing him to the
barman and his other associates. Kenft’s selfconsciousness rose to the surface momentarily.
“Wine doctor Kenft?”
“Er, no I think, in naval tradition, I’ll have a rum
please Yasin.”
The barman served him a shot of dark navy rum
before given the chance to state his preference.
“I’m not quite in the true navy spirit,” Kenft said
jokingly, “could I have it in a tall glass with coke and
ice please, sorry.” The barman couldn’t apologise
enough and refreshed the drink to Kenft’s liking.
Now more at ease Kenft, with drink in hand
chatted to Yasin and his friends, who had obviously
been briefed on Kenft’s history before his arrival as
they began asking questions of him, questions
containing snippets of his personal information, looking
for confirmation, what they had been told was indeed
fact not fiction. Kenft duly obliged with the answers
they wanted to hear. In turn, wanting to know a little of
their background, to take some of the attention away
from himself he interrogated them with a few searching
questions of his own as he looked around observing the
decor and the clientele.
The evening for Kenft and Yasin was drawing to
a close, it was now the early hours of the morning,
Kenft needed his bunk and return to the ‘Arrammis’ and
Yasin, feeling guilty, had to return home to his lovely
wife, as he’d been away the last few days he didn’t
want to push his luck. Kenft said goodnight to everyone
thanking them for their warm welcome and hospitality
and hoped to see them again soon, Yasin did likewise
and walked back with Kenft as he was heading in the
same direction, and carried on chatting as they went.
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Dr.K
“A most pleasant evening don’t you think doctor
Kenft?”
“Oh absolutely, Yasin, pleasant company,
pleasant weather, no hassles, absolutely brilliant.
Undoubtedly I’ve made the right decision to come here,
it’s going to take no time at all to settle.”
Standing at the gangway to the ‘Arrammis’ Yasin
continued,
“I’m very pleased. I’d like you to meet my
family, you must join us for a meal tomorrow I wont
take no for an answer. I will call for you in the
afternoon.”
Although hoping for a day to himself Kenft
accepted, shaking hands they said their goodnights and
went their separate ways, Kenft made his way up the
gangway and unlocked the door to the saloon, took one
last look at the vista, he took a deep breath and sighed,
still not quite believing it, before disappearing inside
and to his cabin.
Daylight, the following morning, under the
impression he would wake to a hive of activity and the
hustle and bustle of a busy port, people noisily giving
instructions in a variety of unfamiliar dialects and the
commotion of all the coming and goings with the
loading and offloading of materials and provisions,
expecting the sound of chugging diesel engines as
vessels slip their mooring leaving port while others
arrive and dock alongside. He was very much mistaken,
walking up the stairway to the saloon he filled the
kettle flicked the switch before continuing through the
door he had left open all night, and onto the rear deck,
it was more like a Sunday morning back in the UK.
One or two individuals walked their dogs along the
quay, a couple of joggers, a guy sat at a table outside a
bistro reading a newspaper drawing on his cigarette, a
cup of coffee beside his ashtray, otherwise it appeared
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pretty much deserted. ‘With the sultry nights folks
around here are obviously night owls rather than early
birds’, he thought as the kettle began to boil, he
couldn’t blame them either.
Supping his hot coffee, looking out of his saloon
window he noticed a few empty births along the quay,
he was sure they were occupied when he retired to his
cabin last night, ‘blimey they must have left early this
morning, I didn’t hear a thing, I’ve missed all the
action’. Kenft prepared a light snack for himself and
with his mug of coffee went out onto the rear deck to
enjoy. Leaning back in his seat munching on a morsel
taking in his surroundings, he didn’t have to
subconsciously tell his body to relax, he contemplated
how long he should stay before setting off on his first
solo voyage, come to think of it, he had better ask
Yasin if it’s possible to sail one of these things single
handed, but then again there’s always the diesel
engine, thinking maybe a return to Gerbeske Bay,
familiar ground, would be the safest bet knowing he
needed a little sailing experience before being too
adventurous at this stage. He remembers, many years
ago, his old friend Mike, who had bought a little speed
boat which promptly caught fire on his first excursion,
luckily no one were hurt, he shuddered to think of the
possible
consequences,
he
checked
his
fire
extinguisher’s.
The temperature of the day was hotting up, the
glare of the sun forcing him to put on his shades; the
hustle and bustle he had imagined earlier had gradually
snuck up on him and the quay had suddenly sprung to
life with more people going about their daily business.
Kenft took his empty plate and mug back to the saloon
then returned to the rear deck and began checking the
ties of the canopy, with his back to the quay his arms
reaching for the tie rope, he suddenly became
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Dr.K
conscious of that unnerving sensation, that sixth sense,
feeling the stare of a pair of eyes burning into the back
of his head, if it was Yasin coming to fetch him he was
very early. He finished securing the corner of the
canopy. Lowering his arms, half expecting to see Yasin,
or Salik even, mouth part agape ready to utter words of
welcome, he turned to face the quay, in an instant he
froze on the spot his jaw dropped, he raised his
sunglasses above his forehead for a clearer look, to
make sure he wasn’t seeing things, he couldn’t believe
his eyes.
A sole figure, suitcase placed on the ground
beside bare legs and sandaled feet, one hand in the
pocket of white knee length shorts the other clutching a
pair of sunglasses, a matching sleeveless tee shirt
exposed the arms and her pale complexion, she stood
beside the gangway to the ‘Arrammis’ and shone with
the aura of an angel as she looked up at him, half
smiling, not knowing what kind of reception she was
going to receive. Kenft’s heart missed a beat his legs
turned to jelly in disbelief, he resisted the strong urge
to sink to his knees onto the cushioned seating
immediately in front of him, this would have left him
part kneeling and looking stupid, for a split second his
eyes looked skywards, toward the heavens and Tone,
simultaneously he clasped the palms of his hands
together and pressed them against his lips as though
he were praying, maybe he was, the broadest of smiles
his eyes lit up with the pleasure of seeing this totally
unexpected familiar face. ‘How on earth did she know I
was here’, the first question to cross his mind as he
desperately tried to hold his composure, instinctively he
knew why she was there, the moment ostensibly frozen
in time, both transfixed in their gaze. Snapping out of
the seemingly brief hypnotic state he sprung into
action, briskly he walked down the gangway to greet
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her not taking his eyes off her for a single moment,
fearing this may be a figment of his imagination, she
only to disappear if he did. Now up close he held her
firmly by the tops of her bare arms, she tipped her
head back slightly, in anticipation, face to face
affectionately they looked directly into each others
eyes, Kenft breathing deeply with sheer exhilaration,
hearts now racing, not a single word spoken, they
embraced, tenderly at first then holding each other
tightly, afraid to let go, they kissed with a fervent
passion, ignoring everyone and everything around
them, it was as though they were the only two people
in the world.
‘Sail away with me honey
Hold my heart in your hand
Sail away with me honey, now, now, now
Sail away with me
What will be will be
I wonna hold you now, now, now.’
David Grey.
Their past instantly forgotten, now was only
their future, his ‘one vision’, his dream now complete,
now he has that special someone, that special someone
to share it with. Kenft can now close the book, at best
start a new chapter and move on, or can he, disturbed
he awakes from a deep sleep to very familiar sights and
sounds.
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Dr.K
BROKEN HEARTED
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
Insistent, she made him her lover
Confessed she was prone to tell lies
The tears welled up in his eyes
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
Every day his thoughts are of her
He struggled to break the ties
The tears welled up in his eyes
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
They would be friends for ever
Till swiftly, to heaven sent, off friend flies
The tears welled up in his eyes
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
Lover, friend, companions no longer
Saddened, he looked up to the skies
The tears welled up in his eyes
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Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
His dedication began to waver
As hard as he tries
The tears welled up in his eyes
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
Reaching the end of his tether
His demeanour belies
The tears welled up in his eyes
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
Both body and soul a quiver
As the desire for life dies
The tears welled up in his eyes
Now they´ve parted
He´s broken hearted
The church bells rang out a quaver
Each day he had cried
Till tears are no more, and his feelings subside.
Dr.K
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