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When You're Not Looking Forward

#1
"I only knew you for a while, I never saw your smile, 'til it was time to go, time to go away..." Phil Oakley, 'Together in Electric Dreams'

Farm

I'm not the most sentimental person in the world, far from it, and I never expected to well up whilst tucking into a Dime bar in the laundrette. But stange things can happen when your mind drifts back to far-off army days and sometimes - as now - all it takes are the opening bars of a sad song to lift the fog. At that time, in that place, as my clothes span round in the drier behind me, that song was 'Against All Odds' by Phil Collins.

Committee

Suddenly, I no longer in the Laundercentre on Hagley Road. The slatted wooden roof has been replaced with an open sky, the smell of detergent with the scent of grilled meat. Its' 1998 again and I'm in Gornji Vakuf. I can see - I mean really see his scruffy, golden blonde hair and chocolate eyes. In the middle of the town, every building still pock-marked with bullet holes, he looks incongruous, like a wedding cake on an ironmongers counter. An angel amidst the anarchic seething of Bosnia. He grips my arm. His hand is soft and delicate, my arm is etched with tattoos, the skin as brown as tinkers nut-bag thanks to the spring sunshine. We sit on a wall and chat, after a fashion. He knows no English and the only Bosnian I speak, you certainly wouldn't say to an 8 year old. But we have a connection. It stays with me even now.

Scissors

So now, in this season of goodwill, as you sit surrounded by your kith and kin, pickled in sherry and looking forward to tomorrow's turkey, please spare a thought for the orphans of Bucharest, huddled against the hot water pipes in the City's train station. 10 pounds can make a huge difference to the life of an abused orphan. Hat, socks, fingers covered in silver sniffing-paint, dog, shaved-head girls, scrub the black, no house, water, glass bottles for recycling.

Thanks for reading and a very happ
 

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