Neil Goodwin

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Retired statistician, drayman, despatch rider, and sawyer (in reversed historical order). Now attempting to cross the void from science into the world of arts with a series of silly memoirs that I hope will have a wider appeal to just my friends and family. I may well not fit in here but I do hope that I will, and thus, I will be submitting to the good people of Jericho Writers, some very unusual tales from my fifty six years upon this rotating rock. 

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It is now exactly one year since I last had the pleasure of going out to a pub/restaurant.                 Not only have I missed (and I am sure everyone has) that social interaction during lockdowns, but also that dining experience, and those little descriptive gems that sometimes appear on menus trying their best to tempt us with jazzed up culinary concoctions.                          And so, in their absence I decided to create one of my own, with a little help from young Wilma, and guess what? It’s not silly at all!                                                                     Happy Sunday everyone.

                                                       The Jericho Arms

                                                        Today’s Special:

                                                         Shock Noodle

 

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                                  Chicken & Mushroom Splendour

                                 With a mighty medallion of Walnut

                                       Served on a bed of Slate

                                       Wrapped in Green Baize

 

                                Brought to you by waitress Wilma

 

 

                                   Shock Noodle - Simply Shocking

A little light relief from literary overload with another form of artistic expression, that of music. One of my favourites escapes, to plug in my guitar and play anything that carries the mood. On this particular occasion two different tunes that had merged into one (sort of).  And so, a little contest, can anyone guess what they are? This has proven to be a rather tricky question, as no one has got it right yet. (Shared with friends on WhatsApp). One small clue is that it blends a very old with a fairly new tune, and to make things more interesting with a little disguise, complete with blunders, raw from the garage, a two for one deal;           Guess This Tune......   https://youtu.be/KSSzlFUtbAI

https://youtu.be/jtB9rWf2zlY For all the animal lovers amongst us. A little tribute I did a few years back to these dear little fellas who do not always get a fair hearing, especially from boundahs wearing red coats riding horses. Denise Yoder of North Carolina saw some of my foxy posts on the now sunken Google+, she suggested doing a collaboration using her song "Foxes on the Run" with some of my video footage filmed in my garden and neighbouring field. She sent me the song, which is a charming bouncy little number, and I started editing. Unfortunately my computer kept crashing with the overload of high quality film, but just about managed to produce a lower quality version with a few rough edges. And so, here it is, my tribute to Somerset fox and cubs, who sadly vanished sometime during 2015.

Dashing Dobby, auditioning for James Bond.                                                                         Cannock Wood 2006

 

 

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Memories of my beloved boy wonder, who inspired me to write in the first place.

 

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“Ghost or Ghostie?”

 

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Way down at the bottom of my garden, here in Somerset, there be a scary looking shed. With resident ghostie, performing ghostly antics, clearly visible hanging around the bushes.  But, would ghost, or ghostie, best describe this creepy looking vision like something from an episode of Scooby Doo? 

Proposed distinction; ghostie is a light hearted, sometimes humourous even, fake ghost. Usually made from white bed sheets and coat hangers and such, trying to imitate the other rather more serious, sinister ghost, that has little or no humour.

Whatever it is, this should give anyone an almighty scare if they just happened to be passing by. Here, at the bottom of my garden, there be a ghostie, or is that ghost, or even a fancy phantom?   

Today's wonderful wanderin' star, here in Somerset. Happy Thursday everyone.

Added a post  to  , Neil Goodwin

Hi Neil, Don’t make me laugh ‘rodent intruders’? More likely you humans were the intruders, it was the rodents’ permanent abode.  I lived in a pub for a while years back and we were always told how much they loved beer.  Can’t say for sure if it was a wind-up but I do know old buildings have old rodent runs.  Anyway, an amusing tale, so thanks for posting.

My favourite little tale from my days as a drayman. (Name has been changed for privacy)

“The Bristol Tavern”

 

The faint rumble of traffic, and occasional clang from pedestrians as they walked over the great metal access door, were just about audible from the street, high above. The street of Stokes Croft, very close to the city centre. I was in the cellar of the Bristol Tavern, a dark dungeon like abyss, with damp atmosphere and probable rodent intruders. It felt so far beneath the surface that I could Imagine Peter Cushing emerging through the stonework on his return leg from “Journey to the centre of the Earth” still driving his specially modified gigantic mobile drilling device!  

I had been to hundreds of pubs and bars in my many years working as a part-time drayman. Serving those, and other establishments in Bristol, Bath and surrounding areas with beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks. Every one of them had a different cellar. Some were similar, some were very different, each of which had their own “personalities.” Some of them when either the landlord couldn’t be bothered or could not afford to fix, or even just too lazy to open the main cellar door outside for easy access, other ways had to be applied. 

Landlady Sally with big blonde hair and beaming smile still hadn’t fixed the main cellar door. The only other way to the cellar was through the pub, then around and back behind the long bar where there was another trap door to a very steep wooden staircase leading down to the cellar. I had done this a few times before, but it was awkward, time consuming, and potentially dangerous. But Sally was a good customer and very polite, so we draymen always put in the extra effort to deliver. 

It was a relatively quiet Friday morning sometime towards the end of 1999, with the pub closed, and as far as I was aware, just myself and Sally within the entire establishment. Normally a very busy pub filled with smoke and ale glugging jolly folk, making sounds of “rarrh rarrh rarrh, hey hey hey, cackle cackle cackle”…….But not this time.    

“Can you change the barrel whilst you’re down there Neil?” A distant voice from on high requested.

Cheek! What barrel? There’s loads down here, as if there wasn’t enough aggro already. Hmm, wait a minute. “Neil” did she say? Sally knew my name? How so?” I thought to myself. “Sure thing Sally” I politely shouted back, having just tripped over an empty barrel, which I assumed to be the most likely candidate for attention.

Not always happy with my job, I could console myself with the thought that I would soon become a qualified statistician after years of merging my part-time work with part-time university studies. Yes, a new vocation where I could escape the outrageous expectations of cellar duties, for a life predicting the future without the use of a crystal ball, but by combining statistics and the rules of probability.                                                                                         What happened next though, was beyond the scope of probability theory.  

After several trips up and down those steep rickety stairs that creaked and groaned with every step carrying 9 gallon, 10 gallon, and 11 gallon kegs and casks way beneath the street, I was coming back upstairs for the last time. Looking almost vertically upwards I could see that my exit had become blocked. Sally, or who I assumed to be Sally, was stood astride the exit with one foot either side of the trap door tending to some duties, perhaps pouring me a drink for my anticipated return to ground level. I could see that whoever it was, was wearing a skirt, but my goodness what she was not wearing, were any pants!               Oh my gosh! I am an honourable gent and tried not to look, but it was too late, I had already seen, retinas scorched forever more. And had I not been looking where I was going, continuing on my current course, then I would surely have travelled straight up her loose fitting skirt and received a face full of curvy buttocks! Not at all unpleasant, but rather stunned, I had to pause for a while to stop myself from falling down the stairs.                       “Tavern” had taken on a whole new meaning. What was going on? Had she forgotten to dress that day? Was she toying with me? Was this her way of rewarding all of my hard work with this flash of nakedness? I never was the brightest spark when it came to deciphering female codes. Whatever it was, it would be difficult not to think of her as “Sally No Pants” ever again. And when I finally emerged from the square hole in the floor, we smiled at each other, probably wondering what the other was thinking, for I had just seen something I shouldn’t have, or maybe I was supposed to.

Must remember to pick up the latest instalment of that essential monthly step by step guide, slowly building into one complete manual;  “Womankind decoded for Dummies”,                 on my way back.                                                                                                                     That is, if I ever make it out of here, looks like the front door has been bolted shut.……. 

 

Coming soon; “Bruton Manor”

Not coming soon; “Bristol Tavern Part 2”

 

Neil Goodwin   2020                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Another light hearted rant at English pronunciations and natural follow on from my first post "Vaseline"....

“Belvoir Castle”

 

Belvoir, what a wonderful word, name, a gift from France meaning beautiful view.                         Bel-vwah is how I would try to say it, putting on my finest French accent. And when spoken by the ladies, dare I say it, even sexy. I remember going all dreamy eyed as an eleven year old at school whenever my French teacher Miss Ryan, a beautiful woman, an English rose, spoke to us in her splendid French accent. I thought that she was so clever being able to switch so swiftly and elegantly between her very fine English speaking voice into French in an instant, and yes, sexy too. I would often find myself gazing adoringly at her whilst listening to the array of very charming sounds that emanated from her mouth, and at times it was difficult to stop my mind from filling up with romantic thoughts…… 

“Eleven year old schoolboy cops off with French teacher!”

This, however, was not a headline that ever materialised, much to my disappointment. 

Belvoir Castle then, lovely name, splendid building, and overlooking the delightful Leicestershire landscape. Perfect. Or is it?  Sadly, this beautiful word has been vandalised by hooligans, hooligans with no respect for this finest of French words who have had the downright cheek to thoroughly dismantle it and reassemble into something that bears no resemblance to its origin whatsoever. The resulting word is now supposed to be spoken as “Beever”. Ouch, that hurt! Beever I ask you, how on earth did it come to this?! 

The Beever brigade thinking they are so cool with their radical approach to undermining the establishment, probably making secret signals to each other, like a masonic wink or hand shake, thinking that they are superior beings, flouting the laws of decency and logic.                     What a bunch of boundahs! Spreading across the land like an infection, it seems to be unstoppable, resistant to antibiotics, and has created an ever increasing number of bounding beevers.                                                                                                                                                But in my mind, these are inferior creatures adhering to such utterly idiotic rationale that must be punished. Yes, bring back the stocks I say, and pelt the beeving boundahs relentlessly for their terrible crimes with rotting fruit until they see sense, behave accordingly, and restore the good name of Belvoir.                                                                                    Oh Miss Ryan, what would you make of this?

“Get the beever out of Belvoir”  I say.

Coming Soon…… “The Bristol Tavern”

Not coming soon……… “Bisster” (Bicester)    That’s enough ranting for now.

 

Neil Goodwin   2020

This is my opening scene, which actually also serves as the final scene before stepping back in time to the very beginning of "Tales of the Manor". These are real stories with real pictures, the only thing that isn't real are the names, which I have a little fun playing around with. And so, a very brief introduction to what is in total around 20,000 words, hope you like it, but do not be afraid to say otherwise. 

 

 

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 Neil Goodwin

“Finale”

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I never did set foot inside the Manor again, but I did return there for just one last time to find a very sorry looking crumbling ruin in late September 1990, seven years after I had first moved in. Mr. J had indeed lost his battle with the ever deteriorating state of the Manor and was having it demolished, and to sell the land for future development. What a great shame to have this magnificent manor with all of its history flattened, including some of my own.                         I was with my new girlfriend Lady Swindon de Nougat, or at least I hoped she was my new girlfriend as this was our first time out. She was as nice looking as was her name was elegant. Her exquisite angelic face and long blonde hair beautifully illuminated by the soft September light, as we gently strolled through the grounds of the fallen Manor.                        I had thought that to “woo” her I would not be applying those age old clichés of chocolates, flowers, or fancy restaurants. No, there would be none of this. Like myself, the good lady from Swindon was far too unconventional for any of that, and so, instead, decided to impress her by playing a round of golf, followed by a Chicken Nugget Drive Through Frenzy, and then bring her back here to a pile of ruins. What a professional romancier I am! 

“I used to live here” I told her. “Yes, for five years in fact. Now then, see those windows up there? Let me tell you a little story” ……………….

 

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