The Pirate of Penance

Posted on: September 30th, 2012 by robert No Comments


"At every party there are two kinds of people – those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.” Ann Landers

I recently read an interview with someone in the literary fraternity who admitted to a peculiar aversion to parties. I instantly identified with this remark, thinking of my own long rocky relationship with le rassemblement festif. This mild party phobia is, I'm certain, a vestigial symptom of traumatic marginalised school days which means even 20 years later I still approach parties, at best, in the same way most would a job interview, or at worse, a root canal surgery. The prospect can bring about a riptide of anxiety, the type of which can only be assuaged by finding some restorative niche like a bathroom cubicle to hide in.

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The Pirate of Penance part two

Posted on: September 28th, 2012 by robert No Comments


At Lands End, somnambulistic Japanese tourists in rain hoods trundle about and assemble in clusters to block the footpath. I have the predictable photo opportunity standing before the famous sign – which is now cordoned off to squeeze more money out of visitors - £15 for an official print taken by a dour ruddy-faced chap which, I decide, is criminal. So bloody what if you can have your name(s) and date fixed to the sign too! Instead, I intermittently ask various folk to take one of me on my camera, and stand ignominiously before the cordon forcing a smile, awaiting one of them to actually display some photographic aptitude. It takes awhile.

With a sudden pang of yearning for somewhere wild and desolate away from the crowds, I spot an unobtrusive grassy cliff path ostensibly stretching out into the distance and over to Sennon. And then I'm on it and I've arrived at a point in which I feel absolutely alive. It was a brisk September day with flashes of sunshine followed by frowning cloud. On my right, wild romantic moor land stretches as far as the eye can see, and to my left jagged cliff tops fall away to secluded creeks below where shipwrecks lay, abandoned and battered by the elements. Naturally, a splendid feeling of freedom and happiness abounds.

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