I am the grit in the gears, the missing bolt, I am the poker of sticks into spokes.
I like to know how things work, but sometimes when I take them apart and rebuild them, I have a few pieces left over.
I am a man, so I tend to leave reading the instructions until after it goes wrong.
And like all men I have a comprehensive mental map of the world and never need to ask directions.
I never get lost, only sometimes I'm late, or end up in the wrong place entirely.
It's what we do.
We visited Spring, Texas, by chance on a day when the streets were closed to cars and full of visitors, it was "Springfest!"
The town has a lot of old style wooden buildings, and an eclectic mix of retail establishments.
Like a corset barn.
And whyever not, I ask?
The yellow house you can just see in the background was for sale. A nice place for a pottery, perhaps?
This one was empty too
More pink. I think the pink place was the Vajazzlery.
The heat was relentless, so after we'd had ice-creams elsewhere, I found myself unable to pass the Loose Caboose without purchasing an ice-cold beer to sip in the shade.
Except there was no shade. Seats in the shade were crammed, so we sat on seats that were prototypes for a solar griddle. The loose caboose sits on a very short railway. Maybe one day the traindriver will look back into the dusty distance and try count wagons... "Oh my", he'll say, or "Heavens to Betsy! We done lost our caboose!"
Over at Through the Garden Gate , Red Dirt Girl has posted a poem called
"Why Nobody Pets the Lions at the Zoo". Which of course, put me in mind of the monologues of Stanley Holloway, and the story of Albert and the Lion. Marriott Edgar wrote them, and Stanley made them famous.
This was back in the nineteeen thirties, before television was everywhere, he told these monologues on the variety-hall stage, and later on "the wireless". When I was a kid, my friend had a record with them on.
The Lion and Albert by Marriott Edgar. (1932)
There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
A grand little lad was young Albert,
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle,
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.
They didn't think much to the Ocean:
The waves, they was fiddlin' and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,
Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.
So, seeking for further amusement,
They paid and went into the Zoo,
Where they'd Lions and Tigers and Camels,
And old ale and sandwiches too.
There were one great big Lion called Wallace;
His nose were all covered with scars —
He lay in a somnolent posture,
With the side of his face on the bars.
Now Albert had heard about Lions,
How they was ferocious and wild —
To see Wallace lying so peaceful,
Well, it didn't seem right to the child.
So straightway the brave little feller,
Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andle
And pushed it in Wallace's ear.
You could see that the Lion didn't like it,
For giving a kind of a roll,
He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im,
And swallowed the little lad 'ole.
Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence,
And didn't know what to do next,
Said 'Mother! Yon Lion's 'et Albert',
And Mother said 'Well, I am vexed!'
Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom —
Quite rightly, when all's said and done —
Complained to the Animal Keeper,
That the Lion had eaten their son.
The keeper was quite nice about it;
He said 'What a nasty mishap.
Are you sure that it's your boy he's eaten?'
Pa said "Am I sure? There's his cap!'
The manager had to be sent for.
He came and he said 'What's to do?'
Pa said 'Yon Lion's 'et Albert,
'And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too.'
Then Mother said, 'Right's right, young feller;
I think it's a shame and a sin,
For a lion to go and eat Albert,
And after we've paid to come in.'
The manager wanted no trouble,
He took out his purse right away,
Saying 'How much to settle the matter?'
And Pa said "What do you usually pay?'
But Mother had turned a bit awkward
When she thought where her Albert had gone.
She said 'No! someone's got to be summonsed' —
So that was decided upon.
Then off they went to the P'lice Station,
In front of the Magistrate chap;
They told 'im what happened to Albert,
And proved it by showing his cap.
The Magistrate gave his opinion
That no one was really to blame
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would have further sons to their name.
At that Mother got proper blazing,
'And thank you, sir, kindly,' said she.
'What waste all our lives raising children
To feed ruddy Lions? Not me!'