The Lemon Tree

Aunty Doris had a lemon tree.
She didn’t live in on , where the lemons grow in abundance in the rich fertile soil. Nor did she live in where the ’s grow to the size of a small bowling ball. None of those places where the sun shines in perfectly blue cloudless skies for most of the year and the old people are wrinkled from years of working outside under intense sunlight.
She lived in , a small densely populated mill town in the valley of the River Beal, at the foot of the Pennines. Famous for its forty eight dark satanic cotton mills — large rectangular brick built buildings that once dominated the panorama, making the area the powerhouse of textile manufacture during the industrial revolution. A town where the cold damp air caresses you, welcomes you, makes you feel like you belong, before its dark angry clouds dump their rain on you before they rise over the Pennines. A place of poor sterile soils and rugged terrain. A place described by as having produced ‘a race of hardy and laborious men’.
She lived in a Edwardian mid-terrace opposite the Ideal Bakery. A two-up-two-down house that stood proud flush on the pavement, branded with years of smoke that bellowed from imposing factory chimneys and rows and rows of chimney stacks servicing cosy but functional coal fires.
The house had a back garden, nothing more than a small yard that separated it from the cobbled alleys the interwove between the surrounded houses. Large slabs of stone – not the perfectly formed concrete paving stones of modern, but rough, nobbled, and discoloured slabs that might have been pulled from the local quarries — made a path between the neighbours yard wall and the small perfectly preened patch of grass, toward the back of the yard.
There at the back, nestled between a low wooden fence and the outside privy-cum-coal shed, standing slightly lower than the outbuilding, and surrounded by misplaced homing pigeons, stood the tree she once bought as a small little sapling at The Tree Center. It didn’t grow those gnarly, fragrant, and fresh lemons that you find in the market stalls of , nor the perfectly dull and symmetrical more common to british supermarkets.
The tree wasn’t covered in long dark green elliptical leaves, finely toothed. It didn’t have small perfect red buds or white purplish flowers with yellow anthers. It wasn’t a tall majestic well nursed tree with light yellow fruit shown beautifully against blue skies. It was nondescript, fitting of its place — in the corner of yard in a small cold town. It was old, woody, and ever so slightly out of control.
But on it, at the end of every branch, sat the most elegant lemons; perfectly formed by years of love and care. Tended for in a way that only a little old lady could.
Every when I was still so small that I could barely reach the fruit on the low hanging branches, we would cross the yard, propelled by excitement and expectations, to harvest a precious lemon to squeeze on our pancakes.
I would lift my hand up and caress one of the many perfectly identical plastic fruits hanging from every branch by the thinnest of cotton. No matter which one I took it was always full of the most wonderful juice, the taste of which would always remind me of this special place, this special moment. We would take off the lid and check, just to make sure, before returning to the house to continue with our feast.
Aunty Doris’s Jif Lemon Tree — a work of wonder and beauty.

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20 Years of giving it a go…

Victoria and I have been together for 20 years today, and married for 12!

A lovestruck romeo sings a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
finds a convenient streetlight steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

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just a stone

just a stone

It might be just a stone to you
But it means the world to me
It represents my future, my hope, my aspirations
To you; just as waste of 75p
I know you might not understand
Why I need this shiny trinket of the deepest blue
It represents my past, my freedom, my independence
To you; another aggregate of minerals for me to lose

Chris Wild – Nov 12th 2007

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Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall?

Script For A Jester's TearSometime back in the earl 80’s I was lent 3 Vinyl LP’s by my friend Ian Holland. These 3 LP’s probably changed my outlook on music for the rest of my life. They were like nothing I had hear before. And that change made me open to all sorts of music from that point on. Those 3 LP’s were by and they were Script for a Jester’s Tear, Fugazi, and . I loved the intricacy of the music and the complexity of Fish’s lyrics. completed a perfect suite of albums.

Fish left in 1988.

In 1989 Marillion released their first album with new singer , . It was an excellent follow up album to Clutching and a good start for the new band member. This was followed by which I wasn’t that keen on. However in 1994 they release Brave which was a masterpiece. From that point on I kept religiously buying Marillion albums up until Marbles.

Fish however brought out in 1990, which was ok. He followed this with in 1991 which was less ok. So when Suits came out in 1994, I left it and stopped listening.

A few weeks ago I realised that there were 2 Marillion albums that I didn’t have and 6 Fish albums. So I went to their respective web sites and ordered the missing back catalogue.

I listened to all the Fish Albums and they are shit. They get progressively better but not enough. At the beginning he is let down by poor musicians and although that starts to change you realise that actually Fish is a crap lyricist. Now, to just type that goes against everything I had ever believed about him from the Marillion era, but it seems that when he left Marillion, he was moving his lyrics into a more serious and possibly literary medium. He is a good poet but they just don’t make good songs. So many times it seems that he is straining to make a lyric fit to the music. The words just don’t appear to flow with the melody. The verse lines are often too long and thus all the expected rhymes are in the wrong place or not there at all. This is most noticable in that, with the the few songs that are actually good, the lyric seems to break down to a more punchier and snappier format. I just wonder if he is missing a group of talented musicians who can get him inline. Someone not afraid to tell him to edit to a song format when needed. It’s a shame because it’s the first time I have ever bought music that I was really unhappy with.

The Marillion albums are great. They are a perfect addition to my music library.

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Wikipedia Marillion, Misplaced Childhood, Clutching at Straws, Steve Hogarth, Seasons End, Holidays In Eden, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors, Internal Exile

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Bad Man

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a bad Brother, Son, and friend. Not because I’m a nasty person, not because I’ve ever done anything to be ashamed of, but because I don’t pickup the phone. I love talking, and I love talking to my family, I’m just not very good at long distance conversation instigation. This isn’t limited to my parents and brothers. I’m not very good at calling friends either. And if I’m away from home, I’m not quick to call Victoria and the kids. It’s just the way I am.

I think about my parents every day. It’s hard not to think about your parents when you have children. In the good times and the bad times, I wonder just what my parents would have done in that situation. When my children are playing or indeed fighting, I think about the same times I would have had with my brothers. When my brain drops down into idle, I generally find myself thinking about my family.

Just this weekend I was thinking about my elder brother and his family, thinking that I should give him a call, thinking that he calls me far more than I ever call him and that it’s about time that I ring him and find out, “How’s things? How are you? What are you up to?” etc…

but instead, here I am Monday morning thinking about the fact that I didn’t call…. … I promise myself I will call tonight…

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