Waiting For Bungalow

This is lifted from Old Stokie’s contribution to the thread below. I admire it’s Beckettian qualities, by which I mean it’s spare rhythmic prose, it’s claustrophobia and it’s absurd sense of reality. The lingo is just how people used to speak when I was a boy in Stoke-on-Trent; it seems that the only thing that has changed on that score is that I have left.

Today. Lunchtime. I scrawled from under my car where I’d just changed the oil and filter. An old bloke was leaning on my fence. He looked like death warmed up. “You ok, Mate?” I asked.

“Ar. Just bin get me paper. That bloody bonk gets steeper every tarm ar woke up eet. Ar conner get me breath lark ar used ter.”


“Ar. Fifty bloody years on the bloody face.”

“Why dustner buy a scooter, yewther?”

“A bloody scooter! Ar wudna bay seyn jed on one o’ them. Ar’ve sayn ‘em up the bloody park. Theen got ther bloody dogs with ‘em sittin’ on the bloody things. The bloody dogs ar as fat as the sods wot ride ‘em. Bloody scooters! Ar’ll bay six foot under befer ar get one o’ them bloody things.”

“Ast got far goo, yewther?”

“No. Ar’ve just moved in one o’ the bongolows.”

“Them across theer?” I point to the bungalows across the main road. Old Elsie has died recently so I’m suspecting that he’s moved in there because I haven’t seen him before.

He looks ‘across there’ and grins. “Oh ar. Arm on the wrong side o’ the bloody strate.”

I grin. “Never mind, it’s ow flat to thee ‘ise nar. Shat be owrate?”

“Ar. Ar’ll say thee yewth.” And off he totters across the street to old Elsie’s bunglow.

I like the old guy. He’s an old pitman like me. I’ll look out for him in future if I see him coming up the street. I can always start the car and do a quick run around the block and pretend I’m passing and give him a lift up the bonk. 😉


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7 Responses to Waiting For Bungalow

  1. makemeadiva says:

    There is more to this than Beckett.

    My great-grandad was a railway worker who moved from the north west with the railway to Leicester. He died quite young from an industrially related lung disease, as have so many working men. I never met him.

    Reading this makes me feel a bit like I have.

  2. OS says:

    Wot a lot of people don’t realise, Makemeadiva, is that engine drivers and firemen who kept the old steam trains going often suffered from lung disease. It was the coal you see. Nowadays, we look back on them in a sort of romantic way. It was the same then, too. Didn’t everybody want to be a train driver when they were little? Or a fireman or a bus driver or a soldier. I did. I can’t ever remember anybody wanting to be a bank clerk.

    I can’t remember wot I had for tea yesterday but I’ve got a thousand anecdotes like this one. One day, I’ll tell you about my uncle, Tommy Lion Tamer Wooldridge. Wot a fantastic character! Big as a brick outhouse and as gentle as a lamb he was … and never did an honest day’s work in his life. His greatest claim to fame in my book is that he learned me how to smoke Woodbines when I was just seven-years-old. 😉


  3. makemeadiva says:

    I should like to hear that one day OS 🙂

    I used to visit my GG Walker in Leicester. She wore a pinny always and had all her teeth extracted for her 21st birthday. She used to say they were more trouble in than out. She also used to say we all eat a peck of dirt before we die.

    She was not wrong on either count.

  4. OS says:

    I think I would have got on well with your GG. She sounds luvverly. My kind of laydee. 😉


  5. Stephen Foster says:

    O my God : Blog luv.

    There is an arrangers fee for this sort of stuff and it is not cheap neither.

  6. makemeadiva says:

    Take it out of the first month’s tipping line subs 😉

    Good luck to The Mighty Potters today.

    Chelsea are in disarray aren’t they…

  7. makemeadiva says:

    *Tomorrow. I’ve lost a day.

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