Shackled

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), hectic.

Well, I was going to talk about my day today, but… sheeeee-it! So instead, let’s go back to a period that was very hectic, in retrospect.

I had a spell out in the USA, and came back to the UK at the start of 1997. I felt I’d kinda hit a ceiling in my job, so decided to start my own business, hiring myself out as a consultant. I had been project managing, but clients were not looking for project managers, so I had to fall back on my software development skills. In fact, they were a useful tool to have, and I’ve made that fallback a few times since then.

By February of 1997, I had my first client – IBM. They had a site down by Southampton in the UK, so I duly movede into a rental down there. Since I arrived back, I’d been staying with my mother anyway, so was pretty much no fixed abode. And I’d always lived in cities, so Southampton seemed a good fit.

As time went by, I started to get settled in the area, I found new clients down there and decided I needed to meet some more local people.

I met (the woman who was to become) my wife in May, 1998. I would ABSOLUTELY NOT recomment acting this quickly to anybody else, but we hit it off straight away. At the same time, I’d decided that I liked the area, so would look for somewhere to put down permanent roots. The countryside down here is so beautiful I thought it might be pleasant to live in the middle of it.

By September 1998 my “wife” and I decided that we might have some kind of future together and we kinda both said, not really that we wanted a baby together, but if it happened, it happened. I thought It’ll be years yet, because that’s how long it normally takes couples, but little did I know. A month later, she was pregnant.

At the same time, I had made moves on a house. Half a mile outside of the New Forest, which is a National Park here in the UK. I decided I liked the place, so just offered their asking price. In what seemed an interminable few months while the legal was sorted, I moved in just after christmas 1998, in early January. “Wife” moved in very shortly afterwards – the big step had already been taken, so living together was no big deal.

I’m not quite sure what happened about marriage. There was non of your down on one knee nonsense, for sure. I can vaguely remember that it happened in bed, and I guess I must have asked her, or so she says. But she also promised to obey me, and look what happened there!

In any case, my pregnant wife and I were married in March 1999. We got a cancellation at the Registry Office, and our honeymoon was a holiday we had booked before we even decided to marry. We had two witnesses at the wedding – the legal requirement – and celebrated immediately afterwards by taking Afternoon Tea in a nearby hotel.

All was peaceful for a few months, except that she grumbled more and more as she got bigger and bigger. We went away again in June, and every bloody five minutes was a toilet stop! The baby duly came along in August, 1999, after 26 hours of labour. While she was merrily swigging away on gas & air, I had to go out for a Burger King partway through to sustain my energy levels!

Again, a quiet few months while I got used to a fairly new wife, and a very new baby. I was still working in all this time, I’d had two or three local clients, High Street banks, but in March 2000 I was offered a role up in London. London is in a different league altogether. Alongside NYC, there is nowhere better in IT.

A busy three years…

Song Lyric Sunday (19 April 2020) – Hometown

Last week, Jim (NewEpicAuthor, A Unique Title For Me) set a theme of gemstones (my selection). This week, he gives us the theme of our hometown.

The last few days I have been presenting some songs I never quite presented for Sing Lyric Sunday, but today is the real deal! I’m sorry, though, Jim, but I’m gonna take a liberty with your prompt today!

As my regular readers will know, I’m not Australian. I hail from the UK, from Liverpool. As well as being the home of soccer (see featured image), it is also the home of music. How can I possibly choose a song between The Beatles, or Gerry and the Pacemakers, or Cilla Black, or Frankie Goes To Hollwwood, or Atomic Kitten, or China Crisis, or Frankie Vaughan, or The Spinners, or The Real Thing, or Billy Fury, or The Lightning Seeds, or …

If I’m gonna go in that direction, Penny Lane is about two miles from my childhood home. Lots of what McCartney sang about was true, even years later. The barber, the bus shelter in the mniddle of the roundabout, although while there might well have been a fireman, there was no fire station that I can remember, if anything, it was mostly residential. Strawberry Fields was even closer.

But I’m gonna take the opportunity today to go completely left-field. A band I liked from my university days (I studied in Cardiff, Wales) are the Manic Street Preachers (who were from the nearby town of Blackwood). I studied in Cardiff from 1986-9), they were formed in 1986, and so our paths were bound to cross.

By 1996-7, the Manics, however, were well-and-truly established, in the UK at least, and they released the single Australia. It was a metaphor for how much their own lives had changed, because Australia is just about as far from Blackwood as you could possibly get. Written by band members James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore, it charted at #7 in the UK.

So on the basis that (a) it is a place-name which might conceivably fit Jim’s prompt (just not for me), and (b) Jim will never, ever again come up with a prompt which fits this song title, and (c) it is a song I love, this will be my choice today.

Please give it a chance – it starts off a bit grungey but it will grow on you, I promise. Or your money back.


I don’t know if I’m tired and I don’t know if I’m ill
My cheeks are turning yellow
I think I’ll take another pill

Praying for the wave to come now
It must be for the fifteenth time
I’ve been here for much too long
This is the past that’s mine

I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
In Australia

Praying for the wave to come now
It must be for the very last time
It’s twelve o’clock till midnight
There must be someone to blame

I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
In Australia

Australia, in Australia
I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in Australia
In Australia
In Australia
In Australia

Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore

[Addendum]

Jim tells me that the above link doesn’t play in the US, but he helpfully provides one which does play. I’m sorry, I have no way of knowing when I write the post. If anybody knows otherwise, please let me know.