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Used to work for AVIVA offshoring IT to India.  Now retired through ill health, writing my life story as a series of blogs chronologically from birth to current time.  At www.jw-alifeofsurprises.blogspot.com

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Painting, Porking and Plans afoot - 1986

Sarah-Jane, Doreen and Barry’s daughter, was going out with Nigel Bradley an old school friend and we bumped into one another and I started hanging out at his local club, The Wensum Community Centre.  There I met Paul Waterfield, Colin Robson (Robbo), Tim Hume, Gary Hughes with his main of hair, (Mel Gibson in Braveheart or Lethal Weapon should do), Ian Pearce (sadly passed away), Gary Livermore, to name a few.  The centre had a football team (A and B teams) and as a goalkeeper got the job in the B Team, Bradley played up front, but became goalkeeper later for the A Team, (big, tall, vocal, safe hands) or so Sarah told me! 
Uncle Barry and Me

The manager/trainers, Robin Horten and Trevor Cooper would train us (run around a bit, press-ups then back to the bar) once a week.  As I was almost fully fit, I tended to separate myself and Bradley, along with Barry Holdsworth as goalies and we’d train apart, (sit on the slopes of the park, smoke and chat).  I have to say that the club welcomed me in and I was soon firm friends with the guys and we started going to nightclubs and pubs together.  The boys were seasoned clubbers, having been to Ibiza that year, they returned ready to sweep into Norwich like a marauding army me tagging along.
Tim had a little flat in town and once a week, we’d meet there to watch some terrible German porn films.  What inspired 5 blokes to sit together, watching that crap defies imagination but at the time, it seemed normal, and anyway, it was no worse than sitting in the red-light district of Hannover, watching Porn in a bar?  See http://jw-alifeofsurprises.blogspot.com/2011/03/women-pool-porn-and-beer.html.

The main clubs in Norwich were Ricks Place, Tudor Hall and Ritzy’s.  There were a number of pubs all located within stumbling distance, but the Hole in the Wall was my venue of choice as it was small, niche and attracted women I was attracted to.  I was signing on the dole within a few months, borrowing money from mum and struggling to find work.  Adrian Murphy, a friend of my brother Mark, offered me work with his firm of decorators and floor layers.  I worked with a number of his guys, but never got on well with any of them, except for Mike Hayward.
He was an Essex boy and a charmer, if ever there was one.  As we drove through small villages and towns, Mike would roll down his window and insult ugly people walking along, usually calling them a “dyed in the wool ugly bastard”!  He’d sound his horn at women and constantly told jokes.  Adrian sent me to work with Mike on the floors and Mike would collect me in the van and off we’d go.  I was to work at a plastic bottling factory and was given a pneumatic hammer and told to chase out the steel floor runners, bolted to the floor, which had once held machinery in place.  Mike left me to it and said he’d be back later that day. 

Keen to impress I went at it in the same way I did sex.  Shirt off, tool in hand, banging away like there was no tomorrow and not finishing until I managed to get the job done to everyone’s satisfaction.  Mike pitched up with Adrian at lunchtime, to find me sitting on a box, eating my lunch, finished with the floor work.  Adrian and Mike inspected the work, came back out and said I had fucked it up as the preparation had been planned to last at least two days.  Mike would have to start laying the new floor that day and the job would be over too soon.

I was told to slow down “a lot”.  We completed that job and moved onto a few others, Mike leading the way.  He was married to Sue and he’d take me home to meet her and feed me up sometimes, a genuinely decent guy.  Before long we were sent to work at a chemical factory in Norwich called Rhone Poulenc.  The job entailed laying a two part Epoxy Resin floor in a mixing room.  We cleaned up the floor and I proceeded to mix the flooring together in buckets.  Mike came in, took one look at me and cracked up.  My head was swelling fast, had turned bright red and my eyes were bulging.  I was allergic to Epoxy Resins!
He called Adrian and the Rhone Poulenc health and safety rep.  I was told to go home and not return there.  The factory was a mile or so from home and Mike said I had to walk home as he had to get on.  I trudged off, head swollen like a football and got in the bath, but I stayed red and bloated for a few days after and Adrian had to switch me back to painting again.

I also went to see if my infant school friend Richard Holmes who still lived at the same house, near the junior school we both attended.  I knocked on his door, his mum Francis answered, Radio 3 blaring classical music out into the street as she opened the door, her hair in curlers, “is Rick home?” I asked.  Ricks mum had a high pitched voice and she called out to him “Richard, there’s someone at the door, I think he’s from a charity”, before I could explain who I was.  She invited me into the living room, which given they lived in a terrace house, was one step inside the door.  Rick came down stairs and looked at me and said “Jonathan Weaver”.  We were 22 and had not seen each other for eleven years; we sat, had a cup of tea and caught up.
Rick Holmes and I
It turned out that Rick and his brother Patrick had a rock band, (The Law!) and were quite big on the local circuit.  With my aspirations to be a singer-songwriter (my jottings in notebooks equated to songs in my mind), we had common interests and a long lasting friendship was re-commenced.  Work with Adrian dried up and Bradley got me a job working as a Painter and Decorator for Carters, a local building contractors and I started to get money in at last. 
The first job I worked on was the new stand at Norwich City Football Club, the City Stand.  Meeting the clubs then lofty aspirations (!), it was a single tier, held about 4,000, and included the Directors boxes and team changing rooms.  Under the seats are long corridors where match-day pies are sold to the fans once they’d entered through the turnstiles.  My job was to emulsion the Breeze Block corridors a nice shade of magnolia and armed with my brush and roller off I went and was party to a conversation between then club chairman, Robert Chase and the defender Dave Watson, who wanted away from Norwich to Everton FC.  Chase was almost pleading with Watson to stay, but Watson was having none of it and went at the end of the season.

I was told to paint the doors and frames that lead onto the pitch from the changing rooms, Green and Yellow, (Norwich colours).  Being a lazy arse, I painted the brass hinges as I could not be bothered to paint around them.  The foreman came up and moaned about that, so I had to strip of the paint and start again, fussy twat.
I had to catch a ride to work each day with a grumpy old shit, who stank of paint thinners and roll up cigarettes and who drove a 3 wheeled Reliant Robin.  This contradicted strongly with my desire to appear cool, smart and Jonny on the spot, but having no ready cash and not wishing to cycle, had to accept the lift.  I made him stop the car about quarter of a mile away and walked the last part of journey, least I be seen getting out of the three wheeler.  We named this bloke “Snooker Set”, as each of his teeth was a different colour, Green, Yellow, Brown, Black, with a few Red ones, where his gums bled constantly.  He was bent up, saggy skinned and odious and I believed he was probably near fifty five years old (he was 35), gnarled up from years of washing his hands with white spirit, inhaling paint fumes and absorbing the lead from paint that had since been banned.  There was no way I was going to end up like that and started to wish my way out of there fast.

I started seeing a girl (no names here) and we spent most evenings attempting to break records for coitus continuity (shagging), either in my bedroom or her parent’s living room.  They had a large house and our muffled shouts and moans were not heard across the hallway.  My Mum was obviously aware, when we availed ourselves of my room, but generally turned a blind eye if she was not disturbed, and was made a cup of coffee afterwards.  I was generally a good lad, loved being mildly annoying and a comic and would wind Mum up and embarrass her sometimes, if her friends came round. 
  Mum and I
After a few months, I was unceremoniously dumped, only to find her best friend chatting me up.  One of my problems has been that I fall in lust too easily.  I would find someone I liked, get their attention, start going out with them, become really “into” them and then after a period of time, in which as much sex as was physically possible took place, would finish it, least they finished it first, as happened on occasion.  I had become a specialist in cunnilingus and would spend hours down there, often refusing to come up for air for long periods and continuing past the point of delivery, intent on achieving the fabled “multiple”!  It turned out that they had “chatted” as girls do and I was “recommended” for the job, as I was then dumped by girl No 2 for her friend.
The new girlfriend loved car sex and seeing as I had been sold a boat of a car by Bradley, (Ford Cortina Mk 3), which had acres of room in the back seat area, we took a trip out most nights and weekends.  Her appetites were as exotic as mine and we’d stop in broad daylight in lay-bys, pile into the back seat and launch into one.  I had met another girl during this time who worked in a bar I used in town and lived just outside Norwich.  So I juggled my time between the two, but as the out of town girl lived with a pair of big brothers we used the car all the time, parking in a deserted quarry.  She was quite a small girl and I had ideas of trying to fit her onto the parcel shelf, angling my body behind hers, but never tried it.

Meanwhile on the football front, things were looking up.  Bradley had injured himself and as I had been playing well for the B Team, Robin recommended to Trevor that I be given a chance in Goal for the A Team.  The next game was against Anglian Windows, a rival for the league title, a hard team to play against and moreover this was a Cup game and they were at home.  My back (my other opponent in life) had given me an odd twinge here and here but nothing too bad.
We went a goal up fairly quickly and the outfield team played really well, I had made a few comfortable saves and as the second half commenced we were more and more convinced we’d win.  Anglian threw everything at us and I got busier and busier as the half progressed.  I made a couple of extremely good save, improving my team’s faith in me and we entered the last fifteen minutes, still one up, but under real pressure, defending at our 18 yard line.  One of our guys then committed a foul, right on the edge and to the right of the area looking toward my goal.

I shouted for five players to form a wall and moved them to cover the left hand side of my goal and I covered the right.  Kevin Eagleton, an adversary from my schooldays and a handy striker, took the kick and bent the ball around the wall and in towards my left.  I was stranded on the right, but launched myself across the goal; my body totally extended and with the tips of my fingers pushed the ball around the post for a corner.  I landed flat on my stomach and felt a spasm of pain run from my lower back down my legs and let out a cry.
My teammates ran to me as I lay there in great pain, pins and needles running up and down the backs of my legs.  “No one touched him” shouted one of the opposition, “he has a bad back you twat” said one of our team.  I tried to get up but couldn’t, and they had a corner but I could barely get to my knees.  Our sub came on in my place and I was carried around to the back of the goal, tears in my eyes.  The team played out the last remaining minutes and I was carried back to the changing rooms for tea and sympathy.  That night we had a disco in the club and I was hoisted onto a few shoulders, like “Tiny Tim” and lauded for my save of the century.

Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, plans were afoot.  Mark Cameron was working as a bouncer and general dogsbody at a nightclub.  He hated it and was scheming plans and ideas, so I went down to see him and stayed with him and his mum. The club he worked at was Ritzy’s and were went there and to another more dubious club on the seafront, where I succeeded in chatting up and shagging a barmaid, staying at her place, not wanting to upset his mum. 

I travelled back to Norwich satisfied with my weekends work while Mark ruminated on his plans to leave England for distant shores.  Soon he would call and make the offer. Soon he would call and make the offer I could not resist.

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