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Saturday, 10 August 2013

White Noise of the Adult World and Betting Shops




I like all little memories that take me back. Don't get me wrong; I love the way things are today, despite the endless bad news. I would say there has always been bad news on television. I remember old people saying; "it wasn't like that in my day."

No it was bloody worse - they had the depression, national strikes and two world wars. Today is much better and I am very contented and think things are progressing. We just don't always appreciate this.

I don't have a great deal to gripe about really except I would like to earn a lot more money than I do, but then, so do multi-millionaires. So, I'm in the same boat as a multi-millionaire. They just have better seats then me; that's all.

Back in the days of my childhood, I had a blissfully happy and ignorant time. I looked out at the world through very innocent eyes and always had a habit of getting the wrong end of the stick. I think the adult world was a place of white noise that went on around me and often snippets of information were wonderfully misconstrued.

As a kid, I was incredibly naive and sometimes I enjoy that innocence even now when I think back. I, of course, had a very over inflated opinion of myself. I thought I would grow up and be a dynamite footballer – play for England one day – score all the goals in a World Cup final – become Prime Minister and re-build the British Empire – and all that before breakfast… LOL.

I knew I lived on an island surrounded by sea and the world beyond was a wilderness where countries like France, Germany and Holland lived. These poor people couldn’t speak properly because they were not British. I also felt it was my duty to feel incredibly sorry for these foreign people because they were not British and that God might look down on me and be pleased at such charitable thoughts.

I imagined that all these foreign people longed to be British and had an abstract picture of them wishing to be as lucky as me. I thought it was a tremendously sad thing and was ever so shocked when I found out most foreigners were happy being who they were and the thought of being British might be very unappealing. I was flabbergasted by this and thought it was because they lacked the ed-umy-cation. My dear old Nan told me that and I loved her very much. I also felt cheated of so much sympathy I had lavished upon these ungrateful people and felt rather indignant that they might not wish to be British. Who would not wish to be British?

Another thing that springs to mind is betting shops. I had big ideas about betting shops and an awesome misunderstanding of betting shops. For the life of me, I could not understand why little kids were not allowed in betting shops. They were places where a group of silly grown up blokes sat around a table talking about things until one turned to the other and said, "No it's not."

Then the man, talking in the first place insists, "Yes, it is so."

Then both men would hold out a hand to shake and say, "Want a bet on it."

To the little boy me; this is what betting shops were all about – simple – no problem – nothing to it.

What was so adult about, 'want a bet on it?'

I said it all the time with my class mates at school and I was dashed good at it.

I remember winning a bet with a kid in class. He said Batman could fly and I said, “No he can’t, want a bet on it?” Needless to say I came out of the ‘want a bet on it’ clash with honours intact.’

I remember standing in the school playground afterwards and looking up at the blue sky. I was shaking my head despairingly, during one of my deep moments, and thinking, “If only my Dad could see sense and take me to the betting shop. He would win loads of bets.”

I knew my Dad went to the betting shop because he couldn't stand watching those boring horses running along a grass track. I found them blooming boring too, so why the heck could he not take me with him to the betting shop? He always seemed to shoot off before they came on the television.

In my mind’s eye I could see my Dad walking down the street with me by his side, while adoring neighbours looked on whispering; “There goes Powell and Son – the champions of the betting shop.” I, of course, was my Dad’s secret weapon and had won loads of ‘want a bet on it’ contests for him and he would be parading me around very proud of our united reputations.

I couldn’t wait to grow up – Britain was waiting with open arms for astute little chap like me. 
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