From Aranjuez to Santa Elena. 24th March

The journey was fairly predictable with nothing of great note to record though we did see some rather cute white Wind Mills at one point and the road signs made some reference to Don Quixote but we didn’t quite get the connection?

After about the mid way point the scenery improved dramatically and I was impressed by the Orange earth where the soil had been turned ready for planting. Further from the road where the hills started to swell the soil was a dark purple, like red wine spilt onto a green table cloth though it’s edges were straight rather than random.

There’s an awful lot of Wine and Olive Oil being produced here.

The lack of anything to impressive gave me the opportunity to daydream and I thought about people and events that I haven’t considered for years.

I vividly recalled the wife of my Dad’s mate, a stick thin lady who always wore a pinny and slippers. She had round crab apple cheeks that were always red. Like she was permanently embarrassed.

I may have an explanation for this as once when we were there my Brother and I were in the house watching TV with their kids and father and mother were sat on the settee with a blanket over their laps. It was a lot later that I realised what had been going on.

I remembered my first pair of ‘Bell Bottom Trousers’ which were the height of fashion.

I once had a fight with a school chum (sadly deceased) called Steve ‘Owey’ O’Neil about whether check trousers were ‘In’ or whether ‘Striped’ trousers had taken over as the most Fab Gear.

I remembered Carnaby one on Bristol City Centre which was the ‘Mod’ part of Bristol where as the Horsefair was the Rockers area.

The thrill of buying some new item of clothing on a Saturday and wearing it out on Saturday night.

College scarfs, Donovan hats, paisley, winkle pickers, Cuban Heel’s, the Beatles collarless suit’s. Drawing a Union Jack on the back of my best white school shirt with felt tip pens. Stealing my mums scarfs to wear around my neck. Black polo neck sweaters.

But the top of the tree was a Full Length Black Leather Coat.

Next in the pecking order was a Parka jacket with fur around the hood and ‘Bristol Mod’ written on the back.

For the rest of us it was a ‘Combat Jacket’ purchased from one of the army Surplus shops. Then we’d head up to Madame Scarlett’s on Park Row and buy a piece of Fur for ten Bob. I had to wait till my Nan arrived to sew it on as my Mum was useless.

I remembered the Saturday morning under 16’s Disco at the top rank, where the resident DJ was called Bonzo, he had peroxide blond hair in a Teddy Boy style and wore a black and white fur waistcoat. Getting home on a Saturday for the Monkeys TV show and Sonny and Cher.

Hearing Sergent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time. It was a School day and my brother Tony got it as his Birthday present. We couldn’t wait for school to finish to get home and listen to it again, digesting all the images and reading the words on the sleeve.

Two compilation albums, ‘Rock Machine I Love You’ and ‘Rock Macine Turns You On.’ Absolute classics.

Then there was Monday night at the Locarno, where a bloke called ‘Jock’ used to dance on his own right in front of the stage. The same stage where I saw the Who, the Supreme’s, the Kinks, and a host of other famous bands of the day.

Was it the Top Rank on a Tuesday and the Corn Exchange Wednesdays? Saw Stevie Marriott there, now he was a Top Mod.

My first scooter a Lambretta LI 150 bought from my mate Alan ‘Potter’ Yandell who mentored me for years.

“Gis a drag Al” was one of my most used phrases and on payday Potter always bought a packet of 20 Benson and Hedges and he would always give me one. I don’t think I ever said thank you to Alan. He was a good mate.

There were other darker memories that came back, some buried in my sub conscious for years but I think I’ll leave them for another day.



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