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Compliments, Cutlets and Candy

Compliments and Candy

a love story by Michael John Kelly

Chapter One



 Will you walk into my parlour


He had long since abandoned his pursuit of perfection. The cruel vagaries of life had taught John Joseph Ryan that perfection was merely an illusion. Like a rainbow,  a reflection in a stream, or a fluttering butterfly, it was tantalisingly there, right before your eyes, but somehow always  just out of reach. The harsh reality was that  there was always a flaw; there was invariably some tiny thing that was not quite right. He had slowly come to accept that near perfect was as good as it ever got.
That fateful morning in Bristol was a prime example. It was April 11th, 1992, and all the ingredients were there for the making of a perfect day. The weather was fine and set fair; it was spring, and spring was his favourite time of the year; it was also Saturday, and Saturday was his favourite day of the week. But there was, of course, the imperfection. The blemish on that particular day  was the t…
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Don't talk to me about relegation battles. My father came home from the war in November 1945. He was a complete stranger to me, having been away fighting the Germans and their submarines for almost 6 of the first 8 years of my life. I had been just a toddler when he had sailed off to war, and I had no memories of him.
 At first, our relationship was a difficult one, with both parties suspicious and jealous of one another, but Mums are shrewd, clever operators, and my mother was no exception to the rule.. She was soon busily building some bridges, and slowly but surely, Dad and I started to talk, like a father and son should do. We quickly discovered that we had one strong common bond...football.
There had been no professional football during my young life, but I was already football crazy. My vivid imagination had been fuelled by the hundreds of stories I had read in various newspapers; articles I had digested from the sepia coloured pages of old pre war books and magazines, and …
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. Miss Lynch, who other than my mother, was my very first heroine, and also my teacher at St Mary on the Quay, taught me that these words were first used by Robert 1 of Scotland (Robert the Bruce), a 14th century king who, according to legend, having suffered a major defeat at the hands of the English, went into hiding in a cave near Gretna. It was whilst here, that he watched a spider trying to spin a web. Each time the spider failed, it simply started again. According to Miss Lynch, Robert was so inspired by the tiny spider that he left the cave and returned to lead his troops to a number of victories against the English.

Be that as it may, it was an adage that was drummed into me from my early years by my mother and my father; by my teacher, Miss Lynch, and by Jasper Barnidge, my formidable Headmaster. By the age of 10, I was already a fierce and determined competitor, particularly in all things sporting. The long, bitterly…
Castle Green as it was 1930.

You can see this image ( in huge detail ) and over 600 others by registering for free on britainfromabove.org.uk yes, Its that dreadful day again 77 years on where we remember the first big air raid; SUNDAY 24th NOVEMBER 1940...........Now approaching the verge of living memory in its intact pre war state this aerial photo shows Bristol July 1930, a thriving medieval core shopping area ten years before WW2. The area in red is now Castle Park which contained 500 premises. this was the true heart of the old city until it was 80% destroyed in three huge air raids; 24th November 1940, 3rd January 1941 and Good Friday 1941. The 20% that survived and carried on trading were demolished between 1959 and 1969. So altogether we lost 18 acres of historic city streets.

Main sites of interest:.....1) The Dutch House on the corner of Wine St and High St. 2) Jones’s department store fronting Wine St and High St. 3) Baker & Baker Dept Store (retail section), wrapping …
Peacetime and football. Up the Gas.


To his credit, my father tried hard to develop a relationship; he tried hard to engage me in conversations, but I was having none of it. I always blurted out some lame excuse and made a rapid escape out of the front door. Undaunted, he persisted and finally found a weakness in my defences. He discovered my love of football. He was a good story teller after a few beers, and I had an insatiable thirst for football history and knowledge. It wasn’t long before I was curled up at his feet, in front of the fire, whilst he filled my head with stories about his beloved Bristol Rovers.
He told me about the very first game Rovers had played in the Football League. He told me about the great players of the past. He spoke with pride about the men he called the five ‘Macs’ who played for the club in the 1930s. He whispered their names in almost reverential awe; James McCambridge, Robert McKay, George McNestry, John McLean and Wally McArthur. His biggest hero was c…
Just a boy from Bristol

PART TWO


"We will have bluebells in the spring, and roses in the summer," said Mum when we moved into Halsbury Rd, and for the first time we had a garden of our very own. Sadly for Mum, whatever she planted, however hard she worked, the promised flowers refused to grow. When I wasn't playing football, Knock out Ginger or Releaster 1-2-3 in Eugene Street, i wandered off down town. I travelled far and wide, exploring all the many bombed buildin...g sites which were all over Bristol. I admired, in close up, the beauty of the blue, purple, white and yellow clusters of Buddleia, Campion, Rosebay Willow herb, and bramble bushes; I sat, like a young king, astride piles of bricks and rubble; I closed my eyes and listened to the birdsong and the buzzing of the bees, and then I picked clumps of the colourful weeds, and rushed home to present them to my mother. She always smiled sadly, and kissed the already droop…
Compliments, Cutlets and Candy. By Michael John Kelly

Chapter One The whole of the moon
He had long since abandoned his long and fruitless pursuit of perfection. The cruel vagaries of life had taught him that perfection was merely an illusion. It was like a rainbow, or a reflection in a still, clear stream. A thing of beauty, right there in front of his eyes, but remaining forever tantalisingly just out of reach. The reality was that there was always a flaw; always some tiny imperfection that would spoil even the most magical of moments. He had slowly and reluctantly accepted that near- perfect was as good as it ever got. That fateful Saturday morning in Bristol was a prime example. It was April 11th, 1992, and all the ingredients were there for the making of a perfect day. Saturday was, by some way, the highlight of his week, and not only was the weather set fair, but it was spring, and spring that fairest of all seasons, had always been his favourite time of the year. As usual, however, …