Parents fuck you up said Larkin. He was never a parent for some reason he did not think of himself as one.
My insecurities produced in me something unique a little thinking would make me able to laugh and I enjoyed myself no end thinking the ridiculous my only pastime was that. In a way dealt with my own loneliness.
That made me eat mice Miss. Gold made me eat mice she placed it in the vinegar and pickled it and then I thought it a bird and ate it.
“Go and drown yourselves.”
What should parents think?
Should we interfere with the parents deciding to keep their own baby alive? Should we in fact be stating that the thing is when a hospital says die and die and die it means that?
“I can’t look after my kids.” Said the housemaid.
There is nothing to say that when a baby is born that it has a will of its own. The parents have no money a perfectly healthy child.
She made me eat mice she made me eat it entire.
“No harm done.”
“It is our free will.”
“Freedom of choice for them they would have fared badly.”
“A child is crying.”
“Parents are never there anymore.”
“Keep your distance mum.”
“You are a disobedient disgraceful child.”
The maid smashed all the china.
“Mum where is my tea?”
“Oh give me a break.”
“Still hungry after eating all that?”
“Mum?” asked the sister.
“Mother has fallen breaking all the china.”
“She was up already and she is frothing at the mouth.” She had fallen down and was not well.
“Fuck I must do my homework tomorrow.”
Left the scenes of this home and we were in the coach going on a journey on a different journey they said because it was a journey of survival otherwise we would all be dead.
The two mad men bought the tickets and we settled into the journey into this difficult journey.
“How many children did she really have?”
I sat on a seat next to someone whose place was empty did not know the reason for this because she had a white suit a calm face and looked normal with dark hair and did not seem a disgrace. There was not much effort at conversation for she said she thinking about this and that. I did not ask but wondered about what she was thinking about. The thing was a difficult journey with a difficult woman sat next to me. I was seventeen at the time and thoughtless did not know that people need their privacy and such. That we all mattered in a difficult life but not as much as that.
Being a healthy teenager I never saw her eat anything she hid from me her food as if the demons would take them.
“Rudeness is not ... Easy to listen to.”
I was sat next to a woman in a white suit who kept on moving around and did not want to speak at all. No one wanted to listen to me. My whole life was a joke everyone told me that I had thrown away my life in order to be a servant. By moving back to England and being in that journey that the whole thing would be over for me.
It was distressing to everyone back in Cyprus why we wanted to move back to England when we had such a different attitude and had not been even educated and we would be done for there. But the thing was we needed to be somewhere where we could call our own. I went to and fro and did nothing much thought about the entire situation and made up my mind I wanted England more than Cyprus there was nobody I wanted their nothing had seemed right with the world and it mattered that we belonged and had a shop even if a little shop which was ours in London.
But two mad men had booked the journey and it was the most bizarre journey we would ever have.
That it was this entire obscene joke that I could have been someone back home but said no and this was the result? I would become a servile servant? This is the thing this is the fiendish delight which I ever had behaved in. What to do with a girl who does not understand she will become a woman of easy virtue and be damned.
Still in the coach trying to feel my way round what and how and what I could not move because there was a huge queue and a man had taken the spare seat and spread his newspaper reading and another one had her feet upside down. I was seated opposite the toilet and counted how many times each person went and did not go and even they said took notes of how many times it took them to do whatever. There was this anger at me for some reason.
B had been crying for ages and mother has taken her on her knee. She whimpers now it is a whole day in the coach and there is plenty not to think about. The driver had his eye on me he so handsome he gorgeous but he did not behave kindly watched us starve did not lift a hand at all? No he said we deserved some bread and butter that were in Bulgaria we had been to the Black forest but that had caught fire and before that to the Taurus Mountains and that made us think almost like we belonged in a holiday coach which we had been. Because dad who had been in a mental asylum had booked us in without any money.
Mummy always wanted a holiday here it is a holiday he said he bought himself cigarettes and coke and did away with pretence.
Now in that cramped place I could not move if I wanted something I had to say please thank you or else there was no respite or the inconvenience to the other passengers was immense. You see if one wants to go to the loo then one asks the others the right mannerly way. If one is rude then they go to the loo instead and you are left holding on to something you rather not see others see. To begin with I was next to the window then was placed near the outside entrance as being too fidgety and naughty for my own good.
“Rudeness is not nice and there was an end to it.”
“We take what you say now with a pinch of salt.”
There is nothing the matter with her is there she would say and sigh out loud what an idea a flighty girl without anything but her bottom moving around not being still not behaving well naughty nasty child.
“Lying all the time to us to the system wasting time what are you?”
“Lazy thing that is to the core sluttish.”
She implied this not said it. I was not lazy I might have been so many things but not lazy. I moved again she seemed to be getting ready to pinch me or something.
We are on that coach we are not moving much because it is a holiday coach and we so hungry everyone else has brought the right clothes the right food and we now without.
A fairytale ending to this nightmare and then it really startled him when B startled everyone by screaming and screaming as if her poor lungs did not vibrate enough she just did not stop her screaming.
Z immediately distanced herself from the B and said it is not nice to everyone mother and it is not kind what Z said only intensified B’s screams. The thing was mother had this huge head on her shoulders and she always does popular deeds thought they will dump B and me in some corner to be earning our own keep.
I keep on remembering the past.
“Oh Zeks you are the devil.” But they were having a bath together when they said the words.
Two women one man two opinions yet he stayed with Zeks.
You see that is a memory how should I know illicit and impure that they were in the bath or one of them was while the other was fondling the breasts and seeing if the milk was pouring or not. To make it better this other one did bite it or kiss it whatever. But this I could never be certain of because the thing was still a child and children do not know these things.
“I disapprove totally with incest,” said dad to me.
“Oh so do I.” I heartily concurred.
This dad who did not behave like a normal husband a mad man whom they hired to cover the mess the mess that was Zeks reputation because she did not have a shred left.
That was why I ate them mice you see because the reputation of Zeks was such that when I found out about the ill repute the whole thing was a mess.
Who was he? Who was this dad I did not know and he was not going to tell or share the information with anyone. He was just a loser our dad and he did say just have a bloody blood test because none of you are mine and the only one who did have a blood test was Z and she was totally happy about the outcome. She did not share the document with us she just said she was her dad’s child.
But then she did not want to move to a council home.
She was very young and made a mistake. Mother was a young woman who did such a thing make mistakes. That is mother Zeks she married the wrong man not her good handsome Abdul but this other mad man.
When she saw this man on a horse she so attracted by him and his body language just like that it was a massive romance by all accounts this was the reality of being a teenager back in the 1950’s. A man on a horse now she runs a mile but back than she was attracted to that sorry spectacle.
People do make mistakes when they think of a man on a horse you know. That is when they are young a horse implies a hero and all that.
“Well I think it is a probability.”
“I think so too.” I said to this nonexistent person because I had been silent for a good part of six or seven hours and I too am now a teenager and this woman has not spoken or said a word to me.
The lady next to me was more upset I had touched her against her wishes and she begins to complain this child is not sitting she is fidgeting all the bloody time where is the driver did not say that I would have a fidget with me I paid good money for that seat and she keeps on coming to my side of it.
He said women were dirty
The driver and his assistant had a good sober calm face on their features which meant they were having a good joke. I said nothing at all seeing that I saw nothing wrong seeing that spelt a rat.
“Was he a wizard?” I asked. I had been dreaming about something about the tales told and retold.
Dad seemed sometimes to belong in the pre 30’s as he remembered the cars and the other things which had moved on and there was this silence about him as if he would be found out. And Mr Erturk said the same things. To tally their age’s dad was eleven years younger than him but they spoke like in the same age bracket. Who was dad?
He told the same stories he did and all. I mean nobody can know the same stories about this and the other because in Cyprus eventually time does move on. A story does not it stand still etched in time and memory.
The coach was ambling along and they all of them inside their aimless and mostly calm too calm and I thought something bad would happen. Myself in the coach the thing was spooky the thinking was bad what did it all mean? Mother’s leg had began to be so large because B on it and that her whimpering and urinating would stop everyone on the coach said so.
“If the stink gets any worse we will throw that one off the coach.”
There is an uproar of behaving like good citizens and everyone thought that throwing B off the coach the best idea.
I went to be useful. In fact throw us all off at the nearest port.
Did I just dream it all? By then had moved onto the seat and was gently cuddling B.
Then I looked at dad’s eyes and he was staring at something at me I thought and did not say a word there was this ugly moment. I just did not understand what to make of it. He had sat in that seat for what appeared forever and he was staring at me? I changed seats with mum.
“You should wear something else you should maybe change your clothes.”
“I can’t reach the suitcase.”
“Why did they put it at the back?”
We are back at the coach now not in the future not in the past but travelling and trying to survive on that coach.
“How do I know?” Mr Jam did not understand so did not answer. Mr Jam was the assistant coach man’s nickname.
“It takes too much time to move suitcases back and forth now move on. Mr Jam said so.”
Mr Jam did not make sense at all Mr Jam was a fabulous bread and jam and there was nothing he would not do to make us comfortable except part with money. He objected to any extra costs if there was anything costly he would defer to the best judgement when he had to call headquarters and ask permission to use the spare change for the common good or something.
Mr Jam was that sorry spectacle who is always lumbered with the bill always to make ends meet night and day and then to see the driver squander it on women and girls made him sick as a parrot to think they could have been rich if he had some sense but he did not.
The driver had nothing but his abilities which were tremendous and this he disliked about him and liked about him at the same time. He got on well with the females he dumped and used mopped them up set them on their way. But the driver was a prolific man who had a no sense and made nonsense of being married to his sister.
His sister trusted him behaving because he was with him.
So in part he got on well with his sister but for the life of him he did not have the bed linen handy. He was not his brother’s keeper that is what his sister did not understand.
The thing about being swatted is one does not know about it until it comes too late.
I was sweating again. It is no big deal with anyone else if they smell of urine and sweat but for me it was as if the likes of me went and I was this unclean creature who was hellish and foul. Everything nice went with me. I was now not a nice girl no nice girl smells like a sewer.
“You smell like a sewer you smell like a sausage you smell like shit you smell and smell that is what you smell like.”
“Cunt and sugary smile let me lick it for you.” Said Monica.
“Is not she shocked?” she laughed out loud.
“Let me put my fingers in that pussy.” Said Monica’s friend and Monica and Pauline joined sort of and made as if one then a Turkish girl bullied beyond belief came and tried it on, I kicked her with the bags not hard because it meant detention.
“Let me do it right for you girl.”
“What you reading?” asked Monica.
“How dare you read Longfellow?” Said Longfellow’s friend.
“Let us see if we can get inside her knickers.”
I had placed all kinds of carrier bags next to me so they did not get inside my knickers.
Social securities are that we no longer have anything but our pride.
“The pride of sinners?”
“Yes the pride of fallen victims.”
Added to the food of the vicious and not good.
“Who are these monsters?”
School friend’s girls from my own class. I had run away from them and landed on this coach journey ran away from them only to land here in this disastrous place.
I did not reason I just ran and ran until reached Cyprus then it became this hot spot too and ran back to England there it is as mother said could not stay in one spot for long.
On the coach the weather report assumed such a grand design it was the only change in our lives for the next 9 days we lived and breathed the weather report.
“Weather report now.”
“More weather coming up.”
“And more and more.”
“By Jove must be bad weather all round.”
“All year round you know.”
“To remind you what we said 5 minutes ago.... Now that we are wearing a nicer dress to go with the weather.”
“No nothing but covering herself with sun lotion.”
“To wear hat and drink plenty of pollen with water.”
This is Turkey no bad weather there.
“No not time of the year was it?”
Where the lap dancing is the key to success Z said the woman whom I had vacated the seat to her from was a teacher and had given her some books and had given her food as well. I felt so angry it made me want to do something bad.
Z seeing this kept quiet for the next couple of days.
I was but a child and there was always this rivalry between Z and me. I wanted to hit her smug little face in but said nothing I was behaving well too. I was inclined to behave like a mother when a child not safe when they behaved like spoilt went for them. Z learnt to keep her silences and did indeed talk to the woman in white for some hours and indeed was the apple of her eyes.
Until she said I want to sleep.
Because mother Zeks did not want me to go to school because I dismayed her, I was being pushed and shoved into responding to them and thoughtless because did not want to be like them. Distressed them to such an extent because they kind to children and wonderful parents. They were on this wonderful holiday which mother insisted was not that bad and we should be grateful for having a father even if he mad. I wanted to explore outside. I wanted to go and see museums and galleries and enjoyed the bus rides and did a lot of walking.
It was not going to happen was it?
“I dislike walking so why do you like walking? That girl does not take after me at all as if I had not had her.”
“No mother you did don’t you remember?”
“Always quarrelling with me.”
“You are headstrong and I am going to mould you into our ways.”
The man in the driver’s seat was eyeing me in that way which made me thinks about mating seasons and all that sort of thing.
“But what an idea?”
“Yes the others behave properly.”
“They are never rude or different they do what I say and they never make it awkward.”
“Awkward what is awkward?”
“Sometimes families need to touch and feel each other.”
“Look your sister always sits on our knee?”
“Yes she has sat on your knee since she was a baby.”
“Yes but you refused to kiss us when you were eight.”
“I think it is not fair to say when if I sat on your knee you would crush. Look.”
“Of course how heavy you are.”
Mother now not talking to anyone as if her constantly sleeping. I on that spot with the child growing heavier and heavier on my knee until I edge her near the bottom of the seat and made her a place to sleep on. She did not whimper for some time and then the coach rattled and she awoke terrified. My hand being on her she did not scream out but I cradled her again.
Dad came rushing in, “what is going on?” Did not realise the coach had stopped at a stop and dad had wandered off again to buy cigarettes.
“Why did not you tell him to buy us chocolates?” asked B.
“I did not see him leave.”
“Seriously you did not see? Damn fool to have you near us and you always doing it.” Z came to see what the commotion was about and was told that mum might need medical attention.
“Nothing mother is being silly aren’t you mum?”
“No I am not being silly.”
Mother had been crying over something.
“Why is parenting about touching?”
The woman in white suit called to Z to get over there because the seat might be taken.
“It is misinterpreted because it is wrong to touch and feel and try to kiss.”
“Because you tried to wash me till I was ten years old mum.”
“That is wrong.”
“Well that is because we had no real bath.”
“That is because you are a fool.”
“How you speak to me that is why I am going to discipline you.”
“How I speak to you then behave like a mother to us.”
“I am a mother I am a mother I behave like a mum all the time.”
The thing was I did have issues about touching.
“Because you are the holiness untouchable and these two are the morons?”
“Look I can kiss them touch them anytime.”
“Because they are younger than me.”
“But a child is a child is it not?”
“I do not like to be mauled all the time by you two.”
“It is over being a parent is over.”
“Fucked up bitch.”
Mother said she remembering those words and the worst part was I did understand the words were bad but did not know the consequences for me for us for the whole family. Looked at the driver he still listening and this made me listless he was listening and somehow understanding more than he should have done.
“There is not much I can say when you are being rude to me.”
The thing was it was wrong like robbing me.
How to explain it best when there is no words to do such a thing when three school girls go off to the unknown to escape and something worse happens. There are no escapes from the consequences of where one is brought up.
“Mad man’s children.” They said.
“Yes we are.”
“Aren’t you proud?”
“Yes I am.”
To think it is an escape from the humdrum only to be let loose on another culture. This Turkish which cultivates women or girls who are not at home they had no feelings for us. I mean we had no means of earning our own living. We who do not have any money who they did not grow up with might be related but that they distaste and think impure and feel nothing for?
We did not hate each other than we were just passive.
That uncles think they might try us out too that the only thing not to be is improper and think such thoughts because thoughts can become actions.
A thousand pounds stuffed inside a bag, nobody would have guessed it because there was also paper on it and the coins which jingled did not matter at all. When sat down plump on the seat it hardly made a sound. We were put on guard to the bag when they went to the toilet we had to take over the look out and my heart would stop. When Z would say that we were guarding the fortunes of our lives adding what mattered we were there so very much like chickens hatching an egg.
The sooner Z gets money she spends it. Of course what else does one do with money?
“Meanings of this journey are lost what do people all of them strangers do when they are all cooped up without anything but the wailing from children?”
“Why should we stand for it?”
“Wailing from that child.”
The thing was heavy and we hardly had time to do anything but look at it and there was this crazy feeling that we had too much on without money. We were weeping for joy because we were leaving school and all formal education and going and doing the rounds of the beaches and beach parties and all that sort of thing. That never happened because still parents who are mad and no money.
Z said even she did not have a swimming custom and I told her she did not need one.
“But how am I going for a swim?”
“You are not.”
“But look it is an island.”
“It means something does it not?”
“Made a mistake.” Said mum. “I should not have never should have made such a mistake.”
“Look mum we were nearly had and all you think about is your leg.”
“We gave that man the power of attorney and now we might lose everything.”
“It is painful.”
After a harrowing journey to Cyprus now we were on our way back towards England.
Dad you see had become mad. He smashed mum up when he saw her through the mirror cracked it side from side and he leered that is what she deserved for behaving badly why she behave badly dad I would ask and he would just leer.
I did not understand I never understood what everything meant the unkindness of beasts in the night time was beyond me at that time I was still a virgin.
Nothing doing nothing doing there was nothing doing anywhere they all said so on the coach the driver calling sexy.
When their lives depend on it? The thing is when logic takes control of match making it is hard to live with something that is not organic sort of speak. The pain of being mother was such she carried her weight in such a way as if she disliked the very foot she held dear. That she wanted to get rid of parts of herself so she could become an invalid so that the world would pity her for all they put her through.
The thing was it was not as romantic as all that. Mum said elegantly come my child sit again on my knee and then would push B away and startled B would scream again.
“She seemed to be speaking the truth?”
“The true beasts in the night walk daily through life.”
One does not become a maid over night one has to make her do things before she becomes one. Why she sat there and not here and why is she so occupied with them children?
They all called it doubts what did it mean her behaving so gently towards the children? Look it was as if they were come to deal with me and found out that I have changed that somehow I have become this gentle personality who had the interests of children foremost in my mind.
“What does it mean when the rapist come to do the deed in that coach and finds Florence Nightingale in its place? The thing was very amusing. The driver was thankfully too occupied to be anything but that he was also too involved with the woman in white or something. In my legal name having me all time is what he fancies?”
“I am now in perpetuity this victim.”
“Look this is a rape victim the maid’s daughters who takes a man with his cash should not worry.”
“Damnations we are not delicacies we are not food on the table.”
“Who do you all think you are?”
“We are human.”
“Look when I get out it won’t be just rape.” And the whole family had to move with all this money. Because they out smarted their father had given away lands to me a child whom they had fostered and now they want it back.
“Yes but the thing is you did well out of it.”
“I had a future.” Said the poor girl.
“Now a better future your father said so.”
He gave me the lands because I am of use and all of you are no use to him.
“The stated facts are a girl weds for money and this is it she now has the money and still she complains?”
“But I earned the money.”
“That is full board and lodging included that makes you not the beneficiary we looked after you.”
“We gave something and we want it back even if half an acre even if forty acres we want it back.”
“The best matchmaker is the judge.”
Mother Zeus too complained that she is being raped by her husband. That she is being taken advantage of that her children are eating her entirely. She sat B on her knee to prove that point and the coach gave another jostle to remind the entire world she holding B.
I do not know if this still happens in other countries but the thought thing what do both sisters do? But in the olden days it did not happen and now it had. My head was in the clouds I did not see it. Because he had got away with it and if he did batter his wife occasionally nobody seemed to mind it at all. No arms broken nothing at all go and do whatever.
The thing was there was something we did not understand as children and the parents were not saying. This is what we did not realise.
Not only that we knew that he had this madness which had caused violence and we were very sorry for them. Violence between mother and him had escalated to such an extent that he would have destroyed her. The thing was when she was a child she had lice placed on her every time she was irritating and all that. She said she had only to walk into the classroom for them to place the lice onto her.
Auntie Meseret would lay a bowl of vinegar and comb the lice off which hurt her so much that she would dislike this more than anything. She hated school because of all that.
That dad now was likely to punish her and punish her in a similar manner and I did not know what she meant. Mother had a horror of bed. I almost said why do you tell me such things I’m I not a child your own? She shook with silent laughter.
It was as if she was watching a film a Laurel and Hardy film when there was this inability to see what went wrong after the pair had destroyed the entire building.
That the only thing holding him back was the quality of their life he was not going to destroy her if their life together was worthy of not killing her. Dad was absolutely certainly not going back to prison. If he could help it and he did not need anything anymore from that he loved her not because he had seen them together for sure and he believed with it because his own eyes.
I have seen them together with my own eyes.
He had seen something because mother had been giggling all night with someone and he had behaved badly because they swore Fiddle was seen burning a building that night so if he was burning a building who was mother in bed laughing with. Mother said she had gone after him looking for him. Mother a better person than him so everyone believed her and not the husband no he a mad man.
Mummy could not cope with his insanity and we were here in Cyprus where we belonged mum said even if we ate the olive and the bread. We would not starve. But the thing was we did not just want the olive and the bread we were used to better things.
And there were no jobs for the likes of us we could never be employed as had not the proper diction and syntax at all. We spoke the most appalling Turkish the diction was foreign to them we spoke we did not think like Turks as well we did not belong.
Cousins said we did not belong with them being foreign.
“But we are your cousins.”
“Still you are a bit strange.” Said my cousin D named after grand dad.
The thing was he was like a brother but we had been affianced as babies and we had somehow been meant for each other. The thing was he tried to have me killed by my Labrador dog. Just to prove that a girl could not manage an animal and just because granddad paid him some money.
Hurt the pregnant dog and asked me to sit on the animal he appeared older than me than because he was stronger. I did not realise this but I was meant to be older than he was then was told I was oldest but we were about the same age?
He was a boy more tall? I do not know but when he went on that dog he was stronger and agile and did the dog harm. If boys and girls are about the same without their sex genes developed that means what? He was not a toddler. He was not a toddler no way was he a toddler at least about six or seven. So what did it mean?
I am not sure. The thing was when he a youth when he said he was fifteen he must have been nearing twenty. He was with a ten year old girl.
The thing was a bit strange you know behaving like a brother than like this stranger who was all eyes and ears to hear the worst about me. I did not feel comfortable at all the thing is incest is not the only food the Turks take for granted the interbreeding is so climactic that they would do it without a single thought.
“Strange you are a stranger and my wife who is from a different village is more familiar to me.” He added.
I sat and did not do anything but look out and there was this fear that the food would run out. That the money which father had hid did not reach towards his finding the food money. We did not know he still in with money B looked kind of sad and did not fetch a smile. Like she had been done in and there was this nothing more to fear at all.
The thing was comforted her again held her dear little frame within me and gave her the food already hers and did not ask much more but that she would not scream as it would upset everyone and she said alright as long as I did not go away.
Those children are the more precious because of these moments are the right answer. I loved her and did my best to make her comfortable we needed each other. I did not deny her any nourishment went as far as to take milk from the wives who sold some with jugs next to the towns but we were without the right containers and only one had to drink so the thing was we all wanted to drink. There was a scuffle and that meant the end of the whole milk drinking session. Anyway found out they wanted money we did not have the right coins even for that?
The rest of the crowd had their milk drinking session and then flew into the coach already very much more into the whole touristy thing.
I remembered what D had said back in Cyprus and there is not much the matter with his proposal was there? I am always having threesome proposals I thought in disgust and there is a tear in my eyes.
“Yes it is difficult.”
“I dislike two opinions in my home.” Said D. I wondered if his wife was not jealous. I did not have anyone anymore could say and do what I wanted.
“I did not say a word about it.” He said to me.
“You argue with me all the time you do not respect my opinion and are having an amusing time making me into an object of ridicule.” Said D.
“What me?” I asked.
“Because of all that I can’t have you do you hear me despite everything I can’t have you because I can’t hear your voice. It makes me feel awful that stupid strange voice. Not the voice but the words the Turkish coming from it blasphemes Turks.”
He must think I am from the gutter or something?
“I do not think like you I never wanted you.”
“Look my dear cousin there is an end to this?”
“Yes there is too many cooks as they say spoil the broth.”
“You think our traditions are humorous?”
“I might not think them okay by the standards of the world.”
“But why? You respect nobody.”
“I have an attitude problem.”
“Look stops arguing with me.”
“I am not arguing with you.”
“Stop it stop.”
“I said stop full stop put a stop on the damn thing the question is do adopted children have the same rights as the ones who got seeded by you?”
“She is rude to the point of having behavioural problems; I do not know where she got it from?”
“My side of the family is not got that problem.”
“She will not let us touch her.”
“That is that.” I thought.
He looked so much in a rage as if he was a thundercloud. He meant not to swear but he did. That he did swear was a little off putting. I thought he was coming along as a man. He was so much more than that to me he was my cousin.
“I am leaving going.”
“You will not see me again?”
“Don’t you want to have a husband a family?”
I was so lucky because he shot dogs when he got angry. Shot ten on his honeymoon and still counting. You see a momentary twinge might have cost me dear.