Chapter 4

(i) Tim and the bosses daughter

Next day at the store was very different. The bosses daughter happened to be on the same lunch break as me.  She’s a cool looking girl, with a great figure and is very fanciable.  I thought we clicked.  I found her really approachable and I hope I made a good impression.  I can’t remember exactly what we talked about but I did think she had beautiful eyes.  I hope that she fancied me as much as I fancied her.  I have heard via shop gossip that she’s just finished with her boyfriend, Rob, and well may be available. Yet what chance would I have, a 20-year old poverty stricken agricultural student, with a glamorous, super-wealthy heiress who dates successful TV presenters and could pick and choose whoever she wants.

That thought brought me back to earth and the recurring thought that dominates my mind at the moment – what am I going to do with my life? – took over and I became maudlin.  I knew I had to finish what I’d started and try to get a good degree.  But what then?  Work is hard to get even if I knew what I wanted to do and it would be even harder in Wales if I decided to go back there.  Where would I live?  I really didn’t fancy living back at home, much as I love visiting my lovely family and I couldn’t stay living with Chakka.  Anyway she will be leaving to get married in the not too distant future.  

As a diversion and in the hope of cheering myself up I decided to phone home in the hope that a chat to Wendy would cheer me up.  It rang for ages before my father, John, answered.  

“Wendy out?” I asked.


“Do you know how I knew?”

“My reluctance to answer the phone?”

“Yes, that’s correct.  Where is everybody else?”

“Oh they’ve gone to some meeting I think.  I wasn’t interested.  I forget what it was about.

Anyway what are you up to?  Are you revising hard?”

“No John, I’m working at a pet store to earn some money.  I told you last weekend.  I decided to take a break from my studies so after Easter I could do my revision with a clear head.”

“Do you think that’s a good idea?  You could do a lot of revision in two weeks.  Is that how long your holidays are?”

“Yes I’m taking exactly two weeks off and I hope to earn a grand which I really could do with.”

“Tim I’m sure we could help you if you’re short.”

“John you’ve done more than enough already thanks.”

“OK. Oh I’ll get your mother to call when she gets back.  Thanks for ringing.  Bye.”

That was typical of John, he hated the phone, hated the intrusion.  That was a long conversation by his standards.

A few minutes later the phone rang and it was John again.

“Sorry to disturb you but I thought you’d still be there.  Did you see the good news about wind energy costing half what it did 5 years ago?  It was in the paper yesterday but I thought you might have missed it.”

“Yes, John, it was on the 10 o’clock news last night too.” 

“I’ve been doing some research for Greenpeace about the predicted future costs of renewable energy and it makes quite good reading.  I just don’t understand the reluctance of Government to take all this overwhelming evidence on board. Anyway that’s all I wanted to say.  goodbye.”

I was keen on green issues and did believe we were seriously damaging the planet but I hoped I wasn’t as obsessed as my father.  He was an active member of Greenpeace and had been arrested protesting several times.  I think he was an active member of CND in his student days too.  I did go to my phone and checked out the story about renewable energy on the Guardian website even though I’d heard about it on the news.  Then, in spite of my efforts not to, I spent the rest of the evening looking at porn.  I don’t do this very often but once I’ve started I can’t stop, going from site to site, looking for more and more outrageous shocking scenes.  I‘m fascinated that people, particularly attractive young girls, will do such intimate and often disgusting things with strangers in front of cameras, knowing that sex-starved men would be masturbating over the images.  It was like a drug to me, an addiction.  I’d say to myself – just one more session, then oh just one more.  If that particular video was unsatisfactory I’d stop it and search for one that was more interesting or more shocking.  And if I liked it I’d be tempted to try to find another that I liked when that one finished.  It’s a bit like my surfing.  If I catch a good wave I rush back in the hope of repeating the experience.  If it was a mediocre one I’d have to go back until I caught a decent one.  The cycle would repeat itself until the cold became too much and I’d pack in.  With the porno finally my self discipline won that night and I went to bed disgusted with myself after relieving myself and cleaning my teeth.

(ii) Tim – a day at home

Although Canon Pet Supplies is open 7 days a week they don’t allow their employees to work more than 6 days.  Since I’d done 6 I was told to take a day off.  It could be something to do with European regulations.  Really I would have preferred to work.  Firstly I needed the money and secondly I might have seen Sophie again at the pet store.  Instead I had a lie in, then when I did get up, I did some boring jobs; stripped my bed and took the sheets and my towels and the rest of my dirty washing to the laundrette.  Not my favourite job, sitting in a humid, noisy cramped place.  I had bought a paper and that diverted me a little, although I was bored to death with Farage and his detractors and all the stuff about Brexit.  Both news items seemed to have been occupying the journalists for months and yet nothing seemed to change.

After I’d remade my bed and put away my clean clothes I decided I’d like a walk so I made a sandwich and caught a bus to Nantwich.  I’d decided to walk along the canal towpath.  There was a nice pub a short distance from my starting point and I thought I’d treat myself to a pint there.  I enjoyed watching the narrow-boats go past.  It was easy to see which ones were privately owned and which were hire boats.  Privately owned ones were either lovingly decorated with brightly painted jugs and other items painted in traditional style or floating rusting junk yards with roofs piled with logs, bicycles and other stuff strewn on fore or aft decks, depending on the attitude of the owner.  Hire boats, although smart, were generally much plainer but the people on them were generally friendlier and looked as if they were enjoying themselves.  Unfortunately there were rarely any attractive girls of my age to look at.  I also enjoyed just standing and watching boats navigating the locks.  Amazing how boats weighing several tons could climb up hills just by locking up.  I tried to imagine what it must have been like when the canals were commercial navigating routes with 72 foot boats laden with goods – everything from coal to pottery to lime juice – being pulled along by horse.  Queues of competing craft at the locks.

After the walk I caught another bus back and continued with my domestic chores – doing a bit of cleaning and some supermarket shopping.  I then read for a bit until Chakka got in, back from her trip to Bristol. I’d texted her earlier to ask if she’d like to eat with me.  I cooked one of my simple meals, tuna, sweetcorn and rice, flavoured with fennel and she brought a bottle of New Zealand wine to accompany it.  Afterwards we went together to the Sun, a nearby pub, where there was live music on a Wednesday.  Part of our routine when we were an item was to go there every week.  The type of music varied but the standard was almost always high.  Although I couldn’t play an instrument I really enjoyed listening and what would be the point of gigs without listeners?  Chakka was more choosy about her music than me and unfortunately Gypsy Jazz, which was that nights music, was not something she enjoyed.  We stayed until the interval and then I reluctantly walked with her back home.  I could have stayed on my own but I was pleased I hadn’t because we had a confrontation in the High Street.  Four shaven-headed, heavily tattooed men made some racist remarks as we walked past – “Dating a nigger fuck face?  Are nice white girls not good enough for you?”  Chakka grasped my hand tightly and fortunately they let us past without any violence.  That was the first time I’d encountered anything like that and I felt gutted for Chakka.  She said it didn’t happen very often but her friend Aisha, who wears a hijab, frequently gets racist jeers and her boyfriend has been attacked twice.  We were very pleased to get home and had a long cuddle to disperse the tension.   I broke away reluctantly as an erection started to show itself.

Chakka made us both a coffee and we sat and watched Big Brother together.  I wouldn’t normally ever watch that programme or any reality TV shows but I wanted to show Chakka solidarity so I sat quietly through it without making any disparaging remarks although privately I felt the inhabitants of the house were an awful bunch of wannabes and the programme an awful load of junk.  Then we both went off to our separate rooms, she somewhat reluctantly I thought.