Ruminating on Roy Harper – Chapter 19 – an extract

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I am currently rewriting this book and have worked my way through to Chapter 19 – all 80 pages in. I’m enjoying the rewrite.

It tells the story of my life as it interweaves with that of Roy’s. You see Roy from my perspective alongside what I am going through and the times we lived in. I think it works well but I certainly would be grateful for any criticism/feedback. At this point all I want is to get it right. Speak your mind. I can take it!

Chapter 19 – voyages, transitions, fireworks and possibilities

When I got back from America in 1980 I re-established contact with Roy. His life had gone through a bit of turmoil – his marriage to Verna was on the rocks and she was in America. The Vauld farm was mortgaged to the hilt and going under. Roy’s contract with EMI was terminated. It did not look good. He was skint and had no means of producing the next album.

It was time to rebuild.

Jacqui was from Lincolnshire and they’d come to stay a couple of times. She was a vivacious young lady and obviously good for Roy. It had given him a boost. She was very capable and they quickly formed a partnership that encompassed every aspect of his life including recording, life on the road as well as romance.

I had a car now and so life was a bit easier. It was an old beat-up Morris Minor that the kids at school at school used to take the piss of. I had mobility though. I could get to more distant concerts. Horizons opened up. We could go off camping with the kids. In my view if a car got you safely from A to B with a modicum of comfort and was economical to run it had served its purpose.

That car came in handy when my Dad became ill. He’d developed liver cancer and I was back and forth down the M1 to visit and help out. Those were difficult days culminating in his death six months later.

Those were sombre, dark days.

I found myself driving up and down the M1 motorway deep in thought. My Dad’s rapid decline and death at the age of just fifty eight was numbing, especially as it came hard on the heels of Liz’s father’s death.

It brought mortality to the fore. Somehow, despite the loss of friends, you feel invulnerable. That was no longer the case. It felt like a breakwater had gone. Your parents were a barrier between you and death. While they were safely ensconced you were protected. There was nothing between me and the void; the seas of eternity were lapping towards me.

It was a period of re-evaluation.

I bathed him and fed him. When I was with him we chatted on inconsequential matters and avoided the real issues. We watched Botham’s Ashes together and then, shortly after, the ambulance came to take him into hospital and it was soon over on a stupor of morphine.

For years I suffered psychosomatic illness and went in for tests. I guess I’d bottled a lot of things up.

1981 was not a good year.

The only good thing that came out of it was that re-evaluation. What was it that was important in life? What did I really want to achieve? Where should I apply my efforts?

My family life was great and teaching had a lot of positives. I was content. But the writing was what I wanted to focus on. I needed a creative outlet.

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