No. 31 continued … Fraser’s short time in Essex

“Don’t go near the blonde one” I told Marni as we walked up Crown hill to the pub “He’s mine. The dark one is Dougie, you’ll fancy him”
The three Scots were settled in an alcove of the Crown when we arrived. I handed over the packets of speed, Fraser gave me the money and smiled. When the pub closed we were invited back to the uncle’s flat and we shared out the drugs. Marni didn’t fancy Dougie or Duncan so she didn’t come back. Those two went to bed so Fraser and I did it on the sofa, his body was tanned and fit from working with his top off as a labourer.
I had fallen in love again and the next 2 months I spent most evenings at the flat, watching ‘Arbroath and all other places’ rehearse. Fraser played a zig zag shaped guitar, he was a great musician, I jammed with them on my Vox keyboards and new Roland. Fraser made me a wooden case for the Roland. It was beautiful, red leather outside and blue velvet interior, but I couldn’t carry the keyboards in the case, it was way too heavy.
This became the story of Fraser’s life, he wanted to please but never got it quite right, we would just laugh about everything.  Fraser was great at ridicualing himself, but only with me, that made me feel special.

I took Fraser to Hadleigh castle and we did it on the ruins, I took him to Thorpe Bay sandy beach and we did it in the porch of a beach hut, we walked down the pier and did it in one of the shelters half way down.  He was so much fun.
At Christmas Fraser’s brother was getting married. We took the train to London then a coach to Dundee and his brother picked us up from there. I’d never been to Scotland, it was huge, hills, mountains and strong Scots accents I couldn’t understand. We stayed with his parents in Arbroath.  A great excuse to be away from my own family at Christmas. I’d always hated it, parents arguing, family laughing at Dad’s jokes about Irish English and Scotsmen. The Xmas tree lights weren’t put on till 3pm when we were allowed to have our presents, but only after we’d walked the dog and done the washing up from the Xmas dinner. As soon as I’d opened my presents and was old enough to walk the streets I went to Marni’s house where two blended family’s ate chocolate liqueurs, drank snowballs and played charades.
Fraser wore a kilt to the wedding with nothing on underneath, all the Scots brothers were hunks and wore nothing underneath.  They stood in a line up the stairs of the hotel for photographs, I stood under the stairs, that’s how I know.

The few days after the wedding was Hogmanay and we hung about the town crashing into Fraser’s mates parents houses, getting drunker and drunker. I wrote Arbroath postcards to my family, like belated Christmas cards, posting them in the ‘all other places’ post box.
“See now why I had to escape” Fraser said.  I was beginning to understand he was the black sheep and clown of family.
“How’s work?” his mother asked.
“Foreman is a daft cunt.” Fraser struggled to keep down a job, while his family ridiculed him, I felt sorry for him, Essex building sites were tough.
When we got back to Essex Duncan and Dougie had moved to London, Dougie’s uncle was back from the oil rigs and wanted Fraser to move out too. His uncle didn’t have a phone so I relied on Fraser calling me from call boxes.  I didn’t hear from him for a few days, which was normal, then before the week was out.
“We saw that Scot’s friend of yours,” my father said.
“Fraser? Where?”
I couldn’t imagine where Fraser and my father would bump into each other. Dad went down the Paul Pry, never the Crown or the Spread.
“At Belchamps”
“Belchamps? Scout camp?”  (see No.  9-15 The Scout Jamboree)
“He was with the community service team, clearing up the fields. He must have been in trouble with the law.” My father smiled. “Don’t want you getting caught up in any nonsense.”
I didn’t hear from Fraser so I drove round Dougie’s Uncle’s later in the week.
“He’s gone to London”
“Do you have an address?”
“Nah. But if you find him he owes me a month rent. Fucking Scot’s bastard. Never fucking trust a Scotsman, or lassie.” he mumbled something about his unfaithful Scottish wife and slammed the door on me.
(No. 31 to be continued after No’s 33 – 40)

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