Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Captain

Friday, May 17 1968

I start my new school on Monday… I'm dreading it. I'll be the new boy - new boy at home and at school. I suppose I'll get used to it - make friends, but right now I'm carrying a horrible empty feeling around in my stomach. I'll have to get up really early as well because it's a mile to the road from here, then about thirty-five minutes on the bus to school. My granddad said in bad weather he'll drive me to the road, but when it's fair he said the walk will do me good. I wouldn't mind because I like walking - just not that early in the morning - and not in the direction of school.

When I lived with mum I hardly spent much time stuck at school. We travelled around a lot, so mum taught me everything I needed to learn. When I finally had to go to school - after they sent me to live in that place - I was a bit worried I wouldn't know as much as the other kids, but, it turned out I knew more. I didn't think about it then, but mum must have been really clever.

I still haven't made my mind up about my granddad. He's OK, I suppose, but he's very stern and strict. I think he needs to chill out, or something. He told me his wife (my grandmother) died when my mum was six, and that my mum left home at seventeen. I almost asked him why, and why hadn't mum ever talked about him before, but I decided not to. Anyway, I think he's been on his own since then, and apart from doing his shopping once a week, and seeing to his estate work, I don't think he goes out much. He's about 55, but he acts like someone who was around in Dickens' time.

Something else I found out is that he used to be a Captain in the Army. It's not much of a surprise, really. If you saw him you'd know what I meant. He stands tall all the time and walks around like he had a broom shoved up his... back. And there's something about him. I'm not sure what it is, but headmasters have got it as well, and policemen. It's like, when they look at you, you feel guilty even if you haven't done anything wrong, and if you have done something wrong, you'd rather be a million miles away than standing in front of them.

I've decided, that from now on, I'm going to refer to my granddad as The Captain... Not to his face, though, but definitely when I'm writing in here. I wish I didn't have to call him granddad at all. It doesn't feel right. He doesn't feel like a granddad - not that I know what it's like to have a granddad, but, you know, he's not like you imagine granddads are going to be like - not like the granddads you read about in stories, or see on TV. Anyway, who knows, maybe I'll get used to him - in about ten years.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Starting From Now

Thursday, May 16, 1968

It was my birthday last week. I'm 12... I can't believe it, what happened to my life? A year ago I was living with my mother on the road in an old bus, then she died and I was put in a children's home, but I definitely don't want to write about that - I don't even want to think about it... EVER! Anyway, I feel like someone pressed fast forward on my life recorder and then stopped it some time in the future. Maybe my mum did it, from wherever she is, to get me past all the bad stuff that's happened.

So, now here I am, living in an ancient old tower in the middle of nowhere on the Borders of Scotland with this granddad who I didn't even know I had until about a month ago. I got sent to live with a complete stranger just because someone said he's my grandfather - my mum's father. She never even told me about him - not one word - ever - once. She can't have liked him much if, in eleven years, she didn't tell me about him - and now, here I am living with him. It's weird. I don’t even know if I like him. I don’t even know if he likes me. I suppose it must have been a bit of a shock for him, suddenly being told he has a 12 year old grandson, then having to take me in and look after me. I suppose he must feel like I do - weird.

Anyway, my new granddad gave me this old book with blank pages in it for my birthday. He said it's some kind of a tradition, or something, for the oldest boys in the family to write a journal. He said it would be a good idea to start it now to record the first year of my new life here at Ravenstone Tower. At first I thought it was a stupid idea - something girls would do. But I've been thinking about it and I've decided to give it a go. I've got to find a good place to hide it, though, because I don't want anyone reading this until I'm either dead, or really old - like a hundred, or something.