Why? Why? Why?

I’ve felt physically drained over the past few days. Witnessing this constant rain seemingly bearing the same energy depleting qualities which Samson experienced after a trip to the barbers.

The Nazarite’s flowing locks, which initially attracted him to his beau Delilah, the fabled source of his immense strength. Their removal rendering him vulnerable to enemies, as well as less inclined to respond positively when his barber asked him “Something for the weekend, sir!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one moment comparing myself to the immense biblical figure who the Hebrew Book of Judges claims slayed a lion with his bare hands, along with massacring an entire army of Philistines using only the jawbone of a donkey. I don’t recall ever meeting any Philistines, never mind attempting their genocide with part of a equine’s skeleton.

If I’ve been physically de-energised by having my haircut it’s something that’s never registered on my neurological radar. If I’d been cursed with such an affliction, I’d have put up a greater fight during childhood when my mum’s pre-cut instructions to the barber in James Thow’s, on Low Fell, were always “Give his hair a right good cut!”

While I took residence in the barbers chair my mother would instruct my brother to “Throw that donkey’s jawbone our Gary’s always bloody carting around in that bin, Ian!!” My sibling, whose turn it was next in the barber’s chair, would reluctantly acquiesce to the maternal command. I say reluctantly as, like me, our kid opined that you should always be prepared for Philistine attack….. Even though the prospect of witnessing them in the Durham Road area of Gateshead was highly unlikely.

I don’t recollect where I’d acquired the donkey’s jawbone, and to be honest I’m not even certain the bone came from an equine skeleton. But it looked like one and felt like one. Consequently, after hearing the story of Samson at Cromer Avenue United Reformed Church, it was my sometime companion when wandering around ‘The Fell’….. Just in case!

Not bearing Samson’s strength***, it was as well Philistine attack in the NE9 postcode area was unlikely. The ancient tribe’s influence not reaching as far as Gateshead in the north east of England. They may’ve visited Gaza, but never met Gazza.

*** – I couldn’t even get my Bullworker out of it’s box in those days!!


As far as I’m aware, our Ian similarly never experienced energy depletion post shorning of his blond locks. His shock of white hair, blue eyes and angelic features ensuring that, during his childhood, my mother would never be short of disapproving parental glances if she ever admonished him in public…… It didn’t stop her though!!

Don’t get me wrong, she was, and remains, a superb mother. Being castigated by her as a child, though, could be a frightening experience. She once threatened to smack me into next week. I’d not done anything to warrant the punishment, she just wanted me to get there and return with that Saturday’s winning football pools numbers.

Seriously, though, like most kids back then we did get smacked as children, but not very frequently, or with an anger/ferocity that’d require escalating to Social Services. In fact, the first few months after we’d seen the movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, mum didn’t need to smack us a disciplinary tool. Her strategy of threatening to invite around the Child Catcher from that movie enough to ensure Ian and I complied with her maternal edicts.

I’m unsure of the cause of my current malaise. However I’m sure it’s not anything that won’t be cured by exposure to/sight of sunshine and a spot of garden maintenance.

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