Do you ever try and find old friends on Facebook? Well I tend to. I found one of mine a couple of years ago, fairly boring profile. For some reason last night I looked it up again, it hadn’t beed updated since 2013. I then started going though his ‘friends’, found his wife. Went through her profile. Lots of recent updates, all pictures by herself strangely. Then I found a very odd post, “Just think the conversations Terry Pratchett and Markee will be having now”. I then went on to his mothers profile and found a post. I had the telly on quite loud as normal. But suddenly everything just went completely silent. Then the penny finally dropped.
The internet connection in heaven is a bit shitty.
I first met Mark when I was about 17. It was at the ‘Cock of the North’ pub in Henleaze. I was with Paul. Mark was probably the first disabled person I ever met (he was in a wheelchair). Wasn’t too sure how to react, it was a bit strange. But I do remember that during our first conversations he hoisted his leg on his lap, removed his shoe and scratched his foot. It took me several weeks to work this out…
Over the years we became great friends. We did a hell of a lot together, let me see if I can recall some of the stories.
Oh dear, so many. We used to meet up at his place before we went to the pub and smoked huge amounts of weed. One day he’d got hold of some ‘Nepalese pollen balls’, we smoked a few, decided they were dud and went up the pub. Paul walked in after about 10 minutes, then suddenly started babbling boring computer stuff as usual. Mark and I looked at each other and just collapsed laughing, I think Paul actually walked out.
We spent near enough every Sunday evening together, either at the pub or watching weird TV. We got through entire seasons of ‘Inspector Morse’, and things like ‘Sapphire and Steel’.
We went away to Scotland together. It was just when CD Rom drives had come out. We found a distributer, great, it was in Scotland. We then did about a fourteen hour journey across Scotland to pick up these things.
We went to Ireland together, on the way there we couldn’t remember the name of the guy who was in ‘Some Mother’s do ‘av ’em’. No idea why we were trying to remember his name. After about two hours I actually stopped in a petrol station and asked, finally got the answer ‘Micheal Crawford’, we were very relieved. We were running seriously late, if we missed the ferry we would have been charged shit loads. So I rang them up and said my passenger was disabled and he’d shit himself and I had to clean it up. We didn’t get charged.
Another one, we went to Jersey. We had the only parking space at the hotel. It was full of coach parties of old people. We were the only ones there under 60, by a long way. We had a table right on the dance floor for access. Every night the oldies would order a single glass of wine, we’d order a bottle each and then finish it before the main had even arrived. I got my ear pierced there. We bought a pair of long drop pearl earrings and wore one each at dinner. Then smoked huge cigars. We had a great laugh. I also bought my necklace there on that trip. I’ve worn it everyday since, except for the time earlier this year when I had to get it repaired.
Then there was the Garby incident. Now this is the first time I’ve ever told this one. On one New Years Eve, we were at the pub. With Navy Jim, Monica (who was Mark’s girlfriend at the time) and her friend Garby. Anyway, to cut a long story short, both Jim and I were chatting up Garby. At about 2AM she goes home with Jim. Next week, we are at the pub again, this time without Jim as he’d gone back to the Navy. I ended up going back to Garby’s flat. Apparently Jim was a bit of a failure after drinking his own bodyweight in Whiskey. So I had her, she was a kinky bitch, she liked stuff up her. Put it this way, I almost lost my watch. So when I saw Mark again, I gave him all the gory details. Hence, every time we mentioned Garby in future conversations it was always accompanied by a shake of the wrist.
We ran a very unsuccessful business together. Once Mark said to me, “I want to buy something completely useless.” I replied, “How about a mountain bike?” We laughed on that one for over twenty years. He passed his RAE exam and bought a radio and never used it, just to annoy Paul.
Mark knew more about me than any other person, even now. We had probably over twenty years together, I pretty much grew into an adult in his company. We had very few secrets from each other. He knew that BST didn’t stand for ‘British summer time’, but instead, ‘Blond surfer type’. He went through my relationship with Nat. Then there was the complete ‘cunt face’ saga. I must write about that one day, but lets just say for about a year I was on the phone to Mark about an hour a day giving him constant updates. Those were fun times. I went through his whole break up thing with Monica.
In later years, after Mark split with Monica he went on a few dates and finally ended up with pretty much a ‘ready made family’. He moved from being a free spirit to more of a family man, including moving house. The woman he married, hmm, jury is still out on that one. He met Jamie (we went to Marks wedding together). We ended up seeing less and less of each other. There was no local pub any more, so no escape. Eventually we just stopped calling each other, he was happy in his relationship and I was happy in mine. We just no longer had anything to talk about. Even though we hand’t spoken in years, it was nice to know he was still there.
Mark always said that due to his accident he would never reach forty. He made it and a bit more, I think he was forty-seven. Marked passed away sometime in July 2013, it appears he died of cancer. He was surrounded by the people he loved, and that would have meant the world to him. I’m just a bit sad that I never got the chance to say goodbye.
The world was a better place with you in it.