A by--product of this whole Photographs and Memories process has been rekindling 'sparks' of stories I hadn't got round to writing. This is one.



I have a bit of a 'sweet tooth' and managed to find a local outlet of a purveyor of old-fashioned and handmade sweets; Gobstoppers, Black Jacks and Fruit Salads - the 'four for a penny' sweets we  fromused to buy in the way back from school. They also sold excellent chocolate!

The shop was staffed by jolly chocolics and genuinely friendly, charming staff. Just the scent of the place was a time-machinie which transported me back to the sweet-shop at the end of our road run by a lovely old lady - Mrs Simmonds..

During a particularly hot spell I noticed that a young female staffer had tattoos running up both her arms - many intricate, artistic tattoos. I made a mental note, completed my purchase and left.


About a week later I was driving by and there was a parking space so I went in. The heat was still quite oppressive. The shop was busy with parents who were escorting their offspring home, after a treat at the shop. Chaos! Three staff members were working flat-out, but still remained composed and friendly. The girl with the tattoos was working and, today,, was wearing a low-cut top which clearly framed the word 'SALVATION' in a bold, gothic-like script which crossed her sternum and crowned her breasts.

I made my purchase and left.

I was now incredibly curious. That's my nature - I'm the bloke who interviews the elephant in the room because it's easier to talk to it than ignore it. I also believe that there are stories out there waiting to be told -we just need to ask the question. So I decided that if I was ever alone with her, iin the shop, I would ask about the tattoos.


As fate would have it, the heatwave continued for a couple more weeks and I found myself in the store with the tattooed assistant, shortly before closing time. I selected my purchases and took them to the counter and engaged her in conversation.

I had a sort of preamble prepared so as not to sound like a dodgy, old geezer; I stated my belief that rings and tattoos have a certain 'magic' when they are won/given/awarded rather than idly 'picked off the shelf'. I cited the martial arts tattoo on my left arm and showed it to her. I had had it done after two weeks training in North East Brazil. It was a celebration of my surviving for two weeks with nobody dumping the 'Big Gringo' on his arse. She was suitably impressed.

The whole process probably took about five minutes but seemed like hours. I was aware that at any moment she could decide that I was crazy and ask me to leave the shop.

I finished my tale, drew in a deep breatha nd asked my question. 'How did you come to have SALVATION' tattooed on your chest?'

Her reply was short...





'I used to date a tattooist'.



aye, good answer.