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In the green water, among the rushing bubbles he is looking at me still. His face shows white against

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My Autobiography Below is an extract from Martin Simpson's new book. Then and Now In the green water, among the rushing bubbles he is looking at me still. His face shows white against the moss and weed fronds. As I watch, he mouths my name through the soundless water; an explosion of bubbles erupts from his mouth. They race forward and cling to my eyes and face and for a moment, I'm blind. Then they boil upwards the daylight and I can see again. And I just have time to catch his eyes once more as they turn away from me into the dark and his face is swallowed by the greenness all around Max and I were on our bikes. Away from the Caravan site and down the hill road, out of the town. Passed the canal, the pubs, the derelict factory building. Max was always in front, me always behind. Under the flyover and the last estate and out into the September fields. The sun was shining and our legs were going and wind squeezing tears out of our eyes. ...read more.


The water was still and the sun reflected lazily off the surface. It was a beautiful afternoon. Sparrows sang from the trees and the sun beat down on our backs. However, we caught nothing. Every now and then, a big fat carp with ghostly white eyes rose up slowly from the murky water and hovered just below our dangling bait. Not once did they try to take the bait, but just stared dumbly, before turning away and diving to the bottom once more. Max was not very good at fishing, I told him so too; so he threw his rod to one side and sulked. The silence was finally broken when Max exclaimed he was hungry, "We should have bought some lunch with us" he murmured. "There are no shops for miles." "There are plenty of apples" Max was never one to resist a challenge. After a bit of scuffling and a couple of curses, Max clambered up on the tree "watch it, Max. you will be over the water." To which he replied "who dares get's the apples." He inched out along a sturdy branch until he sat about 2ft beyond the bank of the mill pool. ...read more.


Time froze at the edge of the pool. I waited, waited for his head to reappear. A pigeon called, its sleepy voice cuts me like a knife and awakens me from my trance. Time started up again and I kick of my shoes and dive into the pool. As I hit the water, the warm sun was peeled of my back as if I had been flayed. My body stung with the cold my ears rang with silence. All the commotion of the late summer day were left behind. I opened my eyes and saw a emerald green emptiness nothing in sight apart from the long green fronds which tangle themselves up against my legs. I saw Max in the distance sinking, I swam towards them, However the hellish fronds would not liberate their grip on my legs. So I set about them with my fists, and tore myself away from them. I kicked upwards towards the dim daylight to catch my breath. The afternoon was two minutes older then when my feet had left the bank, However I knew it was to late. Max was gone. I swam to the edge and hauled myself out onto the hot stone, from wear I gazed stupidly at the calm waters of the mill pool, which had taken my friend forever. ...read more.

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