Rhiannon moved to Merthyr Tydfil from the North-West of England after bagging herself a handsome Welsh boy, Nicholas. She loves her cat, her mid-life crisis dresses, reading and making her messy garden look even worse. As well as working on solo writing projects Rhiannon has had four poetry books published along with her writing partner, the super talented Ashley O’Keefe:
* Rhianno & Asley – A Voyage of Poetic Discoveries
* Rhianno & Asley – Seeking Poetic Lands
* Rhianno & Asley – Seeing with Poetic Eyes
* Rhianno & Asley – Searching Across Poetic Sands
She has also had her work featured in several anthologies and is about to (tentatively) dip her toe into doing a bit of spoken poetry.
‘Ashley is a wonderful writer but more than that… without his support I would have given up!’
It had been obvious from the start that she wasn’t taking the breakup well. Understatement of the year really, because as it transpires she’s taken it really, really fucking badly! I don’t seem to be having a good run with my friends lately – lots of drama everywhere I turn. I mean, for example, there’s my best friend. She had some kind of breakdown which seemed to centre around Smarties, and them being taken over by a different confectionary brand. I think she’s come out the other side now though, I’m meeting her for a pint in Wetherspoons next week. Anyway, that whole Smartie thing is rapidly paling into insignificance because this friend has gone completely round the twist. Off her head I’m telling you.
So, just to bring you up to scratch. She had a boyfriend, Love Of Her Life ‘Blah blah blah’. Dumped her after five years. ‘Why whyyyyyyyy, we were meant to be together forever!!!! Boohoohoo…’ The usual histrionics. Personally, I thought he’d done her a favour, but you can’t tell them that when they’ve been unceremoniously dumped can you?
… but now she’s got this ominous glint in her button-like, brown eyes, and I set down my pint and say ‘What? Wait … Wait. Back up. What did you just say?’ ‘Tin McGuinn’ she said impatiently ‘I KNEW you weren’t listening. You’re supposed to be one of my best friends … and my life just pretty much ended, and…. ”What,’ I interrupted, emphasising each pained word carefully ‘… the … Hell … is … ‘Tin … Mc … Guinn’? ”Not what! He! Him! … My Tin McGuinn. I’m going to build him out of tin so he can never leave me again’ (her ex’s surname had, of course, been McGuinness). I blinked at her. ‘Riiight … Okaaayy, okay … but it won’t actually be him though will it?”It will!’ she cried out insistently, and a little overzealously for the size of the pub, in my humble opinion. People were starting to look (but I’d get used to that very, very soon!). ‘It’ll be him! It’ll be My McGuinn, but made out of tin, and he’ll never ever leave me!’What was she going to do like? – get a flippin’ copy of ‘How To Make Your Ex-Boyfriend Out Of Tin For Dummies’ from the local library? I downed my pint so quickly that it nearly shot back out through my nose; gave her a watery smile and told her I’d catch up with her later.
I didn’t hear from her for a few days, so assumed (very wrongly!) that it had just been a flash in the pan, the beer talking or something. Then she rang me out of the blue and asked me to meet her at the bus stop. We’ll go to the beach, she’d said. So meet us in about half an hour. ‘Who’s we? ‘I asked, already dreading the answer that I knew was coming. ‘Why, me and Tin McGuinn of course!’ she declared chirpily, and hung up.
Of course. Silly of me to have asked.
Approaching the bus stop, I could see her standing there with what basically amounted to being a huge pile of rusted crap. I hadn’t been a fan of her boyfriend, but even when I squinted I couldn’t see any resemblance between him and this haphazardly assembled collection of tins, stainless steel and things like cutlery, cogs and other stuff randomly stuck on with God-knows-what. A silver colander perched jauntily on his larger colander head, giving him a rakish air. ‘Talk about having a head like a sieve’ I sniggered, but she just glared at me coldly. ‘That’s my fiance you’re mocking’ she said haughtily, and thrust her hand at me. A metal nut circled her wedding finger and had dyed the skin around it a fetching shade of rust-orange. ‘Wow … erm … that’s some rock’ I ventured – treading on eggshells over the bastardised love child of Frankenstein’s Monster and Enid Blyton’s Saucepan Man; if the creature in question had just had plastic surgery that had gone very very wrong. Or some kind of smelting disaster at the hands of a crazed welder. She beamed at me, and clapped her hands together like a sea-lion (arrfff arrfff).
‘Right, let’s get to the beach then!’
The bus had pulled up and I cringed with the shame of it all as she pushed the metal monstrosity (which had roller skates for feet) toward the vehicle and then grappled with it, half dragging and half carrying it to lean precariously over a seat, where it appeared to be leering at a terrified pensioner; she in turn clutched her walking stick a little tighter. As if in readiness to do battle with a real Kitchen Nightmare.
At the beach I felt a bit better. I could always pretend it was part of some upcoming art installation – a bit like Gormley’s statues on Formby beach. From under the brim of my straw hat I watched my friend lovingly applying sun lotion to Tin McGuinn, who appeared to be giving me the evil eye as he stood propped against a gaily striped deckchair. A seagull was balancing on his colander hat. A funnel would’ve been better I thought dreamily. Like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. That colander makes him look like he’s in the military. Doubt he’d pass the physical….
I started up in my deckchair. I’d dozed off in the heat, and my friend and her boyfriend were nowhere to be seen. Then I heard screaming coming from the direction of the sea. There she was in absolute hysterics. I hurried over to her as she screamed over and over ‘Nooo, Tin McGuinn. Nooooo. Come back! Come baaaack! You’ve gone too far out. You’ll rust. YOU’LL RUUUST!’
There was a gradient to the sand at this part of the beach, and Tin McGuinn must’ve rolled down it on his skates and been caught up in the current. Good riddance! I thought, as I saw the sun’s powerful rays glint off a tin… or fork … or maybe a frying pan? I screwed up my eyes – cheese grater?
My friend had prostrated herself on the shingle now, weeping and wailing. Letting out great choking sobs, and simultaneously swallowing mouthfuls of salty water and grainy sand ‘He’ll ru … ruru. .. ru … RUUUST!! ‘Shit! The girl was seriously away with the fairies, and was on the verge of a breakdown by the looks of it. I had to get that thing back. I dashed into the sea …
An hour later I’m sitting, silently seething with anger, on a shabby bench. My clothes are finally dry, but my cheeks still burn with humiliation from the dressing down I’d been given by the coastguards who’d had to rescue me, and couldn’t understand why I refused to let go of the hulking pile of crap that was weighing me down. Now, Tin McGuinn and my friend are as Happy As Larry on the gilded carousel as I glower darkly at them. I swallowed a lot of oily seawater, I think I got sunstroke when I fell asleep too. My hair is a hard, dry frizzy mound, with a more than liberal sprinkling of salt and sand caught in its mad tentacles. I swear I can hear the theme from The Magic Roundabout playing somewhere, and then it morphs into The Strangler’s ‘Waltzinblack’. The surreal colours, and the spinning round, round, round of the merry-go-round are making me feel dizzy and queasy in equal measure. The gaudy faces of the carousel horses suddenly look grotesque, and I can hear HER stupid, high-pitched giggling bouncing about over the music in my head, and am I imagining it or did Tin McGuinn just wave to me?
On the bus ride home, I sulk as she gibbers on at Tin McGuinn, and keeps kissing him on his funnel nose, and fucked up spoon ears. She might be feeling chipper but I’m bloody well not.
Once we’re back at hers she invites me in for a cuppa … my teeth are chattering from shock, or hypothermia or maybe just delirium. I don’t know! Can you catch it from lunatic friends? I agree anyway, but once inside I spy a bottle of red wine on the sideboard and get to work on that bad boy tout suite. She gabbles on about what a lovely day it’s been as she starts to do the three of us a big plate of cheese butties. It’s all going in one ear and out the other, until suddenly I hear an odd creaking noise. She hears it too, and drops the block of cheddar. More creaking, a metallic ‘ding’ or two – a throat clearing…
We both swing round. Tin McGuinn stands, grinning wonkily, his spanner hands stretched out ‘Give me a hug, my lovely girl’ he rasps rustily.
We both scream, and she bolts for the door but trips over my beach bag. ‘Don’t go’ he creaks, advancing towards her. His saucepan parts rattle noisily, and his tin can knees bang together. Cutlery tinkles … prettily percussive. It’s like an oddly tuneful One Man Band.
Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh.She screams again.
‘I love you! I want to be with you forever and ever’ he proclaims with tinny affection. ‘Not on your Nelly!’ She bounces energetically to her feet, grabs a hammer from her dad’s toolbox on the worktop and THWACK, she gives him an almighty wallop. Everything clangs, and the sound rings and reverberates around my sensitive eardrums as his colander hat, and larger colander head go spinning across the room. She hits him again and again, like a woman possessed and bits of him ping and bounce off every surface. Then she legs it. I hear her shrieking madly as she runs down the street.
So there we are. Poor Tin McGuinn! After that episode in the sea I thought I’d have nightmares for the rest of my life – I’d begun to think Smarties were preferable to tin … but now, well … I kind of feel sorry for Tin McGuinn. I stoop down and start to gather up the pieces of him, they’re all still whole, if a bit dented in places … hmmm …
Well… in my defence, I have been single for a while, and there had been a fair-sized spout on him, I couldn’t help but notice!
I pack Tin McGuinn carefully into a box, throwing in an oil can for good measure. Then I tenderly tuck some tissue paper around the various parts, and I take him home with me.