Sunday, 28 September 2008

Inscrutable Intention

We did a day trip out to San Antonio de Areco today, which is gaucho country and it was nice to get out of the concrete jungle for a while. It was an early start and we're back home now but still no TV as it takes an age to get connected here.  I've got one of my favs - 'Fist Full of Dollars' playing on the DVD.

With gauchos and cowboys, my mind wandered to my old friend Ray who I met in Australia. A group of us would head out on the plains of western Sydney at weekends.  The ranch owner would ask Ray which horse he wanted and he would casually reply, "What do you recommend?" - "How about Bishop?" said the ranch owner.  Bishop was a wild feisty horse that required a very experienced handler. "Sure, why not!" Ray would respond and somehow he would control the horse like it was a dead beat donkey.
Because Ray knew the owner, we got to take the horses out by ourselves (no strict supervision like the others) and it wouldn't be long before a trot became canter which became a gallop and the adrenalin was pumping as every nerve in your body was focused on controlling the beast beneath.  All thoughts of work, stress, troubles faded away.  For a few fleeting moments you were one with the horse.  I can honestly say I never felt more alive.  Probably sounds like complete bollocks but it was true.  It was true escapism without the typical vices.  I absolutely loved it!!!
Afterwards, we'd head back to Rays house where his wife Marls (a character in her own right) would prepare a spread of cheese and wine and we would chat and laugh as the sun went down.  Often, after a few too many, Ray would direct us to the garage for an impromptu music video where we were the stars. It was like karaoke with video evidence to be replayed again and again.  Sometimes we stayed over with a sore head and ended up horse riding the next day aswell where upon the vicious but brilliant circle continued.  Other evenings we'd just sit and chat in the garage.  It had bails of hay to park your arse on and lots of interesting props and paintings.
Ray was very well read and had a "fuck the establishment" attitude that was intriguing and refreshing.  He just didn't like to play by societies laid down rules.  He was a genuine rebel if ever there was one.

One night after a bottle of wine and a quiet chat between the two of us, Ray played an audio tape of Joseph Conrads - The Heart of Darkness.  There is a line that goes - "It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention." He rewound it and replayed it 6 times.  "That's a fucking amazingly descriptive sentence - hard to beat that!" - said Ray. I'd never really been blown away by music or writing but this line really struck a chord with me too. So much detail and emotion described in one sentence.

I was back in Ireland about 6 months later when I got a phone call on Christmas morning. 
"He passed away this morning" -  said the tearfull voice the other end of the phone.

I knew he'd had stomach cancer for a year and didn't have long left.  It was inevitable, but even though I was expecting the bad news, I was devastated. It was the shitiest Christmas / new years after that.

"It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention."

To: Ray - Gone but not forgotten

Tags: San Antonio de Areco, Fist Full of Dollars, Joseph Conrads The Heart of Darkness, Inscrutable Intention

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Nick September 28, 2008 9:04 am  

It's always sad when someone so full of life and such great company goes prematurely. The horse-riding must have been brilliant. You can only be grateful for the uplifting times you had together while you had the chance.

Megan September 28, 2008 1:47 pm  

Great post, Paddy. Made me wish I had known Ray...

TotallyKen September 29, 2008 11:48 am  

Hi Chap

Thanks for posting that about our good friend. Definitely not forgotten and an amazing coincidence. Myself and herself went this very morning to a riding centre near to us in a setting just like Sugarloaf mountain. We want to go out riding this weekend. Naturally I was reminiscing about Oz.

BTW Mrs B was diagnosed with the big C just over a week ago. They operated on Friday last (hysterectomy) and we´re hoping they got it all but there has been some complications today. Say an auld prayer.

I´m home on the 9th of October for 5 nights so fingers crossed she´ll be out by then and on the mend.

iWalk September 29, 2008 12:00 pm  

I can feel the vivid life of Ray through your post. A brave,friendly,pure-hearted and accomplished man.

It's so great to have such a friend.

I think Ray will still enjoy ride in heaven.

Take care!

VE September 29, 2008 1:59 pm  

Nice homage to your friend...

Quickroute September 29, 2008 3:08 pm  

@ Nick: Exactly - I try and focus on the good times and they were great

@ Megan: Thanks - he was a one of a kind

@ Ken: Sorry to hear about your Mum - I sure she'll pull thru - she's a trooper

@ iWalk: Thanks for you kind words - appreciated

@ VE: Thanks mate

Baino September 29, 2008 5:18 pm  

Lovely post Quickie and a fitting tribute, he sounds like he was quite a character and I totally know what you mean about the freedom of horse riding. I loved it! I may also pinch the quote. It has many possibilities.

Broke But Still Drinking September 29, 2008 5:20 pm  

Tonight I will drink to Ray. A man I never knew but it's always sad to lose a rebel who refuses to conform to society's ways.

That's the problem with drinking. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.

- Charles Bukowski -

Quickroute September 29, 2008 6:19 pm  

@ Baino: There's something magical about horseriding - I wish I continued it as I got pretty good

@ Broke BSB: Cheers to that! - b.t.w. Your blog is hysterical!

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