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Rick Haynes Writing As The Artful Scribbler

The number 19 and me.

I was born in the late 1940’s.

My address was 19 Hoyle Road somewhere in darkest London. Well, just after the war and food rationing still in force, none of my family had enough to eat, let alone pay the electricity bills.

My first sexual encounter arrived at the age of, you guessed it, 19. Talk about a leap, or was it a grope in the dark? Without such a willing and very sexy blonde partner, I guess my virgin years would have continued. Thank goodness they didn’t for the joy of sex was strong in this fumbler with the lights out.

I was brought up to be polite so always said thank you before we redressed.

Not long after, I found myself surprisingly engaged to the blonde-haired bombshell. I was still only 19 years old. Don’t ask me how or why, but the young lady in question was definitely not up the duff. In new English speak that means she was not pregnant, with child, or in any other way you wish to call it.

I hadn’t reached my 20th birthday when we split up. Alas, she had found another mug; I mean a nice man with lots of money who treated her to all the things she yearned for. Surprisingly, she returned my engagement ring. Unsurprisingly, I treated myself to a very nice red and white Triumph Herald Coupe with the money from the sale of the ring.

I worked in an office in the City of London with the address 19-21 Moorgate. They were happy days but the traveling - a two-hour journey into London from my new home on the south coast of England, then another house in the midlands - wore me down. It took me 19 years to break the long-distance traveling habit.

Writing my first short story in 2014 should have been fun but I ceased at 19 words because it was complete rubbish. A few years later, my writing group was far too kind to say so, but their faces told me all I wanted to know. It was back to school, big time.

My motto is,

Laughter - the best medicine in the world.

Reading and writing- the best pastime.

Laugh Loud – Love Always – Live Long

Yep, you guessed correctly, they total 19 words. Another relationship to my legendary number then. And if that isn’t a coincidence, what is?

Tenuous Links.

In Tarot, the number 19 is associated with the sun. I love the warmth of the sunshine and am really active in the summer months. If I could hibernate in winter, I would, as I absolutely loathe the cold.

The number 19 is masculine and that is definitely me.

November 19th is International Men’s day and without any doubt, I am a man. Yet, if asked, I would like to think my lovely wife would confirm that very fact.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1877-1881) was the 19th President of the United States. With only the -n- missing in his surname, I’m sure we are related as I looked up the ancestry of the old English name of Haynes from the 13th century. Hayes was clearly a derivative of Haynes. And if you replace the letters Bir with Ri, you have Richard. No doubts now are there? Maybe I should run for president?

The average age of the combat soldiers in Vietnam was just 19. The war started on November 1st, 1955, and ended on April 30th, 1975. It thus lasted for 19 years; we’ll forget the extra six months. Don’t you see what this means? If I had been born in America, I would have been drafted in 1967 at the age of 19.

Nearly the end.

19 backwards is 91. I hope to live that long as I have so many novels to write and publish. And that’s ignoring all the ideas floating around in my overworked brain. Just as important is for me to receive my old age pension for as long as I can. I paid enough in, and now, I want to live long enough to get my money back.

But with recent events, my missive hasn’t finished. Who would have thought a virus from China would be so damaging to every country on planet Earth. With over a million dead and the numbers growing, the contagion is yet to be controlled or, better still, eradicated. I’ll be the first in the queue when a vaccine arrives, whenever that is. And in the meantime, I’ll have to stay away from people, remain indoors to eat and drink, and look through the windows at the neighbours going out.

If you believe my last sentence, you’re more gullible than I thought, but then again, maybe you aren't as I'll only be going out when it's safe and I’m forced to.

Time for me to return to my tale.

With Covid-19 - what? - likely to be our unwanted visitor for some time to come, I’d hate to leave my story on a disgruntled note. So let’s return to my favourite number.

Another true tale.

In 2021 my wife and I were enjoying our new life in Salisbury. With our garden full of ferns, nasty tree stumps and massively long roots of unknown origin, the saga of renewal would have to begin. With forty-seven fern Rhizhomes, five tree stumps, and masses of jungle roots adorning our bank, it was time to move forward. It took eight green wheely bins spread over three months to cart away the dross of green and brown. And, as the soil was thick and a bit gooey underneath the topsoil, I had to buy a rotavator. What to do next about the now forlorn and empty bank was high on the list of things to do.

At least it was spring, a good time to replant.

After many visits to the Wilton House Garden Centre, and the purchase of many plants, we tried their cafe. The wind was strong, the chill through the open doors spiteful; and the only available table was tucked away in the far right-hand corner. I couldn't believe it. All the tables were numbered and I'll give you one guess at the number. Yep! Take a bow. You guessed correctly. It was 19. You couldn't make it up. And whenever we visit the garden centre now, we are always guided to our special table.

And finally.

I posted the first part of my story in 2019.

Two years later, little has changed.

And I guess it won't be long before that number - my number 19 comes along once more.

Cheers for now you lovely people.


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