Here’s a slightly tongue in cheek look at ‘Wyatt’ and what makes him tick…………………………..He is tall, dark and handsome, (well O.K., maybe not, but one out of three isn’t too bad). He has three ‘young adult’ children. He was raised by a wonderful Mum and Dad, along with 4 siblings, on the banks of the Tillingbourne in pretty rural Surrey, in south eastern England. Mark has lived in Bude, Cornwall, for these past 16 years, where he runs his own small gardening business; but he doesn’t like to be defined, or judged, by whatever currently earns him a few quid, or by his more ‘respectable’ previous career, he has other strings to his bow, not least this writing lark.
This guy below, Mike Nesmith, was a major part of the soundtrack to Mark’s early youth, and he still loves his music.
He remembers as a young boy singing pop songs in bed on long, hot summer evenings. Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’, Ray Davies’s ‘Waterloo Sunset’, The Monkee’s ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’, Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Penny Lane’, and Roy Wood’s ‘Blackberry Way’ were early favourites. His Mum, quickly spotting his emerging talent, (her father had been a well known tenor in Reading), quickly signed him up to the village church choir, where by 1970 he had become the head chorister. In the Christmas season he was regularly ‘press-ganged’ into singing carol solos at Guildford cathedral by the other lads in the choir, (who didn’t want to do it). His mum was so proud!
His voice had broken half-way through ‘Matins’ and his singing glory days were finally over. He was on the scrap heap at eleven. The choir master had tried to make him stand in the back row with all the old fogeys, but it just wasn’t the same, none of them wanted to play ‘shadows’ on the church wall during ‘evensong’. Spoilsports. The fun had gone. It got up and left the church, along with his mates, their voices having already broken. Mark soon followed.
At some point in the mid-60s, his Dad told him of his creepy encounter with the ghost of a gunpowder worker, and from that moment Mark was instantly hooked on ghost stories. He just couldn’t get enough of them. His Dad had inadvertently sent him off down a long, dark, creepy, winding road. His reading matter expanded significantly. He would sit and read scary tales by the likes of M.R. James, W.W. Jacobs and Charles Dickens, (in addition of course to his ‘Shoot!’ football comics). By the early ’70s he had moved on to all things ‘paranormal’. He shifted up a gear from fiction to (alleged) reality. He was still fascinated by Ghosts, but now also U.F.Os., Time Travel and many other mysteries. On his weekly visits to Guildford library he would come away with a bag full of ghost story collections, or the latest Colin Wilson, Michael Williams, Erich Von Daniken or Brad Steiger book.
After his demise as the undoubted prince of all boy trebles, he had begun to be heavily influenced by the music coming through the thin walls of his sister Sue’s bedroom. He soon got into pop music again. He loved some of her tastes…..such as Buddy Holly and some early Bee Gees, and of course he had never stopped loving The Monkees, the Beatles and The Kinks. But he soon started to discover new favourites. There was Roxy Music, Marc Bolan’s T. Rex, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, Rod and the Faces, Bowie, but most of all, at that time, he got into Slade! Mark could often be found in big sister Sue’s bedroom, (while she was probably out shopping), playing her vinyl on her turntable, having first thrown her Rubettes rubbish into the waste bin, where they probably felt a lot more at home.
But, if the weather was pleasant, it was far more likely that you would have found him outdoors with his mates, playing football, riding his bike, swinging on ropes from trees across the Tillingbourne, building woodland dens, climbing the huge old oaks, playing soldiers in the old concrete pill boxes in the woods, paddling his canoe, or perhaps just lazily stood on the river bank, dangling his rod, waiting patiently for that elusive little nibble! It was an idyllic country childhood that would have made even Laurie Lee look like a ‘townie’.
He left school in the long hot summer of ’76 having done well in history, English and music, but not quite so well in other topics, possibly because he had skived off on the exam days for his poorer subjects. He still has all of his old school reports. His parents had held on to them for many years, occasionally bringing them out to entertain their friends if there was nothing funny to watch on the telly. He briefly worked in a garden nursery. It was just a piano keys throw from his home, (he’ll explain that one day.) Whilst there he learnt, from an older lad, (a Mancunian called Chris, who was on the run from the law up north), how to arrive at work at nine thirty, but still clock in on time at seven thirty, oh, and also how to pot up chlorophytums and maranthas. Shortly after this short stint in the glasshouses, he embarked on a four year apprenticeship to become an architectural Ironmonger and builders merchant; for a business called ‘Skeet and Jeffes’ in nearby Woking.
During the late 70s and early eighties, when he wasn’t working, Mark spent a lot of time with his mates. When he wasn’t in the pub with them he would be out camping, climbing small mountains, playing football, riding on his mate’s motorbikes, arguing with Tories, fishing, thinking about pretty girls, reading books about ghosts and U.F.O.s, messing around in cars, travelling all over the U.K., and going to lots of gigs.
Some of these activities were accompanied by the developing soundtrack of his life, which at that time included Dexy’s first album, (which he almost wore out), Dylan’s ‘Blood on the Tracks’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the key of life’, the Rolling Stone’s ‘Some Girls’, Springsteen’s ‘Darkness’ album, and some early Clash.
Mark and the lads used to like to stand at the back at Undertones gigs, to see how long they could restrain themselves from running through the densely packed excited crowd; to get down the front and leap about like idiots. Their restraint never lasted very long. The glorious primal beat of the Undertone’s three minute, three chord songs about chocolate and girls were far too powerful for them to resist, and Mark sometimes gave in first.
After his apprenticeship he worked within the same company in various sales roles for eight years, and he gradually acquired various business, product, accounts, and even law qualifications; he also went back to college and did two ‘A’ levels. By 1988 he had moved on to become a sales rep for another builder’s merchant.
Mark eventually left Surrey in 1990, at the grand old age of thirty, for an adventure, to live and work up in beautiful Northumberland. While up there he made many new friends and worked in two jobs that he really loved, firstly as a sales rep for ‘J.T. Doves’ builders merchants in Hexham, calling on builders on building sites and at their sales offices, and then later as the assistant manager of ‘Plumb Centre’. He also set-up his own little weekend business, hiring out bouncy castles for children’s parties. He called it ‘Bounce-around’, (a little ‘nod’ perhaps to his old pogoing days). Every winter Mark would take his children out sledding on the local Northumberland hillsides; the children had a fantastic childhood up north which they would not have experienced in quite the same way down south. But after nine years, the novelty of those long, snowy, cold north-east winters had finally begun to wear off.
He had got itchy feet, (I think there’s a bit of the Romany gypsy in him), he fancied a change of scenery and lifestyle. He gathered his family safely behind him in his faithful old covered wagon, (oh, all right, it was a blue Volvo 240GL estate), and they all travelled westwards, down the A303 towards the setting Sun, to glorious Bude on the North Cornish coast. They were boldly seeking out a new beginning, and of course those elusive ‘endless summers’ of which he had long day-dreamed. Perhaps he had seen far too many of those ‘John Hinde’ Cornish view post-cards, all of them promising him, (in the small print), ‘sunshine in abundance’. I think ‘abundance’ must have been somewhere near St Ives. Those glossy holiday brochures too, showing those beautiful, shapely sun-kissed women in their skimpy bikinis, lazing around on ‘tropical’ beaches, hadn’t helped and don’t even get me started on all of those palm trees and bronzed surfers. He wanted some of that. He wanted to be bronzed and beautiful too, (he’s still waiting). He was sick of the arctic north-east. He was tired of having to wear thermal long johns, two jumpers, and a wooly scarf on Whitley Bay beach in mid-July; during what the Geordies, with their dry sense of humour, laughably called ‘summer’. He wanted to feel some warm sunshine on his face.
It was down here in Cornwall, soon after he first arrived, that he first decided he wanted to be his own boss, and so, with a love of gardens and a very distinguished horticultural family pedigree, he had decided to become a gardener. His father’s family tree, several branches of it, (ha, ha, see what I did there?) had included several head-gardeners, various other jobbing gardeners and plenty of green fingered folk. But he knew he needed to get some proper gardening experience first, and so he worked for a local landscaper for a few weeks. He quickly learnt the trade by watching and listening to his fellow workers, and by picking their brains. On the Friday of the sixth week he noticed that they had started to ask him for advice, so he quit the job there and then, to go solo as a self-employed gardener. He put an advert in the local newspaper seeking gardening work, bought some second hand gardening tools at a Bude car-boot sale, and waited for the calls to come in. And come in they most certainly did. (You will be able to read about some of the wonderful, colourful characters that he has encountered while gardening, and the many amusing situations that he has found himself in, on this web-site in the near future). Among his proudest gardening achievements, so far, was the design and implementation of the lovely ‘Mystic Surfers’ gardens, (photo above), at Tintagel on the rugged north coast of Cornwall, for his late, and very sadly missed dear friend, Maurice Willmott. (You can also find more beautiful photos of these gardens on this web-site).
For a few years at the beginning of the new Millennium, when the waves were, as the surfers liked to say… “really going-off”, Mark surfed the Bude area. Or I should perhaps say that he “tried to surf”. Despite once being told by a young lady that he looked ‘well-fit’ in a wet-suit, frankly….well, how can I put this? Well…. he was really rubbish at it. He kept falling off. He didn’t particularly like getting wet either. He eventually gave up, took off his wet-suit, towelled himself dry, and sold his surfboard. (Well he might have got dressed first). With the proceeds from that sale he bought his first guitar. At first, (to quote his far more musically talented friend Maurice), he had sounded “Really bloody awful!” It was rumoured that Mark only had to reach up to the wall to touch his guitar and ‘Geordie’, (his labrador), would run towards the door on his hind legs with a fearful look in his eyes, and his front paws over his ears to escape the inevitable horrible noise that he had learnt would soon follow. But with some help from his great friends Danny Ball, (on the right), and Maurice himself, (to your left), his playing had slowly improved. So much so that he soon lost the ‘really’ and ‘bloody’ prefixes, to become merely…… ‘awful’. But ten years later, after much studying of great finger-picking songwriters such as John Prine, he can now play some pretty ‘finger-style’ acoustic guitar. Mark writes his own songs, both the words and music. The neighbours seem to like Mark playing his guitar, they are a very enthusiastic bunch; just recently they knocked on his wall, (they must have still been up at two in the morning), to show their appreciation of him playing ‘Ace of Spades’. He loves listening to music of many genres, particularly Americana/Folk, old country blues and early jazz. His diverse tastes include everything from ‘Mississippi’ John Hurt to the ‘Wedding Present’, via Verdi and the Felice Brothers, oh, and even the Beach Boys too, yes you could say that his ears really do…… ‘get around’. (Groans all round).
He is a bit of a ‘bookworm’. His favourite authors include Laurie Lee, John Steinbeck, Brad Steiger, Jacques Vallee and James Herriot. What makes him laugh? Well, on the box, he enjoys slick, sharp comedies such as ‘Frasier’, good old fashioned British comedies like ‘Only Fools and Horses’, and the wonderful Irish ‘Father Ted’. He has also recently re-discovered the superb American comedy ‘Best of the West’, which he says reduces him to tears and makes his stomach ache from laughing too hard. For fun reading his favourite comedy writers are David Nobbs, Tom Sharpe and Mark Wallington. Many years ago, while commuting on a train in to London, Mark was convulsed and crying with laughter whilst reading. He couldn’t help it. He couldn’t stop. He was that close to peeing himself. People were staring. Some were even pointing. A posh city gent type was sitting, very tightly hemmed-in between other bland, boring suits, behind a row of ‘Financial Times’ opposite him. He leaned over towards Mark. “Excuse me young man”. (Well I did say it was many years ago.) “Would you mind awfully showing me your book cover please?” Mark managed to suppress his laughter for long enough to raise the book. “Oh, Tom Sharpe!” The city gent had exclaimed. “He has that effect on me too!”
He’s interested in, among many other topics, music, playing his guitar, the paranormal (in all high strangeness generally!), geo-politics and history. He loves retro British motorbikes, 1930s era aeroplanes, (see below left), and steam engines, (his dad was a fireman on the Southern Railway). Mark enjoys ‘coarse’ fishing on the Tillingbourne, (coarse fishing is the type where you swear at the ones that get away), and believe me, with Mark doing the fishing, most of them do, and the air is frequently ‘blue’. He once nearly caught a huge pike…….. on a blackberry! (No, not that sort.) He also loves, but not necessarily in this order, visiting Heligan gardens, walking the coast path between St Ives and Lelant, walking in the Surrey Hills, cycling the local Cornish lanes, watching ski-jumping, Woking F.C., Bobby Moore, George Best, being with his kids, going to gigs, making random stuff from recycled items, and eating treacle tarts smothered in Cornish cream, (the tarts covered in cream, not Mark.)
Mark likes to walk, particularly if there’s a nice pub or two en-route. He once walked the entire Cornish coast path. On his return somebody asked him why he had done it. “Because it was there.” He had replied. Long before his kids grew up Mark played a lot of indoor 5-a-side football, and he scored, (well, he says so) many ‘absolute belters’. To this day he still regrets not getting somebody to video those matches. He would have liked to have had the proof, shown the videos to his kids, and bragged about just how good he was. As it is, they only have his word for it.
He only ever got sent off the one time. He had been repeatedly ‘nutmegged’ by a faster, much more skillful opponent, and he had finally lost his temper. He removed the lad’s legs from under him, sending him sprawling. Mostly on his face. For about thirty feet. When the poor lad finally picked himself off the floor his nose was so red that he instantly acquired the nickname ‘Rudolf’. The ref of course really had no choice, he pointed to the penalty spot and showed Mark his red card. Mark remonstrated with the ref, somewhat unconvincingly and insincerely, that the lad was an actor and a well-known ‘diver’. It had cut no ice with the ref. He was in a foul mood. He hadn’t even wanted to be the ref that day, he had been talked into it. He would have much rather been playing. He was going to make damn sure that somebody would pay for it. He had probably chosen Mark because Mark had a prettier girlfriend, and was a more skilful player than he was. He stubbornly kept his red card held high, (like a communist flag at an Anti-Nazi league rally), and he remained silent and aloof, playing up to the crowds watching the match from high above in Woking leisure centre. Mark balanced up on to his toes and looked him right in the eyes, (the ref was at least six feet three inches tall). There was a very tense stand-off and you could have heard a pin drop. The ref never even batted an eyelid. Mark, by now realising that the ref was never going to change his decision, loudly questioned the ref’s parentage, then took his shirt off in disgust, (he had probably seen Kevin Keegan do it), and then he had dramatically thrown it into the bottom right-hand corner of the net before walking off the pitch in a huff and taking an early shower. It’s a good job that his maternal granddad died before he was born. He would not have been very pleased with his grandson’s behaviour that day. He had been a very highly respected referee in the old Isthmian football league!
Mark once ran a half-marathon, representing the south of England for his company. To be fair to him, he had trained very hard for several weeks, running up and down the steep Anchor hill in Knaphill. He had got himself pretty fit and was confident of a reasonable placing. But sadly it just wasn’t to be. He stupidly went drinking in the Nottingham University bar the previous night, with some other alleged ‘athletes’, (until being thrown out at about 3 a.m.), and, to be frank, he had slightly overdone it. The next morning, suffering with a huge hang-over, what felt like a dead hamster in his mouth, and feeling very unfit and dehydrated, he had eventually crossed the finishing line second last.
Well at least he didn’t come last you may be thinking, that’s something to hold on to. Well maybe, yes, under normal circumstances perhaps I would agree with you, but here’s the thing, the old guy who came last was very, very unlucky to finish last. He had trained very hard too. He had also, unlike Mark, avoided the uni bar the night before, had an early night, slept very well, and had even enjoyed a really nutritious, if boring, breakfast of nuts and museli. But very sadly for him his very sensible preparation had all been to no avail. The old chap had had a massive heart attack, and he had died halfway around the course. To make things even worse, he had dropped dead just after Mark had finally managed to pass him. The last words that the poor bugger heard were “In yer face fat-boy!” Well, how was Mark to know? It was just the old competitive spirit coming out.
Mark enjoys his writing and hopes that you will too. He hopes that you will enjoy his daft, and his not so daft ramblings, and his occasional rants too………please come on in and browse awhile, and don’t take anything he writes too seriously. He doesn’t. If he hasn’t offended you, or somebody or something that you hold dear, please be patient with him, he’ll get to you in time. He hopes that you will find something here that will interest you, or make you laugh, (but hopefully for all the right reasons, and in all the right places). His major areas of interest, writing-wise, (although you will find others), are genuine personal stories of the paranormal, collecting tales of genuine Cornish spooky encounters, a few stories based on his building sales days up in Northumberland, and his gardening exploits in Cornwall, (think James Herriot meets Tom Sharpe and Mark Wallington, at a party thrown by Harry Pearson, and you will get some idea of the writing style he tries to achieve.) He is currently collecting local Cornish people’s paranormal stories for a creepy compilation that he hopes to have published before too long. In his fiction he likes to blend real life events with half-truths, some slight exaggerations, and, frankly, but keep this to yourself……..loads of out and out damn-right lies. He likes to mix in some dark, slightly manic humour, with the occasional sprinkling of melancholy, history and nostalgia, and then he peppers it all with loads of references to the music, characters and places that he loves. If you are a big noise in the literary/media world, and you like what you read, then please get your guys to call his guys, I’m sure that we can all come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, and that we can all live in shared financial security, forever and ever after. Enjoy!
P.S. Edited…April, 2016. Mark has just published his first book (‘Wyatt’s Weird World!’, it is available on Amazon Kindle), and he is currently working on a book based on other people’s witness testimonies to strange events in and around Cornwall.
Note; Any written work, music, images or videos that Mark Anthony Wyatt has created, remains his personal intellectual property. But any other written work, music, images, or videos are the personal intellectual property of those who created them. The owner/host of this website makes no monetary gains from showing other people’s content/intellectual property, he only shares the content because he admires the people who created the content. If they or their agents wish the content to be removed he will do so, but he feels it would be short-sighted as this website is but a portal to more interest in their content.
Mike Nesmith’s excellent website is….
Constructive comments below are very welcomed. Glowing praise even more so. It’s how I know you have been here. Offers of highly paid writing gigs, though unlikely, would be lovely too. But just for the record, all spammers can just go and …………….