Bedtime For Bonzo?

I bet that title has confused you *snigger* πŸ˜‰

The third (and probably my favourite) character from “Still” let me introduce you to Ronnie, but I guess he could have been a Ronald πŸ˜‰ Please excuse any errors, this is taken from my note book.

Ronnie was born in February 1953 to an Irish father and English mother who were never actually married. His parents lived on a Council Estate in Lee, South East London. The youngest son of 4 boys he was a tear away (so his mother Liz said) from the moment he could walk.

Curly auburn hair when he was a toddler (which, as an adult only begins to curl when he needs a haircut) and deep blue eyes like his fathers, his ruddy complexion meant that he always looked like he’d been dashing around, but then, most of the time he had. He always had an abundance of energy that continued into adulthood.

Not doing well in school he preferred to play truant and found himself in detention frequently. His mother despaired, but he was her favourite. When he was 12 his father Patrick left the family and went back to Ireland because he couldn’t find work, leaving his mother to bring up the four boys on her own. At secondary school he met Daniel and they became best friends. Although from very different backgrounds the boys shared a love of fishing. It was the only thing he could really remember doing with his father.

At 15 he left school and got himself an apprenticeship with a local builder. He enjoyed being outside, the manual work and the banter with the other workers. But with two of his older brothers involved in petty crime it wasn’t long before he found himself with a police caution.

At 17 he met Laura, a girl who served him in a local cafΓ© where he and Daniel often met. He asked her out and within weeks they become β€œa couple” spending a lot of time at the local pub and having a weekend away at his aunts caravan. They were inseparable for a year.

Ronnie started to get friendly with a group who knew his brothers and they introduced him to drugs. His relationship with Laura suffered, and Ronnie moved out of home and into a squat. He and Laura split up and his is mother Liz contacted his father because she was worried.

His father Patrick returned to London in 1972 and with their parents back together the whole family moved back to Ireland, his mother agreeing as she wanted to get Ronnie away from the drug culture he had become embroiled in.

Ronnies father was a struggling builder, but with the help of his sons they made a success of the business and it thrived. He often thought about Laura and Daniel, wondered what happened to them, but as the years went by he put them to the back of his mind.

With a huge zest for life he likes to play practical jokes and to be the center of attention. In his early 20’s he married an Irish girl, but they divorced after only 3 years with no children. Ronnie threw himself into work and with 7 nieces and nephews he was content to stay single and still play the field.

He still walks with the arrogant swagger he had as a teenager, but at 45 he is lonely, realising that he can no longer chat up women like he used to. One of his brothers has suggested he use a dating agency, but he is too embarrassed. Loyal, attractive for his age (although grey and balding) and with a successful business, he is still hot headed. He plays golf with his brothers.

He receives a letter from a young woman in Kent called Ruby, who thinks she may be his daughter and they speak on the telephone. The old memories of Laura and Daniel come flooding back and he immediately makes plans to travel to Kent. He is excited at the prospect of being a father, but even more so about seeing Laura. He regrets the way he treated her and wants to make amends.

So what has my character Ronnie got to do with Bedtime for Bonzo? I’m kinda thinking that Ronnie’s mum had a bit of a thing for Ronald Reagan πŸ˜‰


24 thoughts on “Bedtime For Bonzo?

  1. Yep, the title confused me. You’ve given Ronnie a great history and made him a well thought out character. I’m sitting here just wondering if Ruby is his daughter and whether Ronnie gets to see Laura or Daniel again. I’m sure that trio could be a book on their own especially if you were covering the intervening years.
    My one question is, how would you introduce Ronnie’s Mum and her thing for Ronald Reagan to the story except as a way of giving Ronnie the name his parents chose? Unless of course you intend her to see life in terms of Ronald Reagan would have said this, done that etc.


    • Hi David, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

      Yep, Ruby is his daughter, and the novel centres around Laura’s search for Ruby and Ruby’s search for her father. I did initially just have Laura, Ronnie & Daniel as the characters in the first version, with Ruby as a child, but now I’m on version 4! Lol….. I had to figure out in my own mind whose story was the most important. I think I’m far happier with it now πŸ™‚

      Ha ha ha, I don’t think Ronald Reagan will feature in the book. I’m fascinated by how people acquired their names (I was named after a London Bus!) so I always try to think of WHY people’s parents called them what they did. It’s just one if my quirks. No, I don’t think Mr Reagan will get a mention πŸ˜‰



  2. Love your character studies and Ron walks right off the page. Love the Irish connection! Where in Ireland did the family live in the 1970s? I probably have cousins there….my cousins probably know Ron (a population of three million people makes for such connections…I kow Ron is fiction but see, he is real to me already.). Not sure if Ron stays there and marries or comes back to England. If I did my sums right Dad goes back to Ireland in 1965 because he couldn’t find work in London but that was a time of full employment here. A window where if you wanted to work you could…lot of building work going on too. No one went to Ireland for work – it just wasn’t there – changed in the 70s so I think the bit where the family are re-united is fine. Dad will have to find some other excuse for leaving the family! Also where is Ron when he gets a divorce – only it wasn’t legal in Ireland until 1996. Presuming when you say Irealnd you mean the Irish Republic. If it’s Northern Ireland then I should think you’d be ok on the divorce question, although worth checking, remember abortion is not legal in NI. But pretty sure that unemployment was high there too in the 60s. I love these characters. Keep writing. I want to read the book…


  3. Just a thought – the red haired people I know have gone grey very, very gradually. This may not go for everyone, but at 45 he could still have an attractive sheen of red in with the greys! (Can you tell I like tearaway types?) (sorry – were we supposed to fancy him or not????!!!!! I automatically did! LOL)


  4. Vikki, wonderful character study … and as a boomer, the first person I thought of when I read the title was Ronald Reagan πŸ™‚ I like that you do this with your characters … this way no matter how they figure into the plot, you have a fully developed person. It sounds like so much fun … now all you have to do is flesh them out.

    Also, who needs Ronald Reagan when you can have Bonzo πŸ™‚


    • Ha ha ha, excellent Florence! Ronald Reagan was considered a bit of a hotty then wasn’t he? So I can just imagine Ronnie’s mum seeing him in the film at the cinema and going all gooey eyed πŸ˜‰

      Each character, and person, has so much story that we never know about. I like to know my characters backgrounds, so that they each have their own individual stories, kind of their own version of events πŸ™‚

      Lol, you speak for yourself! πŸ˜‰



  5. Pingback: Desperate Dan | The View Outside

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