Throwback to this time last year and a trip north to the cricket Test Match……
This is my first blog for a few days as I’ve been away in the north east of England.
To clarify, it’s not the case you’re not allowed to write blogs in the area; so I’d hang fire with any plans to send me up there permanently. I’m alluding to the fact I have been otherwise engaged, so I’ve not had the opportunity to pen a narrative.
Journeying north on Sunday, I’d just taken my seat in the packed Leeds to Newcastle train when the guard relayed an important announcement to passengers.
In an emotionless voice, similar to that of tennis player Andy Murray, he informed us that there was only one working toilet, which he described as temperamental…… He also advised for customers to be careful not to trip up on the bag of tennis racquets outside the guards room.
I assumed by temperamental he meant it only flushed sporadically, not that it was a diva who took a hissy fit if low quality toilet roll was being used.
On my arrival, I stopped in an agreeable hostelry in south of Gateshead, across the road from the Angel of the North, close to the house where I was raised. A place I left thirty years ago to seek my fortune initially in London, latterly in my place of birth, Leeds.
My in-laws live 500 metres from the hotel I’m staying in. They are lovely, warm, engaging, positive, funny, intelligent and great hosts.
I’ll forever be in their debt for the bonds they’ve not just built with me, but their grandchildren. I’d go as far as saying they are such wonderful people it was nearly worth walking the 500 metres to their house to see them.
They are real family people who since their daughter’s diagnosis of incurable cancer, have been absolute tower of strength and support. I’d go as far as say, I don’t know how Karen, the kids and I would have coped without their one visit to see her in over five years.
Anyway, enough of my bitterness and dirty laundry. I should be grateful as they inadvertently taught me a very useful life lesson. Through meeting them, I now know the saying ‘respect your elders’ is an absolute crock of crap.
Through the blessing of marrying into their family, I’m now in possession of the knowledge that you respect people who deserve it, regardless of age. There are some loathsome, bitter and inherently odious older people. On the flip side, I’ve met many amiable younger people who display far greater warmth, wisdom and humanity.
So it was with a heavy heart, on the train journey north, I decided not to visit them. I concluded I had more pressing engagements….. One of them being to find a chuffing toilet that worked when the train pulled into Newcastle!!
On the Monday, I took in the 4th day of the England v Sri Lanka cricket test match in Chester-le-Street with a group of mates. It was a corporate day which included food, some drink, match tickets and the meeting of a local celebrity…… When I say local celebrity that isn’t strictly true. It was my wife’s dad.
Anyway, a good day was had by all, apart from the poor sod on table six who got stuck with Karen’s dad….. The agreeable day was capped off when at around 4.30pm England secured the Test victory.
Within the corporate lounge, I acquired this piece of cricketing memorabilia (above) in the ‘Silent Auction’. An impulse buy of self- indulgence it was purchase my diminutive spouse wasn’t enamoured with. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say, when I told her about my successful bid, she wasn’t as silent as the auction!
I suppose my woeful explanations of how I came into possession of this item didn’t help my cause. I have, though, made a mental note that “I found it!”, “I swapped it for some magic beans!” or “Alcohol made me do it!!” aren’t suitable excuses, going forward.
Finally, it was good to see an old friend when I was up there who was in fairly good spirits following a long fight with depression.
His GP has taken him off his medication and put him on a innovative new treatment to treat depressed people by aiding recuperation by encouraging sufferers to watch DVD’s of 1970’s comedians.
It was heartening to see this cutting edge approach already providing him with positive results . In fact you could say he is Tommy Cooperating really well.….. On that note, time to make a quick exit!