Recollections From A Easter Locked Down

Easter Saturday has bequeathed West Yorkshire’s populace warm(ish) Bank Holiday temperatures. Consequently, yours truly intends to venture out later to take in a local league cricket match. A game which, although not partaking for over a decade, I played for 30 years from my mid-teens.

Cricket a game of which I’ve written about on numerous occasions, in particular during my formative teenage years and early twenties; an era when I represented Gateshead Fell cricket club. Those chronicles a fond recollection of my early days playing with willow and ball.

Footnote – Willow and ball is a reference to the main apparatus required to play cricket (ie wooden bat and leather sphere), not my two dogs names back then. Actually, as I didn’t have any dogs at that stage of my life they couldn’t have been….. Although, in your defence, you weren’t to know that, I suppose….. Well, unless you’re a family member reading this, or a close friend back in the 1970’s/80’s.

My desire to get out into the fresh air heavily driven by memories of the purgatory of Easter in 2020 whilst the UK was in COVID-19 lockdown. Recollections which were jogged yesterday when I revisited a narrative written on Easter Saturday that year during a sunny holiday period. The text below an interesting (well maybe) look back at my observations a few weeks into total lockdown.

Attached are my notions on that warm Easter Saturday two years ago:-

“It feels almost like the warm temperatures’ve been delivered in mischief to test the resolve of the covidiots. The small proportion of citizens who appear to ignore UK governmental requests not to venture out to minimise risks of spreading COVID-19, unless absolutely essential.

Only the next few days will tell whether these shameless dissenters, for whom the words sacrifice, selflessness and gumption seem archaic notions, embrace these requests. There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is in selfish. idiotic and irrational. There’s also an ‘I’ in Indianapolis (well three, actually), but that’s not really relevant to this monologue, so I’ll move on sharply.

Upon finishing my lunch earlier, I was regressed back to my 1960s/70s childhood during an exchange with my mother, in whose house yours truly currently resides. This flashback evoked by a maternal positing of “I’d rest your lunch before going out!”, in response to my post meal announcement “I’m off out to finish trimming that varigated hebe shrub, mum

This advice taking me back to 1973, in the kitchen of my childhood home in Low Fell, Gateshead. Seven words my brother Ian and me, recently sustained by our midday meals, oft received on announcing “We’re off back out for a game of football, mum!”

In those days, though, the matriarchal proffering was more an order than a suggestion. Her theory we’d be afflicted with stomach cramps if we partook in exercise immediately after eating. An edict leading to a twenty minute post-tuck period where our kid and me’d sit on the settee sulking, arms folded and sighing loudly

Ordinarily adorning replica Leeds United kits, we’d count down the seemingly endless 1,200 seconds while, according to our mother, our stomach would empty itself sufficiently to negate against exercise induced convulsions.

Whether Mrs S’s theory bore any basis in fact, or was merely a baseless old wives tale passed down through the generations, I was never inquisitive enough to find out. It wasn’t, though, an edict I was moved to submit to my offspring to during their childhood.

Yesterday, I was sad to hear the news one of my Leeds United heroes from the 1970’s era, Norman Hunter, has contracted the COVID-19 virus. A tough uncompromising centre back, he was a member of the warriors in white managed by the late, great Don Revie.

Hunter one of a synergy of internationals representing my city of roots with skill, determination and (when required) an uncompromising streak. Oft criticised by London based tabloid sporting press in spiteful, prejudiced polemics, this group of footballers adding significantly to the good times section of my life tapestry….. A predominantly clover filled era of my existence; a time I fondly refer to as ‘utopia in sock tags’. The latter being stocking accessories adorned by the white uniformed heroes I revered as a kid.

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Nicknamed Norman ‘Bites Yer Legs’ Hunter, the former England international (part of the 1966 World Cup winning squad) won two league championships, an FA Cup, League Cup, and two Fairs Cup’s in the decade of his tenure at Leeds United.

Go on, Norman lad!!…… Bite that spiteful pathogens legs!!

To close I just wanted to refute rumours that this COVID-19 lockdown was starting to drive me mad…… Now where’s did I put my Jason Vorhees hockey mask?!!”

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Footnote – Norman Hunter sadly passed away from his COVID symptoms shortly after I wrote the above.

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