A month is a long time!

Yet again I had to be cajoled into sitting down and writing my blog. I don’t have any excuses except sometimes I have been too busy and at other times I have felt like being lazy. It was easy at first when I retired because life seemed to be quite predictable with things happening at regular times (I hated that). Now life seems to have settled down into a series of random events that just happen, and I decide whether I want to bother about them.

For example: Yesterday, I was scheduled to travel to Stocken Prison near Grantham. I was pleased when I received a text that both sides wanted an early 2.30pm KO. I arrived at the gate for 1.15pm as requested (entry takes quite a while). Having first checked in, then waited in the entrance for the visiting side  to arrive (Prison teams don’t play away games), I sat twiddling my thumbs until 2.15pm. I had to share the space with approximately 5 women and 40 children that had turned up to visit their husband/partner/acquaintance/Dad. After I had finished exploring the thought of how the ‘about to be visited inmates’  ever had time to break the law whilst they so obviously seemed to spend a great deal of time procreating, I decided to tell the Reception Desk that if the opposition didn’t turn up in 15 minutes I would be leaving (such is the right of every good law abiding citizen, such as myself). A further observance was that the women in question were not the sort, or used the vernacular of a lady that you would have preferred your son to date, and the children were certainly short of a few ‘Stars’ on the class ‘Star Chart’. I duly returned to my car to listen to the footy on the radio. A few minutes later, four rugby players tapped on the window and asked politely if I was the Ref. Being dressed in  the Society’s shirt, tie, fleece and my badged kit-bag was on the back seat, I clearly was. Having not spotted these clues, I assumed (correctly) that they were forwards, but non the less a pleasure to chat to as they could at least string parts of their sentences together coherently. Something the ladies in the entrance couldn’t without punctuating each remark with some obscenity, or whacking their children, who in-turn seemed intent on doing harm to each other or standing on MY kitbag. I informed them, that as they were such amenable chaps I would wait for the rest of the team, but we would only be playing 30 minutes each way. At 2.55pm they rest turned up in  a beat-up old army bus that was probably about to be shipped out to Afghanistan to ferry our brave lads about their duties in Khabul. I had refereed this team last season, and despite having sent one of them off and two more to the sin-bin, they remembered me with kind thoughts, as they had won the game. It’s results that count (Raphael Benitez should take note of this advice). By the time we had passed through security, hurriedly changed and then passed through further security (I am afraid that further elaboration such as mention of security codes etc. is prevented under the ‘Official Secrets Act’),  to get to the pitch, it was 3.35pm. I quickly pointed out to the away team, that if I red-carded one of them in this game it would cost them £50, the wrath of their club and further sanctions from the LRU, including a journey to Leicester to face a Disciplinary Panel. If I red-carded their opposition, non of this would occur except their ‘Street Cred’, would increase exponentially throughout the jail. So my advice to them was to be ‘ good citizens and an example that their mum’s would be proud of.’ It was a brilliant game, keenly contested until the last seconds of the match, when despite being under immense pressure from the away side, one of the warders (who was playing with the inmates) gathered a chip ahead which would have resulted in a winning score, kicked the ball into touch to win the game 19:17. I am glad I bothered.

The Newarks: We did see them a few weeks ago. They all came down one weekend for a visit, everybody seemed well at the time, but since then, Charlotte has had a bout of ill health, but she appears to be over with it now. Lucas was very excited about Halloween and collected a big bag of sweeties (see photo). By all accounts, Charlotte was even more excited. Suraj is busy with his computer installation side-line and has provided some systems for friends of mine. I have heard that he has badly cut his hand on a computer mother-board which required stitches.That’s the trouble with killer-bytes! Charlotte and Lucas also came over for a few days while Nan was still here and gave me a break from cooking and cleaning. She was an absolute whizz (gets it from Sue, no doubt) and cleaned the house from top to bottom and according to Nan, she cooked the chicken we had for Sunday lunch like an absolute dream (what about the Michellin  3 star meals that have been coming out of that kitchen for the last 6 weeks, I say!!!!) Suraj has a new car (BMW). Charlotte and Lucas have been over to Nan’s to visit and also, last Monday they went to Belton House near Grantham. I had been staying in the Hotel opposite that week-end, with some friends on a golfing and walking weekend package (but we didn’t play golf, too old to do both, now).

Nan: She has a new front and back door (to stop the draughts) and also a new shed for her bat-mobile. She still manages to be eating breakfast, lunch, tea or supper every time I ring her and swears it is only coincidence. I did drive up there for a few days, and managed to dig up the last of the potatoes. She is concerned about Aunty Edna who has been admitted to hospital, she has a problem with her legs.

The Bulgars: David and Genya have returned from Bulgaria for the winter, though David and I have arranged to go back on Nov 9th to rip out the ceilings and  do a spot more renovation work. Genya is not looking forward to letting David go, as they haven’t been away from each other for 12 years now. I  suppose I shall have to look after him. It sounds as if they are really settled in Bulgaria now and returning back to Blighty is an essential but annoying fund raising activity that they would prefer not to do. I do think that one of Genya’s daughters is getting married soon, so that should take her mind off things for a while.

Sarah: Is busy with school, she still pops straight into my study each day to write up her lesson notes and complete any homework. It seems to be paying dividends as last week she got 8/10 in a biology practical at Leicester University and her last Sociology essay received an ‘A’. She is still active with the Air Cadets, though the other week I drove her up to Camp near Bradgate Park and then had to bring her back on Saturday morning as she had woken up with a sickness bug, it took her a couple of days to get over it. It was quite a frustrating weekend of driving for me as on Saturday afternoon I was refereeing in Ashby and had to do the journey up there again. She has a new friend who lives in Nottingham. She has been on the train to see him a couple of times, they had a Chinese meal in Nottingham last weekend in celebration of a friend’s birthday. We have met him and he seems fine. Yesterday she swam at RAF Cranwell for the Squadron and got two silver medals, I wonder what she might have got if she hadn’t got such a busy life and still swam for the Club?

Sue: Sue is much, much better. She passed her assessment at the hospital last week with flying colours and though there are still quite a lot of tasks she can’t do yet I think she will be back to her old self for Christmas (I am a bit relieved at that). She is cooking and doing a bit of cleaning and washing, and though she is increasing the amount of distance she is walking, she can’t drive as yet. Not surprisingly, as she has not been into school, she hasn’t picked up any bugs. I howeve0,r went into Farndon Fields (for 3 consecutive days ) and spent 3 days in bed with a stomach and Flu bug. I haven’t been back since. We did go to see the Hallaton Horde (coins) at the Harborough Museum, it was very good. They have obviously spent a lot on money on presenting the exhibits, but it was worth it as it was very entertaining and explained quite clearly. On Saturday we went to see the film ‘Looking for Eric’, it was quite amusing, I gave it 6/10. A much better film we saw a few weeks ago was ‘Hangover’, we both gave that a 10/10, it was so funny Sue had a problem not tearing her stitches! We have ordered it for a family showing over Christmas. Sue has discovered a new pastime; she now takes Jamie with her shopping, he seems to enjoy it and it relieves me from a chore I do not like. It got worrying when I knew the cost of baked beans in 3 different supermarkets and I started to check the ‘sell by’ dates of every item that went into the trolley. On at least a couple of occasions I even passed the shelves lined with bottles of beer as I was preoccupied with which pack of toilet rolls were best!!!!!!!

Jamie: Still seeing Harley a lot. His car seems to be running fine though his engine management system did give trouble a few days ago, the engine was over revving. He is working at some ware-houses, but hasn’t yet used a fork-lift truck (which is why they employed him). He doesn’t work every day, only when they have the work does he get a phone-call. If the work finishes before the end of the day, they send him home, of course they only pay for the actual hours worked, but so far they have managed to get that wrong on most occasions, you can guess in who’s favour that is. I believe that the company have also lost a contract, so Jamie doesn’t know what will be happening this week. Rather stupidly he did turn down a job in Corby as his friend Tansley, who relies on Jamie to take him to work in Lutterworth, would then have not been able to get to work (he doesn’t drive). When will he learn? We took Jamie and Harley to Rockingham Castle for a a Ghost Story Evening last Wednesday. It was very entertaining, but not a bit frightening, we all enjoyed the occasion, especially walking around the castle in the dark (that was the scary bit). Jamie has been suffering from mouth ulcers and it got to the state last week where the doctor sent him for a blood test to find out why. I didn’t realise but he was vey nervous about the test, and I believe he nearly passed out in the waiting room. The results haven’t arrived back yet, but I hope he doesn’t have to go for any further tests.

Dave: I have been refereeing at the week-ends, and despite a degenerating body I still enjoy it immensely, I feel fine on the pitch, I only seem to suffer before and after (must be psychological). One week-end I went with 3 friends for a golfing and walking trip to a hotel near Grantham. Unfortunately, we didn’t play any golf as after walking in the mornings, we are so crocked that we couldn’t face walking around a golf course in the afternoon (sad isn’t it?) We watched rugby on the TV instead. I have been chopping logs, making paper logs and sweeping leaves. The pool that had turned green is now back to blue. I make soup on most days, Sue particularly likes my pea soup, she didn’t equate the disappearance of the green pool water with the emergence of bowls of pea soup! One high point this week was when I spotted a cruise around Japan on the internet. It involves flying to Shanghai, staying over night, catching a cruise ship around Japan calling in at several ports, visiting South Korea, before back to Shanghai, one more night and then home (flying Virgin, direct flights), full board. Sue said yes, so we go in April. We leave Sarah and Jamie behind in the gentle care of Charlotte. How times change.

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