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Page updated 06 June 2020

Canterbury Walking football is sponsored by and and is affiliated to

Page updated 06 June 2020

DIARY OF A FIXTURES SECRETARY … WITH NO FIXTURES

(Week 8.5 – 13.05.20)


Even later with this diary entry!


I had a bit of a ‘down’ week last week, for two reasons.  Firstly, I injured my shoulder.  Not in the noble cause of football training, I’m afraid, but whilst watering the lawn!  That may seem impossible but it’s true.  In the nobler cause of laziness, I tried to move the sprinkler without turning the water off, by directing the jets away from me.  Just as I thought I’d got away with it, the sprinkler swivelled directly into my face, I staggered backwards to avoid it and, in one of those slow motion falls when you think you’re going to stop yourself hitting the ground but don’t, I came to earth on my shoulder.


I was very concerned, initially, but it was soon clear I hadn’t done any major damage, just painful bruising.  It meant that sitting at the laptop thrashing away at the keyboard was ruled out but, miraculously, the act of raising a glass to my lips caused little problem.  The body works in mysterious ways and obviously compensates for the specific movements required for administering medicinal potions.


I received some very sad news early last week when I heard that a good friend of many years, a former Concorde Captain, had passed away due to coronavirus.  He was 75 and not in the best of health, but it was a great shock, nonetheless.

I had known Peter Horton since the mid-eighties and although I had seen little of him in the past few years, I have some great memories of times spent with him.  


Firstly, I recall flying on Concorde to New York in the early 90s to set up some travel arrangements there and check out a vintage train which we intended to include in our tours.  I was also going to celebrate my birthday there and our agent in Manhattan had promised me dinner in a top restaurant followed by a visit to a 50s theme club.  I couldn’t wait!  (I should say at this point that our agent was a stunning-looking dark-haired lady who I had long ‘admired’!)  Regrettably, Capt. Horton effectively ended any ‘relationship’ that might have been.  He had flown Concorde to New York and suggested we meet at Rosie O’Grady’s Irish Bar on 7th Avenue for a drink the evening before my birthday.  He said it would be the best way to counter jet-lag …


I had no problem with jet lag, only with the vast quantity of beer he’d forced me to drink!  I awoke the next morning feeling 90 rather than 40.  Our agent and I were travelling on the aforementioned train to have lunch in a place called Cold Spring.  I felt awful all day but really tried to hide it.  We returned to NYC and, back in my hotel room, I got a bit of sleep, had a cold shower and then a hot one, hoping to be in fine form for the much-awaited evening.  

At eight when she would be waiting outside in a taxi, I was in form alright …bad form.  However, I took a deep breath and descended 50 floors in the lift.  Even that made me queasy!  There, waiting for me, was a huge stretch limousine out of which slid this vision in a figure-hugging white silk suit with an impossibly short skirt.  Another time, my eyes would have lit up, but now, they were too bloodshot. The interior of the limo was larger than my living room and there was a bottle of vintage Champagne on ice and two glasses.  Normally, this would have been most welcome but, on this occasion, it was a nightmare.  I sipped at it and, all the while, cursed Capt. Horton for wrecking my evening.  To cut a long and agonising story short, we had dinner and even had a dance in the club, but the lady rumbled me quite early on by saying, “There are classier places than Rosie O’Grady’s to acquire a hangover, you know!”  (I hasten to add that Sandy did not come into my life until some eight years later!)


Another memory of Peter is of my first experience on the Concorde Simulator when it was still being used by British Airways to train their pilots.  He was a Training Captain and invited my co-director, Colin, and I to ‘fly’ it.  It is an amazing piece of kit and worked on hydraulic stilts to give realistic movement.  I was tasked by Peter to fly a 30-minute sortie out of the old Hong Kong airport.


I knew only too well what was in store!  The landing was a notorious one to get right as pilots had to aim at low level towards a marker on an apartment block and then make a sharp 90-degree right turn whilst descending to the runway!  Having stooged around the skies erratically, trying to avoid landing at all, that exercise inevitably had to be faced.  With Peter’s guidance, I managed to put her on the ground without obliterating half of Hong Kong and its inhabitants.  I was so elated that I turned to Colin, sitting behind me, and celebrated as if I’d saved a penalty in the last minute to win the FA Cup for Brighton!  Wrong!  


As I turned back to the controls, I was greeted by a view from the cockpit that was just a uniform greeny-blue, and Peter’s deadpan comment ... “The landing wasn’t too bad I suppose, but you’ve just taxied into the sea and drowned a hundred passengers!”


Rest in peace, Peter.


On happier matters, it seems that we are beginning the first cautious steps out of this lockdown.  Hopefully, everyone will be cautious!  Good news for James and myself is that fishing is permitted again so we have booked for two days at the end of June at a lake in Sussex where we are members.  When advising Sandy of the dates, I sensed a little hesitation in her, “No problem.”  I thought about it and realised that one of the fishing days is our wedding anniversary!  I said that I’ll be home that evening but she pointed out, quite accurately, that after two days’ fishing, I’ll be very ‘unsavoury’ and the only thing I’ll be doing that evening is taking a very long bath!


I enjoyed the 75th Anniversary of VE-Day and played my 3-hour compilation of music, speeches and sound effects from the war.  I’d put it all together nearly 30 years ago when we had a party to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s visit to Bishopsbourne Station.  (In those days it was all on cassette tape and took me nine hours to record!  I wouldn’t have the patience to spend one hour on it now!)  Wrapped in the Union Flag, I sat in the sun singing and drinking large quantities of gin!  Later in the day, I was pleased to see a photo from Steve of a wheelbarrow containing many empty beer glasses!  I therefore surmised that he was in a similar condition to me!


Football is starting again in Germany this weekend and I understand from James that our Premier League will complete the remaining matches in June, all behind closed doors of course.  He’s also said that the unplayed Champions League games, semi-finals and final could be played in a three-week period in August, in Austria or Switzerland.  A bit like a mini World Cup.


So, football is getting closer!  I will keep in touch with my contact at the University and hope very much that we’ll be playing again before the end of summer.  I really miss seeing you all, but I was so delighted that Rupert called by during a bike ride and we had a good chat on either side of the gate!  He expressed himself a little miffed that, a few weeks ago, Cedric had likened him to Norman ‘Bites-Yer-Legs’ Hunter (RIP).  When they saw each other in town shortly afterwards, Rupert thought about taking Cedric out with a two-footed, studs-up tackle from behind, but decided at the last minute to observe social distancing!


Take care everyone, we’ll get there!

  


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