Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Remembering my Dad

As a child I had little interest in sport of any kind, least of all soccer, on the other hand my father was passionate about all sport, especially soccer! Prior to the war he had played representative football for London and had played for Arsenal junior teams.   He had been a first class athlete, a very good cricketer and a decent golfer, any sport or game he played he played well, ending up as a bit of a demon at his village bridge club.

As a family our weekends would often revolve around Dad's sport, we would all go and watch him play cricket, or football, after he stopped playing meal times would be chosen to fit in with his tee times. When I was very young I just assumed this was the way things happened, latter it suited me very well as the timings of his sports would so often fit with my own activities. Saturday morning Rugby, and Sunday morning Orchestra rehearsals.   I also loved playing a round of golf with Dad, although he always beat me it was a rare chance to spend time alone with him, and really be together.   Having just moved I realised that I had only played golf twice since Dad died 23 years ago, I gave my clubs away ~ I hope somebody gets some good use out of them.

Back on the 30th June 1966 our family went on holiday; nothing remarkable in that, we travelled from South East London to the Kent coast near Margate by car. A journey which these days would take little more than 90 minutes, yet in those pre Motorway days would often take the whole day.   The morning would be spent loading up the car (a 1952 Humber Hawk) there would be suit cases, a hamper, rugs, picnic stuff and all sorts if things I was never quite aware of, then somehow all five, six or even seven of us (depending on the number of Grandparents joining us) would somehow be squeezed in.   On a good day we would stop at Canterbury for Lunch, on bad one it woudl eb Maidstone, certainly we would expect the journey to take all day, or at least that was how it seemed to an eight year old!

Pickles, and "Our 'Enery"
That day in 1966 Dad was very keen to get the journey done quicker, he wanted to be there by 3:00 p.m.   Up till then the World Cup had pretty much passed me by, I knew it was on as Dad and one of my brothers had been to watch a match, and I had noticed Pickles finding the stolen Jules Rimmet trophy just round the corner from where we lived, but it had not impacted on me in any way.  Well we managed to get to Birchington on time and as the flat we rented did not have a TV Dad and my Brother went downstairs to watch the England play West Germany in the final.   At some point Dad came upstairs and told us that we should come downstairs and watch, even if we weren't interested now we would be grateful in years to come.   I went downstairs and watched, my eldest Brother and Mother carried on unpacking.   Dad was right, even though I wasn't interested in the time, and now just don't like what football has turned into I am so glad to be able to say that, Yes I did see England win the WOrld Cup, I did see Geoff Hurst score his hat trick, I may have been young and not fully understood the importance  but I did see it.

So far I have manfully (!?) resisted writing about the current Rugby World Cup, I have more important personal things going on, and I have been disappointed in the lame performance of the European teams. I have watch most of the games,and there has been some wonderful Rugby played, but there has been little to light a fire in the belly of the home nation.   I shall be watching today's final, with little care as to who wins, but I expect to see a good game, I have no National bias as I always want to see both New Zealand and Australia lose!

It looks as though I will either be watching on my own, or at my new "Local" It feels a shame that very few people around here will be watching with the same enthusiasm, passion, and, national pride that we all had back in 1966.
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