A date to remember, especially today. Actually I had to look it up because I have spent a number of years trying to forget it as it was one of the worst days of my life. Unusual perhaps but I really was not interested in 22 men chasing after a ball for a couple of hours. Especially as I had to watch it sitting on a hard chair or the floor in my godfather’s living room in 44 Hart Grove, Ealing Common, W 5, while my father and his best friend watched the match, whisky in hand, and talked accounts all the way through. They were both accountants ad that is what they did. Always. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Sunday evenings.
My father did not have a tv – he did not want to be distracted, but sport was a passion of his and this was an opportunity not to be lost. so whenever there was something of interest to him (not to me) we would trot over to my godfather’s and watch the black and white tv there. (In 1956 he actually hired a tv for a fortnight so he could watch the Olympics)
I hated it. Partly because I could not see very well – although they always had a top of the range set, for the time, yet the screen was still too small for me. Also, as I said, they would talk all the way through and that was sooooo annoying.
Now, I cannot for the life of me remember where my grandmother was at this time or even Jean, my godfather’s wife. I know that when we used to go and watch television with them on a Sunday evening they would both be there. Sunday night at the London Palladium.. Bruce Forsyth. Beat the Clock etc etc.
But how did these two ladies manage to get out of watching the football, when I couldn’t?
I can visualise the scene perfectly – the room was all maroons and browns. The tv had a remote control on a cable!!
But nothing else. I had brought a sketch pad with me – unusually because I didn’t often draw, though I liked doodling. But I had forgotten to bring a book, and so I knew I was in for an evening of major discomfort. Finally I found a book in the house – The Doctor’s Dilemma, by Bernard Shaw. It seemed to solve my dilemma although I remember my godfather remonstrating saying it was too grown up for me, but there was absolutely nothing else on his shelves that attracted my interest.
And tthus I sat on my hard chair and read. Or sat on the floor and drew the chair. With difficulty. I was not and still am not good at observational drawing.
And I can remember being thirsty and all there was to drink was tonic water. Or tap water.. Can’t remember the food. Was there any?
But they did try to encourage me to watch. And so I did. In fits and starts.
In the same way I shall be watching today. Though I do have a book on hand. At least I shall be able to follow the proceedings a bit more. The tv is in colour- the screen is slightly bigger. and I sort of know the rules.
When I was teaching in special school I taught a whole module through football. I had the kids explain to me the rules and especially the offside rule. Just don’t expect me to explain any of it to you.
Will England win again, I wonder?