Five hundred miles last week. Dewsbury of all places! It has an amazing open air market, more like a bazaar. There is also a wonderful, if architecture is your thing, Victorian shopping arcade. Cool. The week ended in the mosh pit at a Skunk Anansie concert in Brixton, as you do.
Driving home on Sunday reminded me of a life changing weekend some forty odd years ago.
I discovered the power of sex, drugs and rugby on a cold, wintry weekend in February 1967. I was at the tender age of 14. I was living in Yorkshire and attending Normanton Grammar School where I had become something of a good rugby player or rather, a bloody good rugby player. I had received a letter the previous week advising me that I had been picked to play in the final England under 15’s school boy trial at the Chepstow Army Apprentices College. The college was infact located in Beachley which although on the welsh side of the River Seven, was in fact still part of England – no doubt England's way of keeping a foothold in Wales.
Enclosed in the letter was a return train ticket. I think it was probably the first time I had travelled alone, so I was quite excited as I boarded the train in Pontefract. I remember peering out of the window and feeling a sense of freedom and excitement. I still love sitting on a long train journey taking in the life outside. Little did I know 40 years later I would be looking out of the window of the Orient Express on its inaugural trip to Eastern Europe. That’s for later.
Back in Chepstow the next day I found myself playing on this weird rugby pitch directly underneath the M4 motorway. I played well and later that evening we all gathered together, nervously waiting to hear the news. Oh those magic words:
“No 8 to play against Wales at Twickenham: Colin Lambert.”
I just remember feeling complete elation. I suppose it was my ego. I felt like a king, like a million dollars. That evening, we had all been invited to the officer’s mess for a disco. So, high on my selection for England, off I went. Prior to now, I had not drunk any alcohol at all. That evening, someone handed me a glass of cider which was so enjoyable that I had another glass and wow, my head was spinning. I was high on two powerful drugs - alcohol and ego!
And to top it all, there was a yummy, sexy looking girl on the dance floor (I later discovered she was the daughter of the commanding officer of the base). So here I was on the dance floor with this attractive girl, I’m drunk for the first time in my life and I have got this other little celebration going on in my head. At that moment life felt pretty good. Later I walked the daughter home and at her front door she ‘kissed’ me for what seemed an eternity. I remember walking back to the dormitory of 30 beds or so and I remember climbing onto my bed and feeling totally on top of the world. I had discovered the heady combination of sex, drugs and rock and roll or rugby in my case.
It is hardly surprising my new drug SDR; sex, drugs (alcohol was mine) and rugby, steered my navigation through life for the following 15 years.
And the point I am making is; put down the phone, paper or laptop and look out of the train window. It’s surprising how what you see brightens your day.
Have a good week.