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Not Out

Frankly its a humiliation when you’re a good middle-order batsman pushed down the order behind the bowlers and the keeper. That’s where I found myself for that one-day game.

The recurring knee injury that would eventually put me out of the game had twanged in the field in the morning session, so I got pushed down to tail-end Charlie for our innings in the afternoon. The boys were holding the league leaders to a close finish when, late on, Johno got himself out with only one over left. That put me in with Bates, usually the bunny at number eleven. I turned down the offer of a runner, which I regretted as I tried not to limp on the walk out to the crease. …

Grandfathers

Two grandfathers. One tall, straight, cheerful. Always sunny. One, short, slumped, slightly mournful, slightly sad. They had both been through the War.

The tall one pulled his comrades out of the water when the landing craft beached at Normandy, dragged a few of the drowning and wounded up the beach at Normandy through a hail of bullets. This one came back to work at Watneys, but never drank. Retirement was never enough, he got a job at Tescos in the Arndale; talk to anyone, friends with anyone. The hospital screwed up and he died young at sixty-two. …

An Early Memory

The trouble with earliest memories is knowing where they begin. What is actual memory, something concrete, real, beyond just disconnected images and impressions. One of my earliest memories dates from… perhaps three years old. Pushed along in a buggy, along a hilly, grey London street near where we lived then.  The buggy’s rain hood pulled up, I, deeply sheltered not just to the elements but most of the world beyond. My mother in conversation with a woman, by their tone, a friend. Much of the conversation about me, but not to me. I, under a rain hood, was completely unable to contribute. …