Edition No . 24 . Spring/Summer 2006.
Letter(s) From Reader(s)
Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s like another Mumblings. And I’m like, bothered ! And your like, whatever! D’ya get me? Innit!
That’s just in case a youth stumbles onto our website and based on established Jesuit principles, I thought I’d make an attempt to make them feel at home.
Hi everybody. I hope you’ve wintered well. It’s the first day of spring but it still feels pretty cold to me. The last Mumblings caused not a ripple in the OT pond but the death of Tony Banks did. Several e-
Fired in the crucible of the swinging sixties epicentre, the Kings Road, Osgood and many of his team mates were fixtures at the heart of the London scene. Luckily for them, their youth and ability allowed them to rise above tabloid headlines to perform at the highest levels. Many supporters might say that Osgood never entirely fulfilled his early potential after breaking his leg in a collision with Emlyn Hughes. However he remained a fine player and was obviously revered at the Bridge. Many of the pictures of him accompanying the obituaries were from his hairier seventies days. You could have hidden a Welsh dresser in his sideburns.
As you will all appreciate the Mumblings is written six months in arrears, so whilst some stories maybe news to many, nothing is really ‘hot’ news. So imagine my surprise when at the start of the new year, probably just as you were receiving your MM23, corduroy hit the headlines in the national press (page19 actually). In that issue, I allowed myself a brief rant about being fined on golf tour for wearing, what I thought, was a rather smart corduroy jacket ( not on the course you understand ). The story which appeared in the national press was about a cab company in Lowestoft that banned it’s drivers from wearing corduroy because the owners thought it sent out the wrong message. I availed myself of the relevant cuttings but unfortunately, misplaced them, so I will have to extemporise. The Telegraph was, needless to say, supportive of management, opining that anybody wearing corduroy was quite possibly a lecturer at a Polytechnic, ate quiche, wore sandals and read The Guardian. The Guardian rapid response team immediately defended all the alleged symptoms of corduroy wearers and asserted that corduroy was in fact a comfortable, healthy, natural cotton product that they would recommend not just to the drivers of Lowestoft taxis but to the nation. And so, for once, our highly paid press corps caught up the Mumblings.
Unfortunately, for the second winter running Joan and I were unable to escape the gloom of winter as we had planned but two beer festivals ( Battersea and Camden ) and several first rate movies have brightened the gloom. In the second week in January, Mick and I went to the National Film Theatre to see The Ipcress File. I’d not seen it for yonks and thought the film stood up very well after some forty odd year and is now, of course, an interesting social document. Everybody smoking, spies popping into telephone boxes to call in their intelligence, an early computer with all those cards falling into different pigeon holes etc. What I had not remembered ( if I’d ever known ) was that the scenes where Michael Caine and Nigel Green met at a bandstand whilst the Band of the Irish Guards played, were filmed in Kenning ton Park. It was Gary Kedney who tipped me the wink on this one. I was at school at the time the film was made and don’t remember anybody talking about the event. So I must presume that they did there business during school hours before, the ‘erberts could muck everything up for them.
As I write these opening remarks, I received a phone call from David Hewitt informing me of the death of his father, Jack. Jack was undoubtedly a Tenisonian Titan and a prominent member of a group of Tenisonians who provided such splendid examples to my generation of schoolboys. More about Jack later.
Jack, as many of you know, certainly enjoyed a beer or two and I am sure he would have enjoyed the beer festivals I mentioned earlier. I must just tell you about a bloke I’ve spotted at these bun fights and you do see some sights. I think this guy is one of the CAMRA volunteers that staff these events. He’s probably in his four ties, built like a pipe cleaner and dresses like a drinking version of Action Man, camouflage combats, that sort of thing. On his belt he carries at least two tankards and various other pouches and impedimenta to assist his boozing. Very strange but I have to tell you that the people watching can provide as much pleasure as the booze itself.
Finally, a story which came to light a little too late to be included in the previous issue. You may recall my earlier assertion, that to the best of my knowledge my old mate Derek Prentice is the only Olympian member of the OTA. Derek represented Great Britain in the Winter Olympics many years ago in the tea tray event, or as it is more accurately known, the luge. His competitive days, like so many of us, long behind him, Derek has continued his interest in winter sports by assisting in the training of the young nutters who think it is a wizard wheeze to take there lives in there hands in such a cavalier fashion. Just before Christmas, Derek was involved in a Luge weekend with a group from the RAF. After a tough days work, an evening of drinking and cards ensued with his young charges. Derek, along with a young lady recruit lost at cards, the forfeit for which was to be stripped to their underwear and sent down a run on an upturned dustbin lid. “Still crazy after all these years”!
I have mentioned and even extolled the virtues of Robert Elms programme on Radio London FM94.9 in previous issues ( Gary Kedney was a recent telephonic contributor ). Every Monday at around 12.15 pm he invites a guest to discuss their particular London. Over the years his guests have certainly been varied, not always selling a book and some whom Mr.Parkinson might just have struggled with, such as Eddie Richardson. You may recall his family were often in the news years ago, working in the darkest areas of South East London’s black economy. Musicians, actors, sportsmen, artists etc have all been represented on this slot and they are not necessarily selling a book.
The programme is constructed around the same 15/16 questions every week and you may find that some of your answers merge into one another. Years ago I thought of asking you to send me the answers to these questions and I had intended to print one members answers per edition but to be honest, by then, I was not too confident of getting much response and consequently decided against the idea.
So now I thought I’d just print these questions for those of you who remain committed Londoners, to amuse yourselves for half an hour.
1. Favourite neighbourhood.
2. Favourite building.
3. Most detested building.
4. Best view.
5. Favourite open space.
6. Favourite shop.
7. Favourite restaurant.
8. Favourite pub or bar.
9. Most memorable night out.
10.What would you do on a day off?
11.A friend from abroad comes to London for the first time, where would you take them.
13.Favourite London landmark.
14.Favourite fictional Londoner.
15.Favourite London film or book.
16.If you could travel through time, either backward or forward, which direction would you go and for what reason.
Before two team mates from both Football and Cricket Clubs offer their reminiscences, together with an affectionate letter from Alan Ewart, the following was taken from a mid-
Many members of the Association, who by force of circumstance or geography have no intimate knowledge of the Association and its Clubs, may wonder what qualifications successive Presidents have that fit them for the highest office that the Association can bestow on a member.
In particular, although they must have heard of Jack Hewitt, they might wonder how a member who is not yet forty has been able to acquire such qualifications. A resume of his Association and Club activities during recent years will quickly dispel any doubts as to his fitness for the office.
He was President of the Sports Club for the two years to the 3oth April 1960, and would almost certainly still be holding that office if he had not resigned with characteristic modesty and Club Spirit, on the principle of’ giving the other fellows a knock.”
He voluntarily took over two of the most arduous clerical tasks of the Association, that of Assistant General Secretary during Mr. W. D. Thomas’s Presidential Year, and that of Promoter of the Football Club’s fund raiser.
In addition to these administrative posts Mr. Hewitt has also been highly executive for the Football, Cricket and Badminton Clubs. He must surely be the only President who whilst in office is an automatic choice for the Football IST XI, is Captain of the Cricket Club, and is an active badminton player.
Of his football prowess let it only be recalled that after playing for many years as left-
It is perhaps, however, for his cricketing exploits that he is best known. The Club has never had a more consistently free-
A cynical member might be excused for thinking that to carry out all this activity he must be a bachelor residing midway between Motspur Park and Kennington. On the contrary, Mr. Hewitt is very happily married, with three growing boys. The family are frequent visitors to the Ground. His charming and very accommodating wife, Joyce, being one of the very best and most hard-
Jack Hewitt was at the School from 1932 to 1937; even then he showed his administrative qualities, being the Cricket Club secretary. On leaving he joined the Civil Service. During the War he served with the R.A.S.C. in the North African campaign. He was captured near Tobruk in 1942 and was a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany. He is now a Higher Executive Officer with the Board of Trade.
It must be obvious that Mr. Hewitt is the ideal choice for President of our Association and no greater compliment can be paid him than to say that no one else is more fitted to succeed Will Thomas as our President.
From Ken Langford who played 1stXI football with Jack.
Anyone who ever knew Jack will be saddened to learn of his death. Quite simply, he was one of the finest sportsmen it was my privilege to meet and he had a lasting influence on me in my early days with the Old Boys.
I left Tenison’s around December 1953 having gone back to take a couple of O-
To be fair to Den, he lived up to his promise but before long it was Jack, who I think was living in North London at the time, who picked me up at Vauxhall in his much smaller car and gave me free lifts to our matches. All of which were played south of the river in those days.
I seem to recall that Jack played at centre-
Jack was a hard player (not a euphemism for dirty) in days when as a centre forward it was essential to take the knocks, otherwise centre-
One after match chat with him stands out in my memory. We were in the bar at Motspur Park enjoying a pint, as one did, and I admired a small piece of marquetry on the wall, as one did. Jack said that he either did it, or at least learnt how to do it, when he was a prisoner of war in Europe. He didn’t elaborate, and I didn’t press him on the subject. That was it. His wartime experiences were never a topic of conversation between us again. He was very typical of his generation.
It was because of Jack, and others like him, that my early days with the O.B turned into a long and even life changing association. I shall always be grateful to him.
From Jack Hobbs, a 1st XI and Sunday XI cricket team mate.
I first met Jack in the early fifties when I played against him in the then annual cricket match verses the Old Boys on The Oval.
As a fifteen-
I think that it is fair to say that Jack didn’t score as many runs as he should have done, as his impatience to hammer the ball out of sight was often his downfall . His bowling won us many a match and his off-
It was, however, his fielding at gully, which made him a player apart. When many of us were looking towards the third man boundary Jack would come up with the ball safely in his hands much to the disappointment of the outgoing batsman who was thinking he had hit a four.
I well remember those summer weekends when Jack and his family made the long journey from North London to Motspur Park or wherever and still stayed for the odd pint or two before the long trek home.
Jack was always friendly towards us young upstarts and this continued throughout our sporting careers whether winning or losing, it was the camaraderie that mattered.
In addition to his sporting contributions to the OTA Jack, along with his first wife Joyce, was a leading light in the Mitre Players. The Players put on a number of plays in the school hall and always rehearsed on a Monday evening while many of us were selecting teams for the next weeks’ games.
JDH gave a great deal to the OTA and will be fondly remembered by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him
56 Woodcote Avenue
Surrey SM6 0QY
16th June 2006
On 12th April Jack Hobbs and I attended the funeral in Cambridge, of Jack Hewitt OT, who had died just after his 85th birthday. It was certainly appropriate that there were some Old Tenisonians present, as the summary of Jack Hewitt’s life, penned by his eldest son Geoff, and read out at the humanist service, dealt extensively with his devotion to the OTA cricket and football causes, and the various offices of the Association that he held, and how all those activities influenced family life. I could imagine that apart from the immediate family, Jack Hobbs and I were possibly the only people present who would have appreciated the significance of the OTA in Jack’s life.
I have taken the liberty of writing of some personal reflections on Jack Hewitt, whom I knew from my earliest involvement with the OTA, and also drawing on a number of the details I heard in Geoff’s brief story of his life at the funeral.
I recall first playing OTA football with Jack in about 1963. He was by then well into his forties, and had not so long before enjoyed a remarkable footballing “Indian Summer”, of which he was justly proud, to have played centre forward (as it was then called!) regularly for the 1st XI after turning 40. It was the more unusual a feat in that it was a position he had seldom, if ever, previously played in his life. By the time I played with him he had retreated to left back for the 3rd and 4th XIs, with occasional late calls into the Reserves. It was a position he played in a pretty grizzled and uncompromising, if somewhat immobile style, but if they allowed themselves to intrude into his space, callow youths from opposition teams tended to bounce noticeable distances from contact with his deceptively solid frame. He was a full-
Jack’s cricket career enjoyed a much longer span, with him playing on into his sixties. He was a permanent fixture in the Saturday and Sunday 1st XIs for about 35 years, and, apart from exploits in the field must have contributed handsomely to bar takings at Motspur Park throughout that time. By the time I played with him in the mid 1960s his batting displays had become rather sporadic, if showing tantalising glimpses of the reputation for violent hitting of earlier years. He had by then become a pretty mean practitioner of the off-
I was always a great admirer of Jack and greatly enjoyed his company on and off the field despite the large age gap, but I also am aware that a number of OT sports players of my generation regarded him less warmly. It was, I recall, because he was felt to have been rather unforthcoming with encouragement and praise for team-
One of Jack’s characteristics which all who played him would have witnessed to a greater or lesser extent, was his sheer cussedness. Geoff said that he was never greatly fulfilled in his civil service career, save for the final few years, when on secondment to IATA his horizons were literally broadened by visits to some exotic spots to attend conferences of the airline industry. Thus sport become the outlet for his energy and need for achievement. On top of that he had lost a large chunk of his prime years as a POW, and after returning to civilian life was probably determined to make up for the sporting time he had lost. From such circumstances did that renowned cussedness prosper!
Although I played with him, admiring his talents , and enjoying his conviviality, Jack was clearly of a different generation. From the first time of seeing him on the Oval for the OTA versus the School, he was balding, mustachioed in that 1940’s and 1950’s RAF type style, he played football without his teeth, and had served throughout the 2nd World War, enduring several years as a POW. In retrospect he showed me that joining the OTA meant belonging to a band of people who, whatever their differing backgrounds, did not see each other as old, young, or somewhere in between, but simply as OT’s. He was for me very much the prime example of the ageless OT. Long may we all continue to see each other in that way.
A Personal Memory Of Tony Banks By Derek Reynolds
Tony Banks went to Tenisons during the 1950s but as I recall he left in the lower 6th when his family moved to Birmingham. He finished school there and returned to London almost immediately to start work in the Cabinet Office. I was a year or two ahead of Tony and although I knew him at school it was not until he returned to London that we became friends. For the next six years we were inseparable.
Tony was full of energy and enthusiasm about so many things. He bought and sold football programmes. He had been a Chelsea fan since his Dad used to take him to Stamford Bridge every Saturday. At sports he was keen rather than skilful. He was in our ten-
Around that time, Tony became interested in politics and formed the Brixton Liberal Party. We all joined too. It was a dismal failure. I have a photograph of Tony, me and someone else in an empty dance hall as absolutely no-
We went on holiday, four of us on a boat on the Norfolk Broads. There were two cabins and when the subject of who would share with whom cropped up he answered immediately that it was Officers and Men -
In 1965 he got involved with a ferocious girl called Rita. It was Rita who was on the back of his Vespa when he had an accident and broke his leg. He spent weeks in traction in Kings College Hospital during which time he decided to ditch Rita. He wrote to her and said he had fallen in love with one of his nurses. A few days later I was sitting at his bedside, he with his leg up in the air when the fearsome Rita came marching up the ward. “For God’s sake don’t leave me, Del” he pleaded. So I sat there until the end of visiting time and Rita stood her ground. His eyes begged me to stay and I did until the Sister came up and ordered us out. Still Rita stayed but my nerve cracked and I left. Apparently Rita gave him hell and he always reproached me for deserting him in his hour of need.
We loved the theatre and we went to Stratford and saw The Wars Of The Roses which is now a legendary production, four Shakespeare history plays condensed into three and performed in the morning, afternoon and evening of the same day. It starred people like Peggy Ashcroft and David Warner. We stayed in The Falcon hotel that we couldn’t afford but Tony always liked his comfort. We saw it again in London. He also dropped me off at the Old Vic at 5 am to queue for tickets for the first night of Olivier’s Othello with Maggie Smith and Frank Finlay.
In 1965, I think it was, Tony had acquired some more A levels at night school and he went to York University to study Politics. In his second year he was elected President of the Union. He told me it was because he was the most “normal” and moderate of the candidates. As ever, he left it too late to hire a dinner suit for the ball and as we were about the same size he asked me to get him one from London. So I went to some little Jewish tailor in Brixton who rented such things and told him that I needed a suit and that if it fitted me it would fit my friend in York. The tailor went berserk and informed me that we might have different sloping shoulders etc. etc. I had to tell him to forget I’d ever mentioned Tony and pretend it was for me.
Tony’s father’s civil service department was merged with the Foreign Office and he was posted to Kaduna in Northern Nigeria. Tony was spending the 1965 summer holiday out there and I was invited too. His mother told me that the customs people could be awkward and I was charged with keeping Tony in check on arrival. We spent a great time there with Angela, Tony’s sister and his family. Tony, Angela and I were driven down to Ibadan where it was so humid your clothes stuck to you. To get back we had to use the railway and as we were all poor we went 3rd class, 18 hours for £1.50. It was a nightmare with mosquitoes the size of cockroaches. Angela survived it best and it was her 21st birthday too.
Tony’s Father had a young African grey parrot in Kaduna and he spent hours trying to get the thing to talk. One morning near the end of my month there he had gone off to work and the rest of us were sitting reading. Suddenly in a loud and clear voice the parrot said “Show us yer cock”. Tony and I froze. Angela slid down in her chair and dissolved into giggles and Mrs. Banks slowly lowered her book and said “What did he say?” My visit was due to end the following day and the parrot didn’t say it again while I was there but Tony told me later that he assured his Father that I was to blame, as I knew he would being somewhat wary of his Dad.
In 1966 I was selected for secondment to Malawi. What was to be one year turned out to be five and a love affair with Africa. Tony had a girl friend whose family were in Zambia, alongside Malawi. He went to Zambia with her and the family drove him down to South Africa and on the way back dropped him in what was then Salisbury in Rhodesia. I drove down from Zomba to collect him and bring him back to Malawi. I found him lying on his bed in the hotel. He jumped up and threw himself around me saying “I’m so glad you came, Matey”. When I asked him why especially he said “Well, I haven’t got any money and I’m relying on you to pay the hotel bill”. On entry into Malawi he filled in the Immigration question on race as “Celtic with a dash of Anglo-
In Zomba he stayed in my (later to be) wife’s flat as I was still in the Government hostel. One evening we saw a massive spider wrapped around the end of the pelmet above the bed where he was to sleep. While the rest of us backed off, Tony took off his shirt and made a cushion of it in his hand and climbed up, grabbed the monster and carried it outside where he let it free. During that stay we drove to Luangwa game reserve in Zambia. I had an original Ford Capri and that day we had five punctures. Somehow in Africa even on those dirt roads and miles from anywhere someone would always turn up and fix things for you. Eventually we reached the game reserve but we had to drive a further 80 miles to reach the camp. It was dark, the road was narrow and unsurfaced, the tyre was almost flat, the boot lid had flipped up and was banging about. He’s driving and I’m peering out the side for wild animals when suddenly he shouts “F… Me, Del” and there in the headlights were 3 elephants crossing the road, one big one, one medium one and one baby. It was the first wild life either of us ever seen. The camp turned out to be a few rondavals in a clearing with no electricity and just a few lamps shining. He parked the car while I stumbled about in the darkness looking for someone to show us a hut. Little did I know that the following night the camp was full of lions, we could hear them breathing outside the hut. During that second night we heard a terrible scream and in the morning we found a pride of lions on a dead zebra about 50 yards from the huts. During the day Tony nicked part of the zebra leg and used it as fishing bait. He also rigged up a wire with zebra leg and tins in the hope that the lions would come back and we could see them through the windows. At that camp you could go out on foot with an armed ranger. We went with Patrick who had a big gun. There were three girls and us. The girls stayed close to Patrick. Tony was dawdling about 100 yards behind and I’m somewhere between the two, not wanting to lose Patrick and his gun but also not wanting to face Mrs Banks if her precious son got involved with lions, elephants or buffalo to name just a few.
After he left Malawi and I stayed on for two tours we saw less and less of each other. He was invited to my wedding in Leicestershire. I had hired a coach to bring up my London contingent but Tony was late and he missed it. He did make it to the christening of our son, albeit too late for the actual ceremony where he was godfather.
Tony was very close to his family. When his Dad died Tony bought a house on the coast for his Mother. She still lives there but has moved into a flat. It’s not right when a parent loses a child at any age. I asked her once what she thought of her son when she saw him on television or sounding off on the radio. She said that sometimes she was proud of him and at other times she thought he was an idiot. But of course she is proud of him and especially for the kindness he showed to so many of his constituents and his colleagues in the House about which we heard little in the media. He was always close to Angela his sister. I only met his wife, Sally once or twice but she is clearly someone special. Tony’s home was full of political portraits, busts and other paraphernalia. He had a huge love of Parliament and history and of his country. I was always surprised he was a republican.
The last time I saw Tony was on the tube. He came bustling though the crowd saying “Hello Matey” as though I had seen him the day before. He was irrepressible; always cheerful and cheering; emotional, sincere and often very funny. I think of him with fondness and many happy memories of our times together when we were young men.
Thank you Derek, for such a personal reminiscence. The national newspaper obituaries I read, one from each wing of the political spectrum, spoke very fondly of a man that I never knew. I was very disappointed that he could not make it to the Football Club Centenary Dinner, after saying he would attend but I realise that at that time he was a man much in demand. I was quite surprised to receive as many phone calls and messages about the passing of Tony Banks as I did but I hope you all feel that Derek has done his old friend proud. Michael Johnson, for instance, achieved a lifelong ambition by having a letter published in The Times in which he “grassed”up Mr Mr.Banks for having stolen his bicycle pump in the 1950’s. Tony Banks was not a member of the Old Tenisonian Association but he was perhaps, the best known Old Tenisonian of modern times.
On the credit side of the birth/death column, it was great to hear during the summer that Gerry and Antonette. Reardon had had a son, Cillian. His right foot has already been nailed to the floor boards of their Dublin home and he can already kick a ball further than our next contributor.
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED (OR HOW I TRAINED FOR AND MANAGED TO COMPLETE THIS YEARS FLORA LONDON MARATHON)
Last August my Dad died after having been diagnosed with cancer some six months earlier. Although this was a very sad time for family and friends, of which he had many, it was comforting to know that the last few weeks of his life were made that much more comfortable having been spent in St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham.
Many of you probably know of St Christopher’s and the fantastic work it carries out in a field that really can lay claim to the title “hardest game in the world”. I was amazed to learn, given the level of service it provides, that the hospice survives nearly entirely on charitable donations. This discovery was to lead me into one most gruelling and painful four months of my life.
After my Dad died, obviously still in a state of shock, I advised the fund raising department of the hospice that, having been a finely tuned athlete for most of my life, I’d be willing to run the London Marathon on their behalf. This news was met with one or two raised eyebrows not only from the staff of St Christopher’s (understandable given that they didn’t realise my sporting pedigree) but also from friends and family, who should have known better! So what if I was several stones overweight and hadn’t done any meaningful training since the days when I had to tie my hair in a ponytail before leaving the changing rooms! I’d show em!
Obviously, after my initial rush of enthusiasm, having applied to the London Marathon organisation to take part, I spent the next month or so praying that I didn’t get accepted, thus allowing me to play the disappointed “typical of my luck” card with some conviction. I thought my prayers had been answered when the official notification came through that I had indeed not been accepted to take part.
The next month came and went and soon I was in full Christmas piss up mode, all thoughts of the marathon banished from my mind forever. My firm’s ‘do’ had been at the Kensington Roof Gardens the Tuesday before Christmas. I somehow managed to crawl into the office the following day and settled down for a morning of nothing more testing than resting my head on my desk. About 10.00 my phone rang. I summoned up all the strength I could muster and picked up the receiver. This was to prove my undoing. On the other end was Sarah Eldon, head of fundraising at St Christopher’s. It transpired that I ‘d been lucky enough (her words not mine!) to be awarded one of the hospice’s “Gold designated runner” places for the marathon. What could I say? “ No” would have been the obvious response, but somehow “yes” came out. This time there was no escape.
Why anyone would chose running without either, carrying, kicking or catching a ball as a sport is beyond me. It’s got to be one of the most boring pastimes going. For me, my first training run was more a mental battle than a physical one. My plan was to run around Southwark Park (which to be honest is probably the best thing to do round that particular park) without stopping, about two miles. If I got as far as a mile before I stopped I’d be surprised. It was the beginning of January, the Marathon was on the 23rd April, and I was in trouble!
However, I then had a stroke of luck. My next door neighbour, a big Paddy who we’ll call Sean for that is his name, announced that he was looking to shift some of his 19 stone frame and would join me in my morning runs. It transpires that Sean had done a lot of running in his youth and not always from the local constabulary, as I had originally thought. It wasn’t long before the two milers became five milers and then ten. Towards the end of my training we would do a “long run” on a Sunday. This involved me sorting out a route, whereby we would finish back at home. This invariably involved an early morning tube journey to get to our starting point. So it was that we’d be sitting self-
Having got spectacularly drunk at the firm’s cocktail party at the end of March, the final three weeks of training saw me lay off the drink completely. And before I knew it the big day was upon me. Armed with my official St Christopher’s running vest (which was just a little too snug for my liking) with “TAFF” emblazoned across the chest, I reached my starting point in Greenwich Park about two hours before the start (par for the course for me!). I then had the dilemma whether to piss or not to piss. I opted to hang on for as long as possible and had one with about fifteen minutes to go to the start and then had about another three before the start just in case!
I finally shuffled over the starting line sometime after 10.00 and tried to ignore the number of runners, some of who seemed to be in their early nineties, tearing past me as if I was standing still. Having got through Woolwich, Charlton and Greenwich in a reasonable state, it started to dawn on me that I would soon be approaching “home territory” where I knew friends and family would be congregating to wave at my ambulance as it sped by. I hoped the fact that I was still alive and indeed still running would come as a welcome relief to them all. Before, I reached them, however, I had a small crisis on my hands. About a hundred yards in front of me, I’d spotted a runner with a false leg, going along at a fair clip. I should add at this point that this wasn’t a “Long John Silver” type of false limb I’m talking about, but one of these top of the range efforts as seen in the Para-
The other main highlight of the day was seeing Jade Goody being helped into an ambulance screaming that she was dying. If only!
Once I’d got through Docklands, I had that nice feeling when you know that, baring accidents, you’re actually going to achieve what you originally set out to do (a very rare occurrence for me). Spurred on in the last couple of miles by seeing Smithy, Kedney and O’Leary standing in what was by now monsoon conditions with their other halves, I managed to cross the finish line in a respectable 4 Hrs 44 Mins, feeling well pleased with myself.
A big thank you to all those of you who not only sponsored me, but actually paid up. Also thanks to Eddie Boyle for mentioning at the Old Boys lunch, on the Friday following the marathon, that I’d taken part and was instrumental in collecting a further £300 in retrospective sponsorship from those attending. In total, I managed to collect around £2,500.00 for St Christopher’s, money that will go someway towards helping maintain the fantastic service the hospice provides.
Well done Dave, a fantastic effort and its not too late for any of you who may wish to make a retrospective donation. You can do that by sending a cheque, payable to St.Christopher’s Hospice, to David Evans, 51 Ann Moss Way, London SE16 2TL.
Talking about athletic prowess, yesterday I went to the gym. So far so unremarkable. It is about a year since I had some pretty painful back problems. After the chiropractor had done all he could, he passed me on to a physiotherapist who devised a series of exercises to incorporate into my training regime, specifically to strengthen my core stability. A couple of these require the help of a large rubber ball, known as a Swiss ball for reasons that escape me, on which you carry out the aforementioned exercises. For my particular problem, the physiotherapist said I should sit atop the ball and shake my bum from side to side. After three or four minutes I was to go onto the next loosener which was again sitting on top of the ball and describing a figure of eight, pivoting on my bum. It’s difficult to describe in print but believe me, you would not want to be seen doing these exercises unless it was strictly necessary.
I’d been doing theses exercises, as I say, for about a year and fortunately, nobody at the gym had said a word to me, until yesterday. I was half way through my figure of eight wiggling, when an Asian lady came over to me and said… “Nice bum dancing." . She was gone before I even had the chance to go red but returned a few minutes later to inquire as to the reason for such a display. I duly and briefly explained my problem and the resultant requirement to make a fool of myself in such a way.
That afternoon I bought myself a Swiss ball so that I can continue my ‘bum dancing’ in the privacy of my own home.
The Sixth Annual School Dinners Lunch
This year’s lunch was held on Friday 28th at St.George’s Hotel, Langham Place. There were 44 attendees, six of them being first timers. We now have a core of more than 60 people who have attended a lunch in the last six years.
The food was up to it’s customary good standard and the view from the room is always uplifting. People wandered in from soon after midday and by the time they left, most were fairly merry. I’m delighted to say that during the lunch, we managed to raise an additional £150 for David “Taff” Evans, who, as you have already read, successfully completed the London Marathon, running to raise funds for St.Christopher’s Hospice, a most worthy cause.
Many of us repaired to The Cock pub in Margaret Street for an evening of speed drinking.. At some time during the evening, I lost the thread of the proceedings. During this lull in my attention span, Mickey Brown – normally a pillar of society ( but hang on, he’s a Millwall supporter! ) was refused further service at the bar due to his boorish and threatening behaviour. Keith Cathcart, in an attempt to resolve the situation was also barred! If I’d have had the faintest idea what was going on, I’d probably been barred as well.
Keith was so shocked by his treatment that he persuaded me and Roger Everitt to accompany him to the Windmill Theatre for an evening of light entertainment, which involved watching a number of young ladies performing dance routines to the accompaniment of popular music, whilst we drank more beer. I eventually managed to get Keith out of there at 2.30 am. He was enjoying the beer so much!
We all hear about lots of Friends Reunited type groups from people we know but I have never heard of any group that gets such a great turnout as School Dinners. People come because it’s great fun and a good time is had by all. Make sure you come next year! I will let our editor have next years date as soon as I can or you can contact me by phone on 01959 562888 or by e-
Thanks for the report Ed and on behalf of all of us who have attended over the last six years, thank you for all your hard work from which we have all benefited so much. I note however that you have not awarded the “most pissed” accolade this year, although you seem to have nominated a few candidates. As you may recall, last years “winner” caused a degree of turbulence or was it flatulence in the Mumblings legal department and if he felt that the award was his in perpetuity, I doubtless would hear from him again.
To maintain continuity and consistency, I feel that your ‘guilty, without trial, appeal or redress,’ approach is the only way to go. And so Slovenia, may we have your votes please, for the “most pissed” School Dinners 2006?
March 2006 June2006
Special £50 A.L. Lythgoe Special £ 50 A.Sharp
1st £25 S.Gillespie 1st £25 W.R.Gonnella
2nd £15 C.Bullen 2nd £15 K.Joyner
3rd £10 B.Mercer 3rd £10 A.H.Baker
Congratulations to all our winners and that includes all of you who didn’t actually win. Remember, without you this showbiz extravaganza would not exist and if our bid to takeover the National lottery from Camelot fails, it will not be for the want of trying. Thanks to Mick Keating, once again, for doing what he can to keep the 150 Club going. Many of his methods for attracting members are totally illegal but of course if these methods assist our dwindling finances, we should be prepared to turn as many blind eyes as are required.
Send lots of £12 to Mick Keating at:_
58 Feering Hill
Charity at home.
Tony Andrews and Greg Morbin hastily arranged a ‘charity day’ at Motspur Park on Sunday 18th June. Unfortunately, Joan and I were on a walking holiday in Devon, existing almost exclusively on a diet of cream teas and ice cream, smashing! Tony and Greg are involved with a couple of children’s charities and thought it would be a great idea to raise some additional cash whilst catching up with a few old pals.
I believe the centre-
Whilst the kids were playing on bouncy castles and generally having the run of the place in complete freedom, next up for our alpha males was a head tennis competition. This competition had apparently now superceded the cricket match in terms of importance, at least in the mind of the losing skipper, Terry Smith. Terry and his partner “Saidie” were winners by a comfortable margin as they effortlessly nodded the ball to one another with unerring accuracy, barely moving, whilst others roamed all over the ground in embarrassing efforts to even reach double figures. At least, that’s what ‘Tel’ told me.
It sounded like a great day, I am sure there must be plenty of people to thank for lots of hard work behind the scenes but I don’t know who they are. If Tony and Greg do it again, I’m sure with a little wider publicity, there will be even more cash on offer for the kids. Well done chaps.
Football and Cricket
The Football Club are hoping to field five teams for the forthcoming season, one more than last year. Unfortunately unless they pay their way, it might be there last. The Football Club have been bailed out to the tune of thousands of pounds for a number of years now and that is as it should be as they played there full part in building the Associations cash reserve over many years. It has a long and proud history and I for one, would be very sad if the Association find it necessary to close it down. There are few volunteers to help with administration, therefore the Club is both inefficient and unaccountable.
The various skippers need the strength of character to collect the money that is due them. Subscriptions and fines both and if these are not forthcoming, simply tell the offenders that, unfortunately, they are no longer welcome at the Club. We cannot continue to give anybody a free ride.
The Cricket Club have a different problem. Even Gordon Brown would be delighted with the way they run their business but numbers appear to be declining once again. Those that play are as keen and committed as ever but there are just not enough of them. Both XIs are struggling with availabilities/injuries etc. and as a consequence the 2ndXI struggle to field eleven men on a week to week basis. Somebody has even managed to get Alan Ewart to return to the fold once again.
Fortunately miracles do occasionally happen so lets hope that both our Sports Clubs can find their way out of their differing problems over the coming seasons.
Getting well soon!
In the last issue I wrote that Phil Unwin was undergoing treatment for cancer of the throat and I’m delighted to be able to report that when Phil joined us for Keating’s Classic in Donegal, he looked in great nick, apart, of course, from the Chelsea leisure wear ( the same goes for you too, Carl Austin! ). Phil was hitting the ball just as far as ever, although I’d have to say that his buggy driving seems to have developed a more devil may care attitude.
At the same time that Phil was fighting his fight, I learned that Al Baines was going through similar treatments. Alan had one or two set backs but when I spoke to him toward the end of June, he too was making a good recovery and was bright and optimistic as he always is. Brownie and I are going to take him out for a beer towards the end of summer. Alan sends his best wishes to all of you. By the time you read this Alan and Hazel will have settled into there new home, to be nearer to their daughters and grand-
No.7 Rookward Gardens
Gi’s a job.
Two OTs have recently taken up new positions in their chosen professions. Firstly, former School Captain, Stephen Conway was recently consecrated Bishop of Ramsbury in the Diocese of Salisbury. Secondly, as some of you will know, earlier this year Gary Kedney decided he had had enough of City-
A second snippet of Old School news also comes courtesy of Alex Robb. Alex has let me know that Alan Gibbs, former music master of many years standing, is hoping to start a web-
Editors’ do it standing up.
Sorry that this edition is later than planned but my motivation suffered two serious blows during the summer. Firstly was the news of the closure of The Ram Brewery at Wandsworth, home to many of our members favourite beers from the excellent Young&Co. Coupled with this dastardly pre-
During the writing of the Mumblings, I normally have something to say about whatever national teams are competing at the time and I realise that I have said nothing about the World Cup. Our golden, bejewelled, generation of footballers didn’t do too well did they? I think they might have been better off being managed by Gerald Ratner!
That’s about it for this issue. The next issue, my last as editor, will have Jeff Lamb’s account of Micky Keating’s golf society trip to Co.Donegal. Incidentally, Jeff would like to invite any TAEWAD members to help celebrate his 50th birthday with a golf day at the East Sussex on the 12th March 2007. £50 gets you breakfast, lunch and 18 holes. Please contact Jeff at Jlambit@aol.com. I may or may not have an account from Roger Parker’s OTA Golf Society Day. These guys have been at this for over thirty years now, here’s hoping they enjoy plenty more of them. I will have Jim Butcher’s Club Captain report from the Cricket Club and would love to be able to write that the Football Club are finally beginning to meet all their responsibilities. It might also be your last opportunity to have your say on any matters OT, so if you have been keeping your powder dry, now is the time.
The job of editing the Mumblings is still under discussion. Roger Everitt has said that he may be prepared to give the job a go but that might have been because Eddie Boyle and Keith Cathcart were sitting on him in some dodgy bar or another, until he agreed. If anybody else thinks the job worthwhile, please contact me, or any other Club Officer.
By the time of the next issue, Joan and I hope to have moved. I shan’t tempt fate by printing our new details until it’s all settled. Patrick will also have married Siobhan, in Essex of all places. What sort of start to married life is that? When I first started this job, they were both still at school. How time flies! Talking of marriages in strange places, whilst in Co.Donegal, there were very strong rumours that Dawn was threatening to make an honest man of Terry Smith. The deed may take place in Australia during the Ashes series, which the Smiths’ and the Tylers’ are gracing with their presence. So long as there is a retrospective stag night, I fully support the motion.
Diary note. The Ground Company Quiz, written and presented by Alan Baker, will take place on Friday 24th November. All profits go to the Ground Company to assist them in their endeavours to maintain and improve the ground. A cause worthy of all our support and an evening for everyone to enjoy.
Thanks to all the usual helpers and of course contributors without whom there is no Mumblings. Keep well!
Bob Blewer Tel. No.0208 647 4670
286 London Road