Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Friday evenings, simply the best night of the week. A child of the 70s, the start of the weekend is vaguely remembered as being spent at my Grandma and Grandad's house. Now, if Grandma was out at bingo, then it was beef dripping on toast with Grandad, a delicacy I have not consumed since. If Grandad was out at the pigeon club, then it was push button TV and Tales of the Unexpected (if I was lucky enough to stay up till 9 o' clock) and maybe a game of pontoon, a game I now name less favourably as Black Jack. Remember the dealer always wins. Into the 80's and that particular day of the week become more televisually enriched with the advent of Channel 4. I also had my first paper-round, which I dutifully undertook to the best of my abilities, except for when I (became a slouchy, grouchy teenager) overslept and my customers had no choice but to 'enjoy' receiving their daily read at 10, or even 11 in the morning. With rose-tinted spectacles I also recall that Friday was the night when I had to collect in the paper money (from the deliveries). It was always a sprint as I'd rush round asking for payment for the week with the aim of making it back home to watch Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes. To this day, even if Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are both absurdly excellent as the contemporary super sleuth, Basil will remain forever my favourite, especially aside his brilliant bumbling oaf of a Watson played by Nigel Bruce (who I had to look up as very few remember who plays understudy or who comes second). Holmes always got his man, except for when it was 'The Woman'.
Another training session planned today, on how not to get hit, or rather how to get hit without causing (too much) damage. At some stage I might progress to attack... Thinking about sparring the other night, it was quite interesting to be in my head for a moment, there was certainly a surprise or two. At one point when I was getting hit with a flurry of frantic shots, I started thinking. My first reaction was you haven't got time to think, but once this panic had subsided the thinking continued, protect yourself, look for an opening, read what he's doing. There was almost a rhythm, a predictability to it, I might have been played like a piano with padded fists for a short while but this piano was thinking of how to hit back. That's got to be encouraging hasn't it?
The level of squeamish and wimpishness, knows no bounds. Eliza is my cat. Loaned by my friend (she of the 'wet' fighting cats) and although I enjoy having her on my lap we sort of have an uneasy truce at present. For a little while there were presents deposited around the house. One morning, I woke up and noticed that Eliza had kindly presented a gift just outside my daughter's room. Phew, thought I, she's always the last one to wake up in the house and then it takes her an age for her to get out of bed, she's five (but already a teenager). Time to get downstairs, grab a dustpan and brush and sweep up the offending article. Distracted as soon as I got downstairs I was minutes instead of seconds. Cue the noise of footsteps on the stairs. Please let it be the Boys, please let it be the Boys. Out of luck this morning as my beautiful daughter emerges at the bottom of the stairs with doodoo in one hand and dead mouse hanging by it's tail in the other. Look 'Papa, Eliza's bought me a gift.' Oh, my God! I wanted to scream but being the brave grown-up father I'm supposed to be I offered the dustpan as the receptacle in which to deposit the present. Thank you so much (whoever) for a daughter braver than I. The ebb and flow of life, who's the cat or the mouse in all of this?