The first I heard about it was from the postman.
‘I was stopped on the Green the other day,’ he told me, as I took the post from him, ‘by a man waving a camera in my face. Did I know what all the fuss was about? I told him I was the last person to ask, it’s not as if I even like football, but d’you know what? They filmed me anyway.’
‘Fame at last!’ I called out to him gaily as he cycled away into the dank, cold gloom. It’s far from usual to be mugged by people waving microphones where I live, but it turns out our local football team is doing rather well. It’s not the kind of thing I’d generally mention on here, but it was very entertaining to have film crews hogging the entrance roads to the village on Sunday. The fens greeted the incoming strangers with the usual cussedness; it poured with rain the entire day and was freezing cold, not the weather to encourage crowds of supporters to turn out. But the Histon village team beat Leeds to get to the third round of the FA cup, which in footballing terms is apparently analogous to Cinderella going to the ball and dancing with a prince. My husband, rather over-excited, watched the whole thing on the television, which meant I got to listen to the commentary.
‘Could this small village have ever imagined such a thing happening?’ the presenter gushed. ‘The people of Histon have never had a day like this before!’ It’s true that in my small village life, when I’m not milking goats or churning butter, or simply waiting to abase myself before the aristocracy, I’ve never entertained the aspiration of being patronized by a man talking rubbish on the television. This is what happens when you don’t dare to dream.
Also entertainingly, the club manager happened to teach my son sport at the local junior school, this was several years ago now, obviously, before he had pertained to these heights of glory, and back then he did not have the greatest reputation. In fact he is known colloquially around our house as ‘The Man Who Hates Children’. It’s amazing how canny your average 8-year-old can be. ‘If he taught my son football,’ my husband mused, ‘why isn’t he any good?’
The locals are taking the situation laconically, however. The cameras focused in on one of the banners being waved in the crowd, and it read: ‘Histon Football Club. Not bad for a village team.’ Now that, I thought, was class. The next round will also be at home, I understand, having watched for the first time in my life the draw being made for the next series of matches. I think it will be the last time, too. It was just like the lottery only with zero panache. My husband is the only family member showing true village pride and taking the whole thing in the correct spirit, and if we get much further through the competition I can see I may have to sedate him.
I know, I know, I should be writing about books rather than this drivel, but in my defense it was half past nine before I got on the computer and thus too late in the evening for my poor brain to produce anything serious in the way of reviews. This is the last teaching week for me for this term, hurray, and then I must do all my student reports. I’m feeling a real charlatan at the moment, instructing my students how to be efficient and to get down to the tasks they don’t enjoy, when I have fallen woefully behind on my administration. I always seem to lose all my time at this end of the year. With Christmas preparations ahead, and teeny-weeny days of hardly any daylight, I tend to discount the possibility of getting any real work done between now and the New Year and that’s ridiculous. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t get some writing done and this year, when I have the benefit of not being exhausted by a full teaching term, I ought to make an effort. Or perhaps I’ll just read a few more books. The Reading Gaddis blog is officially up and running from today onwards, where you’ll find a group of fearless bloggers tackling The Recognitions. It’s not too late to join in, if you’d like to, or feel free to read along with us. I think it’s going to be quite an experience, and it’s going to give me the sense of achieving something over the course of these cold dark days when I wonder why we don’t still hibernate….