Some Ramblings

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….


18 thoughts on “Some Ramblings

  1. Oh, I miss football. And I do like it when small teams create upsets. I shall cheer for Histon.
    Even football wouldn’t deter me from hibernation, though. I would happily create a winter nest for myself, so that when I woke up on sunny days there was tea, rich tea biscuits, and Jane Austen. Then, ‘Oh goodness me, it’s 3.30pm and completely dark, must be time to sleep for another couple of weeks.’

  2. “Not bad for a village team”? God, I love the British. No one does understatement better. They disdain excitement, verve, and passion. They choose dignity, restraint and a flinty reluctance to overestimate their chances. They could have co-opted “Yes We Can”, but no. The closest they’d get would be “Well, if the ground’s soft and the weather holds, with a following wind we might have a shot at it.” Which is hard to fit on a placard. And why they don’t have a President. Apparently the Revolution keeps dying at committee level; they just drown it in the qualifying statements, then hand round the Spam sandwiches.

  3. Such excitement for the village of Histon! Being home to the champions is quite a coup. I’m sure everyone is basking in their glory 🙂

    December brings me the same trouble – I can never seem to get anything done. And I blame it on the lack of daylight. I tend to shut down when the sun does, so by 6 pm my productivity is done.

    Good luck with your student reports.

  4. I’m glad this is the last week of teaching for you (I’ve got two more, but they are relatively low stress), and I hope you find some energy in all this darkness and gloom to get to the things you want to do. But hibernation isn’t bad either!

  5. But if you hibernated you’d miss the next round of the Cup. Don’t pretend you aren’t all excited about it! It’s part of being British wanting the little guy to win – until they meet your own team of course. Roll on Histon.

  6. Well, I never thought I’d see the day when Litlove would be writing about football! But, as with everything, you do it beautifully. Now, put your apron on and get back to churning that butter.

  7. Oh my gosh Litlove, I’m still laughing. Between you, your husband and son, all with great wit and humor, I would so love to be a fly at your house. No doubt I would quickly meet my end though as I’d almost certainly fall off the edge of the bowl into the soup and drown because I was laughing so hard. I hope you get a nice break after the term is done. And since you are the authority figure you can always fall back on the “do as I say not as I do” excuse.

  8. Thanks for brightening a gloomy morning! Love that banner. Shows there’s still a little sanity in an over-the-top-about-anything-in-the-media mad world. Agree with hibernation and hope you’re reports are soon done.

  9. Hear hear and hurray for Histon. You should really write about football more often since you do it so well! Was chuckling at the thought of Mr Litlove feeling suddenly all sedated and choosing a nap over watching his village heroes. Good luck with the last week of teaching and those reports. They will be done before you know it.

  10. Emily – so true! We are a nation in love with understatement. Not sure what it says about us beyond that…. 🙂 Musings – those are fine and beautiful hibernation plans you have there. May I join in? I’ll swap you some biscuits for another match report! Anne- finally I can say, nearly there. I did three reports yesterday, which is better than nothing (she says hopefully). Hope the end is in sight for you, too! Hugs! Jean – I will readily confess that I don’t know much about Gaddis yet myself. Except that he is the author of large and uncompromising novels written from the seventies to the turn of the century, which some people consider as marking the transition from modernism to postmodernism. This novel is about counterfeiters, and as far as I can tell, religion, love and art. It’s a pyrotechnical display of lyric skills, but not a particularly easy read. Dorothy and I have both posted our first impressions on the site, so it is starting to get going! Becca – the local news is certainly cock-a-hoop! And so very glad that someone else finds it unnatural to work in the darkness. I get worse as I get older, not better. Dorothy – it has helped a lot, knowing that term is ending, and I’m taking some days off now to be really lazy and unproductive, to give me that holiday feeling and to have a small taste of hibernation!! So glad to know that your last few weeks aren’t too hectic. Chartroose – that was the best news I’d had all day! I am absolutely delighted! Scriptor – yes, of course, the problem will come when we’re up against someone more unlikely to be in the cup than us! LOL! Do you think Swansea counts in that role? Emily – yers, Ma’am, I’ll ‘ave yer butter ready in a shake o’ a lamb’s tail, Ma’am. And you are very sweet to be kind about my football commentary. I don’t know how people find things to say about matches. Oh look, he kicked the ball! Oh look now he’s kicked it. Oh dear, he missed, how embarrassing. 😉 Stefanie – you are so very welcome round here, as a fly or as a Stefanie. We do so appreciate an audience to our jokes as sometimes, it’s a bit of a battle as to who gets to be straight man. But we’d like you anyway. I am still chuckling at the thought of me as an authority figure – I’m going to try that one out on the boys when they get back from school and work! 🙂 Bookboxed – I’m so pleased – I loved that banner too. It was the best part of the match for me. Hibernation is great and people should be allowed to do it, I say. Oh and never mind about the typo. In the gloom of the morning I didn’t even notice it! Pete – you are so sweet, but I think that is everything I could possibly say about football used up now. I had a laugh at the thought of Mr Litlove sedated, but possibly for different reasons than you. Teaching done now, hurrah! Reports will be done… eventually… 😉

  11. I saw this report on the TV too! Wouldn’t normally, but I happened to be in Sheffield and it was on the local BBC prog, being close to Leeds. My mate was a bit surprised, as we vegged out in our hotel room, to find me yelling “that’s where my friend lives” at the TV. He got over it 😉

  12. I didn’t make the link, even though I knew where you live and where the match was going on! The Bears got excited for you and promise to do the same the first weekend in January when you play Swansea. As you can tell, ours is a very sporting household.

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