Wednesday, August 25, 2010
There are two things in life that I’ve never understood, and until a couple of weeks ago they were football and machismo. I’ve travelled the world, I had a successful career with the bank, I’ve loved, lost and seen the sun rise and set on three continents, but I’ve never understood why blokes derive such pleasure from kicking a ball about. I guess the fact I don’t have a very sporting outlook on life contributes. As for machismo (and manliness in general) I guess it’s more the case that male bravado has managed to evade me all my long life; I’ve chased it, but it has always remained just out of my grasp.
Ah, but you’ll have noticed the caveat, that bit at the start where I said ‘until a couple of weeks ago’, I know you will only have read that a few seconds ago but I just don’t trust short term memory any more: my own has somewhat atrophied since I retired and I’ve never been too sure of yours.
Anyway I digress, where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about water wasn’t I? No, football and manliness wasn’t it? Ah yes! Actually the three are linked, and that’s what I wanted to tell you – last night (just for a few moments) I found a way to enjoy football, and quite remarkably it’s precisely because of the machismo and not in spite of it!
I have recently followed the current downsizing trend by moving from that nice place I had in Monewden to a bungalow in Woodbridge. My new ‘castle’ is in a cul-de-sac about one hundred yards from The Seal (handy for lunch I can tell you) and if I tell you my garden backs onto the football ground then you should have a clear idea of where I now live. There’s a public footpath that runs down the side of my house, and that’s where what was a problem became quite the entertaining boon for me.
A few months after I moved in I noticed that a patch of dahlias along my border was looking a bit sickly; the petals looked a trifle rain battered and the stems were turning a horrid brown. The plants that I rather tastefully companion planted either side (I won’t trouble you with details) were still thriving; I’m pleased to report that years of working in an office hasn’t diminished my green fingers. Oh, and another thing, these poor dahlias stunk! Not much else to do these days, so I went through every RHS manual I could lay my hands on and even took a cutting down to the garden centre (Notcutts) but this blight looked like it was going to remain a mystery.
About six weeks ago I was feeling a little under the weather so took myself to bed early. Now this is where things get a little complicated – despite the fact I live in a bungalow the bedroom is in fact upstairs in the loft space, something to do with planning permission when the place was built is my guess. Anyway, it was a Wednesday night which means that there was a football match on at the club behind my garden, and they have awful floodlights so I was at the window drawing the curtains when I spotted something that damn near took the biscuit: Each time there’s a football match a feckless horde of lager swilling morons spew out of the The Seal and use the public footpath beside my property as a short cut to the football club. Now naturally I have no objection to the public using this presumably ancient right of way to reach their destination, but what I do object to is any of the great unwashed using my hedge as a latrine.
I decided to bide my time and make observations from my window each night there was a football match for the next few weeks. Much to my surprise the same horrid little oik was urinating through my hedge every damned night Woodbridge FC played! Can the lager they’re serving at The Seal be so rank that this fellow can’t make it from pint to pitch without emptying his excess on my dahlias?
As curious as I was about the medical peculiarities of this chap’s peanut size bladder I decided to forgo any investigative interview and proceeded directly toward a plan to save my garden border. In preparation for the exodus that would invariably pass my garden before last night’s match I stuck a fork into the edge of the lawn and jury-rigged a well aimed hosepipe to the handle. I sat in one of the cushioned garden chairs by the tap and waited for my prey.
Regular as Swiss time I heard the rambunctious rabble of the crowd of football fans passing on the footpath, and then as expected I saw one of their number fall back slightly and approach my hedge. I strained my ears and the very second I heard him unleash his stream I turned on the tap, but just for a second or two. As I hoped my aim on the hose was straight and true, and the time I spent in careful preparation was rewarded with a desperate yelp from the other side of the hedge. A zip went zip and two feet stepped hastily away.
My plan didn’t end with a bit of light crotch soaking, oh no. In fact the final part of the plan was played out by others unknown to me, just the way I hoped it would be. The reaction of this fellows peers upon seeing him return from a mission (that they were all to aware of the details of ) with a soaked crotch will hopefully be enough to persuade him not to make his usual stop the next time his team plays.
So there you go, football and machismo turned to my advantage, finally!