Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bid Now

After the Dubeck debacle in Birmingham, I have resolved to rid this house of all things football, well not everything but most of the football clutter that we have acquired over the past years. Cleansing our living space and inspired by repeats of Cash in the Attic and Dejunk your life can only help free my mind completely of the round ball game and prevent my thoughts being invaded by Football rubbish at vital moments in my life. So while my Dancing career is on hold I have embraced the world of ebay and am quietly putting a whole load of husband’s football memorabilia up for auction. Any money raised going towards our next course of dance classes or a weekend away as far as possible from a football pitch.

Well, let me tell you, this ebay thing is addictive. So far I have new friends in Japan, Finland and Uzbekistan all asking me questions about various bits of rubbish that husband had under the bed in the spare room. I have embellished the description ever so slightly on some items to guarantee a sale; I have had daily contact with a Mr Takaido from Japan who eventually bought my Husband’s England shirt with David Beckham’s name on the back for well over three figures. I got the impression that he thought it may have been a genuine shirt from Golden Balls, and not a replica worn by Wooden Balls to fly the flag on our French Holidays.
Mr Takaido was also keen to purchase other items of Beckham’s clothing much of which was lost in translation, plus a request for scented pants which I can only take to mean a house plant of some sort, possibly an Orchid that I believe they value quite highly in the East. He seemed very pleased with his purchase and sent me a thank you E mail which read as follows:

“HI! Your Pole arrived this morning, that is very wonderful condition!!!!!
I appreciate it very carefully very much.

I will use that for housework carefully
However I say maximum thanks to your honest serious correspondence

And, it is the condition which dealings with ebay cannot be evalauted as.

From your Japanese friend


Mr Takaido “

The universal language of ebay, who said the Internet has made the world a smaller place? He left positive feedback with the comment “High ebayer” which was nice.

This past week I have sold a comedy Alan Sunderland wig to a lady from the Lebanon, and a Paul Gascgoine rubber facemask to a man in New Zealand. There has been great interest in the many football programmes that I have put on the site, and the half a dozen signed replica shirts that I have advertised as “buy it now” items were snapped up for £5 a piece. I have also managed to clear the house of seven pairs of football boots, with, although I may say so myself, a stunning piece of marketing. Advertising the football boots singularly, forces the prospective buyer into looking through the other items you have for sale for the matching boot, thus exposing the prospective buyer to further bidding opportunities and increasing the possibility of sales. The same ruse worked well with a pair of goalkeeping gloves.

On Saturday afternoon I was glued to my computer, tea and cake readily to hand. I had several items coming to their conclusion, a comedy Jimmy Hill vampire outfit going through the roof with some bidders from Eastern Europe and two bidders called Spearson9 and greenhofbros slugging it out over a pair of Rosettes from the 1978 Cup final.
Husband was in a ditherspaz over son’s game the following morning. Even though he only runs up and down the line waving his arms, my husband likes to wear his football boots, to enhance the appearance of genuine football knowledge. He could only find one, and was turning the cupboard out in his efforts to find the missing boot. A sudden thought entered my head and I clicked hastily onto my “items to sell list” There was only one boot left to sell, a click on the item revealed it to be the boot my husband was looking for, I had been thrown by the one legged footballer from Ethiopia who only required a left boot. I had checked the number of boots for sale found it to be even, and forgotten about the African Monopode. My check of an even number of boots for sale had let me down. At that moment husband appeared at my shoulder and saw the boot,

“Why have you got a picture of my boot?” he asked,

“Look it’s a long story that involves a lot of issues and a footballer from a one legged tribe in Africa, the bottom line is that your beloved boot is up for auction it has five minutes remaining, I am not prepared to affect my feedback score so am unable to withdraw it, if you really need it you will have to get some one to bid for you ”
I blurted out

Silence………… then

“My brother”

And he dashed into the kitchen to ring his brother. With a minute remaining the bids for the boot started to come in, I recognised my brother inlaw’s ebay moniker and followed the bidding carnage that followed. The Monopode from Ethiopia was obviously cock of the walk, or cock of the hop, in his new boot and my husband was having to bid frantically to stave off further African interest, finally winning the item with a bid of £43.55 plus postage, which I was happy to waive as he was able to pick up the item in person.
Husband returned to the room, I handed him his boot that I had fetched from my secret ebay stash and he handed me a cheque. He left the room shut the door and I could hear him picking up the phone. Several minutes later my son came charging down the stairs with a radio in his hands

“Mum, Mum Dad is on the radio”

And there he was, on national radio, Five Live’s 606 programme, the evening phone in where disgruntled fans phone in to discuss their team’s travails. This call was different, more like listening to a call to the Samaritans,

Husband: “Alan, its not my team I want to talk about today, I just need someone to talk to”

, And he explained the events of the last half hour

The usually outraged and indignant Alan had softened his tone.

“That’s outrageous son, but thanks for talking, we will always be here for you when you need to talk again”

The remainder of the show was filled with phone calls from downtrodden football fans, all with their own tale to tell and empathising with my husband’s plight. The usual two-hour rant about referees, players and managers had turned into a radio version of Trisha.

I think I may have gone too far this time and have torn up his cheque.

Friday, September 19, 2008

An evening with Anton

Hallelujah, Match postponed; apparently the opposition could not raise a team (this game is dying a death I tell you) Sergeant Bonkers and his junior assistant have had to seek new areas of entertainment and inspired by all things CERN and scientific are attempting to build their own Hadron Collider in the garden. Some flexible two-inch pipe has been arranged in a circle around the garden with two hair dryers attached to slots cut in the side. A large chart on the wall of our Kitchen indicates that they are to attempt to accelerate two ping-pong balls in opposite directions around the collider by turning the hairdryers to no less than 5. At a critical juncture, over which it seems to me they have no control, they will bump the two ping pong balls into each other and as if by magic a third ping pong ball will be created. If the experiment can be made to work with ping pong balls the whole shebang will be scaled up to provide a ready supply of Footballs for their team.

At the moment they seem to be on some scientific team building exercise which involves Sergeant Bonkers pushing son and heir around in his old baby stroller wearing a Cyberman voice simulator pretending to be Steven Hawking; Looking to me for laughs when husband handed the faux Hawking some leaves from the herb garden and asked him for a brief history of Thyme.

I did laugh, but only because I am escaping Bonkers Central for the night. A few friends and I have tickets to see an “evening with Anton” The Dreamboat Dubeck plus guests in the bright lights of Birmingham. We are staying overnight at the finest Novotel Brum can provide, and will be returning at our leisure the following day, when I will be called upon to clear up the mess made at home from husband and son’s attempts to create a new universe, or at the very least another ping-pong ball.

Ginny picked me up and we set off north, two hours of irreverent chit chat about nothing in particular to some background music provided by Abba. The Novotel was located, thanks to the nice man in the Sat Nav, and we headed to our rooms to prepare ourselves for Anton. I was to share with Ginny who produced a bottle of fizz as a “livener” for the four of us before we hit the town. Fizz consumed we headed for an Italian Restaurant near the hotel, a delicately flavoured dish of pasta, some perky Pinot Grigio and some even perkier Italian/ Brummie waiters were followed by a bucket of Ice Cream and a Taxi to theatre land. On getting out of the taxi a large black car drew up outside the theatre with the number plate DAN53 1, the occupant of the back seat emerged and there he was.

“Its Anton!”

Squealed Ginny,

Resplendent in Cape, Cravat, Cane and Fedora, flashing his smile in our direction at Ginny’s reaction, he shuffled his feet and was away sweeping into the theatre. Weakened at the knees by our encounter with the man of our dreams, we wobbled into the auditorioum and settled down for two hours of dance heaven.
It started with Anton running through a ten minute dance routine with various partners, a little bit of Paso, Rumba and Samba before putting on his jacket for a little tango, mostly Latin dances which is brave in itself as he is known for his expertise in the rise and fall and all things ballroom. A half hour of chat, jokes and questions followed, as he just sat on a stool and sparkled. His early life doing tap, his preference for dance over sport (Yes!), how flattered he was to have become a Gay Icon, denying rumours that Bruce Forsyth was his natural father, and revealing an ambition to become the next James Bond, or at the very least the man in the Milk Tray advert. A short interval and then he was back. A beautiful tuxedo and slicked back hair it was Ballroom time, First a quickstep, and boy was it quick, from the waist up it was all elegance and poise, from the waist down - a blur. Next a Waltz in unison with seven other couples, technically superb and no one got hurt, as they did when we tried it in our dance class.

And then it was just Anton, on his own, walking among the audience, looking for a partner to help him with a foxtrot,

And then he was there,

Right in front of me

Asking me,

Yes me.

OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD (as my daughter would say)

He took my hand led me to the stage and then it was just the two of us, the audience didn’t exist, he had me in his arms, I could smell his honeyed breath, see his chiselled chin, gaze into his sparkling eyes as he led, yes led not hauled, me around the floor, rising and falling, our bodies moving in time in what for me was a life changing moment, until I felt the sudden urge to speak.
With a brain turned to mush from grape juice and the power of Anton’s prescence the only thing I could come up with was

“ Who, who, who who do you support?”

NOOOOOO bloody football has invaded my brain and is making me ask stupid questions.

Anton bought the dance to a close and led me back to my seat whispering from the corner of his mouth to me as we went

“ Look love, we don’t talk when we’re dancing, Tits and Teeth that’s all you had to do, and didn’t you listen earlier in the show when I said I didn’t like sport”

Chastened by my encounter the remainder of the show was a haze, we got back to the hotel where a Giggling Ginny kept stroking my arm and saying that I smelt of Anton, and I climbed into bed reflecting on the fact that Football had penetrated deeper into my psyche than I thought. I could have asked him about shoes, clothes, toothpaste, but in my moment of fuzziness football pushed its way to the front and made me look stupid in front of my soft shoed superstar.
The journey home passed without incident, bar several stops for a hungover Ginny. The house was a tip when I returned, no ping pong balls had been produced or black holes created, my Coldplay CD had been worn out after repeat playing of “The Scientist” and husband and son were settled down in front of the midday match still in their lab coats but all out of scientific theories. Such is the power of football to distract the mind at possible life changing moments. If Einstein had been a Watford fan we would never have had any relativity and if Eddison had been a keen follower of Exeter we would never have had any light bulbs, or was it lighthouses? I don’t know I’m going to bed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here I go again

Summer time has past and gone, and here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known, like a victim I was born to walk alone, but I’ve made up my mind, Bloody hell David Coverdale and Whitesnake where did that come from? Husband has some sensational photos of himself in his perm, headband and spandex trousers phase during his late teens, and he wonders why he never even held a girl’s hand until he was nineteen.
Well I can empathise with David’s wise words as I travel down what feels like the only road that I have ever known at this time of the year, the start of the chuffing football season. We only had a couple of weeks away from the dreaded game, but husband and son have renewed vim and vigour for the round ball rubbish that will occupy their every waking thought for the next nine months. Several fantasy teams have been selected, new boots and kit have been purchased, that will need replacing in three months as the superstar who eats us out of house and home grows another foot, (not a third foot but a foot in height) Football will completely dominate the television, eclipsing new series of ER, House and Medium.
Goodness knows why but husband and son’s team have actually managed to attract some new players this season - don’t they know? There should at least be some new mums to chat to.

One unwelcome presence on the touchline will be Brandi who has managed to ingratiate herself with all and sundry (I wonder how) First it was an attempt to start a gun club in the village with a poster in the shop window showing Brandi in Gold bikini, foot up on a style with a shot gun over her shoulder under the title “Come Shoot with Brandi” this aroused great interest amongst the beaters and shooters of the village before the local policeman dissuaded Xena Warrior princess with some guff about appropriate dress and gun ownership going hand in hand in this country.
Not to be deterred she has persuaded a couple of like minded mums to form a cheerleader troupe who have threatened to perform pitchside during selected games. Several boys horrified at the thought of their mothers shaking their thing “States style” left the club, forcing Brandi to recruit from outside the footballing sphere, Bingo Wings Beryl from the over 60s a particular cause for concern to the few who turned up to watch rehearsals.
My own avenue of release from the game has currently been denied me, The Dance classes that we so studiously attended last year have been postponed until further notice, Guido and Stephanie having been detained in Guido’s native Italy after reports of lewd behaviour on a yacht in the Bay of Naples. Apparently the three masted schooner that was taking them and a crowd of fifty or more on a day trip, offered countless opportunities for Stephanie’s pole work, Guido joining in by tearing open the back of Stephanie’s Blouse to improvise some flogging with a cat of nine tails, finishing the display with some spectacular flag work in the rigging that bought the house down. Unfortunately the whole display has since featured on youtube and the Schooner owner, upset at the adverse publicity, pressed charges against the Hornpipe hoofers, so we await their return. I will however need some non footballing activity to get me through the next few weeks so am currently on the look out for anything that will occupy husband and I for one or more nights a week that has nothing to do with sport.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Plage Olympiad

So here I am again, stuck on my own in France while Husband and son set about their next global sporting challenge. Its not so bad sat here by the sea with something dry and white next to a huge dish rippling with muscles. Not Daniel Craig but a bucket of “Moules al a crème” and half a bottle of Muscadet, succour to a lone female who can quietly contemplate the French life that passes before her while husband and son prepare at their Spartan training camp at the other end of the beach for the final event of their Campsite Olympiad.
I am constantly comparing the French female with my own sisters from the hood back in Blighty. Madame exudes style, is well dressed for all occasions and can walk elegantly in heels on cobbles. Faced with a Saturday morning on the touchline, Madame would glide through the match with sustained indifference, a gallic shrug at defeat, a brief bravo at victory, encourage their young charges to exchange kisses with the opposition then meet up with the opposition coach for an adult afternoon assignation.
Pharmacies are prominent wherever you go in Gaul, all display a flashing green cross outside and are open all hours; no drugs or painkillers of any consequence are available, although an extensive range of expensive skin creams and double strength hair dyes can be obtained in emergencies. Now that may sound a little catty, there are many aspects of the French soccermom that I envy and admire, I just keep a few thoughts in my head to strike back when they look condescendingly at me in last season’s flip flops and my superdrug sunglasses – Vive le difference!

So back to my current plight by the beach with wine and shellfish, this is the last day of our sojourn and we will be lucky to leave this camp site alive. On our first evening in the bar we were treated to the thunderbolt and his Jamaican buddies winning the gold medal in the relay, this made for a convivial atmosphere among the international gathering in the bar. A “blinged up” Russian family particularly ecstatic that the Americans had lost the relay, Brits hooped and hollered, French “bravoed”, Dutch cheered and then fell out, a Belgium family smoked pipes while a German family drank beer from large glasses. Post race my husband and son bonded with like-minded sporting types and drew up a schedule for a Campsite Olympics, Father and son teams competing in various events.
First up was the two man Luge, fastest pair down the swimming pool slide. The Germans were first down setting a competitive time, the Russians followed it up with a quicker time, before my husband and son made their way up to the start. The French pair stepped forward and objected to their attire; baggy short type trunks were not allowed in this pool, they would have to change or concede the event. After much mutterings about “cheap French tricks” a light switched on in husband’s head, asking for five minutes he returned to the athletes village – our mobile home, emerging a minute later with my son, towels wrapped around both their waists.
As they passed me I whispered sternly” you’ll have us deported if you do this naked, please tell me you’ve got something on under there” He assured me he had, before climbing the steps and removing his towel, to reveal a comedy posing pouch with elephant trunk that he always bought on holiday- “just in case”. My son had on some boxer shorts with the bum cheeks cut away, a trickle of blood on my husband’s left buttock suggested that he had also hastily shaved for the occassion. Off they went and as my Husband later explained after taking maximum points for the two man Luge, with the drag coefficient reduced to zero, nobody stood a chance!Velodrome next, a slow bicycle race around the camp site followed by a sprint around the perimeter. Despite the plucky Brits wearing their cycling helmets the wrong way around to increase drag during the slow bicycle race, they were pushed into third behind the Belgians and French. The Dutch won the sprint as they predicted, the senior member having the biggest pair of thighs I have ever seen on a man, and all painted orange for the occasion. Back to the pool where my husbands aerodynamic swimming helmet of conical candle and rubber glove failed to live up to expectation, although some children, poolside, did tick off “narwhal” in their Eye spy book. A late entry by the Swiss took the archery before we moved to the beach for the final event the two-man soccer. The Russians and Germans played off for the Bronze medal, with the French and English competing for Gold. It’s a tiny pitch, a tiny ball and a short game played by tiny minds. Husband has rallied as many Brits as he can to come out and support, the French on home soil have a huge advantage. Watching from a distance I can see that they have scored two goals each, my son, closing in on goal, is felled by the French father. Cries of “Foul” from the travelling supporters, and with a minute remaining my husband has a chance to win the game for Good old Albion. Pushing my son away he strikes the mini ball around the French wall through the goal and hits a Frenchman giving donkey rides on the beach. Husband ecstatic at the Gold medal strike runs away arms aloft cheering, only to be stopped by the French donkey man’s roar. Husband having devoured every book about Wellington’s campaign while lying by the pool (just to stir it up a little) went into infantry mode“ Form a square, form a square” my husband impeached the watching support, “French Cavalry, see how they shape, fine fellows these!” as the puce donkey walker and his asses plodded up the beach. Husband produced a pair of Wellingtons, Cape and Bi Corn hat fashioned from newspaper and began the opening lines of “Waterloo” before the Cavalry Major drew himself up to his full height, delivered a torrent of Gallic vitriol before departing with a loud “Pah!” Husband and son embarking on a lap of honour of the beach, I think it will be Cornwall next year.