Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Was There

On the bike today. The old legs don’t feel up to it but they often don’t, yet once I actually started pedalling they never seem as bad as they did before I started. Again this seems to hold true today. The rain holds off as well but it’s a tad chilly.

Apparently it’s exactly 20 years today since the notorious poll tax riots in central London. I remember it well and this is one of the few times when I can genuinely say, I was there. No I hadn’t gone there to riot or even to protest as it happens. I got involved by complete accident. Honest. A friend and I had travelled down to London that day to see Derby play at Chelsea. This is slightly ironic because in those days Stamford Bridge was the place you went if you wanted a good riot, not Trafalgar Square, but the match went off without incident and in glorious sunshine as I recall. The score, if you’re interested, was 1-1. We even spent the morning by the Thames watching the build up to the varsity boat race. It was, until later at least, a very leisurely day.

Then post-match we headed into central London to meet up with another friend and to grab a beer or two. We hopped on to the tube and then got off to complete mayhem. As a chap ran past us brandishing a scaffolding pole we quickly decided that the best thing to do was a complete u-turn, get back on the tube and move on but... with a great sense of timing, they suddenly decided to close the tube station for safety reasons. Who’s safety? Certainly not ours. So we set out across the war zone to find one that was open. It was an interesting walk as we waded through the broken glass of the shattered shop frontages and past the overturned and sometimes burning cars. Then my mate suddenly yells ‘duck’. Just in time as a bottle smashes on the wall just above my head. Nice.

Eventually we made it to an open tube station, got the hell of there, found our friend and got that beer from a safe distance. Watford I think it was. 20 years... is it really? Seems like yesterday.

My work colleague is on his bike today too and we kind of race home. I lead off but he jumps ahead of me at a roundabout. More fool him, it’s terribly windy, and so I opt to stay behind him, in his slipstream, the rest of the way. He can have his victory; I’ll have the easy ride.

I almost decided not to train MD tonight but then I had a horrible premonition about his first course on Friday which is his first proper Kennel Club event. After which the mere mention of the word ‘tyre’ brings me out in a cold sweat. MD may have to face this particular obstacle and we haven’t practiced it for ages. So, with that worry in my mind, I decided to go.

I went late, as I wasn’t involved in one of the organised sessions but when I arrived a 7.45, 45 minutes after the first class was supposed to start, everyone was stood outside in the cold. Locked out. No one had the master key and the spare had been mislaid... Honestly the clubs powers of organisation never cease to amaze me. Eventually someone turns up with a key and the first class kicks off an hour late just as the people for the second 2nd class start arriving.

For the record, I finally managed to get some training in but I think it's fair to say that if a tyre pops up in MD's course this weekend, we're stuffed.

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