As I get older my existence becomes more hermitic. Although I am in touch with the world, I see nobody but my wife, the lovely Helen, the bane of my life for 43 years. Only when I go for provisions do I realise there are other people living in the neighbourhood. However the internet does tell me that there is a living and breathing world out there. I have become almost feral in my habits. My sleep pattern at the moment is 6.00pm until 1.00am and 5.00am to 8.00am.
In those long night hours I scratch around thinking of something interesting to write or do a little military research or just sit there looking at an empty screen planning my year ahead and it is a full one I have to say.
This month sees my 70th birthday, for five years the Queen of England has been sending me regular payments to go towards my necessary drinking vouchers and long may she remain in such a generous mood. Although I have to say I hate the whole Germanic lot of her ilk. I intend on that day when I first saw the light to push the boat out with a little help from Lizzie and then return to my hermitage for a short while.
March sees me in Blackpool for a reunion of a cricket team I last played for 50 years ago. I am looking forward to it; overs bowled, runs scored when most of you dear readers were less than glints in a man’s lusty eye. Blackpool will come alive to the cheers of septuagenarian and octogenarian shuffling as we remember glorious summers all those years ago.
After visits to grandchildren in Manchester, I will wend my way back west of the Shannon only to take up my cudgel once more in May, when our much heralded court case, scheduled for 15 days, takes place in the High Court in London. It’s us, the baby boomers of Manchester, against them, The Holy Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford and its adjunct the Holy Roman Catholic College of St. Bede’s, that veritable home of Holy Roman Catholic physical, mental and sexual abusers of young boys from the town we all loved so well for nigh on a hundred years.
I bet the Bedian top drawer do not know if they are coming or going recently what with the press reports both in the newspapers and on television regarding the sex abuse suffered at the hands of the holy fathers, Mulholland and Hamilton but principally by the groinal digit (digit number 21 of the normal human male) of his most holy and sacred Monsignor Thomas Duggan. Duggan who was the most holy and sacred representative of the Holy Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford in his vicariously liable position of Rector of the College and its most evil perpetrator of such foul deeds. (I hope the reader does not think I am trying to make a point here but they definitely are what they are or what they say they are)
On top of all of this, pressure mounted as Mrs Pep Guardiola accompanied by Mrs Txiki Begiristain visited the College. (Why do all football aficionados these days have unpronounceable names, where have the likes of Jim Smith and Matt Busby gone to) As can be seen when those two ladies names are mentioned in the one sentence, Old Pep has thrown his hand in with Manchester City. He sent his wife round to the College which is the finishing school for the brightest and most able of the City Academy kids to see if his three sprogs would fit in there. Especially after Des Coffey, the City Education Officer and Bedian governor told him “try our gaff, the paedos are gone” (or have they?). So round Ma Guardiola trots whilst harried by hacks from the Daily Shitraker. She reportedly loved it, “it was like a breath of fresh air” she said. Which is not saying much for the Holy Roman Catholic educational establishments of either Munich or Barcelona. Anyway if Pep smells a rat or thinks he has been sold a pup or feels the width and sees the quality he can always put the three Bavarian/Catalonian hybrids out on loan to Manchester Grammar School or Fallowfield High.
Forgetting about football for a moment and thinking of the court case which I would like to be there for, for its whole length. I think it starts on 5th May and the prices of hotels in central London make this for me a prohibitive thought. But if any reader knows of cheap digs in London during that time and lets me know, I will be eternally grateful. Although Queen Lizzie is generous with her weekly allowance it only allows me to sleep on the embankment.
After our undoubted success over the really nice chaps from Diocese Salford my year continues with a trip to the Somme in late August/early September. It is to remember the 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers and the part they played in the 16th (Irish) Division’s vital victories at Guillemont and Ginchy in early September 1916, in fact one of the very few successes in that five months most dreadful of battles.
Shortly after that I am off to Spain, to Central Western Spain on the Portugese border to follow Wellington’s triumphant march out of Portugal in 1811-1812 giving Napoleon a bloody nose at Talavera, Fuentes de Onoro, Badajoz and Salamanca where the “Devil’s Own” the Connaught Rangers played a leading role whenever push came to shove and where Wellington said to Picton the General in charge of the Rangers, “I don’t know what the French think of them but they scare the hell out of me”. Over ten days we visit Talavera, Almaraz, Albuera, Badajoz, Alcantara, Almeida, Fuentes de Onoro, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca and Segovia. As well as living history I hope to sample the local food and if offered try their wines.
So the year will be full and let us hope triumphant whilst the Holy Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford suffer for the wrongs it did in the past because the bishops, especially Marshall and Beck, knew what was going on at Bede’s and gave free head to the Most Holy and Sacred Monsignor Thomas Duggan to do his worst.
Just to sign off and reiterate, I am deadly serious about the hope that there are some cheap and friendly digs in or around central London, near enough to the High Court (wherever that is) to be reached in less than a few hours journey. I have been working towards this time for nigh on six years and I hope my dotage and financial situation do not impair my choices of seeing real justice done.