Friday’s don’t get much better than that!
When I ‘worked’ in advertising we use to have a saying TFIF – at about 4.30pm we’d stop answering the phones to clients and wives – even our own, get the beers and vino out and get on it. A great way to finish the week and kick the weekend off. On a bad week this might happen on Thursday – and even on occasion Wednesday lunchtime – surprisingly we were still successful – imagine if we’d taken work seriously!
Yesterday was even better though, despite the total absence of falling down juice (for me anyway). There can’t be many times when you leave home before 8.45, clock up just short of 400 miles – much of which is at a breath-taking 7 mph on the Mad 25 – drink only diet coke and sugar free Red Bull, get home at 2.30 am and still be able to say – ‘what a brilliant day out’.
John and I got our project off the ground – not literally as it involves painting on tarmac, but we are now in business as they say. Then the Askean Dinner was even more fun than I expected.
A fine turnout (not including my apparel) when some 80 odd (sic) blokes who played, watched, still play or just wandered in out of the rain had a top night.
Lots of guys who I’ve seen this season at the couple of pre-match lunches I’ve made (as in attended not being in charge of the catering, obviously) plus blokes who I haven’t bumped into for far too long were there. The latter group have probably been deliberately avoiding me – and I can’t blame them to be honest – I’d prefer to avoid myself most days.
Was great to see Black Alex, Daisy, Jake (the Peg) and a number of others who are still known by pseudonyms that make them sound like members of One Direction or the Baader Meinhof gang. I also met up with Ian Colley who was very kind about this blog – I can only think he was extremely pissed by the time we chatted. If not, I am convinced that he is undoubtedly a bloke with an astute mind and a brilliant future
Brom had a table of ‘Old Joes’ although not one of them answered to that epithet when asked to pass the gravy – but Sean Mac, Colin G, Martin O and Brom were, as always, suitably rude to the poor sods giving the speeches – an excellent job guys!
The table next to ours included many older statesmen Chunky, Graham, Chas, Bob, Lunny, Bill, Dave P – and were extremely well behaved – you need to do much better next year chaps. The youngsters look up to you and your standard of blokey behaviour left much to be desired. This was an Askean Dinner – you looked like you were merely at a Bullingdon Club reunion.
I was fortunate to be enjoying the repast with Boney, Alan E, Daisy, Black Alex, Kev B and the Evans (only their Mum can tell them apart) twins – Dave and Graham.
My body ached more from laughing than it does after I’ve been to the gym – not difficult, I rarely laugh at the gym! I should have gathered a lot of material for the blog, but today it’s all a bit of a blur. One of the bastards must have slipped some rohypnol into my diet coke – I wouldn’t have minded but I didn’t even get a shag out of it!
I sort of recall Daisy saying something especially stupid which would have been good to add here, unfortunately it got swamped by all the other bollocks he was going on about and I lacked the foresight (or indeed a crayon) to write it down.
Dave and Graham recounted yet again the time that Johnny Marshgreen managed a triple concussion in separate incidents – but in the same game. It’s a good story and they both promised (again) to write it up and send it for publication. I assume this will be once they have mastered 1. thinking coherently, 2. the art of joined up writing and 3. how to send an e-mail or where the local post office is. So – about Christmas 2017 then.
Luckily, Alan E told me he has a box of old cuttings and is going to forward them to me for the blog. Terry seemed very pleased when I told her, although I have a funny feeling she thought the cuttings had something to do with planting for Spring – to be honest I’m a bit scared to disabuse her (nudge nudge) of this and am hoping she’ll forget.
The club have had a very good season and today’s players enjoy the game – and more than a few pints after – they were a lively bunch during the speeches from the 1st’s and Princes captains and it augurs (which I think is some kind of posh cooker) well for next year.
This is particularly good news for us old blokes who like to watch (i.e. criticise and pretend we were better in our day) from the touch line after a decent bit of pre-match nosh. ‘Our day’ of course refers to the time when we used horse drawn carriages for away matches and gas lamps for floodlight games – which is pretty much what it’s still like west of Newbury.
Locks was the M C (I have no idea what this stands for – although our table made a few suggestions for the C bit) and he handled the rowdiness very well – always having been a fan of Rawhide (not a euphemism and will only make a bit of sense to the over 60s). He mentioned amongst the apologies that both Kip and Kev A were not well and couldn’t make it – we wish them well. Tim did say that his dad is doing okay – which is good news.
As usual there were no prizes in the raffle (known throughout Kent as a ‘Chunky Special’) but, even more innovatively, we now seem to have progressed to not having a fucking raffle at all. This speeds up the process of getting back to the bar but vastly reduces the opportunity to fleece everyone there – most unusual for Askeans and an incongruity that we can expect Chunky to address before next season.
The real highlight of the evening (and indeed of all the Dinners I’ve been to over the last few years) was Lunny’s speech (as in with the microphone, not his general diction).
Over the years’ I’ve heard a lot of excellent after dinner speeches at the club – guests as well as very funny blokes like Farrelley and Dickie Hills – Lunny tops them all. He had us pissing ourselves from the outset and manages to have both the current players and us old bastards falling about. At one point he went on about not understanding some of today’s phrases – and had been surprised to discover that sick meant good and not what happened at the end of a heavy night out or an especially late tackle. It reminded me of one from way back – ‘it’s a gas’ – which seems to be similar to today’s vernacular use of ‘sick’. However ‘Laughing Sick’ didn’t sound quite right for this post – although I almost was at one point during Lunny’s tales about the Notting Hill Riots – you had to be there (at the Dinner not the riots, obviously).
It is to my shame that I didn’t take Kev B to the station for his last train as I didn’t want to miss Lunny – my apologies mate.
Locks closed the evening and as he said – Lunny has not only been the mainstay of the club over the past decade – but without him there might not be an Askean rugby club at all. No small tribute.
A final word for all those who did the organising – I know Locks, Chas and Boney were instrumental (and would consequently probably make a fairly decent boy band) – my thanks to anyone I’ve forgotten and to everyone for a grand day out!