“I have been passionate about hockey (playing, coaching and umpiring) for more decades than I care to remember! I truly believe that my involvement with the sport has changed my life for the better. One of the main inspirations for writing ‘Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past’ is to share my love of team sports: hockey, lacrosse and rugby all feature in the plot, as well as every dragon’s favourite sport, laminium ball. Why not treat yourself to a great read? If you love team sport already, you’ll be able to identify with the positive values of friendship and teamwork which sport promotes. If you’re not already a team sport fan, this book will win you over! Either way, why not share my love of reading and try this gripping, action-packed fantasy adventure, sprinkled with humour and imagination. If you’re anything like me, you can check out the interviews with other great authors on this site, to fuel your reading addiction.” Paul Cude
Continuing on from my last blog about mixed hockey festivals, here are some of the most memorable moments, well for me anyway.
• The most amazing ice cream fight at one of the venues, during a break from the hockey. With nearly the entire team having acquired Mr Whippy ice creams, the chaos was started by yours truly when, I said, “My ice cream tastes okay, but smells really funny.” Inevitably, one of the girls in our team came over to smell it, and of course I shoved the whole thing in her face……ohhh how I laughed, well, for about a second, before the entire team erupted in to an ice cream war….very funny, but very, very messy.
• Crazy car races around Worthing, either from one hockey venue (the hockey matches were played on three different sites) to another, or after having finished the hockey and racing back to the guest house to use the showers first. Memorable moments include racing back to get showered, behind a car full of our ladies, not entirely sure of the way back. As driver, I flashed my light at them, and stuck my right indicator on, signalling to turn right. They duly turned right, across the busy lane of traffic, into a complete ‘dead end’, while we continued straight on, all getting use of the two showers in the guest house first…..the girls were more than a little disappointed.
• Me being woken up, early on the Monday morning, as there was something of a …..problem with one of our players. While I probably wasn’t the most sensible person about, I was normally always the only completely sober person, so would often be tasked with looking out for the odd person or two. On this fateful morning, I was guided up into the very top room of the guest house, where our male goalkeeper was sleeping. Now the last time I’d seen him, was just before midnight, the previous night, competing with some of the ladies in a drinking competition…….never a good idea, even I knew that. Anyhow, I’d gone to bed tired, and thought nothing more of it. Anyway, on entering the player’s room, it quickly became apparent that he was still fast asleep, but that wasn’t all. His normally flat hair, had been gelled to the max, his face was made up…eye liner, eye shadow, blusher, lipstick…you name it, he had it. And, all of his nails had been painted….a very bright red, and very professionally done. He had not looked like this when I’d left him, the previous night. Anyway, the reason I’d been dragged into this, was because apparently, nobody could wake him up. Anyhow, to cut a long story short…try as we might, we couldn’t wake him. In the end, we had to call an ambulance, with two poor ambulance men attending, who couldn’t wake him either, and had to strap him to a stretcher and cart him (remember he was a goalie…..not renowned for being as light as a feather) from the top floor of the guest house, down three flights of stairs and into the ambulance………all the time looking like some mad lady boy experiment had gone disastrously wrong. And, guess who had to go in the ambulance with him……yes, that’s right…….the only totally sober person, one with no hangover….ME! So off we went to A&E, where I spent the next 3 hours, watching a very stern, and very scary matron like figure, shout and slap our interestingly disguised goalie, all because he decided that he could take on some of our heavy hitting girls in a drinking competition. Eventually he came round, eventually we met up with the rest of the team…still with some of the makeup on, and the nail polish, and then it was time to go home….him to his….other half. Now I wasn’t in the same car as him on the way home…but the story goes that they had to take quite a detour to find somewhere, anywhere on a bank holiday to find a shop that sold nail polish remover. When they eventually did…..and it was eventually, apparently the man in the shop took quite a fancy to our goalie….much to the goalie’s annoyance….if you know what I mean. Ohhhh how we laughed!
• Fine cards with everything from throwing up, missing breakfast, refusing an alcoholic drink to losing the cards being subject to fines of some sort. On the subject of losing the cards, everyone would go to great lengths to pinch other people’s cards, with a view to getting them fined….you had to be very careful where you kept your card, particularly as you were supposed to have it with you at all times…..made showering a very interesting experience!
• On the fine cards for one tour, one of the fines was for refusing an alcoholic drink….hmmm, had the potential to be unbelievably bad for me…what with being teetotal. A deal was struck, not really to my satisfaction, but it was all I could do at the time. If I drank on the Friday night, then I would be excused for the rest of the weekend and not fined…….brilliant! So it started as soon as we reached the first pub in Worthing after having checked into the guest house. I ordered a pint of lemonade and lime, and to my surprise, the person in charge of the ‘kitty’, at the bar, agreed. The buying of the drinks took some time, with mine being the first to have been ordered. Some ten or so minutes later, with all the drinks bought, the ‘kitty’ monitor returned, and, pretending to stumble, managed to pour a double..something…vodka, bacardi…who knows, in to the top of my lemonade and lime, which by then I’d drunk quite a lot. This was very much how the evening progressed, with me drinking everything put in front of me. The things I remember most about that evening were, one of the very nice ladies rescuing me from a potential talking to by the police, by grabbing me and moving me along when I was tempted to start mucking about with a shopping trolley in the middle of the road, only for two more of my teammates who were behind me to fall into that trap. Being made to drink Pernod…..hmmmm…never been quite sure of aniseed, that combined with the effects next day….yuck! Turning up at the big hotel in the early hours of the morning to meet up with hockey players that we all knew, only for them to realise there was something different about me, but taking half an hour to work out what it was. And waking up in the morning with absolutely no hangover whatsoever, much to the disappointment of the whole team, particularly those I was sharing a room with. However, later on in the day after we’d played our first game, the whole team left me sleeping in the hot sun, giving me a nice dose of sun stroke and making me feel worse than a hangover probably would have. A definite one off I think!
• On the particular morning above, there was a little incident. Four of us were sharing a room, and with the sun shining through the tattered cheap curtains at some ungodly hour, we were all awake, especially me, who, being the only one without a hangover, thought it a good idea to keep everyone else awake and make lots of noise. Anyhow, with the room heating up like a sauna with Kylie in nothing but her hot pants, everyone was keen for the window to be opened for some fresh air. So we all nagged the player in the bed nearest the window (yes, you Nige..if you’re reading) to open the window. He had the worst hangover of everyone and was not keen to leave the comfort of his bed. So instead of us walking six or seven feet, we continued to nag him until finally he gave in and got up to open one of the windows. From snuggled under our covers, all the other roommates could here was him muttering, the pad, pad, pad of his feet on the floor, the squeak of the handle on the window being turned, and then……………”OH SHIT!”, followed by the biggest, loudest ‘CRASH’ in the world. Before I go on, I should explain that the room in the guest house we were in had a massive window (about 15ft)that ran the entire length of one of the longest walls. It had two normal sized windows at each end, with a rusty old metal frame….the whole thing was……HUGE! At the sound of the massive ‘CRASH’, all three of us sat bolt upright instantly, only to find the whole of the window frame missing. Poor Nige, had turned the handle on one of the small windows and the whole thing, including the frame, had dropped two storeys onto the path below. Luckily because of the early hour nobody had been hurt. Needless to say, the three of us took one look, and all fell about in an uncontrollable fit of giggles. Lots of explaining later, it turned out that the window was well and truly hanging on by just a thread, such was the state of disrepair. For the rest of the weekend, all poor old Nige heard was, “Are you having a SMASHING time? Have you got enough money or are you BROKE? Are you in PANE Nige? We think you were well and truly FRAMED? “….you get the idea.
• Numerous silly themes for the Saturday night disco in the town centre, with Noddy always choosing his white trousers and medallion…..something we secretly all copied one year without him knowing right up until the very last moment.
• An interesting trip to a restaurant, where another hockey team (very drunk) were having a meal. They very politely asked our goalie (yes the one from earlier) to take some pictures of them sitting at the table; however, what they didn’t realise, but we did, was that he was taking pictures of everything but them….himself, the waiters, the bar, the toilet, the ceiling, the floor…..his..unmentionables, again…you get the idea. Not sure they would have been best pleased when they got the film developed (younger people….you’ll have to look that up on the internet. It’s what happened before digital cameras).
• Dressing up different members of the team to play in goal….highlights for me….Mr Cosens….and Nige (see above), only because he looked so cute and swapped his nickname of Condom, to Ribenaberry I seem to remember, just for the rest of the weekend.