Recently a mate asked how many times I had been to Britain and/or Europe, and when I answered ’20’, he said I should write a book.
I’m not in the mood for that, and for those who follow this website, you will be aware that I regularly post stories from those travels.
But with time on my hands, with this ‘Chinese flu’ keeping my wife and I largely housebound, I thought I would file a 20-part series on those trips, under sub-headings.
PURPOSE OF TRIP
To cover the Rugby League World Cup for News Limited, after a 10-day holiday in Britain, with my wife, Marie.
England, Wales and Scotland.
The Seven Sisters National Park and Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex.
Arundel Castle, West Sussex, home of the Dukes of Norfolk.
FIRST MEAL THAT I CAN RECALL
Fish and chips at Deal, Kent with friends from Dover, Paul and Maggie Dobson.
MOST MEMORABLE MEAL
Dover sole at Lou Pescadeux, London, with fellow rugby league ‘train spotter’, Steve Mascord.
FIRST PUB/BAR STOP
Black Rabbit Pub, on the banks of the (flooding) river Arun, just outside Arundel, West Sussex.
BEST PUB/BAR STOP
‘The Cricketers’, Dover, especially as they put the Super League grand final on the big screen. Unexpected in Kent, where rugby union is the game. My good mate, local identity, Paul Dobson was persuasive. The publican could not say no.
ONE SPORTING EVENT
World Cup semi-final at Huddersfield. Rank outsiders, Wales led Australia 20-14 at halftime, before losing 46-22. Man-of-the-match was Welsh hooker, Keiron Cunningham. Wales were coached by Clive Griffiths, who also coached Swansea’s rugby union side. Swansea is his home town, but he played rugby league for St Helens and Salford.
EVENT OTHER THAN SPORT
Morning tea at the House of Commons with members of the Australian Rugby League side. Hosted by the Friends of Rugby League Parliamentary Committee.
Market Hall, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. A 96-year-old (at the time) Victorian building. Dewsbury is the home town of late BBC rugby league commentator, Eddie Waring, who was an official of the local club, which also produced Test skipper, Mick Stephenson, who went on to commentate for SKY Television.
MOST UNUSUAL EXPERIENCE
Legendary local band member, ‘Cammie’, playing the bagpipes (with me by his side) down the phone to my wife, Marie, after a big night out in Hawick, Scotland with friend, Elliot Gibson.
1 Seven Sisters National Park, East Sussex
2 Australian centre, Ryan Girdler in action against Wales at Huddersfield in 2000
3 BBC commentator, Eddie Waring (centre) about to referee a charity rugby league match
4 Members of Britain’s 1972 World Cup squad (from Left) Phil Lowe; Mick Stephenson; skipper, Clive Sullivan and David Redfearn
5 Hawick piper, ‘Cammie’
6 Steve Ricketts (left) and Steve Mascord.