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That’s it for the season of 2012

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I raise my glass to everyone who turned the wettest summer ever into the most successful ever. I raise my glass to everyone who turned the wettest summer ever into the most successful ever.

The final Final took place at Old Trafford today

The Lancashire Schools season is now officially over for 2012. The Under 12 Bunbury Final was played at Old Trafford this morning between Merchant Taylor’s, Crosby and Ribblesdale School, Clitheroe – INDOORS. The only possible game outdoors would have been water polo. Thanks to Adrian and his staff in the Indoor Centre for making the hall available to us. Traffic problems delayed both teams’ arrivals but we eventually had a splendid game with Ribblesdale emerging as winners. We have just one Final delayed to early next season but we had to find an Under 12 winner as the winning school takes part in a National Competition in 2013. The deadline was the end of this month for naming our winner. The fact we had the game today avoided having to perform a dreaded toss of the coin. Well done both teams today. We even emerged from the Indoor Centre to find it had stopped raining.

 

The trophy I presented was not the actual U12 one which is still up in Lancaster. I borrowed the Hacking Cup instead but had to make sure I took it back straight away. This meant visiting the LCB Offices. I haven’t got a swipe card to get in but security is usually pretty good and the main door was wide open. There was a pretty good attendance with Jasmine (must always mention her first), TP, the irrepressible Shaun, the two Pauls, Harders and Titch. I must say Titch was looking much better. On the recent U16 trip to Wales he and Redders had as company sweet Caroline. She was the coach driver and from what I can gather she made quite an impression on the twosome. It would appear that Titch has now recovered from the experience but Redders is still having problems. He is having too many Big Macs.

 

There was much excitement centred on TP. He took delivery of a Mini-Mini Vacuum Machine whilst I was there. He took great delight in assembling said machine in front of our very eyes. You know those programmes on Sky where you can buy almost anything but have to listen to some sales girl or guy explain in intricate detail all the positives if you purchase. It was just like that as he skipped from one attachment to another. I could see a career opening up here.

 

Whilst drinking the imaginary cup of coffee I was offered Titch and I talked about the role a manager and coach play when they are away on Festivals and the issues we need to be concerned about with regard to Elf and Safety and Child Protection. I commented on the fact that in my younger days in the teaching profession that I took school trips to all sorts of places far and wide. As often happens this led to the odd reminiscence with TP. We both related experiences from our past. On the way home I remembered another which was a classic.

 

You know the good lady and myself are inveterate cruisers. Well for many years in my younger days I took parties from initially Totty Sec and then Hayward on cruises. It was around this time that British India existed to provide educational cruise experiences but I cast the net a bit wider. One such cruise involved a British company called CTC who chartered Russian cruise ships. A whole host of these were built in the Ukraine to help earn foreign currency for the Ruskies. In fact one of these is still active – the Marco Polo is operated by Cruise and Maritime out of the UK. My little tale is centred on the good ship Shota Rustaveli or Wota Pictabean as it looked like in proper Russian. We had sailed from Tilbury into the Med calling at such places as Majorca and Malta. From Istanbul we headed through the Bosporus into the Black Sea ending our cruise in Odessa. We were going to overnight there before flying for two days in Moscow. Now in those days without such things as bank cards you had to use cash and wherever we called our youngsters needed foreign currency. I operated a system where I collectively looked after the process of issuing money daily to the kids and doing the currency exchanging.

 

Now the problem in the USSR – yes it was still the days of the Politburo and the President at that time was called Khrushchev, I think. Now one currency I could not get hold of was the Russian Rouble. The Ruskies needed foreign currency so the only places you could spend your own money was in the state sponsored Berioska shops. They did not have any in Odessa. As we were overnighting I knew we would have the opportunity to step ashore on Russian soil for the first time and look round the city. I also knew that no one including the adults with us could spend in Odessa.

 

We eventually got ashore after all the mountain of paper work had been completed and found Odessa a quiet, delightful, extremely clean and interesting place. We climbed the world famous Potemkin Steps and then found the equally world famous Opera House. Now in most places I had developed a process of allowing pupils to go off and explore independently in groups. Each group had a senior leader and we had had no problems. This is of course a process that today would be totally forbidden.  As always a return time was stated, and to be fair on this trip no one had arrived late. The meeting place was the steps outside the Opera House. They had just 30 minutes of free time. Now you remember the Falklands commentator who counted them all out and then counted them all in. Well it was just like that except two did not return. They were two brothers. Their leader thought they had returned with him – but return they had not. Time passed very, very slowly.

 

My thoughts were beginning to see the headlines when some 15 minutes late they returned. You would think “Phew” time for a quick telling off and back to the ship. BUT they were carrying a very large object wrapped in brown paper. Now apart from my view that as no one had any roubles then no one could buy anything I also knew these brothers were virtually skint in terms of remaining pocket money. So what on earth was in the brown paper parcel.

 

It was the most magnificent wooden carved statue you have ever seen of Don Quixote on a horse. They had no money – so had they knicked it I thought. The headlines and the prison off Dzerzhinsky Square in Moscow beckoned.

 

In reality their mother had realised that their experience in keeping a close tab on spending money could cause them problems and she had stitched a £5.00 note into one of their vests each. They were wearing those when we had gone ashore into Odessa. They even had an account acknowledging their purchase from the Russian shopkeeper. How they had managed the transaction baffled me as they knew no Russian and English was not a common language. We ended up admiring them for what they had done. I even forgot to give them a good telling off. Mind you getting that blinking parcel from Odessa to Moscow and then home was an adventure in itself. I wonder where it is now.

 

Now back to reality and returning home from Old Trafford I knew I was heading into a serious problem with you know who. For the last 24 hours every time she has tried to go on her Zoo the message “Cannot connect to server” had appeared. She was expecting a multi-million pound extension to be in place. I am sure all husbands will know that the blame for all of this will potentially be directed in their direction.  (Trying to be diplomatic here). Well when I returned she was quite phlegmatic about it – “Well they’ve probably gone bust”. Now I had done a bit of Gurgling and there did appear to be some problems with the Tiny Zoo Server. Confession time now. Over the past few weeks on my Smartie Android I have set myself up in competition and was building my own Tiny Zoo. I was getting the same message as well.

 

We had a Eureka Moment after tea today. No it was not what you thought but Mrs Zoo Keeper Extraordinaire in the Heaton household is back in touch and her multi-million pound extension is in place. However when I started writing this rambling Blog my Zoo was still down and out. I have just been handed a Tesco Moment to ease my sorrow and will now do a check on the state of My Zoo before ending this epistle.

 

WHOOPEE

 

My Tiny Zoo is back but it is with great sadness I have to report the demise of one Red Footed Tortoise and a Baby Zeus Eagle. I was in the process of breeding these to add to my collection but there is a time zone in which to complete this activity. Whilst I was out of contact with the server they have perished and I did not have enough Zoo Bucks to save them.

 

Back to reality. Meeting at OT tomorrow (Thursday) of the LCB Executive. Something tells me this could be an interesting one. Watch this space.

 

Ne’then as they say in Bury. I have just received important news. The Shakers have a new Manager – someone called Kevin Blackwell. Now the soon to be replaced top Zoo Keeper in the house tells me that the report she has just seen says he has managed the Shakers before. I know my memory is not as good as it was but Kevin Blackwell ?????

 

I am off to investigate.

 

Have I told you about the time when I lost a pupil in the Kremlin. It was the cruise after the Odessa one. I bet you can’t wait.

 

Time for another moment.

 

 

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