When I was 7 my mad (certifiable!?) uncle David took me to my first football match. We went to Stamford Bridge, a mile or so along from our flat in Brompton Road, to see Chelsea. If he ever thought that I might become embued in the spirit of the boys in blue-and-white he was quickly mistaken. The Wolves boys in gold-and-black were far more eye-catching, in the late England captain Billy Wright they had the paramount British sporting ambassador and it probably helped that they were the football champions of England, Europe and the world!
Yestreday I made one of my 3 or 4 visits a season to Wolverhampton. "Did your team win?", asked SC. "Yes, 'my team' won". And with great glee, "We hammered Leeds". Conversations between us about football remain perfunctory and without any perceptable passion. Come'on you Wolves!
Meanwhile, our local team, Great Bickering disUnited lost 17-0 to Dishforththwaite Palace, with 'our' brave goalie Josiah Brassbotham the hero once again. Come'on you disUnited!
......Tears for Souvenirs - 31 March 2001
The week before we left London was full of emotional goodbyes - including my last working dinner at the BBC with my writing patner Nick - culminating in an All-Welcome Farewell Party on our final weekend.
On a sunny spring day we opened the house to neighbours, friends, children, relatives, school staff, shopkeepers and gatecrashers. It was a day of hugs, kisses, reminiscences, laughter, surprise appearances, tears, more hugs and more kisses and more tears.
When I ventured forth from safe Fulham to SC's house in down-market, south-of-the-river (sipt!), next-to-Tooting, Balham I never thought it would have turned out to be the friendly, villagey community 8 years later that I was sad to leave.
IS, then nearly 4, commented on the move, "This feels wrong".
Did we really know what we were moving to?