Friday 4th April 2003

I start writing my weekly updates, late on a Friday evening. As there is only an hour of the day (or date rather) left, I usually don’t bother using the ‘official’ date heading. However, today, is different and so is my update.

What a week! A week, which I had anticipated to pan out very different from what did actually occur. Perhaps, it is true, that the best made plans fail, but when you hope for a ‘change’ that you don’t get and a return of feelings that you hoped you had ‘boxed’ away for the foreseeable future, the outlook looks unclear, if not heavily foggy. It is not for me to inadvertently offer any reason for this, but as you can see, its a new month and perhaps, my luck is changing to a certain extent. The direction of this change, is for yourself to decide…

I made a spontaneous decision on Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining, and it was turning into quite a nice day. I wanted to go out and make something of the day. Time wasn’t on my side (it rarely is…) I drove to Henley and parked up by the River and re-visited my past. A place that holds so much power and grace, that I can hardly put into words, how I felt walking across the park, where on Friday afternoons, I would play football with my friends from College. The emotion of the occasion, came into its own, as I made my nonchalant way towards the town centre. People stared, but as usual, I did not care, for I was alone, once more. Benches, which had once held me, for afternoons spent, watching the Thames calmly pass away, now looked empty. I knew their importance, but for the passerby, enjoying the Oxfordshire sunshine and pastures green, thoughts would be on tomorrow and the future, and not the past. However, I was, perhaps looking in a different direction, if only for a few hours, this was something that needed to be done. I knew, following instinct was the right thing to do…

As I entered the town, so much had changed, so much had happened here. News camera crews, been and gone, for Dusty, and our dear friend George, wishing the world peace and happiness. I, then needed to face the challenge, that lay before me. I knew, I could at any time, walk away and head for my car, the park and enjoy the few hours of the afternoon sunshine, rather than chase a cold and empty building, hoping to find something that still haunts me, to this day. Hiding, was something I had done for weeks, and I’d also had dear friends, for whom, my action would mean an achievement. I was not going to let them down, for, it perhaps them, that connect us.

My memories, flashed to my dear friend, Vicky. A girl, whom I’d know for over 4 years at Primary school. I can recall, like yesterday her first day at Lansdowne. That was way back in 1990. Fate, destiny, or even in God, if we do trust, brought me back together with Vicky, some 4 years later, in the September of 1998. Almost ten years almost exactly since we had met for the first time. It was perhaps a power, far beyond us mere mortals, that wanted me to make something of this final meeting. How was I to know, that I would never get a chance to say, goodbye? Looking back, now with the power of hindsight, her tragic death brought me happiness, but at what price can we make happiness our own? A lyric from, the song Affirmation by Savage Garden, springs to mind, “We place our happiness in other people’s hands…” My mind then drifts from this, to friendship. A fragile entity, indeed, but we should do our best to keep, the box the right way up. For we never know, who can suddenly turn from friend to foe. Wondering why, can be too much. We just pick up the pieces, and move on. And looking around the bare walls of the college buildings, I forever feel a sense of regret. Regret, that I didn’t make the most of my time here. The college flag, begins to sway, as a cool, Spring breeze, fills the emptiness, I feel in my heart. As I look around, I can only ask myself the question why. Why, I feel so much bitterness and pain, when the reality is, I’m beyond this and getting on with my life? That is a question that would remain unanswered until later in the week.

The feelings ran too deep, and as I walked out of the college, I felt a sense of mixed feelings. Regret was turning into sweet contemplation. The past is over with, let us get on with our future. When that “Us” turns to “I”, you feel that indeed, you are alone.

Feelings were running high, again today and as I listened to the 1996 hit by Mark Morrison, “Return Of The Mack“, and realized that a much tougher challenge lay ahead, some one hundred miles away, and amazing, the hometown of the singer, I was listening to. Perhaps I could draw strength from his words, which prove to sooth my mind, and keep me focused.

I saw a ‘unusual’ site on my drive home on Thursday evening. Just before I headed past Amersham & Wycombe College, I saw a ‘boy racer’ AX. However, there was something that didn’t quite make this picture complete. There was the blatant ‘L’ plate on the bonnet, and a concerned father looking on in earnest over the driving of his son. Someone’s street “cred”, just hit rock bottom. This incident closely links in with my next door neighbour – Dave. The connection? There can only be one: “The French Connection”. Not quite, FCUK, but more a case of the Citroen AX. He is the proud owner of a M-reg (1995) small green car. He has kindly donated his personal views on football for my England page and will be providing additional material (mainly photographs) to keep this page up-to-date. I will of course, keep you updated on the situation, once he gets around to writing me some material, when he is not changing nappies, running around for Mrs. Maher, or watching England games with his son, Nathan.

By chance, I picked up an old Zip disk, which I hadn’t used for several months. To my amazement, I discovered a collection of a dozen, MP3s, on the media, with some surprises. My mind flashed back to an on-line conversation, with my friend, Ian. He had recommended a band, called Sister Hazel, and the song, “Champagne High”. This is where the MP3 format comes into, own. I was amazed, to hear this song again, and watch, almost effortlessly, as the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place.

Indeed, my life has been a series of “Champagne Highs” but….

“……where will I be, when I stop wondering why?”

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