Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tim Gudgin and 'coupon night'

Tim Gudgin retired today. He hung up his headphones.  That might not mean anything to many people, but it means a lot to me. His is a voice I’ve grown up with

Tim is the voice of Final Score, once the football results are all in on a Saturday, he’s the man you hear when they say ‘now here are the classified results’. His retirement has brought back all sorts of memories for me.

The classifieds were essential family viewing in our house. In the same way the Generation Game would be for some, the football results were for us. It was more than viewing and listening, it was a weekly family game.

Tim Gudgin has a way of reading the football results that is entirely predictable. He’s consistent with his intonation, so much so that you can guess the score just by the  highs and lows in his voice.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1 ………Arsenal…..?  the whole family would guess the rest.
But there was much more to it than that. My Mum and Dad were the local Littlewoods Pools Agents. (I’d almost forgotten this until today) They would collect the ‘coupons’ of every single person who took part in the village where I lived. It was the lottery of its day but with a door-to-door service. We’d collect your completed coupon (and your cash) and leave you with a new one. We might even throw in a spot the ball. The whole family helped collect, unfold, straighten, count money and bag.  Every Thursday, come rain or shine.

The football pools was about predicting football results. Home wins, away wins, draws and score draws. Fun if you’re a football fan but not that many of our entrants were football fans and most people stuck to the same numbers every week in the same way you do with the lottery. So rather than a game of skill, it became a game of chance.

Spot the Ball was even better. You were given a black and white picture from a football match, with players, pitch and goal, but no ball. You marked an X where you thought the ball would be. To be more accurate, you could buy (from us of course) a special stamp with lots of tiny tiny xxxxxxx’s on to increase your chances.

I owe my first foreign holiday to a win on the football pools (my Mum won, not me, I was only 4). We went every year after that.

So as you can see, Tim Gudgin reading the classified results was an important moment in our house. The moment we’d know if any of our clients had won.

We wouldn’t always be there on a Saturday, cos we’d actually be at the football. On those occasions it’s the unforgettable music of Sports Report that I remember. Getting into the car, cold or wet and switching on the radio. Brilliant.

It’s a sad day, the wonderful tones of Tim Gudgin will be heard no more and I’ll file my memories away in a safe place and rediscover them again in 20 years. 

Tonight I raise my glass to Tim Gudgin. I also raise it to my best childhood friend and fellow coupon-collector Andrea Hughes and the coupon-round of Green Street, Smithfield and Wrecsam Road.

Tim Gudgin retired today ages 82 yrs

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Audio books and music reviews for under 5s

I've posted a new review. It's a list of my favourite audio books and music CDs for Under 5s.
Click on the 'Review' tab above.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Who needs happy endings?

I don’t like happy endings.

I’m talking about books, films and songs here, not real life. When it comes to stories I like unrequited love, tortured souls and as much emotional trauma as I can stomach. Not in an unpleasant way, in a good happy way, but where things are left incomplete. I like a film or a book or even a song, to tear me apart. 
Wuthering Heights - bad love in bad weather

I love the idea that people fall in love and get torn apart, left wondering for the rest of their lives if they’ve let go of ‘the one’. Even better if the weather is bad (can’t beat a bit of rain and wind) I’m permanently living in a Bronte novel.

I was reminded of this because I’m watching Pearl Jam on BBC4. I have a huge crush on Eddie Vedder and always have. His voice says it all, always sounds like he’s been through a lot of pain and that there is so much intensity in his life. I could listen to his voice all day, while it’s raining outside. Or outside in the wind and rain, walking on top of a hill.
In honour of Eddie, his voice and the images of bad weather hearing it conjures up... have a listen. Any excuse to hear a bit of Eddie late on a Friday night.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Gallery – T for Tummy

What struck me most about Russell Grant’s Paso Doble on Strictly Come Dancing this weekend, was his tummy. The man’s lost a lot of weight and he’s certainly got rhythm. But all I ever see is his belly (and I love it!).

I wasn’t going to bother with a gallery post this week, as Tara from the Sticky Fingers blog had given us the letter ‘T’ and no pictures immediately sprung to mind. Until I saw Russell’s tummy.  And thought of mine.
It’s another excuse to post a picture that always makes me smile. I took it myself, on a poor quality camera phone, in 2008, somewhere near the end of my first pregnancy.
Tubby Turnip Tummy……… call it what you like.  Terrific.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Netball - but with fighting

I just found a Facebook page called “I am a woman, I play rugby – deal with it” So I thought I’d join.

You see I’ve just started playing rugby and I absolutely love it.

I’m the wrong side of 35 and haven’t played a team game since I was in school. I’ve always envied – even resented – blokes and their team sports. They can play no matter their age, social status or physical fitness. When we moved to the South West, my Husband joined a five-a-side team to get ‘in with the lads’ in his new work. He then went on to play a bit of cricket too. Before he knew it he had a wide circle of friends, whilst I had one or two.

Girls just don’t have the team sport thing to fall back on. Yet as a general rule – well in the workplace anyway – we are the team players. I just don’t get it.

So why don’t the majority of women play team sport?  What’s putting us off?

Well I know what put me off. Shame, embarrassment, fear of being laughed at and worse still, talked about. I like netball, but I’m just not fit enough. I’m terrible at hockey so that was never going to happen. I LOVE football, but again, too scared that I’d be crap. And who makes friends in the gym?

So at the ripe old age of 36, with two kids under my belt, a job, a mortgage, a husband that needs feeding and an unfinished house, I finally decide to try team sport. And for some unfathomable reason, I chose rugby.

I’m Welsh, so I’m supposed to be obsessed with rugby union. But I’m not. I don’t understand the rules – sorry, ‘laws’ – of the game. I was brought up watching rugby league, so don’t understand the need for line-outs, proper scums and can’t help counting the tackles.

I only went along to Dursley Rugby because the Mum of one of Huw’s nursery friends asked me. I didn’t know her, but always thought she looked like a bit of a laugh, so I went along.

And I bloody love it. Turns out rugby is netball, but with fighting.

It’s one and a half hours of throwing, catching, running, falling over, grabbing, pulling, shouting, laughing, squealing and occasionally *ahem* weeing. We have the most serious coach you can imagine, who doesn’t let us chat, mess-about or laze around. He loves punishing us with press-ups, squats and sit ups, and he’s mean to us in just the right way.

And we all love it.

You see the best thing about rugby, unlike any other sport I can think of, it is completely inclusive. It doesn’t judge you based on fitness, size, age, weight, fashion or nationality. A good rugby team needs a bit of everything. People who can think, can run, can throw, can catch, can kick, can fight, can grab. Anything goes. Find your local club and go along. I promise you, you’ll love it.

I am a woman, I play rugby – deal with it.