On Playing ix

She asked him who he played as

Knowing every boy pretends

To be someone else when playing

They dream they can be better

He wanted to be Best


n.b. As a boy playing football I clearly had a failure of ambition. I pretended to be a Welsh international centre forward, not George Best. Who would dare to dream that big?

“The Fifth Beatle” certainly lived up to his name on the pitch, as in best in the world, for a time at least. Her dad went on to play football professionally and he scored a ghost goal that was allowed. He was clearly very good at applying his mind over matter from an early age.


CLP 22/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 16) Behind the Mask

Out briefly today in sunshine. I forgot my gloves, but was surprised by the mildness of the air.

People maintaining good distances from each other; joggers running well wide of pedestrians; people stepping back to let others pass. There is no rush when people are on foot.

A taxi driver tries to squeeze past me when I am cycling through the city centre. He attempts to cut in before some bollards, then realises there isn’t enough room, so has to brake and wait until I am through the gap. Something is said through his open passenger side window as he passes, but I did not hear what. I keep pedalling.

I see him get out of his vehicle by the market. He carefully puts on his mask and goes into a grocery store. Funny he chooses to follow rules on foot, but had no regard for the 20 mph rule on the road. I say nothing.

The city is littered with debris from last night’s gale. Nothing remarkable, just twigs and pieces of branches, bits of rubbish pulled by the wind from bins and strewn around the streets, which are usually so tidy.

Storm Christoph has barely touched Norwich.


CLP 21/01/2021

On Playing vii

Look for quick singles

Yes! No! Sorry. My mistake.

Takes two to Tango


n.b. Continuing with the cricketing theme, communication between batters is either a strength or a weakness. It is about being in tune with your partner. As in cricket, as in life.

Here is a clip of a classic cricketing communication breakdown for your edification. Stick with it to the end to see the culprit’s body language. Oops!


CLP 19/01/2021

On Numbers 1820

Previously just

a date from history when

cholera took hold


n.b. Now 1,820 is the worst daily death toll in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 / 21. This is dreadful.

The cholera pandemic around the year 1820 killed uncountable millions.


CLP 20/01/2021

Piped Dreams

The door clicks a jar

compresses the draught

to a whistle that wakes me

from your arms, her arms, my brother’s

hand I held through a summer

night in the respiratory ward

down the corridor from coronary care

where he would be the next summer

and no one could visit

while he dreamt of life and dying

surviving dreams of dreaming

and not divining what was remembered

or dreamt even when sent home

to live as best he might when so tired

of medication and interventions

when all he wanted was to live

and love and still be the man

she married.


CLP 20/01/2021