Thursday, March 09, 2006

Great Sporting Moments

We are going to the Isle of Wight in September for a week. I like the place because it dosn’t seem to alter beyond recognition. We seem to go there about every 10 years. The first time I went was also the first time I had ever stayed in a hotel it was a ‘school journey’ probably circa 1955.
Edward May had been practising ‘gobbing’ for many weeks before the event, make as much spit as you can before depositing it in one, hopefully huge, globule. Success was measured by the size and coherence of the effort in its final resting place on the pavement. If it were an Olympic sport marks would be deducted for any separation in the body of this watery projectile when finally at rest.
Lee Manor Primary school in south east London was a long way from Shanklin Isle of Wight and Edward May’s effort to achieve the record must rank along side the greatest sporting efforts. His cheeks were going in and out as we boarded the coach and I think if he did manage to say anything at all it would have been at this point before the precious cargo had multiplied to a level that required careful containment.
I am sure the ferry port was Portsmouth and that would be about 90 miles from the school and on roads that were still pretty to travel on. Edward May’s cheeks pumped away , occasionally they paused , I suppose to rest the muscles in his face but he could say nothing. Not without tremendous risk to those of us who sat near him and to the ultimate perfection and beauty of his great work. Then the ferry which takes about ½ hour and again back onto the coach for the journey to Cliff Top Hotel Shanklin. Finally we arrived at Keats Green and walked up the gravel drive of the hotel. In my mind I now clearly see the white bay window where its base meets the gravel drive and nestling in the crevice the enormous but slightly disappointing Ted May deposit. His big error was not to realise the importance of gravel as a means of drainage.

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