Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Saturday List #81 - My impossible bucket list

I'm not a believer in bucket lists. I think if you want to do something, do it. I've done most of the stuff I really wanted to. There will always be new stuff, so there is always stuff to do. But there is stuff I didn't do, which I will now never do because the chance has gone. If however Dr Who stops by in his Tardis, here is my impossible bucket list.

1. Get taken for a spin in my Dad's Wellington bomber in 1944. My Dad was a bomber pilot during WWII. I'd loved to see him in action flying his plane. It would be pretty scary, but I'd miss the Ploesti trip where he got shot down. I know him and his crew got back from the rest in one piece!
2. Take the Blue Midland Pullman from St Pancras to Manchester Central Station. This service ran until around 1966. It used to pass my house in Mill Hill around 11am. At the time, there were green diesel engines with red coaaches and green multiple units. But there was only one Blue Train. As a four year old, I used to get really upset if I missed seeing "The Blue Train" pass the window. Mrs O'Keefe, who used to clean the house for my mum and was a lovely lady from Co Kerry, the nearest thing to a Grandma I had, usd to make sure she'd come up and we'd watch together. She told me it was "The luxury Express to Manchester" which sounded impossibly glamarous. She even got me a book with a picture of it in for my 4th Birthday. Sadly they don't run "Luxury Expresses from St Pancras to Manchester" anymore. The service terminated at Manchester Central Station, which is now the G-Mex centre. Out of curiosity, I googled it a few years ago. It was indeed a first class only luxury service. It convinced me that Blue was the right colour to associate with Manchester!
3. See The Clash at the Music Machine. It was a gig I missed. I had "something better to do". The music machine was my favourite venue and The Clash were in their absolute prime. I just assumed that I'd go next time. A bad mistake.
4. Visit Berlin and see the wall fall. When Bowie released Heroes, I was intrigued. I wanted to go to Berlin and see the wall. Back in the 1970's and 80's we didn't have budget airlines and I was skint. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have moved heaven and earth to get there for one of the most iconic moments of our time. Instead I watched it in a pub!
5. See Manchester City beat Newcastle United 2-1 to win the 1976 League Cup final and see Dennis Tuearts overhead bicycle kick, which was the winner. I thought long and hard about whether this would be my football moment or whether England vs Germany would be. In the end I went for this as it was at the height of my youthful football obsession. i was too young to remember the world cup victory well, however Tuearts goal to win the League cup was just a brilliant moment in my life that I missed.
6. See Ali Vs Frasier (1). I love Muhammed Ali, to me he is iconic, the greatest boxer ever. But if I had to pick a fight of his to see, I'd love to see his first fight against Joe Frasier. I also love Joe Frasier. Ali had it all in some ways, the banter the aura. But I loved the way Frasier was just a boxer. If ever you saw the two men on chat shows, it was clear who the star was. I always felt that Ali's personality and aura totally overshadowed him. However on that night, it didn't. Of all the fights, I think it was the most interesting. I find it quite sad that Frasier will only ever be a footnote. He deserves a bit better. He was the only man to beat Ali at his peak. To me that makes him pretty unique. As my Dad was an Aussie with no interest in football, boxing was the iconic sport in our home. Those fights made a lasting impression on me. I'd have taken my Dad as well!
7. Drive an E-Type Jag at full pelt from Bunns Lane Works to Watford on the M1 and back and chalk the time on the wall of my Dad's workshop. There has only ever been one car I really wanted, that is a blue E-Type Jag. I am not a petrol head, but I loved the E-Type. Not the convertable, that is for posers, the proper job with the roof. When my Dad ran his crash repair business, if a new sports car came in for repairs, before he gave it back, he'd thrash it up the M1 to Watford at full pelt and back and clock the time on his workshop wall. He always said this was a "necessary safety check". As a driver, he was a complete maniac. I am not, but I'd make an exception. However he used to do it in the 1960's and 70's at around 8pm, when the roads are clear. No chance of that now!
8. Save the bottom of my garden from the chainsaw of the man who "cleared it". Until I was six or seven, the bottom of my garden (I still live in the house I grew up in, bought it from Mum in 1987 after Dad passed away) was a magical place. There was the big apple tree, that was full of lovely apples in the autumn. There was the sad, old lonely pear treee, that only ever had one pear a year in it. There was the "Rose Gazebo" planted by the old ladies my folks bought the house off. There was "The ditch", full of leeches, frogspwan and sticklebacks with its magic spring. Then my Dad "paid a Paddy" to "clear it". All of this was destroyed (apart from the ditch which my Dad filled in the year after, when Valerie fell in). I can remember my complete horror when I saw what had been done. My Dad was made to feel so quilty. I've spent years trying to repair the damage. We have a pond, apple and pear trees, but the magic has never quite returned. I am sure if I could have shown my Dad what it would look ike and how my sisters reacted, he'd have thought twice. It taught me a valuable lesson. It is easy to destroy magic and hard to make it.
9. Have you ever gone home early because you are tired and missed the best night ever? Actually I haven't, there is something in my DNA that prevents me from doing that. But if I had that Tardis, I would have persuaded myself to do just that sometime back in the early 1980's. You see because I stayed up, I caught two people kissing and that completely changed my opinion of one of them. I really wished I hadn't because that one is still a friend and when I see them now, I still think of that scene and it still occasionally troubles me. Some things are actually better not to know.
10. And finally. Anyone else remember Jack Geache's clothes shop in Harrow. Used to be the shop where all the Teds went for their 1950's outfits. They had a pair of purple suede shoes in the window. I really wanted to buy them but they were a squillion quid and I was skint. So I never did. I happen to believe that if you've never owned a pair of purple suede shoes, you ain't really a proper rock and roll guitarist and that is a problem for me. For my 18th birthday my mum asked me what I wanted and I said "It's really expensive and you can only get them from Geaches in Harrow and they are Purple Suede Shoes". My mum, to my amazement said "You are only 18 once so we'll see what we can do". On the day, I got a shoe box with a pair of Hush Puppies inside. I asked her why she got me them. She said "I made your father drive me to Harrow to get you the ones you wanted, but they were really expensive and these are far more practical". My Dad who was an altogether more generous soul and got what having the right clobber was all about simply stood looking shamefaced and embarrassed (not enough though, to nip up and get the shoes). Have a great weekend.

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