26/04/13 At home with the Hambly’s

Yesterday I put on an extra speedy spurt because I knew at the end of it would be my old mate, and fellow soccer super hero, Darren Hambly.

Given the enthusiastic rain that stayed until lunchtime I’d bravely cowered in the tent to save getting my hair wet. With the wind and the rain it would be all over the place for the reunion.

Not that we were ever unioned – a mean, we might have shared one of those big manly football baths but…

Anyway, I sped towards Millom as fast as Hubert could carry me…realising I didn’t have the number of Hambly Towers, I dropped subtle, not so subtle and slightly desperate Facebook messages.

It was nearing 7 in the evening when I tanked into town.

In desperation I set Ella the task of hunting down the Hambly number. No, I didn’t care she was in the middle of painting – this was more important.

Me – me – me

As you’d expect, there were thousands of Hambly’s in Millom…well, maybe 4, and they all live in the same house…so one number…

I spoke to Clare – Darren’s wife, she told me that he was out – she thought it would be entertaining if I could sneak in to welcome him on his return…

The best laid plans and all that – he was there at the door to welcome me in – after 32 years how would he greet me?

‘Ugh, you smell!’ he grinned as we hugged.

And then it dawned on me that I hadn’t known him terribly well at school – sure, we played in the same football team, he a midfield thinker, me a defensive cruncher and hoofer.

Yet he and Clare welcomed me in as if I were family. Their daughter, Amy, ran me a bath, with bubbles.

And then it all went a bit…reminiscing, old school friends… do you remember…?

Do you know that team that beat us in the quarter finals of the nationals won the final at wembly?

What team do you support?

Amy likes fell running – her school has a mountain at the back.. I remembered walking up scafell pike, hobbling a bit, carefully watching my step when a herd of fell runners bound past like so many gazelles.

So what’s this walk a mile in my shoes about?

Do you like pizza? I’ve got to pick Kayleigh up from school later… would you like to come? I’ll take you to Coniston Water – you know where Donald Campbell died in the Bluebird?

And then a great big pizza, cans of Stella and chats until nearly 3 in the morning.

Up again and off to the vast beach of Duddon Sands where Darren goes to reflect watching the sea, the wildlife, the world go by…

And then, all to soon, it was time to go. A cheese sandwich, a banana and a couple of boiled eggs to see me on my way.

What’s not to like?

A bit of a walk a mile whirlwind

Fabulous

Walk a mile

Chris

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