Sunday, August 12, 2007


How times change

This week seems to be one where I'm looking back at who I used to be and wondering what I'd have said if I'd known what would happen.

Take this picture. It was taken back in 2003, and dates from a spell where I used to have my photo taken with various people connected with rugby. I don't know why, because I hated seeing myself in the photos, maybe the real reason was that the person I shared lifts with to the matches always hung around afterwards to take photos and talk to the players, and joining in was something to do while I waited.

Anyway, one day I had my photo taken with Mike Gregory. He'd taken over as Wigan coach relatively recently at that stage, and had a bright future in the game. The next season he took us to the cup final, which turned out to be his last game in charge as he took long term sick leave, and then didn't have his contract renewed, when he was found to be suffering with Progressive Muscular Atrophy, a form of Motor Neurone Disease.

If you followed the link on my last post you'll know that I'm running the Great North Run with him this year. Looking at that photo would you ever have thought that four years later he'd be the one in the wheelchair and I'd be the experienced runner helping him round the course, using a half marathon as a shorter than normal training run? I'd have laughed at you if you'd suggested it then, but that's how it's turned out.

The second is more of a "has it really been 10 years" moment. I'm having one of my semi-regular but not as frequent as they should be meet up with some uni friends at the weekend. I had a bit of a jolt earlier this year on the 10th anniversary of the 1997 labour general election victory. Not because of any particular reason, but because I remember spending the day cycling round south Manchester trying to sort out a house to live in in the second year at uni, and finally signing up for something with two friends and a freak. We won't go into the freak now, but let's just say that three of us got on and one didn't despite our best efforts in the first few months, so after that we gave up trying to include her.

The three of us still see each other now, and I find it hard to believe that it's been 10 years. And how we've changed. Sometimes you don't notice it so much when changes happen bit by bit, but from those poor students living off pop tarts and supernoodles, buying the cheapest beer we could find and nipping to the pub for last orders after an evening studying, we've somehow all turned into vaguely responsible adults. We all have houses and mortgages and proper grown up jobs. One of us is pregnant, another is getting married next year (hint, neither of those are me). We drink nice wine instead of cheap beer, we sometimes cook for each other (using real ingredients, not processed muck), and we end up talking about carpets, fitted kitchens, gardening and DIY. We go out for a meal in the pub, go back to her house and go to bed at 10.30. We're hardcore party animals really...

I suppose it's just what happens when you get older, but it still comes as something of a shock to the system sometimes when you think back to how we used to live. Ah well, it might be different but at least it's still good fun.

The consequence of going to bed so early last night was that we ended up getting up surprisingly early too. Well, not early for me, and I'd been reading for a while before other people started moving, but early for staying at someone's house after a night out. That gave me most of the day to play with, so I decided to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and have a bit of a walk round the country park. I wouldn't claim to know a great deal about sculpture or art in general, but it was still nice to get outside and have a wander round, stumbling across a sculpture every now and again. Oh, and the scone with jam and cream I treated myself to was very nice too...


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8:42 PM  

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