The boiler in the attic was wheezing, rumbling and grumbling, reminding me of a gentleman of the road who used to shuffle into the public library to read the papers - and enjoy a cigarette with his tea, brewed by the staff to the brown of an old penny.
His paper of choice was the Daily Worker. I wondered then if he saw some irony in the title, as he sat there in greatcoat, his fragrance an acquired taste. Sometimes. Id offer him a Fishermans Friend lozenge in the vain hope it would clear the phlegm in his chest.
But back to our bothersome boiler. The waters running cold, shrilled my wife as her lead foot descended into the baths scented bubbles.
Were in the midst of a global pandemic, I snapped.. There are rumours of Russian ships in our territorial waters. Stock markets are nose-diving. We should prioritise our worries.
For example, Ive lost my glasses. Do you know where I put them?
Indeed, Im always losing things these days, as has become more obvious during this period of self-isolation, when your pensioner has been less able to perambulate in our crusty old pie of a town.
But Im thinking of things long lost, rather than merely mislaid. And maybe this is the time for finding them. On a rummage though our book shelves I came across Billy Wrights 1960 Book of Soccer. I had not dipped into it for half a century or more.
Inside were lengthy articles, reflecting huge changes in our society, Burnley were the First Division champions. Local players, past and present, were featured, including Evertons Birkenhead-born Bill Dixie Dean, described as having been broad of shoulder, quick off the mark and a born opportunist, whose speciality was an ability to direct a football in almost any direction with a neat flick of his curly head.
There were photos of Liverpools Billy Liddell and Evertons Dave Hickson. Of course, Dean and Hickson both played for Tranmere Rovers at different stages of their careers.
Like old magazines and newspapers, even the Kremlin-backed Daily Worker, such books offer lessons in popular history. Articles carried the by-lines of writers whod otherwise be forgotten. They gave us a picture of their times.
Now Im adjusting the flow of the bath tap until its hot, while wondering where I put my Billy the Kid, Dandy and Eagle annuals. It would be good to see them again.
Life is strange.
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