Dad switched my light on at six when he came back from work, and I gradually came round. I got up at 7.45. I had that same old feeling of nervousness in the pit of my stomach, knotted tightness.
I set off for the rendezvous at quarter-past and was there within fifteen minutes. I had a long wait until anyone else arrived, and I was just beginning to get apprehensive when Matthew Knight (who’s actually left school) and his fifth year brother arrived. Andy Briscoe and Adrian Westcott rode past on their ‘bikes to the latters house to drop them off. Shortly around nine, Farrar rolled up in the minibus with seventh year David McCall; we all piled in and Farrar drove down to Farnshaw centre where six more were waiting, including a fourth year or two. We were still a man short so another detour round to Haslam to knock a fifth year yob up out of bed. I was out of place really; among all those loudmouthed extrovert macho men as they discussed a big party they’d had lastnight and about all the birds they “went with.” I suddenly thought how twee, trivial and utterly contemptible my immature scrawlings in these pages on that score are.
The day had started off cloudy, but shortly the cloud cleared, and we arrived at Burston in bright sunshine. After changing (I was to be second row No 5 once more) we all made our way up to the pitch, which was pretty exposed, on a slight slope.
First half we played uphill and into the wind, and things began just as a year last October: I soon became exhausted and jogged vainly after the ball. I was so slow. The pitch was pretty muddy, and for a long time it was 0-0, pretty evenly matched. I pushed hard in the scrum (painful for the head and ribs) and was inept in the line out where my opponent was a tall blond lad who always grabbed my shirt, never the ball. I hardly got a touch all half. At about three-quarters of the way through the first half, Andy scored from a penalty, giving Egley a 3-0 lead, but a mistake (silly one, apparently) leveled it at 3-3, which is what it became at half-time. Farrar said he was impressed (and said I was “having a great game”; all shallow pat-on-the-back praise to keep me going) and that we had a good chance of winning.
I don’t know what happened second-half; at first I felt terrible, I was nearly sick and felt queasy, but gradually it passed off and I began to feel a little easier. I ran more for the ball and was more involved generally. I remember one time finding the ball free near me – I went for it, picked it and was immediately jumped on by several blues, but (and I was proud of this) I managed to send the ball rolling out to Andy, who nearly scored. Several times there was good Egley pressure, but nothing came of it except another penalty, putting us up 6-3.
We collapsed somehow or other, they scored three tries in quick succession, converting two of them, and we ended up losing 21-6. I was mud-covered and bruised – I ached all over, especially my legs, and eventually got back at 12.45 p.m.
I went to bed for an hour, then had a bath and N.P. had arrived when I got down. She said I looked shattered, Mum said I’d looked grey when I got home.
It remained sunny all day, which I spent hobbling about and feeling absolutely whacked. I’ve bruised my left foot (now bandaged) which is pretty painful.
In the evening I made a pretense of writing up my debate for Monday; I had the books out before me but as usual, my mind was unwilling to work when there was no deadline to meet. Eventually I drifted into the front room, supposedly to watch Shaft, and ended up arguing with Mum, first about immigration, and then about the whole thing of equality, communism and utopias.
I much prefer arguing with Mum to Dad because the former is less personal about their attacks and also more willing to listen, not as temperamental and also quite fair.
N.P. sat there, agreeing sometimes, disagreeing other times, and the more I argued about immigration, the less sure I became – do I really actually believe in uncontrolled immigration. Under the current circumstances, no, but under ideal, utopian socialistic ones of no countries, no nationalism, no racism, yes! As we talked it out I thought of a sneaky way of getting out of of my cul-de-sac; I can argue that if more foreign aid, massive foreign aid, was given to likely immigration countries, and their standards improved to a par with ours, then at that time we could end immigration law as the demand for entry wouldn’t be that great. Yet that seems too much like deviousness on my part. The hardest area to defend will be that of those who come into Britain unemployed and leach off the NHS, DHSS etc.,. and also, the basic question, why immigration? I’ll have to argue that the restriction on people crossing an arbitrary line drawn from A to B such as a border merely because people copme from a certain country is so morally indefensible. Why cant they live where they want? Doesn’t sound good however, does it?
I’ll get thrashed, I’m sure of it.