Saturday, November 21, 1981

A great togetherness

Mum and I got the ten o’clock bus to Dearnelow, and Robert was waiting for us in the station when we arrived, looking white and fraught. He had a noticeable limp and looked awful.

He'd brought a shopping list with him and so, for the next hour, we traipsed round Dearnelow market buying in all Carol’s shopping. The market was seething with people and when we were done, we saw Mum to a taxi; Robert suggested that we go and watch Dearnelow F.C.'s match and we wandered about feeling at a loose end, looking at records or books and having a pint at a pub. I bought Billy Cobham’s Crosswinds for £1.99. Robert was subdued and depressed.

We got to Cannonbrook with an hour to spare. It's a big, old-fashioned ground surrounded on three sides by wasteland and as we approached through the greyness we both remarked that the view would have made an excellent photo, with the 'John Smith's Bitter' painted in stark white letters across the roof of the stand and the dark, huddled figures converging on the turnstiles.

Inside it was crowded, people everywhere. I bought a hot dog and we stood opposite the main stand. Thunderous applause when Dearnelow came out; they're fifth in Yorkshire League One and score loads of goals. Their opponents Cumberhead are near the foot of the table and it was no surprise that Dearnelow started well with lots of swift, attacking football, and they so completely dominated Cumberhead that a goal felt inevitable. It came after 21 minutes, the centre forward Michaels chopping a loose ball and McCandless backheeling it in. Really exciting stuff, and but for the Cumberhead goalkeeper’s brilliant saves, Dearnelow could have had three or four.

But after half-time, their form vanished and they looked shaky and uncertain in defence, and Cumberhead equalised within fifteen minutes–it was deathly quiet as the Cumberhead goalkeeper celebrated. The arguments behind us, conducted in broad Yorkshire accents, were amusing to overhear. It was all so familiar, and the game degenerated after this into football we were both at home with–lots of good old up-and-unders. . . .  And that's how it ended, 1-1, and we both really enjoyed it. On the way out, the human river flooded down the tiny backstreets, tributaries joining together into one immense living stream, a clumping multitude of heads; a great togetherness really. We had to wait an hour for a bus.

Carol is hobbling about with two purple and red swollen eyes and looks pretty bad. We passed the evening reading, listening to music and talking: Robert told us that there are four Buddhist RE teachers at Swinscoe school; one has been to Tibet. He said that if he ever takes up a religion it will be Buddhism.

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