Jogging my memory

I stayed over my parents’ last night because I’d popped over so I could watch some more of Bones season 6 with my mum (Bones watching has become a family ritual) and get some free food.

One of my fave shows and a family ritual

So this morning, I got up and went for a jog around this area again. It was my first 35 minute run, and if you’ve read my jogging blogs from over the Christmas period you’ll know the route I used to go on was hilly and always knackered me out. The fact I was running for longer meant I didn’t particularly fancy the hills, but then I realised I could take another route and run around the park, which while on a hill didn’t include any steep climbs.

I haven’t been to the park in years, and it was weird going back to a place I used to go to regularly. The slide, which I used to perch on top and think I was really high, suddenly looked small and rather pathetic. It meant I spent half the trip going over old memories.

I passed the picnic table where I’d had some birthday party as a child, and we’d found dog poo in a tree, which baffled us all. It still does. It was in a tree, but not in a bag. How the hell did it get up the tree?

I also had a badass Donatello birthday cake, especially made, the brainy Turtle having been based on a drawing my Uncle had done.

I really appreciated the cake, even if Raphael was my favourite Turtle

I ran along the old BMX track that I’ve never seen used by BMXers, Neath council doing their usual thing of catering to a new youth craze just as it dies out.

There was the bowls green where I’d got shouted at for going on the green to retrieve a football, and next to it the small flat space we’d used to pracise before our Youth Club’s only ever game.

It was a 5-a-side match and a qualifier for a tournament. We lost 5-3, although it didn’t come as a surprise, our opponents turned up in a minibus, all in a proper kit, we’d arrived in our parents’ cars, in a mismatched assortment of shirts and shorts, all vaguely in the same colour. At best we looked like the woefully unprepared misfits of a Disney movie, but life’s not a Disney movie, and the plucky underdogs went home losers.

We hadn’t played badly, but it was still gutting to lose, and I was filled with white hot anger at one of our team who could have made the final result 4-4.

Even now, over 10 years later I still get a bit annoyed thinking about it. The first instance was when the took a shot and it came right at this Mathew kid, who instead of heading it clear or letting it hit him stuck his hands infront of his face and gave away a penalty. Shortly after, or at least in my memory this is how it happened, he had the chance to score for us, having fired a close range shot that bounced up off the keeper.

It was a simple knock down header, hell, he could have chested the ball into the net. But he chose instead to blatantly palm it over the line. No goal. And that was that.

Although, to be fair, as Welshmen we should’ve expected to fail in the qualifying stages.

This set off a whole other chain of memories.

A brawl that signalled the end of the youth club, me being upset by this, the fact that it was in this park that I met the girl who’d be my first kiss.

The Scout hall where I’d decided that Scouts wasn’t for me, I had enough of uniforms and daft rules at school, when I was out I should be making the most of my free time. It turned out that after quitting I didn’t seize this opportunity and spent it like the rest of my evenings- reading X-Men comics or whacking off like a little chimp.

Emma Frost- where those two things used to meet

Then as I walked back towards the house I remembered walking with two friends on Bonfire Night one year, fireworks popping above us and lighting us up in odd colours and messing with our shadows, like something out of the bridge scene in Apocalypse Now.

And finally an awful memory. Me making some cackhanded pass at a female friend I fancied for much of my teens. Awkward, nervous and making a fool of myself. I can’t remember what I said, all I remember was that it was probably indelicate, stupid and rambling. You know when people say they remember something and they crings, I’m fairly sure I cringed inwardly at the time. Needless to say I was turned down.

Its odd how many stories you have associated with just one place, or area. I hadn’t thought of some of this stuff in years, and I have to admit I wondered what had happened to the various people in the memories. Did Mathew still rue using his hands in that match? Does the girl remember kissing me? Or was it more special to me because it was my first one? Does my former crush remember my awkward courtship attempts? And how does she view them now.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. TTFN


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