Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Peter Cech - Get well soon!

Peter Cech, a sound man!

Last August we were taking in the view from the Hancock Tower’s viewing gallery overlooking Chicago’s wonderful sights. Turning the corner we bump into Peter Cech & Carlo Cudicini, Chelsea’s Goalkeepers and probably the best two keepers on the planet.

Peter kindly posed for a picture which was very kind of him and I was instantly struck by his friendliness & ease when faced with a fan and his two year old. Later on, we managed to get the two lads down in the elevator as there was a waiting line of some 200 souls and we all had a training session to get to. Us as spectators, Carlo as a participant and the lads missing the bus would have been a tad embarrassing for them & the club. Peter was in recovery from a shoulder operation

We had met Peter the year before when he signed my youngster’s shoe along with Frank Lampard & Billy Gallas; He looked surprised and then had a laugh at the novelty of this “footpad”.

Anyway, up to the current day. We are watching the game live from Reading on Saturday. It is barely a minute old and Peter goes out to collect a ball with the onrushing Stephen Hunt attacking the ball, they collide and Peter has a depressed head fracture which according to accounts later, he nearly died from in the dressing room.

Carlo deputizes and at the end of the game, he is also knocked unconscious. Thankfully he recovers but Peter Cech is out of the game for at least a year and has two metal plates in his head.

It simply shows how fleeting life can be, how transient our lives are here and how thankful our family is for the safety & recovery of Peter Cech. A great ambassador for Club & Country.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Booksigning in the Bluegrass...

A Book signing not a Book burning in the Bible belt!

An agreeable journey through the Bluegrass state. The elegant bloodstock farms as one approach the outer reaches of Lexington are simply mind-boggling in their size, scope and grandiosity.

Lexington itself seems to be dominated by the University of Kentucky; it appeared to this observer that the city was one big campus with shops. I am sure this is not true but one got that feeling as we drove through the town center.

We met up with my work colleague (Sue)’s daughter, Son in law & little girl and firm friends were made for life. It’s lovely to encounter synchronicity with other like minded beings. We enjoyed a wonderful Kentucky welcome and we are eternally grateful. Jessie & Scott were brilliant company and we look forward to seeing them soon again especially as dinner hosts.

So onto the book-signing at Joseph Beth, Almost a “This is your life” moment when I popped up. I think Eoin was a bit (pleasantly) shocked to see another “yellow belly” in the tropical rainforest that is Lexington, Kentucky especially one that he went to school with.

The ironic address “Hallo, Mr. Colfer!”,..,
“Oh! It’s Mister now, is it?”, the sardonic reply, all in good jest. A typical Wexford rapport was struck up. Two sentences and my wife & oldest had another instance of how the natives communicate back in Forth & Bargy.

Eoin had a huge turnout of fans, indeed of all ages and I would think that he left with a few hundred more, looking at those that strayed in and attended his one man show which enthralled his audience. It took me back to his Dad’s class and the easy yet sharp wit that we enjoyed as 10/11 year olds all those years ago.

While Eoin was signing for the legions, I observed my youngest going about his merry way, playing with Thomas the tank engine and then discovering (much to my delight) a castle and an array of Crusaders, Saracens, Vikings , Dragons and God knows what all. I was back in my childhood once more, Knights & Castles was a source of hours of fun for me and to see my youngster get in the spirit of thing was a joy beyond description. Stevenson’s “Black Arrow” jumps to my mind as I type, there are memories here just bursting to get out on the page but another day will suffice for now.

Eventually, the book signing was over. Eoin was released from his duties and we had a chat & a drink. The poor man was drained, shattered even and obviously missing his family. A city a day, thousands of faces, thousands of books, thousands of images leaves a person shell shocked I guess after a while. All he sees are airports, bookstores, hotels on these tours, guarded by matronly trolls/sorry, literary agents from his adoring public.

It meant a lot to my stepson to be in the company of another Wexfordman. My wife’s family are here stateside, 5 generations removed from the Model County. Our oldest, Bryan, is very aware of his roots, is an aspiring writer and to meet a published one in the form of a genial, relaxed form as Eoin whose books he happens to admire, was a thrill for him. It was nice to see the encouragement he received from Eoin, just as I did from his father many years ago. The apple did not fall far from the tree! (Very much meant as a compliment, Eoin!).

We parted ways and my last view of Eoin was a sad one. Trudging back to his nearby Hotel suite, alone and dog tired. Success can be a cruel mistress but as Eoin informed me earlier, “this way I can spend so much time with my family for the other 10 months of the year”. At least, he’ll be “en famille” in the City of Angels before he heads home.

He has a one man show to start in London’s West End later this month…It will be a sell out of that there is no doubt. I hope he gives himself some time out in the meantime. We need people of his ilk on the planet. What an ilk is I do not know, probably a Canadian elk but we’ll discuss it another time.

Thanks Eoin & God speed home!