Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It was England, and it was almost 100° Celsius.

It was also 2003.

Scottish Dave, Fionnuala, Steve King and myself all met-up with a guy called Nigel and somehow squeezed, with thousands of other flattened travellers, into a large metal tube called a train. It was our positive-minded hope that if we stood pressed-between all these similarly-hopeful strangers for a little over an hour, then we would all get to the south coast and enjoy a fun Saturday out.

The plan worked!

Falling-out of the sliding-doors at Brighton station, we made our way down the main road to the beach, where I led everyone along the front to a spot I knew just beyond what was left of the multi-arsoned West Pier.

In fact it was so hot, that I hadn’t bothered to bring a towel with me. Or a bag. In fact I hadn’t even troubled myself with any swimming-gear. No, I wasn’t on that beach, in fact I was doing both the geographical and philosophical opposite.

Wearing the same clothes that I’d travelled down in, I walked into the sea, threw a frisby about with Dave, Fio and Steve for 45 minutes, and then returned to Nigel on the beach to quickly dry-off in the sun. I’ve always been quite pleased about this. I hate having to carry a bag on a day out.

Afterwards we all got some fish and chips, bought some real junk food on the pier, and went on a few rollercoaster and dodgem rides.


By now it was dark, so I led everyone through the town to see Brighton’s famous lanes. Quite why I was leading the group is a mystery to me today. My knowledge of Brighton is hardly extensive, but I guess someone had to pretend that they knew.

At around midnight, with less than ten minutes before the last train back to London was due to pull-out, the convenience store outside the station looked as though it had been looted. Food, drink and magazines lay strewn all over the shop floor as everyone clamoured for goods for the journey. I managed, somehow, to both fill-up and pay for 2 large Slush-Puppies (squishies), which on the train back were exactly what I needed.

Back in London, as we all went our separate ways, it had been a truly great day out. For me it was the defining day of the summer.

The following day Brighton would break the 100° barrier and make Monday’s front pages, but the story of that day belongs to other people’s blogs.

I remained good friends with Scottish Dave, Fionnuala and Steve King, but I never saw Nigel again.

Until today.

Nigel, it transpired last weekend, was a kiwi. Scottish Dave emailed me from Sydney to say that Nigel would be traveling home to Palmerston North this week, and would I like to catch up with him here in Auckland?

Now I’m not much good at recognising people at the best of times. It’s a daily occurrence now for me to ask people about themselves, only to learn that I’ve met them previously. So would I spend the entire evening unintentionally reminiscing with a complete stranger?

I was supposed to meet Nigel in the coffee-shop at Borders on Queen Street, but as I approached the main entrance on the corner, I saw a figure outside who looked, for all the world, as though he were waiting for someone.

Then something about the corners of his eyes reminded me of a photo I'd taken that day.

“Nigel!”

I suppose the next 3 hours would normally have involved “catching-up” or “chewing over old times”, but with only one old time to chew over, we barely even mentioned it.

One of Nigel's reasons for returning now is to watch the British Lions thrash the New Zealand All-Blacks at rugger next weekend. Once again, and not for the first time in this country, I found myself justifying my 29 non-rugby-going years back in Twickenham.

(These days, it seems that being into sport is usually all about how long you can watch TV for) (Ahh! - there's a comments button down the bottom)

It was great to make friends again though, enjoy a Starbucks, compare notes regarding Scottish Dave’s hospitality, (Dave - so there’s a bed under that mattress now?) and especially to see someone from back home.

The list of people I have seen here who I knew prior to my arrival in July has now broken double-figures: Melanie, Bill, Karen (literally on my doorstep), Suze (albeit on a live-action pop-up ad on MSN), Sioni, Scottish Dave, Fionnuala Armstrong, Kevin, Anna-Lisa Barbour, 610 and now Nigel Murray. That’s 10½. (sorry Suze)

But I like to aim high, so I personally am still holding out for the entire cast of Transmission: Impossible to show up wanting to do some more filming.

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2 comment(s):

At 5:32 am, Blogger David Armstrong said...

It must be more than 1 year ago as we left London 4th May 2004. We enjoyed nigel's stay and your recounting. Have u checked out my blog? I'm looking at fair trade coffee as a venture. Everyone is agreed its a great idea but there are no suppliers. Any profits I make will be channeled back into charity. I'm trying to set up an ebay store www.stores.ebay.com/fairtrade-coffee but its more difficult than I thought to get the useability up. Excuse the fio login as mines is suspended because I didn't pay 1.50 listing fee on the last object I sold (a spare raditor from laburnum ct in london).

 
At 5:47 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Cheers Dave!

I check your blog regularly.

Good luck with selling Fair Trade coffee.

To get your Ebay rating up, and find a supply of Fair Trade coffee, buy it all off of Ebay!

Steve.

 

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