My infant years amid lush dairy pastures.
Golden days, guided by His gracious hand,
So happy to be in this God-given land.
A childhood so carefree, how blessed was I
To roll in grass, run through head-high corn.
And, at harvest, to sit atop sweet bales of hay,
Then stack them in barns, somewhere else to play.
Always in a safe place but changes were coming,
Village primary followed by a big city grammar.
I biked to a station that escaped Beeching’s axe;
What joy! Still a steam train to Manchester ‘n’ back.
But my real love, long before girls, was kicking a ball
All times and anywhere, in garden, park or playground.
I’d dream of lining up with Charlton, Best and Law,
Though in a team of such stars, no chance I’d score!
Having swung through the Sixties into the Seventies
It was just the right time to leave home for uni.
The world was your oyster, just hitch a ride
In bell-bottom trousers and a T-shirt tie-dyed.
With a degree in the bag and no rush to find work
I headed to Canada to see the Great Outdoors.
Returned four months later with a big box of LPs
And a letter from Lynne, my university squeeze.
In it she suggested we should meet up at Christmas,
How about that pub near Granada TV studios?
Lo and behold, the relationship grew stronger,
No doubt in my mind I would marry this teacher.
Twenty pounds, my first pay as a trainee reporter.
Lousy money, great job. That’s why I did it for 40 years!
First step on the career ladder took me to Carlisle
Where, not long after, Lynne and I walked down the aisle.
In Cumbria we discovered the pleasure of walking,
Up hills and along valleys of the Lake District.
With daughters in tow we got to the top of Catbells,
But soon we had scaled Helvellyn and other loftier fells.
The wonder of Creation was everywhere to be seen,
Always revealing itself in Nature’s sublime beauty
Now, three decades later, there’s nowhere I feel
Closer to God than during a simple walk in the fields.
Work was the reason that brought us down to Kent,
A lovely county but lacking in mountains to climb.
‘If these are the Downs, where are the Ups?’ we asked.
Do not despair: less rain here and more sun in which to bask.
I felt even better on seeing so many cricket grounds;
Too old for football, this would be the sport for me.
I signed up to play for a village near Maidstone
And thirty seasons on, I still turn out at Teston.
So much has happened in the last dozen years
The worst? Losing Lynne ‘n’ my mum in the space of a week
The best? Both daughters having children of their own.
Even better? I married Brenda and we love our new home.
Yes, blessings aplenty - good neighbours, caring church family,
Life in Ramsgate is certainly sweet; but is there a downside?
Well, who would have thought it when we tied the knot
That we’d spend more time in lockdown than not!