Taking Stock - September 14, 2015

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What is it they say, you have to be cruel to be kind?

I’ve never been a great believer in tough-love - partly, I suspect, because it involves a great deal more concentration than any quick fix.

But an incident recently drilled home the need for the folks around you, occasionally, to be brutally honest.

As wonderful as it is being a parent occasionally it’s good to break the shackles of adulthood and enjoy an evening in the pub.

A return to the excesses of my student days - lining up pool shots with the help of a dog end - is highly unlikely.

But I do make it out occasionally and one evening found myself in one of the Fylde coast’s finer hostelries.

The establishment in question can usually be relied on to have a game on football on the box.

But on this particular occasion the screens had been taken over by egg chasing.

At this point I should explain, as I did to those gathered around the table, I don’t have any real dislike of rugby. But, having been forced to play at school (the association game was frowned upon) it does conjour up some difficult memories - in particular of the games master who insisted a try was not a try unless it involved ending up covered in the stinking mud by the fence of the rendering plant.

“What position did you play?” was the innocent enough bar question.

“Hooker...” came the reply – a statement on my physique rather than any lack of morals.

“Scrum half,” I replied - the statement followed by a cacophony of grunts, sniggers and guffaws as my friends and colleagues struggled to imagine my as the svelte, athletic brains of the outfit.

Yes, I know, over the years I’ve gradually been able to see less and less of my toes as my belly engages in a slow, painful pedi-eclipse. But I didn’t realise things had gone so far. That I drowned my sorrows in pints and bar snacks tells the story of where it all went wrong.