Friday, May 09, 2008

Wherein I do not talk about how drunk I have been since I last blogged.

Wherein I do not talk about how drunk I have been since I last blogged.

I stand in the hallway, my oversize M&S bag on my shoulder, sunglasses in my hand. It is the end of what seems to have been a particularly long fortnight.

"Corinne -" I turn to see Obi 4. "Will you play football with me?"

I look down at what I am wearing. A black pencil skirt. Purple tights I am trying desperately not to ladder in case I do not find any I like quite as much. A pair of bronze slip on shoes that look cute but which have the kind of grip which can turn a normal Leeds pavement into an ice rink. Certainly, this is not regulation Premier League attire.

"Of course". I am, after all, not impervious to the wishes of a ten year old.

I deposit my belongings and troop out into the garden where I am greeted by a ball which most closely resembles a giant clown's nose. It would undoubtedly be the kind of ball that would appear in a Comic Relief kickabout. This is not something I am prepared for. If I am to ever appear in a Comic Relief segment (without David Tennant) then blatantly I am a prime candidate for their Apprentice spin-off. If only for the fact that I am anal.

"Come on, I'll go first" says Obi 4.

I wonder what position I should take as I weigh up the likelihood of my ending up face first on the driveway with a broken nose.


Obi 4 kicks the ball. I attempt to move to get it, only my skirt stops me moving my legs.

I watch as the ball sails behind me into the recycling bins.


I nod my head.

"You kick off".

As my right foot makes contact with the ball, my left foot chooses this moment to skid precariously. I just about manage to stay upright as the ball hits the fence.

"No goal".

It hardly needs saying as I check I haven't dinted the fence that, on a technicality, does not belong to us.

But there is no time for possible insurance claims, we are in the midst of a football match as the ball comes in my direction.

For whatever reason I start to find my metaphorical footballing feet, though if I do manage to score then I also manage to nearly put the ball through one of the windows.

"Now for some skill". It is half ironical, but only half, because, for all my complaints I am better at sport than I usually let on. Except cricket which I am, as can be testified, resolutely rubbish at. And gymnastics. But that's hardly a sport, especially for girls whose body is structured the way mine is.

I play with the ball at my feet for a few moments before I move to kick it. At the point of contact my shoe decides that it too wishes to fully partake of the sport. It goes flying in the air, ending up several metres away from where, bemused, I am standing.

Obi 4 looks at me. It is coming to something when ten year olds have mastered the ironical look.

"So, maybe that wasn't skill" I concede.

We play on for another ten minutes until, with my sensing that I am already pushing my luck, I call proceedings to an end. Neither of us having kept count of the score, we shake hands, Obi 4 the unsaid victor.

We trudge back into the house.

"A new career as a footballer then?" my father asks.

I shrug my shoulders. "Maybe not this lifetime".

Obi 4 turns round. "But Corinne's a good footballer". He smiles. I smile back. And as hard as the past few weeks have been, as much as I have woken up with a familiar knot in my stomach as to what is to happen today, then I suspect everything will, ultimately, be alright.

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