mercredi 16 mars 2011


Is it really twelve years since Man Utd won the treble! An amazing match, but I only saw the end of the second half and extra time as I'd been sailing that evening in Poole Harbour, which was an hour's drive from where I was then living in Tisbury, S. Wilts.

Thankfully, I didn't fall in the drink that night. But it was nice to test the efficiency of the buoyancy aid one night when I was tacking and my grip slipped on the side of the dinghy. I fell head first into the sea and was instantly flipped onto my back. I admired the amazing azure skies as I floated like a whale in the luke-warm water!!

The trouble with having stiff legs, though I have to laugh about it, is that you never know where you're going to end up. Even when the only imbibing you've done is of tea. The longer you sit down, the stiffer the legs become so the secret is to keep moving but as a journalist/writer/editor who often gets lost in the text on which I'm working for hours on end, this is easier said than done.

But I can't complain at life. As my paternal Grandfather used to say, 'there's always somebody worse off than you!'

Almost a month after Utd won the Treble, Richard, my best friend from Undergraduate days, was killed in a car crash on the Dublin to Belfast road on 15 June 1999. He was only 31 when he died and his computer company was just on the brink of taking off. I still think of him, and the shananagans we got up to as Undergraduates in the Welsh Valleys from 1987 to 1991, often.

We never know what lies around the corner on this earth. The best thing about Rich was that he lived life to the full. Once when riding his motorbike back to Carrick Fergus, after lunch at his mothers', he stopped to lie down in the middle of the road so that his girlfriend Jane, who was following in the car, would think he'd had an accident. Unfortunately, Jane knew that he was mucking about and drove on by. Richard didn't realise this and when another driver stopped, got out of his car and rang for an ambulance, a shouting match ensued! Another time he took a chainsaw to the potting shed. Well, it was all extra fire-lighter!

In early August 1996 we all went up to Fermanagh for a camping weekend . When we were packing the tent away on the Sunday afternoon, Jane misplaced the bracelet that Richard had given her when they'd first started dating in 1990. Poor girl was distraught and Richard was not too pleased either!

'That cost me a month's wages. I bought you that shortly after we first met!' he'd chided.

After thirty minutes of frantic searching for the errant item of jewellry, Richard produced it from under a rug and started howling with laughter...

We'd been Technical Students at CERN together in 1989/1990 and lived in what can best be describes as a 'dug-out' in the basement of a house in Prevessin. We often talked about life and death issues and one night I asked him whether he believed in Christ's Ressurrection from the dead.

'He did it!' I remember him saying.

It's the only truth we can hold onto in life's storms. But the secret to a fulfilled life is to focus on the Lord Jesus in the good times as well as the bad. If we shine Christ's light to others and live our lives for them then one day when our lives are ended here we will meet the Lord and He will say to us, 'Well done good and fiaithful servant!'

Just looking into the eyes of the Son of God will be amazing.

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