Mrs M Forever

There I was manning the barricades of sanity against the gibbering hordes of the SNP and attempting to counter their deranged rantings with carefully selected barbs of calm wit and reason. And, to be scrupulously fair and honest, shouting at the odd one of the traitorous bastards just a tad every so often.

Then Mrs M suggested that I should unman said barricades for a long weekend and go for a wee trip just to allow me to calm down and to recharge my batteries of reasoned, totally understandable and justified invective. I humoured her and we drove off at lunchtime on the Thursday after I had set the Sky box to record the opening NFL game of the season on Thursday night, the England v India ODI on Friday and Germany v Scotland on the Sunday.

She would not tell me where we were going even after we started driving. Once we were well south of Embra, she explained that she had planned a 65th birthday surprise for me. This was, of course, a major problem. My 65th birthday will not happen until after Libra takes over from Virgo and I am severely Highland about premature celebrations of anything. I almost turned the car around to go home but she talked me out of that.

She would still not tell me where we were going. We passed place after place. I wondered about Lindisfarne and Alnwick. I considered Durham and then thought about York. It began to narrow down when we turned off at Weatherby and headed towards Leeds.

I have many teams to support. In NFL, it’s the Green Bay Packers. Scheduled to play in the aforementioned opening game of the season against the Seattle Seahawks. I only know two other Cheeseheads in the UK. Three now because their daughter keeps the faith. Close friends from the Uni of Embra. They live in Leeds. That’s where we ended up and I was so touched that Mrs M had made the effort.

Except she hadn’t. The Packers @ Seahawks game was total serendipity. And we lost anyway. The whole point of the weekend was made clear to me within 30 seconds of arrival. She sat me down, made me close my eyes and put a piece of card in my hand.

It was a ticket for England v India at Headingley on the morn. I’ve only ever seen a couple of ‘real’ cricket matches – England v Australia at Headingley about 20 years ago and Kent v Warwickshire in a John Player Sunday League game that was so long ago that Alvin Kallicharran was playing. I had not actually registered at any point that the last ODI of the series was going to be in Leeds that Friday.

I didn’t get to bed until 3 am that night, having drunk my way through the Packers being thrashed, but I didn’t really sleep much anyway. The gates opened at 8.15 am and we were in the ground an hour before play.

Headingley Heaven

It was a wonderful experience from start to finish. And ‘we’ won. I particularly enjoyed the break between the innings when we adjourned to the bar for a Pimms. Rubbish plastic glass but very tasty.


The Yorkshire hat was newly purchased and mine. Opening another front against JW whose team is blue but whose rose is red.

Mrs M had arranged the whole thing over a year ago and had successfully kept me in the dark all that time. I am a very lucky man.

26 thoughts on “Mrs M Forever”

  1. Howzit JM


    Of course Alvin Kallicharran ended his career down here after the W I rebel tour, watched him many times.

    Never had a Pimms!

    We have the West Indies here for the Boxing Day test this year.

  2. Envy, envy, JM. Saw Boyc’s 100th 100 there and several other big matches.

    And your absence from the Embra imbroglio turned the poll in your favour! 🙂

  3. What a brilliant “early”. Well played, Mrs M.

    You’ve opened up a few fronts here, Mr M. Baltimore Ravens (don’t mention Ray Rice) are my NFL pick; great win v The Steelers this morning. And you’re right I’m a Lancashire man. Another War of the Roses beckons. This time you have bitten off more than you can Tudor.

  4. The Packers were the hated rivals of the Minnesota Vikings. “Were”, because the Vikings have become such a parody that even Minnesotans — long suffering fans if there ever were any — no longer really support the Vikings and are now more likely to admit that their side are rubbish.

  5. Good for Mrs M.

    I have been to a couple of NFL games, and they are quite exciting. The main problem is the ad breaks. Also, because of the distances involved unless oi is a local derby, the crowd is almost all home supporters, who, in typical American fashion, start leaving as soon as it obvious their team is going to lose.

    Good luck yo you and all sane Scotsmen and women next Thursday. I do hope there is a No vote. Just in case, (half Scottish) Mrs FEEG and I have a bottle of single malt English whisky ready!

  6. Greetings FEEG,

    Thanks for the input vis-à-vis live games. This is my junior year at the NFL table. Three years ago to make it more interesting when watching, I picked a team to support and I like Baltimore so there you have it. Incredibly, in my freshman season they won the Superbowl! You might not believe me but like J-man and his SK campaign it’s in the archives.

  7. Hi Christopher

    Whatever the outcome, Embra will still be worth a visit And we’ll still be British until March 2016 even if there is a ‘Yes’ vote.

    The usual advice to travellers to Embra. Make sure you’ve had your tea before you come and don’t mention the trams.

    If you want any other advice about your proposed visit please get in touch. I would be happy to give you a tour if the place for orientation purposes when you first arrive.

  8. John: thank you for that. A tour would be much appreciated. I am considering spending 4 days in Scotland before taking the train to London for 2 days. What would you advise?

  9. Hi again Christopher.

    Let’s start with the basics. When are you thinking of coming?

    October can be glorious. Then, the clocks go back on the 26th and November is usually dull and dreich. December has little to offer. We obviously do the best New Year in the world and Mrs M and I would be happy to host you for that. January slumps very quickly thereafter but picks up for Burns Night for the week around the 25th and we could offer you an interesting time then. February is a complete waste of space and March is a serious drag. We do usually get over our SAD syndrome by mid April.

  10. John: my mother is coming for a three-week holiday through the middle of October so I am in effect trapped in Germany then. In November I will go to England for a week and in mid-December am off to visit a mate in Denmark. A lot of things depend on when I go to Asia. Since I will likely be there for at least a year, probably more, it might be in the rubbish time between February and March as I might leave in March.

  11. Christopher.

    We’re clearly talking January 25 or thereby and a totally immersive Burns Night experience for you (haggis not obligatory).

    You might never forget it, although there is just the oppurchancity that you might not be able to remember it at all in the first place.

  12. John: I will look into going to Embra during Burns Night — and I have wanted to try haggis for years.
    I always enjoyed Burns and as a teetotaller have no excuse to forget anything.

  13. Christopher

    A teetotal Burns supper? An interesting but radical idea. Are you familiar with Scotland’s other national drink – Irn Bru?

    Just off to vote ‘No’ and then to spend the rest of day ferrying our voters to the polls. Here’s hoping!

  14. Mr Mackie. The Irn Bru link was coffee-down-snout hilarious and you owe me a new keyboard! We will never agree on the substantive issue and I wish you a happy, yet ultimately unproductive, day.

    Best wishes.


  15. Hi JM. Good luck with the vote. I really do hope it goes your way and that Scotland remains an integral part of the United Kingdom.

    Christopher, based on what John has said, this is what you can expect when you visit the UK.

  16. JM: I have tried it, but tend to avoid sugary drinks. Really, I drink little other than water, coffee and tea.
    However, I will make an exception in Embra and happily drink a single malt. I appreciate a good single malt.
    With the forces of civilisation having triumphed over Kim Jong Fishface and his barbarian hordes, I will do my best to scrape together the funds to go to Embra for Burns Night. I have tentatively written 22-27 January for my holiday.

    Sipu: thanks for the laugh.

  17. I remember going to Aberdeen for New Year’s Eve – that was quite enough for me… I have never been so cold in my life – before or since! I also have to say that I was singularly unimpressed with Hogmanay – but that could have been the company I was staying with.

  18. Christopher. It’s a worry. You write:-

    ‘However, I will make an exception in Embra and happily drink a single malt. I appreciate a good single malt.’

    Why would you want to drink anything else? The problem, of course, is that we have a lot of the stuff in many different guises.

    For the first narrowing down to the one that you will, I hope, sip with appreciation when you get here. Are you Isla and similar or Speyside and similar?

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