Sunday, 10 July 2011

Gonzo and the football

Somehow, today feels like the sort of Sunday that used to happen before they allowed shops to open and pubs to continue normally without fear of offending the Temperance Society. You know that feeling, when you wonder what you are going to do with 24 of the 48 hours of freedom left to you before the drudgery of Monday morning begins all over again?

About 15 minutes ago, I was drawn to the window by some hellish racket, and looked out to see every Christian in Bath marching past our house waving little banners with heart-shapes on, reading: "Love Bath". I didn't realise that there were that many Christians in Bath - they could not have read my late night revelation (see previous post) about the dodgy investment practices of the Church of England. There must have been hundreds of them - it took about ten minutes for them to file past, about 6 abreast and all looking like they were having a great time, unlike their children.

Amongst them, I spotted one elderly man who had recently been cautioned for owning pornographic videos depicting under-ages boys, and another young man who has a history of violent behaviour in the town (well, to be fair, he only threatened me once when he was about 17 for glancing at his girl-friend).

I once got into the habit of buying a large Sunday Newspaper, spreading it out all over the floor and pretty much reading it from cover to cover whilst waiting for the roast to cook, but it didn't last long. If they sell off any more nasty Sunday papers, it will become impossible to do that soon anyway.

My favourite Sundays ever was when I lived at The Old Tea gardens, Conkwell, and spent all day with a handful of friends, drinking wine and listening to Mozart whilst waiting for the roast to cook, followed by a blurred walk in the countryside, then back for more drinks by the fire.

Sorry to sound melancholic (again) but my two main friends from that era - young husband and wife - both died within 2 years of each other a couple of years ago, so I could not go back to those times even if it were possible to replicate them.

The stone yard where my large block of Sherborne stone lies waiting to be cut up for me to use, was home to a mad, white, English Bull-Terrier called Gonzo, until he died of natural causes a few months ago.

Gonzo, like many other dogs (including Dolly, whose pictures grace the header and footer of this post, and is seen lying in my yard having given up any hope of me playing ball), had one obsession. One very big obsession. Playing with a large, white, plastic football which he would push around the stone yard all day, trying to get all the masons to put down their tools and push it around with him.

His passion for this football never diminished over the years, and he would do his best to get any visitor or stranger to play with him as soon as they set foot in the yard. When he died, a mason chalked up a fitting memorial to him on the wall. It read:

1998 - 2011

Life was just a ball.


  1. I used to have an Airedale, Daisy, who had a passion for football. She had a new one, gift wrapped, every Christmas. When she died she was buried with her beloved football. Oh crikey, you've made me cry now!

  2. Couldn't you have a quick kick around with the ball for Dolly?
    We've been to the park today with my twelve year old Amber whose passion for football has never diminished!

  3. You got some tears from us all from your recollections of Gonzo. He was a beauty!

  4. "Make 'em laugh! Make 'em cry!..." (forget which crap musical that came from).

    Going... going... Gonzo?

    I once threw a ball for Dolly, Eileen. It took her two years to forget about it.

  5. P.S. - Dolly (in the photos) is alive and well.


  7. Ah yes - I wish I had knees like Danny Kay. My old mother used to say, "Make 'em laugh, son, and they'll let you shag them up the arse". I've never forgotten that.