I Kicked a Political Football From Me to You

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I decided to send you a message and I wanted to tell you to meet me for dinner so I wrote my instructions of how to get there on a football. So I wrote in big red letters on the side of a football. “Love from me to you xxx.The preparation for the flight took ages … No time for pre-match nerves, though. It took two weeks to arrange throwing tickets for this torpedo Tottenham trip across the Football Federation globe. Bob the Ball packed his bag with clothes that had been in mothballs for a while and had a word with Mrs Ball – “Well, you’re blown up enough to go”, she said, “Of course, we’ll have to budget … and we’ll need to see the Spherical Street Branch Bank Manager on the upper circular – I heard it’s the latest scene for other like-minded escape artists to trip to the exchequer exchange to see if we’ve got enough mini-balls to spare”.

Before she could coil, he’d got to get a his wavy hair cut ‘n’ curled at at the local “Rollers, Twisters ‘N’ Curlers”. Ball thought to himself “I’ll be returned and retired from t’trip by t’time I understand which way to go on this Home and Garden map” but still, a kindly benefactor had left some Hello magazines lying around that may come in useful. Firstly, Ball devised a green paper plan, Mr Ball really wanted it to be all white but the HMSO stationers had run out. The main selection decision centred on the following fixtures – which should be the best destination – the match between …

And the Team … Can you help football managers Sir Alex Ferguson & Graham Taylor advising Bob in picking the top eleven – Tick who you would chose and call it a reshuffle …

TOP TEN HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
1 BOOKMAKERS ODDS ARE 15:1 FOR A 2 – 2 DRAW
2 A BALLOON RIDE ACROSS THE SAHARA DESERT
3 AN AUTOMATIC AUTOBALL FLIGHT TO THE GERMAN AUTOBAHN
4 A CANAL BARGE ON THE BLEW (OOPPPS, BLUE) DANUBE
5 A WINNING TROPHY SKATEBOARD TRIP
6 A CHAMPION YACHT CHALLENGE
7 AN AQUATIC MARINE DIVE IN FLORIDA OR MIAMI
8 THE INDIAN OCEAN CRUISE
9 A BOB IN BATH
10 ABSEILING IN ACTON BRIDGE

The ball’s pre-tournament warm-up comprises of a freshen up in map-reading. Plot the main teams on the map of England – Do you know where all these U.K. teams home ground constituencies are ?

Departure gate 2 – my back garden … after a strong Scotch in the “Tittle ‘N’ Tattle” departure lounge and staunch royal salute from the passing Red Arrows. This is going to be a Rooney rocket launch of the century. For the kick off I wore my special springbok sports sneakers and most comfortable Gary Linekar jogging trousers. Then balancing like a bent Beckham, I took ten steps back in straight range aimed carefully in a 20 yard aim … 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…FIRE !!!! GRAND SLAM … WE’RE OFF… WOOF ! WHAM ! WALLOP ! WOW ! WOOSH !

I kicked the ball over the fence and it bounced on the pavement via the garage door like a sixpence. My friend relayed the ball back to me. Was this missile mission impossible ? Off the ball catapults in the first leg … hope it doesn’t get stuck on the tree branches … through the washing pegged up on the Wolves washing line … but luckily the striker’s boots are laced well, fixtures were more or less set constituionally years anyway and the pegs hold strong.

The ball skims the hedge, narrowly missing a sparrow quietly pecking on a blackberry, spinning in the air, “Where did any ball learn to fly like that ?!” he tweeted admiringly. Oooppss. Crash. Superstardom splinters of shattered glass explode across the patio as the ball ballistically smashes into the neighbour’s window pane. Sparks fly and Tom Finney fireworks glisten in the Midday sun. Mrs. Hydrogen Bombshell next door screams out with Gascoigne tears … “What is all that rocket racket ? Doesn’t anyone let me know what is going on around here ? “. Luckily the back door is wide open after someone tried to take the lovely lady’s handbag last week but it had nothing in it anyway – and the ball shoots through. A shadow can be seen in the orange sunset global glow, Ball caterpillar crawls down Maine Road and right into White Hart Lane. The first division destination for the ball is Edinburgh castle where the ball wants to take camera shots of the cannon. Through a Souness shower of sprinkling rain, the ball catches raindrops and is carried along on a referee’s whistle breeze – drying off with a Sunday Sport gust of North wind. Next stop – Chrystal Palace – he had to elbow his way through a fellow squad of tossing travellers – 22 other team players wanted the same front row seat on this world class journey.

A couple of gossiping gnats hitch a lift on this table tennis taxi to the Houses of Parliament where there was a domestic match going on. Televised home and away, usually. Today’s debate is on the decision to play against Iras. Members of Parliament vote black and white hexagon patches on team tactics and whether or not to invade – “What do you think is the Billy Wright thing to do ?” asks the premiership league Prime Minister as the Chairman of the Club and meanwhile amidst a paparazzi press furore, the Management committee argue about Arsenal acrobatically. Eventually, a penalty shoot out is finalised with the back up of a strong mid-field and lots of forward attackers. “We’re going to need regiments of substitutes” asserts someone on the bench – anything other than professionally trained players won’t do. “No sucking Everton mints, pear drops and footballs in the gallery, please, especially if you’re dribbling” adjudicates the Speaker of the House, on the sidelines, going BALListic.

Before leaving England, Ball had lots of calls to make and appointments to deal with – other members of the Ball family that Ball hadn’t seen in years who’d been in contact of late by the boil mail … the Golf Balls in St Andrews, Football Jerseys in the Channel Islands, the Tennisons in Wimbledon and distant relatives – the Shuttlecocks in Badminton and Roly Poly’s in Rugby (rather more” rounded” cousins, to be somewhat discretely courteous). They were scattered all over the country – either side of the North – South divide and across the whole political spectrum. What a ball – jostling and justling like old friends. They dined together at the local Ye Old Trafford English coffee shop. He was sure to have to go on a Rosemary Connolly diet after this or he was worried what all this rich food would do to his ballbladder and molecular weight, at least. Colour in the pictures of the main dishes…Rub and smell

BROTHER BOOMERANG’S BUFFET MENU

First Division – Snacks & Starters
Palatable penalty in the wind peasoup
Balled egg mayonnaise
Jolly hockey cheese sticks
Tomato Salad – powerfully salt and peppered

Second Division – Main Course
Sausage rolls
Balled ham floured rolls
Freshly caught, stick and prick-free fishballs with battered bat ‘n’ ball

The Premiership Round
Chewy conversion steak with Graeme le Saux sauce
Hot ‘n’ spicy multi-media meatballs
Boeuf ballognaise with chopped chile peppers
Pizza and baked beans
Served with a mid-match mix of varied balled vegetables
Potato selection
New balled and/or scalloped potatoes and/or croquet and/or French Tries
Multi-Cultural Tossed salad
Balled rice
Who Flung Ball ? Chow Mein

Final Course
Cheese and cracker rounds – greasily buttered up
Grapes and gooseberries – to freshen up your palate

Dessert
Fruit salad melon balls
Orange souffle mousse with plum sauces
Friar Tuck Pot au chocolat
Crunchy scrum half rolled oat cheesecakes
Jam Roly Poly sponge
Doughnuts with chocolate chip cookie bits

World Cup tea and Championship ground coffee and after dinner mintball bonbons

A Selection of Drinks & Apperitifs
Bubbly
Aston Villa milkshake
Juicy javelin squashed red currents
Icy Blue balls
It was real championhsip meal ! When everyone was Fulham full-up, and felt just like real blobs, the guests bawled out a cheerful round of applause for the Chief Chef, Assistant Coach and Team Captain of the Waitresses. Plenty time left, he noticed on the ballroom clock before midnight – just enough time for a game of pool or billiard balls. “Call around again or give me a ring” stirred Uncle and Aunt (Lord and Lady, if you please, to socialites outside the goal set and match set) Bowl-Splatterspoon.

Chucked over the Chelsea Channel in the European leg of the tour, taking a fanciful flight amongst Eric Cantona’s seagulls, the ball zigzags through the steel goalposts of the Eifel Tower and makes a target in the goal of L’Arc de Triomphe to rapturous applause by the local gendarme (he’d been working with civil servants like this for years). At Arnhem cemetary, Ball laid an oval wreath in honour of all the punctured balls lost in combat. Aiming for the Triple Championship in Italy, the ball circles the Panthenon, almost knocking off one of the statues on St Petersboroughs and painfully meets the bruises of the heavy right kick from one of the wingers stud boots. A quick sporting team talk prayer for a holy win in the Cistene Chapel. By the time the ball reaches the Apian Way, he is exhausted so takes a honeycomb snooze far aaway from the other bees busy buzzing in the catacombs. Luckily the referee has blown the half-time Middlesboro’ whistle so ball gets a good rest. Sweating profusely he heads for one of the ancient Roman spas. He soaks in soccer socks scented suds and gets a heated rub down of his aching right foot by the health club physiotherapist – plenty more touch downs ahead before the full-time. In A.C. Milan, the ball mows the GM crops and meets many of the celebrity stars, burping and hiccuping amidst clouds of the EU’s evervescent exhaust fumes.

Bob the Ball bobs across the Mediterannean but gets homesick sunning himself by the pyramids where football has been played by pharoahs for the last 5 000 years so he takes a look at the snapshots he had taken after which he was back to his champagne sparkling and bubbly bouncing self again. He swam the Zambezi River – bobbing on the rapids – and crashing into the crags … oops, almost a puncture. He caught something terrible – not a ball but a sneezing flew (I mean, flu) and ball broke out into inflammed red spots, blisters and pimples – he wheezed with what Doctors diagnosed as nothing to worry about given that there was an epidemic of mumps, BSE and small pox going around. Ball was in a real spin. His temperature was going through the roof and his flatulence was a source of great embarressment … sounded like a whoopy cushion !!!

Match the international teams to the country of origin on ball’s journey – where do they
belong ?

ASTON VILLA
BRISTOL ROVERS
NEWCASTLE UNITED
LEEDS UNITED
MANCHESTER CITY
SHREWSBURY TOWN
GLASGOW RANGERS
EVERTON
LIVERPOOL
CHELSEA
BRIGHTON

In a six-point lead, ball ping-ponged playfully across the Atlantic Ocean and had a quick header from the Statue of Liberty. He skirted across Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco and watched an American Football Match. The Mount Rushmore Team of American Presidents – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson were all star players, he thought to himself. The Great Plains were the biggest football pitch he had EVER seen. In Bullet Ball City Ballivia, on the Inca Trail of the Ball he was tackled and mugged by scrum halves – they kicked Ball ruthlessly and he was almost shot at rifle range (luckily only semi-squidged rubber blanks) because they wanted to see ball burst. Strange why people do that. The police were very liberal with their tear gas – Ball thought afterwards, he’d have to get that for the Ball Homewatch – but their investigation didn’t come up with very much ball at all. Diago Maradonna swore penitently that his hand hadn’t touched the ball. In hospital, Ball recovered not only from looking like a spotty Ball that had been run over by a truck but from his laparoscopic seam surgery on his perforated tubular veins and leaking vesticular vessels – restored by the service we all know and love to his usual hexagonal self. He hadn’t been looking forward to having his sutures removed but everyone one had been so sporting. Finally he bid the Viral Victim Support farewell. Ball’s next atomic adventure at a Canadian Rocky Mountain Ball Park was really moon-hopping. Ball learnt a lot of tricks of the trade about spiralling down helter skelters. After a night on the town painting the ball “Red” bopping the under the moon to the latest hit “Somebody Else’s Ball” and “Mr Bombastic”. It took a whole hour to hunt around for the corkscrew but luckily it was happy hour and there were no oblong closing times. By 2 o clock in the morning he was ready to blow out the ball – yawning obliquely – Ball said “Goodnight to all” and hobbled to the bucket that the council were telling him was a somersault summer sleeping bag. “Hot and cold running water,” they said … “Must be…hot in Summer, Cold in Winter”. The kind of place where you’re kindly asked not drop litter … just in case you don’t find it again. Still it was better than the time when the balliffs tried to evict the whole team of balls. He flipped Alex Fergusonly across to Austrailia in the Southern hemisphere of the ball where he went to view the local beauty spots. He leapt at the chance to play with Gary Neville then roller-coastered to Aire’s rock. All the pebbles and boulders looked the same to him – they were great camouflage for hide ‘n’ seek.

In the East, Ball trekked the Himalayan peaks – just for the ride back down again – quite different to the rolling district playing fields he was used to back home. He propelled himself to a Buddhist monastery where he spun Tibetan prayer wheels, walked clockwise at the full moon every month with the Tibetan Monks and nibbled on sweet circular tibetan breads. In India, Ball became interested in the planets and astrology. He turned to the Zodiac circle for some spiritual guidance. Some of it all to Ball that the famous scientists seemed to state was blindlingly obvious but he did not dare to criticise for fear of losing his job in the Ball Factory – after all Ball was earning a much more blown up salary and was a much bigger Ball these days.

Did you know ???
The sky is blue ?
The world spins ?
The world’s water is wet ?
Some mammals walk on water ?
Some sink and some swim ?

Market shoppping in the 62nd minute was very exciting for Ball – he bartered with the native Prop Forwards for a round sum of 2 pennies for some pearl beads and bought a but what he really wanted was a bicycle pump in case he got a flat tyre. Already he was homesick for his better semi-circle, especially since tomorrow was Ball’s birthday – the same day as his namesake Bobby Charlton – Ball had long since thought a far better name for birthday would be Bobby Charlton Day – but it seemed somewhere to be written, p’haps on birthday cards, Ball wondered, that you can’t make have any new ideas like that or change the name of things.

Despite the flight to Ballington being delayed since it had to repump with deisel aerosol, after a dangerous gas leak, Ball jetted off to the Pacific Islands. En route, during the Moscow stop-over, he received a Red Square card for spending too much time in customs – well, there were so many pleasant smelling aerosols to chose from to pump up Mrs Ball’s football lungs and scent her curvaceous bossoms (… to be perfectly honest, readers, what Ball was really dreaming of about Mrs B’s brassiere Trophy cups would have got him at least a formal warning !

When they danced, Mrs Ball wobbled all over. They’d been married so long … a bit like ya’ Mam n’ Dad that Mrs Ball didn’t even notice Mr Ball’s spare tyre or beer belly … nor he her sticky out valves … in his rosy coloured eyes she was still as Cherie flavoured Candy Floss and lip gloss lovely and light light as ever … he just reminisced about their whirlwind romance when she almost blew the badges off his number 11 football shirt – whatever cyclones and hurricane’s life brought the Balls, they remained happy and contented as when they first first kissed … her knicker elastic was as strung as ever and enough to send Cupid’s arrows piercing through my Mr Balls’ love ball – a privilege he strictly reserved only for his one true love).

Meanwhile whilst the glacier melted and an epidemic by battallions of foreign bugs broke out, Ball jetted West in the Polar Regions of the Antarctic to bobsleigh with South Pole polar bears. Previously he wasn’t sure what kind of cool reception he could expect from the eskimos but he was pleased as permafrost at the warmth of the warmth welcome he received. The Local Goalkeeper exploded a bottle of German Eusebio plonk – yep – another one – “Have a gurgle, this round is on me !!!” (Obviously he had forgotten the last time he’d been here when he Lee Owen owed him £1) He celebrated victory with a wide circle of friends and together they rolled laughing at jokes … “How did the Eskimo Football Hooligan cross the road ? … under the tyre of an arctic lorry !! Ha !! Ha !! Ha!! “

As the latest match on Saturday Night Live was being shown on the Satellite TV – the spectators watched eagerly, sirens Tony Blaired and the crowd roared. By Sunday it was the final round of this international winning Winter season. The commentary speech bubble finally burst. Ball sustained an injury. The champagne bubbly had finally gone flat. With the game up, Ball decided it was time to pack up his training shorts, wristbands and roll home. Just before the referee blew the final whistle, there was a brief interval to give Ball to call his greatest fan and lifelong supporter Uncle Ted in Birmingham and stamp a quick Peter Schmikel postcard to the Deputy Team Captain Prescot – who until that time had been polishing the vinyl exterior on his Two jags – just as he scored. Dashed, dusted, punctured and penniless once again in the Accident & Emergency Department Ball gritted his teeth from the dust of the gutter – all was not lost however. You didn’t think it was all over did you ? This was only the first round of the championship, don’t forget. There was still a lot of big bucks, new stadiums to be built, upper height seats to try to climb to, energetic exercise, white lines to re draw and wopping good goal strikes at Fizzling Funky Stadium F.C. – presumably if Maximillion transfers or rain don’t stop play on the way to another triumphant victory. Oooohhhh … yes … and those patches on the pitch are easily reparable, everything will be sorted after the Summer recess with a quick splash of invigorating fertiliser in Mr. Ball’s record-breaking achievement – he’d gained a lot of supporters. Don’t forget to polish up the scoreboard. A word of advice from an ol’ Touch judge, if Ball just stopped bouncing around and letting off steam long enough to listen he could quietly hear in the background the mellow humming of crickets, like me, still based at their wickets, who knew the words enough to be able to sing with a really confident gusto, chanting in encouragement a “Sweet Chariots” slogan. There is enough medals for everyone, except the runners up of course. As the famous words of THE football legend says (no names mentioned here) in the final score of this rather long-winded, match-by-match account … despite blips of pre match nerves and post match emotions… football politics ? a matter of life and death ? … ohhh … no … it’s much more serious than that !!!

recipe
Fondant Cream Balls
Ingredients
For the fondant :
300ml/1/2 pint water
900g (2lb) sugar
90ml (6 level teaspoons) glucose
Cream, evaporated milk or melted butter

To finish :
few drops of green, yellow and red food colouring
few drops of vanilla, almond or pepperment essence
Plain chocolate

Put the water and sugar into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly. Bring the syrup to the boil, add the glucose until the mix reaches 116C (240F) – soft ball stage. Sprinkle a little water over the sides of a large bowl and pour the syrup into it. Cool for 15 minutes. When a skin forms, use a spatula to work the mixture in until the mixture develops a grainy texture, becoming opaque and thick. Turn the fondant onto greaseproof paper and knead until even, adding the food colouring. Sprinkle with icing sugar and roll till 1″ thickness. Divide into portions and roll into balls or use a cutter to design the shapes you prefer. You may coat the creams with chocolate if you wish.

Ball’s Family Photograph Album

BALL AT THE BOWLING ALLEY WITH ALL THE OTHER DOORKNOBS
BALL BUYING TICKETS FOR A CANDLELIT BALL

BALL GETS A YELLOW CARD ON CHINA’S YELLOW RIVER

BALL IN AN ISTANBALL TEMPLE

© Jacqueline Richards 2005

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