|[Blog] Fight For Your Right (To Party) - Internationally Friendly Betting Tips|
Written by SE1blue on Tuesday, 8th Nov 2011 19:20
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
Winston Churchill’s speeches still get the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention more than 60 years after he made them. Whilst he is arguably one of the greatest wartime leaders of all time, Churchill was also a writer and artist.
My grandfather was a painter and decorator, and liked to keep his war quotes somewhat shorter: “If it wasn’t for us, you’d all be talking German."
So, imagine Grandpa Alfie’s disappointment when he discovered I was studying German at school. I eased his breathing by telling him that in my French class, I was reading a book about war hero, Monsieur Dupont (from ‘The Frenchie in the Trenchie’), and getting tips on how to derail trains and sink U-boats.
Grampa Alfie was a man of much mystery and very few words. He said he didn’t like to speak of the war and the things he had seen. He told me he had put all the terrible memories in a box at the back of his mind where nobody would find them. His medals he sold, because “you can’t polish another man’s blood”. On his deathbed he insisted he was going to heaven because he had already been to hell.
He said so many curious things. Even his final words remain a mystery to me - “Those aren’t my tablets! They’re for the dishwa-”. I guess I’ll never know what he meant.
But my mother insists he had no story to tell. She swears that the only action he ever saw during WWII was more than 8000 miles from the Somme. Mum says that the day after he packed her onto an evacuation bus bound for Totnes, Grandpa Alfie “accidentally” caught the wrong flight (to Bangkok, not Bordeaux) and spent five years sipping cocktails and adding several new branches to the family tree. Granny Ping-Chu strongly denies this.
I can’t say I blame him though. I have a terrible fear of soldiers myself. It all stems from an incident back in 1995, when I was working in a Colchester.
I was sat at traffic lights, tapping my hand on the steering wheel to Gangsta’s Paradise and chewing on a cocktail stick like a proper West Suffolk bad boy. But, whilst lost in my moment of head-nodding coolness, I failed to notice the traffic lights had turned green and somebody behind me beeped for me to move forward.
Without a thought I flicked two fingers over my shoulder at the horn-happy car, before slipping the gear into first and showing them a clean set of bald tyres.
The next thing I knew a couple of the town’s Garrison boys had pulled up next to me on the ring road and were trying to get my attention with a mix of fist waving, teeth-baring and spittle. Soldiers must go to some excellent communications training, because despite travelling at speeds up to 60mph, I could lip read exactly what they wanted to do, and in whose hole they wanted to do it in.
The chase started at North Station. Highwoods was just a blur. Cowdray Avenue went past in a flash. The Avenue of Remembrance I would like to forget. It’s times like this that you wish you were in a DB9 and not a Fiesta 1.1.
It was during my fifth lap of Colchester that I finally came up with a plan. What I lacked in speed, I could more than double in distance. With nearly a full tank of petrol and 50mpg under the bonnet I realised that whilst I might not have enough juice to get me to Thailand, I could still get a very long, long way away from this battle.
I headed for the A12.
As I tore down the slip-road and onto the dual carriageway, I was reminded of another famous quote that came out of the Second World War, from General Douglas MacArthur, Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
“We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction”.
Grampa Alfie would have been so proud.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to stress that this blog does not promote fighting, French lessons, high-speed car chases, Ford Fiestas or running away to Thailand.
It definitely does not promote gambling either, but 10% of any winnings from this week’s betting tips will be given to the Help for Heroes charity, which supports victims wounded in Britain’s current conflicts.
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