Poolie Mishaps

ALREET shares some of his

London Poolie Alreet was telling us that odd things are always happening to him. We asked him what, and he told us. Here are just some of them.

My dad was a founder member of the local cricket club and as a kid, I did the scoring for a couple of bob, a free tea and trips out into the country for away matches which really appealed to me.

Our last away match every year was against Thomas Cook whose private ground was at Ravensbourne which is near Bromley in Kent. It took place in early September and coincided with the Battle of Britain fly-past. On this particular occasion, the Spitfire leading the formation suffered an engine failure and it disappeared from view with engine spluttering, before silently reappearing above the trees behind me and pancaking right across the table of the adjoining wicket leaving about three inches of stumps in situ. I still have a chunk of its wooden prop.

On the subject of cricket, I eventually started to play (although I had no interest in the game and was a complete rabbit) batting No.11 for the seconds and hardly knowing one end of the bat from the other. Although I knew the function of a box, I had no idea how to keep it in position. Having completed our first run, I disgraced myself by removing it and handing it to the umpire for safekeeping because it was now sitting at the top of my knee! Somehow I progressed to opening the batting for the First Eleven and on one occasion, I was bowled out on 99 having just run two while the other batsman hadn't bothered to run any as he thought I'd hit a four!

"Unfortunately, I could only stand and watch as the ball flew over his head and into our net for one of the best goals I ever scored!"
One morning while walking to work through the back streets by Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern), I noticed a white security van being reversed across the road ahead of me. I also noticed a couple of Old Bill vehicles in the vicinity but this wasn't unusual and I carried on walking to my office in Southwark Street.

I then spotted that my road had been closed off with people standing behind the blue and white tape but nobody said anything to me so I just carried on, High Noon style, along the deserted street and finally reached my office. Once inside, I told the others what I had just experienced and wondered if there had been some sort of security alert. I was somewhat taken aback to be told that they had received a tannoy announcement warning them not to stand near the windows as there had been a hold up on a security van and the perpetrators were still thought to be nearby and had guns!

I've twice been locked in at work, once on a Saturday morning when I was the only one in the building, and almost managed to repeat this feat in W H Smugs in Hartlepool after a match a couple of years ago.

One bitter February day several years ago, I had a day off work to drive out to Cambridgeshire to twitch a (bird) rarity, a Rustic Bunting. It was on some farmland which was flooded as a result of recent rain and having seen it well and then walking back to my car, I skirted a pond which had formed in the bottom of a field but found myself trapped up to my knees in mud and unable to move.

I saw another birder in the 'car park' and called out to him. He gallantly came back and managed to haul me out but not before both his pristine white socks had slipped out of his wellies and sampled the mud. I'm ashamed to say that I nearly pee'd myself laughing and was desperately trying to hide my silly smirk from his gaze as I feared he would have told me to **** myself for my lack of respect.

I didn't escape scot free however because, before he reached me, I had managed to sit down in my struggles to get free and ended up with half the farmer's field stuck to my 'bottle'. Having reached the safety of my car, I decided that it wasn't a great idea to drive home in my jeans so I took them off and drove home in my underpants (but that's another story!). On a serious note, that episode made me vow never to be the last one away from a twitch again.

Once when playing left midfield in a local league match, our left back was injured so I dropped back to cover his position while he was off receiving treatment. Standing out wide by the halfway line, a long ball was heading in my direction and, having noted that their wide man was, er, quick, I decided to play it safe and hooked the ball on the bounce back to our keeper. Unfortunately, I could only stand and watch as the ball flew over his head and into our net for one of the best goals I ever scored!

And finally, I disproved the theory about lightning not striking twice by travelling on the District line of the Underground and being unable to get out of my seat when attempting to leave the train. I thought that some bugger had put some chewing gum on the seat but was then amazed to discover that a spring had worked its way through the seat cover and into my jacksie.

Not being a contortionist, I wasn't in a position to see if I had done myself a mischief so I thought I would report it to an LU type otherwise they would have said that I could have done it anywhere. With my luck, the only Underground person in sight was a woman so she looked quite startled when I said to her, "Excuse me but would you mind having a look at my arse?" before explaining my predicament. Fortunately when I reached home, I could see that my trousers hadn't been damaged.

Then, a few years later, I was travelling home with Edith on the Victoria line to catch our Overground train from Euston. When we reached our station, I again had difficulty getting out of my seat and with a loud "Boing ", I left the carriage while the other passengers changed their undies at my expense.

This time, I was convinced that my trousers hadn't survived so when we reached the top of the escalator, I saw a large window by a door and went in to state my case while Edith dutifully waited outside. A bloke inside provided me with a form to complete and had a look at the damage. When I returned outside, there was no sign of Edith so I carried on and eventually found her waiting for me by the ticket machines.

When I asked her why she had moved, she told me that she had never seen me before as the hundreds of commuters streaming home were looking in the window and all they could see was me leaning over a counter while a bloke was looking right up my arse"!!! This time, however, my trousers were ripped and I received a new pair, courtesy of London Underground.