It’s been a funny old day. It started with aching pains in my kneecap. I injured it playing football on Saturday by just twisting too quickly that’s left my kneecap with some nasty bruising. Unfortunately I had to play due to shortage playing personnel. Pamela says that I’m too old and rubbish to play football and that I should quit. In that case, so should Frank Lampard, or as the Mexican commentator says on Fox Sport Latin America, Frankie Lempard. Today was a day of Feriado, sort of a bank holiday for God knows what, but I had a job application to get done for a teaching role at the prestigious Zamorano University so there was no day of relaxation for me. So I got up, a bit drowsy from pain-killers, looked at my emails, and saw that Julie Sheridan from Casa Alianza had finished editing an article I’d written. It’s always a nice feeling when something you’ve written is published, whether it’s for the ego kick, to inform, for entertainment, to raise awareness or for the good of someone or something else. I suppose I did it for all the above reasons, but it’s still a nice feeling. Coming from a journo. But there you go. You can read part one below.
One of the most obvious and rhetoric constraints to living so far from home, and many people who live far away will say the same, is that you miss so many special events. Obviously, we make choices in life, we move away and meet people, so there should be no complaining. I’m not a refugee, who has to up and leave in order to survive. But it still weighs heavy on occasions. It’s not homesickness, but it’s just wishing you were back for that day, that moment, to celebrate that joy with someone close to you. Weddings (I’ve missed three of my best friends’ weddings already this year), babies being born, 30th birthdays (Jordan Kenny, that means you). There are other things too, like loved ones going into hospital and you want to support them. Or friends you don’t know when you will see them next, or if not, again.
I had this feeling when I was back in the UK in September, when our lovely black and white pussy cat, Huey, jumped up on my bed while I was getting my bags ready to come back to Honduras. I think he always saw me as the soft one, because I would always let him sleep on my bed even though mum always tried to discourage him. I gave him a quick kiss on the forehead (which I thought he was going to scratch my eyes out for) and said to him, “I really hope to see you again.” He gave me a funny look, and carried on purring. Being 15 years old, which is a good age for a cat, he’s been a brilliant mate. Sometimes, I felt he heard me out when I had an issue, and his hushing purring sound and warmth filled me with ease, just knowing that he was there, made me feel better.
I remember the day we brought him back from the RSPCA rescue home. It was back in 1998, not long after England got knocked out the world cup by Argentina, and there was all the who-hah about David Beckham. I was a little hungover after a night round a mate’s house, when I got a call from mum saying that we were going to get a new cat that day, so I better get back quickly. So, on the number 6 bus I was on with a thumping headache. When we got to the home, one of the assistants showed us to a litter of kittens that had been found on wasteland in Smethwick (north Birmingham/Black Country way) just two days before and Huey was the first to launch up at us looking for attention. My sister and mother nodded at each other that this kitten was coming home with us (being the only man there that day, I didn’t have much of a say, but I agreed with them 100%, but if mum had had it her way, she would have taken a few more kittens with her too). His face, white, with unsymmetrical blotches of black, and a winking eye, which made me think he was a cunning little thing, and I was right. What was funny was seeing Dad’s face when we returned home and told him we’d brought three kittens (he looked as though he was going to have kittens himself!). He took to everyone straightaway. There was no hiding away or being frightened, he hung around us every day, soaking up the attention. He got his name, mum says, from Huey Lewis and the News. However, I can remember insisting that we call him Huey after the front-man from the Fun Lovin Criminals, whose name is also Huey, who I thought was s–t hot at the time.
I have a million different stories for you. I don’t want to go on all night, as I’m sure you have more important things to think about than a cat you have never met before. However my great friend Stuart had a funny one tell on Facebook today. Back in 1998 when I was doing a GNVQ Leisure and Tourism course, we had the chance to go to Malta. During the trip, we knew that we would have to do a group activity on stage on the final night. While the other groups chose to do whatever acts they did, Stuart Harbourne, Rob Handy, Allister Darrell and myself decided to do an act from the hit film of the year, the Full Monty. Not the most original, but for lads between 16-18, we just wanted to have a laugh. So, we decided to do a rehearsal. It was, and did, take place in my parents living room. No one else was home, apart from Huey. So, there we were, in two rows of two, shirt and trousers, and You Can Leave Your Hat On on the the stereo. And on the settee sat Huey, only three months old, staring at us, as we launched into our dance routine and clothes being chucked through the air. Most animals would have run off traumatized, but Huey sat there scrutinizing every one of us, with a look which screamed, “You’re all fat!” And I’ve had that look every since, every day, until I saw him last.
Unfortunately, my parents told me today that Huey had passed away.