The pups were asleep on the bed. Mrs Summerhouse was getting ready in the bathroom. I was lying in bed thinking of the transfer window like you do. It’s a metaphor of course but then most things are if you’re that way inclined, and I am. Signs and portents as a friend once said. I hadn’t quite got to the metaphor stage I was still pondering the meaning of a cryptic comment from Bully (Billy Davies, manager of Forest – pictured right) at the end of a match report. He said, “the market is very interesting in January, we will keep working away.” Sounds like code for prepare yourself for further disappointment in the ‘top, top striker’ department.
While we’re on the subject, I said to a fellow Forest fan that the language around the signing of Hobbs did not bode well for a long and happy marriage between our owner Fawaz Al Hasawi and manager, Bully. The Forest chairman said on Twitter: “I am delighted that I have agreed a deal with Hull City’s chairman for Jack.” – note the pronouns. Where was our resident ego maniac Bully in all this? Deep sigh. Call me a miserable, old bastard if you like but… Anyway, so every day in the January transfer window I check the BBC Sport website hoping to read that we have, at long last, signed a top, top striker, every day I am disappointed, if that’s not a metaphor well then I don’t know what is.
For me it’s about special periods of expectation (sometimes called the special ones), heightened hopes for a defined period. As we all know you can’t live your whole life in this state but, for given periods, it’s OK. When The Observer used to publish horoscopes (if they’re in The Observer they must be true and whatever happened to them?) I would read ‘the next three weeks are a window of opportunity for you because Jupiter is in line with Mars’ or something similar – I never mock the stars by the way, I did once make a joke about Uranus and later regretted it as I had diahorrea at a party but that’s another story. So I would read my horoscope and think, right better do so and so while the time is right, while the transfer window, so to speak, is open. Or even, ooh, missus, I’d better be careful for the next few days, no walking under ladders today or tomorrow. It was very comforting. It even informed my goal setting.
And so the transfer window offers similar comfort. Or should I say can offer comfort because, I confess, I am worried about this one. It seems to me, and I agree what do I know about these matters, that a well-organised, verging on the OCD, manager like Bully would have everything nailed down even before the window opens, he doesn’t go on record at this point in the window (i.e. nearly closed with the catch turned, curtains drawn and the aspidistra back in place) before trying to do a deal. But what do I know. Bully moves in mysterious ways. In case you hadn’t noticed he’s Scottish, as a remarkable number of managers of English football teams are. If the Scots get independence more will have to be said about this. I suspect that it will put the current furore about Romanian workers into the shade. So to speak. But I digress.
So by this time I imagine you’re probably wondering what this blog has to do with retirement or indeed what the hell does it have to do with anything at all? I mean what’s the topic? Well, simple, it’s about the fact that, in retirement, you have more time to ponder the meaning of events like the transfer window. When you’re working you know something is a metaphor but you don’t have time to deeply consider exactly what that something is a metaphor for. Now you do, now you can give full consideration to such things. In my working life I would not have had the opportunity to lie in bed and write this drivel, even on a Sunday. Now I can. Why did you do it? – favourite question – favourite answer – because I can.
I’ve been writing this blog with no clear idea of what it’s about and with the, now forlorn, hope that something might emerge. You know the clouds clear and the sun shines through. The meaning of life or at least life in its retirement form becomes crystal clear. I’m afraid this hasn’t happened. The purpose of retirement and indeed this blog, remains as obscure as it ever has been. Oh bugger.