"Making up for lost time" kop-queen's Profile

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a well preserved, perfect body - rather we should skid in sideways, martini in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, screaming WOO HOO! What a ride!

It all began the day I found
that through my window I could only see
a piece of sky
I stepped outside and looked around
I never dreamed it was so wide
or even half as high...

The more I live, the more I learn,
the more I learn the more I realise the less I know.
Each step I take, each page I turn,
each mile I travel only means the more I have to go

from A Piece of Sky from the movie "Yentyl"
Songwriters: Alan Bergman; Michel Legrand; Marilyn Bergman

A bit about me - the boring stuff

Born in Wallasey on the Wirral I guess I inherited the Red genes from my parents who both stood on the Kop in the 50's. To those of you who haven't got a clue what I'm talking about please let me explain.

Not wishing to offend anyone but supporting Liverpool Football Club is more akin to a religion than a simple interest. It is a passion, a way of life, something to be worked around not fitted in. My earliest memory would be the 1965 FA Cup Final when Liverpool beat Leeds United 2-1 so maybe I was just a glory seeker :)

I was always a bit of a homer I didn't appreciate being taken on holiday as a teenager as I preferred to stay at home with my horse. In those days Devon was our usual destination and I realise now what a lovely part of the world it is with a wonderful coastline and for the UK a lovely summer climate.

My first taste of overseas travel was for our honeymoon and many would assume that 3 days in Paris was planned as the usual romantic break however ours had a much deeper and for us more important purpose. You see we met at a football (soccer for some of you) match, courted at football matches and when we arranged the wedding it was planned to co-incide with the 1981 European Cup Final. Our team did their bit by winning that lovely trophy for the 3rd time. Little could we dream that on our 24th wedding anniversary we would be celebrating their 5th success. Unfortunately for me I didn't get to travel to Istanbul for that final having spent my travel budget on a trip to Arizona earlier in the year but husband and son got to be at what will probably remain the greatest final ever in the history books while I leapt up and down in my mothers living room screaming "I don't believe it, I don't believe it" as Dudek made that penalty save from Shevcenko.

Following the Paris trip I confess to once again slipping back to my old ways through a mix of not being able to afford it in the early years of our marriage and lack of time as I was working full time and still had horses, also the memory of the Parisiennes we encountered who were far from friendly or welcoming. A few years later we did share a week on the West coast of France with some friends driving down through Brittany to a liitle town called Biscarosse where we enjoyed a memorable time though once again we also brought home negative memories having had our car broken into and belongings stolen.

The arrival of our son again forced a trimming of the budgets so travel was put aside though husband did continue to make occasional day trips to Europe following the Reds. When I was asked to return to full time hours at work I made the decision that some of the extra revenue would go straight into a holiday fund and we would make a "once in a lifetime" trip to the USA. Around that time the Ghostbuster films were at their height and our then 7 year old son, being an avid fan, was into anything and everything about New York. My destination choice was Florida but with pressure from son and husband we stretched the budget that little bit more to include 3 nights in the Big Apple on our way to Orlando. I think that trip went beyond any of our expectations and afterwards I realised that once in a lifetime would not be enough!

Since then 3 more trips to Orlando and then an amazing 2005 Arizona trip (see travelogue) and in 2007 a similar visit to Wyoming, have ensured the dreams continue. I have now made 2 more returns to Grapevine Canyon Ranch in Arizona - in 2008 (alone) and then in 2009 (doing the whistlestop road trip of AZ again as well this time with 3 friends). Nestled in the Dragoon Mountains where Cochise and Geronimo once rode it has become deeply etched in my heart - words cannot describe just how much I feel I "belong" when I'm there.

However there is once again another angle to my travel plans. You recall it all started with our beloved Liverpool Football Club? Throughout my childhood and teens, rarely able to get to see them play live, I would listen to matches on the radio wearing my hat and scarf and singing with the crowd. When I was working on a Saturday I would beg for a tea break to co-incide with the last 15 minutes of the matches so I could join the warehousemen on their table listening to commentaries and final results. Are you beginning to get the picture? I can guess what most of you are thinking. This, some would call obsession, continued through those years of being independent enough to make my own arrangements to go to games home and away, through those years of courtship and marriage and beyond up until 1989.

I was at home on the 15th of April when the TV started to show pictures of Liverpool fans dying, crushed against the barriers at Hillsborough at the start of the FA Cup Semi Final against Nottingham Forest, of other fans performing CPR on the pitch and breaking down advertising hoardings for makeshift stretchers to carry the injured and dead from the pitch. Watching as the officials appeared to freeze doing little to help, some having pushed fans back over the fences into those dreadful pens where others were turning blue unable to breathe with the gates remaining locked. I watched as an FA Official was interviewed as he left the pitch and promised that justice would be brought as without having even tried to understand what had happened he had already decided that this terrible tragedy was the fans fault. In the days after, seeing the disgusting tabloid headlines as they peddled their filthy lies to sell copy having no regard for the suffering they caused and still cause. My husband was there that day but we were lucky - he came home, 96 did not. I went to the final few games of that season in body though not with the same spirit. The inquiry that followed vindicated all Liverpool supporters of blame but for the families of the 96 the nightmare has never ended, their fight for justice goes on.

For almost 16 years I found any excuse not to go to matches apart from the occasional charity game and towards the end of 2004 a few reserve team games played in front of a few hundred people, a far cry from the years spent standing and tumbling down the steps of the Kop as part of that swaying, heaving, singing mass. However the flame was beginning to flicker. I was so proud of my husband and son that they went to see that amazing match in Istanbul and that they were able to share that incredible occasion together. To find myself leaping around Mums living room, screaming as I did, maybe shocked me into realising that I still cared so much. Winning the trophy meant that Liverpool were invited to play in the Club World Championship in Tokyo and so I found myself thinking maybe this would be a good excuse to see a part of the World that we had never considered before, maybe we could combine it with a visit to relatives in Australia for Christmas, maybe, just maybe, I really wanted to go for the football.

The Christmas visit didn't happen as my Mum did not feel up to the journey but Trevor, Graeme and I enjoyed our visit to Tokyo and Yokohama - apart from being beaten in the final. To add insult to injury the winning Sao Paulo team shared our flight with the trophy!

The travel plans these days are shared between following the Reds in Europe (and beyond if we get the chance), and my love for travelling in the United States, of late combining my other passion of my love for horses. So if you have the time to visit my travel pages you will find some pretty diverse experiences but hopefully I can bring you a small flavour of each different place.

I have 2 major trips set for 2010 - the first with Trevor is a road trip down the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Diego at the end of May and in September a return to my beloved Grapevine Canyon Ranch in SE Arizona.

AMFX

Our son Graeme has just launched his new band AM-FX and ihas made 2 trips to visit LA in May recording a total of 10 tracks. If you viisit www.amfx.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/amfxband?fref=ts you can have a listen to some of them. Follow the other links to keep up with their progress. Exciting times - I might get that tour manager job yet!

That "other" passion... Did I mention horses?

I have fairly recently embarked on another sort of journey at that is one of Natural Horsemanship. Having owned horses for nearly 40 years it is only in the last 14 months that I have opened my eyes and I am now wondering where the hell have I been and so wish it was possible to turn back the clock. Thanks to Pat and Linda Parelli I have been presented with the wonderful opportunity to study a whole new way of being with horses. It is like Pandora's box - the more you find out, the more there is to it - once again the lyrics to the song above are so relevant "The more I learn the more I realise the less I know". So watch this space and I will try and share a little of that too.

  • Intro Updated Jan 22, 2013
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kop-queen

“Life is NOT a journey to the grave arriving in a well preserved, perfect body... (see home page for the rest!)”

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