In My Father’s Words
03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018
17th December 2012
Collecting is a hobby, but very often it becomes an obsession. I am not sure if my collecting has made me into an obsessive. Yet. Most of my collecting is what might be described as normal; stamp collecting and books.
I cannot at this distance remember when l started to collect stamps, but sometime in the post war years, as many small boys, but fewer small girls did. The hobby has now pretty well gone out of fashion with younger folks My local stamp club has thirty members, all but three are male and everyone is over fifty.
Sir Rowland Hill, whose idea it was to have a prepaid postage label could not have foreseen the success of his idea. Nor, in fact, could he, in 1840, have seen the technological advances which will eventually overwhelm the humble postage stamp.
Cricket has been my passion for about sixty year, and in 1953 l was given my first cricket book, a report on the Ashes series played that year. I still have that book and a year later l acquired my first Wisden. I now have them all since 1864.
Least usual, but not seriously abnormal, l collect souvineers of war. Ghoulish? Maybe. I have a French Army helmet from the First World War and a British shell casing from the same conflict. I found, on the battlefields, used musket balls from Waterloo in 1815 and Maya in 1813. I was assured that they were British, as British balls are bigger than French balls.
A little less mainstream, but still unlikely to cause distress in maidenly bossoms is my collection of countries visited. Present score is about 135 out of around 200 nations and states. No cheating here, the United Kingdom counts only as one country. On the other hand, Berlin, visited first in 1985 counts as two, East and West being at that time seperate administrations.
I have never been to Yugoslavia, as it once was, but have subsequently counted Croatia and Slovenia as two countries.
So what about the West Bank? Palestinian State, or part of Jordan, or Israel? i must work that out one day.
The next and last confession of collecting demonstrates a rather sad side to the Matier character. It is the number of ladies l have dated. I guess in my middle years l did many of the things l missed doing in my teens and twenties. My wife, now ex wife, was my first real girlfriend. When we married l was twenty and she was eighteen. Seen with the wisdom of hindsight, that was probably a mistake, although it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I lived with Shelley for a year, a tempestuous and stormy year. we had l realised, a problem. We were both in love with the same person; Shelley. Ava, a Polish lady followed for a while and that ended also, without, as far as l know, recrimination on either side.
Then l met Jeanne, obviously a French lady and l loved for the first time in my life. we lived together from 1991 – 1996, and l have never got over our break up. There is, after all, no law which says that love has to be requited. the year after we split was desolate and destructive fulled by alcohol, Prosac and Temaxipan.
In 1998, l suppose, l began using dating agencies and taking out ladies from work. Illi, was a beautiful Berber girl, and Sarah was a nurse who liked dogs and mucking out horses. I liked neither dogs or horses. There were two other French ladies, one of which starting smoking in my Jag. Adieu, Madame et finis!
I dated a South African lady whose hang up with her ex husband was such that she papered over his face in the photo album, but she soon binned me when he then binned his girlfriend. Fine, no problem. However she refused to let her 12 year old Son use the ticket l had for him to see the Australians at Lords. Unforgivable!
After that there were four other ladies until 2006. I had known pretty well from the start of this futile collection that what l was seeking did not lie in the present or the future. It was in the past and was long past. In 2006 l finally grew up and decided to play with the cards l had been dealt. Apart from anything else, it was so bloody tiring.
Written by my Father B.M