‘It’s nothing’


The few words, the clarification or explanation, the pat on the back – they enable communication. My eye gaze is restricted to inside and it’s slower. Misunderstandings, opportunity missed, hurt feelings. Most adults understand, but how and why should children?

‘Why don’t you worry?’ This is the question of the captured Russian spy’s defence lawyer in the cold war film ‘Bridge of Spies.
‘Will it help?’ the spy answers.

The sky darkened at midday on New Year’s Day over Vicarage Road and the horizontal rain soaked us. ‘Since I was young, Watford FC, The team for me.’ Loud and raw. Harry can’t lift spirits as Spurs go 4-0 up after 47 minutes. Good natured banter and cheering as we pull one back as the 90 minutes ends.

Going to the football is without question the best new activity. It is made possible by Russell. Check this out. Russell lives twenty minutes walk from Vicarage Road. Instead of walking to his regular seat, he drives to our house, picks up Sebastian and our van, drives to the care home to collect me, drives to the ground in heavy traffic, ensures I am warm and watered, watches the Golden Boys, does it all in reverse, arranges the tickets and parking, and answers ten million questions from Sebastian. We have a great time! I could write a page about the help he gives with golf. Truly exceptional and a huge thank you from Jane and I.

At church last Sunday, the theme of bewilderment came up. Why is this happening? Why did I say that? How can they think that? It’s important to find our own peace.

We had Basildon Bond writing paper as a child. Ricky is answering questions about our hood. My room overlooks the sloping lawn and house of a school, formerly the home of John Dickinson, paper magnate. The mills filled the valley and the Grand Union Canal was used for water and transport. Workers on thousands of bikes. Sink holes appear outside number 34 because chalk was dug to bleach. Dickinson built a house with grounds on the opposite hill to give his workers a place to relax, now a golf club. Croxley paper was made down the road.

Can you imagine how it must feel to be in Jane’s shoes?

‘Elton John’s Taylor made army.’ Elton John once owned Watford FC. During that time, Graham Taylor took them from the fourth to the first division in five years and to the FA Cup Final. Graham Taylor died of a heart attack this week. Those words made Vicarage Road shake, sung by 25,000 without a break. His favourite music, including Elton John, Luther Blissett saying how his life changed and how the club was transformed. Our identity, our younger days and memories, our own mortality, gratitude, and that winning feeling. Mrs Taylor and their daughter attended. Watford 0 Middlesbrough 0. Being close up we see and hear the passion of the play. A BA A380 glistened in the blue sky overhead.

Hard for some to talk with me normally, in response to my grunts and funny noises. Poor chap. Miss the sound of languages coming from my mouth, but still there in my head.

Thanks again, Russell.

Author: Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

4 thoughts on “‘It’s nothing’”

  1. So good to see you with my husband and our two children. They told you more than they usually tell us. Perhaps because you can’t speak that well any more but they know you can listen and understand everything. We gave you all our news including how much we enjoy having your children visit us and Jane too. While we tell you all that we are doing we feel sad that you can’t do all the things you used to do any more. I know you want everyone to live life to the full while they can, but we sometimes feel we don’t want to if you can’t, and we don’t feel comfortable telling you about things we have done that you can no longer do. We told you anyway. Thanks Andrew for giving us all the message to do what we can while we can. You are not only telling us that, but you have and are doing it. Love to all

  2. The Watford game looks like great fun. I’m kicking myself a bit for never having gone. We will get there, eventually…. Thanks for keeping up the blog. It’s good to hear from you.

  3. Hi Andrew it is great fun going to the football with you and Seb, he is getting to know the songs and some colourful language!!!!!

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