Two flights - one to Schiphol from Berlin Tegel, the other on to Norwich. Under the cloud cover the spire of the cathedral stands out and, as you descend, the town hall too. A strong wind. Just before the Berlin flat a call from a photographer, Ekko von Schwichow. He wants a few quick photographs. He turns up ten minutes before the shuttle car does, just as the three of us are eating some soup in the corner restaurant. He takes about 30 photographs in about five minutes, some of me peeking round a wall. It looks fine, if a bit of a blur as far as I am concerned (though not, presumably as far as the photographs are concerned). Then the shuttle car arrives and together with the Dutch children's writer, catching the same plane.
Sadness. Sad to be leaving friends but already I am thinking of the crowded days ahead, at university and other travels (all in UK for a while).
Here is one of the five football poems, the first to be written.
And Charlton Scores...!
Way back in 1966
when Wembley was a mile away
my dad and I went down to see
Mexico and England play.
The score was 0-0. From the stand
we watched as Charlton thundered through
(more cruised than thundered to be fair)
then let fly out of the clear blue,
let fly, let go - we saw it slice
clean through the air, or thought we saw,
and then the ball was in the net.
Silence a second, shock and awe,
then WHAM! the roar! Men leapt, raised fists,
a surge of fierce electric joy
such as when Greek soldiers surged
through the wide open gates of Troy.
But as for Charlton, he just turned
and trotted to the halfway line,
prepared to restart. I was there.
I saw it all. His goal was mine.