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November 2009

Remember, remember we’re already in November - with less than 50 days to Xmas and even less to my 64th birthday!

Everyone in the house is winding me up by going around singing The Beatles song ‘When I’m 64’…….changing the lyrics slightly to ‘will we still need you, will we still feed you, when you’re 64’.

What a cheek! I’m as fit and active as most 34 year-olds. OK, 54 year-olds! And would be planning a knees-up if only my knees hadn’t given up on me and my back wasn’t held up with a few screws!!

Mind you, my troublesome shoulder is getting much better now and the broken collar-bone isn’t clicking so much. The shoulder seems to have improved since I made a new shed.  All the sawing and hammering in nails has helped to make it feel better and ease the clicking.

Before anyone asks, I made the shed so that I could store all the photo’s and books of my favourite darts players…….it measures 1ft x 1ft and there’s still plenty of room inside!

My ‘Cash In The Attic’ programme was repeated again recently, and a couple of days after it went out I received a very nice card from a lovely fella called Mike Timmis together with a £5 note.  The letter read: ‘It’s not a lot, but I hope it helps’.

£5 is probably a fortune when he has to find the money for energy bills, council tax and food. I can assure him that his £5 certainly helps and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

Just to remind readers, the Cash InThe Attic crew came to George Hall and took away some of my (and Marie’s) treasures to be auctioned for Woodbridge Mencap Gateway Club, which is run by my driver Roly Bright.

I am delighted to say that I have presented Roly with that £5, together with £400 from my share of charity auctions during the Legends of the Oche tour……and there is more on the way.

The saying ‘Charity Begins At Home’ is quite true when you think that ‘Cash In The Attic’ came an emptied mine!  Not that I minded.  I have always done as much as I can for worthwhile causes, and there isn’t a more generous sport than darts when it comes to raising money for charity.

Staying with The Legends, when we were in Leicester a few weeks ago we finished the show and went back to our hotel for a couple of beers.  Trouble is, the bar was shut! What a nightmare!!

The guv’nor suggested that we go to the bar over the road and I wondered why he had a funny sort of grin on his face when he said it.  I soon found out!

Off we went, me still in my glittery sequinned shirt, Little Richard Ashdown,  my darting protege (at least he is until he writes his autobiography!), Dutch caller Jacques Nieuwlaat, Paul Wilson and a guy from Betfred.

The bar was packed to the rafters, and I thought it was because they were still serving drinks, until a bloke with a white sequinned shirt blew me a kiss and I blew him one back!  Oh dear, big mistake! He was gay and we were in the only gay bar in Leicester!!

Suddenly I felt like the geezer in TV’s ‘Little Britain’ – only I was the only straight guy (with Jacques, Little Richard, Paul and the Betfred bloke) in the gay bar!!

No offence to anyone. Each to their own I say, and I know it has been said that I’m a gay icon (whatever that means), but in the end we just bought a few bottles, kissed the barman quickly (very quickly) on the cheek and made a sharp exit back to the hotel.

But there was a problem there as well.  Marie had booked the rooms and although I didn’t mind sharing with Jacques, I certainly didn’t fancy sharing the double bed in the room (especially after what had just happened!).

Jokingly I told the receptionist who just happened to be Polish, that I couldn’t possibly share my bed with a German (isn’t it strange that the blokes are called Her, but with two ‘r’s’ and not hims?). Who would want a Herr when there was a Frauline around??  But I.m going off the subject. The receptionist readily agreed with me.

‘But, I’m not German’ protested Jacques. ‘I’m Dutch and proud of it!’

I knew that, of course, but we fell about laughing when the receptionist said: ‘That’s no excuse, you live next door to them (the Germans) so it must rub off (not sure what she meant).  I’m going to give you a room with two single  beds. And that’s what she did!

We were only joking and having a laugh with her and each other at the same time, but I had to go back outside and make sure we weren’t staying in Fawlty Towers! Basil would have been proud of her!

Before I forget, I was disappointed not to have been able to see the World Cup on the internet (I always thought the Yanks were kings of marketing), but really chuffed that Tony O’Shea won the World Cup Singles.

He’s a lovely bloke who has matured with age and got better and better. He’s probably (make that definitely) had the greatest year of his whole darts career and will arrive at Lakeside 2010 as World No.1, BDO No.1 and No.1 Seed.

It doesn’t get much better than that, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer fella. Well done, Silverback!

Congratulations also to our victorious England Ladies and World Cup Boys Singles Champion, Jamie Lewis of Wales.  Well done to all the British players, and a special well done to Little Richard and Jacques, who have been praised by the organisers for doing a great job on the microphone and on the organisational side of things.  Typically, there were no negatives, only positives from the dynamic duo.

Mention of Lakeside, I can’t wait to get back to ‘the home of world darts’ for another great World Championships.  Sadly, my old mucker Ray Stubbs will be missing, but as the old showbiz saying goes: ‘The show must go on’.

Lakeside 2010 is going to be extra-special, because not only does it celebrate the 25th year that the World Pro has been staged at Lakeside Country Club, but the Men’s winner will receive the first ever six-figure cheque in the history of the Championships – 100,000 Grand!

It’s a life changing sum and far removed from the £3,000 that Welsh legend Leighton Rees won in the first World Pro way back in 1978.  Three cheers for Bob Potter, who has doubled the Men’s Champion cheque from £50,000 to £100,000 since he took over as main sponsor in 2004.  He’s also become a darts legend!

Look out for fireworks in Muswell Hill this month, because other than Bonfire Night, there’s another very special celebration – the 80th Birthday of founder of the BDO and Godfather of Darts, Olly Croft.

His family (and there are lots of them) have organised the biggest shindig Muswell Hill has ever seen to celebrate his two double-tops birthday in style! Me and Marie are delighted to be among the honoured guests (including Bob Potter and Barbara Leitch from Lakeside) representing Olly’s love of darts, cricket and football (Spurs fan Olly was a very good footballer in his day and his grandson Joe Croft is proudly following in his footsteps today).

When Olly phoned to invite me he said: ‘It will be great to have you and Marie with me on such a special occasion, and I promise that I’ll come to your 80th’.

As it’s all of 16 years away, I could only say: ‘I really hope you do, Olly’.

He’s an even bigger darts legend – probably the biggest darts legend of all time - than Bob Potter - and they are both OBE’s together.

Age doesn’t mean so much nowadays as it used to.  Both Bob and Olly are 80 and still as active as ever.  I try to keep young so I wasn’t surprised when a bloke as bald as a coot came up to me at an exhibition and said: ‘Do you dye your hair?’  I replied: ‘Of  course I do’ and when he asked ‘Why?’ I told him ‘If you’ve got uppers on your shoes you can put polish on them- if you have hair….why not!  It’s all about appearance and looking good!.

Good to see that my old mate Paul O’Grady has a new dog called ‘Bullseye’ on his Channel 4 show.  I know he’s a big darts fan, but that’s a great accolade to our sport.

Nice one, Paul!

I met another nice bloke on the night ferry to Holland – none other than Rob Barneveld, the father of Raymond!  He drives one of those huge juggernauts filled with flowers – Tulips from Amsterdam!!

Not only is he better-looking than Raymond, but he has a great personality and we had a real laugh together.  He’s even promised to bring some flowers to Marie, but I had to tell him: not a lorry load or all the dead ones!

He’s another nice Bob who doesn’t get much credit, and I was very pleasantly surprised with the time we spent together on that night ferry.

Never mind the Three Tenors, Bob Potter, Bob Barneveld and me are the Three Bobs!!

I went in the lorry drivers section of the ferry, because they are allowed to smoke. The public aren’t allowed in, but there was a lovely Scottish lady named Kay who was looking after their welfare (in the nicest possible sense of the word!) and she spotted me having trouble getting into my cabin which was opposite her office.

 

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She said: ‘You have to insert it carefully and pull it out slowly’.  Blimey I wondered what she was on about until I realised she meant the cabin door key!

It turns out that I’m her favourite darts player and she really looked after me and Richard, who I was sharing the cabin with.  He was on the top bunk bed and he’s so little that I had to give him a bunk-up!

We had one of our best ever crossings on that night ferry, thanks to the company of Rob Barneveld, the posse of lorry drivers and the hospitality of Kay.

Before I close, can I mention the October issue of another magazine (please Mr.Editor?) ‘We Love Darts’, which contained possibly the best ever article I have ever read about myself.

It was by Alex Murphy, and he’s my new hero.  The reason I’m so pleased is that it was factual, there were lots of pictures of me as a handsome young man, and there was no kick up the Stella Artois at the end of it!

I will be at three of the John Smith’s People Darts Regional Finals this month. The London region will be represented at Lakeside on November 14th, the South-West regional finals will be contested at The Staddy Club, Plymouth on 21st and South Wales will have its regional finals at Caerphilly Social Club on 22nd.

Try and get along to see some good darts from the cream of the pub players.

Until next month and yet another Christmas………Be Lucky!


 

 

 

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