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Saturday 20th October 2018 ko 15.00

South West Peninsula League Division One East

BUDLEIGH SALTERTON 1 (Nott 63)

HONITON TOWN 4 (Fremantle 40 Grant 44 Flanagan 86 Isaac 89)

Att c50

Entry £3

Sometime I think back in the 1980’s Madness’ “Baggy Trousers” had it right.

Naughty boys in nasty schools 
Headmasters breaking all the rules 
Having fun and playing fools 
Smashing up the woodwork tools 
All the teachers in the pub 
Passing ’round the ready-rub 
Trying not to think of when 
The lunch-time bell will ring again.

Back in the day I went to a middle school in Oxford that could have so easily fitted Suggs’ lyrics. Of course I loved all the characters there, even learning when to avoid the occasional flying blackboard eraser! Time passes by, people move on, at times literally and people lose touch. Two of those characters were Lisa and Jason

Jason was everything I wanted to be, tall, good looking and good at sport. We spent a week doing our work experience at a TSB in Cowley. They loved him, hated me, and I still have no idea how I ended up working for a bank for 14 years! All I know is that for that one week Jason carried me!

Lisa was one of those pretty, quiet as a mouse girls that my thirteen-year-old self had absolutely no idea how to talk to, so I dived into the books and cultivated a reputation for being (as Lisa told me) quiet and intelligent. I think Robyn has just about stopped laughing! I promise I’m neither.

The three of us lost contact when we all left school, and we’ve got social media to thank for re-establishing contact. When you’re our age you appreciate social media, as you can remember not having it!

So what is all this got to do with football match in Budleigh Salterton? Well Lisa and Jason got married, then decided to fulfill an ambition and start a new life in Devon. So when I found myself collecting Robyn from a week’s holiday in Weymouth we decided to visit Budleigh. We met Lisa for a pub lunch, sadly Jason was working, and reminisced about the old days for a couple of hours, and I tried to forget that those old days were all before when Robyn was born!

It was obvious why they wanted to move here, it’s a town of beach walks, community and cute shops. It manages to escape from being a magnet for tourists, so on my only previous visit here, I’d managed to eat an ice cream and, would you believe buy a cheese grater! My only defence is that it is an excellent grater…

Lisa opted out of our visit to Greenway Lane, in the northern suburbs. It’s a ground that many clubs at Step 6 would kill for (Budleigh play at Step 7), but to my funny way at looking at these these things its the backdrops we could slide into the pictures that I liked.

The impression I got is that Budleigh are struggling a little. The lack of a programme tends to suggest that, and fact that this defeat saw the team second-from-bottom of the table, a position that sadly is still the case as I type this.But this wasn’t a day to to record a club on the wane, far from it. Because what I took from my visit, is what a vibrant little club this is.

Because a lot of the fun of watching a game here is the people. If, perchance your only football comes via a professional club then chances are your experience of buying a cup of tea at half time is via a busy concourse. Come to somewhere like Budleigh Salterton and have the time to exchange a smile and a joke whilst doing that. Sometimes the pace of life seems to choke the pleasantries out of life.

Yes, Budleigh lost again, and will probably spend the rest of the season glancing over their collective shoulders. But in the couple of hours we spent there is was so clear why Lisa and Jason moved here. I’d had a stressful week, but I drove the two of us back to Oxford utterly relaxed, and that really is the elixir of life isn’t it?

Dedicated to Lisa and Jason. Let’s not a wait another 30 years before meeting!