As soon as the final whistle blows, I’m off to an NHS 70th birthday bash at Coundon, near Bishop Auckland.
Darlington market place heaves triumphantly and, already, drunkenly. Crumbs, this was only the quarter-final. The NHS will likely be earning its corn tonight.
The Coundon do is organised on behalf of the Labour Party by former Evenwood Town and Spennymoor Town manager Ken Houlahan, a man with three degrees, mostly sports science related.
He once had a paper called “”Under performance syndrome in athletes” published in a learned journal. “It’s not a sexual disease,” he felt obliged to tell readers of the Northern League magazine, more of a secondary modern publication.
Ken’s also still licking his wounds, as they might say in the NHS, over his appearances – probably on behalf of the club – before the league management committee. Salt in the wounds, he also remembers the plates of sandwiches, though we tried to shift them before meetings began.
The Ramside Hall Hotel, where meetings were held, looked after us very well. The club representative who angrily supposed the jugs of fruit cordial to be wine was talking through his wig, however.
The birthday bash is not well attended – for the few and not the many, as they might never say in today’s Labour Paerty – nor is the disco themed for the occasion.
The guy does, however, play I’ll Be There by The Four Tops which could almost become an anthem for our generally marvellous health service:
When you feel that you can’t go on
When all your hope is gone,
Could there be a more appropriate song for the NHS? Other suggestions welcomed.
* Since recent blogs have had something of a Sunderland theme, it’s perhaps appropriate to mention a correction in The Times earlier this week. Her Majesty’s guard of honour at Holyrood Palace was mounted by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and not the Argyll and Sunderland Highlanders as, unfortunately, they supposed.