The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Lost and found

12 August 2020

Your A46 Diary is missing Blundell Park more than anything else during these stormy times. It's an anchor, and without it, I drift, not aimless and not rudderless, but certainly untethered, unfocused.

My grandma was house proud. A place for everything and everything in its place, the rooms redecorated every two years. Wood polished, carpets shampooed, the upholstery in the furniture regularly cleaned. Tasteful paintings on the walls. The front doorstep was still scrubbed weekly right into the 1990s. A spick and span terraced house on Lord Street.

My grandad was senile. For as long as I can remember. A bad car accident in the 1960s followed by dementia in the 1980s left him untethered, unfocused. To help, my house-proud grandma had a dressing table mirror screwed to the living room wall, above and just to the right of the television. A dark wood frame, a strange shape for a wall mirror (it was designed for a dresser after all) and incongruous on the wall of a spick and span house in Lord Street. It had belonged to a woman who my grandma had cleaned for way back in the 1940s and 1950s. The dresser had been a gift. I can't remember the woman's name. I'll call her Mrs Buckley.

In the later years my granddad would lose himself, his mind scrubbed as clean as the front doorstep, and not know where he was, who we were or even that he was home. In the evenings he would sit in his hat and coat, staring out of the living room window, the backs of the Ripon Street terrace, windows shining as the sun falls and the world darkens. He waited to leave, the hour later and later, and my grandma would gesture at the mirror, talk him out of his coat. "You are home, Alf. There's Mrs Buckley's mirror." The mirror was his anchor. He would shrug off his coat, glaring suspiciously at the unfamiliar walls, his eyes finally resting on the mirror.

In lockdown I have found myself using Grimsby Road when I don't need to, looking for a tether, stealing a peek at Blundell Park, panicking when I forget the floodlights are gone, settling when I see the back of the Findus, my own shining Mrs Buckley's mirror.

Reflected now is our first signing of the season. Welcome, Belil Mohsni, a French-Tunisian central defender who can be, according to Holloway, "a little bit fiery." I like fiery. You can read his list of medals and misdemeanours here.  I'm looking forward to a personality on the pitch while slightly nervous given the experience of our last personality who had played and made his naughty name in Scotland.

And our second signing: Ira Jackson. Firstly, Ira is a good name. I like it. It bodes well, like an Ira Gershwin tune. Secondly, the kid's a goal machine. We're still blinking away salty Amond tears, and a young man - he's 23 - focused on "scoring goals" could be the tonic we've been waiting so long for. I'm keeping my mirror shiny and not thinking about Holloway's comment regarding Jackson as a "saleable asset" and imagining instead 10 years of commitment and high-quality entertainment. 

There may be more signings today; there are certainly plenty of rumours about forwards and midfielders, but I'll leave that for tomorrow's diary; I'm more than happy to imagine the first two's amazing careers to come. Both cite Holloway as a deciding factor in their decision to come to Town. Hyperbole aside (Holloway has described Mohsni as his "Virgil Van Dyke". I can still remember Laws calling Tommy Widdrington his "Graeme Souness"), we've been dreaming of Holloway's pulling power and hopefully this is just the beginning. In years to come, I'll be looking for a little more from my anchor, a stronger, firmer tether, and Mrs Buckley's mirror will shine with magical memories.