Grew up in an old cottage surrounded by farm land, the farm house was very old, and we used to heat the house with logs and tell stories by the fire. I was the middle child of six.
When I was about three my older brother had a book, it was a well known children’s book called “The billy goats gruff”. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it’s about three little goats that try to cross a bridge “trip trap trip trap” to get to the greener grass on the other side of the meadow.
Sounds great right?!? Wrong.
There’s a very mean, horrible troll that lives underneath the bridge, and he tries to eat the goats for crossing it.
Being toddler and very imaginative I was horrified by the troll in the book, really got quite upset at the thought of it and I couldn’t even look at the book without being scared.
My dad being a very old fashioned guy settled my fears by through the book in to the fire and saved me from the mean old troll for good.
Good old dad x
Many years went by and I grew a little too old for bedtime stories around the fire.
Dad used to fly pigeons for sport, it’s a sport where you send birds miles away, let them go to see how long it takes for them to get home, the fastest pigeons over a set distance win the race.
He was really very good at it as was his father before him.
Every weekend we would collect all his pigeons up and put them into creates and take them far and wide to let them go and time them to see how long it took them to get home.
One of his favourite places to release the birds was a spot called Gallywood, a town about 20 miles from home.
Made up mostly of farm fields and wide open spaces. My dad said it was a great place to release the birds because you could see the line where the ground meets the sky and it helped the birds find their way home.
Don’t know if you have ever seen racing pigeons released. It’s an awesome experience.
There’s almost a dead silence from the birds before the opening of the creates, like they know what’s coming, I could feel the anticipation for them almost building up inside myself and then in one pull of a string all creates would open instantaneous and a massive scurry of wild wings and feathers scrambled for the openings of the creates as the flock of birds took flight and headed up and up towards the distance till out of sight.
Years we travelled to and from Gallywood, training the birds, letting them go and the birds always beating us to the shed at the farm.
Don’t know what made me say it but I said to my dad one day travelling down to Gallywood. “How long do you think it would take me to run home”
“Hours son” my dad said giving me a cheeky smile, so with that i did.....my dad left me at Gallywood and I run back to the cottage.
Did it in good time too, my dad clocked me.
Become something I did every time the birds got released till the point I was running at a level worthy of adult professionalism. With that, running was my thing.
By the time I was 15 I could run a mile in under a minute flat was I run everywhere I went, I really loved to run. My dad always said I was put on the earth to run around it lol
When I left school I got a job as a warehouse work in a furniture store, it was just a job for the summer, I wanted a car.
The basics of the job were to unload lorries from deliveries and put furniture away on the racks.
First day at the job I had to load some mattresses on to a rack at the top of the warehouse racking using a scissor lift about twenty-five feet above floor level.
While unloading the mattresses, the lift collapsed, and I fell to the ground, hitting the bottom of my back on the hard concrete warehouse floor.
I had broken my spine where it joins to my hip and was paralysed from the waist down, it didn’t matter how hard I tried I couldn’t move my legs.
I spent months and months in hospital without any sign of Improvement, I was horrified at the thought that I may never run or walk again. I was so scared, I have never felt so frightened in all my life.
I remember one evening my dad came in to the hospital ward to see me, he brought me some grapes and asked me how I felt, now considering I was massively upset with my situation I didn’t answer him in-fact I totally ignored him at the time, he stayed for a while and told me about his day instead but still I didn’t respond and with my back turned towards him, I dismissed everything he said. I was just so upset.
Now it’s funny because just before he left that night at the end of visiting hours he reaches into a bag at his feet, pulled out a little red book, stood, placed the book on the chair, smiled.
“Just remember my boy, you can overcome anything”
And then he left the room. I waited for a while, then I rolled myself over in bed, turn to see what was on the cheer.
It was a little red book, exactly the same as before, The Billy goats gruff,
and inside he had written
See, your not scared any more xx
See, if you have ever read the book “the Billy goats gruff” you would understand the moral to the story,
As people would say, “it is not to be too greedy”.
As each goat crossing the bridge tells the toll of his much bigger tastier brother crossing after and the mean old troll loses his chance to eat the smaller goats by wanting a bigger meal.
In the end, the big goat gives the troll what he deserves and bucks him into the river, never to be seen again.
But I think this fairytale was misunderstood. And believe this to be true
As the moral of story is about the cunning little goat and his bravery to dared cross that dangerous bridge in the first place.
For it is said “No guts, No glory” meaning if you don’t have the guts to do something great, you will not receive any glory for it.
Greatness never comes to those who do nothing, but those who have the guts to get things done.
And as the little goat eats the greener grass and gets the glory. This is the moral of this story.
And six months later I walked out of hospital.