Posts Tagged ‘Michael Hardcastle’

(W)rapping paper

Eliza and Robin

Walking in the door this evening, Eliza and Robin ran to meet me, squawking at me to listen to them. Each had written a rap, which they read with the exaggerated diction of that idiom. Robin went on to write a second rap, which he rolled and sealed (with sellotape), to make a scroll. It was about how great his Mummy is and is to be give to her tomorrow as a birthday present.

And L’s birthday is the unlikely cause of this outbreak of urban expression. Eliza explained that the raps came from her telling Robin that they needed to wrap L’s presents. And with pleasing closure, one of Robin’s raps has been wrapped as a present for L.

Gabe

Gabe reads books by the series and then takes long breaks from novel reading denying there can be anything else he would want to read. Since Christmas, he has completed the Michael Hardcastle books about junior football talent Mark Fox. He is now nearly through the Narnia series, held up by his having borrowed the final book from the library but not the penultimate volume. He first tasted CS Lewis’ work five years ago, when a condensed version of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came with a cereal packet. It made an impression on him and so he was happy to launch into the series, which he has assessed to be good, but uneven, with Voyage of the Dawntreader the least interesting.

Development Centre

    Robin

Robin attended his first Burnley FC development centre two days after the invitation. He was anxious not to be late and nervous on arrival. The training session focused on close ball skills, passing and moving into space. The games were played without goals. Robin was at the edge of the action to begin with, but soon his distinctive slight crouch and acceleration was seen as he hunted the ball. He seemed to me to do well and enjoyed it. Looking at him since – in his pyjamas in the morning, playing with his young cousin – I question how sensible it is for a six year old to be training in a professional club.

    Gabe

Amazon has helped me track down a series of football stories that enthralled me as a child: Michael Hardcastle’s Mark Fox series. I introduced the first book to Gabe cautiously, not sure he would want to read something that had been important to me. He was reluctant at first, but was quickly won over by the story of a young, talented player. We’ve discussed how the match descriptions are vivid and realistic and the story around the play doesn’t pander to simple morals but conveys the complex relationships with team mates, family and friends of a motivated, obsessed teenager.

    Eliza

Eliza has been caught talking in her sleep. “I’m the best, I’m the best”, Gabe heard her mutter while the three kids share a bedroom on our half-term holiday visit to grandparents in St Andrews.

Stream of Robin-ness

Robin

Robin writes. He writes on paper or on a phone. He writes stories, but most often he writes about football or our family. He writes without hesitation; without fear of making a mistake or a misspelling. His letters are clear with exaggerated loops. He writes that “Mummy wants lots of hugs and cises” and “Daddy is rearly cool”.

Gabe

My recollection of a series of football stories, name and author forgotten, that so engrossed me as a child that I read them over and over again prompted me to research. Michael Hardcastle’s Mark Fox books seemed the only candidate. I ordered First Goal and my research was rewarded. I offered it to Gabe who was non-commital. I began reading it to Robin, but I could see he was finding it difficult to follow.

When Gabe next complained of having nothing to read I suggested he try the book, acknowledging he would find it old-fashioned. He finished it in one night, before I could read any of it with him, as I had hoped to do. He has asked for the others in the series, which are on order.

Eliza

Eliza stood up in the bath and struck a pose, “like those ladies in the pictures”. “Which pictures?” I enquired, wondering what this may reveal. “You know, the ones in churches.”