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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, October 12, 2002
    Zipped-up winners
    Good to see England dig out a win in difficult circumstances, the mud, the crowd, the crowd trouble, the first half Slovakian onslaught, the background of last night's shootings. Hasn't that part of Europe had enough rain of late? The England bench - Eriksson, MacLaren, Lee, Clemence - looked like a row of old-timers at a bus stop, dressed in their big grey padded macs with the greasy-stained look, zipped-up to their noses, standing dripping in the downpour.

    The goalmouths looked like the ones we used to play in at school: which I would try avoiding, not liking the cold and wet, but never could for long, being a right-back. Memory tells me I played football every day of my comprehensive school life, but I still hated it in the winter.

    Winter seemed to arrive here this morning, too. Chilly and very wet. The blues put off, though, by a successful end to our children's week with a loud thing called a 'praise party' run by a group of very enthusiastic young people from a neighbouring church, which, even though it's not my thing, was a good thing which left us feeling satisfied that what we'd been doing had worked well, lots of positives on which to build.

    I looked at the leader of Damascus Road, a guy called Matthew, bouncing and dancing and getting-the-crowd-going for a full two hours and recalled when we used to do similar things about a decade ago with our teenage 'Rolling Magazine' roadshows. My energy's long gone for that, I told Matthew, laughingly, later. But a different sort of energy emerges these days. A quiet one. One which tries to enable others to find their energy source and fulfil it. Something I'm working on. Never underestimate the determination of a quiet man: Duncan-Smith, Wilkinson, Eriksson, now Davies: there's a group to grace any bus-stop this week....