In a slight change of topic I thought today was a good day to take a look back and think about how we got here. Or more specifically how I got here. Life is often marked by occasions, and Scotland playing England in the Euros is about to happen for a second time, and for a second time it marks the beginning of a new chapter of life. The first time they played, in 1996, I had no idea of the changes that lay ahead. That’s partially true on this occasion, when they play later today, but I have a bit more say in making this change happen.
In mid-June 1996 I traveled back to Scotland to watch our national team take on the Auld Enemy. I was living in Manchester at the time but i thought it would be better to watch the game in formerly ‘territory’ so I took the train back up to Scotland for the weekend. It turned in to a long weekend as i never set foot in the shop I was managing again, at least not when it was open.
The day of the game was also the day of the Manchester bomb. And it went off round the corner from the shop I managed. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it started a chain of events that would see me end up in Thailand by the end of that year, and although there have been a few detours here and there, i‘ve been here ever since.
Its hard to believe it’s 25 years ago.
The after effects of the bomb gave an opportunistic manager his chance to move me on. It was nasty and unsavory behaviour which took me a while to be settled with, but it turned out pretty well. I wouldn’t have had half as interesting a life if I stayed. It’s been a hell of an adventure, from living on a Thai tropical island to being one of the last tram conductors in Melbourne, it’s not something I could have scripted or planned. In between I’ve been lucky enough to have visited some amazing places and met a lot of great people. It’s been a terrific chapter.
Who could have imagined on that warm sunny day in the middle of June 1996 that the next time Scotland played England at the Euros would be the eve of us movIng to a house we built in the Thai countryside? You’d have got good odds if you’d guessed that.
Although the wheels were set in motion in the summer of ’96 it took a few months to sort things out before I headed off to Thailand. I banked most of the pay-off I got from the old company, and that was recently raided to help pay for our new house. With the rest I headed off to Thailand - alone - with no plan other than a few flights booked here and there. I never made any of them on the day they were booked, and some never at all.
And although our things are packed in Bangkok and we move it all tomorrow, it will also take a few months to let things settle and see how the next adventure takes shape.
Our story on this blog and mostly been about building our house, and while that will continue, there will be a lot more about how both of us are about to become the Unexpected Farmers.
PS come on Scotland!!! We should have won in ‘96. Would be amazing if we can do it today.
PPS while out here I’ve also had the chance to play for Scotland and we’ve beaten the English on more than a few occasions when they had a younger, fitter, better team. It is possible!
Post-game celebrations with the fans ;)