Apologies one and all.
This is an extremely late bump, but it has occurred to me that I never got around to telling a favourite 'sporting' story of mine during Week P. I had it typed up ready to go, but never cut and pasted it at the time and have just come across it on my work pc. I wanted to share it with you though so hopefully no one minds me including it retrospectively.
No, not a description of County’s descent through the leagues over recent years (I’d have used ‘plummet’ for Week P if that were my intention) but the actual past-time, if one can call it that, of launching yourself out of a plane from several thousands of feet. Some think of this activity as a sport (of sorts), so my little anecdote finds its way into CHAOS.
I think, by now, everyone is familiar with my mate who I lovingly refer to as ‘Tim’ because, well, that’s his name. Hopefully, you have also gained some impression of the frankly blasé and reckless approach he has to life. No single event depicts this greater than when he jumped out of a plane whilst holidaying in Cuba.
The background to the story is largely uneventful, but begins with Tim and one of his two holidaying mates tricking the third (who was terrified of heights) into thinking he’d been booked to do a sky-dive. To cut a long story short, the prank horrendously back-fired and it was in fact Tim who found himself preparing to be launched out of a plane.
Having gone through literally seconds of training in not-very-good English, Tim was shown to an aging Russian war plane which was so decrepit that the door would not shut properly and actually flew open shortly after take-off. By this point, the wind was such that it could not be closed and the entire ascent had to be completed with the door wide open.
Tim, being only slight, was the last to jump and since everyone taking part had to be matched to an instructor who would create a similar aggregate weight, Tim was paired with a Cuban giant who, by all accounts, resembled John Coffey from The Green Mile. Imagine a Kangaroo with a joey attached to its front, only in bright jumpsuits and with a backpack.
Anyway, following their freefall descent and shortly after the parachute had deployed, Tim became aware of a general feeling of unease with his instructor who, in fairness, did his level best to persuade Tim that nothing was wrong. It became apparent, however, that their ropes had become tangled, and it took the instructor a few moments to rectify this, during which time he was not paying particular attention to the rapidly approaching Cuban surface.
When he did eventually return his efforts to the small matter of landing, it was clear that they were not heading towards the landing strip they had originally departed from (and where everyone else had by now successfully touched-down) but had instead been blown off course towards a farmer’s field some distance away. Unable to get them sufficiently back on course (and no doubt grateful that they were still heading for grass and not a building or cliff face), the instructor successfully improvised a landing into said field.
It was at this point, relieved to be alive in all likelihood, that Tim became aware of a herd of bulls approaching them... as the large (did I mention it was bright red?) parachute slowly came down around them....