Fitting In

by Andrew Foote

Chapter 12 - The Epilogue

Throughout this story real organisations and real people are mentioned by name. Their place in the tale is in the author's imagination. No thoughts, words or deeds attributed to those people or organisations are real, nor have they ever happened. This is a story! It's fiction. The people and organisations, even when they interact with the characters, are presented in an entirely imagined and fictitious manner, and no discourtesy is intended to them by the author nor by the web site.

2024 Olympics.

We failed to hang on to our gold medal run being beaten into silver by four points. We'd like to think it was down to us being stale but in truth, the Chinese boys were awesome and thoroughly deserved their win. Perhaps another contributing factor was before the games we'd announced our intention to retire from competition so maybe we weren't totally focused but in any case, we were free to party and oh boy, did we ever!

Benny was still going great guns and came away with another gold, the English Basketball boys with silver, the women also however Lor didn't compete as she was still getting over a difficult labour having given birth to twin boys.

Benny and Millie finally got married but not before they started a family of their own eventually having three boys and three girls as per Lucas' annoyingly correct prediction. For a couple of years they lived in Monaco but I don't think Millie ever managed to settle so they returned to England and now they live about five miles from us in Stow on the Wold with Paul, Lor and family buying a beautiful place just outside Broadway in Worcestershire, again, no more than ten miles across the Cotswold hills from us.

Our one-time family in sport was fast becoming an unbelievably close knit extended family.

So how do we all spend our time?

Lucas teaches at a Primary school in Evesham and loves every moment. I gained my qualifications in physiotherapy and together with my diving training qualifications, do just that but based at Hawthorn Hill for the training, Gloucester Royal Infirmary and Droitwich Knee Hospital for my physio work.

Paul trained and qualified as an accountant and now works for the SCGB but also manages all our affairs which pretty much means he watches over Sporting Endeavours where all of us still keep our money.

Millie is the full-time mum not only taking care of her own brood but also looks after Emily (when she isn't hanging around me), Toby and Alistair, Lor and Paul's boys leaving Lor the space to run her delicatessen in Broadway.

Benny is still competing full time but he's also slowing the pace and won't go for another Commonwealth or Olympic title so he's working towards teaching sport to disabled kids.

So much for our extended family except I failed to name Benny and Millie's kids.

Eldest is Andrew (Oh please?), next one down age-wise is Paul (Okay), the next is Loraine spelt with an 'e', Lucas, Joanna and Setsuko named after Lor's Japanese Mum (pronounced Sets-coo by the way!).

Outside of our immediate circle we have Colin, the lad who took the video footage of Hawthorn Hill all those years ago, he joined the RAF who after his basic training put him through University and now he's training to fly Apache helicopters. Obviously his quad-copter investment paid off.

That leaves Alan-the-bully and yes, that nickname stuck! Poor guy, he even refers to himself like that when he phones like "Hey Andy? Alan-the-bully here!" Anyhow he followed his father into the building trade then doing day release at college where he studied business management, he took over the family business allowing his Dad to retire.

All sorted.

After we'd done with competitive diving slowly our sponsorship dried up, something we knew would happen but as we were both holding down full-time if not particularly well paid jobs, we were comfortably off. We took a salary from Sporting Endeavours to boost our income to just shy of the upper tax bracket but this hardly scratched at the interest that our capital generated.

We most definitely didn't live a flashy lifestyle. I suppose the only trappings of wealth was the house and holidays abroad a few times each year, oh yeah and Lucas' horses!

He is seriously hooked on riding out with the local hunt and takes it very seriously. He has the occasional spill which annoys the hell out of him but is a source of great amusement for me! Watching him walk in through the back door, his jodhpurs and posh tunic plastered in mud and filth cracks me up! Not a good day at the office for him but an hilarious one for yours truly.

My treat to me? I never did pluck up the courage to test drive a Maserati but rather I spotted an old car languishing in a lock-up in our village. Actually calling it a lock-up isn't fair because it was very far from being locked up hence the reason for being able to see inside but I digress. Said not-so-locked-up-lock-up contained a rather sad looking Alvis TA 14 drop-top and after some asking around, principally at the pub on successive Friday nights……..okay some Sunday lunchtimes as well, I managed to track down the owner. We bartered and eventually he settled on five hundred quid.

Getting it back to the house was fun. We towed it. I had Lucas drive my Defender while I steered the Alvis but on discovering that the brakes didn't appear to want to work proved my theory that actually, things do bounce off Landrovers.

Then came the knotty problem of its restoration. I'm no mechanic, I even lose my temper changing windscreen wiper blades but help came in the shape of a young boy who lived in the village.

Jonathan, Jonno for short, had been watching me as I starred at the open bonnets, obviously wearing my I-haven't-got-a-fucking-clue-what-I'm-looking-at expression. Anyway the bottom line is he offered to help me telling me that his Dad was an agricultural engineer and took tractors to bits just for a laugh. Seriously though, for a lad of fourteen, he really did know his way around cars. Together we ripped the thing apart taking photos as we progressed so we could remind ourselves what bits were what and where they went until we were left with the running chassis.

The restoration took around nine months and not an inconsiderable pile of cash but the end result was stunning!

I had joined the Alvis Owners Club and they were able to track down details of the car through its engine and chassis numbers reliably informing me that it had rolled off the line in Coventry on 2 nd August 1948 and its original livery was black and Champagne but then failing miserably to find any Champagne-coloured paint, I settled for cream instead.

The first run was a trip to the pub with Lucas and Jonno but now I give her a spin at least once or twice a week that is unless it's raining, sleeting, snowing or hailing which happens quite a lot in England. So actually it gets taken out when the sun is shining which doesn't happen quite a lot in England.

You would have thought that with all these kids in our extended family we wouldn't need any more but I did. As soon as Emily was born I became all broody. I wonder what that says about me. I'm pretty much the bottom in our relationship and now I want kids? XY chromosomes definitely had a fucked-up day when mine went their separate ways.

We ended up adopting……..eventually. I say this because it would seem that no one is allowed to adopt cos the sodding hoops you have to jump through are never ending but finally we adopted six month old twins, one boy one girl which doesn't make any sense if you think it through logically. Twin boys? Twin Girls? That I get but how can you have a twin boy and a girl, I mean even I know the difference one from the other. A boy is a boy and a girl is a girl so how on earth can they be twins? Twins are the same that's why they're called twins but they're not……..the same that is. Anyhow they are brother and sister born to the same mother at the same time or maybe a couple of minutes one after the other. Stop being so bloody pedantic! Anna Louise and Charlie David and I lurrrrve them sooo much!!

Doting Grandparents? I should say so! I think Lucas and I see more of our folks now than we did when we lived with them but it's nice cos Mum and Julie help us no end what with us having to work. Dad and Gregg will spoil them to death when they're that bit older, the twins getting that bit older, not Dad and Gregg you fool! Even now, if one or other of us get home to find Dad or Gregg's car on the driveway, the kid's buggy missing together with the twins, it signals pub time cos that's where we'll find them. Bad influence or what! I mean Lucas and I never do that……..

So I think that about wraps it up. Now you can all bugger off and leave us alone!

No it's been fun drifting down Memory Lane remembering the time when we first met at Christchurch, that first ever dive together, my having real concerns over my possible sexuality then fairly shitting myself once I managed to admit to myself that I was in fact gay rather than just going through a phase.

What if I hadn't gone to swimming club that particular night? There was no good reason for me to other than escaping the confines of the house for a couple of hours? Would Lucas and I have even met? Actually I think we would've done. If you believe in God which I don't-but-I'm-ever-increasingly-open-to-persuasion, then it was always going to happen. Those two poor lads buried at Wormleighton for one, our near identical DNA for another. It had to be pre-ordained surely? Our joint communication is still very much with us, in fact if anything, it is stronger than ever because I can be working in the garden and hear Lucas from inside the house telling me he's brewing coffee and asking me if I wanted some and he can hear my reply. All too much to be a coincidence.

Hey that's a thought? If medical science had progressed sufficiently for me to give birth and Lucas was the father, I wonder if our kids would inherit that dark art.

I think it's time we left you. I'm getting all 'deep thought' and philosophical and that invariably leads to tears and I've babies to feed and nappies to change. Life is REALLY GOOD!

The End.

I hope that our webmaster includes this bit cos it's important.

I would like to thank everyone who took time to read this rubbish. If I get a decent run at things and all assuming I find the necessary inspiration, it takes me around ten hours to pen one chapter, a further two to proof and correct it, a further two to put right those bits I've missed but he didn't sooo……..around fourteen hours per chapter equals twelve multiplied by fourteen which equals…… hundred and sixty-eight hours which is a lot of hours like one hundred and sixty eight of them or, all assuming I write for twenty-four hours a day seven days a week which I don't, not ever, this lot would've taken me seven days to write! A pathetic waste of time if nobody bothered to read it wouldn't you say?

Thankyouthankyou to you all!


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