​January is the best!  A little family joke but it beats writing/typing that which I was about to!  It’s not as though it is a surprise but I am never prepared for it despite all the years of practice.  I suppose one puts so much in the pending tray over Christmas lulled into the romantic notion that time is on hold and that Santa, together with the good tidings and goodwill to all men, will make all one’s problems disappear.  Instead, someone somewhere presses the fast forward button and, in the blink of an eye, it is January 1st and that pending tray is taking no prisoners!  No choice but to face the music …  a smidgen of Tom anybody?
Talking of Tom – that’s ‘Odell’ for anybody in the dark/first-time readers/same thing – we were alerted to the fact that he was to be on Saturday Kitchen on the 5th (live!) and, at first, I pictured he and James Martin sharing notes on the ‘dangers’ of appearing at the Usher Hall! No, no such conferring as I remembered that James has debunked to the other side.  Instead, Matt Tebbutt quizzed Tom – new found master of the Saturday morning hair look – as to his food heaven and food hell: apple crumble and an aversion to mushrooms.  Perfect!  So simple and thus so quirky.  We were also to learn, as the programme progressed, that he loves Billy Joel – obvious – and seventies music but, moreover, he is a huge fan of Don Henley!  Uncanny.  So much taste in one so young.  I knew there was a reason we liked him.  In all seriousness – try saying that after a few chardonnays – Tom Odell is the equivalent of an oxygen mask in a world engulfed in smog.  Possessing of talent in bucketloads, he is good looking, intelligent and funny with a gentle manner borne of the creative; a character.  At twenty-eight, his catalogue of music has already ensured his legacy but, furthermore … he reads books, holds his knife correctly and he questioned Matt as to the alcohol percentage of the wine!  I rest my case.  (Contrary to perception, no money changed hands prior to the writing of this piece!).
The words above were written last night borne of a mood more buoyant.  Funny but, as one week runs into another, I often wonder if I will have enough to write about in the next post; whether it will just become repetitive and boring?  I suppose my readership answers my question but I never cease to be amazed at the pace of life and I never doubt the surprises it may bring.  It is amost 9pm as I sit here at the computer feeling emotionally drained.  Today a friend came round for lunch; a friend I haven’t seen for far too many years but with whom I shared my formative ones and, arguably, the most important of my life.  Her family lived across the road from us in Cupar and, firm friends all, we simply grew up together.  Married with children, the passage of time may be unrelenting but childhood memories cannot be easily erased and old friends are never far away when needed.  I had last seen Nic in sad circumstances when Becca and I went to her father’s funeral.  Her face and her tears told me how much that meant and thus she, too, picked up the phone when Pop died last October.  One phonecall and the years melted away.  So lovely to see her, to hear her news and see photographs of her three children and the rest of the family.  It is amazing to see who looks like whom and, funnily enough, Nic confirmed that the Sherret genes are very much in evidence.  Perhaps not so funny, she thought Becca has a look of my sister when she was young and Manny looks very much like my brother.  Superb!
Anyway, old friends are easy but filling in the years is more difficult and catching Nic up on the last fourteen was exhausting for us both!  She now understands my need to write several books and agrees that the material is worthy of a mini series, if not the big screen!  I have a glass of wine sitting beside me having abstained for at least two nights … do you blame me?!
I need never worry that I don’t have enough to write about.  I have pages of topics beside me, some hilarious, but the news I woke to this morning was anything but – Andy Murray in tears as he is forced to contemplate enforced retirement due to his hip problem.  I don’t know how to put into words how sad I am.  How can one do him justice?  Of course, his achievements and his legacy speak for themselves but, more than that, he has been such a big part of our lives, beloved by so many.  I grew up watching Wimbledon in the bygone era of Borg, McEnroe, Connors and Nastase.  The equivalent, for Becca and Manny, is Murray, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.  No longer one man and his coach, today it is all about player and team including a psychologist and nutritionist of all things.  Admittedly, there is big money involved but perhaps the price to pay in its quest is just too much.  Injuries abound – look at the struggles of Nadal in recent years – but these guys are still relatively young.  Borg was only 26 when he shocked the world and his fans by retiring but that was a choice he made for personal reasons and not one enforced by injury …  Like so much in life today, we should look to the past and learn from it.  It’s not all about money, all about competing and, humbling though it may be to admit, often the old ways are the best!
Andy Murray is only 31 but his achievements are awesome.  Winning both Gold and Silver medals at the Olympics of 2012, he went on to win his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in the same year.  His first Wimbledon title followed in 2013 when he became the first British player to win the title since Fred Perry in 1936.  He was an integral part of the Davis Cup team victory in 2015 – the first in 79 years – and went on to win a second Wimbledon singles title in 2016 before retaining his Olympic Gold in Rio later that summer.  He ended that year as number one in the world rankings, the first British singles player since computerized rankings began in 1973.  Pause for breath!  He has won BBC Sports Personality of the Year three times – unprecedented – in 2013, 2015 and 2016 and, having previously been awarded an OBE following the US Open in 2012, he was given a Knighthood in the New Year Honours of 2017 for services to tennis and charity.  He has done it all but his most important achievements come with no trophies, are not tangible.  For my part, he instilled a love of Wimbledon – and of tennis – in my children, responsible for excitement, tears and joy in equal measure.  We have been lucky enough to watch him play many times in that infamous little corner of SW19 always secure in the knowledge that he would give it his all and never give up.  He never did.  How we cried when he cried during his heartfelt speech on losing the Wimbledon final to Federer in 2012 – all the more beloved for his courage and sensitivity.  Whoever said he was a dour Scot?!  Perhaps those who do not appreciate a wonderfully dry sense of humour …  We watched his last match at Wimbledon in 2017 when he was defeated by Sam Querrey in the quarter finals.  It went to five sets as Murray stoically struggled on, very obviously in pain.  (I have tried to recover the post I clearly remember writing on just that.)  Andy refused to give up – regardless of inevitable defeat due to his hip injury – but, in so doing, his altruism ensured he took nothing away from his opponent and Querrey’s subsequent victory.  In the press conference which followed, he refused to cite his injury as the reason for his defeat.  In stark contrast, however, I remember writing about Djokovic who, in his quarter final match against Tomas Berdych the same year, called for medical time out on losing the first set tie break before retiring.  One hip injury.  One right shoulder.  One plays on.  One retires.  One is reticent to discuss.  One is all over it!  The measure of the man?
Andy Murray, you are a hero!  Thank you for it all.  The pride your family must feel is immeasurable and your two little girls, well, your legacy speaks for itself.  I have watched the footage today with great sadness but also gratitude.  Let me end with a quote from Ian Payne, Sports Correspondent, on the ITV Lunchtime News.  The power of the simple word revealing so much about the man …
‘When you speak to him, he asks you as many questions as you ask him.’
In this egocentric world, I can think of no better accolade.
This is Trish, signing off – tissue in hand!