It has been a while.

It was a hot summer’s day back in 2005, back when we had real summers and the temperature hovered around 30 Celsius. TC and I had been to see England play at Lords, I don’t now recall if it was a Test Match or One-Day International nor even the opposition (Bangladesh and Australia toured that summer). As had become our custom, we were chauffeured by The Furn, which enabled us to do the Lords thing with a picnic, beer, wine and Pimms. When we got back to TC’s abode his lodger, Rockstar Paul, and TC’s friend Matty were waiting. TC had met Matty in Cambridge when Matty was working at the accommodation TC used whilst studying at East Anglia Poly (as it was before it got pretentions).

We decanted to the patio to pick over the left-overs of the picnic, but Matty announced that he was going to have a lie-down in the cool of the house as he had left his Asthma inhaler back home in Durham and wasn’t feeling well. Not long later TC’s brother JC arrived back after a hot day’s Locking on the Locks, and said that Matty was sitting on a wall in the shade at the front of the house not looking well. He went back to check and seconds later his shouts summoned the rest of us. He was holding Matty who was slumped in his arms, barely breathing, as grey as a ghost. At this point we realised that none of us knew CPR. Someone dialed 999 on their mobile phone, and relayed advice from the operator, whilst the teenage son of the next-door neighbour relayed advice from his father (a hospital anesthetist), also via mobile phone.

In a very short time a paramedic arrived in a car and took over CPR, he was soon followed by an ambulance, and Matty was taken into the vehicle. We expected it to depart immediately but they spent a long while working in the back, before departing. TC, Furn, Paul & JC followed to the Hospital, I went home to be a phone contact to disseminate information as it became available. I had barely got home before TC rang to say that Matty had been declared D.O.A.

A day or so later we meet Matty’s Father and brother who traveled down from Durham.

I didn’t attend the funeral, held in Durham, but the others went, and they met Matty’s friends and drinking buddies from the Dun Cow. Some while latter Gibbo sent some photos of a memorial to Matty that they had placed in the Lake District.

Time Passes.

July 2011 I am in Cumbria once more. It dawns on me that I’m not far from Matty’s memorial, so the following day I plan my bimble accordingly. As it turns out the bimble requires a swim (swimble?) to reach the memorial, but I have to wait as the location seems to be the nudie wild swimming capital of Cumbria. THEN when the other swimmers depart three ramblers appear. They must be ramblers because they talk loudly and incessantly to each other, and they decide to sit and eat their sandwiches. I can hear every word from 200 metres away. “What’s that chap doing? Reading? Oh its a very peaceful place to read”. Well it was before you lot turned up. “What’s he doing now? Oh he’s got binoculars. We should have brought our binoculars”. I wish I had a rifle and a ‘scope.

Eventually they leave and I change into my trunks. I’m English. I don’t do nudie swimming. Well only if Dr Alice Roberts turns up. I find the memorial quite easily despite it being well concealed, take a photo, a wee dram from the hip-flask, re-hide the stone and depart.

Goodbye Matty.

Matty Roberts

Matty Roberts

~ by @mmonyte on September 17, 2011.

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