Cottingham is one of those overgrown villages turned town where you do not go unless you really have to. It has nothing of significance at all and exists purely as a place where people live or as a pass through to somewhere else beyond it or an entry route when coming into Hull. As is typical here in Blighty for such villages cum towns it is mainly a residential area. What few shops it has are expensive. Don't get me wrong, I find Cottingham a pleasant place but not somewhere i could live. Still, it is a good target to aim for after a walk through the fields.
As I may have mentioned before we live not 100 yards from the city's edge. The official city limits if you will. Walk out of our front or back door, turn to the left or right depending on whether you leave the house via the front or back door you would then and after a couple of minutes walking hit fields. Wide open fields. In the evening sunshine those fields beckoned us and we did not want to disappoint. We do not dress-up for these short walks barring our choice of footwear. I mean, there is something silly about going field walking in your best pair of shoes or in summer footwear when at this time of the year one is certain to come across some fields edge and find out that water and soil has mixed to form what is commonly known as mud. Anyway, after putting on some suitable footwear and a jumper in case the wind grew colder as the evening inevitably gave way to to the night time coolness always felt at this time of the year.
Along with a light jacket and some decent shoes I have to take my walking stick. This is for medical reasons as without it I cannot walk more than a few yards. So, we 3 set off. Leaving the house via the back entrance we walked towards the fields. Just a few yards further up the road there is a small thin field, if indeed it can be called a field, where people walk their dogs. This narrow strip of land is perfect for a walk as it leads to a huge open field at the top end. It was along there we aimed to go and go we did.
Once we had reached the top end, as I said it opens up into a large open field, we had a choice of routes, go left or go right, that was the question. My second eldest suggested we go right probably because this is the shortest route but still right we went. Along the rough path that lays that way. We had gone probably 200 yards along this path, just around the bend when we happened upon a group of youths who appeared at first glance to be sniffing something from a small butane gas fired campfire. Taking no notice of them we attempted to walk passed where they had set up site but as we did so two of the youths jumped in front of us. Not being as agile as I once was I tried to simply walk passed this obstruction. As I did so one of the youths took a swing at me. He managed a glancing blow across the top of my head as I ducked out of the way of the oncoming fist. By now my two boys where getting scared. Not wanting them to start crying, which is a sign of fear, I had to think quickly.
I am disabled with arthritis in every bone in my body slowly but surely growing and eating away my bone structure. My joints are particularly bad with my lower spine being, frankly, buggered, as you can imagine my mobility is somewhat limited. So here we where out in the open, my two boys and I and 6 youths whose ages I would put at between 15 and 20. They, the youths, where obviously under the influence of something, possibly glue. As my two boys where becoming increasingly scared at the situation I had to think quickly. My adrenalin was running fast. In my youth I used to box so while my mobility is limited I know how to punch and where all the so called sweet spots are. As long as they made no moves whatsoever towards my boys they, the youths, where safe. If they had made even the slightest move towards my boys I know I would have lost it and quite probably seriously hurt those youths, even with my mobility problems.
As the two youths made a move towards me I knew I had to do something. I sure as Hell cannot take two youths on together anymore even if they were off their heads on something if they happen to go for me simultaneously. My adrenalin running I dropped my walking stick and I picked one out. Without my walking stick I had about 2 minutes before leg gave way and even less time if I had to move about. They moved on me together but one slightly behind the other. The one I had picked out threw a fist at me. I ducked again but this time as I came up I swung a lovely uppercut and he dropped like a stone. The other one saw his mate drop and for a split second dropped his guard. I saw this and took my chance and swung a sweet fist which caught him square on his jaw. He too dropped like a stone. The other 4 that made up the group never moved throughout all this and as I gave them a stare they all dropped their heads to signify they where not interested. I took my walking stick from my eldest who had picked it up and started to carry on our walk. Once a good 30 or so yards away I took a quick look back to see that the two youths I had laid prone where still on the floor and the other 4 youths where still sat at the camp fire. Content nothing else was going to happen I turned my full attention back to my boys.
My boys where suitably impressed that ""our old dad" can handle himself so well. The walk progressed with their constant merry chatter none the worse for the incident. I spent the rest of the walk explaining to my two boys that they should only do as I did if they are attacked as I was. They should never start such a fight. I feel sure they understood what I wa telling them but only time will tell for sure if my comments had sunk in. Did I feel good? Yes and no. Yes, because it felt good to give back some of the grief youths like this give society. No, because it could of sent out the wrong signals to my two elder boys at a time in their lives when they are at their most impressionable. I needn't of worried. As soon as they saw their mother they excitedly ran towards her shouting how "Dad had saved then from the jaws of death" as my second eldest put it. The return journey home and the rest of the evening was full of two excited young boys extolling the fighting skills of their "old Dad".
Dad has gone way up in the eyes of his children which can only be a good thing right?