Snow joke!

THE light at the end of the tunnel, according to the old office adage, was in fact the beam of a torch held by someone coming along with more work to do.

How many times have we experienced that? We think we’re getting somewhere and then BANG! Something else jumps out in front of us to remind us that there’s still a lo-o-o-o-ong way to go.
I remember one of the first times I did the Great North Run. Having kidded myself for around 11-and-a-half miles that I was a fine specimen of an athlete worthy of taking part in the world’s biggest half-marathon, I was given a rude awakening by a man dressed up as a dalmatian who nonchanantly jogged passed me carrying ghetto blaster with Who Let The Dogs Out blaring out.
What made it worse was that he even stopped for a glass of beer proffered by an amused spectator, then trotted past me again as I coughed, limped and spluttered my way towards the finish.
It was the rude awakening I didn’t want as I headed toward the big sign that read ‘Finish’. I was nearly there but there was much more still ahead of me.
And that’s what this outbreak of wintry weather has been like.
Now I don’t want to go overboard about it like some folk have. I read a message on an online social media site at the weekend which read: “Is it snow we’re expecting this weekend or Armageddon – because reading Facebook and Twitter you’d think it was the latter.”
It was after all a bit of snow. That’s what happens in winter – it gets cold and we get snowflakes instead of rain. It happens every year and it shouldn’t surprise us, although some people seem to greet a bit of the white stuff with same astonishment as finding a Geordie with a coat on.
But I digress.
My point is that last week the Premier League speedway fixtures were – finally – announced, and that had us methanolheads scribbling frantically in our diaries amid daydreams of forthcoming fixtures and jaunts around the country to follow our team.
I’ll be honest – as a member of Her Majesty’s press corps, I was able to peruse the Redcar Bears fixtures a little earlier than most.
But once they were there in black and white for the world to see, I couldn’t stop my mind racing to thoughts of away trips to come. Covering speedway isn’t just a job to me you see, it’s a way of life. A blooming good one at that.
No trip to Sheffield is complete without some pre-meeting scran at the Pizza Hut across the road, the chippy near Berwick’s track serves amazing kebabs and Glasgow’s fans are legendary – although I’d advise you not to get in a round with wee George.
I’m also looking forward to going to Rye House, and not just because they were my team as a kid.
No, it’s also because I recently because re-connected to an old mate of mine who is a regular at the Rye. Not only is he a great bloke, he also has nature-defyingly long toes which were often a source of much discussion back in the day.
Indeed after a beverage or two we’d often be heard chanting “get your toes out for the lads” although I’m much more mature now of course. On one famous journey to the World Final at Vojens he had a whole Denmark-bound ferry marveling at his bar-room Toe Show.
The announcement of the fixture calendar practically feels like start of the season and when it comes during a ridiculously mild winter you can almost feel the sweet scent of burning methanol and castor oil in your nostrils, taste the chilli sauce on that Tweedside kebab and see those toes twinkling in the glare of the floodlights.
Then down comes the snow and in sets the harsh reality that there are several weeks ahead of us before we can think of seeing our first shalesport action of 2012.
With the snow came the reality check that it’s still early February and the tapes don’t rise until mid-March. There’s still a long way to go.
Snowball fight anyone?
Follow Gazettespeedway on Twitter


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