After the penultimate blog entry, there really wasn’t much else to add to the day’s record of events that’s particularly noteworthy so I’ll skip over that save for the fact I’ve finished Lego Indy 2 again and now have no excuse not to start on those three games I bought t’other week from HMV in the summer sale other than general malaise.

My recent flirtation with video game nostalgia has been getting me to think about the many C64 games I used to play and own between 1987 and 1992 in the C64 heyday, before the dark times, before the Empire…oops. Thanks to a newsagent subscription to Zzap 64 then Commodore Force & occasional copies of Commodore Format, I had well over 300 games, over half of which were released on covertapes. It’s incredible what the difference in the quality of the games was from those released early on in the C64’s lifespan compared with those towards the end. Released like Turrican, Rainbow Islands and Creatures 2 are light-years ahead of games such as the original Mastertronic range like 1985 and Hollywood or Bust (although that didn’t stop me playing them all to death).

And lest we forget, there was always Zub; again that’s a game which is entirely the fault of my mother who used to enjoy playing it as it was a crude platformer with a very straightforward goal – reach the top of the screen. Being quite the loner as a child, it was perhaps inevitable that I drifted towards the solace that the C64 offered though I still didn’t properly learn the lessons of losing gracefully after all, I could always try again until I got my own way.

From the C64 it was the Amiga with a Master System hovering around in the background and hours upon hours were lost to Premier Manager and then Premier Manager 2. It was just divine taking a no-hope Conference club into the dizzying heights of the Premiership and winning trophy after trophy. Personal best was winning the FA cup in League 2 with Dagenham & Redbridge (in game time would have been 1994 I think) but losing the Cup Winners Cup final the subsequent year to Juventus. No cheating, no dodging, just shrewd transfer manoeuvring and a great deal of luck. And plenty of Parasol Stars thrown in for good measure. And Zool.

Of course it wasn’t all video games and hours upon hours stuck in the bedroom playing until well past 12. There was a lot of play park time put in whilst living in Germany – not quite so in Höhne as the older kids abused the main park sneering and chasing we younger ones but there were two other smaller ones with better climbing frames at least. Whilst in Kinderhaus, Münster, the two parks there had massive sandpits which were quite a novelty except in autumn when they were filled with dead leaves and bark as well as the occasional cat turd. There also seemed to be quite a competition between the English play areas and the American play areas with the occasional street battle between the two groups of kids. Gievenbeck was all British however although the officers houses and the enlisted personnel houses were side by side with naff all interaction between the two. I also vividly remember the wild apple trees that grew about half a kilometre down the road and picking them clean in autumn. As well as having half-rotten windfall hurled at me and hurling them back. Münster was a perfect cycling city with well established cycle paths that you could ride your bike all over with impunity.

The huge swimming pool in Ibbenbüren is another piece of nostalgia sorely missed. It had a wave machine, a massive water slide, several diving boards, huge black rings in which to sit and float about, stuff I’ve never seen in the UK at a commercial pool outside of something such as Centerparcs or similar holiday villages. We’d go once a month or so, pack a lunch in the cooler, fight for a table/sunlounger area which to occupy which didn’t have its beach-towel spread over it (you do have to pick the damn stuff up and chuck it – that national stereotype is 100% true) and enjoy the day.

It’s my aim in the next couple of years assuming I can either (a) pass a driving test or (b) call in a massive favour to drive to Germany for a week just to look up some of my old haunts in Münster; Höhne will be a little more difficult because it was on an army base and access to civilians just isn’t done. I’d like to be able to go around the centre of the city, revisit Kinderhaus and Gievenbeck, go to Verden and Ibbenbüren, perhaps squeeze in a visit to Traumland and Phantasialand. I haven’t the faintest idea how much a trip like that would cost – a ferry trip one presumes and then petrol + accommodation. Hell – find a quiet roadside somewhere and pitch up a tent or take a camper van or something like that.

One of the many plans I have knocking around the back of my brain should I hit the Euromillions jackpot is to rebuild the house which the Brigadier DS lived in as it was a grand affair which I liked spending time in. Again I can’t remember if I’ve waxed lyrical about this before in the confines of this blog or in another of my scribbles but its definitely something to consider. I perhaps wouldn’t keep chickens like he did, not least as next doors squarkers give me enough hassle.

Ah well, it’s almost time to sign off. If I can name the tenth entry, I may post the number 10 entry today otherwise I shall be knocking back the water as the salsa I had with my lunchtime fajitas were loaded with jalapeno peppers and the taste won’t wash away.

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