Monday 5 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Until you've played rugby with miners' sons, you can't understand the term 'near-death experience'

Published 01/12/2011 | 17:00

Memory is a curious thing. I was out walking my dogs in the driving rain and howling wind yesterday, when a spaceship visited me from the distant galaxy of my youth. A panel in the side of the spaceship opened, and I walked aboard. And there, all around me, was a forgotten episode from my early years, unvisited all these decades.

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I was playing for Ratcliffe under-16s against Coalville Grammar School. Coalville was -- is -- a small town in Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire. Nearby lie the beautiful villages of Normanton le Heath, Appleby Parva, Norton-Juxta-Twycross and Woodhouse Eves. Coalville is what it says in the name.

When the Romans arrived, its inhabitants hid in the mines until they'd gone. Coalville-folk speak aboriginal Pictish, their faces are usually adorned with a single long eyebrow, and whatever few teeth they possess are usually molars, crowded on to their front gums.

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