Throwing a Left

We walk down a not much used public footpath from Hough Mill hoping that we are walking in the general direction of the main road that is Swannington, a ribbon like village arranged along this road from a roundabout on the Ashby Road to another on the outskirts of Coalville.

I mention to Russ that Zoë and I had recently spent a couple of days in Leamington Spa. He asks me if we’d seen the statue of Randolph Turpin the great middleweight boxer who became champion of the world in 1951 when he beat the great Sugar Ray Robinson. Russ says that Turpin was born in Leamington Spa and that somewhere there there is a statue of him. I tell him no we didn’t see it. Later I discover the statue is not in Leamington Spa but Warwick, the town next door, in the market place, maybe we will go and visit it. Turpin was a great and loved fighter who met a tragic ending. On 17 May 1966 he was found dead in his home Gwen’s Transport Cafe in Leamington Spa, where he lived with his wife and four daughters. One of his daughters, Carmen aged four, was taken to hospital in Birmingham with two gun shot wounds and survived. 

Turpin leads us onto a discussion on and of boxing. Russ reveals that he was, in 1977, as a young teenager a member of the Canvey Island Amateur Boxing Club but only for a couple of months or so. I’ve only boxed once, made to do so at a scout camp in Cartmel. I was about 14. I didn’t want to box. The scout leader made me. Sheffield versus Nottingham. I timidly stood centre ring my heart not in it until the Nottingham lad hit me full in the face with a stinging left hook. Instinct took over and I threw a right that crunched into the other boy’s nose which exploded red as he fell to the ground. He was carried off to his tent. I never boxed again. I don’t like violence and wonder if I should feel ashamed that I like watching boxing and I do like it.

The path brings us out on a single track road that to the right goes to somewhere called Limby Hall and to the left the main road that will take us into Swannington proper. We go left then turn right Russ checking with me that I’m alright concerned for me as I rehabilitate after my recent heart attack. I’m okay and we set off up the hill.

the start of a blister
on my left heel

Paul Conneally
May 2017

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