I once ran around West Common. It was a far away time when I was young enough to delude myself that doing such a thing made sense. Not anymore. It isn’t that I consider running to be a bad thing, although one does have to recognise the wear and tear on the joints. No it’s because I now do it in a gym.
Anyway the point I was getting to is that West Common is a wonderful resource for the citizens of Lincoln. People play sports there – football, tennis and cricket as I recall, and they ride their horses. There were also a few holes of Carholme Road Golf Club over on the common but they’ve moved them back across the road now.
In it’s heyday of course the common was a racecourse, hence the grandstand. It’s a big shame really that the racecourse is no more. Killed off before my time. I’ve attended a couple of functions in the grandstand over the years but not for a long time now.
All this is just a preamble really to my main West Common story which is this. One year I had been working at the Westgate School Christmas Market Cafe. All the kids went to Westgate and I used to faithfully turn up every year to wash dishes at their Market Cafe – a great fundraiser for the school. I preferred the washing up to being front of house – didn’t want to have to engage with the great unwashed (sorry – poor pun) and there was always a good banter and cameraderie at the kitchen sink.
Every year it was my custom and practice to retire to the pub over the road after my stint at the sink to reward myself with a few pints. On one particular occasion I did this with some mates who I’d also roped in to volunteer. We were sat in the snug of the Victoria pub when the phone rang. It was my wife Anne. She had parked to car at West Common, in one of those parking spots along Long Leys Road, and now she couldn’t get it out. The wheels kept spinning. Could I come and drive it out for her.
Now here was the problem. I had already had a few pints and told her it was impossible. I was way over the limit to drive a car. The conversation ended and I told the lads the story. As I was doing this a terrible feeling of guilt came over me. The damsel was in distress. We needed to do something. The boys were informed that we would have to leave our drinks temporarily and all head down to the common. We would together be able to lift the car out of trouble.
Everyone agreed that this was the right thing to do so I rang her back to let her know we were on our way. Our daughter answered the phone and this is how the conversation went:
“I’m out of the car and mum’s trying to drive it out. She’s driving along the ditch. Oh my god she’s going to hit a tree. No it’s ok she’s made it out. Were fine now”.
Phew. I stood the boys down and we went back to our beer. That is my West Common story.