Wednesday 4 June 1986

…Got hit in the eye by a ball in shinty in PE.
Had an hour-long morning playtime because there was a staff meeting.
Painted shoes and hands for my papier-mache puppet.
England lost to Portugal 1-0.

After crab football, short tennis and non-stop cricket, here was the most obscure sport so far. This one didn’t even have a clue in its name.

As before, I’ve had to look this one up. It turns out shinty is a distant relation to hurling, has its roots in pre-historic Scotland, and is different to hockey in that both sides of the stick can be used to hit the ball.

None of this would have made the game any more palatable to the 10-year-old me, nor has it made it any more comprehensible to the 35-year-old me.

And being in hit in the eye by the ball must have been extremely, tear-jerkingly painful.

Meanwhile the puppet saga still wasn’t over, though the fact we were working on them on a Wednesday rather than, as was tradition, on a Friday suggests that even our teacher was fed up and was desperate to get this epic project over with.

As for the England v Portugal game, it actually took place the night before, but way past my bedtime. I wouldn’t have learned the result until this morning, hence the appearance in today’s entry of my hilariously dismissive, one-word review. I even sound like I know what I’m talking about.

OK, maybe not.

Sunday 1 June 1986

…Had chicken, potatoes and carrots for lunch.
Read seven Asterix books today. Amazing.
Watched more World Cup this evening from 6.40 till 9.00pm
England play their matches on the 3rd, 6th and 11th June…

The match I watched was Brazil v Spain. It was on ITV, so this would have been a rare chance for the third channel to dominate our living room for more than just an occasional half-hour of sitcommery.

It would also have been the first time I saw this:

Before the week was out, I would have added this splendidly jaunty effort, called Aztec Gold, to volume two of my taped-off-the-telly theme collection.

According to my Ladybird guide to World Cup 86, the game I watched today was played at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, and (assuming I recorded the score correctly, which was not always the case) resulted in Brazil beating Spain 1-0.

My diary makes no other comment whatsoever about the match, which tends to confirm the belief already expressed that I was interested in this tournament not so much for its displays of skill or the participation of famous players, but rather by its status as a TV schedule-dominating, wallchart-annotating, statistical-hoarding cavalcade.

I cared that it was an internationally significant event. I didn’t so much care for, in the case of today’s match, the actual performances of [turns to Ladybird book once again] Zico, Falcao and Casagrande for Brazil, or Butragueno (apparently there was only one “player to watch” in the Spanish squad).

I fully realise this places me in that most despised of categories, the fickle football fan. But in my defence I absolutely cared about filling in that Radio Times/Grandstand World Cup wallchart, which by now was proudly Blu-tacked to my bedroom wall.