Last Rites

2 01 2019

My brother Mike and I were firing emails at each other first thing this morning, as we often do. We quickly covered soccer (his team, Spurs, are going great guns right now; my team, Southampton, are more like cannon fodder) and then moved on to music. He sent a link to a song by Mungo Jerry (if you’re not British and in your 60’s you’re unlikely to have heard of them). It was called “Memoirs of a Stockbroker” and included these memorable final lines:

“Now I’m getting pretty old, I like to think back to the past. I think of all the things I used to do, while sitting by the fire on my arse.”

This mention of old age got me to thinking about my ‘Funeral Playlist’, which I first drew up years ago and proudly showed to Scottish Wife. She vetoed it straight away: “No one’s going to hang around for all those songs (admittedly there were 20 on the list); and you’ll keep changing your mind anyway.”

True on both counts.

So here’s the latest (shortened) version that I came up with today. I don’t think anyone who knows me will be too surprised by my choices. It may not be your taste in music, but if SW does see fit to play them at my funeral* I’m pretty sure there’ll be free drinks after to soften the blow!

So feel free to listen to none, one, some or all of my choices below and perhaps consider what would be on your own list.

Happy New Year to all!

Dave B.

(* not that I have any plans for a funeral at this point, but still)


Thank you, Chef!

7 09 2018

If you’re a cricket fan – and I realise that this immediately excludes a lot of you – Alastair Cook needs no introduction. For the rest of you, here’s a short summary: Cook (or ‘Chef’ as he’s known to his team mates) is playing his final Test match. Undeniably England’s greatest ever batsman, in Test cricket alone (you know – the play-for-six-hours-a-day, stopping for lunch and tea, five day version of the game which quite likely ends in a draw anyway – ‘proper cricket’, as purists would say), he has played 161 times for his country since his debut in 2006 and, as of close of play today, scored 12,325 runs at an average of 44.98 – by far the highest number of runs scored by an Englishman and 6th on the worldwide all-time list. So statistically he’s pretty darn good.

He’s also by all accounts a very nice bloke. Unassuming, modest, not in the least interested in social media, as soon as matches are over Cookie is off back to the wife and kids and the family farm.

One of his best mates on the team is Jimmy Anderson who, on the surface, is Cook’s complete opposite. Cook’s a batsman – a well-spoken, private school educated southerner – and Anderson’s er, not. Jimmy’s a bowler (one of the greatest fast bowlers ever, actually, 5th on the all-time list) with a chip on his shoulder and a strong Lancashire accent to boot. Oh, and a wickedly dry sense of humour.

Dozens of Cook’s team mates past and present were invited to make short videos to congratulate him on his retirement. Here’s Jimmy’s contribution (twice, in case you struggle with the accent):

Nice one, Jimmy! And I can’t wait to see Cookie’s comeback in a year or so when you retire…

All da best!

Dave ‘Teflon’* Brooker

(*so-called because of the many catches I dropped as a wicketkeeper – they never stuck.)




You little Neymar!

15 07 2018

We have family staying with us at the moment – Scottish Wife’s sister Sue, her daughter and son-in-law and their two adorable kids. Well, I say adorable, but yesterday I was playing monsters with nearly-three year old Jarvis (as you do) when I accidentally trod on his little sister’s toe. Lerryn’s not quite ten months old, but she’s got quite a pair of lungs on her, let me tell you.

“I hardly touched her!” I appealed to the rest of the family who were gathered in the kitchen, in the manner of a World Cup soccer player hoping to avoid a yellow card while their alleged victim is rolling around on the pitch in apparent agony. After a minute or two Lerryn stopped crying and started to giggle.

“You little Neymar!” I hissed at her and then had to explain the reference to Granny Susan.

It’s been a wonderful World Cup – I’m writing this an hour before the final kicks off between France and Croatia – only partly spoilt by the histrionics of player such as Neymar – but Lerryn’s going to be hearing about this from me for years to come…

All da best!

Dave B.

F**k Racism!

25 06 2018

I’ve been loving the World Cup so far. Obviously, as an Englishman of a certain age, I know it will all go pear-shaped at some point (usually the round of 16), but for the moment I’m basking in the joy of a last minute win for England over lowly Tunisia followed by a 6-1 thumping of even lowlier Panama.  With a game to go in Group G we’ve already qualified for the knockout stages!

I’m relishing the fact that 32 games have now been played without a single 0-0 draw (take that, soccer haters!), diving and grabbing seems less prevalent than at previous tournaments – perhaps as a result of players knowing that Big Brother (VAR – Video Assisted Replay) is there to watch their every move – and fears of fan violence have so far proved unfounded.

I’m contractually obliged to hate the German team (since 1966 they always seem to beat England, usually on penalties) so I was slightly miffed when, on the verge of elimination on Saturday, they scored from a stunning free kick in the 92nd minute against Sweden to stay alive in Group F.

The poor Swedish defender responsible for giving away that free kick, Jimmy Durmaz, was distraught after the game. Things got worse when many hateful comments were made on social media. Yesterday, after their training session, the Swedish squad got together and this is what Jimmy had to say:

You may not like the language but I hope, like me, you applaud the sentiment.

Heja Sverige! (Go Sweden!)

All da best.

Dave B.




So then Donald says…

11 06 2018


Donald Trump: “That Trudeau* – he stabbed me in the back. But you other guys – Merkel, Macron, May – I’d say our relationship is about a 10.”

Angela Merkel: “And I’d say you’re acting like you’re about 10, Donald.”

(Good grief! Will it never end?”)

All da best.

Dave B.

*The US president called the Canadian prime minister an “asshole”. When the prime minister learned of it, he responded: “I’ve been called worse things by better people.”

(It was actually Richard Nixon talking about Pierre Trudeau in 1971, but let’s not ruin a good story…)

Pub Story

8 03 2018



I had to go back to England recently. Wife Julie came with me for two weeks and our children Kate and Joe also came over for a quick four day stay. The occasion was sad – my mum had passed away – but it was wonderful to have the entire Brooker family together including relatives, some of whom hadn’t seen each other for a decade or more.

The day after the funeral the four of us visited some of our old haunts around the picturesque town of Wimborne in Dorset. We decide to have lunch at a pub we used to go to when Kate and Joe were small – the Barley Mow at Colehill. It’s an old thatched country pub dating back to the 16th century. Oliver Cromwell is said to have stayed there on his way to lay siege to the Royalists at Corfe Castle in 1645, and his troops are supposed to have prayed in nearby God’s Blessing Lane before going into battle, but then again every old pub in Dorset has some such tale to tell.

Anyway, we found a free table right next to a roaring log fire and I went up to the bar to order our drinks. There was a notice on the counter asking customers who wanted to run a tab to leave their credit card at the bar. I went to hand over my card, but the landlord – a big, burly chap – told me there was no need. To get the full flavour of what happened next you need to read the following with a Dorset accent (or, if you’re Canadian, a Newfie accent will probably do just as well):

A fellow at a nearby table now addressed himself to me, speaking loud enough for everyone in the bar to hear: ” ‘Ere, mate. You lot are sittin’ in the wrong place. You don’t wanna be sittin’ over by yon fire. You wanna be sittin’ over by the door, so’s you can do a runner.”

I explained that my days of nipping out of pubs without paying were long over and pointed out that the landlord was a lot bigger than me, almost certainly a lot tougher, and that he’d probably kill me if he caught me.

“What, ‘im?” came the scornful reply. “Ken wouldn’t catch you in a month of Sundays. Truth is, that old bastard couldn’t catch a cold, never mind catch you.”

Cue gales of laughter all round, from customers who’d likely heard the same line many times before.

Mum would have loved that story!


All the best.

Dave B.


The many sins of Marina Mahabir

15 01 2018


Now please don’t misunderstand – my friend Marina is a wonderful person. To quote just one of her many admirers: “Marina is a flawless individual with an outstanding taste in men.” (Admittedly that quote is from Wayne, her husband, but even so…)

It’s just that there are a few things Marina won’t put up with. And as Marina and I are in Mexico right now (not just me and Marina, but Wayne as well. Oh and Scottish Wife too, in case this is all getting a bit confusing) Marina needs to make it clear to the local population that there are some things that are just not going to happen.

For example, Marina’s convinced that the water here should never be consumed by tourists, so whenever she orders a drink she says ‘sin hielo’ (‘no ice’). She’s also a keen conservationist, so she’s recently added ‘sin popote’ (‘no straw’) to the order. And, of course, being allergic to various types of sea food she also gives a very firm ‘sin camarones, sin fish’ whenever her meal is being discussed.

So, to sum up, whenever Marina is in Mexico and gets the chance to ‘sin’ – she takes it!

Abrazos, amigos!

Sr. Dave