Today would have been the start of my Ashes tour down under.  Flying from Manchester to Helsinki.  An unusual routing on Finnair chasing Qatar Airways’ business class sale from Helsinki to Sydney via Doha.

But it wasn’t to be.  My drug change has saved my life, temporarily, but denied me the solo holiday of a lifetime.  Three days near the Great Barrier Reef may even have outdone ten days of competitive cricket.

My previous plans to visit Finland have also failed.  Shefki Kuqi (photo), known as the Flying Finn for his glorious goal celebrations, spent a season playing for Oldham.  When he returned to his native Finland as a manager we had the idea of going to watch his team play.

That never got off the ground.  Despite the Finns playing their football in the summer months the dates never quite aligned and we never made our boys trip to Scandinavia to watch football and see some pine trees.

While it’s sad that I miss my night in Helsinki, I do get to see Oldham play Rochdale tomorrow.  And that brings a reminder of Kuqi scoring a wonderful goal against Rochdale during his time at Oldham.  I swear that ball was in the air for a minute before he volleyed it!

A New First Class Soirée