When asked to write about memories of Russell it is so hard to know where to start but one thing’s for sure they all end with a smile! From underage drinking on the common to play fights on coaches, from super soakers to motocross stories and not to forget countless nights in Wycombe town or Karen coming home from a dog walk to find a huge hole in the front of our house!
In our later years as friends (once we realised there was more to life than drink, girls and motorbikes…not much more, but more never the less) Russell and I enjoyed working on projects together. This came in handy when Karen and I bought our first house and decided we would like a new patio. Russell very kindly said he would give us a hand for free. Karen was delighted and promised that in return we would provide him with three meals a day as well as all his alcohol and cigarettes (little did she know it would have been cheaper just to pay him!!)
At 7am on Saturday 1st September 2012 Russell arrived ‘on site’ with crazy Callie. At 7.08, after inhaling a bacon buttie with red sauce, Russell started up the very loud, dusty petrol cutter. Cue the first argument between Russell and our angry neighbour! At approximately 7.10 Russell began chasing Callie round the garden trying to stop her eating bricks (pretty hardcore seeing as she was no longer blessed in the tooth department)…and so the weekend began!
We were lucky enough to have plenty of helpful visitors, Tim immediately got stuck in mixing cement, Ben arrived with some beers and wound Russell up by poking him with a trowel. Handy man Joel was also in attendance (as he often is on our projects) in his immaculate Vans, and can’t forget site foreman Craig Walker, the last three there just to oversee proceedings!
The weather was great and with the radio blaring we couldn’t be happier. Obviously it was Russell’s choice of Absolute Radio and I still can’t hear a Wickes advert without grinning and repeating ‘Wwwhhhickes’ (the lads know what I mean!) So with beer flowing and a lot of banter, the patio began to take shape.
On Sunday morning as bright and early as ever work commenced. This is surprising as the night before (despite promises from all about having an early night) had involved a massive curry, a huge amount of alcohol and ridiculous amounts of dancing to Oasis in the man cave with Russell, of course, pulling out the signature headlock dance. The only breaks we took from dancing were to go outside to admire our hard work of the day.
The whole weekend was filled with laughter, jokes, bickering, play fighting, wrestling tools out of Callie’s mouth and a lot of hard work. Karen kept the workers fed and watered with occasional hints from Russell…
‘While I’m here Karenoke I’ll fix your kettle if you like’
‘But the kettle’s not broken?’
‘Well sort us a f***ing brew then!!’
After two breakfasts, two BBQ lunches, two home cooked dinners, numerous trips to the shop for Redbull (also reminds me of the time Russell told us he was allergic to Redbull…’But you drink loads of it?!’ ‘THAT’S BECAUSE I’M ALLERGIC!!!’ ‘Ummmm you mean addicted’) and god only knows how many Pallmall blues, we were left with many amazing memories and a perfect patio.
Russell touched so many lives and this is just one of a million memories that I could have shared. I consider myself truly lucky to have been friends with such an entertaining, caring, genuine, and let’s be honest filthy mouthed lad who, when remembered by anyone, still brings tears of laughter and happiness.