David Parkin goes to Hull and back and needs new balls

TO Hull and Back.

That was the name of the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special way back in 1985.

I remember watching it on my new portable colour TV in my bedroom right after the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day.

It was the first feature-length episode of the sitcom and so wasn’t accompanied by laughter as it wasn’t filmed in front of a studio audience.

Critics wondered whether the format would work but the quality of John Sullivan’s writing was never in question, as the hapless Trotter trio of Del, Rodney and Uncle Albert made their way across the North Sea from Hull to Amsterdam in an attempt to smuggle some diamonds for their pal Boycie – on another of their quests to be millionaires with predictably hilarious results.

I’ve always laughed at the title of the episode whenever I’ve had to make a trip to Hull.

They used to call it the Far East before Hull became the City of Culture in 2107.

But I’ve always found it a welcoming city with loads of history and an entrepreneurial flair you rarely find elsewhere.

Like the Trotters I took to the ocean wave yesterday as I boarded a smart motor yacht to join a clutch of Hull entrepreneurs that fortunately have a little more success than Del, Boycie, Mickey, Denzel and Trigger.

Shaun Watts of Chameleon Business Interiors, Ken Sturdy of IT@Spectrum, Neil Fisher of Airco, Mark Pearson-Kendall of Andrew Jackson and Nic Marshall of ResQ are among a clutch of business people from Hull who organise an annual “cultural tour” of the city taking in much of its rich history and the odd pub and restaurant.

They normally gather for a monthly lunch in Shaun’s office on Humber Quays, overlooking the Humber estuary, to compare notes on business and swap ideas.

Yesterday they took to the water in a 43-foot motor yacht owned by Hull-based broadcaster Blair Jacobs.

Blair and his wife Stella launched the La Dorada boat for corporate ventures last year.

Blair captains the boat while Stella serves up food and drinks for guests.

Although when she offers you a beer it can be a bit disconcerting.

“Yes, I’ll have a Stella please Stella.”

Given the time of the high tide on the estuary we couldn’t make it to Spurn Point, at the mouth of the Humber, so we cruised underneath the Humber Bridge before doubling back past Hull Marina and the ferry terminal where the Pride of Hull was berthed, gathering energy ready to take weekend revellers and expectant holidaymakers to Rotterdam and beyond.

Having turned back towards the marina, a radio message crackled through from the maritime authorities about a small yacht with engine trouble out on the Humber.

We set off towards the tiny vessel with a red sail bobbing around on the waves and I tightened my cravat and made sure my sailor’s hat was firmly fixed to my head ready for a headline grabbing rescue mission.

“You don’t think they are Somalian pirates drawing us into a trap do you?” said one of our party.

“No, I don’t think they come this far north,” I said helpfully, “well, unless they are on missionary work.”

Anyway, my opportunity for heroics was cruelly snatched away when the coastguard decided our boat wouldn’t have been able to tow the sailing yacht into Hull Marina within the high tide time so a rescue boat was despatched instead.

Leaving us to cruise gracefully through the lock into Albert Dock and moor up for a lunch of salmon and prawns along with a high level cultural and business discussion and a Stella from Stella.

Or was it a Becks from Becs?


GIVEN I lose so many balls when I do play golf I have never seen the point in buying expensive golf balls.

I tend to find plenty of balls as I’m wading through the rough searching for my own wayward shots.

That was brought home last week when during a round I was lining up a putt and noticed the words ‘CELLINO OUT’ printed on the golf ball.

Clearly some frustrated Leeds fan had decided to declare their dissatisfaction with the flamboyant Italian known for firing managers  who departed the club last year.

Quite frankly given the fortunes – and the dodgy chairmen – that the club has had to endure over the last decade and a half, you can understand fans’ frustrations.

Now three games into the new season – and three wins – Leeds United fans are understandably ecstatic, particularly with the free-flowing front-foot football being played by Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa’s team.

However given that they gave my team, Derby County a 4-1 thrashing live on Sky Sports last Saturday, I’ve now commissioned some new golf balls with ‘BIELSA OUT’ on them.


I HAD hardly settled back to sip my first cup of coffee of the day after sending this blog last Friday when the phone rang.

It was a call from Keith Loudon to thank me for the piece I wrote about his million step challenge in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

You can support Keith in his fundraising at his Just Giving page:


The veteran Yorkshire stockbroker said that Sky News now plan to cover his efforts later this year and he had already had a couple of donations on the back of being featured.

“There was even a donation from one of your lady admirers,” Keith informed me.

To be honest, that doesn’t really narrow things down does it?

When I looked at Keith’s Justgiving page the donation from the anonymous lady was accompanied by the comment: “I read about your efforts in David Parkin’s blog (he does have one reader).

Cheeky filly.

Have a great weekend.


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