Never snowed on Christmas when I was a kid.

We were at some panto in the Legion but I didn't want to be cos the video had broke, the VHS at home, and Close Encounters was on telly. It fed the imagination that film.

But anyway . . .  it may have been Puss in Boots and I drank dandelion and b and we cheered in our seats and from the bar where the adults hung you got a waft of rich ale and on the wall I remember a portrait of the queen.

When it was over we were in the car-park and I looked at the sky and said: Look, Santa!

Eggy scoffed and said: You flid.

But then I saw a constellation and pointing I said: A man with a bow and arrow.

Ben Bone said: Where?

And we squinted and this close-webbed mist made some kind of sense.

Oh ah, he said.

Eggy was silent but I remember Bone's tightest blonde curls, his eyelashes like albino. I remember him playing football, dinking past us on the pitch near Sycamore. He was stocky and small. There was a hint of Maradona in his ball control, a hint. But so much so a Man U scout saw him, signed him for the youth team where he trained alongside Beckham and Scholes and but the last I know (from reading the Mercia Herald) he played for local non-league side Baxter Rangers FC.

In fact a decade later I worked a night-shift for Safeway, pushing empty produce-cartons into an industrial washing machine. Cyril did too and when he said he went to Baxter home games I asked if he knew Ben Bone.

Cyril said: Top footballer but a lazy bastard.

Yeah . . . he was a good kid, Boney.

But I wonder if among the memories of Becks and Scholes I wonder if he sees the sky of that Christmas Eve.

Dunno why I thought of it . . .