It is the first day of LifeFORCE. No! It’s not. That’s tomorrow!

It’s not even the first day of LifeFORCE.

And my foot is in a wall.


I wake up. And smile. Today I go and live in a box!


A yellow box! The Yellow Box. The LifeFORCE training base.

But tomorrow…!


Tomorrow I’ll officially be working on a LifeFORCE team.

It will be the best… thing… ever.

Today is the climax of months of praying, forms and fundraising. Now it’s done, and I’m in! I’m going to Canada. I’ve heard it’s a magical land; full of wizardry, dragons, and ridiculously inhuman temperatures below minus five! I could slay a Canadian dragon! Be the new St. George! Celebrities have to keep producing to stay on top, and what’s he done lately? He’s not even the Best George any more! You don’t see Bananaman hosting Have I Got News For You.

I start the day with my Crestwood Church goodbye. Matt from Canada – my first Canadian friend – is here to see me off. It’s perfect. Jane’s made a cake, and it’s amazing. It’s the shape of a guitar and is as big as the hug she gives me. I’ve been on loan to Crestwood, but I’ve been loved as a son. I’ll always feel part of that family, even if I stay in Canada for ever.

Hang on… CANADA!!!

I whoop. And accidentally let out a small burp. And blame it on little Muscly Arm Hodson. She gets upset. I laugh.

Mom and Dad always mark the big occasions and this time is no different. I visit the salad cart, and make the most of using the word ‘visit’ to mean going somewhere, as opposed to opening up about your [Due South] feelings. Which makes no sense.

Though it did inspire two series of The McManigans. And maybe a Christmas special.

We arrive at The Yellow Box and I’m introduced to Canadians Craig (who makes me chuckle mispronouncing his name ‘Creg’) and Shanda. (Whose name I mispronounce, which makes them chuckle.)

Danny the Director arrives to seal the deal. He’s the man behind it all, viz. the architect. A man that’s saved more lives than 90% of the world. He’s the new Bananaman! He announces that his dogs are killing him, before introducing Joey, my new dorm-mate.

He’s cool, with a strange Canadian accent. But then, they’re all strange.


I’ve unpacked my joust and three guitars and am settling in nicely when Joey appears.

“Hey Dan Marino? Wanna go play some football?”

I assume he means me.


“There’s a sports hall downstairs.”


We head downstairs and find the hall. The Yellow Box is the key to a labyrinth filled with sports halls, sports, and halls.

“Nice! It’s a good shape for a 3-a-side.”

The two of us play, until Joey’s girlfriend appears.

And does what girlfriends do.

I am alone in the sports hall. In a building full of Canadians! I’m three months away from rescuing my first damsel and I cannot contain it any longer. I do what I always do in these situations.

I pretend to be Jackie Chan.

I say the words “Jackie Chan” in an Ambleside accent and can suddenly climb poles, fight 18 people in clogs and sing in Mandarin whilst stripping down to teddy bear undies at gunpoint. Also I get to date Jennifer Love Hewitt. But have to spend some time with Lee Evans.

I stop smiling.

This is a big room. Big enough for a big man to be Jackie Chan! I decide to try that thing where he jumps off a wall, bounces off and somehow climbs it in one move. I know I’m not really Jackie Chan, and that I have the physical prowess of a disabled sloth, but sloths are always in trees. Surely I can at least bounce off a couple of walls.

I look at the wall.

And decide to try just one bounce. It’s fine. I’ve done this before. Ish. And it always feels well manly. The kind of thing ITV-quality celebrities are scared to but desperately fame-hungry enough to do.

I break into a skip, then a sprint, then hurl myself full pelt at the wall. I leap, with one foot in the air and one in Calgary airport next to the raptors. This’ll be great!

WALL MISHAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh no!

I am no longer Jackie Chan. Unless you count that kid that gets forced into a bag with snakes in it. Only it’d have to be a massive bag. And then there’d be loads of snakes. But if they’re Menshevik snakes I might be alright. Although that’d probably mean I’m inside the dustbin of history. Which would suck. And it’d have to be a massive bin.

Joey walks in.

“What the heck, bro?”

There are plaster pieces in a pile beneath me. My foot is in a wall.


Joey looks at me.

And looks at the pile.

Team Leader Ste walks in.

And looks at me.

And looks at the pile.

“What the heck, Dan?”

I blush.

“I got a bit excited.

I climb out of the wall and grab a dustpan and brush. Ste takes command.

“I think Dan, as an apology to the landlords you should brush the entire sports hall floor.”

I nod, and start to brush.

As does Ste.

And Joey.

I sigh. And look up.

Hang on…

I am working.

On a team.

Of LifeFORCE people.

A LifeFORCE team!

I smile.

This is the best… thing… ever.

I brush.






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