I’d been waiting for this one for a while. A London midweek trip, so a couple of days off from work and still the old terracing. I also wasn’t going to be on my own either. This was not going to be your Middlesbrough away. I had been meaning to have a go at the Cheesy, Bacon Flatbread McDonald’s had been advertising since they’d added it to their breakfast menu. McDonald’s is not a brand that I associate with, if I can help it. The food tends to be as plastic as its imagine. It’s forever changing and grasping tomorrow. As you’ve realised by now, I’m very much a dinosaur. If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. Give me an old fashioned chippy and all that. I was to be able to get one of these things before I caught the train. Before someone had been able to plant a Happy Meal in my hand and a “Have a nice day badge” on me, I’d eaten it. They must’ve used the smallest people, they could find for the advert that my television had been bombarded with, as the flatbread was smaller than a custard cream. I could’ve eaten at least another four, and I still would’ve had the equivalent of three quarters of a packet of custard creams left. I was hoping for a window seat on the train, it wasn’t to be, I cursed myself for not asking for one when originally offered one when I pre booked my ticket. I shouldn’t have worried as the bloke next to me, disembarked at Coventry. With my headphones in and a window seat, I was free to day dream as the panoramic views rushed by. A wave of relaxation took hold of me. I still enjoy train travel, as I’m gazing at the world, I feast my eyes on motorways, I never wish I’m in a tin box, on one. When I’m in a car, watching a train, hammering along the tracks, I always get pangs of jealousy. I touched down at Euston, got top up for my Oyster card at Euston Square and was on a tube train, eight minutes after my train was just pulling into Euston. Darrell would have been proud, if he didn’t do everything over the internet. I hit the one place that I really wanted to do.
A Lamb to the slaughter.
The Lamb Tavern had been on my wish list since I’d seen a group of lycra clad fitness freaks repeatedly running passed it on a live television broadcast, the BBC were covering one Sunday morning, years previous. Because of the way London works, it’s one of the pubs that isn’t open during the week. I can understand why now. Much as it’s a beautiful pub in an awe inspiring location, It’s also expensive. I can understand why it’s shut at the weekend. Gives customers chance to turn where they live upside down, in search of enough money for another pint.
Considering this is where the great fire of London started, this column could’ve been more interesting.
I was soon back on the tube to meet up with the rest. We had all decided on the Harp, as it was central to how we were all coming down and what times too. I’ve already covered the Harp, in other blog posts, so I ain’t going to cover it again. Mikey, I think was first, followed not long after Darrell.
No red envelopes, I looked.
It wouldn’t have been right without a J.K. version.
We were joined by Steve and Paul. We talked about both Bolton and Bristol City plans, another two midweek games. Both are out of term games so Mikey would be able to do them. He was battling a little with a cold, a hazard of the job in his profession. We weren’t the only ones that were using this place as a meeting place, it was clear that it was to be where Barcelona fans were going to be meeting too. There were puzzled looks to our Brummy accents. It was a nice walk to our next place, The Temple Brewery.
What a little gem this place is. Considering where it is, the prices are almost northern prices. Refreshingly cheap for where it is.
The Old Bailey and a new celebrity cast for the 6 o’clock news.
A Regentcy palace, plonked and preserved. Like it didn’t belong. Where was Jane Austen? This must’ve been inspiration for someone.
Blink and you miss it.
The Old Mitre, I had a right job to find it the last time. It’s just off Hatton Gardens. You can smell the money. The cctv follows you round. It’s another place that doesn’t open at the weekend. Another little gem too.
This is a place, they don’t like to tell you about. A worst kept secret kind of place. This place is as rich in history as the area is as rich in money. A must visit. We were well on the trail now. The Jerusalem was next. Another one that isn’t open during the week. This is a St Peter’s brewery place. Another place that you wished was open at the weekend.
Even Suffolk was in on it.
We did a quick one at Red cow
No, I said the Red Cow.
It wouldn’t have been right had we not gone in a Fuller’s place, so we did. This place was a proper market traders place, well it used to be when the markets were so much better than they are now.
Much as the artwork was good, the beer wasn’t that imaginative. Much as the artwork was good, the scarf was better.
It was time to meet the other two. We met up at the Waterloo Tap.
A Motley crew. Darrell looking way to seriously, or was it sensible?
This place was definitely not your old pub feel. More your clinical, sparkly place. Because of what happened later, my memory is very patchy. I remember walking to get the train,
A convoluted skateboard park. Shame because it had that feel of a unloved, disregarded place, that had been recognised, reclaimed and renegadely defended by the boarders.
No, I said the train.
We hit the Express Tavern last before the game.
This place is actually going to be closer to the new ground. I hope it doesn’t get hijacked. Unless it’s Ben.
Now I’ve completely exhausted my notes. I bullet point different things to jog my memory when I’m writing this utter garbage. I would like to say, that I wasn’t any more inebriated than any other game. With watching Blues, it is the minimum requirement. This season, hallucinogenic medicine should be handed out as compulsory. Us ale trailers are very mindful with what we’re drinking, both in volume and A.B.V. yes, it’s nice to have that fuzzy feeling, but no where near the stupid stage. We know when we’ve had enough. It is all about the taste, not the affect. Otherwise, I would drink the fizz that the conglomerates peddle. “A can of Carling or a cup of tea?” “Two sugars in my tea please”
I just about remember watching the game. I say game, game points to a contest between two opponents. We shipped goals, too many. I’ve been told that the rest left with 10 minutes to go. I was, like the vast majority of Blues fans, joining in with the usual gallows humour. I wanted to stay. I’d like to think it would’ve been some kind of personal protest at what was going on. I vaguely remember leaving the ground and making my way to the station at Brentford. I’m sure, had I been too drunk to stand up, I wouldn’t have made it to station. The local constabulary would have made me sleep it off in a cell, if nothing else.
I don’t know if this is a false memory or a previous plan I’d thought about. I met the rest of the lads at the station, I’ve been told by Paul that the idea had germinated to get off at Vauxhall and go up on the tube to Euston. Because of previously looking at this route, I was fine with it. I woke up in Kings College hospital. Cliche time, I thought I was dreaming. I went back to sleep. It was later when I found out I’d gone sprawling at Vauxhall station. That explained why I was wearing what I was wearing. Apparently, I had had a bleed on the brain. At least I’d got one, I thought. What ever the bleed thing meant, I wasn’t sure. I’d got all goo, crusty, sleep stuff in my left eye, I felt a gash type thing just above my left eye. That was the end of my modelling career for definate. Everything was very much in a dream like state, till it finally sank in that I was actually in reality. I’m still very much unsure what exactly happened. I don’t know whether it’s a some kind of generic thing. Had I had a mini stroke in a place where I least could have done with it? was it just no energy left and my body was overruling my head? A left foot, right foot, normal stupidity, trip over thing? Either way, I’ve still got to get mended to some kind of point I was before and a huge huge thanks to everyone who helped in whatever way you did. The bigger thing you did, the bigger thanks and debt of gratitude I owe you. You know who you are. Blues? Lost 5:0 but I was that out of it in hospital, I was under the impression, it was 4:0. I hadn’t been that bad I’d hallucinating we’d scored. Let alone won. We’re still going to make the playoffs!! Nurse, NURSE! Use the tranquilizer gun.