A first for me, I finished the previous nights curry, which I’d left on top of the chest of drawers, in the room, for breakfast, I just fancied cold curry. (Maybe I’m pregnant) Eating the remnants of the previous nights curry, had never appealed to me, I’d heard it been said, that revenge is a dish served cold, (Not by me, I might add) it got me wondering, is revenge chicken or lamb? I then had a shower, something I haven’t got, and wish I had, in the flat. Feeling a bit more myself, I checked out, thanking the nice Thai couple who ran the Abbey Guest House, and met up with the rest on the concourse, excusing myself to get a lottery ticket, I noted the shop had bottles of Oakham Citra, amongst the other bottles of ale, Norwich truly is, a wonderful place. The rolling stock that Greater Anglia have in their possession, is old British rail, not as decrepit as the museum exhibits that Northern run, but still old enough to creak every bend in the track or points traverse, it was even noisier than my old creaking body. Sister Chris (No, not a religious title) phoned to check up on me, as I was changing trains at Ipswich, I think given the option, she’d have me tagged, she really is a world class worrier. Talking with the lads on the way to Colchester, the last game of the season, which is away to Reading, became much more attractive, it’s the same weekend as Reading beer festival. I was seriously thinking of giving it a miss, because of ridiculous kick-off time and day, but I’m now looking forward to it. Touching down at Colchester Town, I was expecting at least some recollection of the place, but almost 30 years of cramming in information that I haven’t wanted, but needed, had eradicated all but memories of the old ground itself. Effectively, I was visiting for the first time, it makes for a slightly more enjoyable day, but a less practical day, as you have to rely on maps, directions or in this case Darrell’s maps. As we found ourselves outside one, but not the first planned, port of call, we went in the Three Wise Monkeys, a bit of a mishmash of a place, it’s trying to cater for everyone, and their tastes, commendable in itself, but didn’t make for the right kind of ambiance.
“The dumb primate took the photo”
I was informed by the proprietor of the Queens Street Brewhouse, that the premises, was the oldest continual use commercial property in Colchester, I was too busy looking round the place, to argue. Usually, after a ground hopping game, I’ll go back to my favourite of the day, I’d already found it.
“It says ‘mucking’ honestly”
“Now that’s what I call a jukebox”
I love a pub where your eyes are drawn to something new (or old) every time you glance (or just gawp) round, this was pure eye candy to me. The next place, Purple Dog, with a name like this, should’ve been similar, it wasn’t, it was bland, as bland as the Doombar, that the place had on offer. The next place, was like stepping back into the 1920/30s, a magnificent example of Art Deco. I liked the Odd One Out, not a lot, (What attracted you to the millionaire, Paul Daniels?) If it’s not on the Camra inventory of historic pubs, it should be.
“No, this isn’t a portrait of yours truly”
We moved on to New Inns next, a must for a Spurs fan, or even just a football fan, though I suspect my Sister Val (Again, not a religious title) won’t be going in there anytime soon, after she’s read this.
“Really Badge? Do you have to?”
It was coming out of here that I bid farewell to the other three, as they carried on round Darrell’s map, and headed back to the station. I just missed the train, getting on the next, believing the next stop to be Colchester North, it came apparent after the first station, I needed to get off, and get on the next, going in the opposite direction. Grabbing a taxi outside Colchester North, I missed the kick-off fairies.
Getting my ticket, I asked after purchasing a programme, I was told they were free, I thought I was having my leg pulled, once through the turnstile, I spotted a pile, and attempted to buy one, again I was informed they were free, to which I mentioned about Barnet, the helpful steward was aghast. I went and took my place in the Montgomery Towers New Meadow, sorry, the JobServe stadium, these new out of town grounds, all look the same to me, (Maybe it’s my age) Colchester’s new ground looks suspiciously like it was designed and built by the team behind Shrewsbury’s.
“Check it out for yourself”
Colchester took a fairly early lead, and were playing well enough to double the lead. Watching a game that doesn’t involve Blues, I can watch as a neutral, have a more balanced view, after the F.A.Cup weekend I’d witnessed a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to see goals, after half-time, and with Colchester getting great chances to increase their lead, I didn’t expect the referee to decide to support Mansfield. They pulled one back, they equalised, Colchester were imploding, coupled with all the decisions going Mansfield’s way, it seemed just a matter of time before the game was completely turned on its head, it was, the Stags winner duly came. I’d seen 5 goals, and must’ve been the only one exiting the home end, contented.
With using a taxi to get to the ground, I had no idea of how I was going to get back to the station, I was directed to the park and ride, although relieved, I didn’t have to find another taxi, I’ll be surprised if I’ll do the new ground again, only Arsenal to do now, with both Spurs and Brentford on the horizon. Once back in the town, it was back to the Queens Street Brewhouse, which was a lot busier, with a gig being tuned up, Unimpatient sounded good, but I had to get my train back to Liverpool Street, and then from there, retrace the previous days journey. I snoozed on the train back to London, before gathering my wits from off the floor, around me. Once safely back at Marylebone, no getting on the wrong tube, I made use of the Allsop Arms, and its seemingly regular Saturday evening, open Mic night, except for one act, they were singer/song writers, of the morose kind, Dave Budge, stood out as having a guitar case load of talent, another act knew how to play a lead guitar, but knew it, and oozed pretentiousness, which was a shame, because he was good. I left to get the train, knowing that the human alarm clock, would wake me up, once we reached Dorrige, getting louder at Solihull, and ending at Moor Street. Another tick off, but I do hanker after the old grounds, I understand that grounds tended to evolve over time, hence their individual character, and they outgrew their commercial opportunities, but the Gay Meadow and Layer Road won’t ever be replaced by the Souless things, that are used now.