I walked into town, it gets the blood pumping through your veins quicker, unmuddles the maudlin thoughts you get with depression, I discovered this long ago when depression and dealing with it was very much taboo, nobody would dare mention it, let alone feel able to talk about it. The ‘broken leg” metaphor, has almost become a cliche now instead of a way to describe how it’s perceived and the need to deal with it. Over the years as I’ve battled to hold it together whilst outwardly masking the condition, so no one would be able to tell, and be effected by it, (Every romantic relationship I’ve ever had, has been an abject failure mind) I’ve worked out all the coping methods that are now recommended, on my own. Going to the Doctors was only for when the broken leg actually fell off and it hasn’t fallen off, it was close once, but I just quickly stuck the leg back on with super glue before I toppled over. So yeah, I get depression, it’s genetic, I’ve had it since adolescence, (possibly even younger) and always will have it. I won’t moan about it, not proud of it, nor will I deny getting it, It’s just the way it is. I got the train from Snow Hill down to London before embarking on the middle leg, no not the metaphorical leg I’ve just mentioned, no not a cricketing term, no not that middle leg either, get your mind out of the gutter. The underground, I meant. Coming out of London on the way down to Portsmouth, you encounter South Western Railway. It’s livery is garish to say the least, I’m assuming that they approached a design team, but couldn’t help thinking that they’d run a competition at a play school somewhere, and a 3 year old had won, after it had been adjudicated by a colour blind employee, who’d been given the job, and had then presented it to the board of directors, just as there’d been a power cut, and they’d just ‘Gone with it’. I got to Portsmouth, and checked into where I was staying. A lovely room in the George Hotel, which was also a pub. Once I’d put everything where I was going to need it, I started on my itinerary.
“I know they’ve been cutting back on the armed forces, but dragging ships back out of the museum. . . . “
“Is it a building? Is it some kind of defence? Is it art? 10…9….8…7”
After eating a bag of chips, (Well I was at the seaside) I took in the Barley Mow.
“A proper pub”
“Though when did Karen Brady start wearing blue contact lenses?”
It had an eclectic decor and was a community hub if ever I saw one. Porters, which was where I went in next, is in an area of Pompey, that reminds me of the Lanes in Brighton, all vintage and antique shops, very bohemian. Porters is a hip and trendy type bar, and just by walking in there, I increased the average age by five years to 23. I’m exaggerating obviously, but was never going to stay in their long, help the aged and all that. The Lawrence Arms, was where I caught up with Ian, or he caught up with me, delete where applicable. The talk was of football, his idea of how the season will pan out, is the polar opposite to mine, so made for a good conversation. The next on the itinerary took us past the Sirloin of Beef, a place that looked like an oversized prefab from the outside but was excellent for beer on the inside.
“Inside out, or outside in?”
Although not on the itinerary, it made for a brilliant addition. This sort of thing can be a bonus, so a little deviation can be good. It was back on the itinerary with The Artillery Arms, where the chat was of beer tastes, tasting and how beers win the Good Beer Awards, as the news had filtered through, that Churchend had done well again at the Great British Beer Festival. They’d got bronze overall for Fallen Angel, as well as category silver and gold awards for Goats Milk and Grave Digger, though my own particular favourite from Churchend, is the Coffin Stout, but then, as me and Ian had agreed, to the average lay person, it’s down to personal taste. Spoons must stick extra socks in the Coffin Stout.
“The interest in this game from Blues fans had been phenomenal”
Pep Clotet had made 9 changes from the previous Saturday’s game, seemingly bypassing the under 23s, and gone straight to the next youngest age group, with Crowley, Stockdale and Craig Gardner a token gesture. Before being appointed a player coach, Gardner spent all game, pointing and delegating responsibility, now he’s a coach, he spends all game, pointing and delegating responsibility. Whatever it takes, I don’t care, but I for one, will celebrate for days, weeks, possibly months, when the charlatan leaves the club. Clotet not only set us up with the smallest ever Blues team, (Though not sure if some were still growing) slowest ever Blues team, but hadn’t bothered to pick a striker. It didn’t take Portsmouth long to work out that they were only facing a complete team of midfielders plus Stockdale. For Pompey’s first goal, we’d retreated that far, that they needed to take a step forward, just to be on the pitch. It was like the roll call down the mine for the 7 dwarfs, only there were more than 7. The second goal for the home side, was a good finish from outside the area. As the half came to a close, I was wishing that I’d stuck a jumper round my waist, I could’ve made use of. The start of the second half and we were starting to look better, just as I thought we might actually get back into the game and reduce the deficit, Portsmouth made it 3:0, maybe not then. Chocolate took our best player Crowley off, I could only imagine that it was protection against injury, and that was it really. Jude Bellingham looked a talent, looked better than both Redmond and Gray had done, at that age. Seddon however, reminds me of Jonathan Grounds, just a much younger version.
Me and Ian walked back from the ground before parting to go back to our respective accommodation.