Sunday, 29 November 2009

Brighton (away)

Due to an unfortunate case of diary congestion, I won't be anywhere near 'Sussex by the Sea' on Tuesday evening.

I had decided a few weeks ago that I was going to speed down to Brighton on Tuesday evening and mingle with the home support. I didn't manage to get one of few the Charlton tickets available.

Last Monday, I had a bit of a shock when I was asked for the final installment of the cash needed for our staff Christmas 'do'.
We are, I was 'reminded', heading out for a meal in Bexleyheath on Tuesday evening.


I really hadn't noticed the clash before then but as I'm already over £30 down, Brighton can do without me.
I do like the people I work with but my attention won't be fully on the festivities.

My main concern for our game against Brighton is the number of players edging towards a ban if they pick up a yellow card, (five players according to Ketts).

I'm also wondering who will be playing in goal.
Is Rob Elliot back to being fit and well or will (the now completely ostracised) Randolph be between the sticks?

The last few games have seen more belief and a positive style of play that should be too much for Brighton.
Our renewed ability to tuck the ball away, after a period of not looking like we were ever going to score again, has seen 10 goals scored in the last 3 games, though one of those was a penalty.

I shall be following the game using the iFooty app on my iPhone. There is around a 5 minute delay so I'll be the last to know but I expect to feel my pocket vibrate at least twice to tell me that Charlton have scored.
I'm feeling positive about this one and I can see our first away win in 'yonks'.

Party on!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Charlton 4 Bristol Rovers 2 at the Circus.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game tonight.

It was high on entertainment but low on skill, intelligent play and consistent refereeing.

Despite the swirling wind, both sides persevered with the tactics of booting the ball high while going forwards or heading the ball up into the eye of the storm when trying to defend.

Before Rovers had offered a single shot on goal, we found ourselves on the cusp of an 'easy' victory.

Two nil up with only 15 minutes on the clock looked like the start of the goal fest under floodlights I had requested.

David Mooney slotted home with only 3 minutes played then Deon Burton scored from the penalty spot, not much more than 10 minutes later.

The referee gave Charlton a penalty for the kind of pushing we see all the time without any punishment but we loved him for it regardless.

Most people, including the scoreboard button pusher, were under the impression that the Rovers number 4, Chris Lines, had been carded for his part in the penalty. His high count and frequency of fouls prior to the episode just added to the general belief that this bad boy had been booked.

Youga went off with a foot injury. He was replaced by Omozusi who more or less straight away was given a welcoming yellow card.

Later on, referee Cook was to lose any friends he had made earlier with the most obvious case of 'evening up' I've seen all season.
Christian Dailly gave away a penalty kick that not even the Rovers players bothered to claim for. The referee was sure he had seen something though and pointed to the spot.
2-1 .

After the break, Rovers came out fighting and full of belief that they could grab something from the game.
Nostradamus Crispy got in on the act when he said "I can see them scoring soon", only around 5 seconds before they did.
At 2-2, most people were worried due to being 2-0 up and then being pegged back to 2-2 but not me.
Crispy had forecast a 4-2 victory so I knew we were alright.

Crispy's prediction started to come true when Mooney managed to hit the crossbar with a well placed, looping header.
 Time seemed to stand still. The keeper seemed to have eons to collect the ball but somehow he didn't and Nicky Bailey was on hand to score.
 I was convinced the fussy, 'look at me', referee was going to blow for a foul on the goalkeeper but luckily he kept his whistle away from his mouth.

Soon the game entered a completely farcical period.
The referee motioned Rovers Chris Lines over for a chat after one of his many, many unfair challenges, this time on Lloyd Sam.
We all held our breath or murmured excitedly as the big screen was showing Lines was already carrying a card.
Strangely, the referee showed him 'another' yellow.
Lines looked as if he was about to walk off.
He didn't though and the red card stayed firmly in the referees pocket.

Someone was at fault.
I can't really blame Lines as he is duty bound to keep playing for his team while he has the power to do so.
The error was either with the 'big' screen information or with the referee.

Had the referee suddenly left the field in a car where the other occupants were all wearing face paint, odd suits and size 32 shoes, only for the wheels to fall off and the engine to explode, not one of us would have been surprised.
 He was a clown now and was roundly booed for his incompetence.

"We've got 2 Sodje's,
He's got 2 yellow cards" rang out around the Valley.

Mooney left the field with around 10 minutes of regular time left, to be replaced by Sodje the younger.
Only 5 minutes later Sodje was wheeling away in triumph after pushing the ball over the line from close range. His second time wearing a Charlton shirt and 2 goals already, both as second half substitutes.

It really was game over now but the referee continued to be reminded again and again of his perceived error with the yellow card(s).

In summary, a good win but some of the defending, from both sides, was more suited to a West End musical than our good old Valley pitch.

Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo is awarded to Deon Burton. He ran and ran this evening, despite needing the delayed surgery.
 It was the last game of Mooney's loan spell so I hope we can extend it from Reading. If not, he can leave us with a polo shirt in recognition of a fine period with the club.

The dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is going to either the scoreboard / big screen operator OR the referee. One of them made a howler.
The guilty party should hang their head in shame.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Pirates on Parade

I'm really looking forward to the visit of the Pirates from Bristol.

Bristol Rovers is a classic football name. Despite their, (and our), lowly position in English football, the Rovers have a name that's known all around the world.

Last season we had the 'pleasure' of Bristol City at the Valley, and what a fine example of  'up themselves' supporters they proved to be.
I didn't warm to them at all.

As every schoolboy knows, when it comes to football teams in the South West, there's always a pair of Bristols to look at.  ...(sorry)

I always enjoyed Charlton playing against Aston Villa but really disliked Birmingham City.  I hope the Bristol Rovers supporters are a similar friendly bunch to Villa and unlike both Bristol and Birmingham City.

Rovers are in 7th place, just a point away from a play off position, (not that it means anything at this point in the season).

Our own Chris Dickson won't be allowed to play for Rovers due to the usual restrictions on loan players. He will be sitting out, along with Sam Sodje who pays the price for his red card on Saturday.

I'm hoping for a bit of a goal fest tomorrow evening.
I know we had a six goal thriller at our most recent home game against Franchise but a free scoring game, under floodlights, is always something special.

Rovers seem to have the knack of usually conceding at least 2 goals per game, so let's hope our forwards still fancy it.
I'm sure David Mooney will be up for a run out after only playing for half an hour on Saturday.

"Let's Get Behind The Addicks!"

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Yokel Oh No!

    Oh No!

That was my instant reaction as Sam Sodje was sent for an early bath, after what was deemed a professional foul on Ryan Mason.

Independent reports would seem to agree that the referee really didn't have any option but to send him off.

The game still had over an hour to go.

David Mooney, who was playing up front, was sacrificed in order to bring on the replacement defensive specialisms of Miguel Llera.

If we could hang on until half time, I really fancied our chances with the wind behind us in the second half.

Unfortunately, according to the commentary, Yeovil's Obika scored a goal 'from nothing' with only minutes of the first period remaining.
All goals count in equal amounts, whatever the build up play but it did seem to be a bullet from nowhere.

The rain and wind were so strong, at times I could hear it through the microphones used down there in Somerset. It really was an absolute stinker.
 I tried hard to empathise with those 1700 (plus) hardy Addicks who made the trip as I sat in the warmth, nursing a coffee with a plate of bourbons next to me!

Akpo Sodje came on for Therry Racon after the break.

The second half was all Charlton pressure. The wind was acting as the eleventh man the Addicks were missing.

 The game became a tale of two Sodjes when Akpo sent the ball into the top right hand corner, from over 30 yards out.
Game on.

Despite the Yeovil woodwork being dirtied and the home keeper Alex McCarthy having to make countless saves, Charlton just couldn't find a way through a determined Yeovil defence.

A point away from home is a good return, especially when down to 10 men.
However, I feel Parky and his team will feel that this was most definitely 2 points dropped rather than 1 point gained, when they mull over their tremendous second half performance.

We will be without one of our 'Charlton Brothers' for the visit of Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.
It is a pity as Sam Sodje's aerial threat from set pieces is becoming a potent weapon for us.

Casual Rating.
The Lacoste polo shirt is being awarded to a new hero with a familiar name, Akpo Sodje.
He had already put the ball in the Yeovil net, (after play had been stopped), before his equaliser- (surely this week to be known as an Edward Woodward memorial goal?)
More useful than a polo is a Peter Storm rain mac which is now awarded to every one of the Charlton supporters who braved the elements, reportedly 40mph winds and horizontal rain.
I salute you.
I'm awarding myself the dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirt for sitting in comfort while others suffered.
I'll wear it with shame tomorrow.

See you on Tuesday for more of this rollercoaster ride in League one!

Friday, 20 November 2009

It's Yeovil Away

Unfortunately I won't be heading South West tomorrow.

This was one of the 'Away Days' I was most looking forward to but circumstances changed and I guess it will be the CAFC player service for me, if I'm lucky.

So, I'm feeling a little flat while trying to get my thoughts in order about our fixture in Somerset.

After last weeks surprise hammering of Franchise, Parky will not want to rock the boat too much with regards to personnel. Only Richardson is unlikely to feature from the previous starting line up and that is through injury.

Another battling performance will be called for, against a team who will surely be seeing us as one of the 'big boys'.
If Bailey gets to play in the middle and Mooney carries on making intelligent runs to draw the defenders I'm confident of 3 points.

For those of you lucky enough to be leaving London tomorrow, here's something to help you acclimatise, along with some local casual fashion tips so you can blend in seamlessly.

Come On You Reds!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Hand of Frog.

I've always admired Thierry Henry.

He seemed an honorable kind of player when he was frequently interviewed on MOTD, while at Arsenal.
He has an easy charm that mixes perfectly with his fantastic skills.

Unfortunately, his name will now be linked, alongside the disgraced Diego Maradona, as a World Cup handball cheater.

It was all very cruel on the Oirish. They deserved better.

So, a huge BOOOO to Thierry Henry and the French team.

I hope they lose every game in South Africa.

Spanners Doomed to Failure

Earlier this evening I popped into Asda in Charlton to pick up the usual midweek essentials.

As my basket was nearly empty, I lined up in the queue for self scanning behind a couple of bullet headed likely lads.

I listened in as they discussed the possibility of getting their box of Carling lager, (yuck), out of the store without scanning it but I really became interested when they started discussing the imminent 'away' at Charlton.

It would seem that both of my fellow shoppers were friendly Millwall supporters who knew they are unlikely to get any of the 'legitimate' tickets in the Jimmy Seed stand on December 19th.

Apparently, a cunning plan had been hatched over the Summer, when many Millwall supporters realised they would be in the same division as us for the first time since 1996.

The plan was simple beyond measure.
 Charlton Red Cards were applied for, in the hope of being eligible to purchase tickets in home sections of the ground.

The happy shoppers may have been pushing it but one of them said that 'at least 100' Millwall fans had planned ahead and used this technique.

The lager drinkers were clearly unimpressed due to hearing earlier in the day that their plan had been a complete waste of time.

They had heard that unless they could show a purchase history, from our time in the Championship, they weren't going to be allowed a ticket for the Millwall game.

This plan by Charlton Athletic is I quote, "Well out of order".
Unlucky eh?    
     Arf !

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Charlton 5 (FIVE), MK Dons 1.

What a game eh?

Despite the Dons going ahead through a well taken, wind assisted lob from Aaron Wilbraham after only 10 minutes, the Addicks cruised to victory this afternoon.

The Dons were only ahead for 2 minutes.
Had they been able to hang on to their lead for longer, the final result might have been different but as soon as David Mooney scored, the Reds started to play with belief.

Nicky Bailey could have had 3 or 4 goals today. It was his 20th minute race into the box to head the ball over the line that finished off a sublime piece of skill from Lloyd Sam.
At 2-1 to Charlton, the Dons never looked out of it and the swirling wind was making any pass longer than 5 metres rather a lottery as to where it would finish up.

Perhaps the turning point of the game was after the whistle had blown for half time.
Paul Ince went yack yacking to the ref, complaining about some unknown injustice, (an unawarded penalty?) and really seemed to lose his cool.
His own players saw it, the Charlton players saw it so they knew he was rattled and more importantly, the referee subsequently gave the Dons very few decisions that he really didn't have to.

In the second period, MK Dons defended as if they had their famous concrete cows as a rear guard.
They were appalling!
Without a word of a lie, they were lucky to keep Charlton to scoring only 5. A score of double figures would have been spectacular but not particularly flattering.

Lloyd Sam set off the party atmosphere when he tucked away Charlton's third. Despite the lime green boots, he managed to shimmy his way past the static defenders before finding the far corner of the goal.

Goal four settled the nerves of even the most pessimistic Charlton supporters.

I knew that Sam Sodje was going to score as Crispy flagged it with another of his famous predictions.
"Straight onto Sodje's head" he proclaimed prior to the ball swinging in from the corner.
As Sodje thundered his powerful header into the net, we laughed as well as cheered.

Goal five was Deon Burton's last contribution before being substituted. He took his chance well and deserved a rest after running tirelessly all afternoon.

The final minutes of the game were played out with Basey on for the injured Richardson, McKenzie on for Burton and Akpo Sodje on in place of the impressive David Mooney.
There were more goals available but rather late in the day, the Dons keeper seemed to start having a rather charmed life.

We didn't care.

For the first time in a very long time, we completely hammered a team who had arrived at the Valley as favourites.
Our slump had sent a spiral of despair around Charlton suppporters. The win today was just the response that was needed.

My only regret is that our best and most enjoyed result of the season so far, has come against a team that many football supporters refuse to acknowledge as even existing!

Casual Rating
The Lacoste polo shirt is being awarded jointly to Phil Parkinson and every Charlton player who pulled on the shirt today.
It was completely gloom town in SE7 this last week. The management and players deserve every credit for pulling the rabbit out of the hat, just at the right moment.
The Primark novelty slogan tee shirt is awarded to former Charlton target Jason Puncheon for his appalling challenge in injury time.
It wasn't needed and smacked of red mist because his team was losing.
 It did however, set off a highly enjoyable girly handbags fight, likened by Crispy to the Hugh Grant and Colin Firth slapfest in the Bridget Jones movie!
A special mention must go to the MK Dons support. It was clear that this was one of their 'big' games and they more than tripled their usual traveling numbers.
Even at 5-1 down, they stayed loyal to their team and mostly didn't take the opportunity to climb onto an early train home.

Sodje, and you.

With only a few hours until kick off against Franchise, it would seem that our general apathy up front might be about to receive a kick up the bum.

Sam Sodje is just my kind of Charlton player. He is Greenwich raised and what he lacks in natural ability he more than makes up for in grit, determination and genuine pride in the shirt.

The kit man is now going to have to start ironing on extra initials due to Sam's brother, Akpo, arriving on loan this morning.

Good luck Akpo and welcome, (as long as you share your brother's qualities).

Friday, 13 November 2009


It's home to Franchise FC tomorrow.
I've always been quite scathing of the situation up there in Buckinghamshire.
I have no problem with the good people of Milton Keynes wanting to have their own football team but riding on the coat tails of Wimbledon FC, (and taking over their league status), really struck me as wrong.

If I'm honest, I'd never really delved any deeper than that. It was fairly black and white as far as I was concerned and I felt I was 'right on' enough to know my position was on the 'correct' side, supporting the honest football supporter and football in general.

I'd say that I still feel MK Dons in their current state, should not have been allowed by the F.A. but after reading New York Addick's excellent piece, I found myself questioning my own position.

It's not quite so black and white after all.

Supporting a club like the Dons must be strange.
There's no history and no precedent for anything at all.
How refreshing to be able to completely bypass all those dull and boring cocks on 'Your Views', who precede their ill informed and badly written missives with how many years they have been following the club. If anyone dares disagree with them, they automatically revert to the position of  "where were you when the Valley needed weeding?" etc etc.
It's all very tiresome and not really necessary.

MK Dons fans can decide who their rivals are. They didn't have tooled up firms indulging in away match scuffles in the 70's and 80's. There won't have been high octane needle matches, now lost in the mists of time to inform their judgement. Much of their support will have been at every game since their inception. They can pick a rival that means something, rather than a geographical lumping together or the fact that someone dislikes you, so let's all dislike them.

A 'new' club in a 'new' stadium gives everyone a chance to climb on board at the same time.
Apparently, they have done wonders in the local community and are well thought of by local schools and voluntary groups.

All this faint praise doesn't mean I don't want to beat the Dons of course.
We need to regroup and get some points on the board after a torrid week.

We need to stick one to them, if only for being sold a pup in the form of Izale McLeod.
Of course, we can't blame them for Pardew managing to outbid absolutely no one else to table a ludicrous amount for McLeod's 'services'. However, it would feel good to know that we've actually got something out of them.
(I'm still to be completely convinced by Hatman Llera).

The Dons are flying at the moment.
We are stuttering.

I hope, after our very disappointing road trips, home advantage may change our fortunes.

As 'Northern Pete' used  to scream into the mic, let's "GET BEHIND THE ADDICKS!"

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Oh Dear.

Southampton 2, Charlton Athletic 1.

Hardly unexpected but still disappointing.

After our early season canter up the league, issues need to be addressed before we find ourselves in peril of a slide downwards with equal speed.

We have now lost 3 games 'on the spin'. Only one was a league game but the rumbles of discontent are already becoming very clearly audible.

Charlton could have been dead and buried in this game way before half time. It was only a mixture of good fortune and bad finishing that kept Charlton still in it, with the score merely at 1-0 down.
Southampton were completely on top.

When Ricky Lambert scored Saints second, it looked as if it was game over. As far as most of us were concerned, it was.
Charlton looked brighter in the second half but still fairly limp. There wasn't much belief on show that the deficit could be clawed back.

It was a big surprise when McKenzie managed to tuck the ball into the Southampton net, as the clock ticked into added on time.
He took his chance well and it became the first goal scored, by a Charlton player, from open play, since the visit of Huddersfield to the Valley.
A fairly exciting final 3 minutes came to nothing and Charlton are now out of all cup action, until the Summer of 2010.

The game this evening ended with Charlton looking like they had remembered how to stroke the ball about. The team had, dare I say it, a little bit of invention.

I hope it continues on Saturday for the visit of Franchise F.C.

Saints Alive

I'm really far too busy to be thinking about a third rate cup competition but our fixture tonight gives an opportunity to regain some belief in the camp.

Tonight's game against the formerly 'Super' Alan Pardew and his Southampton Saints is a chance to get back up again, dust down our trousers and jump back into the fray with renewed vigour.
Playing against our old manager might be important for many supporters but I'm sure that Parky is even more desperate to get the good ship Charlton back on course against his old boss.

I'm not saying we have to win, though of course that would be fantastic. What I am requesting is a performance showing at least a modicum of commitment and some evidence the team have worked together and not been introduced for the first time while sitting on the bus to the stadium.

McLeod will be serving the first of his 3 games out for his assault on Sunday. This does leave our forward options fairly light weight. Even had he been able to play, McLeod had lost the support of many Addicks after his cowardly act at the weekend. Many would argue we may be better off without him anyway.

I don't know how many of our supporters are heading down to Hampshire but I can't imagine it will be many. The events on Sunday will not have made anyone decide to go on a whim, so it will only be those who bought tickets last week I suppose. The game being broadcast from a living room or pub near you will have also made staying at home the very easy option.

After not being on television for ages we are now on twice in a week.
It's a chance for our team to show the wider public that they are, for the most part, players who are more than just the unfortunates in a 'giant killing' headline.

C'mon you reds. I want to feel good again at the end of a game.

As I said above, it's not all about the result, I want some PASSION!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Charlton Outclassed by Minnows

It's happened to many other teams, some far better than us, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Just like the boxing last night, David triumphed over Goliath, though in truth, it was difficult to tell who was supposed to be the 'Goliath' in the fixture.

Our 'proud' record of never having lost to a non league side disappeared 1-0 in the Cheshire wilderness this afternoon, after a toothless display from Charlton.

Northwich Victoria claim a rather limp prize of a home tie to Lincoln. At least it gives them every opportunity to progress onto the third round. I wish them well. They were by far the better team today.

We looked poor and second best from the off. By half time I was hoping we might hang on for a second crack at the Valley.
It was not to be.

Despite fielding what was rather worryingly a full strength team, Charlton found it impossible to break down a spirited home side who, on another day, could have scored 4 or 5.
Darren Randolph was by far the busier of the 'keepers. He was the only reason the score remained 0-0 for so long.

Parky removed Shelvey and McLeod and brought on McKenzie and Burton in an effort to turn it around. We looked stronger but still unlikely to score.

Unfortunately, a young 18 year old Northwich substitute, (isn't it always the way?) by the name of Riley managed to take his chance and tuck the ball past Randolph with only 9 minutes left to play.

 Semedo was sacrificed to bring on Wagstaff but nothing changed beyond the volume of the home support.

We have now lost two games in succession against unfancied opposition. When added to the 'no show' at Gillingham, it's clear that everything is not rosy in SE7.

The win against Huddersfield feels like ancient history now.

Despite geographical accuracy being unusual for football fan chants, Charlton were taunted as being "Just a small town in Welling" by the Victorians.
That may be very nearly the case but we will now also be famous for being on the receiving end of an F.A. cup giant killing from non league opponents.

I suppose it does mean we can, (ahem), 'concentrate on the league'.

With my sensible hat on, I will say that we were never going to win the F.A cup this season but we really do have an opportunity to win the Paintpot.

Parky really needs to make sure his team respond this week or it will be three losses out of three and a real loss of the feel good factor before the important visit of Franchise FC next weekend.

We have become used to setbacks at Charlton over the last few years.
Today is just another steaming pile to add to the list.

What a Week!

What a week indeed.

My previous post showed no hints of how the rest of the week was going to progress.
We spent a really pleasant Monday night at the O2, in the company of Michael McIntyre.

Despite living only a mile from the venue, it ended up being a fairly late climb into bed for a 'school night'. With the power of hindsight, the late night did me no favours for the rest of the week.

On Tuesday, our school got 'the call'.
It was hardly a surprise, - we have been on tenterhooks ever since the first week of September.
Ofsted last visited us in September 2006. We were told there were some improvements to make, (natch), but they were pleased enough to say they wouldn't be back for 3 years.

Needless to say, throughout the last 3 years we have worked extremely hard to take on any perceived weaknesses plus getting involved in many new initiatives.

I don't think there is a group of people in England who have tried any harder than us to get things right for an audience of faceless b******s.
The problem is, as with referees in football, there is little consistency. Each group of inspectors will have a particular focus that they think is important.
 One school, or individual teacher, can get applauded for doing something yet another may get hammered for the very same thing, all depending on the inspection team.

Our planning and paperwork have all been spot on and checked up on regularly.
Unfortunately, the kind of planning you do for yourself and the kind you do for the benefit of a third party aren't always the same.
All of my long term, medium and weekly plans have been on the shared drive for anybody to access once you are onto our internal system for years.
Sometimes, there might be 'blank days' or empty sessions due to being on trips out or speakers / guests coming in.
Just to cover myself, I spent Tuesday night going through my old plans and making sure anybody with an axe to grind wouldn't be able to pick holes.
(This in no way helped or changed the pupils learning experience but it is, apparently, 'important'.)

Most people didn't leave school until well after 9pm. We then had a breakfast meeting on Wednesday morning meaning we were back in again either before or around 7:45 am.
On Wednesday night, most staff had to be kicked out as the caretaker wanted to go home by 8:30pm.

On Thursday morning, we all had to be back again for a chance to meet the inspectors.
Totally unnecessary in my opinion. We all had plenty to do, yet sat around nursing super strength coffees for half an hour from 8:10am onwards while a bloke in a suit prattled on with no one listening.

The next 2 days were a mixture of the most extreme adrenaline rushes, (when inspectors walk into your lessons), crushing lows, (when you hear stories of well respected and experienced staff members being reduced to tears by heartless gits), tales of disappointment, (when the most perfect lessons went unvisited), cases of inspectors arriving halfway through lessons and then complaining they didn't see evidence of features that obviously happened before they arrived, (leading to heated 'discussions' with clipboard holding paper pushers, seemingly unable to read a lesson plan in an open file).

Thursday night was again, long.

  Friday went by in the same way of teaching with one eye on the door. Personally, my lessons viewed received good comments from an inspector who had been truly awful to some of my friends so I felt happy but we had no idea how things were going for the school as a whole.

At 3:30pm on Friday, it was clear we weren't going to get any more classroom visits as we waved the children goodbye. The inspection team stayed until 5:45pm so we still had them creeping about.

All I wanted to do was leave the building, tip my head back and pour copious amounts of London Pride or Spitfire down my throat.
Unfortunately, I had to spend the hours from 3:45pm until 8:30pm, standing outside in the drizzle / pouring rain setting up, then letting off, then packing up our school Firework Display.
By the time I finally climbed into a hot bath I really felt like I'd reached my limit.
I was so tired in body and mind I couldn't even be bothered to take a drink!

Over the week I'd managed to miss keeping up with my beloved Philadelphia Phillies and their World Series games against the Yankees from New York.
Despite New York being my favourite city on the planet and thoroughly enjoying my trips to see the NY Knicks play basketball and NY Rangers play ice hockey at 'The Garden", the Fightin' Phillies will always be 'my' baseball team.
I spent a very enjoyable time in my early twenties working in Philadelphia and while there, became a huge fan. From June onwards, we went to every game we could and any games we couldn't make, we watched live on TV.
I still have a framed photo of Lenny Dykstra in my kitchen.

Unfortunately, the Phillies who were the defending champions, went down in game six to lose the series 4-2 to the Yankees. I felt rather guilty as last year I followed everything as closely as is possible from this distance and rejoiced in real time as the Phils won the title.
This week, I found out the results, almost as an afterthought, nearly 20 hours after everything had packed up. To add to my sense of disappointment, I was actually wearing a NY Yankees beanie hat as I checked my iPhone to find that the Phillies title was lost.

Saturday was very, VERY lazy.
We finally raised ourselves on Saturday morning as the clock clicked into afternoon. I really needed the rest, it wasn't just being sloth like.

On Saturday evening, I ambled up to Blackheath to see the skies above Greenwich and Lewisham lit up by the free fireworks.
They were, in my opinion, far better than last year when many people were unimpressed. This year they were totally and utterly amazing.
An estimated 65 -70,000 people were present, meaning the surrounding roads were packed with pedestrians. All the people standing near me were Russian, Poles or French.
I wonder what they made of us celebrating a failed terrorist from 400 years ago?

Today I'm allowing myself to get back to normal.
 I'm off out in a minute for a Sunday morning walk in Greenwich and then I'm going to return to see our Charlton heroes live on ITV1.
It's years since I've seen Charlton on the telly.
Generally, if a game has been on TV I've been at the game anyway so it will feel good to see a live game involving us.

The TV audience will mostly be hoping for an upset by the plucky bunch of Northwich Victoria players who will be relishing their chance to show what they are about.
I'm expecting a comfortable win by Charlton but as we all know, we have a history of these kind of games biting us on the bum.
We have never lost to a non league team and I don't expect that record to be broken. However, this is Charlton and we can never, ever be assured of anything.

A bit like Ofsted really.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Laugh 'til it Hurts

Last night we went to the O2, along with 15,000 others, to chortle away at Michael McIntyre.

We had fairly bad seats, being so high up that had I been younger and more inclined to adrenaline sports, I might have been tempted to perform some base jumping.
Only the angels were higher up than us.

We had decided to go and eat in the 'Entertainment Avenue' prior to the show.
Unfortunately, so had everyone else so the queues were biblical.

We ended up going straight into the arena to avoid the crowds and then buying a 'gourmet' -(yeah, right), burger, fries and an ice cream costing a very reasonable when you are about to eat your own arm off, £16 a pop.

At least I actually had a burger in my burger bun. A cross young lady pushed to the front of the queue while I was being served to point out that there wasn't actually any burger, bacon or cheese in her bacon cheese burger! Hmmm.

Despite our bad seats, almost empty wallet and the fat, sweaty, chronic nose picker we were seated next to, we had a glorious evening.

We laughed to each other many times, exchanging those 'knowing' looks when it became clear that McIntyre was talking about 'us' when recounting episodes of life with his wife.

I had to fish out a hankie from the depths of my pocket, then pass it over in the semi darkness so that tears of laughter could be wiped away, -no mean feat when you happen to be perched looking over a precipice.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the show, though I will never be able to watch or play snooker again without feeling like a deviant.
(You'll just have to watch the DVD when it comes out soon).