Friday, 5 August 2011
Not Long To Wait.
By the time you read this, there may only be one 'sleep' which makes it all the more close.
I've enjoyed my time off from Charlton Athletic this close season.
Don't get me wrong, I'm as excited as anybody about this new term and what it may bring but due to all sorts of other pressures and commitments, I really haven't given too much thought to the events of Sparrows Lane or Floyd Road.
Nobody would be coming to me expecting insights as, without fail, I was usually one of the 'Last To Know' whenever anything remotely interesting happened.
So, fifteen signings eh?
Last season has been well and truly shipped off to the misery bank of Charlton memories.
We can hope this is the start of a 'new era', stopping the rot of an appalling spiral of decline that started with our relegation from the Premier League.
It's not long ago in time but it's galaxies away from our current position.
Last week I was lucky enough to be away at one of my, (our), favourite places on the island of Crete.
We have been visiting the same place, usually at the very same accommodation, for around 10 years now.
I love it there.
We've done lots of trips and cultural excursions on our previous visits so now we tend to use the time to flop, eat well, drink equally well, read, listen to iPods and laze in the sunshine.
The Malia crowd, just a mile up the road, may be 'Havin' It' and going somewhat crazy but we tend to be the more sedate visitors to the island, who are thrilled to look at the beautiful mountains and crystal clear water while enjoying a beer in the shade.
"Back Again!" seemed to be a common greeting when we showed our faces somewhere new.
On this particular trip we were really privileged to be taken up into the mountains to a small village for a local fiesta.
When we were invited, we didn't feel we could refuse as George was so thrilled to be asking us and he seemed so keen for us to join him and his family.
I was convinced it was going to be one of those awful things put on for tourists, one of those 'Cretan Nights' that end up with smashing plates and drunk Scousers standing on tables showing their knickers.
How wrong I was.
We drove for about half an hour going up, up and more up until it seemed as if we were in a light aircraft rather than a Ford Escort.
When we arrived in the mountain village it was just so perfect.
There weren't any shops selling tourist tat, just a 'real' village with all the locals seeming to have come direct from Central Casting.
We had entered Captain Corelli country.
It felt too perfect. Almost like a film set.
We were entranced within minutes.
We sat in the square, then wandered off to have a look inside the large church to be amazed at the ornate decorations.
After a while the square started to fill up.
We sat outside one of the Tavernas with George and his family and watched all the other people who seemed to be having lots of fun.
There were a few other people present who were like us, foreign visitors, but the whole event wasn't for tourists, it was a local event that some tourists had chosen to join in with.
There were no translations of what was going on into English or any other languages and it was all the better for it.
Some people got up to dance to the men who had climbed onto crates to play their songs. It was all very laid back and seemingly unrehearsed.
Coming from England, where you can't even break wind without needing the local council to issue a safety certificate, it did seem quite shocking at times.
After people had finished eating, nearly everybody got up to dance.
Dancers were sometimes entwined with mopeds, cars and vans but nobody seemed to care.
Eventually, some 'proper' dancers showed up and showed off their nifty moves, one of which involved squirting a highly flammable liquid rather close to my flip flops, setting it all on fire and then doing the 'Do You Want Some?' pose.
I loved it.
We shouted 'Oom pah!' in appreciation and I had to explain to many well meaning folk that my wooden leg meant I wouldn't be dancing tonight.
We ate well and really felt we had seen something we most certainly would have missed if we'd stayed in the resort.
It was a fantastic evening and I am so pleased we went.
So, will we be 'Dancing in the Streets of SE7' on Saturday evening?