Sunday, 22 April 2012

Marathon Day

Our area of South East London has felt like a never ending party this weekend.

Yesterday, Charlton Athletic put the cherry on top of the promotion won the week before, by becoming 'Champions' of League One, with two games to spare.

Those of us who live nearby got the opportunity to wake up this morning and stroll outside, to carry on our festivities.

We waited near to the Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road, witnessing the rather dangerous speeds of the wheelchair racers, the fat free shapes of the elite runners, the toned torsos of the club runners and the 'all shapes and sizes' of the once in a lifetimes.

As ever, I found myself slack jawed over the huge amount of people who were willing to run the distance while wearing the kind of outfit that I'd have complained about, even if I'd only been asked to wear it while sat in the park.

Those 'rhinos' deserve every penny they receive.

I was pleased to be able to shout encouragement to fellow teacher and Charlton supporter Richard.
I'm sure he would appreciate some more donations for a worthy cause if you feel so inclined.

Saturday, 21 April 2012


Charlton beat a spirited Wycombe 2-1 this afternoon, to clinch the League One title.
That is all.
And now it's a few pints of Guinness.

Enjoy your evening Addicks.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Promotion ACHIEVED.

There's nothing more that needs to be said.
After 3 seasons in the third tier of English football, a 1-0 away win due to a strike from BWP at Carlisle, was enough to confirm Charlton as a Championship club next season.

I listened to the commentary from Cumbria, pacing the room, jumping on the spot and finally feeling close to tears when the result from Colchester and Sheffield Wednesday filtered through.
The last few years of mediocrity and disappointment means I think we've earned the right to enjoy our day in the sun.
A big thanks must go to the Essex side for holding firm and denying the 'Massives' (chortle), their chance to spoil our party.

We loved Chris Powell when he was a player.
He's now moved up a notch on the adulation scale.

Enjoy the celebrations Addicks.
Now let's go on and confirm ourselves as CHAMPIONS!

Is This The Day?

There can't be too many Addicks who woke up this morning without a feeling of nervous excitement.

Of course, by the time I was up and padding around in my novelty slippers, espresso machine steaming away, the bulk of the Charlton support had already been on their way to the far North West for a few hours.

I salute those people who took the plunge weeks/months ago and snapped up the affordable train travel and to those people enduring the coach journey, I hope your iPads and smartphones are fully charged and rammed with entertainment.

Carlisle Away has historical significance for Charlton already, (having grabbed promotion there twice in the 1980's.)

Is it to be a third time?

Much will depend upon the Wendies of Sheffield.
If they slip up at Colchester then we are guaranteed promotion.
If they win, it all rolls over until next week at home to Wycombe.

Of course, if the 'unthinkable' happens and Carlisle raise their game enough to give us a spanking, we will have to return and try again at The Valley next weekend regardless.

It's been a fine season for Charlton.
I just know we won't lose today.
The reason?
I'm not there!

There can't be many seasons where I can in all honesty say I've witnessed every single defeat, home and away, in both league and cups over an entire season!

So, without my grunting from the stands, Charlton can head onto the pitch in a relaxed frame of mind and perform the final dip for the line.

C'mon you Reds!
The Champagne is on ice.

Friday, 13 April 2012


One of my harshest critics recently told me that nobody cares what I've been up to and what I've eaten, (claiming it's all 'rather embarrassing').
If this tendency towards toe curling includes you, I suggest you stop reading now.

Yesterday, I returned from a short trip to Dublin.
Despite being fairly well travelled, it was my first visit to the Emerald Isle.

I wanted to treat my dad to a mini break and his choice of destination was Dublin, so that's where we headed.

We were met at Dublin airport by dad's old friend Justin and his wife Emer, then whisked through the Dublin suburbs towards Harcourt Street where I had booked, (with some trepidation), our accommodation.

Luckily for me, we had fallen on our feet and were lodging in a fine looking Georgian townhouse converted into a comfortable hotel.
All the necessities such as power shower, free WiFi, comfortable sitting area with plush leather sofas were all boxes that were duly ticked.

A quick drop of our bags, then out for a bowl of soup before having a wander around Dublin.
On first impression, Dublin seemed very much like home, with the same shops and cars driving on the left etc.
Compared to London it did seem fairly quiet and relaxed and it didn't feel like going 'abroad', more like visiting a provincial English town such as Southampton or Newcastle.

It didn't take me long to become entranced though.
We walked around the St Stephen's Green area and Trinity College campus, just drinking in the sights and sounds.
I particularly enjoyed the modern looking statue of Oscar Wilde looking very laid back.
He really does have a look of Stephen Fry.

We dived into a bookshop as the heavens opened.
The place had a vaguely familiar name and I was quickly told it was "the Sweny's Pharmacy featured in James Joyce's Ulysses, and is described in sumptuous detail within the novel, a description which stands to this day".

We had stumbled into the middle of a book reading, Joyce's 'Dubliners' being the book of choice. 
We were told by an interesting looking fella behind the counter that it was read "every day" and then each handed a paperback copy and the page number whispered to us.

I read about 5 pages before eye strain got the better of me.
 Nobody complained at my rather obvious English accent sullying the great work and we left, with me personally feeling I'd had my own private 'Dublin experience' that I'd remember forever.

Trinity College is beautiful. 
I'd love to be able to say it reminded me of my own University experience but as I didn't go to either Oxford or Cambridge, it just made me think what a gorgeous place it was to do your learning.
The surroundings I enjoyed all those years ago in South Wales were a little grimier and rather industrial/modern/functional.

We ambled about, enjoying the peace and quiet of one of Europe's capital cities.

Only when we got to Grafton Street did it get a little busier, especially when we got near to the tourist photo opportunity of Molly Malone.

I waved my iPhone above the other tourists heads in order to get my own picture, just the same as everyone else's!
tart with the cart.

We ate at one of Dublin's finest eateries, One Pico.
I could wax lyrical about our dining experience for hours but, (sorry to my critic), I believe a picture is worth a thousand words.
We were joined by Justin and Emer's son Brendan, who has that instantly likeable charm that Irish blokes seem to pull off with ease.

Dad was getting rather tired so we went back to our hotel so he could fall asleep waiting for Newsnight to come on television. 
I headed back out again to have a stab at trying to find the difference between the Guinness poured at the Rose of Denmark and the untravelled stuff.

 I don't think I ever found a difference but as I only popped out for a swifty and ended up having four pints, I can certainly state with some authority it slides down very easily.

According to dad, i was in a 'very good mood' when I got back anyway.

I was interested to find out what a traditional Irish breakfast included.
I can report it was just like a really good, traditional English/British one!

I was really pleased that both black and white pudding were on my plate, the sausages and bacon were good quality and the eggs were just as I like them.

We headed out for a walk and despite expecting heavy rain, I really could have done with some sunglasses.

Having now spent a day in Dublin, I was starting to be able to guess my position, so I felt I knew where I was going without referring to a map.
We decided against heading to the Guinness brewery as dad had been there before and I've done other brewery tours.

We ambled about, went and had a look at the book of Kells, loafed around in the sunshine and just enjoyed each others company. 
We heard what sounded like lots of girls screaming and car horns honking so went to investigate.
All the traffic had been stopped by a tractor blocking the road, two blokes in farmer clobber looking very pleased with themselves and some girls with pneumatic breasts waving placards. I'm not sure what they were demonstrating about but it definitely grabbed everyones attention, not least the coach driver who was shouting abuse at them, being unable to pass.
"Down with this sort of thing! "

We ate our lunch sitting on the banks of the Liffey.
It was a less gourmet affair but I think we both enjoyed our pastie pies and cans of Sprite!

Next we headed for the Spike, (millennium spire), on O'Connell street as I'd seen it featured in one of the challenges on the Gadget show.

It's pretty pointless, (arf, arf), but then so are many things that I would consider part of the joys of living in a city.
Public art shouldn't have to be for a purpose, it should be enjoyed.
I enjoyed it and I'm glad it's there.

We went for another wander, dad went on a church visit while I enjoyed another Guinness then we headed towards the Merrion hotel where we had arranged to meet Justin.

Dad and Justin had a natter about 'important things' while I headed off to sit in the park at St Stephens Green, reading my Kindle and also making a start on my copy of Dubliners that Justin had presented me with after doing my 'reading' the day before.

Later, we headed to where my guidebook reliably announced is 'Dublin's best hotel', The Shelbourne, for a few drinks and then dinner.
Justin informed us it was a more 'traditional' hotel whereas the Merrion had been more modern.

I did feel at home at the Shelbourne and noticed they were doing a Titanic themed afternoon tea to commemorate the centenary.
I wonder if they splash the linen with salt water?
The Shelbourne


My Steak.
Next it was a race back to the airport and a comfortable flight back to London Heathrow.

I had a great time away with dad and I know I'll be going back to Dublin.
Dad surveying the scene from our hotel.

Monday, 9 April 2012


Charlton Athletic 1 - Walsall 0.

Charlton set off like a train this afternoon but ended up hanging on to a well deserved 1-0 lead.

A fantastic delivery from the returning Johnnie Jackson gave Dany N'Guessan every chance to bury his header, which he of course managed with a flourish.

My favourite part of the game also involved Jackson.
For those of us old enough to remember, he made a fair fist of copying Eddie Gray doing his waltz for Leeds United in the 1970's.
For those people not old enough, click here.

As time wore on, Walsall came more and more into the game.
Luckily they didn't really bring their shooting boots and another 3 points get added to the total.

91 points and still not actually promoted?

What a season this is turning into.

A Casual Rating.

It wasn't a game to live long in the memory. The most important part was the final whistle and Charlton being in the lead at that precise moment.

"A win is a win", as everybody said on the way out.

Ref Watch.
Referee D Phillips wasn't up to much but compared with the most recent officials we have been assigned, he was fan bloomin tastic!
A 6/10 score, despite a couple of howlers.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


Oldham Athletic 0 - Charlton Athletic 1.

Against the odds, Charlton managed to win away at Boundary Park this afternoon.

Yann Kermorgant scored the all important goal but most people will be scrutinising the 'performance' of the referee, Trevor Kettle.

Charlton have history with him.
He was the official in charge when Grant Basey had his leg broken by a horror tackle at Bristol Rovers, yet he decided the offence had been minimal.

Charlton were reduced to 9 men and Oldham to 10, in a game that was far from bad tempered.

The last 15 minutes were all about Charlton hanging on against the Oldham pressure.
Addicks the world over were biting their nails and sharing their experiences via twitter.

We all felt as if we'd played too, such was the emotional energy being expended.

My fingers and toes maths skills are starting to believe another couple of wins, plus a draw, would be enough to send us up.

After today, the pride of South East London certainly deserve it.

A Champions performance?
You bet!