Monday, 27 October 2008

Glory, Glory

Despite having the usual big breakfast before our train left King's Cross, my first task on arriving into Darlo was to get the pies in.

Many years ago when we were at Feethams, no one really thought about taking your own pie to the game. They were there - with peas and chips too.

Sadly the pies at the Arena are pretty poor fare and have been for a while - generally heated through to a crisp so that the pastry crumbles into dust.

And in Darlington there's only one pie purveyor to consider - H Taylors and sons. So it's steak and kidney for Colin and me, mince pie for Martin and a corned beef slice to take back for my tea on Monday!

The town clock strikes 11am and so onto the Quaker Cafe for the first beer of the day. Landlord Steve is in his Sunderland shirt - eagerly awaiting the Tyne-Wear derby in a couple of hours time.

I opt for what is said to be the first carbon-neutral beer, East Green from Adnams, and it's not a bad drop.

At this point I'm joined by Spencer, the Gloryhunter, who I briefly met at Wycombe last week. He's spent his first week in Darlo so he probably deserves a drink.

Before too long, Colin Fletcher arrives and after a little prompting, outlines the finer points of Subbuteo to Spencer who is showing more interest than is good for him.

We move onto Number Twenty-2 where Paul Brown and Iain Swalwell are already ensonced. I also bump into my old chum Paul Walker.

Paul and I first met in the Brian Little era - I'd put an advert in Mission Impossible asking for lifts to games from London - Paul was my only reply.

Paul now lives in Scotland and so gets to fewer games - today he has a bunch of his Scottish mates in tow - they don't always bring us luck.

Station Taxis were their usual efficient selves and before long we're all at the Arena, Spencer wandering off to try and find where the club have left his ticket. It's easy to see that this glory hunting lark isn't as easy as it sounds.

(left) No gratuitous shot of floodlights so the town clock will have to do

The game was a bit of a mis-match - despite their elevated league position, Dagenham looked much as they did at the end of last season - almost without hope - and Darlo should really have beaten them by more goals than the final 3-0 scoreline.

As usual, the Dagenham & Redbridge party, directors as well, travelled to the game by train - however they're not looking quite as happy when we last saw them in May. This season it seems they're travelling first class. Not for much longer if their slide down the table continues.

After shifting some itinerant Jock students from our reserved seats, we were pestered by some Glasvegas fans from Dunfermline who wanted to share their Buckfast and their wit- all very stereotypical but true nonetheless. You'll not be surprised to hear we declined...

Atfer what seemed like hours, we're back at King's Cross and I'm off to the Doric Arch for a final few beers - the London Millers in the form of Liz, Jenny and Chris joining me later on. The pub has a full set of guest beers for a change - the Taylor's Landlord is on good form so maybe there's hope for this place yet.


Anonymous said...

Ted - I see you're a man of impeccable taste when it comes to pies!

Oddly enough we were in there on Saturday before catching a train to Newcastle but the least said about that the better. The upshot of the trip is that I now know of a top real ale pub within walking distance of the Sage for next time I'm there.

Eddie Rowles said...

Of course. That's the only problem in London - finding somewhere like Taylors is virtually impossible.

There was a small chain called Kennedys in sarf London which produced good pies - very different to northern pies - but sadly they closed down.

Plenty of pubs do them but these tend to be demi-pies - just a pastry lid which is not a pie in my book.

What's the name of the pub in Newcastle you found?

Anonymous said...

The pub was between the brown ale bridge and the spoons further along the quay one road back from the river it's called The Cooperage and I'd venture to say it's probably one of the few locations in the country, outside my shed, where they do real ale and electronic music.