Monday, 24 November 2008

Up Town Top Rankin

I was having some very weird dreams but they turned into a nightmare - Steve Duffy in his boxer shorts leaning over me - "wake up, wake up!!".

For a split second it was like one of those anxiety dreams - you're trying to get somewhere but the world is conspiring against your every move and you simply can't make it? Or is that just me?

This though was stark reality - I'd apparently slept though two sets of alarms and had just 20 mins to get to Cardiff station and catch the 5:55am train back to Paddington.

Thankfully Steve had woken up and was curious when he hadn't heard me lumbering around. As he lives about 10 mins from the station, I made the train with a couple of minutes to spare but I suspect it was an ungainly journey as I wasn't even in a fit state to tie my laces.

It's safe to say I was suffering a tad from the excesses of the night before and I did my best to get some kip on the train. Once back in London, I dropped into the office for a change of clothes and things slowly started to feel a bit better.

Next stop was Waterloo where I met up with John Wilson and a trip to Maries for a No 7 and chips - and a little further along the road to recovery.

We'd been disappointed to find that the Red Lion in Isleworth no longer opened at 11am and so the Magpie and Crown was going to be our first call of the day once.

(left) John admires the view and some gloves

On the way we took a leisurely stroll from Kew Bridge along the Thames Path, admiring the houseboats close to Brentford Ait - all very pretty.

The Magpie and Crown is run by Steve, a Hartlepool fan, and he always has some decent beers available. Today we had a choice of Itchen Valley's HMS Warrior, Slaters Owzat, Hogs Back HBB and Okells Mild (which later ran out and gave way to Goachers Mild).

I didn't make the best choice in starting with the 5%+ HMS Warrior which took me 45 mins to work through.

After that I downsized and tried the Slaters - much lighter at about 3.7%, quite tasty and certainly easier to handle.

I finished off the lunchtime session on the 6.3% Seidr O Sir Maes Edwy - no, not some dodgy Belgian brew but a very palatable Welsh cider. One of my five portions for the day.

By this time we had a healthy selection of DAFTS plus Geoff, our Plymouth chum, who was enjoying his side's televised victory over Cardiff. The Welsh theme just doesn't stop, does it?

Neil and Mari had come over from Norway for the game plus a bit of recreational pre-Xmas shopping. As usual Neil was doing his best to persuade Mari that she does like beer, she just has to try harder and she'd realise it. I'm afraid that the Frulli failed in it's task - however I suspect this is not the end of Neil's campaign and Mari will be turning her nose up at a lot more drinks in future.

Following a hushed "Good Luck" from the landlord, we wandered to Griffin Park where we'd been given the choice of standing downstairs or sitting above. We took the standing option of course - it was a nice change to be able to wander about and as a result there was a great atmosphere - we were not surprised to see Gloryhunter Spencer join the merry throng - our gain is clearly Droylsden's loss.

The first-half was fairly even but in the second half we seemed to pick up the pace. Hopes were raised when we got a free-kick and these were realised when the Burgerman put in one of his pinpoint balls, not to Alan White as so often in the past, but to Richie Foran who lost his man and headed in neatly.

Thereafter we were under a lot of pressure but the defence held firm and when the Bees did get through, their shooting was woeful. Foran had a good chance to make it safe late on but their keeper kept his effort out.

Unfortunately we couldn't hold out during added time - from the away end we weren't able to see exactly what happened but judging by the players reaction, it was some sort of error by Oakes.

Post-match analysis was held as usual at the Brewery Tap, a pleasant little Fullers pub tucked off the main road.

Unfortunately they didn't have the London Porter which has been very well received this year - instead we settled on the Seafarers Ale, a light ale which I remember drinking here more or less a year ago. Very worthy drinking since 5p from each pint goes towards a seafaring charity.

And then by the time it was time to wend our way home, I was feeling almost human again...

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