Monday, 9 February 2009

Too Late/Frozen

It was a relief to get to King's Cross and find that after the week-long service disruptions due to the snow all east coast services were back to normal.

John, Martin and I are all in Da Vinci's for a bit of breakfast before meeting up on the train with our chum Paul, the Wycombe photographer.

It was about 45 mins into the journey when we all started to get texts telling us there was a pitch inspection at 9:30am. And then just as the train pulled out of Peterborough, we got texts confirming the match was off. Very disappointing after all the positive noises coming out of the club about the pitch.

Martin decided to bail out at Grantham and head straight back to London. I was keen to continue up for a day's socialising - I checked with Steve who was travelling up from Cardiff and he was game too so we stayed put - it all sounded like fun so Paul decided he'd join us as well.

After about 30 mins I heard from Martin - in his rush to get a train back to London, he'd left his jacket on the train with us. Guess which muggins was going to have to carry it about all day?

The final highlight of the journey up was waiting for the Darlington-built train, Tornado, to pass us - we'd seen a number of train enthusiasts in the fields and platforms as we travelled north - we heard a whistle in the distance and then there was a quick flash of it's green livery as it thundered past on it's way to King's Cross. This was probably the only Darlo-related action we would see.

On a day when we're not in a rush we actually arrived early in Darlo - Paul headed off to the Arena to get some shots of the ground whilst John and I wandered into town, picking up pies from the covered market on the way to the Quaker House.

On hearing our game was off, landlord Steve offered to put the rugby on the big screen later if we were interested - I politely declined explaining that rugby union just leaves me cold and quite frankly I'd rather eat my own intestines.

Steve had a fine selection of beers on offer from some small breweries such as the Yorkshire Dales Brewery and the Hidden Brewery plus there was the re-appearance of the Ghost Ale, originally brewed for the pub by the Brewlab/Darwin crew in Sunderland. Quite how long he can continue to present such a good crop of beers whilst under the shackles of S&N remains to be seen.

Sticking to my roots, I tried the Yorkshire Dale offering - sadly I forgot the name - but it was a tasty ale, hoppy and light - perfect for the start of what promised to be a long afternoon.

Later in the day, we tried a pint of the Hidden Treasure which was a nice dark beer, smooth and mild with a lingering smoky aftertaste.

Half way through the afternoon we moved up to Number Twenty-2 - here we had some Workie Ticket (or was it Radgie Gadgie?) - I must admit that I can't quite remember which of the Mordue beers it was. Suffice to say it was a canny drop.

Paul went and had some lunch in the canteen area of the pub with some fellow Wycombe fans who had also decided to continue north and make the most of the day.

The afternoon whizzed past in a blur of chatter and all too soon it was time for Steve, Paul and I to head back to Bank Top - we've took the opportunity to get some chips and curry sauce from the fish shop on Victoria Road on the way - I'm not convinced that our fellow passengers were impressed with the smell but it's fair to say that we probably didn't give a damn. Besides which, we were soon asleep - the food and the alcohol finally taking it's toll.

Quite atypically we were also early getting back into King's Cross. Paul decided to head for home whilst I popped down the road to the Doric Arch to join the London Millers who were about to hold their annual raffle draw.

It was great to see that a couple of DAFTS were drawn out of the hat - Lance Ireland won a couple of prizes including a book about Brian Clough as well as a bottle of whiskey. He kindly added the latter back into the pot - the Millers will make sure he gets a few ounces of finest shag instead - whilst Howard won a trendy key ring which will complement his gaudy taste in cycling lycra...

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