When walking round Kings Cross the other week I noticed that our usual breakfasterie - Da Vincis - is no more. It has been revamped and is now part of the Best Mangal chain which seems to be glorified kebab bars.
We tried a cafe I 've been in before - the Station Sandwich Bar - the breakfast is perfunctory with mediocre ingredients - not very enjoyable, especially after all the rush. I suspect we'll try somewhere else next time.
It is my first train trip for quite a few weeks - nice to be back on-board, watching the world go by and providing some company for Martin. Tony joins us at Darlo and then we meet Trev, John, Rich and a few others at Newcastle Central station.
Not a bad choice at the bar - Big Lamp Prince Bishop, Full Mash IPA, Gundog Pale Ale and one smokey beer, Anarchy Smoke Bomb, that looks a bit odd but tastes really nice. The Gundog Pale Ale is tasty too.
After a couple of rounds, we wander down to the Bridge Hotel where we meet Ian Swalwell. Not long after that yet another of my old University chums, Chin (Andy), turns up for a reunion. Rocky (Dave) turns up too. Interestingly it seems I'm the only one who still calls them by their nicknames.
At the bar we have an excellent choice featuring Abbeydale Deception, Marble Bitter, Williams Midnight Sun, Hadrian & Border High Level, Outstanding Selling Out, Salopian Hop Twister and, on keg, Three Towns St Erics Pale Ale (which is excellent but doesn't last long).
We then head off back to Central station and take the Metro out to Hebburn. On arrival I check my map and take everyone the wrong way, eventually having to ask for directions. Whatever!
A small-ish ground, just one stand that straddles the middle of the pitch and then two standing ends. The fourth side is for us by officials only.
It looked like Hebburn were carrying on from where they left off a few days earlier - a defeat to Darlo at Heritage Park that some saw some very enthusiastic tackling - and by the 25th minute they were down to nine men.
The pitch was not one that encouraged good football - it looked more like hiking terrain than a playing field - and from the off, Hebburn were determined to knock Darlo out of their stride. Dowson was fouled in the penalty box after ten minutes and Galbraith scored from the spot.
Hebburn though were level within minutes after some poor defending in the Darlo box as they failed to clear a high ball into the box. Totally against the run of play.
|We've not had a gratuitous floodlight |
shot for a while so here we go
It wasn't long before Hebburn were down to nine men after Forsyth - booked for the initial penalty - received a second yellow. Credit to Hebburn though as they frustrated the Quakers for the rest of the half and it remained 2-1 at the interval.
Hebburn continued to make it difficult for Darlo in the second half - not surprisingly Darlo dominated in terms of possession, making inroads down the wings. but failed to make the most of their chances. Hebburn keeper Regan also made some excellent saves.
After sixty minutes the Hebburn resistance was finally broken as Purewal slide in to poke home a cross from Galbraith.
The Quakers visibly relaxed, pressing continually for the rest of the half which saw them add four more goals to the tally in the final ten minutes.
As well as a welcome three points, Darlo looked to have escaped without any major injuries - their refusal to get involved in the rough-house tactics employed by Hebburn was no doubt a major factor.
In all other respects the Hebburn officials and fans seemed a decent bunch - there was some excellent on offer though the (chinese) curry sauce was rather thin for my liking. I'm fussy about such things.
We were all back in Newcastle by 5:30pm - Martin and Iain headed off to catch the train back to London - whilst I checked into the Royal Station hotel.
Tony had stayed on for a few beers and I joined him in the Town Wall. The Saturday night crowd was beginning to gather but we had a chance to try a couple of really good beers - Portobello Porter (a new brewery from west London) and Allendale End22 Simcoe Single. Both are excellent.
Tony finally had to drag himself back to Darlington for the race night so I popped up to the Trent House, near Leazes Park. This is where I I used to drink in the early 80s, about the time that the first copies of Viz used to be sold here.
Rich, John and Andy were here, going through the card, so I had a couple of halves. Other than acquiring a soul music-theme, the place hasn't changed much since I was a student (though my graffiti in the gents has finally been painted over).
My next port of call was the Crown Posada where I had a quick pint - the place was very full with nowhere to sit so after supping up, I popped outside and caught a taxi to the Cluny.
|Brian Bond - in your face|
We meet Alan Crawthorne who, like me, is a big Bill Nelson and someone I've communicated with via the internet in recent years. Nice to finally meet him at last.
Also there is former Mission Impossible editor and, more recently, music impresario, Steve Harland, who has come up from Teesside with a load of his mates.
As well as bumping into Steve and Jimi from the band, I'm introduced to Rob Blamire who is bassist in Ferryhill's finest, Penetration. It was through seeing Penetration at the City Hall in 1978 that I first heard and saw Punishment of Luxury so I have cause to be thankful.
As on-stage time approaches we head towards the gig hall - not completely full but a decent crowd. I have my camera but decide to just take the odd shot so that I can concentrate on really enjoying the gig. Which I do.
The set is much the same as usual - all based on the Laughing Academy album rounded off with a storming version of the Brainbomb single.
I pop into the dressing room with Keith for a chat with Nev and find a teenage girl collecting autographs - go younger generation! We leave the band in peace after a while and Keith drops me back at my hotel. It has been a long but very pleasurable day and I'm ready for bed.