West Ham 1 v 1 City

Our very last game of the season was away to West Ham – a game which potentially could have involved City battling for 4th place and the Hammers fighting to avoid relegation. However, these two things had been settled in the previous games so both teams could pretty much relax and play football. Technically, City could have pushed out of 5th place and into sixth, if Villa won, and City lost, but it didn’t have me overly worried as I felt we were perfectly capable of picking up at least a point from this fixture. (I’m glad West Ham stayed up as I like the club and its fans – and one branch of my family are all Hammers too.)

The match, despite being a draw, was far from boring and I found it entertaining enough watching the players of both teams looking to be enjoying their game. I was watching it online and had got things done earlier int he day so that i could relax and enjoy it too.

Adam Johnson had a particularly good game and I loved the way he and SWP swapped wings effortlessly – the assistant England coach was watching and maybe he took note of this as both players were included in the 30 man squad named by Capello. Robert Green also did well and I’m glad he has his call up too. Boa Morte scored first after a beautiful bit of play which completely bamboozled our defence. However, our equaliser was created perfectly by AJ and headed in by – of all people – SWP! 😀

And so ended the season – a very successful one for City and very pleasing.
Now roll on next season, and roll on the World Cup!

On which note – I broke the bad news to Nel recently. She hates football with a passion, so I don’t think she’s going to be impressed that the other four members of the household will all be watching a lot of football on the TV throughout June. Ooops!

More Football.

On Sunday, Raji, Stephen and I watched the Carling Cup final together and I have to say, it was a thoroughly enjoyable match. I was naturally hoping Villa would win – for Dunnie as well as for ABU, and was delighted when Vidic gave away a penalty in just 4 minutes. What none of us could understand was why Vidic didn’t get so much as a yellow card, never mind a red. I think maybe the ref wasn’t brave enough so early in the game and had it occurred later, perhaps he may have shown the red card merited. Vidic did then go on to commit fouls throughout the game and should have had yellows on a couple of occasions- so in any event, should have been off at some stage.

That aside, ManUre looked the better team once Rooney came on, and Villa tired in the second half. There was only one team going to win it, and of course, they did. Much as I dislike them, they were worthy winners. City fans couldn’t help noticing that had we been playing Villa, we too, would have fancied our chances of winning. But it wasn’t to be.

In the evening, I was pottering around on my computer but checking progress of the Stoke v Arsenal game via the text commentary. Late in the game, I saw that Aaron Ramsey had suffered a horrible leg fracture after a 50:50 challenge by Shawcross. Having subsequently seen the videos and photos I feel very sorry for a young lad who has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Whilst he has youth on his side physically, it may go against him mentally – though hopefully he will benefit from advice and support from Eduardo who was in a similar horrific incident a couple of years ago. I also feel for Shawcross who was undoubtedly upset by what happened and clearly had not intended it to end that way. That said, Stoke generally play a physical game (City fans should know, having watched our team play them 4 times this season!) and you have to think that it was only a matter of time before this kind of thing happened. Little has been said about Glenn Whelan who was the one player to stay with Ramsey whilst he was waiting for medical attention. He comforted him, stopped him looking at the broken leg which was hanging at a sickening angle and stayed with him throughout. All the other players (of both teams) simply looked stunned so well done to Whelan for his actions. No matter what colour of shirt a player wears, none of them ever deserve this kind of horrific injury and I hope both Ramsey and Shawcross recover from this fully.

On Wednesday night, England were playing a friendly against Egypt at Wembley, and as ever, I planned to watch it. One of our good friends is going through a tough time at the moment and he asked if we wanted to go to the pub and watch it with him. Billy was already committed to going to cricket nets but I went along, and Simon and Claire did too. Our friend was quite quiet throughout the evening but I’d like to think having us around helped him a bit. The match was entertaining enough, though England were very poor initially. Not sure if this was because it was a friendly, or because they’d underestimated Egypt or what. The Egyptian goal when it came, was no surprise really but it seemed to wake our own players up a bit. I was very pleased for SWP making such an impact when he came on, and Barry did a solid job as ever – sadly for Bridge, I think he’d have been better at LB than Baines. I’m still not convinced by Crouch and never will be – and yet he can pop up with a much needed goal at times. I think I mainly object to our predictable play when he’s on – long balls hoofed his way and hoping for his height to somehow win the ball despite the fact he doesn’t jump! Happily, his Bambi-on-ice style of ball “control” causes the opposition defences as much confusion as me and it pays off when we do get the ball to his feet. Rooney was as in form as he has been at club level and you can’t help admire him even if he does play for “them”! 😉 There was a man sitting near us who was very, very drunk, and when he overheard us discussing this, leaned over and said “What’s wrong with his team, hm?” As I was wearing my City away shirt, I grinned, pointed to my shirt and said “This is what’s wrong with it.” The man was so drunk, he didn’t recognise the shirt and proudly showed me his ManUre one, grabbed my hand and smiled at me saying “Best team in the world love. Best in the world.” I just gave up – he was too far gone to bother with 😀

What a great week – watching so much football. Love it! 🙂

Chelsea 2 – 4 City!

As our game away at Stamford Bridge was on the Saturday lunch time, I rushed around in the morning, getting things done so that I could sit and watch the match on TV. Raji was off that day, so he watched with me, and Stephen joined us too about half an hour in.

I was expecting to be beaten as we have not been playing well lately, and Chelsea have not been beaten at home all season – never mind having anyone do the double over them, and we’d already beaten them earlier this season at CoMS. There was also all the hype about Bridge and Terry falling out after the latter had an affair with the former’s ex-partner and Bridge had publicly stated that he would not be shaking Terry’s hand during the Fair-play handshake. The fallout from this affair was so bad that Bridge had earlier in the week, stepped down from the England squad so as not to cause any division in the team. I shan’t dwell on the issue, but I do feel that Bridge has behaved with dignity throughout and shown himself to be the bigger man.

We played OK in the first 20-30 minutes and I was pleased that it was still 0 – 0. At half time, 1-1 seemed pretty good thanks to Tevez nicking a goal for us. After that, I watched the match in stunned amazement – we played so confidently and positively and fully deserved the victory. Chelsea finished the match with 9 men – though a penalty got them a consolation goal at the end.

It was a victory for Bridge too, as it had been his clearance that led to a goal, and Terry had played poorly, helping towards our score. City’s goal celebrations centred around Bridge and showed good team solidarity. I was absolutely delighted with this result and couldn’t believe we’d beaten Chelsea on their own turf, and done the double over them for the first time in over 40 years! 🙂

Sports catchup – England and Darts – Twice!

Still catching up after being offline for a while, so I’m putting all the sports stuff together as I know this is mainly on here for ME (as my own record) and is not very interesting for most others to read.


Two weeks ago we played The Sun Inn at Acomb, away and my Tweets went like this:

6:23 PM Oct 9th from web Have been hard at work all day, preparing for the cancer event tomorrow in Newcastle. Ready to go and play now – Friday night is darts night
9:18 PM Oct 9th from txt And we are consistent. 4-0 down but Roger and I a bit galled that we threw away our doubles. 🙁
9:46 PM Oct 9th from txt Oh dear. I played good darts last week but was terrible this week. Lost singles. 8-0
9.53 PM Oct 9th from txt YAY. Roger has won one for us. 🙂
10:19 PM Oct 9th from txt Guess what. We lost! 😛

I really was annoyed with my throwing after having played with so well last time, though of course, it’s not just about winning. Like our home pub, this one has a large TV screen on one wall and when we play at home, we turn it off so it doesn’t distract us. At this pub, they left it on and whilst it didn’t distract anyone throwing as it was behind them, it DID distract the rest of the team so that the team didn’t feel quite such a close unit. Definitely confirmation that we’re right to turn ours off, I think. They’ve also swapped their tables and chairs for high bar stools and tables and whilst that’s still better than standing all night, Claire and I didn’t find it very comfortable. Not an unpleasant pub (and certainly not an unpleasant team) but not one to which I’d especially look forward to returning.

Last week we played at home against The Travellers, and like many teams this year, found them to be a mix of old and new faces. My Tweets were thus:

8:57 PM Oct 16th from txt And here is your Friday night darts commentary. 🙂 One a piece so far.
9:23 PM Oct 16th from txt Two each now. 🙂 Roger and I managed not to throw away our doubles this week.
9:54 PM Oct 16th from txt Chucked away my singles. Annoyed with myself. Now 2-6 🙁
10:05 PM Oct 16th from txt Roger has a hat trick of winning on x1 😀
10:15 PM Oct 16th from txt Billy makes it 4-6 🙂
10:23 PM Oct 16th from txt Finished 4-7

It was an enjoyable night, despite the score and we’d all played much better this time and were unlucky with some of the games. My own throwing was steady – though I couldn’t finish which as annoying. Once again, someone from the other team said I was a good player (in this case, the usual unspoken words were actually spoken “for a woman” 😉 ) which is all very nice, but not a lot of good if I don’t finish and get the win! Still, he was right in that my darts had been there or there-abouts all evening which is considered good. I was pleased for Roger who threw well all night and managed all of his finishes – all of them x1! Our home pub is opposite what passes for the town’s nightclub and usually as we finish playing, it starts to fill up with drunken clubbers who are already in the mood to dance (highly irritating) but this week we were spared for some reason 🙂 We did, however, have some ignorant drinkers who thought they’d help themselves to our food and this always winds us up. The food is provided for the two darts teams, and only once they have finished with it can others have some – and courtesy dictates (surely?!) that they wait until invited. Simon did say something to one of them and she was a bit funny about it though she did move away and contented herself with loud mutterings. I despair of some people.

    England Football Games:

The first game, against Ukraine was not screened on the TV (having been bought by Setanta originally!) and was only available online at a cost of £4.99 (in advance) or £11.99 on the day!!! Not being prepared to pay this, I resigned myself to not seeing it but then found out that my Liveonlinefooty subscription covered me to view it via my usual online site. 🙂 I do like to see the matches for myself as I can then judge for myself who I think played well or badly and what I make of the manager’s tactics etc. I don’t like to make my judgements on the basis of the opinions of others. So, I got to see the match for myself and saw Ukraine beat us 1-0! Ferdinand’s early error causing Green to get a red card didn’t help but I have to say that after a VERY poor first half, I was proud of the boys in the second half. They put up a bit of fight and started to play better and I think Capello will have learned more from the game being 11 v 10 than if it had been just another game.

On the Wednesday, it was England 3 – 0 Belarus which was on the TV being a home game so Billy and I watched it together. It wasn’t a particularly challenging game but it was entertaining enough – though I STILL don’t understand all the hype about Crouch. It HAD to be him that scuffled in the first goal didn’t it? Now we’ll never hear the end of it 😉 Barry, Sweep and Johnson all had good games I thought and I felt that either Sweep (who was playing out of position & scored a goal to boot)or Johnson should be MotM. How on EARTH Becks was picked for the honour I don’t know! He was only on the pitch for half an hour! (Not that I’ve anything against him – he just wasn’t the MotM for me.) A satisfying result to wrap up the qualifiers for us – Job Done! 🙂

Now some people need to wake up to the fact that by the time the World Cup starts, we’ll need to start all over again and we’ll need to see which players are doing what form/in what shape at the time! It’s utterly pointless people stating their starting lineups or having huge expectations based on this run of qualifying games. These intervening months can be a very long time in football and a lot could change.

Young English Heroes.

Although I hadn’t been able to watch the other games in the U-21’s Euro competition, I had been keeping up with results and wishing them success. However, I DID manage to watch the semi-final against Sweden, whilst at mum’s and we were SO glad we’d been able to see it. WHAT a game!

In the first half, England looked quite comfortable and scored 3 goals (actually, 2 (Cranie and City’s very own Ned 🙂 )with an own goal from Mattias Bjarsmyr ) and so we were feeling quietly confident at half time, with he 3-0 lead. Heaven knows what the half time talk must have been because the second half was utterly different! England couldn’t keep possession, couldn’t pass, left gaps in defence and generally looked adrift, and managed to let in 3 goals to level the scores. (We wondered if they’d been told to try and shut up shop, but the players didn’t seem comfortable and therefore it didn’t work.)

In extra time, we felt that it would be Sweden to score but somehow they didn’t. In fact, but for some heroics by Micah and Joe (Hart) it would have been far more than 3 goals for Sweden by the end of ET. We also went down to 10 men, just to make sure it was a battle and a half! As it was, we got to a penalty shoot out to settle the matter. ARGH! I grabbed a cushion each for mum and I to hide behind and the tension was unbearable. We peeked over the top of our cushions to watch and were horrified when Milner slipped as he went to take the first penalty (shades of Becks’ famous slip) but couldn’t believe our luck when Joe made a fantastic save with his legs to deny Berg. THEN he took a pen hismelf – and scored! I don’t know how we didn’t have a heart attack watching the rest of the shoot out – especially as Joe seemed to keep trying to hedge his bets and dive one way whilst trying to leave his legs covering the other direction meaning he wasn’t very far over each time. He also had plenty of fun with the Swedish penalty takers and picked up a yellow card for it. Although he shouldn’t have done it, he did look like he was genuinely having a bit of fun and looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself. Our heroes made it to the final by winning 5-4 on pens. Well done boys 🙂

The final against Germany, was on the Monday night when I was back home and so I could watch that too. What can I say? We had limited options, having no Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fraizer Campbell and no Joe Hart who’s semi final booking stood to suspend him from the final, and so Theo Walcott was played up front all on his own. Oh dear! In the semi final we’d thought he had looked poor when it came to finishing though his running the ball up front was good, so it was always unlikely he’d be able to do anything attacking alone. And so it proved. Once we were 2-0 down, Billy and I felt that there was nothing to lose by making some mad, brave tactical changes even, as one of the commentators later suggested, putting Micah up front! (I’m SURE there’s a microphone in our house, and the commentators can hear us!) The couple of tweaks that WERE made were not really of any advantage though and the time to make that last desperate gamble faded and went.

It finished 4-0 which was very harsh on our boys who didn’t deserve such a mauling. However, I do admit that the best team did win and the Germans had looked good for it from the off. Congratulations to the young Germans (who now hold three youngsters titles this year (U-18, U-19 and U-21 I think.) Commiserations to our own boys who had done so well to get to the final and to me, are still Heroes.

Where’d those 2 weeks go?

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I last blogged. Life seems to be running away with me again. (Does it ever NOT?)

Billy and I watched the England football team in a boring 6 – 0 win over Andorra. Yes. Boring. Somehow it was a very tame game but a good run-out for our boys who seemed to be enjoying themselves at least. I didn’t think enough credit was given to Andorra whom everyone knows is really just there to make up the numbers. Yes, better teams SHOULD beat them, and comfortably, but poor little Andorra turned up, TRIED to play football, and competitions need those entrants who “make up the numbers” else it would spoil it for all. Their players all have day jobs and play only part time, and I for one, thought they did their country proud to come and have a game. Well done Andorra. Well done England. And, although I haven’t watched them lately, very well done to England’s U-21’s for doing so well and getting into the semi-finals of the U-21 European championship. (An extra happy well done to the three Blue boys in defence – Joe, Ned and Micah. 🙂 )

Mum and I watched this year’s Troop together on Saturday 13th June and we thought that the Irish Guards did a great job. We couldn’t believe, though, that 60% of them had never done it before because dad used to do it nearly every year when he was a Guard! We’d have weeks of boot polishing and white dubbing before hand (we didn’t dare so much as LOOK at those boots, never mind breathe on them or get within a couple of inches of them!) and plenty of early morning rehearsals. Anyway, we like to watch the Troop still, as did dad after he left the army. Unlike him, we don’t shout at any wobbly lines, but we do know what to look for. We can even almost give the commentary 😉 (They forgot to mention that the band’s manoeuvre known as the pinwheel is not written down anywhere, and that the kettle drums require the horse rider to steer with his feet! Tut, tut!) It was a good show, the Queen looked as magnificent as ever – and despite seeing this every year for a LOT of years, she still manages to look interested and appreciative. Mind you, who wouldn’t, knowing every man here would give his life for her and be proud to do it? (To digress a moment, there was a recent news article about a breach in security amongst the firm hired to guard the royal vehicles. HIRED firm? Erm, s’cuse me, there’s an army (literally) of men sworn to serve who would willingly do the job, be proud to do so, and would not allow such foolishness. AND they’re already being paid! D’oh!)

Mum’s almost back to normal after her hip op now so I am going down for shorter stays just to do the odd thing which she still can’t – like changing beds and shopping etc. We’ve spent our time constructively still and we both feel pleased with what we’ve achieved during her convalescence. One bonus is that I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and love Rocky who was so very shy at first but now seems happy to have me there. (I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with the titbit of bacon he gets when I have my breakfast 😉 ) Mum has taken some photos of him, including one with me so this is Rocky, aka “Muldoon” and isn’t he gorgeous?


Rocky & Lavender


City have got new shirts coming out for the new season – complete with new sponsors and they are BEAUTIFUL!
City Third
Home: City Home
Away: City Away

I will definitely be pre-ordering the home kit (I always have the home shirt every season and get very good value out of it.) I rarely buy the away shirts but this one is so lovely, Billy has said he will buy it for my birthday 🙂 The third kit is also great but it’s very similar to one of the early 2000’s ones that I already have so I can live without it. All three shirts are soooooooooo good and City fans all seem to agree on this. Sadly for Newcastle, the football fans of various clubs also agree that their new away shirt is DIRE! They have such a large and loyal follwoing that even in these troubled times, you’d think the one place they can guarantee bringing in some money is through shirt sales. Alas, I suspect not many will be wanting to look like bleached wasps! Talk about kicking a dog when it’s down!

At home, Billy finally sorted out the garden for me and washed it, took rubbish to the tip and put the furniture out – now I just need time to go and enjoy it! Just when he thought he could relax, our washing machine decided that spinning made it too dizzy and stopped doing it! It was a day that I had a full wash load in, bedding to go next, and then Raji suddenly decided that having put no clothes in the laundry basket before hand, he nevertheless desperately needed clothes for work next day! AGH! I had to do all those three wash loads and drip dry them on the washing line, hoping for the best! Luckily, the weather was glorious and it worked, but the poor old machine had to go. Since I drive the thing, I decided it was the mens’ job to remove it and bring in Raji’s washing machine from its storage place in the shed, and then plumb it in. They did this on the Tuesday night and now my Chinese laundry is running again. 🙂 (Note to self: we now owe Raji a washing machine and a sofa-bed when he moves out one day.)

We’ve both been working very hard but we’ve managed to escape to the pub for post-work drinks with Paul and Steph a couple of times which has been really relaxing and enjoyable. And speaking of work –

Stephen’s got a job 🙂 Initially just 16 hours a week but with plenty of scope for more shifts. He is working at the shop which Paul used to manage when it was an off-licence and is now an off-licence-come-corner-shop. It’s a start and as well as bringing in some money for him, might start him on the path to working out what he really wants to do with his working life. We’re pleased for him and hope it all goes well.

Nel has now finished her GCSE’s and so we can do nothing but wait for results in August. Next week she is attending college before the start of her course in September and we’re still trying to work out buses. They don’t make it easy!

And there’s another 2 weeks of my life gone, though I haven’t included Raji’s birthday as it deserves a post of its own which I shall try and do in the next few days.

Speed Blog #999

Seemingly doing little else but work, rather gets in the way of blogging! So once again, I’m having to speed-type to bring my poor neglected blog up to date before I get too far behind to even remember what I’ve been doing.

* Mainly working really! At the hospital we ran clinics whilst organising our office move and somehow managed to pack everything and move a lot, by 6.15 on the Tuesday night. The porters came at 8.15 am the next day to move things, though I wasn’t there for that, and had to leave K doing it all. Naturally, our new furniture etc. hasn’t arrived in time so that will come later. In fact on the Monday afternoon, the scheduled work to the office and store cupboard hadn’t even been started so K and I had to make it known that it had to be done, and thanks to the estates chaps, miraculously it was. The phone and computer switch went smoothly (for a wonder!) and even the faulty printer was fixed at 4.30 pm on Tuesday. (Only because I badgered the company that was sending the engineer though!) Still, all the hassles aside the new office and treatment room are lovely and already I feel positive about this – though there will be teething problems I know.

* Billy was off work on the Monday and Tuesday and got some of the stuff that was all over the house sorted. We still have far too much, but he made a decent amount of headway. The sofa has now gone from the hallway (hopefully the lumps on our heads will soon follow!) as has the chest that was at the foot of my bed. Lots more to go, but I’m pleased a start has been made. Billy also cooked dinner on Tuesday and he was dishing up as I walked through the door – great timing, and a very nice meal. (Stir fry and noodles.)

* On Wednesday I was really busy in my clinic, trying to ensure all my patients are OK for whilst I am away for a couple of weeks, do the annual stock take, place orders and pay bills. My professional fees and insurances are due for renewal now too – don’t you just hate this time of year?! The day flew by, broken only by the lunchtime post grad education meeting which was about anaesthesia and comparing what was done in 1970 to modern methods and drugs. Very interesting – glad I didn’t need an op in the 70’s 😛

* Darts – last Friday we played the Queens Arms (who are top of our table) in a cup match and we expected them to quickly win their 6 games and knock us out. I didn’t feel I’d warmed up properly either, so was not surprised that I had trouble with he 20’s when I played. However, switching to 19’s worked well for me and Simon and I came from behind to win our doubles. (We had switched the order to try and stack the top as it was a cup match and therefore the first team to win 6 games was through.) We did really well and got the score to 6-2 🙂 We decided to carry on playing the rest of the games for fun so everyone could have their games. As with the last time I played, my singles opponent was very good and I was soon a couple of hundred behind! As last time though, he couldn’t finish – but I could, and did. Another player who was robbed – although at least his own team were not cheering me on this time 😉

* Football – England played twice this week, one friendly and one qualifier and I watched both on TV. In both cases, the performance wasn’t brilliant but good enough and I enjoyed watching them. I’m not too sure about the new shirts – they look like polo shirts but I can’t work out of what fabric they are made. It’s the badge that I am most unsure of, as it reminds me of the Everton one, but I do like the cleanness of plain white as the basic shirt. (WHO named the tracksuit tops “anthem jackets” ?!?!?! Honestly! ) Well done England – but get well soon all our fallen soldiers, especially the strikers! Just one thought – maybe James has had his day? He looked rather iffy on Wednesday I thought.

* Nel’s food adventure is fun! She LOVES proper bread (“even the crust tastes good“); likes being able to have a topping on pizza (gluten free ones are plain); thought the bakery sausage roll wasn’t as nice as the ones I made for her birthday 🙂 ; quite liked a danish pastry though it reminded her of something she couldn’t quite recall; and thought doughnuts a bit odd being plain with just the icing for sweetness. This week she has a pot noodle to try (eugh!), some wholemeal bread (to stop the men eating it!), and we are going out as a family on Sunday for a proper pizza.

* Stephen was desperate for some new shoes and now that he’s an adult and neither studying nor earning, we refuse to buy his clothes and shoes etc anymore. However, I saw a pair of trainers in TK Max, reduced to a very silly price, so got them. To my amazement he loved them – and then rewarded my kindness by entertaining Raji and I for 20 minutes or so as he tried to lace them up! 😀

* Zara and Zeb (go on,admit it, this was what you were waiting for!) are still utterly adorable and I’ve started seeing their own little personalities coming through now. Zara is cute and dainty but a little minx and she and Timmy have taken to each other and look for each other. Zeb is ever hungry and hopeful of extra food, and he’s definitely starting to get curious about the outside world. (He escaped briefly on Thursday evening and Uncle Raji chased him for a bit. Won’t be too long before he has a go at the cat flap.) I look forward to the day we can get rid of the litter trays as these two are little poo-and-pong making machines! Zeb likes a fuss but not being picked up, whereas Zara loves to be picked up and cuddled and she snuggles in. Both are getting more playful now and enjoy playing with toys and each other. Should any of the following ever make a bid to takeover the earth, we will be saved by our fearsome kittens: cotton buds, feet, socks, duvets, cushions, throws, serviettes, leaves and rugs! 🙂 Timmy brought in a mouse this morning and Zeb found it – and played with it for ages, uttering little growls to keep Zara away. I’m guessing he ate it as I can’t find it anywhere now! Both kittens have really filled out and their fur is glossy and soft – and generally pleasing to the eye and the touch. We are delighted with our babies and pleased to see that Timmy is enjoying feline company again too.

First one bed kittens
Other bed kittens!
Zara enjoying attention
Zeb looking thoughtful
Kittens on their favourite sofa

Wemb-er-lee. England 5-1 Kazakhstan

Billy and I left home at 10am on Saturday to catch the 11am train from Newcastle to London for my birthday treat. We were travelling in First Class and we’d planned to have lunch in the dining carriage – but there WAS no dining carriage on this train. Oh well, we’d have something from the seat service menu instead, so we were not too disappointed. However, when we came to order, we were told that there was no chef on this occasion so we could only have hot or cold sandwiches – WHAT a let down! We chose a hot sandwich each which was tasty enough, just not quite what we’d had in mind.

We crossed London smoothly enough, via the Tube (for which Billy had had the presence of mind to buy a one-day-travel-card in advance) and then set out for the pub recommended to us by DUXB, a Norwich supporting friend of mine. It was slightly off the beaten track which meant it was not overcrowded, and yet was 2 minutes walk from Wembley stadium, so it was perfect. We bought our drinks (desperately needed by now as it was a glorious day and we were thirsty) and wandered out to the garden. Oh wow! It was set up with a BBQ which was serving hot dogs and burgers (real ones, and a decent size for £3.50) with practised efficiency, and there were enough people there to make it a good atmosphere but too few to cause overcrowding. We bought a hot dog each and shortly afterwards DUXB and his party arrived so we joined them and complimented them on their choice of watering hole. It was lovely to see him again as we’ve been friends (through football and message boards) for years and last saw each other when City played Norwich in a cup game a couple of years ago.) Everyone was in cheerful and relaxed mood and people were chatting and mingling freely with everyone else, with no club-rivalry in evidence even where people wore something that showed their club loyalty. I chatted to a couple of fellow City fans as I passed, which was nice. Billy popped inside to the loo just before we left, and he balanced his pint on my head for a laugh. It was perfectly balanced and I wasn’t worried about it falling so jokingly walked a few steps to show him the laugh was on him and then took it off my head a little later in case anyone knocked in to me by accident. Sunshine, anticipation and not a little alcohol must have combined nicely by then, as all around the garden were other people trying to do the same – with much laughter ensuing. 😀

The Arch from the pub, see how close!

The garden on a glorious summery day

We said our goodbyes and made for the stadium in good time – though in fact, our entrance was not far – Billy treated me to a programme and there was even time for a quick photo to prove “I woz ‘ere. “

I think had I not been used to CoMS I may have been more in awe of the stadium, but although it IS impressive, to be honest, it’s just a bigger (red) version of City’s home, so I was quite relaxed about it. Billy had got us a couple of fantastic seats with a great view, and as it turned out, we were sitting just across the aisle from the away fans – about 100 of them. They were amusing as they only had one chant – “Kaz-akh-STAN” which they shouted with gusto, and every time one of their players did something good, there’d be girly “Wooooooo” noises 🙂 One of their number sounded (as loudly observed by a nearby England fan) like a walrus and he was the one who’d start the chant each time. It was a peculiar grunt only recognised by the rhythm of the noises made. Sorry, I can’t quite describe it, you had to be there.

Our view

Away fans, behind the single steward

Next to me was a father and son (the boy was probably about 6) – and they were much like the ones I’d had next to me at CoMS the other week. (What is it about me?!) The boy kept fidgeting and bumping into me, banging his seat and generally annoying me. Mind you, he knew more about football than some “fans” I’ve met, and I quite enjoyed his little observations. >(“It’s alright dad, we’re still winning” (at 2-1) and “I think they should stop walking around and just score a goal!” 😀 )

So, to the game. The first half was awful and the score when the whistle rescued us all from boredom was 0-0. There were some boos from the crowd, but happily the majority did not boo – we certainly didn’t. I was delighted to see SWP come on for the second half, though he was playing on the left instead of his usual right, and generally the ball stayed on the right or middle giving him few opportunities to do much. However, he did do OK there and he won us a corner which resulted in a goal.

England fans started to enjoy the game a bit more as the team started to grow in confidence and start playing the ball nicely. One enthusiastic fan in front of us seemed to feel he was the leader of the pack and tried to get everyone singing with him – which I think made us all shut up, all the more out of bloody-mindedness 😉 He did amuse me when Lampard had done something well, and he sang “One Frank Lampard…” all alone, and then added “I can’t even stand Lampard but someone’s got to sing!” 😀 (There was singing of course, just not non-stop as he wanted. I think the PA system msut have broadcast the sounds from other parts of the stadium, which was really weird and meant you couldn’t quite tell which noises came from where.)

The booing of Ashley Cole is well documented so I don’t need to say too much. Yes, it was a terrible error, but booing a player is NOT going to help him pull himself together and do better, and neither Billy nor I booed him. Naturally it was a largely southern crowd there and I suspect that may have something to do with it too. With each round of booing, the culprits got fewer and other fans started to cheer him – presumably to make a point.

Unbelievably, people were leaving at 4-1 (presumably to catch trains etc, but even so, what’s the point of paying all that money, making all that effort, to go and see England play a competitive game at Wembley, if you’re going to miss the last 5-10 minutes of the match?) Although we knew we would be cutting it very fine to catch our own train, Billy and I had already agreed that we would NOT be leaving before the final whistle, and we were rewarded with a 5th England goal.

We did leave straight away as we only had one hour to get across London to Kings Cross, and boy did we get some exercise?! We decided to give the stadium station a miss and we walked/jogged through crowds for a mile to reach the next station. We timed it well and managed to be at the front of the queue waiting to be let into the station for the next train (compliments to the police, they’ve got this system well sorted.) It did still take a while and we had 11 stops to go once on the tube so we did start to think we weren’t going to make it. When we arrived at our stop, we hot-footed it across the station to the right platform for our next tube, which would take us a further 4 stops to Kings Cross. We ran to our train and collapsed with relief into our seats – we’d made it with 6 minutes to spare! It was quite exhilarating, that mad dash and we were rather pleased with ourselves. Admittedly, we’d had a fair bit of luck as well as our good sense and physical effort to thank for making it, so we wouldn’t recommend anyone counts on copying – and we wouldn’t repeat those timings now that we know how tight it is.

Thankfully, whilst our carriage was busy and every seat taken, because we were in First Class thanks to my husband wanting to arrange a special treat, we were not squashed in like the rest of the passengers. It was full of returning England fans, many of whom had obviously had a lot to drink – though there was no unpleasantness, just loud fun. Eventually I was too tired to read and dozed in my seat for a bit. This wasn’t very comfortable as it was an airline seat, so when the seats opposite became empty, we moved across so I could snuggle up to Billy and sleep more comfortably. We were met at Newcastle by our taxi and we got home at about 12.40 am I think – we just went straight to bed and crashed out.

What a fantastic day, a great experience, wonderful (2nd half) entertainment, and all in the best company. I loved it – and I want to go again 😀

That Thursday Feeling.

Given that Monday was a bank holiday and it was Lee’s turn to have this one, we have swapped this week so that I am working on Thursday and Friday and she just worked Tuesday. This meant that I had to go and do the Tesco shopping on Tuesday – even though we still had a fair bit left. Very weird! It obviously threw everyone as I always ask what everyone wants (food, toiletries, clothing, anything) and everyone had a job to think properly. Anyway, I managed it, and though the shop wasn’t as busy as it had been before Easter, everyone seemed to be in a (post-chocolate?) daze which made it hard going.

In the afternoon, Rani and I kept her doctor’s appointment which was for a general check and reassurance. The doctor was very nice and took time to address all of Rani’s concerns in a reassuring but sympathetic way, and she gave her approval for a relaxing head, shoulders and neck massage. We’ve arranged this for next week at my clinic with Sarah, the Complementary Therapist who has joined me there and it should be something nice to which to look forward.

Wednesday was obviously my own clinic day with lots of prescriptions to dispense after the break, my drop in clinic, and then a late appointment for a patient who can only come after work. We cheated for dinner and Billy and I picked up  kebabs on the way home and then sat and watched the France v England friendly. What can I say? Bor-ring! Work to be done and nerves need to settle.

I survived.

Well I made it through that week, though was in bed by 9 pm every night and felt so tired. It was a heck of a week at the hospital – naturally, it couldn’t have been a nice quiet one given the situation could it? Oh no, it was full speed ahead in every respect.

I came home on Friday night, very, very tired, and when I went to say hello to Rani, she told me to sit down as she had something to tell me. Uh-oh! With some trepidation, I did as asked, and she said that she hoped I didn’t mind, but she had paid Mrs Gem to do the ironing that afternoon. I was flabbergasted! Mind? Not at all! WHAT a lovely thing to do! The basket was full to bursting as I had been away last weekend and Billy had just done the essentials, and I had resigned myself to a 4 hour session on the Saturday afternoon after I’d done my clinic. Now I didn’t have to worry about where to find the time. Not only had Mrs Gem done the ironing itself, but she had also put all the clothes away too! I think I spent the evening in a grateful daze.

Billy and I left Rani to her TV programmes whilst we went and played darts – we were away to the Rose & Crown, whose pub is actually closed so they are temporarily based at The Heart. We got there to find that we were using a (new) second dart board through the back in somewhat cramped quarters – but apart from having to stand most of the evening, it worked out OK.

As ever, we lost our first trebles game, but won the second, and in fact, Paul managed to win his trebles, doubles and singles game that evening. Well done Paul. I didn’t throw badly all evening, but not quite my best either – as usual, I managed to raise my game for my singles which was good as I was playing a very good player. He did beat me but he was kind enough to compliment my game and said he was worried I would win, as we’d been neck and neck all through. Claire won her singles game which was brilliant and we are always so delighted for her – because she is always so taken aback! Over all, we lost 7-4 I think (sorry, it seems a life-time ago!)

The Heart’s home team had been playing at the front of the pub and their opponents were the Ex Service B team – so we had enjoyed an evening seeing them as well. Billy and I left fairly early as we were both tired, and I had a herbal patient to see in the morning.

As it turned out, on Saturday, I ended up being in my clinic most of the day and just about got home at 2.50 pm – in time to see my match. Or not! When I’d tried to order in on Liveonlinefooty.com on Friday, they had not updated the schedule so I couldn’t. By the time I got home on Saturday, it was too late and the service was fully subscribed. So I tried to find somewhere to listen to the live commentary – but there wasn’t anywhere. GRRRR! I had to resort to a live text commentary, but as I had lots of other things to try and do at the same time, I couldn’t follow it properly. (What a Godsend it was not having to also do the ironing!) Other than knowing when Dunne went off injured (very bad news, especially with Ned and Micah out too!) when we went 1-0 down and then 2-0 down that was all I gleaned. A bad day for City all round then! Since we can’t score at the moment, we certainly need not to concede, and that’s difficult with hardly any defenders!

We didn’t do Newcastle any favours either – and since they’d lost to Liverpool, they could have done with us beating one of their relegation rivals. On the plus side – ManUre and Chelsea were both knocked out of the FA Cup! :D

Billy had gone out to watch his match in the pub as it was on a foreign channel, and then, after eating, sat down to watch the rugby, courtesy of $ky+ – and wished he hadn’t bothered as England were beaten by Scotland! Later Saturday night, England also managed to lose the cricket!
So – I survived, but City, Newcastle and England didn’t. You can always rely on your sports to see you through – or not! 😉

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