30 August 2011

My starter...

...for Ten.
The tenth one is behind you.

When recently in Blackpool for four days of punk rock at Rebellion Festival, I needed to both get out of the city and get in some football.

Apart from my initial visit to London Road in 2003 (which hardly counts, since it was my first match ever and I had no idea what I was letting myself in for) and my first of two visits to Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium in 2010 (Bnei Yehuda v Hapoel Acre, maybe), this was to be my first match to a new place on my own.

My original plan was to visit AFC Blackpool because it looked simple enough to get to whilst also far enough away from, well, Blackpool. Plus, theirs v Runcorn Linnets was the first league match of their season.

I'd also done a smidgen of research on AFC Fylde, whose location was meant to be nicer, but farther away and the match, their final pre-season friendly.

At home, I'd scribbled down a few notes about how to get to both clubs from Blackpool. Or so I thought...*

After a leisurely B&B breakfast and lounging about in my room listening to The Danny Baker Show, my destination indecision came to a halt after a brief t-chat (see what I did there?) resulted in a last-minute victory for AFC Fylde v Guisborough Town.

*A long, convoluted journey from my hotel ensued...but let's skip ahead...


As I'd need to change buses in Lytham, I'd had a quick search to see if there was anywhere worth stopping for a quick pint. Was there ever...

I made my way to CAMRA 2010 Pub of the Year runner-up, The Taps.

The Taps was a busy and homely place with friendly faces behind the bar; the food (of which I unfortunately did not partake. Walkers salt & vinegar doesn't count.) looked and smelled good and there was a good choice of ales.

After ordering my beer (which may have been Elgood & Sons' 'Black Dog') and looking like a lost sheep searching for its table, I eventually perched awkwardly on a seat that had a former life as a barrel; its height made me feel like a child who can't quite reach the table.

While I cast my mind back to supping that beer and looking at all of the rugby memorabilia surrounding me...

A library to be proud of.
I will take the opportunity to mention what a wonderful little town was Lytham. I knew within seconds of leaving the bus that this place was special. Independent shops dominate the high street, as did smiling people. It was clean and tidy, with blooming flowers everywhere. And less than a 5-minute walk away: the beach.

What's not to love?

What's also in Lytham that I unfortunately didn't learn about it until it was too late is a famous (apparently) windmill! I am disappointed to have missed it, and that my time in the town was so brief. I must return someday.

And so to the footy...

From Lytham was a short bus journey to the village of Warton and The Pickwick Tavern, from which Kellamergh Park, the home of AFC Fylde, was alleged to be a mere 10 minute-or-less walk.

The pub was in no way noteworthy, but the lady behind the bar was friendly enough. I retired to the garden with my Guinness. And what a view...

Hard Ware Up Shop Stairs?

It was soon time for the '10 minute or less' walk, which, it turned out, would have been more aptly called the 20-25 minute walk. I suppose the average football supporter has much longer legs than me.

Along the way, I passed an old church, a farm with 3 large dogs playing like puppies and a field of sheep. I was winning already.

But more was to come...

AFC Fylde 10 v Guisborough Town 0
Saturday, 6 August 2011
Attendance: 120 (a guess)
Entry: £5
Programme: £1
Consumed on site: pint of bitter, chip and cheese butty (ish), tea

Yep, that's 10-0.

This many days later, I can't remember the who, when and how of those ten goals (here's a report, if you go for that sort of thing). I tend to be people-watching or looking out into space (or, in this case, at sheep) when goals are scored, so I can't say for sure that I saw them all.

But there were ten. That I know.

One team is in white and the other in blue.
Just don't ask me which is which.

Things I do remember:
  • Fylde had a good partnership up front. I think one of them had orange hair
  • Sheep baaaahed and cows moooooed during quiet times of play. This should be incorporated into all games
  • The Club's PR was very well-designed and professional; A4 posters in the toilets and other spots around the ground advertised the new season's full programme of fixtures
  • The Club staff and volunteers that I encountered were all very friendly
  • The clubhouse, 'Fullers Bar', was snazzy
  • The chap on the tannoy was upbeat and cheeky

I got my money's worth.

Unsurprisingly, I was the only person to leave the ground on foot. The walk back to the bus stop seemed quicker than earlier. I passed the sheep again - who, one might proffer, worked harder for my affection than did Guisborough Town.

After sleeping for most of the hour or so it took to get back into Blackpool, I arrived at my hotel 6 hours after I'd left. For local football.

And then there was tea. And punk rock.

This tune bears no relation to this post, but fits nicely with the theme of my weekend. Football and music. It's the same. 

29 August 2011

I have been working...

...on a post for so long, that it's now out of date.

I finished it in one sitting a couple of weeks ago, then forgot about it.

Now I've started fussing with it again, as well as struggling with formatting here at this page. Why they make it so difficult to include and position photos, I'll never know. What decade is this, anyhow?

I digress... I will soon post it anyway, even though (or because?) I am tired of looking at it.

It sits here mocking me as another reminder of why something inside of me will not allow me to write for a living.

28 August 2011

March was clearly...

...a month lacking in real-world social activity.

Playing around with the new (to me) design options here, I have created a new page which lists the films I've watched so far this year.

Why not have a look?

This has turned out to be a formatting nightmare, and I am determined to make work one of the many tricks I've read to give the page its own layout look.


In case you missed it, there's also a list over there (look top left) of films I've watched most recently.

Riveting, no?

19 August 2011

What I'm working on ...

...right now

16 August 2011



In seeking a way to change one tiny thing earlier today, I instead ended up here for 2 hours or so, trying to work out how to do lots of tiny things now I have upgraded my blog template.

I didn't want to. I really liked these dots

But, like cake, I can't have my dots and categories, too.

I don't know why, since separated by a common language can. *grumble*

But I rather like the books in the background of where you're reading now. Did you notice?

We shall see. First I need to understand how the new things work (for example, do you see that new search box over there? No, over there...to the left. It doesn't seem to actually do anything. Why?) and then concern myself with aesthetic pleasure.

But, hey ho, it's good to shake things up every now and then. I've had this page for 7 years and haven't changed anything. Hey, I've only just told people (by 'people', I mean 4 - so if you happen to be reading this, you are one of an elite quartet) about it for the first time.

And I still can't yet think of a name for it. I need some ideas...

13 August 2011

Oh! Darling...

...please believe me...

To go along with my image of the week (below), I forgot to include my song of the week: 'Luke Tuchscherer's 'My Darling England'.

About the song, this week Luke commented: 'This is an original song of mine. I wrote it when I was 21, so it's scary that it's seven years old now. I understand it better now than I did then.'

When September 11th...

...(as it is known, rather than 11/9) happened, the first thing I did on getting home (I was in Australia at the time) was book a long flight. While the rest of the world mourned, I felt nothing other than the need to get out and experience life.

The morning after 7/7 (the date is the same in any variance of English), I got on a bus and got on with things. Maybe because I knew that had I not been running late the morning before as I made my way to Arsenal tube station, I could have easily been on the train that was bombed between Russell Square and King's Cross.

Or maybe it was because I was a Londoner.

Today - after watching the country being torn apart for the last few days - I sit home and lament.

I am getting too old for the destruction of the world and mankind.

There are things that I want to be out doing today, but I'm not doing them.

I know that good comes from bad...

Indeed, all one has to do is look to my first sentence above: without said long flight (to the UK), I would have not found myself living in this country 9 years, 7 months and 18 days later.

Yes, this country which has broken my heart a little bit more time and time again.

Especially this week.

But it is home.

...but while I would like to be able to focus on

All I see is

This display of both love and hate has gradually become my image of the week.

I did not realise how despondent I was feeling until putting it into 140 characters last evening (about football today): "It's strange how unimportant it feels after the last few days. I am feeling somewhat scarred.".

After that, I was in and out of tears for some time, as I thought of all the horrible things the world does to us.

And after a very restless night's sleep that resulted in being hardly able to drag myself out of bed until nearly 11am, my first 'public' thought this morning was: "I am sad that the last week of sadness has drained me of enthusiasm for this day I've been waiting for. No joy, no motivation, no football."

I got out of bed today, and will get myself out this funk. Maybe in an hour, maybe in two days.

Until then, my sofa is my haven.

Spending the afternoon watching...

... films where people end up finding love at unexpected times and places is probably not the best use of time for one already feeling low about the crumbling world.