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2017-08-03 09:32 pm

Shattered Dreams

heart. broken.
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2017-04-22 10:22 pm

Goodbye

A short, short time ago
I can well remember how Notts Ladies used to make me smile
And I knew how happy I would be
With Laura, Carly and Sophie
And maybe they’d win trophies with some style
But April ’17 made me shiver
When Mr Hardy did not deliver
Dear Mr and Mrs Trew
Had left our club in a stew
I’m not ashamed, I almost cried
Devastation I could not hide
My heart broke deep down inside
The day Notts Ladies died.

So bye, bye to the Lady Pies
No more bevvy in the Navi, now my Sundays are dry
Those good old boys and girls who sat up on high
I’ll miss until the day that I die…

The Magpie girls I did love
To watch them from the stand above
Were the best days I did know
We believed at Meadow Lane
2014 the Ladies came
We thought they’d reach out for the chance ready to go
I knew I was in love with Holtham
When down the field she went boltin’
Great days of footy and booze
Beating two sets of dark Blues
And we all remember that free kick
When Ellen and Laura did their trick
And left the Arsenal feeling sick
Great days at Lady Pies

But now we’re singing bye…

2015 we could smell success
Tears for Laura, our Lioness
The making of her we hoped it’d be
Lady Pies were off to Wembley
All our knees were going trembly
A smile and a winner’s medal on her we thought we’d see
But nothing turns out like you hoped
On the day our girls just choked
We put a brave face on and said
“We’ll win the Conti instead”
But Simms *spit* sent Laura from the park
Notts completely lost their spark
Medal fiasco, Carly’s snark
The day our Cup dream died

Now bye…

2016 started bright
Rachel Yankey in black and white
Was this going to be our year?
Ellen off for “kicking it away”
Smith gets nowt for throttling LJ
Penalties leave us weeping in our beer
We all felt good to be alive
Ten minutes remaining at the Hive
Smith and Williams shattered our dreams
Our season ripped at the seams
Warning signs even then are clear
DS girls in injured players’ shirts appear
We’re just glad to end a terrible year
Never thought our club would die

But it’s bye…

I met a girl who I once knew
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the Navigation
My favourite watering hole in the nation
But the barmaid said the girls no more would play
The Chairman makes the men’s club rich
Unveils plans for a Wembley pitch
But not a word is spoken
For the ones whose hearts are broken
And the three girls who mean most to me
Laura, Carly and Sophie
Started an uncertain journey
The day Notts Ladies died.

And they were singing...
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2016-03-24 06:21 pm

Have You Ever Had It Blue?

Susie was off this week but she'd left me an extra task : disposing of some old documents that had been gathering dust under the desk since her days in my current job. While I was sorting them, I began feeling a sensation of something in my eye. The irritation was still there yesterday morning, so I set off earlier than planned for the trip to Manchester and called in at the surgery in Leighton to see the nurse.

I was waiting over an hour. After dripping orange dye into my eye to allow her to shine a light on it to look for scratches - none, thank goodness - I was expecting her to wash it out with water, but she prescribed me some ointment to drop into my eye four times a day. I administered my first drop in the surgery waiting room and wandered around the High Street shops with that eye shut. I was thinking that right now 'Sally One Eye', one of my old Hawk girls, and I ought to get together...

I had fun and games finding the Manchester Sportcity Travelodge, mostly because my crude hand-drawn map copied from Google Maps wasn't to scale so I ended up walking a good half-mile further up Pottery Lane than I needed to. After unpacking I switched on the telly, administered an eye drop and laid on the bed with my head tilted back listening to The Chase.

Then it was time to mosey up to the Manchester City Academy Stadium. The tea bar served an excellent Lancashire beef and beer stew with red cabbage. Having eaten, I popped up to the press seats to see if Jen from She Kicks was at the game - she wasn't, but I got a quick word with Louise from Radio 5 Live and thanked her for the support they're giving the women's game. Then I looked round for fellow Lady Pies fans, found Kate and husband Lee in the front row and joined them.

As the teams were announced, Notts fans booed City's Nikita Parris. Being still something of a rookie Lady Pies fan, I asked Kate why, and she said last year Parris had dived all over the place and committed a bad foul on a Lady Pie and got away with all her sins. That was to haunt us.

Notts matched City, keeping them at bay the whole time with solid rearguard action and mounting their share of attacks. Eyebrows had been raised before the match when we saw Megan Walsh was starting in goal for us, we wondered if Carly Telford's hamstring was still aggravating her or if Rick was just preferring Megan, but if it was the latter then Rick was right on the button as Megan played an absolute blinder, making a string of fantastic saves. We looked set for a well-deserved point, with which we'd have been very happy against a star-studded side.

Then...in the 93rd minute Nikita Parris threw herself on the ground like a sack of spuds 30 yards from goal. The free kick was given. Steph Houghton struck the ball clinically and it sailed straight into the net.

We all sat in stunned silence while the home fans around us all went bananas. The whistle went. I said my goodbyes to Kate and Lee and trudged back to the Travelodge to drown my sorrows with a Rekorderlig in the bar. The bar had Heart radio playing 24/7, which in my mood irritated me. At that time of night, speech radio like 5 Live is more appropriate, or if you must have music, something easier on the ear like Magic.

Back to the room to put the news on and run a relaxing bath.

Left the hotel this morning into rain. On the train home, learned that my pal Jodie Taylor had signed for Arsenal Ladies! That was a bolt from the blue - I'd thought she'd never leave the States, on Twitter even Jen said she was gobsmacked. It's fantastic news for the WSL, though, and from a Lady Pies point of view, now Arsenal have Jodie fingers crossed they might let us keep Rachel Yankey for longer.

Arrived home just in time for the start of the England v West Indies Women's T20 cricket on 5 Live Sports Extra. That was nail-biting stuff, went down to the last ball but no matter - WE WON :)
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2016-03-18 05:58 pm

Her Majesty

Well, we were all deflated when Desi Scott left, and radged off when her replacement Tasha Flint left this week without playing a competitive game for us...

but now, on transfer deadline day...

THE QUEEN IS IN THE HOUSE! RACHEL YANKEY HAS SIGNED FOR THE LADY PIES!! Buzzing!
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2016-03-02 10:19 am

Twilight Cafe

A decaf latte at Gatwick. Sadly there are no bagels to be found.
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2016-01-30 09:32 pm

Arthur's Theme

To Derby today to see Oddsocks' panto The Legend of King Arthur. I've written plenty of times on here how much I love this comedy troupe. The show, as usual, opened with the cast playing a musical number - with a sign proclaiming them to be 'Baddest Knight and the Picts' - then introducing themselves, or rather their Oddsocks personae, such as 'A young lady you'll never find sitting down on the job - Emma Roids!'

Emma Roids, aka Lucy Varney, was the star of the show, portraying a hilariously dopey Lady Igraine and a Lady Guinevere who jousted and kicked butt as well as any of the knights. Oddsocks co-founder Elli Mackenzie, alias Nell Backhandle, was fantastic as the evil witch Morgan le Fay, getting everyone booing her with gusto in fine panto tradition and casting wicked spells with Latinate words à la J. K. Rowling. Of course there were 'It's behind you's and 'Oh no you shouldn't's, and plenty of knights, jousts and quests, and each of the cast got to do at least one song. There was the odd bit of satire, like an arch-conservative parchment news sheet called the 'Daily Chainmail' and a couple of sour characters moaning about 'dirty stinking Saxons' and 'marauding kilted maniacs' coming into England - of course King Arthur comes to the rescue establishing a tolerant country with justice for all. Very jolly and lots of fun.
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2016-01-25 09:03 pm

The Sun Always Shines On TV

Loving Dickensian on BBC1, a fascinating series built on a simple but amazingly imaginative concept - lots of Dickens characters meet. During one episode I tweeted 'Watching Dickensian. Caroline Quentin is hilarious!' and, joy of joys, Caroline herself replied, thanking me and saying she'd loved making the show.

Drove down to Gosport on Friday night to visit the parents, just made it in time for Top of the Pops 1981. Debbie Harry is still leading my Pop Babe of '81 stakes with her sexy outfit and moves from the Rapture video, though lovely Susan Fassbender pushed her close.

Saturday my mother made a Burns supper. She managed to smoke out the kitchen burning the oatmeal she was toasting for the cranachan, but she made another lot and the end result was quite tasty (though you could tell she'd applied the whisky rather liberally) as was the haggis.

Back home on Sunday, for another Burns meal at the Axe, also excellent. Their dessert was a delicious raspberry, cream and shortcake stack, and the guest beer on was (what else?) Belhaven Robert Burns Ale, excellent.

Have to confess to a guilty pleasure in Celebrity Big Brother and I'm very attracted to the beautiful Tiffany, one of the best housemates in terms of the house dynamic and also hugely entertaining. She has to win!
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2016-01-09 05:57 pm

The Storm Is Over Now

Quiz night last night. With the festive season already a faded memory, it seemed a bit strange to be wished 'Happy New Year' by everyone. Contrary to the expectations of many, last month's winners did turn up, changing their name from The Sand Dobbers to A Win Maybe. If that was a subterfuge to try and avoid the penalty for winning last month, it didn't work - they were dinged 8 points regardless.

Aside from the main quiz, we have a 'jackpot round' of 3 questions; all teams getting them all right go into a draw, and the team pulled out get to make a lucky dip to win either entry fees back, the jackpot (£30 last night, an extra £10 goes in each month it's unclaimed), or a free round of drinks. One question was '25 Cromwell Street was a notorious address in which town or city?' I wrote Gloucester on the sheet. Mick agreed with me, but Terry and John insisted it was Bristol, and crossed out Gloucester and substituted Bristol. After the papers had been handed in, Steve the quizmaster said to us "You made the wrong choice." Gloucester was right. For the rest of the evening Mick wound Terry and John up by saying "Bristol" when we were debating answers we weren't sure of.

Thankfully we made up for it on the main quiz. We were in a narrow lead with two rounds to go when we struggled on the penultimate round, 'All or Nothing', knowing only five of the ten answers. One of the questions we didn't know was "What kind of food is a morel?" Then, with seconds to go, Alan suddenly said a morel was a mushroom. We put it down and it proved to be right. With again only six right on the last round 'In The News' we were sure we'd get overhauled, but then the scores were announced and we'd won by one point.

We all congratulated Alan on his mushroom winning us the prize. Then John was able to point to Cyril, the only one of us who'd known the newspaper founded in 1912 that relaunched as The S*n (cough! spit!) in 1964 was the Daily Herald; I mentioned my being the only one who knew that the singer of the one-hit wonder Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You was Glenn Medeiros.

BP review today. Normal range at last, so I get to continue on my new meds until November. Hallelujah! On to MK M&S to recycle my Christmas cards, then home for a Rolo milkshake from the bakery just along the road and on to the Heath Inn to catch the football results.
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2016-01-06 09:24 pm

The Twelfth Of Never

Took down the Christmas decorations first thing this morning before setting off for work. Mentioned it in chat with Lucy, who said "That's dedication" and that she'd have been tempted to leave them up. I reminded her that if you leave them up after today you have to leave them up all year, and she reckoned that would have been fine with her.

On my next visit to the team, mid-morning, Sarah was eyeing up the surviving Christmas nibbles. I urged her to have the last piece of Yule log; she reckoned she'd get two slices out of it. I guess it is a generous one.

As promised to Tracey before Christmas, I popped into the Heath Inn after work to help take down their decs, only to find there was just a lone barman on duty and that they'd been taken down yesterday. The Christmas ale Christmas Star was still on, so settled into a corner for a quiet pint.
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2015-12-31 06:16 am

Congratulations

Congrats to Steph Houghton and Fara Williams on their MBEs. Well done ladies!
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2015-11-15 10:33 am

At The Club

To the Legion last night to see Edison Lighthouse. Although the group was formed in 1970, the compère introduced them as a '60s band'. They did indeed do a (superb) set of 60s covers, notably Drifters and Searchers numbers plus other classics like Do Wah Diddy Diddy, that had a goodly number of the audience grooving on the dance floor. The frontman called for a lot of audience participation, like stopping to allow the crowd to sing choruses on their own. Towards the end he introduced Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) , but it was a shame that he admitted that the record had already been made by session men before the band was formed and that the group was assembled thereafter to promote the record. I think nostalgic pop fans should be allowed to believe that the people entertaining them are the ones who made the hit record, even if so many old bands performing today have been through multiple lineup changes and quite a few of them are Trigger's Brooms. Never mind, they did a great rendition of Love Grows (but sadly not the follow-up single It's Up To You Petula) then launched into Da Doo Ron Ron and closed with a couple of slowies to allow the couples on the floor to smooch, Save The Last Dance For Me and Wonderful Tonight.
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2015-11-14 07:29 pm

The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn

Thanks to the wonders of eBay, I finally have a Pogues 30th Anniversary beanie hat once again, two years after my brand new one mysteriously vanished in the Manchester Travelodge.
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2015-11-14 11:03 am

XX Sex

To London last night to see Fuzzbox at the 100 Club. Tim Muddiman & The Strange opened the show - not bad, if not really my kind of music - then came Saffron, lead singer of Republica. She was brilliant, doing great patter between songs, singing three Republica hits including, to my delight, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and many punk covers including excellent versions of the Stranglers' Duchess and the Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love.

After an interval the lights dimmed, a Thunderbirds-style intro track played, and the ladies crept onto stage under cover of darkness to be there for the climax of "5...4...3...2...1...Fuzzbox are Go!" and launch straight into International Rescue. They looked absolutely stunning, Vix with her dark-red dyed hair and PVC floozie dress, Maggie with her shortish blonde waves, and Sarit and Megan resplendent in black sparkly leotards.

Vix and Maggie kept up great chat with the crowd all through the show. After the first song one guy called something out to Vix, who said "Are we going to have a private conversation?" Then she said "This is a golden oldie" and they struck up the opening chords of Rules And Regulations.

The whole set was just amazing. All the group's well loved songs were included, plus a couple of surprises. A running theme was Maggie's coil (from her hair clip) going missing - "Where's my coil?", "Who stole Maggie's coil?" (the latter prompting Maggie into a hilarious twitch and "ooh!" clearly in imitation of having an internal device suddenly plucked out). Maggie announced that Vix had acquired a new (second-hand) violin and said "What song do you think this is for?" Someone shouted "Irish Bride", and Vix, incredulous, exclaimed "Irish Bride??" Vix struck up the violin and Maggie talked her way through Spirit In The Sky in characteristic Fuzzbox style. XX Sex was extended to include a prolonged chant of "We've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it" during the runout.

Midway through the set Maggie said "I'd like to remember my sister Jo." Massive cheer and round of applause. Maggie said how she hoped Jo was looking down - "or up," Vix quipped - on them and smiling.

Vix announced the last song; by then we'd had all the band's well known numbers except Pink Sunshine. "Anything missing so far?" she asked the crowd; she got a few shouts of "Pink Sunshine" and finally acknowledged one, leading the group into it. Towards the end they did a break with continuing drumbeat for Vix to introduce all the band members. As I've not given her a mention yet I have to namecheck the superb drummer, "rhythm mistress" Hannah. Next were Sarit and Megan. Each of them did a solo after her introduction, followed by Vix saying "What do you think? Not bad...for a girl!" Then Vix said "Have I forgotten anyone?" and we all chanted "Maggie! Maggie!" Vix said a bit about how she and Maggie have known each other ages and finished by introducing her as "the synth queen Maggie Fuzzbox!" Maggie did a bit of jokey plink-plonking. When she'd got her round of applause Vix said simply "And I'm Vix." A few more choruses of Pink Sunshine closed the main set.

Of course we got an encore. Vix opened it by saying they'd floated the idea of doing an a cappella song and been advised against, "but we're going to do it anyway". She and Maggie did a great a cappella rendition of Da Doo Ron Ron, though sadly it was the Crystals' original lyrics not the Fuzzbox's own "Martin Degville/I told him I'd rather go alone" version that we fans of theirs remember and love. The full band then finished with Pop Muzik, culminating in a long crowd singalong.

As they left the stage Sarit did a big smile and a flirty wave. I fell.

The band had said on Facebook they'd be doing a meet and greet after; it was a little while before I spotted they were over in the corner at the merchandise table. There was a bit of a scrum there but I eventually made it to the front, said to Vix "Fantastic show, I've wanted to meet you for 29 years" and shook her hand, and got them all to sign my ticket, giving Sarit my best smile. Maggie was absent; the roadie said she was meeting fans upstairs, so several of us beatled up the stairs to see her. Just as we got there she said she had to get down to join the others. One chap who'd got to her before me got a pic taken with her on the stairs; fortunately I managed to keep close enough to her to congratulate her, tell her I'd wanted to meet her for 29 years, and get her autograph soon after she arrived at the table with the others.
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2015-10-26 06:21 pm

Here Comes The Night

The season of walking in the dark has arrived :( Roll on March.

It's the FA Cup 1st Round draw tonight. Would love to be in the pub watching it but my hypertension review is less than three weeks away, and I indulged in three Belgian beers in the Black Lion on Saturday and a pint with my roast in Bedworth yesterday, so had better stay off the sauce through the week. Detox is a pig.
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2015-09-08 09:57 pm

Here Comes That Man Again

Hooray, time for a new series of Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish - followed by an old episode. TV heaven.
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2015-09-02 07:12 am

Birthday

A very Happy Birthday to my best e-friend [livejournal.com profile] just_jenni. Have a wonderful day XX
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2015-08-16 09:56 pm

(Your Love Alone Is) Not Enough

Went down to Gosport for the weekend. The Library had organised an attempt on the world record for the most people simultaneously walking 5 metres balancing a book on their head. During the morning, among my books in my old room at my parents' home I found Denise Lewis' autobiography Personal Best which was regulation size. Found a sweet spot on my head and did several practice walks. All went well.

My mother, my aunts Cynthia and Jean, and Aussie and Carol from The Villagers were all there. Peter, an ex-mayor of Gosport I know from our civic year and former manager of Gosport Borough, was one of the organisers, the compère was a DJ from the local hospital radio wearing a Union Jack waistcoat, and Gosport man Glen Ford, the world's number one Norman Wisdom tribute act, was the warm-up entertainment. Also present was a lady named Vicky from the Guinness Book of Records.

There were 20 lanes marked out for the participants; they stretched some 25 metres from the park fence, and several of us were wondering if we were going to have to walk the length of the lane (which I succeeded in doing in practice while we were waiting for the off). Fortunately the lanes were just for us all to queue in behind the start line of the 5 metre course. I got a spot near the front.

As we were lined up waiting, it occurred to me that Denise Lewis, whose book I was using, was a world record breaker; I hoped that was a good omen. I completed the course, going slowly and surely. The good news was that, as far as I was able to make out, not a single book got dropped; the bad news was that, after several minutes, word came out that only 450 people had participated, not even half the world record of 998.

As the world record had been set in Australia, while Union Jack Man was officially announcing the bad news I went up to him and asked if we'd set a British record. Union Jack Man asked Vicky that question on the mike, but she said they only recorded world records. So we still don't know if we set a UK record. Union Jack Man, rather desperately, tried to put a spin on it by announcing it was a Gosport record. Peter and his fellow county councillor Chris said they'd try again and get schools involved.
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2015-07-19 12:04 am

Over Land And Sea

Down to the Isle of Wight today to see The Villagers do The Tempest. I'd texted my old pal Dan, who has lived on the Island for many years, two weeks ago to ask if he fancied meeting up for the play and he'd agreed. Then this morning Dan phoned to say his dad Glyn and Glyn's girlfriend Erica had said on a whim that they'd like to see the show.

They live in Portsmouth, close to the Isle of Wight car ferry port, so I met them there and we travelled over together. I've known and got on with Glyn for ages. It was the first time I'd met Erica, who's from Austria; she was pleasant and friendly. Dan met us when we arrived at Fishbourne and drove us to Quarr Abbey, where the play was being presented.

Quarr Abbey is still a working monastery of Benedictine monks. There's a souvenir shop, selling mostly Catholic books but also a few about the Isle of Wight. One title they sell is a book penned by Glyn and Dan, Curious Carvings, Odd Odes & Tall Tales of the Isle of Wight. Naturally I bought a copy and got them both to sign.

I went over to the stage area in search of programmes (a folded sheet with the cast list and a potted history of the Villagers). At first all I or any of the Villagers people in the vicinity could find was bookmarks; just then Carol appeared bearing programmes. On her spotting me, we walked over to each other and shared a hug and a peck on the cheek, then a quick chat.

A lady sitting just inside the entrance to the tea garden spotted my Villagers Silver Jubilee polo shirt and asked if I was an ex-member of the company. I replied no, I just have friends in the group. She said I was lucky as she'd never known of a non-member getting one. She introduced herself as Annette and said she was playing Sebastienne and would be off to get changed in a moment. Annette asked if I attended often; I said every year since 2004 and added "I live near Milton Keynes, I'm just down for the show." Annette gasped, then said "We need loyal fans like you, thank you." I replied "Break a leg" and wandered back over to the stage area, where Aussie was standing and he and I had a catch-up.

The teashop's wares included a Quarr Abbey Ale. I had to try one to accompany the early scenes of the play; a very pleasant tipple.

The play was very well performed as usual. Sarah Mackinnon was excellent as Miranda. Ariel was played by two young women, Charlotte Fitzgerald and Charlene Lomas, both in brightly coloured hair and dresses (Charlotte in shining blue with a bit of green; Charlene in red and yellow, with - be still, my beating heart - pink hair). They always appeared on stage together, often entering from opposite sides, usually taking turns to speak, occasionally speaking in unison. They gave their performance a lively playful edge, especially when they were teasing Caliban, Stefano and Trinculo, giving them pushes and nips with big grins. I loved them.

Towards the end of the first half there was a tap on the back of my chair. I turned to see Sharon, a friend of my mother. I already knew from the programme Sharon was playing Iris. I waved, then during a scene change said hello and asked how she was. She said "My bit's coming up" (it would actually be quite some time into the second half).

A Minghella's Old English Toffee ice cream at the interval. A former member of the company, Nigel, who I'd worked with at ONS, came over to say hello to Dan and me.

Sharon was very good when her bit came, as were her fellow goddesses Glyn (a mainstay of the Villagers and mother of an old friend of mine) as Juno and Carol as Ceres. At 4.45 the Abbey bells launched into a very long ring to call the monks to prayer. It carried on for about ten minutes, and started up again, for a shorter ring, at 5 pm. The cast gamely carried on, raising their voices to be heard above the bells. During his speech of thanks to the audience at the end Ian (Prospero) joked that next year's play would be For Whom The Bell Tolls.

We all chatted to Aussie and Carol again at the end. Someone, talking to another cast member, was saying he'd thought the bells were part of the play.

Drive back to Fishbourne, where it emerged in conversation that there's been a lady in Dan's life - Lucia - for the last 18 months and that she has moved in with him. On realising this was the first I'd heard, Glyn said it was clearly a long time since Dan and I had had a proper catch-up. I remarked that it was a shame Lucia hadn't come today; Dan said she had work.

Glyn, Erica and I said our goodbyes to Dan and boarded the ferry. They decided on the trip over that they fancied a fish and chip supper, so when we arrived in Portsmouth they gave me a lift to the Hard, allowing me to catch the train home while they visited the chippy.

Arrived home just after 10. Hooray, there was an episode of Dave Gorman : Modern Life is Goodish on Dave.
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2015-06-26 11:52 pm

Always Have, Always Will

Any penalty shoot-out involving Germany, you just know what will happen. With 5-4, I knew straight away the last French kick would be missed. It's a cosmic law.