You’re giggling aren’t you? It’s that M word.

‘Moist.’ It gets a bad press. It’s the innuendo king of adjectives related to the states of being wet or dry or somewhere in between. And it’s getting its money’s worth for the opening month of 2018, as it is a slightly more accurate description of January Chez TLF than ‘dry’.

It was just after Christmas that Mr TLF started referencing the idea of dry January. I thought maybe I was having lurgy-related hallucinations, but no, on the surface, he seemed quite attached to the idea. Being a suspicious type of TLF particularly when it comes to Mr TLF and the idea of alcohol related abstinence, I thought it worth exploring a little further.

TLF: You do know what it means don’t you, Dry January? It means like no booze from 1 January to 31 January inclusive. None. Nada. Zilch.”

[Mr TLF looks impassive.]

TLF: So not on Paul’s birthday meal on 19 January. Not never. NO booze. No wine. No cider. No stickies .”

Mr: I think you would have to make allowances for carved out occasions like Paul’s birthday….

…..and weekends….

…and high holidays.

TLF: So it wouldn’t be a dry January then would it!

Mr: Well, no. But it would be a bit.

TLF: So not dry. Damp maybe, experiencing mild precipitation, clammy even, or slightly moist. But certainly not DRY.

[Exit Mr TLF rolling his eyes in that ‘there-she-is-being-a-bit-picky-again’ kind of a way.]

And so here we are having a moist January.

Good job TLF has a dry sense of humour. BOOM-BOOM!

VS*TLF

* very sober

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A plague on both your houses

Well.
Just TLF Towers to be precise.
And then only TLF’s part. Mr TLF appears immune.

Some hideous snot-ridden lurgy strikes TLF on 28 December and at the time of rambling continues to linger. Like a bad smell. If TLF had any sense of smell currently.

Plans for carefree days of country walks, pub lunches and quality Mr TLF time (supplemented with a soupçon of football watching) were abandoned in favour of box set bingeing, sleep, sulking and a lot of sneezing. On the plus side TLF lost weight over the festive period as the taste of alcohol went all funny and an attempt at New Year bonhomie involved drinking champagne that to TLF at any rate thought was strangely reminiscent of dandelion and burdock. Bed by 9.30pm and a mug of herbal tea are my last rock n roll acts of 2017.

Ah 2017. Not a vintage by any means. We could turn this into a massive TLF whinge-fest. Cathartic but not very positive. So six reasons why 2017 wasn’t all bad…

Running
My running was rubbish but my mate Julie became a runner. Not just from couch to 5k but to half marathon. You are a brilliant friend and an utter star.

A proper holiday
My new boss convinced me to take a fortnight off for the first time in two decades. Best advice from a gaffer EVER.

Kulture
We saw some duffers but we also saw some crackers, especially The Tempest with Simon Russell Beale. So good we saw it twice.
And Fairport Convention might not be everyone’s idea of kulture but they were 50 and we went to their party. Fabulous.

Mr TLF
Awwww.
He never puts anything away in the right place in the fridge and he bets on my football team when expressly ordered not to, but he puts up with a lot and is kind of lovely (brownie points for 2018 SECURED)

Friends and family
To me it’s impossible to separate as they both do the same and are equally important. They make me think, they make me laugh and they pick me up when all seems bleak.

Football
The usual roller-coaster. And in the case of Lesta three different managers (the C word is clearly in – Claudio, Craig and Claude!) So many good times, but it says much about the brilliant people of St Albans City FC that our opening home game of the 17/18 season was just as memorable as Lesta’s very boozy (us not the players) Champions League trip to Madrid. Although no pengunios at Clarence Park.

Onwards and upwards

Plague Fox

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A Christmas miracle (minor)

The Christmas journey to Dorset was remarkably smooth and fast. Mr TLF likes to monitor all predictions of ‘getaway traffic’ and to his credit had chosen the day and time slot wisely. He had another thought (clearly he was on a roll);

“Perhaps we’ll come back on Boxing Day. Chances are the traffic will be much worse on the 27th.”

Now TLF who had as usual been paying 50% attention to this latest ramble re traffic, was suddenly all ears.

“OhOkayWellYouKnowBestAndI’mSureYouAreRight. ProbablyGoodToGetAwayEarlyThough.

[Sotto voce] Maybe back for one o’clock even.”

There is a pause. I really think I might have got away with no requirement to explain my TLF logic. Mr TLF has of course known me for a long time.

“Why?” (I think he knew really).

“Well it’s just that the Mighty Saints are playing Hemel that day and kick off is 1pm and I was going to go and watch Bridport to watch my football fix but if we are going home…….”

“If that’s what you want to do then that’s what we will do.”

It’s like Mr TLF Fairy God Mother. Admittedly without the wings, the glitter, a wand and TLF sporting a pair of glass slippers but nonetheless it seemed that TLF would go to the (foot)ball!

That did of course rely on our fellow road users. And they did mess with our heads. A couple of minor accidents as the M-something met the M-something else and it was all looking a bit hairy. TLF distracted herself with regular updates to the Saintettes.

But some how he did it. TLF was dropped off four minutes before kick off. There was a big queue at the turnstiles but TLF hasn’t travelled hundreds of miles to miss kick off and everyone was ignoring the second queue so technically it wasn’t pushing in……..

Segregated games are rare and so a bit strange. Usually we stand behind the goal we are attacking but that option is taken away on these occasions; we are allocated the York Road end. And if like TLF you are surprised to be there and slightly discombobulated after the drive there might be a brief moment when you think that the Mighty Saints had signed a new keeper and changed their kit. If your luck is holding out then your tinsel-addled brain will have caught up before you embarrass yourself (phew).

There is of course only so much Xmas spirit any TLF is entitled to and finally seeing Saints beat THS (the Hemel Scum) remains a Christmas present too far. Still, a 2-2 draw, with us coming from behind twice is always pretty satisfying and when you didn’t expect to be there in the first place grumbling is not an option. Cheers Mr TLF!

Match stats
St Albans City 2 THS 2
Attendance: 1510
Number of nervous checks of google maps journey time: countless
Festive snack age: 2 mini sausage rolls and 2 pints
Grateful grovelling to Mr TLF: unlimited

..I think we might just make it!

..I think we might just make it!

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What the Dickens?

A cold and frosty Satday sees TLF receive a suitable photo from the travelling SBYS Ultras (!) who provide assurance that TLF is with them in spirit. This is welcome as not only is TLF suffering from a minor dose of FOMO by not being on the fun train to ShItehawk, but also the Claude Puel-inspired balloon of joie d’vivre has been well and truly burst. In a bout of festive generosity, Lesta had gifted Crystal Palace not just their first away goal of the season, but also their second and their third. Almost enough for TLLF to come over all humbuggy. Which is handy seeing as TLF’s absence at any football ground on this particular Saturday is down to tickets for the RSC’s Christmas Carol (segue alert).

There in spirit

There in spirit

It’s a light-hearted and entertaining way to spend a Saturday evening, although slightly un-nerving as am never quite sure whether Mr Ebenezer Scrooge is on stage or sat next to me, such is the furious nodding coming from Ebenezer TLF every time Scrooge makes plain his disgust at the concept of a bit of fa-la-la-la, glad tidings and tinsely wotnot.

The thought strikes TLF, after several wines, that the beautiful game could benefit from a bit of the Dickens treatment. That sentence prompts memories of a joke that goes along the lines of, “Do you like Dickens?” BUT this blog is a smut free zone, so moving swiftly on and back to the idea of the Ghosts of Football past, present and future.

The ghosts would visit Football Scrooge, played by a conglomerate of all those who represent what is wrong with modern football. Football past would take our anti-hero back to sepia-toned times, with jumpers for goalposts, small children being passed over the heads of the crowd to the front of the terraces, players who got the bus to the ground with the fans and a distinct lack of neon coloured boots and Robbie Savage. Football present would show FS how those who love the game and pay for the game hold them in contempt. And there would be LOTS of Robbie Savage. Football future? A world where football is only watched by corporates and friends of FIFA. It is dull and soulless. And Robbie Savage has been immortalised as a football summarising robot.

Sadly none of this will see FS change its nasty ways. But that’s because I am not the greatest novelist of the Victorian era (or any era come to that). Just a TLF with a slightly daft haircut, who loves the beautiful game, her two Cities and the lovely people I watch football with; God* bless us, every one!
Ho Ho Ho!
Fox Cratchit
*Other deities are available.

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Selection box

Uh-oh I hear you say, hear TLF goes again. Another bit of spin to distract from a series of delayed blogs.
It’s a fair cop, but it’s Christmas so if some folk can eat their bodyweight in Quality Street or pigs in blankets then TLF can be a bit slack on the blog front. Anyway here we go, dashing through the virtual snow…

25 November: The Green Room Committee Revisited

Both football teams playing at home, at the same time is usual a dilemma for TLF, but on this occasion it is avoided as it is the annual girls weekend away. While the venue differed from previous years, the essentials remain the same – hot tub, Strictly, a lot of chat and excess of wine.

There is always room for variation though. The cottage owners gift us a chocolate cake and a bottle a of wine, which is kind and also leads to mystery a la Agatha Christie, as we discuss over Satday breakfast what villain had cut a slice of said cake, had one mouthful and then replaced it. TLF was horrified at the wanton act of vandalism, although once it was confirmed she had been the alcohol-fuelled perpetrator, her denial and suggestion of ‘neat mice’ landed on stony ground.

We grace Ludlow with our presence and are delighted to discover that a fine pub is serving homemade pies. Proper pies; not stews with hats! I’m sure the young woman who had to deal with the pie interrogation has recovered by now.

There is the traditional huge Sunday walk, with the St Albans City hat in fine fettle. In our absence Maria had taken responsibility for Sunday lunch, managing the ingredients like a proper midfield general; sort of Roy Keane meets Gordon Ramsey. I have never seen a pan of peas called ‘green C u next Tuesdays’ before but it certainly makes them boil quickly.

A view, a pony and a fine hat.

A view, a pony and a fine hat.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Planned for months and over in the blink of any eye. No football and both teams lose anyway. It’s the one weekend when it doesn’t matter.

GRC Fox

2 December: Stalled

And as if by magic a Shopkeeper appeared!
Scratch that. Several shopkeepers.
Well technically, temporary market traders/club ambassadors.

It is a recent tradition that Stand By Your Saints now have a stall at the St Albans Christmas lights switch –on. It is amazing how cold you can get in the space of two hours. But as with any SBYS-related activity, the company is excellent, we can bore passers-by for Britain about the Mighty Saints in an official capacity and I can practise my retail skills. Admittedly TLF’s first sale was to….TLF, but by the time my rota’d two hours were up and I couldn’t feel the fingers in my right hand, we’d sold £150 worth of high quality merchandise. Time for coffee and a defrost.

Would you buy a used football shirt from these people?

Would you buy a used football shirt from these people?

Eat your heart out Harrods.
Thank you for your custom Fox

9 December: “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the Gods; they kill us for their sport.”

The outlook wasn’t good the weekend Lesta were at home to Burnley and the Mighty Saints were visiting Truro. If, as TLF suspected the footballing Gods were in cahoots with the Gods of day to day domestic cr@p were anything to go by, severe defeat was on the cards.

It had all started with Gona: the God of overnight accommodation, who must have overheard Mr TLF when he said at 11.30pm after a night of kulture, “it’s great we have been lent this flat for the night and don’t have to travel back to St Albans on a cold night.” That’s a sure fire way of alerting Gona to the need for someone already in the accommodation to drop the latch and leave TLFs locked out and grumpily returning to St Albans at 1am.

The recriminations and tribulations of that episode ensure a fraught run-up to cooking dinner for the neighbours and Gona’s other mates get in on the act. Oh how they chuckled as TLF threw a small fit in the Sainsbury’s car park as she spotted that the her keys wouldn’t open her car. Largely due to the fact that it wasn’t her car. Turns out there is more than one silver VW golf in St Albans. Who knew!?

The Gods then turn their attention to TLF’s culinary efforts and hex the brand new egg whisk which is employed in the making of coffee ice cream; TLF being adamant that there is no suitable blender attachment with which to whip cream. Fortunately Mr TLF is on hand to ensure that rather than the mixture being used to decorate the kitchen, it is safely ensconced in the freezer, after a rather fraught 45 minutes. It’s only then that the previously ‘not in existence’ whisk attachment for the blender is located.

And after all that both Cities go on to win.
Never in doubt.
And the ice cream didn’t taste bad either.
Slightly frazzled fox

17 December: Desperately seeking Clarence

“Fifteen giant nutcracker soldiers and their King will be positioned at key locations around St Albans and surrounding villages as part of the St Albans Nutcracker Trail.
Wander around the city to find the fifteen Nutcracker Soldiers marked on a map in the Nutcracker Trail booklet. As you find each one write his name down on the Trail Sheet.” St Albans Bid website

Ooooh we know how to create a ‘thing’ in St Albans don’t we? The soldiers’ names were allocated via a competition and fittingly, via the nomination of 4 year old Eleanor Wood, one of them was called Clarence, in honour of the home of the Mighty Saints.

Being admittedly a bit older than four, but both nuts and crackers it was inevitable that Julie and TLF were going to need to track Clarence down prior to the game against Oxford. What could be easier? Two intelligent women in search of five foot wooden soldiers one of whom was called Clarence.

The plan was a quick whip round town, find Clarence; festoon him with a Saints scarf, grab a selfie (I know, we are so with the zeitgeist) and in the bar well before kick off.

Funny thing about five foot brightly painted wooden soldiers. They are not as easy to spot as you might think. Even with a map. In fact let’s blame the map, not our lack of vision. Especially that one on George Street camouflaged by a tree and a street sign.

After an hour and a half we have ten names, but no Clarence. Disappointed we head off to the ground.

“Oh, didn’t the missus text you?”, says our erstwhile shopkeeper, “Clarence is in Redbourne.”

And we only drew.

Nutcracker Fox

NOT Clarence

NOT Clarence

Still NOT Clarence. Don't worry I won't bore you with 8 more NOT Clarences

Still NOT Clarence. Don’t worry I won’t bore you with 8 more NOT Clarences

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In the interests of science

Do you own a TLF?

Do you find that match days when they are technically ‘in your company’ but are really keeping up with their teams via the twitter, the what’s app, the telly or the wireless, aren’t really that much fun?
Does the afternoon or evening prove tense and fraught?
Does logic and reason vacate the building?

Does your TLF ever look like this?
IMG_0103

Fear not. Emerging evidence from closely controlled trials in Hertfordshire indicate that help may be at hand. It appears that the impact of bad footballing news is significantly reduced when your average TLF is allowed access to a help yourself lunch buffet at a 4 star hotel. Distracted by the smorgasbord of unlimited savoury delights, the news that her team has gone behind AGAIN is greeted with no more than a brief shrug before a return to the cold table for a small smoked salmon top up.

And the ignominy and (subsequent stroppy swearing) of conceding from a set piece again, having got it back to level pegging, is easily avoided by shoving a TLF in the direction of the pudding buffet. Several times. Unlimited crime brûlée access seemed to have a particularly successful effect on last week’s trial participant.

Prepare for a sugar rush

Prepare for a sugar rush

Interestingly the early results do also suggest that the impact can go too far, with a late equaliser for the Mighty Saints, generating not even a smidgen of celebration when the experimental TLF is sitting in its own hot tub.

Clearly this is ground breaking therapy, with significant benefits for TLF stress levels and those sharing their environment, but further more comprehensive testing is required to ensure that these results weren’t a one off. Obviously such intellectual research doesn’t come cheap so all donations to this worthwhile cause are welcome.

Dr Fox

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Her light materials

Conspicuous by blogging absence after various unreasonable work and life demands, and inspired by current Philip Pullman mania, TLF presents a trilogy of blogs and a prequel. Well ‘prequel’ really means the blog IOU the most. I’m trying to imply that I am topical as opposed to just plain old late…..

La Belle Matchday Magazine

So where were we? Ah yes. The FA Cup, with TLF making her official debut as a programme seller. There had been a previous appearance for last year’s game against Carlisle, but that was from the sub’s bench and involved a small transgression with regard to stock control. Clearly JJ had recognised that every penitent TLF deserves another chance. Or more likely no one else was agreeing to take on the prestigious gig that is ‘Official Match Day Magazine Seller to the Away Fans”. Largely because it isn’t. A prestigious gig, that it is.

Because apparently away fans never buy programmes and we were playing Boreham Wood, whose fans, according to some crueller Saints fans than I, can’t read anyway. And yes their daemons are all probably stoats, weasels and hyenas too. Still TLF likes a challenge, plus Julie was working the away turnstile so there would be topnotch company to ward off the boredom when my programmes didn’t sell like hot cakes. Although if i am honest I generally prefer a cake that is cold.

Important pre-match turnstile operator's briefing

Important pre-match turnstile operator’s briefing

Early signs were promising as three programmes flew off the shelves before the turnstiles were even open. Admittedly the purchasers were me, Julie and the bloke from the BBC. “Sorry mate I know you are media but it’s more than my job’s worth to be handing out freebies…”, but a sale is a sale. And once the turnstiles were open it seems that TLF can sell ice the Eskimos. The secret really is to make it up – imply the programme will be worth a small fortune once they are at Wemberlee (disloyal but hey this is the cutting edge of retail), tell them Julie and I wrote most of it under various nom de plumes and if someone mishears TLF’s claim of “it contains a right good read”, thinking TLF has said, “it contains some right good weed”, don’t disabuse them of the notion. And before you know it, BOSH 50 programmes are all gone and TLF followed the ‘Official Match Day Magazine Seller to the Away Fans’ protocol to the letter.

Sadly successful programme sales were as good as it got that day. Well that and being able to finish your beer in the bar and watch the game because the game was on the TELLY. Red button admittedly, but telly is telly. I don’t think The ‘Wood needed a dodgy penalty to beat St Albans but that is what they got and before you knew it the magic of the cup had disappeared like the proverbial rabbit in the hat for another year.

Three beautiful ladies and a TLF*
*(Hatboy you are toast)

Hungerford were in town and the girlz were in the hood. Well it was cold and they had all chosen their coats wisely……
Somehow TLF had convinced work colleagues Sarah and Jess and Jess’s mate Megan to make escape the Big Smoke and experience the myriad of delights that Clarence Park has to offer. The one delight TLF wasn’t totally sure was an essential match day experience was lunch Chez Burger Van. Not that their offerings aren’t top dollar – their chips are particularly fine – but if you don’t like bacon, beef burger or sausage then it’s all a bit limited. Pub lunch then. Admittedly a pub that was having a minor kitchen meltdown but when the food did arrive, sort of in shifts, it was very good. Time was ticking on and so a taxi was next on the menu. TLF was shocked that the driver asked us for money when we arrived at the Ground as I would have thought our non-stop tales of excess inebriation and vomiting were payment in themselves.

Any fule kno that there was only ever one kind of welcome that the new posse were going to experience at Clarence Park and that was of course a warm, witty and friendly one. Sadly no goals, but each visitor took away a special memory – Jess won the wine in the raffle, Megan took a bruise home having taken a stray football to the thigh (TLF has never managed that!) and Sarah achieved legendary status as she managed to send flying across the clubhouse not only a post-match bag of crisps but also a whole pint of Stella. #Quality.

First game and she wins in the rafflle. It's an outrage.

First game and she wins in the rafflle. It’s an outrage.

Hatboy, 3 lovely ladies and TLF.....

Hatboy, 3 lovely ladies and TLF…..


TLF meanwhile, armed with the insight that only six pints of lager can bring, decided to impart some wisdom to manager, Ian Allison, explaining that if he only abandons the matchday tracksuit and returns to the proper suit and brown brogues, results will dramatically improve. He’s a patient and decent man that Ian Allison.

Farewell to a Fox

When TLF wasn’t busy advising our manager on matters sartorial or finding a cloth for the small Stella lake that Sarah had created, she was busy meeting yet another member of the Norwegian branch of the SACFC supporters club. But this was one was special. Mind you they are all special. And I mean the good kind of special. Anyway the point is that back in the 70s this Norwegian had played against the Lesta City legends that were Keith Weller and Frank Worthington during a pre-season Lesta tour to Norway. There he was, a man who shared a pitch with my childhood heroes, in the Mighty Saints club house, and I was saying ‘hello’. That might not mean much to those who weren’t in love with Jimmy Bloomfield’s wonderful Lesta team of that era but it would have meant a lot to Mike Brennan, close friend of Mr TLF, and proper Lesta fan who sadly left us during October. Mike, wish I could have told you that story and wish I could be lending you my season ticket and receiving your always witty post-match analysis via text. Much missed x

This man once graced the same field as Lesta legends, but without the Guinness

This man once graced the same field as Lesta legends, but without the Guinness


Mike and Mr TLF on our grand day out at Wemberlee, August 2015

Mike and Mr TLF on our grand day out at Wemberlee, August 2015

Ready, Welling and not Able

A few weeks ago an unwise man said to me that with the Mighty Saints sitting joint top of the league, ‘there was no way we wouldn’t make the play-offs.’ Since Satday’s defeat to Welling and with St Albans sitting in the last play-off place, with three teams breathing down our necks, he might want to revisit that statement. The performance was off, but worse than that, TLF was i/c a vehicle and therefore off the Stella. At the start of the second half, apart from being one nil down, TLF was nursing a cup of tea while standing with Hat Boy who was festooned with a pint. Just plain wrong.

On current Saints form there is no such thing as a lucky TLF pint but I feel it is my duty to never be teetotal at Clarence Park again.

Pullman Fox

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Polysemy…

….the capacity for a word or phrase to have many meanings.

Like, ‘woman up’.

That’s what Mr TLF said when I responded in a less than confident manner to our erstwhile programme editor’s invitation to join his team for the SBYS non-league football quiz. Something to do with what TLF knows about non-league football being able to fit on, not the back of a packet of bacon fries, but on the back of a single bacon fry. Actually I’m not sure if a bacon fry has a back and a front?

Anyway. The point is when Mr TLF said that phrase, he meant, “I think you should attend a quiz during daylight hours, that doesn’t intrude too much on our weekend and you will be home relatively sober and at a reasonable hour.”

Whereas TLF thought he meant, “Feel free to attend a quiz that starts at 7.30pm on Satday night, do not hold back on the booze, make sure you attend post quiz drinks in The Crown and then roll home about half past midnight. Oh and if you can do a comedy walk where you grab the door handle of your taxi but your legs keep going then even better.”

And it’s not even like we won. There was no magnificent quiz victory to celebrate, just a mild hangover to nurse from the slightly chilly environs of what the French probably don’t call ‘la maison de la chien’, which is where TLF spent a good part of Sunday, accompanied by the bitter sting of defeat and a recognition that I had let my team captain down.

His team, Lenny Piper’s Magic Underpants, was of course up against it from the start. A debut from a less than confident and less than knowledgeable TLF, an untested formation, and no pre-match team talk. Even with star performer Barry Hilliard on side, he was always going to have a problem.

But perhaps not quite as much of a problem as our Quiz Meister, who had foolishly implied in some pre-quiz bantz that the SBYS meeting minutes might be of questionable accuracy. These are of course penned by my own paw and the phrase, “IF, you can trust the minutes…” is one you say at your peril and TLF did of course not let such a slight go, raining much abuse in the direction of the man with the question sheets. But of course he who wrote the questions, has the last laugh…well until the music round.

Our very own Jeremy Paxman in action

Our very own Jeremy Paxman in action

Apart from an unhealthy obsession with Kidderminster Harriers, it was a brilliantly researched (if impossible for us ignorant TLFs) and brilliantly delivered quiz and hats off to Mr Michael Hill for an excellent evening. Mind you if he questions my minutes again, there’ll be trouble.

Not letting it go Fox

Quiz stats
Attendance: Six happy teams, of varying numbers
Final score: I think we finished fourth but to be honest it was a blur by then.
Questions answered correctly by TLF: About six and five of those were celebrity photos.
Questions where TLF is embarrassed to have got it wrong: Two. I didn’t recognise Ken Loach and then the one where I really thought the answer was Coalville Town but I didn’t like to overrule anyone. Yes, that Coalville Town, the one I lived in for the first 18 years of my life.
Re-fuelling: several packets crisp and bacon fries
Liquid nutrition: hmm Quite a lot of Stella and then quite a lot of Amstel. Wouldn’t like to put a number on it but the sum of TLF pints consumed definitely exceeded the sum of TLF correct answers

Championes!

Championes!

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28 days later

Well that’s accurate on the numerical front.
It was 28 days since TLF had last set paw in a football ground. But there ended the similarity to the film. TLF didn’t wake up on an operating table, although illness was in the air, as TLF had caught Mr TLF’s bout of man flu, which he had ‘wittily’ renamed lady sniffles.
Nor were there any zombies, although in the second half of the game it did feel like some of the Saints players were trying to channel their inner Zombie.

In addition to the lady sniffles, there was a touch of cup fever. Third Qualifying round of the FA Cup fever to be precise, with the first round PROPER within sniffing distance (well I did have a cold). And as mentioned in previous weeks, Bridport, 2 whole leagues below the mighty Saints were in town.

Bridport and its surrounding areas (west Bexington, West Bay), apart from being where our Dorset friends live, is also home to the ITV drama Broadchurch. And while no one died in a mysterious fashion during the game, we did almost die of embarrassment as a steady first half Saints performance gave way to second half where the Saints seemed to be almost as generous as Mr TLF was with his man flu. If David Tenant had been stomping around the terraces in a moody fashion, then that would have been a welcome distraction, particularly when Bridport scored, but Saints held on.

Not the prettiest performance but the reality is that the Mighty Saints are in the fourth qualifying round. Not sure we were all together grateful to the draw which handed us a local derby against Boreham Wood, a league above us and the club where our current gaffer spent over seven years in charge.
The plot thickens.

Feverish Fox

Math stats
St Albans 2 Bridport 1
Attendance: 683
Gambling: 10 losing raffle tickets. I think it is a fix
Liquid refreshment: Pint Amstel. No sadly the club bar isn’t stocking TLF’s favourite tipple, this was courtesy of the Mermaid. One pint Stella.
Snackage: minority share in a tray of chips.

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Back to work? Time for a to do list

Unlike back to skool to do lists, this didn’t involve sewing name tapes into gym kit, buffing up the old protractor and sharpening pencils (do they even use pencils any more the yoof?). This list was all about eking out max value for the last few days of the holiday before as it was charmingly put, yours truly ‘stopped getting under [Mr TLF’s] feet’:

1. Clay pigeon shooting lesson with the most excellent Julian. Look out Mr TLF I am getting better!
2. Two final late and boozy lunches (these did not happen before items 1 or 4 I promise)
3. Sit through worst film ever seen. Critics, award winners and the box office might have loved The Revenant, the TLFs do not. But being stubborn once a film starts we see it through to the bitter end.
4. Test drive a second hand shotgun
5. Sulk at thought of impending return to work
6. Play hunt the work pass. I don’t get it. During any holiday, the work clothes don’t stray from the wardrobe and the work bag knows it’s place. But the work pass; always AWOL (yes I know putting it with my work bag should be the solution but let me tell you it doesn’t stay there)
7. Studiously ignore any Lesta game on telly in belief that this is lucky and then sulk at Mr TLF when he insists on switching the telly on because the game is exciting. I don’t WANT exciting. I want 3 points!
8. In the case of a certain Mr TLF be a disloyal git and have a cheeky double on West Ham and Lesta to lose
9. Commit to a healthier lifestyle after two weeks of excess, because as we all know going back to work doesn’t mean wine and chocolate become even more essential
10. Buy a second hand shot gun

Please note items 8 and 10 are in no way related.

Employee Fox

The beer for the City Fox

The beer for the City Fox

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