Only one team in the top 4 English Divisons has yet to score a league goal in 2017…

Nuff said

Nuff said

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Singing in the rain II

“And IIIIIIIIIIIIII will always loooooove youuuuuuuuu,” rings out in a not very melodic fashion around Clarence Park.

It was a cold and spectacularly WET evening for the visit of Welling and Whitney Houston was on trend on the terraces. Pretty much just that line. That could have been a bit dull but in the interests of variety it was interspersed with, “oooh Sammy Sammy”, a heartfelt but once again lyrically limited homage to Sam Merson to the tune of that Wilson Pickett classic, “Sugar Sugar”.

It wasn’t clear what was inspiring this new musical interlude – water on the brain? Or more likely Carlsberg on special offer? The former certainly doesn’t make winter week night football very attractive and comfort levels were further reduced by a certain lack of preparation on the part of TLF, who was armed with a very small brolly that offered minimal protection to its owner and was dwarfed by the rather more practical and companion-friendly beast of an umbrella, wielded by Julie.

Umbrella ownership may keep you dry (well ish) but it does dampen (BOOMBOOM!) your celebrations in response to your team’s goal scoring exploits. Umbrellas are an awkward shape, with spiky bits and they occupy one arm. As a result you can’t indulge in the usual manic celebrations; instead you have to make do with a small jig and a shake of the aforementioned parapluie…Gene Kelly would be turning in his grave at our lack of finesse and movement. You also can’t eat, in a very neat or satisfactory fashion, a bacon cob when holding an umbrella. Fortunately Julie is on hand (see what I did there) and able to oversee two umbrellas so TLF can be briefly undercover and yet hands free thus avoiding loss of any bacon, bread or stray onions.

The other fortunate thing about this damp Tuesday evening in Hertfordshire was that the Mighty Saints put the ball in the net three times, while the opposition could only manage it twice. There is probably a water-related joke in there about leaky defences but I don’t want to push my luck.

By the end of the game my feet are numb, my work trousers have proved to not be ideal winter terrace wear and my rucksack, which cannot fit under the protective umbrella zone, is so wet it will take 24 hours to dry out but I have just seen a first win in seven games. And that’s why a damp Tuesday evening really can be the greatest love of all. I’m not so emotional that I want to dance with somebody (I couldn’t…the brolly would get in the way) but come on, it is only one moment in time….Now what’s that about water on the brain?
Houston Fox

Match Stats
St Albans 3 Welling Utd 2
Attendance: 397
Consumption: 1 bacon cob, 2 bargain priced Carlsbergs
Losing bits of soggy paper shoved in a pocket: 10 raffle, 1 goalden goal

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A grand day in

There was a time when TLF didn’t worry about being resident in a FFZ on a weekend during the football season.

There was a time when TLF would be happily ensconced in a domestic setting; warm and toasty in front of Grandstand.

And that’s probably the giveaway really. That was a time when TLF was about 8 years old and could be kept entertained by Frank Bough, Des Lynham, old school rugby union and the vidi-printer, while domestic activities went on in the background. Fast forward 40 years and Grandstand is long gone and worse still TLF can’t sit in ignorant bliss with regard to the domestic malarkey. And last weekend was all about domesticity.

Fortunately the backdrop was none too bad there was only one City to worry about; Lesta having delayed the inevitable humiliating FA Cup defeat by scraping a draw with loathed East Midlands rivals the night before. The Mighty Saints were away at Concord and TLF has never really seen the attraction of Canvey Island if I’m honest and so it was me, the hoover and the FA Cup on FiveLive. Oh and Mr TLF of course.

First up the bedroom – hoovering and dusting doesn’t get much tougher than this. And I’m not talking about one of those wimpy flick a duster in the general direction of a shelf and run the Dyson round a bit of carpets. Noooo, this was like an epic cup battle – a replay settled by penalties, with all items moved and hoovered under, skirting boards dusted and cobwebs eliminated. Fortunately that all goes a lot quicker when accompanied by an early morning shock Cup exit. The mundane is much easier when listening to the unexpected. Sorry Jurgen but in the event that you take on the hoovering Chez Klopp I think you might just agree with me.

The kitchen is the setting for the 3pm kick offs and TLF’s Tupperware draw audit (TRUST ME, it needed doing) is rewarded with some early potential giant killing goals by Lincoln and Wycombe Wanderers. After that it’s all about the lasagne. And the football. And the Cup drama and over-excited commentators. And the wine – essential that a chef has a small accompaniment to keep them going. It might be the wine that inspires me to keep yelling football updates up the stairs to Mr TLF – well important to keep him involved.

The lasagne is a triumph. Lincoln cause a Cup upset, Wycombe have their hearts broken but for those of us employed in domestic drudgery it’s a fine distraction.

See – TLFs can do domestic Saturdays.

But they probably need to be the exception not the rule.

Homemaker and a bit late with this Fox

Bon apetit!

Bon apetit!

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Tempestuous Times

Last weekend was all about kulture. Probably for the best seeing as the Mighty Saints were defeated by the wintery conditions and had an unexpected weekend off while Lesta were yet again doing their best to be the more recognisable Lesta City (the rubbish one; rather than the premier league winning one). Fortunately TLF was Stratford bound for another look at the Tempest. It was a restricted view look (last three tickets available) but still worth it, as this production has finally sold to TLF a play that has never previously blown me away (BOOMBOOM!).

I do get a bit worried at the end though… Is Prospero being a bit too naive that it is all going to end happily ever after? If you were his best mate, you might want to ask him a few questions:
“Are you sure you want to forgive your usurping brother?
And go back to the country still ruled over by the King who helped your brother do his usurping?
And the whole breaking your magic staff thing? Dramatic yes but perhaps unwise in what are likely to be uncertain times?
Er…and maybe not the book!”

There is a big risk it won’t end well and some evidence from the word of football potentially gives you an insight into how things might go awry for Propspero in ‘The Tempest Part II, Caliban’s Revenge’. Think about it:

Last season, the magician Claudio, successfully plots revenge against those who have previously usurped or dismissed him. A man cast adrift and written off is assisted by a whole team of Ariels to turn the world order on its head and create a little bit of football magic and warm fuzzy feelings; everybody loves him and he is in receipt of honorary degrees and acknowledgement from his peers.

A season later and Claudio’s confidence is mis-placed. His bestest Ariel has been sold to the Duke of Chelsea, and those that remain are all turning a bit Caliban. The magic staff while not broken only seems to work in foreign climes and the current inhospitable climate surrounding the island that is Filbert Way is no longer within the magician’s control.
And before you think TLF has really lost the plot (well technically I have invented a new one), just remember; the name of Propspero’s usurping brother?
The name of the manager whose team currently sit top of the Premier League?

TLF rests her case.
Weathering the storm Fox

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep"

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep”

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Derby day drama

Dateline: 14 January 2017, 14:00
We are heading towards enemy territory
Worse than that, our travelling companions are the enemy.
Tension is in the air and the usually gregarious THS are monosyllabic. It is Hemel v the Mighty Saints and no one wants to contemplate defeat. Or worse, the thought of travelling home in the same car as the victors.

On the plus side it is unlikely that TLF will suffer a repeat of last week’s score line affliction. For not only is the car silent. It is also sober. This local derby is segregated so the Saints fans cannot experience the joys of Hemel hospitality. I had considered an early drink chez TLF Towers or maybe en route (admittedly a very short route) but the words in the pre-match information, ‘Temporary’, ‘Toilet’ and ‘Facilities’ (or two portaloos as I think they really meant) had rather dulled the TLF appetite for liquid refreshment.

This was TLF’s debut at Hemel and as a huge fan of Fantastic Mr Fox (or FMF as true believers know him), I really wanted Hemel to not be owned by a Boggins…but by a Boggis, Roald Dahl’s evil chicken farmer. I do think though that even with astray letter ‘n’, he would fit one of Dahl’s stories; he has the hair, stature and hi-vis jacket for it.

Local derbies are funny things. And Satday was no exception. The start though was all a bit not funny ha-ha, and more, funny WTF? The sobriety element certainly fed into that category; however it was knocked into a non-comedy cocked hat by the utterly NOT funny, NOT big and NOT clever chucking of two flares (smoking variety not pantaloon) onto the pitch in front of our stand as the players walked out onto the pitch. The two tossers (in every sense of the word), when challenged by a steward attempted first some feeble denial and then offered up a poor case for why they shouldn’t be removed from the ground. Neither strategy worked, in part no doubt to the fury of the Saints fans around them who made clear their displeasure at the sequence of events and suggested a speedy exit from the ground would be best all round. I like to think that TLF has a sense of humour and mischief but chucking a flare is dangerous, pointless, gets the club fined and let’s remember we are at a small non-league ground in Hertfordshire not the Turk Telecom Arena.

With that unwelcome distraction out of the way, our attentions turned back to the game, while of course complementing our hosts on the picturesque nature of their ground, the desirability of Hemel as a town to make your home and the intellect of its residents. We were also very generous in provision of advice to Hemel’s drummer as to options for where he or she might like to store their drumsticks. The eagle eyed will have noted last week that WE had a drum, but of course your own drum is of course a different kettle (BOOMBOOM!) of fish. (With thanks to Russell Wallman for that fine pun, which I have snared from an email he sent to me).

To return to an earlier sentence, local derbies are funny things. Particularly when your team scores a 94th minute equaliser. That makes it honours even this season as the reverse fixture in September saw the same score line but with a last minute Hemel equaliser. Déjà vu on the pitch and slightly more bonhomie in the car home.
Sober Fox

Match Stats
Hemel Hempstead 2 St Albans City 2
Attendance: 856
Refreshments: A coffee. Seriously. Oh and 2 Percy Pigs – we know how to party.

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Denialism: Refusal to accept an empirical, verifiable reality

After a barren spell of 21 days (twenty-one) without entering a football ground things were back on an even playing keel (keep up!) with last Satday’s trip to see the mighty Saints take on league leaders Maidenheadstone Utd. Those 21 days were of course largely filled with non-footballing, high end footballing fun and quality TLF & Mr TLF time, (apart from the four days at work obvs) but there are some things that only Clarence park can offer.
No one else debates the colour of raffle tickets with me like Duncan does. Actually no else debates the colour of raffle tickets with me at all. I do though hope for a bit more adventure in this area in 2017. Would it be so bad to rechristen the yellow raffle tickets, ‘lemon’?

There is also no company quite like my fellow Saintettes, particularly when we are co-ordinated in the knitwear department. TLF’s phone was also festooned with a new football app as recommended by Red Julie’s THS son – speedy updates for both TLF’s teams now a certainty!

A walking advert for the club shop's fine woollen items

A walking advert for the club shop’s fine woollen items

New for 2017 is percussion. Barry and Trevor were with drum. TLF has always been a bit suspicious of the need for musical instruments at football, unless someone came along with a Grand piano and set that up on the terraces, now that would be worth seeing. Anyway the reality is that even the hardest of hearts would melt at the glee and élan with which Barry was banging his drum. Unless the owner of the hard heart was a musician, then they might be quite traumatised. More importantly a drum can, when it isn’t being thumped, double as a beer table and so it brings an element of practicality to it.

"We'll name that tune in...Awhile"

“We’ll name that tune in…Awhile”

Sadly while all was bonhomie in the bar and on the terraces, it wasn’t like that on the pitch, as the Saints dominated the game but didn’t make it count (as they say in the sporting press). The third opposition goal put the tin lid on it for TLF. Still there was some fight left as the City pulled one back. Amid the celebration TLF did note that the app wasn’t updating – it still only said 1-2, not 1-3.

Still too much to do,’ was our verdict.
And then Merson bangs a 90th minute into the Maidenheadstone’s goal and we go wild. A bit too wild if you ask me, all we have done is make the score line more respectable. Now the app says 2-2.
“This app still isn’t updating.”
“Yeah I know. It’s weird.”
“And the twitter feed says we have just EQUALISED.”
“James, didn’t they score 3?”
“No the third was disallowed.”

Cue a rather delayed and wild celebration that to the casual observer has no cause.
TLF has mentioned the joy of the LME (last minute equaliser) before. But the LME you didn’t realise was an LME until a few minutes later, is even better.
If a little embarrassing.

Equaliser-denier TLF

Match Stats
St Albans city 2 Maidenheadstone Utd 2 (I think)
Attendance: 1,111
Lemon raffle tickets purchased: 10
Refreshments consumed: Some beer and some bacon fries (the former may explain TLF score line issues)

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21 days without football – delirium officially sets in

If you read a newspaper or for our younger readers an online media source during the festive and new year season it was hard not to escape a concerted doom-fest; a collective end of year gnashing of teeth about what a rubbish 2016 we had and just how bad 2017 could be. TLF however thinks there might be a cure; TLF is changing the calendar.

Mr TLF, currently masquerading as Mr SGTLF (spectacularly grumpy) has less ambition; he has merely vowed that he is ‘not doing January next year’. In the interests of kicking out against this post-truth world TLF should point out that’s nothing to do with an attempt at a dry January or any other pleasure-denying resolution. Rather a rubbish week involving a sickly car, unanswered emails, a lack of archery club action and first hand witnessing of an FA Cup humiliation (OFFICIAL teaser – more on that football debacle next week), and thus the month of January or Wulf-monath as the Saxons used to call it (FACT!) is written off.

TLF is happy to keep January on the payroll, even if it did get off to a slightly grim start with a defeat for the Mighty Saints and the inflicting of armchair torture in the form of a televised bore-athon draw for Lesta City. Rather the TLF plans are more about realignment, so that a year can be properly judged on what really matters – the football. The ‘calendar year’ will be binned and replaced by the ‘football season year’. It’s been done before – admittedly not since October 1582, but some traditions should be revived.

As a Foxes and Saints fan it is hard to completely roll my eyes about 2016 in the way that your average soppy, leftie likes to. For every USA election or referendum result, for every rise of intolerance thinly disguised as ‘telling the liberal elite where to get off’ and for every time experts were written off as irrelevant (an expert medical person to treat my illness? I don’t think so – jumped up educated fool! Bring me a snake oil salesman to nurse me back to health post-haste) there was Leicester City – Premier League Champions (no really) and St Albans City FC joyous relegation escape, led by a proper gaffer. So if you talk about 2015/16 then TLF can be nostalgic and cheery, happily burbling, “yes it was brilliant, amazing…best year ever. But look at 2016/17 – Brexit, Trump, Lesta flirting with relegation.”

Like any good theory I have just tested it. And the holes have been highlighted (everyone’s a critic these days…but NOT an expert), from a Mighty Saints perspective, 2016/17 hasn’t looked too shabby so far and a first ever foray into the Champions League is not to be snuffled at. Of course if the Saints’ slump continues and the European tour ends with abject humiliation at the hands of Sevilla then the theory might be back on…..But for now TLF will embrace the Gregorian and just accept that like every other year 2017 will have some good bits and some sh1t bits, like all years before it. And maybe some of those bits won’t even involve football.
Pope Gregory Fox XIII

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Not a new year’s message

Writing a little ramble on New Year’s Eve should in theory be easy. There’s two ways to do it; in the morning, all nice and sober quick review of the year, preview of the impending 12 months and bosh! all done. Or wait until very un-sober, take an inappropriate photo and post that, accompanied by suitably erudite missive along the lines of appynooyear. yourrrrgreaTLFlovezzzzzyou.

TLF will however be eschewing (BOOM!) this approach. Levels of high dudgeon, are so…well high, after Boxing day football results that all pronouncements are suspended until after Lesta’s last result of 2016 (31 Dec) and the Mighty Saints first result of 2017 (1 Jan).
Christmas was once again spent with the NPiDWDLFs – nice people in Dorset who don’t like football. For once their total disinterest and the speed at which they chuck the sports section of the paper in the recycling was quite welcome. No one to note wryly on Boxing Day that, “this makes two games on the trot that St Albans have conceded four goals” or that, “Lesta could go from Champions League to Championship in the blink of an eye.”

TLF was keen not to try and convert them under such circumstances either and stayed focussed on an equally pressing matter, i.e. revenge for the Xmas day girls v boys TP defeat. TP? Trivial Pursuit – do keep up. This time the boys were without their star striker who had retired to bed early and they struggled in the face of a red-wine fuelled team that were not to be denied. The 6 cheeses to 1 humiliation was helped by some atrocious defending (channel your inner Alan Hansen and say those words again) by Mr TLF who on no less than two occasions diverted the metaphorical TP ball into his own net, whimsically pondering out loud the answers to questions that the opposition were struggling with.

Let’s hope that the opponents of the Foxes and Saints are equally generous in the next 24 hours.
2016 Fox

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A boxing day bargain

The sharp –eyed amongst you, whose faculties have not been dulled by an excess of mince pies and other such seasonal comestibles will be aware that we have another full on episode of TLFT (TLF tardiness). But if you can’t exercise a bit of slackness when it’s the festive season then when can you? See this as a Boxing Day sale, a BOGOF and I promise I won’t be late with blogs anymore. Well, not this year at any rate.

Hedging your bets
Lesta were at home, the Mighty Saints were at mythical Margate (not mythical in a Greek legend way, more in a, TLF never gets to go there kind of a way). It was a tough choice, but in a moment of rare clarity, TLF realised there was a third way. MISS THEM BOTH. And spend some quality time with Mr TLF. And pretend that the Lesta game wasn’t happening at all, because let’s face it, domestically things are a bit pants….and they were facing Manchester City…and the kick off had been moved to 5.30pm which TLF really hates (but it was all about the quality time I promise). Although just in case the game actually is really happening, we’ll set the digi-box to record at the time it would be happening; just in case there are any incidents worth a look at later. “Not that there will be, we’ll probably just delete it straightaway.” And then we’ll go to Dylan’s at the King’s Arms and eat triple cooked trips, with pulled beef and not look at the twitter. And then on the way home TLF’s resolve will crumble and the phone will be switched back on to reveal numerous texts and tweets which make it sound like things might just be alright at Filbert Way. Like a moth to a flame TLF is then inevitably drawn towards the TV and is astounded and delighted (although does do a bit of worrying for the final 15 minute, knowing that Lesta are perfectly capable of throwing away a four goal lead). Mr TLF is relieved that a Lesta game has finally delivered a cheerful TLF but even more astounded and delighted to discover that because of the football, we’ve pretty much missed all of that evening’s Strictly. Winners all round.

Nice beaver
Beaver (castor fiber): a large, semi aquatic rodent, known for building dams, and the second largest rodent in the world.
It’s ok, you haven’t tuned into Planet Earth and TLF hasn’t come over all David Attenborough (another of Lesta’s finest exports so it goes), but it was inevitable after a visit to the home of the beavers for a bit of pre-Christmas festive football. Yes I know, the Beavers. What a nickname, sadly bound to bring out the adolescent in any pre-Xmas giggly TLF…..

Could have been mature about this but where's the fun in that?

Could have been mature about this but where’s the fun in that?

Attendance at an away game a week before Xmas is potentially a tall order but TLF had concocted a suitably convincing business case: “It’ll be my last game of 2016.”; “Hampton and Richmond play at a proper ground…Johnny Farmer said so.” It seemed to do the trick as TLF found herself in the company of Julie who was project-managing our route to Hampton. NOT Hampton Wick. NOT Hampton Court, but definitely the Hampton that the bloke at Vauxhall told us his train wasn’t going to, except it was…thanks mate. Still we can drink beer on a platform while waiting for the next train to Hampton just as well as we can drink it on a train. And if we had got that train we would have missed out on traveling with the aforementioned JF and the AD43 boys, which is never dull.

And JF is right; it is a nice ground, with a beaver sign (fnarr, fnarr) with a cosy bar that had a nice pre-Christmas vibe, no doubt helped by the staff’s festive jumpers, the draft Cobra lager and Julie’s very fine homemade gingerbread men. The injured Scott Thomas selecting one with a leg missing seemed particularly apt. Everyone TLF would want to see at an away game was there, the singing was good, the opposition had a full grown man dressed as a beaver (fnarr, fnarr) and on the way home Julie and I received gifts not of frankincense and myrrh but pineapple, plum and kiwi. Not from wise men you understand but a subset of the AD43 boys…I think there may be a green grocer in Hampton who will never be the same again.

You will have spotted in this ramble a severe absence of reference to the game itself.
We lost 4-0.
Never, ever laugh at a beaver.
Dammit Fox

"Yeah, that;s right TLF. Let's see whose laughing at the final whistle..."

“Yeah, that;s right TLF. Let’s see whose laughing at the final whistle…”

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Deferred gratification

I know.
IOU 2 blogs.
The non-existent dog might have eaten my Whitehawk blog…OR more likely the trixy and uncooperative Cotswolds wifi intervened and then once back in the civilised world of internet connection the world of work thoughtlessly took over. So hush now, sit back and enjoy two blogs for the click of one.

Bob Ralph the Builder

My Grandad wasn’t that much of a football fan. He was a builder by trade, one half of the mighty two man band that was Newman Brothers, jointly owned with his brother Eric. They were old skool, working on site with brick dust encrusted shirt and tie, hard hat eschewed (BOOM!) in favour of the flat cap, with a small pencil wedged behind the ear. Suckers of teeth, occasional tramplers of flower beds and scaffolding supremoes. Were they good builders? Couldn’t attempt a tripadviser styley review me having been a whippersnapper when they were building things, but my mum’s house hasn’t fallen down yet so they must have been alright.

Anyway even though the football wouldn’t have interested him I think a trip to Whitewhawk might just have appealed. Consisting as it does of a sloping pitch (more from left to right than one goal to the other), a big grass bank and two main stands which are largely well….scaffolding. Even its name has a touch of the builders about it; ‘The Enclosed Ground’. The ‘Out of the bloomin way and even when you are off the bus, it’s a bit of a walk Ground’ would be more accurate.

He liked a train journey too and so I think he would have joined us, Brighton being, for those of you less than intimate with the joys of Thameslink a handily direct journey from St Albans. It takes a mere two hours or to put it another way, two cans of Amstel outward bound and three pints of Stella on the return leg (I’d got into my stride by then).

He also liked a drink (preferably someone else’s) and would I am sure have enjoyed the liquid refreshment, bonhomie and company of Julie and also her husband and youngest son who, when they are not being very good company, are what is commonly known as the Hemel Scum (THS). THS were going somewhere that involved a change of Haywards Heath, further details were not required.

We weren’t really enjoying the football so I doubt he would have but he had a sense of humour and so would have appreciated the baiting of Whitehawk’s keeper and also the haranguing of the dog walker who chose to swerve the £12 entry fee by ‘walking his dog’ on the grassy bank that counts as the fourth stand.

The goal when it came was a cracker, sadly Saints couldn’t capitalise on that and an injury time left us all feeling a bit flat. My Grandad probably wouldn’t have noticed; he’d have been examining the quality of their scaffolding – each to their own.

Grassy bank - dog walker not included

Grassy bank – dog walker not included

Can she build it? Yes she can Fox

Dingle Belles

While I am generally a pretty FFZ-averse kind of a TLF, there are some weekends when it is an acceptable state of affairs.

The annual Green Room Committee weekend away falls into this category. Long term followers will know the drill – 8 wimmin, one large cottage, hot tub in the garden, excess supply of cake, cheese, snackage &booze; SCD, a classic film and one country walk to ease the guilt of the excess. This was year Severrnnnn and the GRC found itself spending a fantastic long weekend at the Dingle, in Great Rollright (Cameron country – we didn’t bump into him; probably for the best).

Truth is there is a simple but winning formula that ensures a good time is had by all and TLF likes to think that one or two football managers could learn a few things from us:

If it ain’t broke….other than a yearly change of venue and the introduction of the hot tub element in 2013 the weekends follow the same pattern and everyone keeps coming back for more.

A regular squad. While there are the occasional absences down to unforeseen events it’s the same squad, year in year out. The formation may change, i.e who snags the double room to themselves but other than that, the personnel remain the same.

A simple game plan that the team understand and adhere to – Arrive, explore, talk, drink, It takes 2, eat, sleep. Tea/coffee, talk, hot tub, talk, pub lunch, shop, drink, talk, Strictly, eat, drink, watch film, bad dancing impressions (optional), drink, talk, sleep. Repeat previous day but replace pub lunch with big walk, a roast dinner and Strictly Results show. Come home and start to agree a date for next year’s shenanigans.

Open communication within the squad – When the question asked by Lisa (resident qualified massage specialist), “You’ve all got the same tight spot in the shoulder. What does that say?” Prompts the response from Maria, “It says shut the f#ck up.” Lisa takes it on the chin and we get to watch Strictly in peace – no harm done.

Clearly defined roles – TLF will be the one getting angsty when a further pot of coffee is proposed, thereby further delaying Satday’s pub lunch. Deborah will be the coffee police keeping a close eye on coffee strength.. Lisa & Marina will spend longer in the hot tub than anyone else. Everyone will at some point lose their glasses/phone/iPad.

A strict nutrition and refuelling regime – small intake but often. And while the occasional vegetable or piece of fruit is to be encouraged they need to be at all times preceded or followed by salty snackage, cake based products, wine or tea (early grey if you insist…or as TLF describes it ‘perfume in a cup’).

OK so all of the above might not help them win the Premier League or keep the Chairman happy…but they might not look so miserable on MOTD.

(Better late than never)

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