Boxing Day and the “peace on earth goodwill to all Mr TLFs” glass was looking distinctly half-empty and more than a bit at risk of being in the recycling by new year. After excelling on the Xmas present front Mr TLF was skating on very thin, festive ice. The clues were there; questions along the lines of, “will it be cold?” and a general lack of movement from the creature beneath the duvet (apart from when a paw shot out to take possession of a cup of tea) all pointed in only one direction; his non-attendance at the 1pm local derby against ‘The Hemel’. A plan in minor tatters and still no proof for Paul that Mr TLF is not just my imaginary friend.
Deploying a suitably excessive Christmas sulk did seem an appropriate response to his lack of enthusiasm and attendance but I chose to eschew it, realising with a moment of rare clarity that a little bit of ‘not minding’ and ‘But no it’s fine I will get you a paper before I go”, would actually bring greater reward. Clearly rare clarity was in the air that day as Mr TLF’s farewell included the words, “I’m going to pay for this.”
Great insight indeed matey.
You will be paying in spades.
For a long time….
In the short term however I did not linger on dark thoughts of exactly what form ‘payback’ might take. Instead good TLF humour was restored through the always reliable combination of alcohol, pre-match banter in the bar to a ska soundtrack and the exchange of some of the perhaps less well known traditional festive pleasantries with our local Hertfordshire neighbours including the questioning of their literacy levels, the appropriateness of their family unit arrangements, the state of employment in Hemel and in a show of real charitable, Geldof-inspired neighbourly concern an acknowledgment of the need to “Feed the Hemel.” Or at least I think it was neighbourly concern….
Later we were reduced to plain old not very christian swearing as the perfect extra Christmas present of 3 points at the expense of local rivals was snatched from under our noses with Hemel’s late second half equaliser. Cue a stomp home, greater misery as Lesta’s failure against Spurs unfolded and some early demands on the truanting Mr TLF. Although let me assure you (and him!) perfect turkey sandwich provision is merely the start of what is a long road back to redemption.
St Albans City 1 Hemel Hemsptead 1
Attendance 1132 (would have been 1133 if a certain person had turned up)
Lager consumed 2 bottles of the quite nice German stuff that I can’t remember the name of
Snacks consumed One packet bacon fries helping to top up dangerously low levels of seasonal saturated fat
Losing raffle tickets a tinsely 10