As my Gran used to say. She also used to say ‘has the school bell rung?’ when I wiped my runny nose on my sleeve and ‘well I go to our house’ for reasons that were never clear, but there you go, that’s the older generation for you. They lived through a world war so I think some random sayings are the least we can allow them.
The flags certainly made an appearance on Satday. Real ones and metaphorical ones. The former were in honour of the mighty Saints 4th Round Qualifying FA Cup game against Weston-super-Mare. In honour of this important fixture (next stop – first round PROPER) Stand By Your Saints had arranged a small but perfectly formed procession from the clock tower to Clarence Park, complete with some of our very fine flag collection.
Things got off to a slightly sticky start as it became clear that none of the grown-ups (I use the term loosely) in our company had the first idea about how to assemble a flag. Fortunately, young people were on hand to assist and under the steely and unforgiving supervision of Mia we successfully managed to assemble two huge flags, limiting the damage to one broken flag pole and one additional ventilation hole (ahem) in one flag.
In addition to Michael and I being in the special needs category when it comes to flag assembly we clearly shouldn’t be licensed to bear flags. Flag bearing is a whole new ball game, well actually it’s not a ball game at all and that’s the problem. It’s more a high altitude game which means that trees, road signs and the occasional market burger van power cable are all constantly getting in your way and tangling with your flag. Trying to adapt to that and employ obstacle avoidance tactics without then spearing an innocent passer-by is not easy. Fortunately no arrests or major damage were caused despite our best efforts but it was still clear by the time we had travelled all of about 1000 metres that we probably needed to regroup, refuel and refocus at the Mermaid. Two pints later and it seemed to me that our flag bearing skills had improved exponentially.
Mr TLF had wisely eschewed (BOOM!) these flag shenanigans in favour of some quality time at home but only after he had paid a visit to his financial advisers, Jennings the bookmakers for some slightly unwise (in my opinion) financial speculation.
While our opponents hadn’t necessarily grabbed the imagination of all the infrequent Clarence Park attendees (the ICPAs), the magic of the Cup was still in evidence with a significantly bigger crowd than usual. Early St Albans confidence did dwindle when we gifted the opposition an equaliser but while it might not have been a classic we were festooned with flags and Norwegians and most importantly we got the result; a Lee Chappell goal clinching in it in the 78th minute. Cue general delight at the thought that we were in the hat for the FA Cup first round PROPER with the added excitement of possible league opposition (or sadly NOT as it turned out but that’s for another time).
I rolled home in my newly purchased and very fine SACFC wind cheater (what a salesman our programme editor is) on the crest of a victorious and Amstel/Stella type wave to find that Mr TLF’s metaphorical flags were out (ooer missus). His Hammers had done the business as had Lesta City, meaning that his double and two single bets had all come in. The subsequent financial return (plus of course the joy that comes with being RIGHT) ensured some tolerance, for awhile at least of my, frequent and vociferous rendition of the classic TLF mash up “Jamie Vardy’s having a Yellow and Blue Army party”. It was only with the arrival of Strictly that flags were officially lowered to half-mast.
St Albans City 2 Weston-super-Mare 1
Lager consumed: 2 Amstel, 1.5 Stella
Bacon-related items: 1 perfect bacon cob, followed by 1 packet cup winning bacon fries
TLF financial investment: 10 losing raffle tickets, no goalden goal malarkey due to flag duties.