With apologies for the delay, ‘events dear readers…events.’
Let me take you back to Boxing Day. Technically TLF was not a HHHTLF (that’s HoHoHo TLF), with both my beloved Cities choosing to leave neatly wrapped away defeats under the tree along with the discarded Christmas crackers, rubbery satsuma peel and the funny coloured booze that no one wants (actually there wasn’t any of that). However I chose to take it all in my TLF stride:
For one. No one else cared, being as I was in the very wonderful but mainly FFIZ (football free interest zone) that is the Dorset home of good friends.
For two. I was having too good a time – any venue where the host eschews (BOOM!) wine in favour of port to avoid a hangover is my kinda venue.
For three (yeah, I know doesn’t really work but am done with bullet points today). I had BIGGER sprouts to peel.
Revenge was in the air…although it might have been those sprouts. Like an episode of your favourite long running drama, let me take you back,
24 hours previously….
I had long since eschewed (BOOM squared!) board games due to a recognition that I was unlikely to ever outgrow that six year old who burst into tears every time they faced yet another bankruptcy in Monopoly. But the magic of Christmas, more commonly known as booze and a shiny new games set (“is there still a boot?”, “ooh look at the new Cluedo figures”, “a crib board!” “A what!?”) had come over me and there I was on Christmas Day, in amongst them.
Rather like the football that was to follow. It didn’t go well.
I never knew that a board game, based on a original idea by an anti-capitalist, can spirit away thoughtful, egalitarian and generous-hearted hosts and replace them with the Gekko family, straight out of Wall Street and gunning for the innocent TLF. My admittedly sentimental tactic of buying properties, because I used to live there, was futile and only played into their hands. Add to that an unerring ability to throw very low scores or the occasional hat trick of doubles (straight to jail, do not pass GO, do not etc etc) and it was clear that TLF could not swim with the sharks.
To be honest I was already reeling after a warm up game of TP, as the young people now call Trivial Pursuit. I should have known my luck was out, when Mr TLF’s distinctly sport light team (Boooo!), got the only mountain climbing question, answered correctly of course by the, yep, climber on his team. Their final cheese (wedge/pie/insert own preference) requirement was also sport and leisure -HA! Time to catch up. Or line them up with the easiest sport and leisure question, along the lines of ‘what famous hymn is played before the FA Cup?’ Even Mr part-time TLF knows that.
TLF fumed. Mr TLF celebrated.
Gloves are off.
Teams are changed. This is not tactics, this is torpor – your team is where you is sat.
But the TLFs remain on opposite sides of the board.
His team take an early and crushing lead, 4-1 on the cheese front. They are overly triumphant. Our small but perfectly formed team is by turn too tired, too happy or trying too hard to look like they don’t care. No prizes for guessing which category I fell into.
And then the breakthrough. It isn’t the last minute winner, not even the hard fought equaliser, I don’t even think it was for a cheese, but it gave us hope. It is the confidence of Mr TLF, as he predicates the question with,”you’ll never get this,” that ups the stakes. Penalty taker faces keeper, crowd is hushed.
Performance un-enhancing booze has been taken.
The ball is struck hard and low, “In what film does the mad lemur, King Julien appear?”
The penalty taker is ready to leap into the crowd and celebrate.
But bosh with a cry of “Madagascar”, TLF leaps like a…er lemur and tips the ball round the corner to safety.
There is then I confess some not very ‘peace on earth, goodwill to all TLFs’ gloating on my part. Phrases like, ‘boom’, ‘get in my son’, ‘back of the net’ (I didn’t know at the time that I would come up with the penalty analogy later which would then grate a little) and ‘Jamie Vardy’s having a party’ are employed. As is some celebratory shuffling/very poor moon walking.
After that we were on a roll. With the exception of a slight wobble around the pronunciation of Muirfield/Murrayfield (don’t ask) we go from 4-1 down to 6-5 winners.
We are of course magnanimous in victory.
Magnanimous Fox (closely related to Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy)