Sometimes the only solution to the combined traumas of a relegation battle and an improbable pursuit of a Premiership title is to run away. Escape to a rural idyl. Even if it’s a FFZ (football free zone) rural idyll, (which technically would make it a FFZRI), it is the best FFZRI I know, complete with good company, shenanigans and carousing guaranteed.
And that is why on a Friday evening South West trains were graced with the presence of both TLF & Mr TLF as we boarded at Waterloo en route to Dorchester South (technically and in the interests of blogging continuity it could be argued that like members of the Royal Family we should travel separately but on this occasion no matter). The TLFs were on their way to the aforementioned FFZRI, the village of Swyre (pop. 102). While there was unreliable wifi en route, this was more than made up for by the smorgasbord of delights that they they had at their disposal; four cans of Stella, five mini bottles of wine (various) and assorted snackage of a savoury variety. Like a Boy Scout, and it is perhaps where the comparison ends, TLF is always prepared.
It is hard to get the inhabitants of a FFZRI interested in the footballing news from the Shires as it slowly crawls i, via that weak Dorset wifi signal. Mr TLF raises a perfunctory eyebrow of celebration as TLF imparts the news that St Albans have defeated Maidenhead away from home accompanied with a non-beer assisted ‘another-step-in-the-relegation-battle-successfully-negotiated’ jig. But other than that there is nothing. No response. Zip. It’s a tough crowd in Dorset……
Clearly the ideal time to catch a train home (with an extra hour added on as a treat cos you have the audacity to travel on a Sunday) is when Lesta kick off against Sunderland. Remembering the wifi issues on the outward journey and in the interests of finger nails, mental health and temper a TLF media blackout is imposed. Just to add to the ‘fun’ the train crawls for miles as signalling problems lead to an extra imposition in the form of speed restrictions. This does not help with TLF’s feeble attempts at Zen like calm. Mr TLF has once again flagrantly flouted the don’t-bet-on-my-team rule but retains a remarkably calm demeanour for one who has a) risked the wrath of TLF with his potentially jinxing wager and b) has a financial interest in the outcome.
Finally the waiting is over, the final whistle must have gone and there is a sniff of a signal on the old electronic devices. The time it takes for the BBC website to refresh feels like an age. But finally it is confirmed, and it is good news. A relieved TLF triumphantly relays the good fortune to Mr TLF.
“Yeah I know I’ve been getting secret text updates for the last 90 minutes.”
Cue an early Battle of Waterloo.
Train Manager Fox