It was 169 days since TLF had last seen a Premier League game (yeah that game – free beer-italian singers-trophy-fireworks-yadda-yadda). Finally a weekend had arrived where there was no kultural activity, no weekend away, no festival and no Saints game to prevent TLF from wending her way to Filbert Way.
There was faltering, filibustering and faff. It hadn’t exactly been the best start to the season, maybe the Champions League was spoiling me, and there was the unattractive proposition of yet another day at the mercies of the rail network. Sprinkle an exorbitant train fare on top of that little lot and the sofa was starting to look like a very attractive option
Mr TLF wasn’t having any of it. Maybe he knows TLF better than most or maybe he is painfully aware that TLF does just clutter up the place when she doesn’t go anywhere. Or maybe it’s a clever combination of the two. Either way TLF was encouraged out of the house and dragged her sorry flanks onto the 12.58, bound for the Void.
Settling back in my seat, I opened a beer and the sports pages and a high quality homemade cheese COB and realised that actually this isn’t too bad (when it works) and that actually I might just be a bit out of practice with this Satday Lesta travel malarkey.
Further practice in the form of a pre-match beer with Simon and Tim helped to keep the positivity going and not even news of the theft of Tim’s lucky hat could dampen the mood. Largely because the hat had a hole in it, he didn’t really wear it, and he had taken it to Chelsea away, so it was therefore, probably one of the most inappropriately named items of head gear ever.
Things went a bit wobbly however in the run up to kick off. An unexpected tinkering and change in formation that had TLF yearning for the safe harbour of the sofa again.
The mum of the family that sit in front of us over two rows had swopped seats. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The world had finally turned on its axis and all were doomed and Hades bound. The family were quick to reassure me that this was fine – the new arrangement gave us a more solid platform at the back. Turned out that was for the best as some rather over-exuberant TLF celebrations for Lesta’s third goal almost sent TL, Ski Sunday styley, careering down the stand. Fortunately no season-ruining injury ensued; just a big bruise and cut on the shin…I played on through the pain.
The journey home was as reassuringly familiar as those of last season – squished into the vestibule of the 17.35 to London, one of the shortest trains ever, put on especially for the weekends when Lesta play a London team. Fortunately there was a very drunk and very lovely Crystal Palace fan sharing the space, as generous with his Hula Hoops as his anecdotes. He lives in Australia and only gets to see Palace in the flesh every other year. On this trip he had seen them lose twice. Now there’s something to think about next time TLF is faltering, filibustering or faffing.
The (occasionally) Reluctant Foxdamentalist