Saturday, December 24, 2011
We all know how busy Christmas time is. A hectic twenty four days of planning, shopping and drinking before one day of total excess, not to mention a packed festive season of sport.
Like everybody else, my pre Christmas run-in is no different. A church carol service and nativity, three family birthday parties, a church group Christmas meal, whilst not forgetting the busiest time of year for delivering people's groceries. How i managed to book a day off amongst this for a real 'old school' booze cruise to Calais still baffles me, but book it (and enjoy it) i did.
The P&O ferry was a real bargain price, and surprise, costing only a pony (£25) for a return ticket for the car. Heidi's parents booked the trip and took us along with my sister in law. That's five pound a head, you don't need to buy much beer to save that!
As it turned out the beer was actually cheaper on the boat although wine, (and more importantly) port were stupidly cheap in the supermarkets.
I saved more than my fiver in one swoop with the lack of VAT on a bottle of perfume for the wife. At twenty percent nowadays, that's almost a tenner to put towards some liquid refreshment.
We didn't go just for the beer though. Arriving in France mid morning and not leaving until the evening, we did get to make a day of it, explore the town and enjoy the local cuisine.
By local cuisine, read French steak house chain. Buffalo Grill is as American as you can imagine in all but location and language, but man they serve a beautiful steak. They cater for your ears as well by playing both kinds of music inside. Country AND Western. For all i know, The Good 'Ol Boys may well be the house band!
I'd forgotten how much fun a booze cruise could be and didn't realize that, this day and age, it was still a financially worthwhile option. Looking in the fridge at some gorgeous cheeses and meats though, and I'd happily make this a regular festive event on our calendar.
I did suffer the following day with a stomach upset but i believe that bug was there beforehand and the details of which are not for describing here!
So now we are ready for Christmas. I finished work today, Heidi finished the present wrapping, and the coffee table is full of boxes of chocolate. The only thing missing is a boxing day football ticket.
In fairness, even if it wasn't Yeovil away, I'd still struggle to get away from a large family gathering to attend a game. For me it will have to be Brentford on the second followed by the trip to Craven Cottage.
In between this we do of course have that trip to Leyton Orient on New Years Eve. How wonderful would it be to have six more points on the board before the year ends, especially after the 'dissapointment' of two draws on the spin!
Oldham Athletic's visit to The Valley on the 17th coincided with my boss having the day off to attend one of his Christmas functions, resulting in me having to work all day and missing out on the Rose of Denmark and the CAFC twitter crowds Christmas drink. I'm reliably informed it had it's fair share of casualties!
The game itself won't be remembered for much. In short, the ref was once again awful, Darel Russell scored his first goal for the club and Yann Kermorgant cut his head and played with bandages wrapped around it.
The Frenchmans injury reminded me not of Terry Butcher, like most, but of Stuart Balmer. An almost iconic vision of 'Sweaty' wearing (what i have to admit to being one of my favourites), at Fratton Park, the white green and purple away shirt we wore whilst borrowing the colours of Wimbledon Lawn Tennis club. That was of course in the days before you had to change your shirt if you had the smallest drop of blood on it.
It just leaves me then to bid you all a very merry Christmas and to leave you with a question. Below is a Feyenoord sticker i spotted on the homeward leg in the loo of the ferry. Those decent chaps on twitter have translated it to 'bastions of censorship'. Does anybody know the relevance of this? I'm guessing the supporters feel the club have kept something quiet!
Have a very happy and peaceful Christmas! God bless.