Monday, 25 May 2015

Monday 25th May 2015

Update.

I am back from London. I went up to see Norwich at Wembley. It was a great day, met some old friends, made some new ones City ran out 2=0 winners.

I drank some beer, I shouted and screamed.

We got promoted.

Tomorrow the details, but for tonight, the celebration.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunday 24th May 2015

Friday.

One thing I did not mention about Friday, happened late in the evening. As usual on Friday, we sat down to watch Monty on TV, this week a round-up of what happened at Chelsea. My computer was on all this time, and so when I went to check, I saw on Twitter a guy had posted that he had a ticket for sale. Some 25 minutes had passed, but I replied straight away that I was interested. We DMd each other, and the upshot was I would have his spare ticket. Only problem is that he lives in Great Yarmouth, and I live in Kent. What with it being mum's birthday in the next week, and despite me saying over an over again we would not be going up, a plan formed: we would drive up to Lowestoft, and the guy would drop the ticket in, just after two in the afternoon.

I was shaking at the end, too good to be true, but I had a ticket, probably. But we had to be up early the next morning, so, off to bed and get some shut eye.

Saturday.

The big trip? Dover to Lowestoft and back. In a day.

Take a deep breath.

And it was a glorious morning, the forecast was for cloud. I would like to have been out walking on the downs, but hey, football ticket!

We loaded to car, not ours, that is still in the shop: so this is the loan car, a little underpowered, and sounds like it might have blown a gasket: would it make it?

Right away, we found our way blocked; a queue on Jubilee Way, so we turn round to try along the Alkham Valley. It is Bank Holiday, so the ferries are bound to be busy, but even still, to be queued up halway up Jubilee Way was a surprise. We re-joined the A20, now the M20, at Folkestone, traffic was light, so we settled back and enjoyed the trip. And at least now they have changed the way tolls are collected at Dartford, we just cruise through the tolls and go down into one of the bores of the tunnel. As usual, the roundabout where we turn off the motorway and go up the A12 was a scary moment. But we make it, I am accelerating, I indicate to pull out to overtake some slower cars, and then the woman driving the middle just begins to pull out as we are beside her. I jam on the horn, she jumps and the car swerves back: In the rear view mirror I can see her husband, or partner, shouting and jumping about.

My heart is jumping for that matter. But that turned out to be the last of the nasty shocks, as the road was nice and quiet, even on Bank Holiday Saturday. We cruise up to Chelmsford, then upto Colchester: no worries, just with the lary Essex drivers who were clearly in some kind of race. We pod on at 60mph, we have lots of time. Over the Orwell, and once passed Woodbridge, we are onto the proper Suffolk country roads, the A12 despite being a 'trunk' road, would barely make it as a B road here in Kent.

We stop off at the posh cafe just after Wickham Market: I have scone and jam, Jools has mushrooms on toast. It is eye-wateringly expensive, but good, and it means that we can decline Mum's offer of food and water. Up and up we drive, until we get to Blythburgh, at which point I think it would be better heading across the marshes to get to Oulton, so that meant heading inland to Beccles before picking up the road to St Olaves. It also meant, hopefully, of seeing the Rhododendrons beside Herringfleet Road; always a highlight at this time of the year.

Once across the marshes from Haddiscoe, and turning off the Yarmouth Road, the Rhododendrons are there, but nearly all finished,with just a few of the tree-like bushes still having blossom in flower. We don't stop. We were nearly in Oulton, there was no avoiding it, next stop would be at Mum's. Another deep breath....

Ting is, we're all so used to the charade that goes on when we visit, it is almost funny. Mum is all full of life, how she does this or that for her neighbours, and yet, she struggles to carry a cup of coffee. In truth, I have no idea what the truth is with her, whether she really is disabled and so needs the zimmer frame and all the other stuff the council has put in her house, or is it just a game? IN the end, I no longer car. e house smells, both beds are piled up with shopping still in their carrier bags, God knows what is in there, whether it was needed or what.

We sit and chat, decline tea, a sandwich and everything else, me just checking my mails and Twitter for news of the guy. At two he says he is leaving work, and so our time in the house of whispers is nearly up. At quarter to three, a car draws up, he has an evelope: better check it he says, handing it over. I open it, inside is the ticket. I smile and hug him. I am nearly in tears. I am going to Wembley after all.

After ten minutes or so, we make our excuses and pack ready to leave. We have been there for three hours or so, the longest we have been there in years: last time it was half that. At least being the end of May, there would be daylight until we got home, and probably no rain. So, we should arrive home not too tired. We wave and drive off.

I still have my ticket.

We re-trace our steps to Beccles, then take the Bungay road and then to Bury to pick up the A14 then south onto the A11 to London. Traffic was light at first, we make good time along the road to Bury, there is plenty of warm, golden sunshine, and I am tempted by many churches on the way. But I drive on. We will return one day to visit the wonderful round-towered churches.

As we get to Cambridge, we see an airshow at Duxford is reaching its climax, with contrails of the Rad Arrows renting the sky apart. I press on as once they are done, the roads would fill with spotters! The motorways is heavy with traffic, but we still make good time, making to the M25 then onto Dartford without issue. Once again, no queues, so we are back in the right county. Our plan was to stop at Medway services for Burger King dinner, then the last blast home.

I have no idea what was going on, but people were driving like crazy: some must have been doing 120, 13 as they hammered passed. We were at the limit, and were the slowest on the road. But still, we made it to Canterbury safely, and by then most of the traffic had turned off, and it was just us and the people making their way to the port.

The final leg, along the Deal Road, then turning off past Walletts Court, the last afternoon sun was glorious, but we had done it: made mUm happy (even if she did know the real reason for our trip was something other than her birthday), and I had my ticket.

The cats were waiting for us, it was just gone seve, and we had only been gone 12 hours or so.

And I had my ticket!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Saturday 23rd May 2015

It is Saturday evening. We are just back from the annual mammoth Dover to Lowestoft round trip to wish Mum happy birthday and sit in awkward silences. It is the family way. And to make it even more awkward, today would have been Dad's 76th birthday. There was also another reason for going, but you will have to wait until tomorrow to find out that.

Thursday.

I woke up after over eight hours of good sleep, and felt better. Outside the sun was already warm and shining in a clear blue sky. I lay in bed, thinking of having a shower, then realising I had forgotten to buy any deodorant. Another fine mess I thought.

I showered and dressed, went for breakfast, and after programming in the directions to the office, set off on the 7 mile drive back into Ijmuiden. Traffic was not so bad, but people seemed to be driving very fast: I stayed in the nearside lane and hoped for the best. THe best being that I arrived at the office, which was shadowed by an even bigger cruise ship, and that in turn was joined by another, The Saga Saphire. I pondered that, and then realised that in 3 months I would be old enough to be able to go on one of their holidays. Bah and humbug I thought. And my inner child blew raspberries.

Work went on in its familiar way, although with each passing day it seems to be better and better for me. We are over halfway through installation, fe snags. So we shall see how it pans out. As a reward, I have been given a new, more expensive and important project. They have faith. Pity the fool!

The day slips through my hand, it is soon five, and time to head back to the hotel. But there is good news, a courier has delivered my case, and in it is a change of clothes and deodorant. I cannot wait for a shower and a change of clothes.

The repeat drive to the hotel, my case is there. I take it and my stinking body to my room and have a good 15 minute shower. It is glorious. I then douse myself in vapour for the can, and smell, well, not human, like a bowl of flowers, but I am happy. Now, my plan had been to walk back to where I had seen a shoarma grill the night before, but when push came to shove, and as I had not had a bite to eat since breakfast, my stomach said RIBS!

So I dressed and went to the restaurant for a repeat helping. But although the food was as good, the service was poor as there was only one girl on, and she did her best, but some had to wait an hour for their food. Should have had the shoarma after all I think.

I am shattered, I go back to my room, put on the radio, and climb into bed. I am woken at a quarter past ten with Jools calling me asking if I was OK. Yes, just tired. We chat quickly, and I go back to bed.

Friday.

I sleep in until half six, then lay in bed as I listen to the birds sing and smokers cough outside. But, get up sweet prince, for today you go home to be with your princess! I have another shower, pack, check out, load the car and go back inside for breakfast. Bread rolls and sprinkles, like what else is there to have in Holland?

OK, to work! The usual drive to Ijmuiden, alongside the canal and the fish docks. It is still a real working town, maybe the fish comes from elsewhere in the world, frozen, but they know what to do with it. And the smell of fish hangs over the town.

Work goes well, I do the jobs I need to do, meet with people, make phone calls and set my out of office message. At half eleven, that is it, the start of the journey home and the three day weekend. This means taking the motorway to the airport, and the perplexing system of interchanges around Schipol, which means you seem to go by it three times before you are actually allowed in. I have three hours before my flight, so I am not stressed. The car is checked in, then begins the route march to the departure terminal, and then to security and then to the gate. Saying that, I did have a gate near the centre of the hub, so according to the sign it was an 8 minute walk.

Halfway there is the Irish pub. I say pub, its just an area of the airport done up to look like a pub, but it serves good beer, and a beer and plate of nachos is €10. All you have to do is find somewhere to sit. I find a place at the bar, and behind me a party of Scousers seem to be having a stag do at the airport: Hey boys, Amsterbloodydam is out there!

I make the nachos and two pints vanish, so go to find the gate. The plane is delayed by nearly an hour, but I sit at the gate, checking my twitter feed in case I am offered a ticket for the game on Monday. A faint hope, but still hope. And it is hope that gets us all in the end.

We all squeeze on the flight, and thanks to the beer, I fall asleep right away. We must have taken off, as I wake up as we are over Essex and I recognise the industrial estates around Thurrock. We land safe and sound, rush off the aircraft to get through immigration. I have 45 minutes to catch the quarter to five train. I might just be lucky. I have to wait for my case, at least it arrives!, then rush to the station only to see a train leaving the station. I have eight minutes to wait. And as always seems to way, once it arrives, the journey seems to go on forever, and waiting at each station seems like it has taken forever.

But I get to the station with 7 minutes to spare, four by the time I am on the platform. The train stops right by me on the platform, so I get on, put my cases in the rack and stand in the corridor as all seats are full, but I am on the train.

People get off at Ebbsfleet, and I get a seat. At Ashford more get off, and I move seats so I can chat to an interesting looking chap, a WW2 airman, who did 32 years service. He had some fine tales of far off lands, and much derring-do.

He gets off at Folkestone, so I am all alone, with just the views over the Channel as we emerge onto The Warren and then run alongside Samphire Hoe. Through Dover and round Buckland upto Guston Tunnel, climbing all the time and finally to Martin Mill, where Jools is waiting for me to take me home. We are both tired and hungry, so she drops me off and then goes to the chippy for a couple of large cod and chips. Just what the doctor ordered.

So good to be back home again

Outside it was a wonderful golden evening, the clouds parted and bathed the village in warm sunshine, whilst the farmer tried to ahrves the hay in the field below. He was still working away at half eleven. But by morning, it was all in and bagged.

Time for bed.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday 22nd May 2015

Tuesday.

Turns out that we have arranged an alternative method of a hire car. And when I saw we, I mean Jools, obviously. So, she had to leave for work nearly an hour later than usual.

The weather said it was going to be good in the morning with rain in the afternoon. Which meant the long-delayed trip to the village post office to post my six months of travel claims. I did some work, in the meantime, and tried to ignore the cats. At ten I set off for the post office, pocketful of change with me, as well as the package, now a small parcel.

Anyway, a pleasant walk down the hill and up the other side. Wait a minute, this counts as work, right? Better look like I’m not enjoying it, which is why, I guess, after posting the parcel, I bought an ice cream from the village shop. And crisps. And chocolate coated ginger biscuits. And the washing up liquid I went in for in the first place.

Once home, it began to cloud over, and soon enough heavy rain began to fall. The cats sat at the window and looked out, mournfully wishing they could go back out. Work carried on.

The day passed. Rain continued to fall, interspersed with hail storms. All the fun of the fair. All that changed, however, at two when I had to go with Tony to pick up his computer form the repair shop. The hard drive had been reformatted, cleaned up, now all was ready for them to mess it up again. The plan had been to give them a massive talk on how to be careful, but it goes in one ear and out the other. I hope that having to fork out eighty quid this time, it will sink in.

It also meant Tony was going to pick me up and drive me to Deal to the shop, then take me back to Whitfield, for me to fix their home page, then take me back home. A drive with him takes years off your life; the random driving, random indicating, poor road sense and he is also stone deaf. He could not hear my directions at first, and told me not to mumble.

Once we picked up the computer, he mistook a queue of traffic at the lights for parked cars, left it too late to get in the right lane, so he decided we could go ‘another way.’ This was the country way, through Mongeham, Sutton and onto Whitfield. He drives some kind of MPV bus thing, and he likes to drive in the middle of the road, and down narrow lanes, it meant having to almost get into the hedges to allow cars to pass the other side.

I was happy to get to their house, set up the laptop, and have a cuppa before he took me back. I lost another cup of lives on that trip, but did get home safe. So, I pack so I am all ready for the trip in the morning. Jools comes home in the hire car, another Corsa. We have chorizo hash and some wine/cider/beer, and pretty soon it is getting dark outside, and time has gotten away from me again.

News came in the afternoon that no tickets would be available for City fans who were not members, which means no Wembley trip for me next week, which sucks, but I was expecting it.

Wednesday

It seems I am always travelling, preparing for travel or recovering. And yet I did miss it this past week, but it took being on the DLR train for 5 minutes, and then the chaos at the airport to convince me that what I really needed is a few weeks at home. And that is hopefully the case from Friday, once I get home.

As the flight to Amsterdam is at twenty past nine, I have to catch the first train out of Martin Mill, just gone six, which means being up an hour early for coffee. And dressing.

Martin Mill

It is a glorious morning, the sun had just risen in the east, and it was the light that woke me up at five. I am all ready to go at quarter to six, so Jools drops me off before she heads to work. There are a few others out and about getting the early train, but the train, when it arrived, was mostly empty, and after stowing my bags, I settled down to stare out the window.

Kent is in bloom, or growing leaves. Or, more likely, had grown all the leaves and now looks radiant. I mean the English countryside in the full bloom of late spring is a wondrous thing. What I really wanted to do was go out with my camera to the orchid sites, but instead I was on my way to the airport. Again.

The train fills up, but is not that full, but fills to capacity at Ebbsfleet as yet more people squeeze on.

At Stratford, many of us get off, and I make my way to the DLR station. It is a journey as familiar as walking to the end of the street to be honest, and nothing out of the ordinary. I kinda just drift off into daydreams as we rattle our was south through West Ham, Canning Town and to the airport.

Stratford Arrival

At the airport, it was chaos. Seems the runway had a hole the day before, lots of flights cancelled, and so many of the flights today had delayed passengers. Including mine. However, the City Jet queue was small, and I dropped my bag off and was up the stairs to security, I looked back and the BA queue stretched round the hall and out of the building.

I try to have breakfast, and do, but it is full, and the order takes an hour to come, as does the coffee as they have just the one machine. But, I am fed and watered, and ready to go. I even meet a couple of colleagues heading back home to Denmark, we talk work and beer. As is the way.

Now, as I said before, there had been some delays the day before at LCY, but even still it was a surprise to find the flight fully booked. And as most people were using it to connect to a flight to Lagos, many were laden down with extra bags, most of all decided to try to take them into the cabin. It was chaos again, and the poor cabin staff tried to get all the bags to fit.

We took off half an hour late, and I feared so over-laden we might not take off. But we did. And the short hop to Amsterdam was noticeable for the guy in the seat next to me, checking his four phones, tablet, and as soon as we landed, he switched them all on, and began texting again. It was a relief to get off, into the orderly chaos of the airport, and the long walk to the baggage reclaim.

ATC

Four of us got off with bags to collect, we sat and sat and sat. In the end a sorry looking official came to tell us our bags had been unloaded, but lost. Not lost, but misplaced. We had to go to make a report out, and they would be brought to our hotel in due course. After filling the form in, I walk to the car hire place, only to find my car was still being cleaned. So after signing the paperwork, I begin the walk to the garage, only to stop for a coffee and a piece of cake. Not cake, some kind of flan, all with strawberries and raspberries in jelly on a crispy base.

It was mighty fine.

By the time I arrived at the garage, the car was ready. I take the keys, program the sat nav for the trip to Ijmuiden. Along Holland’s very busy motorways, over canals and dikes. All pretty unremarkable stuff. Turn off, drive along the canal into the town, then to the cruise terminal as our office is next door. And there was a cruise ship in, like a skyscraper laid on its side. Massive, and making ready to sail.

View from the office window

In the office there is no one about from my team, so I make myself comfortable in the office and get down to work.

Hotel Bastion

I then realise I have to buy some toothpaste and a brush for the evening, so just before 5 I set off for the hotel in the hope there would be a shop nearby. The hotel was in Haarlem, a new one on me, and looked OK from the outside, although it was surrounded by dikes, would I be flooded out? The receptionist tells me where a supermarket was, so I walk along the street, along a cyclepath, through an underpass and find myself in a small village. Or town, hard to say, really. Anyway, I walk up the street hoping to find the shop or a chemist, but as it was just before six, most were either closing or already closed.

An evening walk in Santpoort

I spot the shop the other side of the street, and so go over and manage to find what I need, along with some Dutch mayonnaise, which is unlike no other. I am tempted to have dinner in a couple of places, but think I should just relax at the hotel and see what the food was like. It was great, I had ribs, three big racks of them, frites with sauce and veggies. It was wonderful, and very filling. I am stuffed, and tired. I take another beer to my room, do some work, listen to the radio before my eyes get so heavy, I cannot keep them open.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Tuesday 19th May 2015

Monday

I have been home for some 5 days now, and it just don't feel right. However, those itchy feet of mine will get a little bit of a workout on Wednesday when I make the short hop to naughty Amsterdam for a couple of days. And that might be, well, not quite my last trip on this project, but maybe my last for a couple of weeks. As Jools asked on Sunday what travel plans I had after this week, I was able to answer, none whatsoever. And that felt good to say that.

But already dark clouds in the shape of not one, not two, but three new projects are on the horizon, each of which will be making claims on my time, and will require me to pack my bags. But before then, just enjoy the calm.

Monday, even for a day at home was looking manic. Over the weekend Jools had arranged things with the insurance company, the repair shop, a car hire place, and the probability was that one or all of them could phone during the day, and I might need to take the car in for the repair. And so this meant Jools had to take public transport, and that meant the 06:07 train from Martin Mill, up before five, feed the cats, have coffee before we had to leave the house at ten to six.

She did catch the train, and I went back home to have breakfast before the first meeting of the day, and stupidly early one at seven, UK time, meant having to be all logged on my ten to seven, all sitting down ready at seven. And so it continued, meeting after meeting after meeting. The garage rung up, booked in for Tuesday, but the car hire place is not a car hire place and was some kind of financial service company, given away by the breathless spiel given at the beginning of the call. And anyway, as Jools registered the car, she had to do all the arranging, so I had to give her the companies the details and I was off the hook. Just left to my meetings.

Outside the sun shone, at least for a while, then the wind began to blow, and that was quickly followed by the rain. The cats stayed in and complained. Or at least I think they complained, they could have been talking about investment opportunities in Bolivia I suppose. Or was that last week?

The day passed, I looked in the freezer for something for dinner, and saw little to inspire me, so it was burgers and beer. Just champion.

I picked up Jools at half five, told her the plan for dinner; oh good, dirty food!

Back home I fried the burgers, Jools poured the beers. And together we made it all vanish.

As we sat and watched the Chelsea Flower Show on TV, a fine young fox ambled into the front garden to munch on peanuts and look at us sat on the sofa as he ate. It was broad daylight, or just beginning to get slightly dark. Amazing.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Monday 18th May 2015

Sunday.

I think the orchid season has been with us for 5 weeks now, and with the peak still a week or two away, there are never enough days to get round the sites I know of, but now there is the added challenge of new sites. Kent is home to many orchid species, some of which are found only here, and sometimes, orchids that are found elsewhere and are common, are rare or even extinct here. The Burnt Tip is one cuch, where in the next county, East Sussex it grows on two sites, and one we visited last year, there are thousands of spikes, here in Kent is is almost extinct, but I know where the last sighting was.

A Sunday morning walk along Lydden Downs

And despite one of my fellow orchid nuts having failed to find one for the last few years, I decided Team Jelltex should take up the challenge. The worst case being we would have a fine walk along the downs in the early morning sunshine, and get some exercise. One of them win/win situations.

A Sunday morning walk along Lydden Downs

For some reason I was awake late, half seven. Well, that might have been due to the beer and celebrations on Saturday as a result of the football. But after a coffee, we were in the car and heading for Lydden before eight. Lydden is best know for the motor racing track, but for me, it is all chalky downlands and orchids. And butterflies. And a nice church.

66130

We park off the main road, put on our walking boots and set off up the narrow track beside the village hall. It is quite ahike up the down, along the wooded track, but after a few minutes we came out of the trees, and ahead was another climb, over open downland to another gate. And once through that, a more gentle climb lay ahead, but once along that, we were at the top of the down, and the sound of the traffic on the A2 was close by.

Early Spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes

We consulted the map, and worked out were the paddock we needed was, so now the hard part of the walk was over, we could stride out and enjoy the views into the valley to our left. Noise of powerful locomotives could be heard, as navvies replaced track on the main line. The valley purred to the sound of their engines.

Early Spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes

We walked on.

Through another gate, and I saw all about were the tiny spikes of dozens of Early Spider Orchids, a new colony for me, but one I did know about. I snap them, and then looking over a few hundred more metres, could see where the Burnt Tip should be. But despite looking all the way along the face of the down, there was no evidence of any orchids, Burnt Tip or any other.

Early Spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes

We sit down and have a picnic breakfast. It is wonderful, and from our vantage point, we could down the valley to Temple Ewell to River and Dover beyond, and even in the distance, the Channel glistening in the sun.

It was time to walk back to the car, re-tracing our steps, passing a few dog-walkers also out taking in the air.

It was easy going, back down the down and the path to the car park. It was half ten and we seemed to have done so much already. But there was still time to drive a short distance to check on the Man Orchids, now half open, and about a week away from being glorious.

Man Orchid Orchis anthropophora

We drive home for a coffee and for me to look at the shots I have taken.

The rest of the day passes quietly, I sit in the garden reading, or on the sofa listening to the radio. As the afternoon wears on, a cool breeze gets up, and it becomes too cold to sit outside, even in the lea of the hedge.

The afternoon Prem games play themselves out. I cook dinner, bangers and mash. Which is just right.

We end the day watching Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell on BBC: it was OK, if a little light. But could be promising. I remember nearly buying the book a few years back.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sunday 17th May 2015

Saturday.

Game on.

The football season, (yes, this will be mostly about football, normal service will be resumed tomorrow, or the day after) is over. Or mostly over. The Premier League still has a couple of games to go, but the Football League and the rest of non-league football has ended. With the exception of the play-offs, and those of you who read regularly like, will know that to make it back to the Prem, we, first, had to beat our nearest and dearest rivals, Ipswich over two legs. Last week's game ended 1-1, so, all to play for.

I had asked friends if they could get me a ticket, and at eight yesterday morning, I was tweeted one was available. But I had to be in Norwich at eleven. That was never going to happen. So, I had to accept I would be following the game from afar.

Jools had chores to run in town, so left me to mess around until it was time to watch the game, she was planning on being out for two hours, so seeing her return in less than an hour was a surprise, only then did I see the dent in the front wing of the car. She was at the car park at the Co-op, when a woman driving the wrong way drove into the front of the car. She is OK, the car is driveable, but the wing and front of the car needs replacing. Along with the front wheel too I suspect.

So began the notifying of the insurance companies, whilst we did that, we missed a call from her Dad. Despite our warnings that no one can look into your computer without your permission, he had allowed it that morning, and lost control of their PC. We advised him to pull the plug on it, and remove it from the router. The guy from India called back and wanted to know why they had done that. But the damage was done. By the time we got there, and I ran a virus check, eight critical threats were removed, including the remote access software, but even then, it was not enough. We arranged to take it to a repair shop to be re-formatted.

Even worse than that, was when we told them they would have to cancel all their bank cards, check transactions for that day. All round buggered up their lives.

Time was running out, we drove to Deal to drop the machine off, and explain what had happened. Eighty quid for that. And it seems that their tablet is infected too, but it is cheaper to get a new one.

It was quarter past twelve, the big game had kicked off, so Jools dropped me off at The Alma, where the match was being shown. I went in, ordered a pint, and so the torture began.

With the game all square, any mistake could be decisive, and in the 1st half, it was cagey, if anything Ipswich were the better team, and they game played how they wanted. Just before halftime, their digital box failed, and so we were left looking at a black picture. All through halftime, the landlord tried to reset it, and finally, 5 monutes into the second half, or maybe ten, the picture was restored. But, by that time, all had changed. Thanks to an old boy who had the shame showing on his mobile, I watched as an Ipswich player handled a shot on the line: a penalty to City, and a red card for him. Wes put the spot kick away, and I leaped around the pub, nearing the end of my third or forth pint.

City one up, playing against ten men, should be all over. But a ball hoicked into the penalty area following a foul, a couple of missed clearances, and the ball fell to a Town player, he skipped past Ruddy, and put the ball in the net. Carrow Road fell silent, apart from those in Blue in the corner.

Four minutes later, after a couple of blocked shots, the ball came to Redmond, and he fired the ball in, under the Town keeper: 2-1.

And to finish the game, Jerome was put through by Redmond, 1 on 1 with the keeper, who would get the final touch? Jerome, and the ball tricked under the keeper's armpit and int the back of the net. 3-1. Game set and match. Carrow Road explodes. I leap around the pub once again, order another pint.

The game peters out, and City win, the crowd are on the pitch, they think its all over. It is now. Of course.

I thank the landlord, and we drive home. Or Jools does, I am full of beery goodness. I manage to stay awake through the Prem games, but all was about City's win: social media in Norfolk and among fans, went mad.

I spent a couple of hours waiting to see if I could get a ticket: I could not. Oh well.

One final act was to cook dinner, I was sober enough to work with a sharp knife, I make breaded butterfly chicken breasts, and we have the rest of the pasta salad and breaded aubergine too. It was the first thing we had eaten during the day. It was good.

We sat in the back garden as dusk fell, until the bats came out, and did aerobatics above our heads, catching inspects to eat.

What a day.