Monday 14th August 2006

Pav’s house parties are the stuff of urban legend. I was told about the last one from 2004 via MSN and a thread on his forum. Pictures of the fire engine, rising smoke and empty petrol can were all shocking. He had planned a party in early September last year but the only person who could attend was your’s truly. So as you can expect, I was eagerly anticipating this years party which came together slightly earlier than I expected. I was only told about it a few weeks ago with Pav and Nigel making all the arrangements. There was going to be a bouncy castle, plus a beach theme, hoping the weather would hold for the duration of the day and evening. I wanted to get there early, so left home around 4pm and headed to Marlow and then to Henley. I stopped at the Tesco just outside of the town to get some supplies. It must have been at least six years since I had last been there. My friends and I occasionally would drive there for lunch while at college. I then headed off through Shiplake to Caversham. The reason I had taken this route and not used the bypass was because the Handy Cross junction is closed this weekend (and the subsequent five) for roadworks as they improve the whole roundabout. Rather than even bother to get stuck in queues (as my sisters would do shortly afterwards) I just decided to take the scenic route. Much more of a pleasant drive, don’t you think? I was the first to arrive, even though I got there around 5.30pm. As I parked my car in front of his house, I could see the picture of palm trees on a banner attached to the side of the house. Someone had well and truly pushed the boat out but there was more to come. I knocked on the door and as there was no answer, rang the land line, “Can you keep the noise down?!” was my greeting to Pav’s mum who had answered. She invited me around the back. Taking my supplies into the bar (which was just a converted shed, with window cut out and freshly painted exterior) then met up with Pav and Nigel who were working on the barbeque. The party could begin. There were just the right number of people there, many of them from last Friday night out in Bournemouth. Plus of course Div and her Uni friends, so quite a good crowd really. Just what you need for a Saturday night. Barbeque, bouncy castle a selection of beverages. Pav’s parents were going out for the night but actually returned at 1am, which was not a big issue because the party was still going strong at the time. Pav was of course the resident, DJ Breezy but had help from guest DJ, Eddie Johnson who took over after midnight and was spinning the decks for a good couple of hours. I had a great time. A fantastic time, considering I went to sleep around 5.30am, so it was nearly a solid 12 hours of party. Who said Teg doesn’t know how to have a good time? Photos I hear you cry? Well I got around to sorting out the best and uploading them to FlickR. A quick note about Korean drinking games, they are quite simple to understand, unless your name is Kev and you are completely wrecked. Although by the time he did finally get the concept, it was nearly 6am and most of us had decided it was time for some sleep. I think in total around four or five people tried in vain to explain how the game worked, while we were still playing but it never clicked. It was extremely late, I am talking about the wee hours of Sunday morning but it was hardly rocket science. The most ironic thing is Kev is actually one of the most intelligent people I know. Some great news, I have secured a ticket for the first evening, floodlight game at Ashburton Grove. What makes this a greater occasion, is it is my first taste of Champions League football, live. I have seen Arsenal in every other competition but never European’s premier club competition. It is difficult to explain how I felt this afternoon when I finally got my confirmation e-mail from Arsenal. I booked my tickets on Friday morning and was lucky as I rushed to the site exactly at 9.30am, after finishing a call with a client. Had that call over run for any reason I may have been too late. As now has become customary, Chris chose my seat, upper tier this time, as I make my way anti-clockwise around the ground. So my next seat at my next match will be in the yellow quadrant. So I have been in blue, and next week will be orange. I know it is only a qualifier and with the score already 3-0, it might not be much of a match, but I do not care. For me it is a great moment in the history of me supporting my beloved club in red and white. For a diehard fan that does not know when his next match may be, this is close to ecstasy. Am I living the dream? Maybe.

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