Monday 22nd December 2008

Been a very hectic few days and my feet have barely touched the ground. However, I am somewhat settled here late on Monday evening to give a quick Woody’s Roundup on the events of the past few days. I will start with Friday. I left work at 4pm and headed back to the flat. I had assembled most of my gear in the living room but still had a few things to grab and pack before heading out the door. It took a while because I had to clear out some rubbish and take some newspapers to the recycling bins. I got into my car at 5.15pm and it was pretty much a textbook drive back home eastbound on the M4. I had expected the motorway to be quite busy but it was relatively clear and I made excellent time. I got home at 6pm and it felt as if I had never really been away. I dumped all my things in my room and then sat down to catch up with my Mum and youngest sister. A great feeling being back at home and with so much going on over the weekend, it was nice to have some time to just relax and unwind. Great to be able to watch The IT Crowd on the widescreen television in the lounge. Saturday the day was quiet, I got up around 8.30am and caught the 9:42am bus into town to get my haircut. Wycombe has changed a considerable amount in the past few months. The Sainsbury’s store (due to open in the summer) is taking shape and there is a new Lakes store and a new Wetherspoon pub (on the site of the old Hog’s Head). I got my haircut at Jerry’s and then to have a look around town before heading back to the bus station and back home. I caught Football Focus and then came online to sort out a few things before having an afternoon nap around 3.30pm. I got up around 6pm and after some food decided to get ready and head over to Reading for my Christmas party. The Christmas get together has become an annual tradition and I believe this is the third year on the trot of my attendance! Although in comparisons to previous years, the night started a little light. Timing to me is very important, so being the punctual person I am, I left home in plenty of time to get to Reading by 7.30pm. We were meeting in the Oakford and I got there bang on time. However, as I entered and had a look around, none of my friends had arrived yet, so I went to the bar to queue for a drink. You could hardly tell it was Christmas. There was a tree in the corner and a few fairy lights up but nothing else. None of the staff had any Christmassy clothing on and even the punters were not in the mood. I think I was the only person wearing a Santa hat at the time (although this changed a bit later). I was going to complain to the chief organiser on his poor choice of venue. Not taking into account that it is the ideal meeting point based purely on location. (Something I will appreciate more, if I ever have to make the trek over straight from Newbury on the train). Andy appeared and I got him a drink. He was closely followed by Sazzle and Phil. We headed back to the table at the back and waited for the others. It was a long wait or rather it felt like on. The excuse given by Pav was they were waiting for Melanie. They did eventually arrive around 8.30pm, with both Em and Mel having made a great effort with their costumes. Mel dressed as an Elf! Along with them was Melanie’s friend Pete! There were a few more people we were waiting for, Div and Nige, Vicky and Adam (Pav’s cousins). Nige did not make it, he was suffering from man flu back at home. It might not have been very festive but we did get some live music. Three bands played, the first, Neon Kicks being the best, although the heavy grunge style music is not really to my taste. It was only as we started to get ready to leave that they started playing Christmas songs but not Wham! – “Last Christmas” as I had hoped for. We went outside and decided where to go. We opted to avoid Revolutions and went to Sakura the other side of town. We got in the guestlist queue by mistake (it was actually longer than the standard queue for some reason). We moved to the right queue and then had to wait to be let in. I was asked for ID and those without any form of identification were not allowed in (this happened to the guy next to me!). I then went inside and walked up to the top of the stairs and waited for the rest of the gang to arrive. I was impressed with the venue so far. There was more to come. Eventually, everybody came in and we went in. Pav took me over to the back and I saw the dancefloor. Fantastic! It was a 1970s inspired floor that lit up with tiles with different colours. Plus the music was much more commercial and my cup of tea! After putting my coat into the cloakroom, I headed over to the dancefloor. It was busy and got busier as the night went on. The DJ, although he played a good selection of dance tracks, could not mix to save his life. I know very little about being a disc jockey but being able to execute a seamless transition from one track to another, must be the first lesson at DJ school? Shouldn’t it? Some of his song choices also were questionable, a dance remix of Last Night by P. Diddy? No Christmas songs were played but that did not bother me really. Just a shame the DJ was of such poor ability. The photographs from the evening have been uploaded to Facebook. (I am sure you have seen them on your news feed if you are one of my friends!) I got home around 2.30am and felt that I had so much to do tomorrow, there was little time to recover and relax. I also felt very bad. I had only got home from Newbury on Friday night and hardly spent any time at home! I fell asleep around 3am and had to get up around 8.30am and get myself ready. I went over to Jenny’s house in Downley around 9.35am and helped take the food and cake over to the hall behind the church. I also helped Jeff set up his DJ equipment. This will kill you, he left all his music back in Luton and as his parents had already left the house, he had to get a friend to go and bring them over by lunchtime. What sort of DJ forgets his music? It was not all a disaster though, Jeff had his iPod he could link up and then also some Christmas themed Soca from Elvis on CD. By the time everything was set up, it was time to head over to the church for the service. We sat at the back, but the only reason for this became clear at the end when Aiden was christened with the holy water at the back of the church, so I was in an ideal place for photographs.


Check out the rest of the photographs from the day over on the newly uploaded FlickR set. I did not stay that long but took mostly photographs from the church and a few at buffet afterwards. I was watching the clock tick by as I drank my strong cup of tea. Jenny came over and asked when I was going to be leaving and to make sure I came over to say goodbye! I left around 1.30pm, headed to my car and drove straight home. I got changed out of my shirt and trousers and put on my Arsenal away top for the first time. It has been hung up in my wardrobe since I bought it in August. I then grabbed my bits and got my Mum to give me a lift to the train station. As we drove past Staples, my phone rang, it was Ryan wondering where I was, it was a few minutes past 2pm. We met up outside the station and went to get train tickets. The original service we were going to catch (14:22) had been cancelled due to a fault, so we had to wait until 14:36 for the next service down. It would mean a bit of a tight window before we got to Emirates but I was confident we would make it in time. Little did I know how tight it would be. As I boarded the train, Steve rang me. I had to explain I was going to the match but we could meet up for a drink after the match, he was in Wycombe for the weekend. I had also called Trevor and arranged with him to come to town as well. Everything was arranged and it would be a good little catch-up, plus Ryan was going to bring his girlfriend Sarah as well to meet us. The journey was a non-event apart from Ryan trying to get through the barrier at Marylebone and trying his ticket a few times before being allowed through by the ticket inspector. I went to check the credit on my Oyster Card, there was plenty for the trip to North London. We then headed straight for the tube. At Oxford Circus, we got off to catch the Victoria Line northbound to Finsbury Park. It was here I lost my bearings a little but eventually, we got onto the right tube train and were heading on our way. We should have walked at a brisk pace (something that Ryan has been famous forever since school) from the tube station to the stadium but at the leisure pace, among other fans, it meant we got to our seats a bit late. As we had to use the South Side Club Level entrance, we had to walk all the way around the ground. Once again, Ryan had difficult at the turnstile with his paper ticket but eventually got through. We headed straight for our seats and I looked up at the clock, 45 seconds of the game had gone, we had missed the kick-off but only just. I blamed Ryan for faffing around with his ticket at the turnstile. Great seats, with an excellent view just a shame about the lack of atmosphere at Club Level.

Arsenal v Liverpool

A reminder comes up on the HD screens at club level to remind fans to return to their seats and that the “Second half action is underway”. However, even so, most still prefer to continue to eat or drink their complimentary drinks. The second half was not too bad until the sending off, which killed the game off in terms of Arsenal going for a winner and the injury to Fabregas was a big blow. Many people around us left a few minutes before the full ninety were up, not sure exactly how much quicker they would get to their tube station for the trip home. We caught the 19:00 train back to Wycombe and got in just before 8pm, I called Trevor as I walked back into town but he was not feeling good and would not be coming down. Plus he had had no credit to text me back. Ryan had got a lift back home, collected his car and then collected Sarah. Meanwhile, I had gone for a walk through to Eden and then back just to stretch my legs for a bit. I waited outside The Falcon for Steve and Ryan & Sarah to arrive. Steve arrived later and we had got some drinks by then. It was good to see him and this was the first time I had actually been around to wish him Happy Birthday in seven years. We lost touch since I went off to placement in the 2002 and he had by then been in Rugby back in Wycombe and finally Bournemouth. Steve left after a drink as he had a roast dinner waiting for him back home. I left soon afterwards, calling up my sister and asking her to come to pick me up. She had just got back from her weekend working in Bristol. I made my goodbyes and left to head home. Rather than going straight to bed after Match Of The Day 2, I opted to stay up and watch The Dark Knight with my sister Julie. Originally it had been my sister Samantha that had wanted to see the superhero blockbuster as she felt she was the only person on the planet to have not seen it by now. However, she went to bed and I stayed up until 2am watching it with my sister. Such a great movie and it just gets better after the second viewing. Today I was shopping in Milton Keynes, but I do not want to bore you with that, I will save that for my next entry if I get time that is. For the meanwhile, hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and I will try and blog again before the big day.

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