Wednesday 30th November 2005

The reason I watch Eastenders is for episodes like the past week. Sure, the griping, gritty storylines keep me on the edge of the sofa, but it is the comedy value of the soap opera that actually keeps me hooked. Last Tuesday’s episode is a case in point. The introduction of Honey, the so called, Honey Trap, who mistakes Billy for Patrick Trueman. This theme continued when Billy (now managing Honey) hires a Welsh photographer to take some photographs for a new portfolio. Only for the man with the lens to decide upon a location shoot. I never thought I would hear the name of Nick Kamen mentioned before Pauline Fowler, but you soon learn that nothing can surprise you in Albert Square.

Am I a geek? Apparently based on the test over at Inner Geek. This link came around via e-mail from one of my colleagues in the office, giving their own personal score. Not having the time on Monday afternoon to answer the hundred odd questions with the time and patience they required. My initial attempt scored me a low 7.5% but afterwards, another college told me there were at least another ten questions that applied to me in their totality. So I had to come home and concentrate. I am 21.49901% geek. If you are wondering what a geek is, over at Wikipedia they get it just right, with the perfect image occupying the definition.

Watching my beloved Arsenal is an honour these days, particularly as it is the last season at fortress Highbury. Of course I wish I could have been to the big grudge matches, the title deciders or big knock out rounds of the FA Cup, but instead I had the joy of watching the youngsters in the League Cup. My journey began, where most begin, with me hard at work in the office. Originally I had aimed to leave the office at 4pm to make good time for the train to North London. On the advice of my manager, I was given leave of the office at 3pm. Fantastic. Although, in reality, I knew I would be pushing it to escape the clutches of the helpdesk at this time in the afternoon. As expected just after 2pm, I got involved (heavily) in a call, which would last for over an hour. Thankfully, thinking on my feet I was able to resolve the issue (more on this subject over on my other blog) In any case, I left the office for the first time since mid September with light outside. Heading home, I looked at my watch and knew within a couple of hours I would be at the home of my club, cheering on the players to another victory. The delay of having to stay an extra twenty minutes slowly disappeared away behind me as I sped up the by pass for home.

My Arsenal top is only worn when the team are playing on TV (yes, it’s a mild obsession!) so this there was a special feeling inside, as I put on the redcurrant and gold for a trip, sorry pilgrimage to a spiritual home. I called up Pete and he was on his way down to pick me up. Due to circumstance beyond our control, we headed for Beaconsfield Station, rather than Wycombe. Not only had it caught fire on Sunday evening, earlier in the month, it had been labeled a crime spot. No smoke without fire (literally, in this case!) By now trains were calling at my hometown station, but I did not want to take any risks so headed down the M40 making excellent time, just prior to the Tuesday evening rush hour. Ten to five, we were both on the quiet but warm Chiltern Railways service to Marylebone.

As the seasoned traveler, I led the way once we made our way from over ground to Underground. There was perhaps another route, but I choice to go on the Bakeloo Line from Marylebone to Piccadilly Circus to change for the Piccadilly Line all the way to not Arsenal (as would have normally been the case) but one stop along, Finsbury Park. We were not alone, a hoard of other (mainly home) fans. A businessman in a well kept suit and strong Eastern Europe accent, as Pete who Arsenal were playing. Proudly he stated Reading in the Carling Cup. Calling his Reading mates on the phone, we discovered they were in a pub right near the ground and were quite some distance off. So we headed into the Twelve Pins as it was the closest drinking establishment and we were thirsty. Thankfully, there were your fair share of Reading supporters mingling on quite friendly terms with the Highbury faithful. Then it was time to walk down to the ground, grab some food before taking our seats in the West stand. Rather than give a review of the game, I’ll leave it down to the professionals. Even, Pete, the Reading season ticket holder thought this was a great balanced match report. A great atmosphere in Highbury and a different, perhaps more rounded view of the game from the West stand. This could be the last time I see my team live, while I try not to think too much about that, it is always at the back of my mind. Let us instead take the positives from the performance. Reyes back to scoring ways, as he promised in the match programme the last time I was here, on October 2nd, “the goals will come…”. Van Persie continued his great form, and Lupoli, who has been knocking on the door for the past few months and scoring goals for fun in the reserves, came on, to calmly put one around the keeper after a minute on the pitch. Fantastic. There is something about the ecstasy of a football match, which is difficult to describe. For 90 minutes you are only concerned about twelve players on the field. Strange really how much emotion can be created by a simple ball hitting the back of a net. Of course, the purists among you would say that there is a lot more to it than that.

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