Monday, May 22, 2006

A weekend of two halves

First half: Jon's Party, Saturday.

Off to Sale, near Manchester for Jon Oldham's "leaving" party and to celebrate him going to France. It was (as usual) a great do and nice to catch up with a lot of the folks and friends I know over in the North West. It was good to take the rise out of Bear's paltry MP3 collection (more playlists than tracks it seemed - hardly an ecclectic party vibe!) and good to see Ste and John Pickford again.

Needless to say that I ended up totally battered and you will be relieved to hear that the Queen was in safe hands as I managed to catch (although I have no idea HOW) the 2.06am train back to Leeds. I don't recall the taxi back to the station or the train journey at all - I kind of remember the taxi from Leeds to my house, but only because we went 2 junctions too far down the M1 in my drunken, confused state. I got to bed at about 4am - the wife waking me at 6am as Verner and his dad arrived to drive us down to Cardiff for the play off final.

Second Half: Championship Play-Off Final, Cardiff.

Well, so happens that I was still rather high from the party excesses and 50miles down the M1 I realised that in my rush to get out of the house, I'd forgotten to put my contacts in - so I could see bugger all. Not a great start, especially with my seat at the stadium being "in the heavens" so to speak.

Fired on by Verner Senior's cracking ham and cheese sarnies, we made good time down to Cardiff and by 10:15am we'd got out of the pouring rain and into "The Yard" pub which was packed to the rafters with Leeds fans, despite the bouncers insisting it was "families only". Apparently there was massive queues outside all the pubs by 11am and that can't have been fun since it was hammering it down. Two drinks in and I was as pissed as I was the night before - by 1pm I was off my head and singing all the Leeds songs and having a right laugh.

We left for the ground at 2pm and savoured the pre-match atmosphere, which was electric - the highlight being when 35-40,000 leeds fans sang The Kaiser Chief's "I Predict a Riot" and "Marching On Together". Unfortunately it all went pear-shaped come 3pm and the football started - Leeds were not at the races and lost 3-0, condemming them to another season in the Championship, but to be honest, I think it's better that way since we ran the risk of being the worst team ever promoted - we've flattered to decieve all season long in my mind.

However, I didn't manage to watch the whole game, leaving at half time due to the events of the previous week, my sleep-patterns (and lack of sleep) combining with the booze/hangover to leave me totally and utterly shattered. I went back to the Hotel and argued with the receptionist about my booking before finally checking in - it transpires that I went to the wrong hotel actually... and fell asleep until 10.30pm, missing all the post match "celebrations".

I decided to get up early and get the 5.15am train back home and arrived back at work just after 10am, after getting my contact lenses, obviously... It was a real non-event in Cardiff, although good fun for the few hours pre-kick-off. I was in two minds about going to it all along but I think I'd have really regretted it had I not gone.

I just need to get myself back sleeping ok again and have a rest in terms of exertions - the holiday in Cornwall (we leave for Mylor on Friday) can't come soon enough.

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