Like a Revolving Door

Well, Michelle and Josh have just gone home today after an all too brief stay here. They came down on Friday to London, as did Tom. Tom went home after the Arsenal game.

What did we do over the weekend? Well, I did not a lot. Friday night saw me cooking dinner for us. My culinary skills extending to making a lasagne. Yes – making it- no shop bought rubbish here, not even a cook in sauce used. Contrary to those rumours spread by many people, I do know where the cooker is and how to use it! Of course, the food needs to be washed down with a few bottles of wine. Good old Asda doing 3 bottles for £10 ( list prices £23). So, for £30 plenty of wine was  obtained for the weekend.

With having 3 visitors for the weekend, I had to purchase an airbed for one of them to use. Sadly, Tesco’s sold an airbed with a pinhole in it, so rapid changes to sleeping arrangements had to be made. This meant Tom sleeping on the sofa cushions. He evened volunteered to give up his bedroom for Josh. He’s a well mannered kid- he obviously takes after me!

Saturday brought a rather lazy day. A trip to Tesco to return the defective airbed and get a replacement turned into a £50 shop. I’m not quite sure how that happened! Good job I had £50 of Tesco clubcard vouchers to use.

Saturday lunchtime brought even more culinary skills from me. We had scallops & chorizo in lemon and garlic. Thanks for the recipe Nigella! There is a new man here – I’ll be exfoliating and moisturising next – oh wait, hang on, I already do that!

Saturday night was a bit of a mixed bag – avoiding dancing on ice/ x factor / whatever other reality show was on TV. Tom & Michelle sneaked off down the pub leaving Josh & I to watch the film The Warriors.

Sunday brought a real cultural experience for two country bumpkins in Michelle & Josh. I took them down to Dagenham Sunday Market to see the sights. The stalls sell the usual market goods, but the “customers” are a sight to see. There are an abundance of pit-bull type dogs. The women are either 20+ stones and showing too much flesh or covered in tattoos and feeding their faces on hotdogs or burgers faster than a starving Ethiopian would. In fact the women seemed to be all of these things.

AN ONLINE REVIEW OF DAGENHAM MARKET

This huge Market is a stark picture of how the other half lives. For it’s filled with thirtyish year old tired looking grandmas looking to buy stuff for their familes on meagre benefits.  There are no trendy stalls selling fancy cupcakes but if you want perfumes that smells like your expensive stuff, then this is a place to go. And if you love Chav clothes, then you will find it here.  They sell just about anything providing it’s legal so you won’t find pirated porn DVD’s or stolen bikes like one well known Sunday Market.
Meanwhile the stench of cheap burgers permeates a landscape that is strangely post industrial. You are probably wondering why I  shop here…. Well they sell cheap gillette razors for starters. Along with toiletries etc.
But when I walk down a double parked road surrounded by rusting scrap heaps. I’m grateful for what I have as this place is a 21th century version of the George Orwell classic “Road to Wigan pier.”

Then it was home and off to the match. (O’s v Arsenal). Michelle and Josh stayed at home whilst Tom & I went to the game. Michelle doing her bit as the great homemaker she is, preparing a Sunday roast for when I came home after the game. The roast was delicious- that girl can cook. I’m not sure how many she was expecting for tea though as there was enough Yorkshire puddings to feed an army.

Yorkshires

This was one portion of the same. No Aunt Bessie’s frozen Yorkshires or packet mix for Michelle. She like to go au naturale – and doesn’t use prepared foods either!

Monday was a day off work for me, as was today. So Michelle, Josh and I went up into Central London and visited the Imperial War Museum.  This is a most fantastic museum which is a history of Britain at War since around 1900. Obviously large sections are devoted to the First & Second World Wars. There is a great mock up of a trench in the First World War section and it helps bring home the horror those brave soldiers had to endure in the First World War. There are also sections about all the conflicts since 1945, including Korea, Vietnam, Aden, Suez, Falklands, Palestine, Kuwait, and Iraq. Sadly, we had insufficient time to spend sufficient time at these exhibits and also did not have time to look round the Lord Ashcroft Gallery – which is home to exhibits relating to Victoria Cross Holders – the bravest of the brave. We were thrown out of the museum as it closed – the day was not long enough to do it justice. Victoria Cross

Today, I took Michelle and Josh to Kings Cross and left them at 14:20 at the ticket barriers to get on the 14:30 train to Newcastle on Platform 0. So at 14:40 I was a little surprised to get a phone call from Michelle telling me she had missed her train. She had managed to get on a train at Platform 1, which was the 15:00 train to Newcastle. The problem was that their tickets were only valid on the 14:30 train and no other train! Fortunately for Michelle, she managed to avoid the ticket collector on the train back to Newcastle and did not have to pay a huge sum to purchase a new ticket.

Tonight after getting home, I now have more visitors coming tomorrow night for a meal and a few drinks. Friends from Barnsley are down in London and staying nearby, so it seemed rude not to meet up with them. So, I’m looking forward to seeing Lynn, Matt & family tomorrow and a few drinks and a takeaway (The new man persona has disappeared!)

Up the Arse Again–Next Week

Of course I am not being rude or suggestive in my choice of thread title. I am obviously referring to the fantastic achievement by Orient in holding Arsenal to a draw at Brisbane Road in the FA Cup 5th Round on Sunday.

To put the achievement into context, Orient had already achieved more than Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Tottenham and other Premiership sides by getting to the 5th round.

Arsenal have a squad that cost million of pounds to assemble and has a worth in today’s transfer market of in excess of £200 million. Orient’s squad cost £0 and at least 3 of the squad are on loan from other clubs.

Whilst Arsenal players get paid £20,000+ per week, Orient’s players earn far more modest salaries. In fact a recent past Orient captain was having lunch with his kids in the local greasy spoon cafe before the game. Can you imagine Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira doing the same at a greasy spoon cafe around Finsbury Park? No, neither can I!

Arsenal are some 2 divisions above Orient and some 50 + places. The feeling in the cafe and on the street was how many would Orient lose by. most orient fans would be happy to keep the score below five and hopefully a goal for Orient to cheer.

Just before the game kicked off, the draw for the sixth round was made, and it paired the winners of this tie with Manchester United away at Old Trafford. The ultimate glamour tie in front of 75,000 people. Shame there was no chance of Orient winning against Arsenal.

The game started and Arsenal were majestic in passing the ball around the pitch. They completed a record number of passes in a football match. However, it was not until early in the second half that Arsenal took the lead. Game over surely?

Well, the Arsenal never scored again, but did hit the post once. Orient brought on their French headless Chicken, who has the touch of a donkey with a bad leg; John Tehoue. With about 2 minutes left, he ran through 2 Arsenal players and drilled home a great shot to sent 7600 or so Orient fans into a state of excitement I’ve not seen in 10 years watching the O’s.

So, its off to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday 2nd March for the replay. Sadly I’m away on work that day and at this stage do not know if I will be able to go to the game. All of East London will be hoping that Orient can put it up the Arse once again.

For the game at Orient, ticket prices were £20 for adults and £13 for those under 21 years old. For  the replay between the same sides, Arsenal are charging £34 for adults and those over 16 and £14. Its rather a big increase 70% for adults, 161% for 16-21 year olds and 8% for children. Premier League? Its a rip off. Arsenal need to charge these huge prices to the fans to pay their poor impoverished players a minimum of 20,000 per week.