Ups & Downs

This certainly describes the last couple of weeks for me.

The weekend before last, I was up in the North East to see Michelle and had a great time. It was the first time I’d seen Michelle since I went back south after Christmas & New Year. Albeit I was only in the North East for around 48 hours, it was good to spend some quality time with Michelle.

Despite sneaking out for a few hours to watch Spennymoor v Lordswood in the FA Vase (about which  I have already written), Michelle and I managed to make some quality time together. Including a great meal out on the Saturday night at a pub that is becoming a favourite of ours; the Derwent Walk Inn at Ebchester. It does great home cooked food, serves real ale and have a great open fire. What more could you want? Well, directions of how to get there and back would be good. Between Michelle and I we managed to take the scenic route there and back, seeing parts of the North East I had not seen before! Of course, being male, I could not admit that I had gone the wrong way and turn back! Still, I  couldn’t have had better company to be with.

The Sunday was a little bit curtailed as I was on a train home earlier than usual. As the 5pm train was much cheaper than the later trains, I was on that one. This meant we ad to eat earlier in the day, rather than having a Sunday roast at teatime. Thanks to Keith & Elizabeth ( Michelle’s parents) for changing their plans to accommodate me.

I even managed to get home from Newcastle swiftly. The train to Kings Cross actually got in early! I got rapid connections on the tube and the train from Liverpool Street. Home before 11pm is early when I’ve been to Newcastle.  A good weekend, and home safely. Everything is good.

Monday morning and up early to cycle to work. As my normal commuter bike was in the bike shop, I went to the garden shed to get out my fixed wheel bike. It was still dark when I opened the shed door, but straight away I realised something was wrong. Five of my bikes were missing. They had been padlocked and chained together in the shed. The shed door was still locked. I then looked up to realise the b*st*rds had removed 1/3 of the shed roof and had lifted the bikes out through the roof, and into the park behind the house. Further examination revealed that they had removed the padlock – obviously having cut it and left the chain behind. They had even removed the wood from the scene as well so as to leave as little forensic evidence as possible.

They took 5 bikes, my 2 fixed wheel bikes, my son’s bike, and 2 that were used by Michelle. Strangely, they left my best two bikes which were also in the shed! Quite why they left the best bikes I do not know.

I’d hate to think of the replacement cost of the bikes. To make matters worse, they are not insured either.

So, less than 12 hours after returning home from a great weekend, I was left experiencing the lows of being a victim of crime.


Tuesday night was the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy Southern Area Final First Leg between Leyton Orient and Southend United at Brisbane Road. This should have been a banker home win as Orient are on form and a division above Southend, as well as playing at home. The excitement of a possible game at Wembley against the winners of the Northern Area Final was clear amongst the crowd.

Orient started well and looked like a side from a division above Southend. It was all Orient, and it was only a matter of time before a goal came. Sadly, it did eventually come for Southend. They managed to drag Orient into a long ball game, and they take an advantage into the second leg.

Still, look on the positive side, Orient are not out of the game yet and Wembley is still a possibility, albeit more distant than before.


The upsides came unexpectedly (and expectedly) on Saturday when Orient played at home to the league leaders Tranmere and were clearly determined to atone for Tuesday night’s defeat against Southend. Orient dominated the game against Tranmere so much that it took until nearly an hour for the first Tranmere attempt on target. Orient won 2-1 but it should have been more, they missed a penalty and had what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed. That win, unexpected as it as, keeps Orient in with an outside chance of making the play offs this season. That could mean a second trip to Wembley for Orient in a single season. It could, but it is very unlikely.

Now, I have to confess that my attention was not so much on the football but on my mobile phone. Why you ask? Well Michelle would say there is nothing new in this, but the real reason was I was desperate for news of how Spennymoor were doing in the 5th Round of the FA Vase at home to Bremerton Heath Harlequins. Friends who were at that game and twitter kept me informed of the progress, with Spennymoor winning 4-2 to reach the 1/4 Finals of the FA Vase for the first time in the club’s history. The chance of a 3rd trip to Wembley remains a possibility for me this season.

Whilst I was delighted that Spennymoor won, I was gutted that I wasn’t  at the game.


The draw for the 1/4 final was made on Monday & gave Spennymoor yet another home tie, this time against Gornal Athletic from Dudley in the West Midlands.  Good news? Well, yes for Spennymoor it is, but for me its not. I was hoping for a game against Tonbridge or Hadleigh down here. Why? Well I am in London the weekend of the next round! Oh well, I’ll settle for a home tie if it means a chance of getting through to the semi finals.


Good news for me is that this is a short working week as I am only in work for 3 days and am heading north to see Michelle on Valentine’s Day; taking in the Spennymoor v Darlington game on the Friday and then going to see my son Tom in Sheffield on the Saturday. I have promised Michelle I will cook here a romantic meal for Valentine’s Day as she is working late that day. I will be at her house before she gets home for work. So, all I have to do now is drive up to Newcastle, decide what to cook and cook it. Apparently ordering in a Chinese takeaway is not classed as a romantic meal. So tonight, I have been looking up recipes in various cook books to try and find what I can cook. At present, I’m looking at Delia Smith’s how to boil an egg book…. Seriously Michelle, I promise that not only will I cook  you a meal, but I will also leave the kitchen tidy


Finally, sad news today with the end of an era. No, not the retirement of the ex Nazi from the biggest crime syndicate in Italy.I’m referring to the story about the ending of funding for road safety films. This means no more of Tufty

Tufty the Squirrel became so popular that a nationwide Tufty Club was formed, which at its height had a staggering two million members

No more of Green Cross Code Man etc.

No more Kevin Keegan or Alvin Stardust helping Children across the road.


Its the end of the world as we know it.