I got a call recently from a family friend, John Morris. He was the only mormon who ever really kept touch with our family after daddy died and over the years he took me and Phil to lots of Charlton games (including the memorable 1998 playoff final at Wembley) because they were the team he supported and it was something he could do for us. As a result I became practically the only child in Croydon to support Charlton. Most of my schoolmates supported Crystal Palace. Oh the stick I got for it!
Anyway, I hadn't been to a game in years when John called and asked if I would want to go to a game if he could arrange it. I replied in the affirmative and he got tickets for him, me and Phil to see Charlton at home against Palace on 8th
February. I made arrangements accordingly - to stay with kimble
at their place near Stratford so I could tube and bus it to Charlton.
Found my way to where I was staying relatively easily - ben has turned his free (from a competition) Nokia N770
into a tomtom like GPS toy, so it guided me once I was away from my familar territory of the Blackwall Tunnel (I can get to that easily - from there though I get lost unless I'm going to Telehouse at East India Docks).
I was made very welcome by kimble
and shown all the shiny flashy lights and scrolly signs that they have set up. Some of the things would be so helpful in our hearing household as well as their are in their deaf one - a flashy light when a reminder comes up so I wouldn't miss it if I were afk would be amazing. I took down notes of which tubes and busses I needed to get to where I wanted to go and headed out.
Made it to North Greenwich Tube Station ok, and boarded the bus I needed for Charlton in plenty of time - there was an hour to go until Kick Off. Unfortunately, it was rush hour and I ended up in the middle of a crowd away from any windows being squished and I missed my stop. Being unfamiliar with the area, and unable to see anything because of aforementioned squish I didn't realise until the bus thinned out a good half hour later. In the end, I had to ride the bus to the end of the route and then come back on the same one. I had ben tell me where to get off (he was following my route on a bus map because I'd called him in tears and unable to cope) but the driver failed to stop at the right stop and I ended up going one too far. *sigh* Eventually made it into the ground as the half time whistle blew. Phil and John were utterly amazing and lovely and had waited for me outside even though it meant they missed the first half too.
Second half was brilliant. I'd been lucky and not missed any goals. The final score was 2-0 to Charlton and both goals were scored in the second half when I was there to see. Hurrah! I enjoyed myself very much and so John is going to see about taking Phil and I to another game in two or three months.
Going back, John and Phil escorted me to to North Greenwich incase I got lost again (or attacked, which I think at least was John's overriding concern), and made it back to Stratford where barakta
met me to make sure I got off at the right stop for their place. Just as well - the crush on that bendy bus was as bad as the double decker earlier and I wouldn't have had a clue if she hadn't been there and would probably have ended up in Ilford!
I was taken back and fed curry
and felt much more human. Then we talked and spodded until very late (I can't remember when I last went to bed that late). It was lovely and so were they :D
Coming back on Saturday was much easier than going (though I almost got my windscreen cleaned at traffic lights) and stopped at Bluewater for Krispy Kreme donuts to bring home and also had lunch. Unfortuantely, I also had a Lush shaped accident
(the accident looked like this
), but concluded due to general business and lack of parking (there were places being used as parking spaces that I didn't know could accomodate a car) that I am never venturing to Bluewater again on a Saturday unless it is a matter of life or death. Even then, it will depend on whose life is in danger...
Despite the fact that Kimble and Barakta had been lovely, what I saw of the football had been good, and I'd got some nice things in Bluewater, I was more relieved than I can express to get home again.
In conclusion, some notes on London Transport.
1) Busses at rush hour are horrible. Especially if you're short.
2) My foot is not the same as a brake. You have them on your child's buggy, please use them. My foot does not appreciate the fact that you apparently failed to notice the difference.
3) Bendy busses are the spawn of satan and must be stopped. I didn't know it was possible for a bus to be so crowded. It was more like a tube train than a bus (and busses jerk around way way more :S).
4) Driving may be expensive and complicated in London but I think I would rather drive in future than be half crushed and killed on a bus.