Or: Misophonia is getting the better of me.
Transport to game.
I sometimes wonder why I write about the transport to the game. It seems, when I read it back, to be somewhat repetitive and borderline obsessive. I thought I might not comment this week because the reader might finally have had enough. Then Southern rail did a brilliant party piece to reignite my passion for stating the so flipping obvious.
Martin had organised an 8.22 departure from Bristol Temple Meads. It left on time. The gang consisted of the (at this time Good) Lord, Coventry Bob, Rocketless Ronnie, Mumbles and myself. The plan had a short changeover time at Southampton and then a multi-stationed crawl via the Solent coast and South Sussex to Crawley. All was fine. The list had been consulted for trips in early February, the tales of race courses and cricket grounds ticked off for next summer. We were even ready to celebrate getting to the pub before opening time. All for less than £30 return. Two of the party were lucky enough to go via Reading, shorter in time but with a downside of a return by megabus from Victoria in the evening. Oh how we envied them as 11 in the evening approached and we were still somewhere between Bath and Bristol. I had just remarked about the wind having dropped and snow falling in Stoke when the guard announced that a tree had fallen on the line between Horsham and Crawley. They have mighty slow falling trees in Sussex. The train would now cease at Horsham. There was no replacement bus, no alternative route, nothing. We are a resilient bunch. No problem. The local bus service did the job and we arrived 40 minutes late at our first pub. We knew they would clear the line by the time we returned after the game. How wrong could we be?
In table form the journey went like this.
|THE PLAN||THE REALITY|
|BTM leave 8.22||BTM leave 8.22|
|Arrive Southampton 10.03||Arrive Southampton 10.10|
|Leave Southampton 10.13||RUN FOR TRAIN||Leave Southampton 10.13|
|Arrive Crawley 11.58||TRAIN Cancelled Get off at Horsham 11.45|
|BUS to Crawley arrives 12.32|
|Pub from 12.05||Pub from 12.45|
|Leave Crawley 17.18||Leave Crawley 17.33|
|Arrive Horsham 17.45||45 minutes in Horsham|
|Leave Horsham 18.30|
|TRAIN Cancelled. Arrive Fareham 19.56|
|Leave Fareham 20.07|
|Arrive Southampton 18.59||Arrive Southampton 20.35|
|Lovely hour in Southampton||Lovely 45 minutes in Southampton|
|Leave Southampton 20.10||Leave Southampton 21.10|
|Arrive BTM 21.50||Arrive BTM 22.50|
A selection from the day
The Brewery Shades
The gang had taken up residence in the bottom area of this split level pub. The Leeds two of Paul and Roger Right Hand were probably the first to arrive. The Pikester had made it via Reading and left Peter de Meteor to do his Crawley walkabout. We had picked up my good friend Mick Escott and Wakey on the bus from Horsham. Also present were Scargill and friends from South London. I should explain that Mick and Wakey were doing their typical football thing. Mick had some topping up to do. He has written his record to “doing the 92”. As we know with publishing football things, teams and grounds change and Crawley were not one of the 92 when the publication hit the shelf. They would later go on to the Theatre in Portsmouth. Mick has a fairly unique (Not fairly at all, but totally unique) thing of combining football, real ale and thespianism. If you get a chance, take a look at his third tome, after Round the Turnstiles and then Round the Cloisters here. Round the Footlights
Back to the Brewery Shades. This is probably the best pub for overall beer quality in Crawley. We would not have time to test that against its best rival at the Swan but the beer choice included two dark beers and some genuine Sussex rarities. This was good for the team as we know Harvey’s is rarely found outside their own pubs. First up for me though was a Dark Star Revelation. It was catch up time for most and meal time for others. We left them to it and went the fifty yards or so along the road to the next pub. I like the pub, I always have. It was busy and friendly and the beer pretty decent.
I must apologise right now to my friends who will recall my behaviour in the next half hour. I am sorry o.k. The Harvey’s Old Ale was truly brilliant. The chat was good. I was getting a bit irritated by constant references to what I could do to organise taxis or pubs, but that is not unusual. I had a serious attack of Misophonia that hit me smack in the ear. Look it up. Misophonia is serious to me. My friends know it. I have avoidance tactics and sometimes get a cob on when under attack. I have a set of earphones in my pocket that I insert, but rarely connect, when the group decides to eat on the train or in the car. The Radio will sometimes reach full volume after a late night stop at the services on the way home from a game. I will leave a pub and move on when the chomping hits levels that set me to feeling physically sick. To add insult to the illness today I had to physically remove half chewed bacon sandwich from my right ear as the food flew from mouth, noisily, into the side of my face. I took a five minute time out and returned to a second pint. Roger had sorted the taxi. Thanks Roger, it meant a lot to do that.
Taxi to the game
Crawley Town 2 Bristol Rovers 1 Attendance 2,612 (836 Gasheads)
The tide has really turned. We lost a game away from home. The pattern was the same of total domination in the second half, missed chances and a feeling that this side can be very good. What was different was that we gifted the opposition a two goal head start. I have a few observations. I must thank the caterers for replacing, free of charge, my cold Balti pie with one only slightly warmer. The thought was there. The other concerns the playing of the La Marseillaise and expecting all fans to duly join in. I have no problems with the sentiment but the announcement needed to be far clearer to avoid the Gasheads continuing with pre match singing. The PA at Crawley is of a gent screeching at a high pitch but sub singing level. When the fans realised the French anthem was being played it was far too late. I do have another problem with the whole French “all in it together” bit. I do not agree with bombing Syria in retaliation. I do think we should also remember in some form of solidarity all nations that are under attack from this form of terrorism. That includes those in Beirut and Mali in the last week.
Entertainment Value 2
Man of the Match: Billy Bodin
The Black Jug in Horsham
Mick and Wakey were staying in Horsham and recommended this pub. This opinion gained more credence when Glyn, of Bradwan notoriety, posted support from Bradford on Facebook. It was very busy. The Harvey’s Sussex Bitter certainly looked good on pulling. I left a little disappointed by the beer but we only had a short break so didn’t get to a second opinion. The pub was very busy with an early evening restaurant crowd. We will return, possibly in the summer should the mighty Gloucestershire have a game in town.
Best Pub: Brewery Shades
Best Beer: Harvey’s Old Ale in the White Hart
Next Up: Exeter away. This is already sold out for away fans. The 9.15 train will be manic. Police avoidance strategies will be in operation if we are to avoid being kettled in some keg emporia. Somewhere during the day I will meet up again with Mick. He is, after all a Grecian and I want to know how the theatre trip went.