Saturday, May 21, 2005
Despite booking a train for 12:30 I still managed to cut it fine getting to the station be leaving my tickets in the office. This meant taking a detour through the busy streets of Edinburgh before travelling to Waverly train station.
I got there with a bit of time to spare luckily and bought myself a paper, bottle of water and some gum, and within minutes the GNER service from Inverness to London Kings Cross pulled into Waverly.
I found my seat, next to the aisle beside a girl, and sat myself down for the 90-minute journey. I had planned to read Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson but the girl beside me wanted to talk. And boy, could she talk. I helped her choose suitable areas to buy a house in Edinburgh, which she was planning to move to. It all depended on her getting the job she was interviewed on Friday though. I recommended Leith - unbeatable.
I arrived in Newcastle dead on five to two and walked over the road into a busy O'Neill's public house. I ordered a pint of Carling Cold and found myself a seat with a table at the back of the bar so I could read the paper and watch the FA Cup Final. Craig was hoping to get finished from work early so I made myself comfortable until he arrived.
I read through the Racing Post and tried my hand at a selection for the Irish 2000 Guineas running at Curragh. I picked Oratorio at 7-4. It came second to joint favourite Dubawi. At least I'm understanding the form better.
The Cup Final was a great game to watch. Most of the Newcastle fans were pitching for fellow 'Northerners' Manchester United, who were in control for most of the game. The Arsenal keeper was in great form pulling off some good saves.
Craig phoned to say he was running late and I should make my way out to Chichester where he would pick me up at 6pm. I said make it later, since I was enjoying the game too much. Arsenal won the match; the first time ever penalties deciding the fate of the cup - the Arsenal keeper being the difference between the two teams in the end. I finished my fourth pint and headed out to the Metro once the game had finished.
I arrived at Chichester shortly before 6.30 and remembered being in the Chichester Arms on my last visit but one to Newcastle. Craig picked me up and we headed out to South Shields and to a bar called the Marsden Rattler. It's a converted train carriage and was the subject of several double-entendres by our silly selves.
We drank up and headed back to Craig's flat where we took the decision to stay in for the night. We popped round to the local hotel briefly but most of the night was spent with a drink in hand talking about life and the good old days.
One minute we were eating a dinner of pizza and mashed potatoes at 9pm, the next it was 4am and we had run out of booze.
I'm afraid, that is as exciting as this night got, but it was just what we both needed.