London: A Story in Pictures

Scotland played England down at Wembley last month, I was there, we got beat 3-2 but it was still a highly enjoyable trip. Here is some pictures with some stories behind them which will be some sort of attempt to describe that particular Wednesday. And briefly the Thursday too.

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So, first of all I will tell you I have absolutely no idea who the guy is behind me on the lion. While trying to find somewhere to go for a pee I decided to have a go at climbing up on a Trafalgar Square lion and after getting a helping hand of a punty up the tail i shimmied along to that position and asked Blackie (on the ground) to take my photo. He told me to climb up on the head like everyone else but let me tell you here and now, its a fair distance off the ground you are on that there lion, maybe 14 or 15 feet up? Plus its very slippy and i had a pair of stupid Flossy shoes on with no grip and was half cut and basically too scared. So i just sat there. At this point that other fella climbed up and sat behind me. I didnt want yo go any further and he was blocking my way back. I commented to him that this was maybe the most awkward I had ever felt in my life as I straddled a big lion with another man I dont know’s legs wrapped around me.In saying that to him the realisation dawned on him too of the situation and he screamed at his pal to quickly take his photo so he could get down. Eventually they did and we got down by sliding down the tail.

Oh, and I am not touching his leg.

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These are the shoes I was talking about. But here we will talk about the travel arrangements there as i merely go changed into the kilt and that after a quick shower in the hotel when we got to London and took this photo as we walked in the hope we would find a tube station. We left Kilmarnock at around half 5 (instead of 5 as expected cos two guys were late) and as expected some folk were kilted up from that time and would only wear that till they were back in their house on the Thursday night. On the bus was a fella wearing a kilt with an England top, I overheard someone asking the reasoning behind this choice of attire, the answer was something to do with friendly relations or something, not anything particularly interesting. He did get interviewed at Westmorland Services by a guy with a big TV style camera. He also seemed to be a main man in the running of the bus which had the whole busses carry out in cool bags and also ice, actual dods of ice for folk drinking spirits or wine. This sort of thing is not common in any bus I have ever been on. There was even Killie pies if you wanted them, they were cold mind you but you could have filled yer boots should you have wished. I tried to get my head down for some kip with the plan of starting drinking around 9am but keeked an eye open to see the fella beside me tucking into a pie with his can of Strongbow at the back of 6.

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These phone boxes were between Trafalgar Square and the train station to take us to the ground. In Prague for the infamous 4-6-0 game a good friend and London travel pal David Alexander slept in a phone box as he couldnt find his way back to our apartment in the area known as Praha 5. This was just so he knew that there was somewhere for him to get his head down should he fail to find our hotel this time out.

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The train out to the game was fairly entertaining, the England fans in our carraige were in the most part having s great time. Singing and laughing and joking. All except one guy whose face was like thunder. Absolutely raging he seemed that all us jocks were down having a great time in his country. His demeanour got the attention of loads of folk beside us and even the police on the train ended up coming up and standing just over his shoulder for the remainder of the journey.

wpid-IMAG1414.jpgThis is our taxi driver back to the hotel from the chip shop just around from the underground station we got off at. A chip shop I should add that we got a bottle of beer in while we waited on the chips frying, different world down there in London, wouldn’t get that in the Welbeck chippy. But back to our taxi driver. I don’t know his name. He is from Pakistan however and liked cricket. Martin and I threw all our limited knowledge of Pakistani cricket at him. Shoaib Akthar I think I managed to come up with, then Sachin Tendulkar and Mularitharan who are Indian and Sri Lankan cricketers and not Pakistani. We may or may not have also spoken about kabaddi and whether or not our taxi driver had played it at any point in his life. It was a good chat and he agreed to a wee photo on arrival at our destination. Good guy.

wpid-IMAG1514.jpgThis is the reciept from Burger King at Charnock Richard, which is a service station we visited on our way back home to Scotland. I have no idea if there is a place called Charnock Richard but they do have a Burger King/KFC in the flyover between the north and south parts of the services (its even called “Burger King Bridge” and that’s where we ate, right by the window too, watching the cars zoom underneath. Always wanted to eat on one of those. One less for the bucket list.

wpid-20130830223103772.jpgTrafalgar Square was a sight to be seen. When we got off the train on our way there, there was Scotland fans tellin g us we were going the wrong way (must have been going to Wembley early) so we would have been forgiven for thinking we got there too late as it was starting to empty. It wasn’t, was still jumping. The fountains were full of fairy liquid and also folks empty cans and most likely urine. There were fans everywhere, I climbed on a lion as I mentioned earlier and saw plenty o blokes go down to their scants and climb to the top of the fountains. Never saw the guy that got lifted, missed him by about an hour I was told. Saw a good few people I knew and saw a few tramps eyes light up at the booze they would be able to get their hands on from what was left lying around. The sightseeing buses that passed and all the tourists walking around the outside clicked away with their cameras. Must have been some sight.

wpid-IMAG1411.jpgWembley isnt spelt as I always thought. or maybe it is but when you see it written in seats when the stadium empties after the game it doesn’t look right, this cant be a mistake that no one has spotted surely? Is it not Wembeley? Actually, that looks awful, its definately Wembley, my mistake. The ground clears fairly quickly and when it does you realise how massive it is. After the game we went down the 18000 stairs to the exit (singing “i want to go home, I want to go ho-oame, wembleys a shitehole, I want to go home” regardless of the fact that it was anything like a shitehole) and took a long road for a short cut to get back to the train station as the way we avoided i am sure would have took us onto the big underpass right to the station.

wpid-IMAG1392.jpgWhen we got off the train out to the stadium, the train with the potential mental case English fella, we stated about wondering what to do. Premier Inn had bouncers on their gates as their bar was opened up and folk were drinking on their grass. Others were lined up to get in. I needed a pee but the bouncers wouldnt let me in, ended up peeing behind someones car in a car park (i asked him if it was alright first) we kept walking toward Wembley and decided to try the next pub, can’t remember the name but when we lined up to get in the bouncer asked as what we were doing as we could just go in, well once we had put the last remnants of our carry out at the door for pick up when we left. Couldn’t believe it, there was room to move about and ten minutes later we had a seat. I had a email sent out the week before about Scotland only pubs around the ground, it must be one of them. I was good, and ended up being the only pint I had, while away. in a pub.

wpid-IMAG1400.jpgAnd then we left the pub and it was raining, the wee weather apps on all our phones hadn’t predicted this, warm but a little cloudy they said, but here we are. I have no idea if this is Wembley way, or if its called that at the new ground but this was our walk up to the ground and from here it looked pretty cool.

wpid-IMAG1407.jpgAnd i guess there was the game. In which I felt we played really well but in the end couldn’t beat a very ordinary team. On the way down we spoke of just scoring a meaningful goal, an opener or an equaliser or something would be a brilliant feeling, to get that was brilliant, the opener felt as if we could take the roof off the place, what a feeling. I however missed Kenny Millers second goal as I wasn’t aware the second half had started. Was just down on the concourse waiting on the toilet queue thinning out when the roar went up and everyone rushed to the tv screens that are dotted everywhere hanging from the ceilings. Also down on the concourse were a few of the guys I was with. They were waiting on food from the stall only to be told there was no burgers left. He took a pint of lager instead and then tried to get the beer up to his seat by assuring the steward that it wasn’t a pint of lager at all, rather a burger. The steward never accepted this logic and he had to drink it downstairs. It was a valiant attempt nonetheless.

And that’s that I suppose, a brilliant few days on one of my favourite places in the world. With a more favourable result it could have been as good an away trip as Paris in 2007.

Hopefully the revive the fixture more regularly, and if it transpired that all the games were down at Wembley then you wouldnt get too much resistance from me.

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Cheryl Coles Tattoos and English Left Backs in General

Last week, in the wake of the unveiling or leaking or however it was carried out, the revelation of Cheryl Coles new arse tattoo inspired me to write a pithy status about it on facebook. I came up with it on my Sunday shift at work and improved it I thought as the shift wore on before finally when I emerged in the daylight at 2.30 from an 8 and a half hour warehouse slog I posted it on my facebook account and waited for a reaction.

But nobody bloody liked it.

Now its something of a hot topic of conversation in pubs and in online group chats on things like Viber about the level of interest a post or photo can get on the likes of facebook. 10 likes seems to be the base level for acceptability. Any less and its as well not being there. A massive fail.

The status was

“Cheryl Cole likes a tattoo to celebrate English footballs full backs eh? First ashley Cole, now Danny rose. Surely next she will get a tattoo depicting multiple images of a bandy legged ex Scotland and Aberdeen goalie in tom hardys mask from the last batman film.”

70704390_cole_20941cNow I think that is a good bit of patter but it appears that no one understands it (or, you know, thinks its shite) so I will take the opportunity to explain it.

Lets kick off with the Mrs C tattoo she has on the back of her neck from when she was still with her husband. Her husband being (C)Ashley Cole, an English full back.

cherlShe now has enormous roses on her back and arse, its really rather horrible I think, but quite clearly its her own wee homage to Danny Rose, who happens to be Tottenhams new first choice full back after being papped out on loan to other teams in seasons past.

So thats two English full backs etched on her skin, what will next trip to the tattooist deliver?

leighton,%20jim%201998aexclusive-image-of-tom-hardy-as-bane-in-the-dark-knight-rises-102438-00-470-75I thought she could get a few images of the bandy legged ex Scotland, Aberdeen, Manchester United and Hibs (and more) goalie; Jim Leighton (left) and team it up with the mask worn by Tom Hardys oddly spoken Batman baddie in Dark Knight Rises, you know, Bane (right) Leaving something that kind of looks something like………

This?

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See? Its a hilarious image that you were supposed to piece together in your minds eye from the clues I gave so that it depicted Everton and England left back Leighton Bane’s or rather Baines.

Oh I laughed when I came up with that, laughed and laughed at how clever I was. She could get it above the roses but below the neck writing, it kind of looks like a cross, folk get crosses all the time……

Right, yer all right, its a pish joke. Time tae move on.

A Diary in 53 Posts: part 1: 2011

Decided for the umpteenth time to try to keep some sort of diary. Makes sense really because my life is from day-to-day jam-packed with fascinating stuff. I mean take today, I went the food shopping (though I call it “the messages”) then spent over an hour on the phone with sky trying to get my broadband speeds up. Its action like that that I think should be documented and here could be the place to do it.

Though i have been here before, i have written about four days worth and gave up or forgot or such but as i am now 30 i feel my maturity at such an age brings with it the discipline to keep it up, and my plan is simply to write once a week on a Sunday about the week prior, what with the year kicking off on a Sunday it all seems to fit. One post a week for 52 weeks, year done.

Plus this one which will point out all the “pure mazing” stuff i did last year and whet the appetite somewhat, you know like this photo.

So without further ado and in no particular order….

  • Got married in November to my favourite girl of the past 8 or 9 years.
  • went to Cuba on honeymoon and saw more Lada’s than i thought i ever would.
  • While in Cuba felt more out of my depth in a cigar shop than i ever have in a lingerie shop.
  • Bought fifa 12 for my ps3.
  • Turned 30 and had a barbecue to celebrate.
  • Saw Scotland dick around on the same pitch as Brazil at the Emirates.
  • Travelled to London for said Scotland game on a bus filled with folk from Greenock.
  • Went to Magaluf for three days for my Stag do.
  • Got dressed up as a horse one night there (along with 14 pals dressed as jockeys) and was sat on by countless holiday making fat lassies.
  • Drove my shit heap car down to Biggar for a wedding.
  • Listened to the last five minutes of the Champions league final in my ship heap car in Biggar because wedding was same day as the game.
  • Bought and happily wore on a few occasions (says it quietly) chinos.
  • sacked my ESPN subscription when they lost the licence to show NHL ice hockey
  • Gigged twice at The Stand Comedy club in Glasgow.
  • Gigged at The Sports Bar at Rugby Park and had a great chat with Scottish comedian Stu Who? who gave me some career pointers.
  • In two of these three gigs i got folk to laugh at my fear of seagulls.
  • Met and had my photo taken with Subo ie. the photo above.
  • Had my first night out in Edinburgh.
  • went off roading in a big Land rover discovery which i was brilliant no bad at.
  • won a fancy glass from Tennents lager for having a sly dig at the tayside polis in their great cities competition.
  • Got Wham!’s greatest hits on CD.
  • Played my first game of 11 a side football in years and scored a goal.
  • Had a can of Dragon Soup.
  • Well, half a can, that stuff would rot yer teeth as soon as look at ye.
  • Watched Man vs Food for the first time and vowed to get my picture on the wall of some eating establishment due to my eating prowess.
  • thought long and hard about writing a book about my love of beans on toast.
  • Took my then fiance to see the Bluetones in their farewell tour.
  • Turned my backdoor from a dumping ground apocalyptic site of ruin into something a bit tidier.
  • Did i mention i got married?

Plus hundreds of other stuff, basically you get the gist, got married and turned 30. If i think of anything more i will add it in, not that anyone will notice or care but for totality, for completion i will come back and throw it in. It’s just what i am like.

All this serves as an introduction to my ho-hum life in 2012, it now remains to be seen how many weeks i manage to report back on……I wish myself the best of good luck.

Cheers for reading.

John