Monday, 22 August 2011
Away From Home
I returned home yesterday from a thoroughly pleasant 10 days sweltering in the glorious Spanish sunshine on the Costa Blanca. I couldn't do a travelogue even if I was a sharp enough wordsmith to do so as we so rarely ventured from the fantastic pool we had in our rented villa. Alongside the friends we went with - who had a very young baby - we very deliberately set out to have as quiet and relaxing holiday as we could: a stay that would be centred around our young children rather than our desire to drag them about sightseeing during the blazing hot days and then drag them in and out of restaurants in the evening. I'm pleased to say it worked for me - I have not enjoyed a family holiday more - and I am one of those chaps who could take or leave a summer holiday abroad generally. What I can say is the quality of the seafood in even the most basic of supermarkets was a most welcome surprise and our homemade Paella (pictured below) was one example of some excellent dinners we enjoying in the evenings whilst taking in the odd glass of Sangria here and there. There's a lot to be said for a San Miguel in temperatures edging towards the 40's!
None the less, a downside to holidays crammed inside that 6 week school break period is the risk of missing a home game at the front end of the season. It so very rarely happens at any time, but I absolutely hate it when it does. Saturday was total agony for me. No matter the distraction of family fun around the pool, my mind was elsewhere (SE7, to be exact). Worst still, my missus knows I'm getting fidgety and irritable leading up to kick off (and I really tried not to be, especially as we were with friends) and she doesn't like it one bit. She knows only too well where I'd much rather be, if only for that 90mins. Trying to keep abreast of action was also near impossible given my iPhones awful reception, so, as was the case with the previous two away games last week, I relied completely on the intermittent texts from my Mum, who was following the games back home.
I was delighted with the news of the victories at Notts County and CUFC, but like everyone else my mood was dampened by the last gasp equaliser by the Irons on Saturday. I've not had the chance to check over a single report of the 3 games whilst I was away, so I write this post without any knowledge of the mood of the Addickted. My hope is that although Saturday would have been a blow that would have almost felt like a loss (especially after being 2 up), for the most part there should be a fair amount of optimism that things appear to be looking a little more positive around the Valley. 10 points from a possible 12 is something I'd have settled for before a ball was kicked in anger this season, after all. I'll be back to my usual East Stand seat tomorrow night v's Reading, so I will be hoping to gauge for myself how well the team are progressing since I saw them against Bournemouth.
Whilst we was away my son decided he wanted a Spanish football shirt. Despite my desire for him to have something different (no surprise there - I wanted him to have an Alicante strip) in the end the young lad went for a Messi no.10 Barcelona shirt. Deep down I don't blame him and he looked as pleased as punch when he first tried it on. I must confess, seeing him in a Barca strip wearing the number worn by my footballing hero Maradona in his time at the Nou Camp made my heart burst with pride. Whilst I dried him off following a spell in the pool he said to me that "we support 3 teams don't we Dad?". Playing dumb I asked him what teams they were and he answered "England, Barcelona and....I held my breath.....Charlton". Thank God, I thought! Interestingly, and without my prompting, he went for the Barca jersey as the club badge has the cross of St George on it. A rational reason to suport a team abroad, I guess.
He's just about to turn 5 and he may well have a tough road ahead of him if he does follow the Addicks (I totally accept that's not guaranteed), so I can't begrudge him the shirt of a more well know football team, can I? Rather Barca than Chelsea or Man United!