Sydenham Sunday

May 11, 2009

sydenham may 2009 028 (2)

I’ve been catsitting this weekend. In Sydenham. looking after a little cat fellow called Chomsky. As I type he has just eaten a wasp. I hope that’s alright. For Chomsky. Not the wasp. Too late for the wasp. Wasps get a raw deal. We might not like bees, but we put up with them. They make us honey and if they sting us they then do the decent thing and go and die. Wasps make nothing and sting and sting again. So well done Chomsky, I hope you are ok and unstung. (Just checked on him in the garden and he seems fine).

Sunday in Sydenham was a lovely day. And so I did the obvious thing. I went and sat in two glums pubs and watched Manchester United play Manchester City. I’d have been better off eating wasps.

I had a pint in the first pub, for the first half of the game. I don’t think I was very welcome there. Everyone seemed to be on United’s side. And they were all very serious hairless tattooed men. I sat while they all stood and watched the game, arching backwards like ballet dancers. And old man wandered from table to table with two full carrier bags. He was selling meat. One of the hairless tattooese kept chanting “Been shoppin’ ‘ave ya? Been shoppin’ ‘ave ya?” Although I understood the question I didn’t understand what it meant. I wasn’t offered any meat.

At half time I went to the bar for a second pint and some of the lovely food on display. Everyone at the bar had a plate with some bread on it, and ham, and pickles. That’d do me. I wasn’t sure what I was asking for as there was no menu, so, trying to be polite I said “do you do any food?” The tattooed barman said “no.”

In my second pub, for the second half, I had a roast lamb dinner. It wasn’t too good, but when asked I said it was excellent. I was just glad to be somewhere where people were friendly. My roast dinner was served on a black square plate. Have you ever had a roast potato that’s kind of like a stress ball? I have now.

Manchester United v Manchester City, in a pub in Sydenham, watching it on a Greek sports channel. A caption kept scrolling across the screen; this channel is only licensed to be viewed in Greece. The Greek commentary was turned down and old classics played in the distance; Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa. I felt like I was on holiday.

And I was sitting by another Manchester City fan. He said hello. This was a friendly pub. We talked about the match and I pretended I knew about football. I just about got by. we talked of Colin Bell and Franny Lee. Then we jumped 30 odd years to talk of Robinho and Richard Dunne. Thank Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick in the 1976 League Cup Final that he didn’t ask me about all the years inbetween. By the end of the match he’d bought me a pint. Cheers sir!

Four pints later I strolled into the Sydenham sun. City lost.

dog-and-ballThis isn’t Manchester City’s most expensive player, Robinho, but I don’t want to be charged £6000 for not knowing my copyright infringement laws, so best play it safe and use a pic of a dog with a ball.

Robinho, swiftly becoming my hero because he catches the bus and watches Coronation Street, doesn’t catch the bus and doesn’t watch Coronation Street. How could the News of the World get it so wrong? Now I’ll have to worship him for his football skills alone. Which isn’t a bad deal, other than my knowledge of football skills is confined to he shoots, he scores, he occasionally nutmegs. Oh, and yes, I know, we were properly beaten by United yesterday but what a great run, the length of the field, from Joe Hart in the dying minutes to at least stop it becoming 2-0. And again, my football knowledge is limited, but Ronaldo, I know a hand ball when I see one… sorry, both hands ball.

But why no bus trips to the Trafford Centre? Robinho told The Guardian; “I used the bus when I was growing up in Brazil. I don’t want to diminish anyone who travels on the bus but I haven’t done that for a long time.” And his response to the story that he is watching Coronation Street to improve his English? “Very funny. Hahahahaha.” Shame. You can read the full interview here.