Well, I survived my football match. Quite a good experience as a one-off, although the quality of the football left something to be desired and even the pundits the next day were saying how awful Chelsea played.
Having had a spot to eat we arrived in our seats with just minutes to spare before kick-off. The seats themselves were up in the main stand, and were sufficiently high that we were level with the rooves of the other stands. Also, we couldn't see either scoreboard. On the plus side, however we had a good, unobstructed view of the pitch (even if it did seem a long way away!)
Mourinho had obviously tried to rest some of his players, and the eleven out there (which still included many "big names") looked in the first half as though they'd never played together before. Even though Newcastle didn't do anything particularly constructive, you could still see the possibility of them scoring on the break.
The guy I went with - a Chelsea fan - had told me how bad Shaun Wright-Phillips was and having seen how good he was at Man City, I must admit I found it hard to believe - until Wednesday. Carvalho, too, seemed to be a complete donkey. Both, fortunately, were substituted at half-time. For the rest, Terry, Ballack, Lampard, Essien and co looked very ordinary. Their goalkeeper, Hilario, looked very temperamental but to be fair to him, his biggest problem seemed to be keeping warm!
At half-time Mourinho brought Drogba on and the difference was marked, with Chelsea starting to work some good moves together right from the off. He certainly introduced a touch of class into the game. Also, Ballack started to show his strength and class, and even Lampard started threading some good balls through. It was still quite frustrating, however, because they seemed to be playing everything through the middle, while they had wingers standing out on either touchline who weren't seeing anything of the ball.
The goal when it came was a scrappy affair. It looked like Shevchenko (who only played the last half-hour but who is obviously having trouble finding his feet) took a shot, but got absolutely no power on it. Fortunately for Chelsea, Drogba was able to latch onto the shot and just rifled it past the keeper at his near post. I felt the relief all around me.
As it happened I left ten minutes before the end, in order to catch my train. Unfortunately, allowing myself 50 minutes to get from Chelsea to Waterloo was hopelessly optimistic, and I ended up missing the train by around fifteen minutes and having to wait almost an hour for the next train, the last of the night, which didn't depart until 11:30pm.
It was amazing to see Waterloo at a time of day that I never normally see it. To my surprise it seemed every bit as busy as when I use it at 6 o'clock. There were people, obviously having had nights out, dressed in all kinds of garb. There was even a chap dressed as Horatio Hornblower running for his train!
Still, we arrived back in Salisbury for just after 1am and I was in bed for 1:30am. All-in-all, a long night. And it didn't help that the alarm went off at 5:45am, as normal, the next day.
Suffice to say, yesterday was a struggle!
Last night when we got home we had an interesting task, that was to manouver our suite out of the house. A fair bit of thinking required because whilst the suite would quite happily jam if we just applied brute force, by thinking about the problem we were able to position the sofas correctly and just to slide them through the doors. Hopefully the chaps bringing the new suite today will find it just as easy!
Obviously, with changing suites, there is currently a fair amount of upheaval in the lounge. A victim of this appears to have been my laptop, which started exhibiting the same problems I first spotted during this year's holiday. After the holiday, the laptop's problems just seemed to go away, although in truth I think they were just disguised by the fact that at home, the laptop just generally sits on the sofa armrest and doesn't move around a lot.
Upshot is I'm going to need to get the thing repaired. Fortunately there is a place in central London which can probably do the job (and relatively cheaply probably), but it is touch and go how long this will all take, what with Christmas coming up shortly.
Fun, fun, fun.