Faggsy, Ms Moon and I exit Gedling Miners Welfare Plains Road ground, after witnessing a breathtaking six goal thriller, which ends with honours even. We chew the cud over a couple of pints of real ale at the Woodthorpe Top.
I return home to a slow cooker chilli con carne with dark chocolate, which I knocked up earlier on today. Ms Moon is as happy as Larry as she watches Pointless, Strictly and Blankety Blank. I join in, when I can tear myself away from checking all the Non League results online.
My working hours have now changed. I no longer work on Saturdays, which will give me the opportunity to travel further (north) for games by train, as we have sold the car. This means a 4:am alarm call on a Sunday morning and a 5:am start at the newsagents in Arnold.
Wednesday is the start of my four days off. I Mr Sheen blast the house as Ms Moon takes her granddaughter, Bonnie, to the play park at Colwick. I spend the rest of the day studying the CAMRA Heritage Pub Guide, in anticipation and with a feeling of excitement of planned days out in London and Leeds. I've also listened to the brilliant BBC podcast 'Nothing Will be the Same', which is narrated by Mark Chapman. It's behind the scenes at Goodison Park during the Lampard reign and the early days of Sean Dyche. Big Sean makes it a must-listen documentary, as does his engaging assistant Ian Woan.
East Midlands Railway try their best to muck up my day out on Thursday. I bag a cheaper ticket, but have to change trains at Long Eaton. There is a six minute waiting time. Unfortunately (for me) the buffoons cock up as we arrive a full six minutes late. I make a dash to the opposite side of track to catch the connecting train. Luckily, EMR’s incompetence works in my favour, as this train is also late.
I alight at St Pancras and make my way towards King’s Cross, where my brother and I are to have breakfast at place called Morty and Bob’s, in a swanky place called Coal Drops Yard. The full English is hoovered up in no time. We jump on a tube up to Kilburn. The idea was to tick off the Black Lion on the High Street, but the place is plunged in darkness, as it’s not due open until 4 pm. We decide to stretch our legs by walking up to the Maida Vale area of the city. It has elegant Victorian housing and Little Venice waterway.
We stroll up to the Maida Vale recording studios where bands such as The Clash did sessions for the John Peel Show. We also spot a blue plaque commemorating the birthplace of the famous mathematician and scientist, Alan Turing, who is also well known for cracking the Enigma Code in the Second World War. Benedict Cumberpatch plays the role of Turing in an excellent film called The Imitation Game.
We tick off three CAMRA pubs in the area before shooting up to Notting Hill and then Baker Street. A further two historical boozers, including Scottish Stores, are paid a visit in the Kings Cross area. I arrive home at 10.30 having walked 10 miles and drank 8 halves of southern dirty dishwater. Whilst the beer is piss poor, the Grade II listed buildings are a thing of beauty.
There’s no time to rest on my laurels or bask in the glory of a wonderful day out down ‘the Smoke, yesterday. Ms Moon and I are about to hit the north for an overnight stay.
We’ve not been to Leeds since COVID. I bagged a good deal through Booking.Com at the Radisson Blu, in the heart of the city centre. The Northern train pulls into Leeds Station at just gone midday. We take a wander around, admiring the wide range of architectural styles of notable buildings. Granary Wharf is stunning, with its cobbled bridges and working waterway.
I'm on my best behaviour today, as I have a few trips lined up before the end of the year. We dine at Browns restaurant, which ironically is located next door to our hotel. Like a lot of their buildings, it's housed in a former banking hall. A three course lunchtime deal is a steal at £21 per person. We spend another hour walking off the meal before checking-in.
Whilst Ms Moon has some rest and relaxation, Sticky Palms pounds the streets hunting down a couple of CAMRA pub entries that I've yet to visit. The Bankers Cat, on Boar Lane, is part of the Thornbridge Co Estate. I enjoy a hazy pale ale called Galaxy and Simcoe. I manage to squeeze in another pub called Duck and Drake which has 16 cask ales available and is also a live music venue.
Ms Moon and I have an enjoyable evening with all the other weekend revellers. We arrive back at the hotel to find the bar is still open. It is then that a 'Gincident' happens. I order up a Hendricks. It arrives minus a slice of cucumber - a big no no in the world of gin-drinking. Regular readers will be aware that bad news doesn't go down well with Sticky, particularly after four pints of real ale and three large Tanquerays. Aghast, I complain to the barman who says he will have to check in the storeroom for some cucumber. He's gone that long that I thought, for a moment, the said room was in neighbouring Lancashire. To add injury to insult the tonic water is flat too.
Back in the room Ms Moon is flicking around the TV channels. I wish she hadn't, as the good lady chances upon the final scene of Shane Meadows' dark psychological thriller, Dead Man's Shoes. 'Richard' played by Paddy Considine, one by one rounds up a group of drug dealers who tortured his mentally-impaired brother Anthony. He forces the ringleader to plunge a knife into his heart.
We're back in Nottingham for Saturday lunchtime. The train journey was long and drawn out. but not without incident, when a revenue protection officer caught a couple of fare dodgers red-handed, who were sat close by. Ms Moon says it's probably not the right time for me to play the chorus of 'Cry Me a River' by Justin Timberlake on my phone as the statutory penalty notice fines are being issued to perpetrators.
I'm in the clubhouse at Carlton Town's Stoke Lane ground by 2.15pm. Chairman, Mick Garton, is introducing former Notts and Leicestershire fast bowler, David Milnes to a standing room only audience. Milnes is now an international umpire, so he has a number of amusing and witty anecdotes.
He was discovered in a 'Find a Fast Bowler' trial held at Trent Bridge on 12th June, 1984. The reason I know that date was because me and my mate Rick Heeley were there too. We watched the second half of the European Championship final between France and Spain in the Trent Bridge Squash Club after an unsuccessful trial. Richard Hadlee was the judge. He was particularly grumpy that evening. I ask Milnes who is the fastest bowler he has seen from his end. He replies that it would probably be Tymal Mills or Mark Wood.
I visit the club shop where birthday boy, Jon Hartstone, and Ken are manning the fort. I purchase a Millers beanie hat for £10. Manager Tommy Brookbanks will be looking for a reaction after last weekend's drubbing up at Ashington in the north east. Main striker Alex Hardwick is suspended after a stupid red card in that said game.
There's not much happening in the opening exchanges. The young Millers grow into the game, looking particularly strong down the left hand side where Durow and Hylton enjoy a good understanding. 'Casually Dan' spins some classic 45s at the break, including the 1984 hit 'Rip it Up' by Glaswegian post-punk band Orange Juice. Dan's daughter, 7 year old Lily, is still miffed with last weekend's lacklustre performance. It's a no show from Lily in the home end as she prefers to crayon-in her colouring book.
Blog favourite Edward has turned up all flustered after a busy morning of shopping, attending engagements and another fresh-look trim, styled by Alison up on Mapp Tops. He's also been clocked sneaking out of the sponsors lounge after ploughing his way through a large plate of sandwiches. He was joined by Dad, Jon, who is today's match sponsor.
Carlton turn up the heat in the second half. The all important first goal is fired home by captain Niall Davie. He puts the game to bed from the penalty spot after the excellent David Adegbola is upended in the box. Niall's mum, Lynn, says she is being 'greedy' in hoping her son can bag a hat-trick. He duly obliges with a neat header from another well taken corner. The icing on the cake is afterwards in the clubhouse when Davie pulls his father's number out in the 200 Club first prize draw. He can't half pick 'em.
Man of the Match: Niall Davie