A Traveller’s Tale
A week ago,I headed up to Scotland for the latest batter in the mouth from my dentist. Fair play to her,she’s playing a blinder-the dentists down here didn’t even know where to start. Finish a nightshift and jump on a bus for about eleven hours,reverse on Sunday-eleven hour trip back,couple of hours kip then out on a mercifully short shift.
Why the bus,that sounds a nightmare? Well,Swindon is nowhere near an airport and North/South rail travel isn’t nearly as good as East/West. About eight hours each all told,£200 and £180 respectively. £40 on the bus,no brainer.
And I get a 100 minute stopover in Birmingham on the way up,ideal for sampling the Guinness in The Irish Centre,Digbeth. Highly recommended if you are ever there,and not too far from The Bullring. Take the missus shopping,bugger off to the Irish Centre when she’s not looking-you know it makes sense!
The bonus is getting a bit of time with my family. Not enough of course,but they’ll be sick of the sight of me after three weeks in September!
So why am I telling you this? Well,some people make trips like this all the time for fun! Or to be more precise,for Celtic. A couple of my mates in Swindon get the bus to London about 6pm the night before a match then the overnight bus from there to Glasgow. Have a few beers and some grub,watch the match,catch the overnight bus back to London and another one to Swindon. They arrive back about 10am. They do it about a dozen times a season,with a slightly different pattern for evening European games.
Another couple of them catch the bus to Birmingham about 7am then a train to Wolverhampton then to Glasgow. It gets them to Glasgow about 230 pm apparently,which is a bit tight for me. Overnight stay and a train around noon back to Wolverhampton then Birmingham bus. They also like The Irish Centre on the way back.
Some of my friends in the London area take an early train to Glasgow,around 9am,and the last train they can get back is around 630. It gets them into Euston around 0030. Sounds much more fun,right? Aye,but they don’t live beside Euston Station,so there’s another hour or so each way added to the trip on average.
My friends from Ireland have it worse,of course. My wee Guinness-guzzling pal from Lurgan and her husband set off by coach about 4am to Belfast,ferry to Cairnryan followed by the beautiful but hardly direct drive up the Ayrshire coast. No time for the craitur,the craic nor grub after the game,and not much before it either. They are rarely if ever home before midnight.
A Dublin-based mate flew over for the Hearts “Trophy Day” a couple of weeks back.
To Edinburgh-because Glasgow flights were about £250 each way!
He got back with a little help from our mutual friend above who dropped him off at Belfast Bus Station-I hope he was in time for a pint in Brennan’s or The Crown!-where he caught a bus to Dublin. Home for around 2am-on a schoolday! And he’s a teacher,so for once,I’m not being facetious…
I’m sure you all have tales like this,friends who travel in the most trying circumstances yet still make the game. Our contributor FOOLTIMEWHISTLE takes a bit of beating though. Three generations of his family made the trip in August so that his grandson could be the mascot on Flag Day. He’s never been so proud as when he stood beside “Mr McGrain”
FOOLTIMEWHISTLE is based in North Carolina. Didnae stop him.
MELBOURNEMICK and PADDYMACOZ are gradually turning the city Green and White. MACJAY et al turned Cheers in Sydney from a bar Where Everybody Knows Your Name to a bar Where Everybody Knows They’re All Tims.
The Las Vegas convention of North American CSC is another case in point. Mobbed,everyone having a good time,and I’ll bet plenty are hatching their plans to be over for a match or two next season.
Etc,etc,etc. You will all have tales of your own.
So what’s my bloody point then,you ask?
“Look at them,Jim. They’re there,and they’re ALWAYS there!”
No matter how pissed off we are with events off the pitch or on it,Celtic Park is like a magnet for us. We will ALWAYS be drawn to it,nothing and no-one can ruin that feeling for us,no matter how hard they try.
And it sure beats getting your teeth pulled!
In other news,it’s great to see George Connelly looking fit and well as he launches his autobiography. There have been a number of books written about the flawed genius but none will ever really explain to us the whys and the wherefores of his time and eventual departure from Celtic.
I’m not sure that this book will either,if I’m honest. George is famously shy and diffident. To explain his reasons,he would have to name names,and that isn’t his style.
But boy,did he have style! He had it in spades,and it’s hard to think that he really only displayed his quality for us in full for about three or four years in the early 70s. That was more than enough for anyone who watched him to know that we were watching one of the finest players ever to wear The Hoooooops.
George,I could never be mad at you. You gave us all so much pleasure wearing our colours. I’m delighted for you and yours that everything is for the best in your best of all possible worlds. You fought long and hard to get there,and you have the best wishes of all who witnessed your brilliance.
I’ll finish off this article with a rare-for this site-political observation.
Above article by BMCUWP. If you want to save us from dross like this,mail your article to Mahe,we will make it Article of the Day