Saturday, October 08, 2016

Supporting the Team

Today sees England play Malta in the World Cup Qualifiers. The Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox had tickets and decided to make a day of it. Loading up the car with a picnic and suitable clothing we headed for Wembley.

It was all going very well until we approached T5 on the M25 where the traffic ground to a halt and the traffic reports indicated we were going to be in trouble for a while. We stuck with it until the M4 and then zipped in Chiswick and up the North Circular - slow but moving. We arrived and parked up. We were early enough to have the pick of the spaces... and chose the VIP / Royal Box section. The attendant didn't seem to care - probably thinking the Silver Vixen was the Queen travelling incognito.

We strolled along to the London Designer Outlet Mall, which is right next to the stadium. There was a huge selection of restaurants (as well as the designer stores). The the Silver Vixen hadn't been to a TGI Fridays for years so suggested we try there. The bouncers informed us that there was likely to be a 45 minute wait, but to register at the desk and they would give us a pager. We went to the desk and explained we wanted a table for two. She smiled, "Yes, I think I can do that immediately" she said, and so we were escorted to our table as all of the larger parties looked on in hunger.

After we had finished a very leisurely lunch we wandered back to the Stadium and took our seats. They were well situated - 3 rows bak from the pitch, about ten metres from the half way line. We settled down to enjoy the pre-match interviews and warm ups. At five o'clock the game kicked off. Malta huffed and puffed but never looked threatening. What was clear was how much faster the England team were and just seemed to fly past the Maltese whenever they wanted. It wasn't a game that you would consider a great classic, but it was a good game and it was lovely to be there and soak up the atmosphere as the England team won 2-0.

After the game we did our usual trick. We returned to the car and settled down to our picnic. We had no intention of even starting the engine for an hour - whilst watching everyone else fighting to get out of the car park and getting nowhere. Experience has told us that after about 45 minutes they open a second exit and after the initial rush, we can join that exit queue without too much hassle. So it was that we left it until eight, then slotted into to the exit line. This was going well. It wouldn't last.

The Gorse Fox found himself stuck in the wrong lane with no opportunity to move over. He was filtered out of the Stadium in the wrong direction. This is not a problem in itself as the Gorse Fox knows the roads around there and could select another route fairly easily. The problem was that the whole area was gridlocked. It took us an hour to do the first 1.5 miles and get out of Wembley in the direction of Ealing. Fortunately, the roads opened up then and the rest of the route home only took about 90 minutes or so,

Urban Cub was back home after her week away - so we had a bit of a catch-up before bed.

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