- Tell Puma their football boots really ought to be able to last more than two months.
- Write back to Ann Wallace, editor of Flybe's in-flight magazine, and ask her to reconsider my proposed article on the best places to play Russian roulette on New Year's Eve in Malaga.
- Pitch your idea to Coca-Cola, on a largely untapped market, about a collaboration with Jack Daniels to release the JD and Coke in a can. (Not to my tastes, but I think it would sell.)
There were plenty of other ideas too, just that I couldn't read the rest of my hand-writing. It was Barrie Becheley on the telephone. He's the Burridge chairman. He formed the club back in 1989, and wanted to make sure that Paul Dyke got his message that the game was off. I said he had. Barrie runs the Burridge Sunday morning side. They have the Burridge crest on the chest of their shirts. The Burridge crest is a red brick castle. I was curious what business red brick castles had on Burridge shirts. Barrie told me that the word Burridge actually means fortress, which is kind of like a castle. I told Barrie I'd drop his money off to him soon. He said there was no rush.
I collect our team's subscription fees. They cover our running costs; things like pitch and referee fees, medical equipment and stuff like that. I've even got a bank account with HSBC to pay the money into. I don't know if it's my sheepskin jacket, or on this occasion, the four-pack of Fosters in a carrier bag that I rested upon on the counter, but once again the staff at HSBC asked if I was a signature on the account. They speak in the same slow tone I imagine custom officers do when asking if you've packed your bag, knowing full well you've got an ounce of Afghan Whig stashed in the lining of the side pocket. I tell them I am the only signature on the account. This being true doesn't stop me from getting nervous. I usually end up twiddling the thin silver chain that holds their Biros prisoner to the counter. I usually have to sign a bit of paper to prove I'm legit.
Despite having a signature with all the imagination of a straight line, one look at it is enough to satisfy HSBC. By this time the queue behind me is massive. It's not just the bank, they're not crazy about me at Co-op. Even in the heady days of 2010, some people get ants in their pants when you ask for large silver Rizla and a bottle of red before eleven in the morning. Neither items were for me, I hasten to add. Not that that old chestnuts holds any water with these puritans. And Bukowski thought he had it tough in Post Office.
Barrie's friendly manner may have taken a slight turn had he known that the only thing keeping me from what I consider naked was a pair of thick winter socks. I didn't drop that into our conversation. I was no more likely to share that information than I was revealing to him that whilst we spoke, albeit on the phone, I had a rather stubborn half mast. I'd rather that hadn't happened, but there it was, gaining height and all the while robbing me of my dignity as I tried my utmost to maintain pleasantries with our chairman.
With no game I had time on my hands. I put on some music and some clothes and went out, stopping by at my local off license. They're called Cloud Wine. An independent store with a nice vibe about the place so when you do buy hard liquor you don't get made to feel like you have a problem, that in my experience you are made to feel like at say Threshers. Cloud Wine do this BY creating an atmosphere. Beethoven's fourth symphony was followed by the Misfits. I think it was Hybrid Moments. Sadly, they no longer have the monopoly on the Bedford Place area of Southampton. As well as a mini Tesco and Sainsbury's to contend with, there's also a Champagne Charlies down the road. This is a big draw for the students because they're open until midnight. Not that I would know because I have never set foot in the place.
I know the guys at Cloud Wine. With his thick dark beard, Justin is a living answer for anyone wondering what Brian Blessed would have looked like if he joined The Doors. I hovered around the cash register eyeing up the Monkey Shoulder. Justin told me to keep my eyes peeled as they were bringing in a batch of Japanese whiskey in a week or so. I asked if it was any good. He told me by all accounts it was very good. He was fresh out of a fortnight spent in Southampton General with blood poisoning in his arm. His boredom was cured when his girlfriend brought in his laptop so he could watch the last series of The Wire. I left Cloud Wine empty handed.
If nothing else, this week has taught me how to rattle Burridge skipper, Kev Willsher. Drive like an arsehole. It was on the way to training, and I was making a right turn out of Portsmouth Road toward Hamble. I was let out by an oncoming vehicle. My windows were a little steamed up so I couldn't see what was driving on the outside of that vehicle, but being an optimist, I felt my chances were as good as fifty-fifty, so I pulled out; the result of which was two-fold. The car passing on the blind side had to hit the breaks, and Kev was left jabbering like a nervous wreck.