With grim determination, I pushed on to Southend yesterday despite the none-too-promising weather in the morning. Based on the chill wind I just struggled through, I'm convinced that I made the right decision. There were patches of warm sun amid the West Ham beer guzzlers at Adventure Island, a regrettable fish and chips restaurant visit, and a small fortune spent on cheap tat and video games.
It is, however, reassuring that the video arcade at the Treasure Chest has a 2p change machine, so the ultimate marketing hasn't quite saturated the place yet. It was £22 per child for a blue bracelet, allowing access to all rides in the park as many times as you like. The hanky of beach leading down to the endless mud flats of the estuary, combined with the impact of the credit crunch on the town centre shopping 'experience' means that there really are very few other things to do in Southend without resorting to the lager. But in general, it's enough.
As I stood waiting for the kids to emerge from yet another ride, destinies were being made in the football world. I already knew of course about our win over the hateful Allardyce and his crew, that Fulham had depressingly (or was it?) capitulated to the Rags, and that Spurs had triumphed over an unlucky set of Boing Boings.
Hatton had been shat on, and the Scousers and Newcastle were going through the motions as I was talking to the Squeaky Voiced Teen, and runes were cast in the Championship. As I was trundling through the surprisingly beautiful Essex countryside, Sunderland were continuing to self-destruct, offering Mr Shearer an unlikely (Lads) lifeline, and the bloody Toffees (no disrespect to the diligent David Moyes, or the important Evertonians in my life, but I simply can't get involved with them - sorry!) were keeping up their tedious charge. I forgot to take my camera, and even my mobile phone battery was dead by the time I reached the beach, so I only have the unreliable images in my head to tide me over now.