Friday, 19 December 2008

Blackheath Ramblers - Norwich (A) 1996

I'm off to Norwich tomorrow to urge the Reds on in a game that really signals the start of Christmas. I will be going with a fellow Addick who has returned from his home in Mexico City for Christmas and several longed-for Charlton performances - I only hope he's not too disappointed.

Norwich is a lovely city and I've enjoyed a few weekends there over the years, mostly on the back of a Charlton visit. Best of the lot was a Blackheath Ramblers weekend -  which I have mentioned before but will elaborate; a dozen or so regulars in the Rose of Denmark have been booking a spring weekend away in pursuit of the Addicks for over 15 years now (I'll be told it's 20-something after this). Booking accommodation was invariably a problem because you would be asking for up to a dozen rooms, "singles or twins," which would usually raise suspicions and you would be told "we don't do football matches" or something similar. So we found out very quickly that if we booked in as the Blackheath Ramblers it was so much easier. Although the owner of a Sheffield Guest House once asked wryly after we had arrived "where's all your walking gear then?" 

For something different in 1996, the Ramblers booked a large canal boat which we picked up at Oulton Broad near Lowestoft on the Friday. We pootered towards Norwich at 4mph on the Friday and moored up overnight by a local hostelry and continued on our way up the Yare on the Saturday. The route took us right past Carrow Road and we stopped at the nearest pub to the ground for opening time. The local landlord was incredibly welcoming and he even came aboard with his wife after hours to serve us another round.  What a gentleman! We spent Sunday afternoon with him and the locals watching the football before heading out of Norwich. 

It was also a rare winning weekend for the Ramblers. Bradley Allen notched the only goal against Robert Fleck, Jeremy Goss and Co. A little bit of that tomorrow would do very nicely thank you very much.

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