We came, we thawed, we conquered

PUBLISHED: 18:44 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:54 10 September 2010

Snow joke sleeping in your car when the temperature outside is minus 6 degrees. As a result of a recent divorce settlement which did not go in my favour and raises many questions about the fairness of the new society which New Labour says it is trying to build in England's once green and, pleasant land where there used to a justice system, I woke up at 7am in the back of my car in Hadley Wood car park.

By Hamilton Nemo

Snow joke sleeping in your car when the temperature outside is minus 6 degrees. As a result of a recent divorce settlement which did not go in my favour and raises many questions about the fairness of the new society which New Labour says it is trying to build in England's once green and, pleasant land where there used to a justice system, I woke up at 7am in the back of my car in Hadley Wood car park. I tried in vain to break the icicles off my moustache, surveyed the landscape outside, and thought...”feck it is cold!”

The train journey from Hadley Wood to my office in Oxford Street was vaguely reminiscent of the more romantic scenes from Dr Zhivago. OK, so Tom Courtenay, General Strelnikov, Rod Steiger, Omar Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin and Julie Christie may not have travelled on the 7.40am train to Moorgate, but they were certainly there in spirit, and the snow flurries at the station as the Inter City trains flew through were almost as dramatic as those in the film. The snow covered Hertfordshire landscape was certainly as impressive as anything that Omsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, or any other part of Siberia could offer. Once in my office, and fortified by a most warming and welcome cup of coffee (with just a tiny shot of Scotch as a winter warmer), I checked the internet, found that the game had not yet been called off, cursed and decided to head at least to King's Cross to see whether the Capital Canaries would actually follow Captain Scott's example and set forth on their expedition to certain death from the extreme cold and poor transport conditions. I had been frozen in Wycombe last Saturday, so why not be frozen in Norwich this Saturday?

On the tube I encountered a group of Exeter fans and immediately felt guilty at bemoaning my fate. The Exeter fans were REALLY nice guys; friendly, good humoured, sober (at that time of morning) fully expecting to be beaten, but looking forward to the game nonetheless. And they had been travelling since 5am. They had driven to Bristol, taken the train to London, and were now on their way across London to catch the train to Norwich via King's X and Cambridge. It was a round trip of about 630 miles. Their only worry was whether it was possible to buy cider in Norwich. It had, after all been many years since they had visited the Fine City, as their team had spent years in the wilderness of the Conference and League Two.

Our banter was witty and friendly, and they were joined at King's X by more Devon exiles, who had gathered in London from other parts of the UK. On the concourse at King's Cross Sergeant Major Tim was marshalling what was left of his Canary Irregular forces. Some regular travellers had checked the weather forecast and called off at the last moment. Maurice had a valid excuse because of his ninety four years of age. Others, such as Iain Hilton, simply wimped out because they are big girls' blouses.

Together we set out on the Cambridge Express through the frozen steppes into the great unknown. The journey was uneventful but tardy. Sergeant Major Tim, who had phoned ahead to Cambridge to ask them to hold the Norwich train, then made us yomp from Platform 1 at Cambridge station to Platform 5 as our connecting train was ready to leave Panting but triumphant we piled into the Norwich train and took in the spectacular scenery around Ely, Thetford, Attleborough and Wymondham. I swear I saw a polar bear cavorting with a yeti on the ice near Ely, but it may have been the after effects of the small Scotch or even a reflection of Tim hugging Neil (his counterpart in the Exeter Exiles Club) about the train and ticket arrangements. The train arrived at Thorpe Station at 12.30 and we decamped thankfully into our favourite hostelries to seek warmth and respite from the cold.

Thanks to the undersoil heating at Carrow Road the match was very much on. City won 3-1 without really excelling. In his fur hat the Exeter manager looked as though he had just rushed in from the Stalingrad front.

After the match the Capital Canaries and Exeter fans rushed back to the station, and left the train at Ely this time. We had missed our connecting train and as we shivered on Ely station in the middle of nowhere we realised how the mammoths must have felt before being frozen solid in blocks of ice. Ever solicitous, Sergeant Major Tim ushered us into the coffee bar where we huddled together for warmth. When eventually a train for Cambridge and King's Cross emerged from the blizzards we cheered and piled in to continue our match analysis. The Exeter fans said we were too good for League One. We wished them well in their quest to stay up. At King's Cross we said our goodbyes. Most of Capital Canaries had a short journey home. The Exeter fans still had a long journey back to Devon. I reflected that all Football fans were mad, and resolved not to go to another match until the warm weather arrived.

Anyone got a spare ticket for Colchester?

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