It mostly worked. :)
I wake up feeling fairly odd for reasons that don't concern this blog. I hear Monkey moving around about 6.30 going to the toilet but he doesn't come in until nearly 8, which was good. I stay in bed for a while whilst the men of the house went downstairs but eventually drag myself out and into gym gear.
The plan was leisurely breakfast, workout, shower. As it turns out, I eat my breakfast and before I know it, Monkey's turning on the Wii and handing me the stuff I need to do my EASA workout, about 10 minutes after my breakfast hit my stomach (Slave driver, much?!). Probably not the best idea, but actually, the porridge lump in my stomach distracts me from the pain of doing the exercises. Urgh. But I survive and complete another 30 day challenge, my second and this one on the hard setting.
So, onto the football. Monkey is beside himself, and puts on his Barca top specially for the occasion. (A PNE top for him might be a step too far for some in the family). He puts one of my caps on and despite being only 5, finds it fit with only a minor adjustment. He has a big head. I know, the trouble he caused me a birth is another story for another day.
After packing his fave snack (cheese and raisins) and some juice in an unfortunately orange bottle, we set off. Now, the rear seatbelt on my car is not working so I have a child car seat on the passenger seat so Monkey sits in the front. I never realised that he's such a blimmin' backseat driver. He tells me to get in the right lane so we could leave the M6, albeit a junction earlier than I normally do and when we approach the next junction, he's there waving his arms across to direct me left.
After a quick trip to the pub for sparkling water, (me) fruit shoot, (him) and sausage and chips (shared) we set off for the ground. It's a lovely day and I feel overdressed just wearing a top and a light coat. We walk up to the Splash statue. where I take a photo of Monkey beside and tweet it. There are more people hanging around here and there's more of an atmosphere. We wander around to our turnstile and I stop to get a cup of tea to take on (the tea in the ground is foul) whereupon I bump into some people I haven't seen in years. Monkey just wants to go in. He takes his own ticket and wanders up to the turnstile himself bold as brass.
Having found our seats, we settle in with Monkey's eyes now as wide as saucers. In front of us is the archetypal bloke you find at footie matches - large build, large voice, likely to block your view and pollute your ears. But this is the family stand so let's hope he keeps it clean.
The players come out and everyone claps. Monkey keeps looking around but seems to take everything in and learns quite quickly. He sits crosslegged on the seat as the game begins, listening to the football coverage on my DAB radio with random comments like "Mummy! Hull have got 1-0.... " . He asks random questions, like whose keeper is that, who are the white team playing for (err.........), and why is the ref's shirt so bright. The game settles into a pattern I don't like - we're doing all the defending, Scunny have all the chances. I'm just about to tweet something along those lines and we nearly score! The ground is quiet, too quiet, unless there is some action. The attendance is poor.
Finally, coming up to the half hour, we score after a poor clearance falls kindly. I'd had my tweet planned on this one "Beeeeeast! 1-0" for it is Jon Parkin who gets his name on the scoresheet and he's known as "the Beast". We jump up and cheer, along with everyone else. Monkey is being unusually well behaved. Let's hope it lasts, I think.
Half time 1-0. I get distracted by my phone at half time but we eventually take a trip to the toilets, whereupon Monkey leaves my DAB in a cubicle. Mind you, we've left it so late, the toilets are empty and it gets retrieved. There's not even a queue for pies but Monkey has changed his mind yet again and doesn't want one so I don't bother. The food part of this post is fast heading west.
We settle down for the second half and I decide to nab the DAB - see what I did there? - to listen to the Grand National. This becomes a Very Bad Idea as I'm half distracted by the race and all of a sudden, we're 1-1 after a shoddy backpass. Still, it would seem bad form not to tweet again so send my missive then hand the radio back to Monkey. He's getting more into now, egged on by the "Come On Preston" shouts from the woman behind me and aforementioned loud big man. Thankfully, his worst expletive is "sodding" and the only reaction his shouting gets from Monkey is hysterical giggles which makes everyone look round. A year ago, he'd have been pleading with me to leave because of the noise. He seems to clap in all the right places and kind of joins in with the singing.
A few minutes later, and the day takes a turn for the worse. Another apparent screw up and we're 2-1 down. Sit and think "this is it, we're getting relegated finally" and start to forget I'm with a 5yo boy so start to shout like the rest of the frustrated crowd. Monkey starts to shout randomly too.
The clock ticks down. 5 minutes to go. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a goal to us - the ball ends up in the box, and on the second attempt, we score with a header. 86 mins. 4 to go plus time added on. Shall I get him out whilst I can? Relief. Surely a point will help our quest to stay up? Can we get the extra two points?
They announce the time added on and the crowd roars the team on again. I ask Monkey if he wants to go now. He says "no, I want to stay to see if they win" so I give in as the crowd is not huge. The ball moves forward at the feet of the recently announced man of the match. Out of nowhere, he curls a shot - straight into the top left hand corner. We jump up, we shout - no, we scream! - we cheer, we clap. Just a few more seconds to hang on (when you're a footy fan, you soon learn to become a pessimist about your team's ability to hold a lead).
A few seconds later and it's all over. I worried about getting him out in the crush but needn't have - it's not too bad and he happily gets himself out without getting tipped over or booted. He wants to ring his granddad straight away but as he is a Blackpool fan, I decide it might be more diplomatic to wait a bit.
As we walk back to the car, Monkey decides he wants "tea" and so I buy a jumbo hot dog for him. He proceeds to devour this before we reach the car a few minutes walk away. As we set off home in the car, he says "It wasn't a good day for Scunthorpe, was it?". I laugh. We go home. He's been a little star today, my Monkey, and he's had a ball. As soon as we get home, Missy Woo rings to say hello - tho manages not to talk to me - and Monkey spends 5 minutes telling Granddad all about it, his first football match. He wants to go again but I don't think Granddad will take him to the last match of the season.
So, no pie. That's the food part of the blog stuffed for today. Or is it? I head out to Asda for supplies after getting back and make the world's quickest chilli which I stuff on top of tortillas, grate cheese over and grill to make nachos. I put avocado on top of mine to make it vaguely healthy as my veg content has been sorely lacking today. And to make matters worse, I pour myself a glass of wine. Healthy eating, it is not.
9pm comes around and it's THE game of the day. I write this post and watch El Clasico at the same time. Half an hour in and Messi takes a pass on his chest, gets the ball under the defender and past Casillas for the first goal. Madrid have some good chances but don't look like scoring so the first half ends 1-0 to Barca. Ten minutes into the second half, Xavi passes the ball forward to Pedro who coolly slots home. 2-0. Game over really. Madrid get the ball in the net but it gets disallowed. Not their day. They never look totally like scoring. The game ends and Barca go top of La Liga once more.
That was my day. A lot closer to the original plan than I thought possible. Not every day goes this well in the kateab household, believe me. We're all happy. 3 important points for each of my favourite teams. And I may yet make a PNE fan out of my son.