Sunday 18 March 2018


The Flirtybaboon beckons.

It was just after 10:30am when Mrs Fuggles hollered “They’re here”. Trepidation, the thermometer was reading zero, the forecast was for gusting winds. Nothing to do with Pharp, these were coming from the east. Fuggles stepped out the front door as the Siberian wind howled around the cul de sac. Minus 6 was the resulting blast, thankfully Fuggles was wearing his thermolactic gonad hugging, passion killing, long-johns. Smug or what, could have been minus 2, God’s dandruff was swirling around on the road surface.

It’s been 3 weeks since the last footy match, bloody weather. Today we have the relatively short journey to Stratford Upon Avon, visiting the, wait for it, MoodChimp Stadium. Unbelievable, what or who the hell is or are MoodChimp. Time to google, MoodChimp is a chat app with a flirty side and a dating app with a friendly side! Isn’t friendly a general pre-requisite for a successful grapple with a stranger. Who the hell came up with that name, MoodChimp, are you sure?

As we are on our way to the Bardlands, Pharp regaled us of his years of Upstart Crow thespianism. He was often criticised for his over exuberant unleashing of Bottom and Coriolanus but was always encouraged not to dump his Richard the Third.

Pharp let’s rip!
Hark! what yonder baboon’s arse does break, this scarlet peach that stirs a quake.
The rumbling bowel spews forth a bellow, the pungent air of mustard yellow.
These gasping throats that we do clutch, these wheezing lungs that rattle much.
Briny tears well bloodshot eyes, the face contorts in stricken guise.
The curse of each damned inhalation, we succumb to Pharp’s evacuation.

Just over an hour’s drive as we make our way to the Boar’s Head in the quaint and clearly wealthy village of Hampton Lucy, which sits adjacent to the River Avon. The tall white signs with numbers 1 to 6 told us we were on the flood plain. You could see Pharp’s brain working overtime, he had a smirk on his face, trying to come up with some lurid pun that included Hampton and Lucy. The Boar’s Head is a nice old country pub just off the main drag, we arrived at around 12:25pm. As we approached the pub we spotted two blokes in Poppies regalia, it was TailbyOO and Vlad the Impaler, they were duly pamped at, accompanied with a vigorous waving of two handed ‘V’ signs and mouth snarling “feeeerrrkk oooofff” in their general direction, like you do.
On entering the bar, we were surprised to see a whole gang of Poppies supporters already in there thrashing down the ales. The mini-bus in front of the pub had ferried a whole load of familiar faces, clearly out for a long day of ales, footy and curry. With us four, TailbyOO & Vlad and their 8 we were up to 14 Poppies faithful contributing to the Hampton Lucy economy. Five handpumps adorned the bar with 4 in operation, we ordered our ales, bugger. Suddenly the pump clips were being turned around, the beer had run out on 3 of the pumps. Pharp and Parker managed to get their ales Ringwood Razorback, Citra and Fuggles were waiting for Ringwoods Boondoggle to come on. Five minutes later we were all swigging down our preferred tipple. All in good condition, the Boondoggle is a delightful citrusy pale ale. Razorback was a fairly typical English style session ale, Pharp and Parker were content. More ales became available, Citra let out an excited shrill as Phipps IPA came on. A few minutes later 5 Weebles came into the bar, we were now up to 19 Poppies ‘on the road’ faithful. We outnumbered the locals 2 to 1. The place was getting noisy, the telly was showing Italy vs Scotland rugby. All in the bar were ridiculing the Sweaties who were getting a pounding from the Azzurri, bugger it, the lucky sods get a last-minute penalty. A couple of hours boozing and it was time to move on to Stratford, as we leave the pub two more Poppies supporters wander in, the Silver Fox and his mate. Crikey, that’s 21, it brings back fond memories of when we used to travel in large numbers all over the far-flung corners of this country.
Nothing better than seeing a horde of fellow Poppies faithful in a distant pub on their way to a match.

Citra is still gorping at all the local wenches hoping to catch a glimpse of Hollywood babe Anne Hathaway who has a pad around these parts. Daft sod, no Citra she doesn’t wear PRATS, it’s PRADA, for goodness sake.

Once more unto the Flirtybaboon.
A desolate place that brings forth famine and dearth for the vermillion horde.
Thrice we have cometh upon this barren place.
Thrice we have departed without succour or solace.
But we are a merry bunch, befuddled with mead, awash in ale, we arrive with faith in our hearts and belief between our ears. This time we shall smite this wretched foe upon the field of the Flirtybaboon.
The sign greets us, THE FLIRTY BABOON ARENA, country Bumsnots and Fartlingtons most welcome.

The match.
It was cold, bloody perishing in fact. I saw one desperate chap running across the terracing, he was leaning forward with his arms outstretched before him, chasing a couple of meatballs. He was screaming at the top of his voice, “bolingbrooks! bolingbrooks!”. Some chap a few yards in front of him was getting ready to help him catch them. His foot was raised in readiness for a stamp on the meatballs. “Nooooo! bolingbrooks!” echoed across the ground.
Despite the weather, occasional snow flurries and gusting wind, the match was very entertaining. Long hoofs up the field from Whitey would often be on their way back to him before they touched down. You could see players shivering, stammering as they uttered “f-f-f-f-f-f-ferk th-th-this”. The lads played well, very well in fact. They handled the conditions in a dominant and commanding manner. The curse of the Flirtybaboon was swept away with a resounding and convincing 4-0 win. Well done lads.

Time for home, we made our way to the Royal Oak in Naseby. Parker chirped up in a, ‘listen to me I know something’ manner. “Did you know the River Avon rises as a spring just a few hundred yards away?” Citra nodded, “did you know Avon is the ancient Saxon word for cosmetics and toiletries?”
The Royal Oak is owned by the Towcester Mill Brewery, so it came as no surprise to see a couple of their ales amongst the 5 handpumps. Black Fire, a 5.2% black IPA and Crooked Hooker, 3.8% amber session ale brewed for the six nations. Also available was Deuchars IPA, Fullers London Pride and Fuggles favourite Oakham Ales Bishops Farewell, 4.6% of citrusy loveliness. Pharp and Parker went for Hooker, Citra and Fuggles went for Bishops. We hung around here for a good hour, thrashing down the ales. Fuggles sampled the Black Fire before returning back to bash another Bishop. It was 8:20pm when we got back to gods chosen town. All in all, an excellent day out watching the Poppies, great pubs, great ales, great company, excellent Poppies support again and a great result. Sorted.