Monday, 4 March 2013

Junior Cherry away day - Leyton Orient

The day started at a reasonable hour for Robert Bell and Stephen Bell for once. An away day at Leyton Orient though still required us all to get up by 9 O'Clock if we were going to get some time in London before the big game.

After breakfast it was up to the bathroom to wash the face and back downstairs to put on the war paint. Dad was first to do his, trying to put his AFCB logo face on by looking into a mirror - what a disaster. But several attempts later he was pleased with the result. We'll let you decide though.

Next up to sit in the big chair was 12 year old Robert and we soon discovered that a hairband might be required if we weren't going to have his hair multi-coloured as well as his face. Job done!

Good job Stephen has his eye's shut so he can't see Dad. Stephen
wasn't having a hairband for this, so it had to be a hat

Stephen, 10, then sat still for a few minutes as dad did the honours with the sponge and brushes that had by this time covered most of the table with face paint. Sorry, Mum!

Robert on his way to Redhill 
Stephen stops and asks dad to
check on how he looks

Then it was off in the car down to Redhill where we were all dropped off and had a short walk to the railway station. On route we were asked by one passing lady if it was Comic Relief day! Typical, after all that effort we had gone to. Then again, red wigs' are probably more common on Red Nose day than on AFCB away days.

We asked a couple of unsuspecting strangers to capture us on camera and then waited for the train on the platform and, sure enough, it arrived on time at 10.48am. The boys eventually managed to find some spare seats on the train, which was packed, and we started to pick up lots of strange looks and smiles as people tried to work out our football team.

Outside Redhill train station 
On the platform - a sign of quality? Must be a reference to our team
Heading to London
Robert got the last seat, unlucky Dad!

The journey was slow because of some works on the line but we got into Victoria Station by 11.30am and again pounced on the nearest bystander to ask them to kindly take our picture. This turned into a marathon as they tried to figure out which button to press. It was a good picture though.


Arrived safely at Victoria Station
Down we went to the underground where we hopped on the Victoria line and headed up to Oxford Circle on the Central line. We then went west for one more stop to Bond Street and stood in front of Selfridges. Just like Steve Cook and Tommy Elphick we are big fans of the TV show and we weren't going to let Steve Cook get one over on us as we heard that he had visited the store recently. Stephen and Robert gazed for some time at the windows with their moving mechanical displays that were all about shoes. This was the shop's Shoe Carnival gallery of displays that will run until 21 April.

Outsdie Selfridges
As we entered the shop, rather hesitantly, wondering what security would say about our faces and if we would be ushered out, we were pleased to see that staff immediately came up to us with great big smiles and asked what match we were going to? Having toured the ground floor we headed up the elevators to the kids section where we were again admired by passersby and staff. Robert and Stephen found a car that they wanted dad to buy for about £19,500! Sorry, boys it's not happening.

No you still can't have the car boys!
It was time for lunch so we had a quick bite in Oxford Street before heading to Hamleys toy shop where the boys visited the store for their first time. We had a great time trying all the latest gadgets out and as we left to get a photo, a store man - dressed in his soldiers uniform - shouted: "What's going on here then," as he saw our made up faces. He came out of the shop and saw that we were sat on his red podium. He tried to blast us all with his bubble blowing machine gun, so we had to protect our faces from the soapy attack.

The boys have to make a quick 
escape after they sit on one of Hamley's
red boxes
Finally, we were heading eastbound on the Central line to the game but there was a problem with the train ahead that meant we were stuck for some time at Holborn. We eventually got going again and Stephen found himself deep in conversation with some AFC Bournemouth fans that had arrived on the train further down the line. A lady in her special white AFCB hat asked Stephen where he usually sat at Dean Court and he told her usually in the Family stand, although he also likes it when we go in the Steve Fletcher stand. The lady and her partner were season ticket holders in the East stand. They had started out much earlier in the day and were pleased to see the effort we had made with our faces.
As we walked through Leyton to the ground we continued to get some laughs and questioning glances as we streamed down the high street with a throng of highly excited Bournemouth supporters now following in our footsteps. We had a quick walk around the sides of the stadium and visited the club shop to pick up a programme before taking on some banter with the security guards in Brisbane Road. As the match progressed the boys enjoyed the atmosphere and acquired a couple of the blue balloons that had been released into the crowd. While giving their very best vocal support we couldn't rouse the team on to a victory, but we hope the team saw our faces and appreciated our support.

Made it to Orient's ground
There was just time to get on the tube to see one more store after the game and we headed off to Leicester Square where we dropped into M&Ms and started to load up with sweets. I won't tell you the price, but be reassured that dad won't be allowing the boys to fill up those empty bags with M&Ms again unless he has won the lottery.
M&Ms a costly move on dad's part 
Spot the Junior Cherry
With tummies full and tired limbs needing to go home we managed to get on a train from Victoria that took us as far as East Croyden. On board we were questioned about who we supported again to get the reply: "All that effort just for Orient and Bournemouth?" "Absolutely," we said. "We follow Eddie Howe's Barmy Army."

Having got off at East Croyden awaiting the last train to take us back to Redhill in Surrey, dad got talking with a Liverpool fan. The fan was desperate to know how his team had fared against Wigan, but we had no idea. Dad spoke with him for some 20 minutes about football, the Liverpool 92 and all that needed to be put right with the beautiful game.

Finally, we arrived back in Redhill at around 8 O'Clock. It had been a big adventure and while we did not get the result we wanted from the match, we all enjoyed seeing the team and being part of that 1407 strong Barmy Army that sang their hearts out for our team in East London.

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