In the interests of true partnership, I am watching the FA Cup Final with Mr B. The dinner is in the oven, cooking merrily away and we are sitting comfortably so let's begin.
I am feeling virtuous having spent the best part of the afternoon endeavouring to tame a bit more of the jungle at the bottom of our garden. I have filled four more sacks with garden greenery, ordered bags of top soil and farmyard manure from our local
hardware store to be delivered on Monday and my sunflower seedlings must be seen to be believed. I think I deserve to sit down and put my feet up for a while. Even if this means watching Arsenal versus Aston Villa.
Which isn't quite a fair comment because I have watched many a Cup Final in my lifetime. It came from having a father whose two greatest loves were Family and Football. Cup Final Day was always a special occasion in my childhood home. Then of course
I married a man who lives All Things Sporting so it has always been a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Besides, I do like big sporting occasions. The crowds! The passion! The blood, tears and sweat!
And that's just in our living room.
What I can't understand is how come the match is starting at 5.30 p.m. That can't be right, can it? Whatever happened to Tradition? I am Big on Tradition. The Cup Final
always starts at 3 p.m. It is most unsettling, in my humble opinion. Mr B proffers what I reckon is an extremely weak reason about the Scottish Cup Final and some rugby match starting at the hallowed hour of 3 p.m. I don't wear it myself. It means we will
be eating our dinner during the second half and, if events on the pitch become really, really exciting I might find my roast chicken growing cold. Which, for One Who Is Always Thinking of her Stomach will never do.
The singing of "Abide With Me" is another tradition and what about the Football Supporters Choir providing backing to the great Alfie Boe? Sixty-four supporters, each from one of the football clubs which reached the third round of the Cup, the youngest
eighteen and the oldest one hundred years old. Football matches today are preceded by fireworks going off all round the ground - no time now for the community singing which my Dad used to love. Still "Abide with Me" has somehow managed to, well, abide - for
want of a better word.
Arsenal are playing in yellow. They look like so many angry bees busting about the pitch. Aston Villa are in their usual claret and blue. Did they have to toss a coin to decide who would
have to swap shirts? I would ask Mr B, who will be sure to know, but he will accuse me of not concentrating on the actual play. I renew my attention on what's happening on the pitch. I can't help but notice that all the players seem to be wearing boots in
various fluorescent colours. When did football boots become so very bright?
Arsenal has scored. All the players are hugging each other. Walcott is the scorer, in his flashy red boots. I expect the
poor goal-keeper was blinded by their brilliance. The commentator says it is absolutely vital that Aston Villa don't concede another goal before the break. Football commentators are good, I find, at Stating the Obvious. Mr B has trotted off into the kitchen
to check on our dinner - it may be that we will wolf it down during the half- time interval while the pundits are punditing. It is possible that I just made that word up but considering the liberties being taken with the rules of Scrabble, I am not about to
Before I am able to resume my Grandstand seat (aka the Armchair) Sanchez has gone and scored Arsenal's second goal. He is only the second Chilean to score a goal in a Cup Final. Not a lot
of people know that. I ask Mr B who was the first Chilean to score a goal in a Cup Final but before he can demonstrate his Truly Amazing Football Knowledge the commentators give the game away.
So has Aston
Villa, I fear. They are now three goals down and I am losing interest. I like a good, close game. I like to find myself sitting on the edge of my seat transported with excitement. My main interest is now in the rather unusual hair-do sported by the Aston Villa
substitute who goes by the name of Bacuna. The yellow flash on the top of his head is the colour of the Arsenal shirts.
I am happy, indeed, for all you Arsenal fans. My Dad was an Arsenal supporter so would
have been a Happy Chappy today. I know he supported Arsenal because he used to own a handkerchief with a little red-shirted footballer in one corner and the name, Arsenal, embroidered beneath. I just wish the game had not been so one-sided. Probably the most
exciting moment I now have to look forward to will be watching Prince William, an Aston Villa fan, presenting the Cup to Arsenal. Now, that's going to hurt. I am sure he will carry it off with aplomb. It's been quite a week for Royal Handshakes and, in the
great scheme of things, this is very Third Division.
All in all, I should probably have watched Pointless.
Perhaps I did...