To Long-Suffering Wife’s (LSW’s) occasional frustration, I have been careful up to now to ensure that our trips to Edinburgh to see First Grandchild and his parents haven’t clashed with home fixtures for my football club, Forest Green Rovers (FGR). I have a season ticket and, quite apart from my desire (obsession?) to see my team play whenever I reasonably can, I’m the sort of person that wants to get full value from my season ticket investment.
However, I am not going to be able to keep this up since First Grandchild (FG) has a birthday around a weekend when FGR are playing at home. Even football doesn’t take precedence over celebrating the end of his first year with us.
That birthday is in November but I am already going to miss another home game later this week when I am accompanying LSW to her long-weekend college reunion in Buxton, Derbyshire. I regret missing the game but, in truth, it is going to be nice to get away for a change of scene again given that we haven’t had a proper holiday this year.
In any case, I have just been able to engineer seeing an away game at Charlton in London during a trip ostensibly to attend my annual dental check-up and to fix a recently broken tooth. So, I have managed to keep up my support in person at a good number of FGR’s games so far this season.
Unfortunately, following promotion as Champions from English Football League 2 last May, this season in a higher league is a struggle. The scale of the clubs we are playing, the impressiveness of their stadiums and the quality of the football is all much greater than in the past. As a result, positive results have, so far, been hard to come by.
So, it was great that I was able to see us wobble through to secure a draw and a well-earned point at Charlton Athletic – one of the ‘big’ teams who were once in the English Premier League but who now have to cope with us in English Football League 1 (EFL1). Even better, I was able to meet up with a great Australian friend of Youngest Son (and devoted supporter of FGR) at the game and catch up, and sing along, with him. Based on the performance in our last two games, I remain hopeful that we can consolidate our position in EFL1.
More on my brief London trip another time….. Earlier, our August trip to Edinburgh was, as usual, lovely. It was, of course, great to see how much First Grandchild had developed since the last time we have seen him some 6 weeks or so previously. It was nice too to see how Eldest Son (ES) and his partner have settled into their new flat (including a newly decorated kitchen) and have got FGs sleeping at night more under control.
A major change since visits earlier in the year was that, whereas we used to take FG out in his buggy when it was time for him to sleep, now we take him out between naps to keep him awake. That makes the walks around Edinburgh more interesting for him and us. I can envisage that by the time of our next visit, FG won’t be so content to be in his buggy and will want to try out his embryonic walking skills.
We did our usual trip to, and around, the Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens are interesting all year around and FG particularly likes the running water and waterfalls in the Rockery. For me, the highlight was the Kitchen Garden in front of the Botanic Cottage which was planted with wild flowers. The mix was varied cleverly throughout the planted space so that, when standing in the middle, the colour palette shifted as one turned around.
FG was much more impressed by our visit to the National Museum of Scotland. I’m going to love taking him here every time I get up to Edinburgh. For a small child, there is so much going on, so many buttons to push and so much movement. At this stage, FG seems more interested in the other children than the exhibits but I can see hours of fun ahead.
We also had a lengthy walk to The Meadows to the south of Edinburgh centre. Because the timing of our trip coincided with the Edinburgh Fringe – a gathering over a few weeks of a staggering multitude of performance artists from all over the UK and, indeed, the World – the central streets and cafes were crowded.
The streets were also dominated by piles of rubbish because our visit also coincided with a strike by rubbish clearance workers in Edinburgh that had been going on for over a week. The huge piles of trash everywhere underlined how much rubbish we generate in a typical big city and how dependent we are on public services to hide the issue of rubbish disposal from our day to day lives.
Although the overflowing rubbish bins were not a great advertisement for Edinburgh (the workers dispute is now resolved), the city remains a great attraction for LSW and I. The architecture in the centre is stunning, the galleries and museums are befitting of a capital city, the area ES and his partner live in is close to interesting shops, and even the playgrounds we took FG to seemed better appointed but more accessible than average.
We are both looking forward to our November birthday party visit hugely – even though I will miss the delights of watching Forest Green Rovers play live!