I'm back at work- but not quite functioning at optimum capacity yet, as was evidenced by this morning, when I suddenly realised I had been sitting at my desk nearly until lunchtime with my shirt on back-to-front. Actually I thought the visible hemlines and dangling label stating 'machine wash at 40 degrees' combined to achieve a pleasing avant-garde look (and also the office attire guidelines just say that shirts should be worn, and do not specify which way round) so I briefly considered trying to pass the whole incident off as a daring new year fashion statement- and I certainly performed a series of twirls for my assembled colleagues before making an unscheduled trip to the privacy of the shower room to effect the necessary adjustments. Tomorrow maybe I will reprise my 'stayed up all night and woke up in the wrong house' look whose last outing came during my mid-1990s British Gas tenure, and which one Saturday morning (they were very big on dress code at British Gas, even on Saturday mornings) featured one of Charlotte's frillier blouses and a pair of dress shoes three sizes too small belonging to my short Scottish friend Fraser. It was an edgy look which had a certain compelling 'je ne sais quoi', as I seem to remember Dean from accounts remarking as I tottered to my station stinking of cheap corner-shop whisky and kebabs. At least that's what I think he said.
Anyway that is a cautionary tale for those of you who may be getting dressed in the dark these cold winter mornings and you are getting it for nowt as it's not really what I came here to tell you. What I came here to tell you is that during my short festive absence from these pages I have been guesting over at Ben and Paul's excellent Newcastle United blog Black and White and Read All Over (do you see what they have done there?), where I have so far posted two match reports on what I believe we sports writers are obliged to call the 'Bumper Holiday Fixture List'. This one concerns a 2-1 defeat at Bolton and has a few mistakes in, which I am attributing to gin and tonic, while this one from yesterday is much better, even though I say so myself (it is the only football match report you will ever read containing the words 'the moustachioed Belgian's unscheduled valedictory circuit' and if that doesn't make you go and read it then I suppose nothing will), and concerns a 2-2 draw at home to Manchster United. Owing to what I take to be the conventions of Ben and Paul's blog I have sort-of pretended to have been in the stands at both games, when in reality I only saw highlights on Match of the Day, and in fact spent the whole second half of the United game stationary on the M56 attempting to tune the radio in to Five Live while Frankie attempted to drown out the dulcet tones of the match commentators by asking 'are we there yet?' at ever-increasing volumes and freezing hailstones bounced sideways off the window-panes. I don't think Desmond Lynam ever had such trouble, I can tell you.
Anyway those of you of a footballing persuasion (and especially those of you of a black-and-white one) may be tempted to call in- oh, and while I have got your attention I should also draw your attention to The American Geordie (yes that is his real name)'s equally excellent Newcastle United blog 'The Daily Hairdryer', which features erudite match reports from the American Geordie himself (he seems to travel about an awful lot, I think with his work, and follows the games from sports bars in exotic locations such as Japan and Argentina) and, more often than not, half-drunk late-night comments from me in the comment box saying things like 'Ah haway man hadawayandshite man yer bleedy beggeryer wor Ameobi's aal reet man he's from Fenham yer knaah'. You don't actually have to be a fully-affililated Greggs-Pastie- carrying member of the Geordie nation to gain entry to the Daily Hairdryer, but I suppose it does help.
Right then- I'll be back properly next week, possibly with my shirt on the right way round, although I'm making no promises, that's for damn sure. In the meantime Happy New Year and the finest compliments of the season, whatever they are, to you all. Now hadawayandshite yer bleedy beggers, yers I'm off to get mesel at Greggs pastie for my lunch.