...all my troubles seemed so far away. The weather across Sheffield and North East Derbyshire was marvellous - the most summery day since my return from Thailand. Just after midday, our ancient friends - Tony and Fiona - arrived from Hull and we ate our lunch out on the decking. Salad, pork pie, Stilton and broccoli quiche, stoneground pizza and mugs of tea. The garden looks lovely at this time of year with plants at their peak between winters - illuminated by sunshine glaring down from big blue gaps in wispy summertime clouds.
At two fifteen, we jumped in the car and headed to Chesterfield where our beloved Hull City were to play the last of their pre-season warm-up games at the new B2Net Stadium which has replaced Chesterfield's dilapidated old Saltergate ground. I was wearing the tiger T-shirt I had bought in Thailand with a day such as yesterday in mind. By the way, just in case you didn't know, Chesterfield's nickname is The Spireites. This strange term alludes to the town's famous fourteenth century crooked spire which twists outlandishly above St Mary's Parish Church.
Last week our lads beat the mighty Liverpool 3-0 and then in midweek we subdued Bradford City 3-1 so yesterday it was The Spireites' turn to be obliterated by the black and amber tsunami-army with goals from Matty Fryatt and a beautiful looping header from central defender - James Chester.
After the game we drove back to Sheffield and being hot and thirsty dropped in at "The Hammer and Pincers" at Bents Green for cooling drinks in the beer garden. Later, I booked a table at Sheffield's best Turkish restaurant - the Zeugma Ikki on London Road. Beforehand I ordered a taxi and more cooling drinks - in "The Crown" - a rather down-at-heel city pub frequented on match days by multitudes of Sheffield United fans. Last evening it was more or less empty.
The meal in "The Zeugma" was delightful. I had Albanian lamb's liver followed by shish kebab with rice and salad. We all agreed it had been a great meal but a tiny irritation -we brought two of our own bottles of wine and got charged £3.95 x 2 for "corkage". Both bottles had screw tops. Still I guess it was better than paying £15.99 a time for the restaurant's own bottle of sauvignon blanc.
After the meal, we strolled up Sharrow Lane to Sharrow Head where we had planned a further drink at "The Stag" but in the end we decided to carry on walking a further ten minutes to "The Psalter" on Psalter Lane where we sat outside to chat and drink some more. Then it was on to my local - "The Banner" for last orders. How quiet it was in there. There were days in the not too distant past when the place would be heaving on a Saturday night - standing room only - but last night it was so deserted that I expected tumbleweed to blow through the taproom.
Back at home, we watched fragments of "Top of the Pops" from the 1980's - Yazz, U2, The Communards... and then around 1am Tony nudged me. Apparently, I had been snoring.