Many years ago I was talking to someone whose husband owned a restaurant in London. She said that their mains were ok, but their hors d'oeuvres were exceptional. I thought that there was something unsatisfactory about the starters being the summit of a meal.
Tonight I go to St. Andrews for the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup, the oldest county cup in existence. It is a splendid Victorian trophy (see picture) which looks good in our vice-presidents' lounge at the New Windmill Ground. Leamington have won it six times and opponents Nuneaton Borough nine times. BBC Coventry and Warwickshire will be providing live coverage of 'El Warwicko'. The final I really enjoyed was beating Wolves at Molineux two years ago. It was the first time it had gone to penalties and the decisive penalty was scored by Leamington's barmy bin man of a keeper, Tony Breeden.
[Leamington won 4-1. Match report: Pride of Warwickshire. ]Skipper Tony Breeden almost knocked himself out with the trophy lid.
Breeden is the most commanding keeper I have seen since Sam Bartram, albeit at a much lower level. His song is 'Tony Breeden, on the wing, on the wing.' Oppositions seem to freeze as he charges down the pitch and even more so when his powerful and accurate shot ends up in the goal. He doesn't do it too often, but it is an entertainment when he does. He would certainly win the crossbar challenge.
I actually have good memories of St. Andrews with Charlton. Anyone remember the 0-0 draw in the run up to the Greatest Game? It sank the hopes of the Millwall of the Midlands who were beside themselves.
The main event is, of course, the game against Rochdale on Saturday. In accordance with tradition, I will meet my friends in Central London to go by boat to my birthplace of Greenwich, before repairing to the River Ale House in East Greenwich run by Charlton fan Trevor for a ginger beer or perhaps even a shandy.
Last night I went to London for a drinks event for a friend who is a Fulham supporter and getting married in July. It was held in a private club down an incredibly narrow passageway off the Charing Cross Road. On the way there I popped into St. Martins in the Fields for the first time in my life. My grandmother's grandmother was married there aged 18 in September 1819. (Curiously, it was 20 years before she gave birth to her only child, my great-grandmother). The name of my great-great-grandmother was Mary Heaven before she married and it was her granddaughter who was the first Charlton supporter in our family.
My friend pointed out that it could be Fulham v. Charlton next season. I hadn't thought of that and I quite like going to Craven Cottage.