For the second Saturday running, my chances of seeing a live game of football were thwarted by the weather. I'd feared as much since five in the morning, when I was woken by the sound of rain pattering against the windowpane and gurgling noisily out of the drainpipe below. Although it had eased to nothing more than drizzle (in Newcastle terms, that is) by half twelve, a second downpour as I left the platform at Walkergate got so heavy I risked public humiliation by putting an umbrella up halfway (things would have been worse back in Jarrow, where a relative once refused to stand near me in a pub because I'd been wearing a scarf - in the middle of December).
The game had just been called off. The goalnets were still pegged up and the team names - East End and Newcastle University Firsts - chalked on a board outside the pavilion door. The only sporting event actually taking place, though, was a rugby training session on the far side of the field which, out of sheer desperation, I watched for all of ninety seconds. Starting back for the Metro, I passed two chip shops, a plastic tube and fittings plant and several of the kind of puddles an Olympic steeplechase runner might expect to encounter after clearing a hurdle. Umbrellas, unfortunately, don't do much to cover your feet.
Next week, weather permitting, I'll stick with the ten-minute walk to Boldon C.A.