A long weekend in Essex

Three nights in Colchester were had by the Wooldridge duo over the weekend. It was…different.

We travelled to deepest, darkest Essex on Thursday. Our favourite Little Chef on the A12 has now turned into a Burger King and Greggs. Oh well. The sat nav had a nightmare in the last half mile of the journey, with a road right by the hotel being closed. We did a nice tour of some cul de sacs, but eventually found the hotel, which wasn’t too bad, apart from the television being stuck in the 1990s with its channel choice…

Friday, as threatened, was the trip to Colchester Zoo. And yes, it was half term. And yes, what a blindingly stupid mistake it was to go to the zoo on that day.

Roadworks just outside the zoo led to a long-ish queue, nowhere near as long as the queue waiting to actually get in once you’ve left your car in the car park. Forty-five minutes at least later, we got in to the zoo. We shouldn’t have bothered. The place was crawling with small humans of various sizes. And wow, were they loud.

Any time I came across an interesting animal (let’s face it, to me, almost all animals are interesting. I don’t like wasps, though), a small fry would come charging along, I would have to get out of the way quickly because it’s a good thing to let children see and appreciate animals, and once I do and start to make my way out of the viewing enclosure if there was one, said small fry would overtake me at an alarming rate not giving one hoot at all about the animal that it has prevented me from admiring. And it was repeat, rinse, repeat. At one stage, I just sat on a bench outside an enclosure of an animal who had just sodded off itself so there was nothing to see, and it felt like I was wearing a big goldfish bowl on my head with loud incessant noises revolving around ceaselessly, it was not a comfortable feeling at all.

A lot of the enclosures were for small fry only as well, not much of it was built for a six-foot-five person too lazy to bend his back too often. As a result, I needed to get out as soon as possible. We tried to see as much as possible, it just wasn’t possible, the zoo was teeming with small fry, the majority of whom seemed not to give a single damn about the animals. A very disappointing day, but completely self inflicted. Some basic homework should have been done by yours truly, and we would have given the zoo a miss this time around…

Saturday was the point of the trip – Brightlingsea Regent against Kingstonian. I had to do millions of website updates to announce six new players (and then re-update one of the them to have a picture of the correct Connor Smith on it instead of the one Wikipedia has…).

And my verdict on the game? I still haven’t got the foggiest, really. It’s difficult to work things out about a team with six debutants, and away from home as well where the yellow away K’s shirts have numbers almost impossible to decipher. It’s a wonder our guys didn’t have “Hello, my name is ____” stickers on their shirts. I was definitely unrealistic pre-match, how I expected the K’s to play as a cohesive unit is now beyond me.

It was painfully obvious where we went wrong on the day. Our best chance in the game was the penalty given to us in the first half. Louie Theophanous didn’t strike the penalty so well, it was well saved by the Brightlingsea goalkeeper. We rarely threatened the home side’s goal after that, and whilst heads did not go down after going behind early in the second half, it was difficult to see how we would get back into the game. And when a forward line misfires like that, the pressure is unfairly heaped on to the defence. So it was no surprise that a breakaway goal with five minutes to go finished us off, though it was really well taken.

This coming Saturday I am sure we will be embarking on another trip into the unknown. It would not surprise me if there is even more new blood in the squad as Dean Brennan continues to make changes to the K’s and sculpts them into the shape that he demands. Will it bring us a win? One can only hope so, but when you think you’ve got the answers, some bugger changes all the questions…

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