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Phrasal Verbs, English Idioms, Advanced English Conversation
Good afternoon from London
Way back in 1993, the year of my marriage (I think?), on a typically cold and depressing-weather day in London, my wife, Montse, and I had managed to get tickets to see my beloved football team Arsenal play Nottingham Forest, very much the underdogs in this FA Cup match.
Back in Spain as a child, Montse had always supported Athletic Bilbao (known simply in Spain as Athletic NOT Atlético); she used to watch them on the telly with her dad, but never had the chance to go and see them play live. So, when we started going out together in London, I introduced her to The Arsenal (The Gunners, as we call them) and her love for football was rekindled.
She quickly became a passionate, vociferous supporter, and totally biased in the way she sees the game. She doesn’t do things half-heartedly, my wife. Her response to decisions going against Arsenal is never measured, making her feelings known in no uncertain terms:
“It wasn’t a penalty, actually.”
“Why don’t we ever get penalties?”
“We do, and some we shouldn’t have got.”
“Where’s the referee from?”
“ He must be a Tottenham supporter.”
“Unlikely, I would have thought.”
So, back to the Saturday in 1993:
In those days you could park fairly near the stadium, so I took the car instead of going by Overground train, which I do today. But Montse wanted to pop in to Brent Cross Shopping Centre on the way; women often do, but blokes tend to hate it. I wasn’t sure I knew the way to Arsenal from Brent Cross, but, as luck would have it (or not, as it turned out), as we exited the car park at the shopping centre, I noticed the car in front of me had a big sticker on the rear window saying:
FOLLOW ME TO ARSENAL
I weighed up whether to take this kind and helpful suggestion literally and said to Montse:
“We might as well follow him; he’s bound to be going to the match.”
So, I did.
Montse today will say that she expressed her doubts at the time and that she had an inkling that following this guy might not be such a sensible idea, but actually she was fully on board and happy to go along with it.
Initially, I was rather impressed to be taken on a back route through little-known streets of north London, which would surely stand me in good stead for future journeys to watch The Arsenal.
But then, out of the blue, the guy stopped and parked outside a block of flats in the middle of nowhere (well, clearly somewhere for him, but nowhere for me).
He got out of the car.
I was gobsmacked.
“Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but aren’t you going to Arsenal today?”
“No, not today; I’m going to see my old mum, who lives in these flats. You weren’t following me to Arsenal, were you?”
“Yes of course I was. That’s what you told me to do…in big black letters.”
“Not today, mate! That’s hilarious. Anyway, good luck, up The Gunners!”
“You’re not going to leave me stranded here are you?”
“I most certainly am; bye-bye!”
Oh dear; I thought this doesn’t bode well for the rest of the day. But, happily I was wrong; somehow I found the way, parked in my usual spot, and we won the match, despite some shambolic defending.
As Montse always tells us:
Things happen for a reason.
In hindsight she could be right, although I’m not sure for what reason, exactly.
Oh yes, I know the reason
So you can now all:
FOLLOW ME TO ARSENAL