Blonde on Blonde

Words: Ian Cleverly Photos: Daisy Hendry

I dug out the Bible this week for some guidance. Lost and all at sea, I dusted it down and blew off the cobwebs, prised open the long-ignored pages and searched for pearls of wisdom. Seek and ye shall find.

The Bible, for Tour de France journalists and team managers alike, is the ASO-produced road book that tells us everything we need to know, from route maps to stage profiles to town descriptions, even which hotels the teams are staying in. This mighty tome is the 2010 edition but there is still useful information to be gleaned. It is truly a godsend for a disorganised airhead former blonde with a propensity to forget stuff at crucial moments. And I do mean crucial moments.

Take this, for example. Having organised a Tour trip for my mates – flights, hotels, taxis, the works – and asked them all if they had their passports as we left the house, guess who reached the check-in desk only for the colour to drain from an already pale face on realising they had forgotten theirs? Reaching France eight hours later than a bunch of pissed-up, piss-taking friends will never be forgotten.

So it should come as some surprise, you would think, that a couple of years later, the very same airhead should step off the bus at Paddington Station, en route to Cardiff to attend Millwall’s first appearance in an FA Cup final, to remember his (and his son’s) tickets are pinned to the kitchen notice board. The unfortunate Andy, who also had the bad luck to be involved in the Tour debacle, turned with a look of utter disbelief. “Not again,” he exhaled.

Yes. Again.

I now have a checklist, you’ll be glad to hear, and do not leave south east London without consulting it – which, seeing as there are a few races to attend over the summer, is probably no bad thing.

And, yes, me and the boy made it to the Millennium Stadium to see the mighty Lions get tonked by Manchester United. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world, ticket or no ticket.

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