I wonder how often Audrey Hepburn walked into her local pub and got a bear-hug from her 6ft1 very old friend who she might have snogged when she was 15. ( He snogged 95% of her year so this does not make her a slag.) When her feet finally reach the floor again she is wearing an orange tie ( “Double windsor took me awhile to get it right.”) and is being berated for the lack of Orange she is wearing by the bear-hug guy’s girlfriend of seven years: “You should have called, we have an extra shirt!” As a hello she gets kissed hello by all her friends, 3x traditional way: left right left.
She puts 20 euros in an empty cup in the middle from which the drinks will be paid. A tenner gets chucked back at her and she is told not to be that greedy! Then some of the men in the group that is sharing the table with us, light up: smoking-ban or not. I told you my town has little patience for unnecessary faff.
The match starts and people start singing the national anthem completely out of tune but with their hands on their hearts. After eight minutes one of the Dutch players goes down. The whole place shouts: ” CHANGE PLAYER!” When Van Persie scores the bar plays the music and the whole crowd sings: ” We’re going again, yes we’re part of it: VIVA HOLLANDIA!” The owner brings around orange shots but one eye ( my working eye) on my friends tells me I should decline: nasty stuff apparently.
When someone attempts to blow a vuvuzuela behind us, a guy turns around and shuts him up with a growled “Hey! You’re not at home!”. Arjen Robben number 11 starts his warm up and the pub starts to cheer. When he gets on the field the music starts again: VIVA HOLLANDIA! and he hasn’t done anything yet. He creates a chance soon though and Klaas Jan Huntelaar finishes it: VIVA HOLLANDIA! Shots again, we decline again. So yes we might have had a teeny tiny set back, a penalty when someone was protecting his face ( and what a pretty face it was Van Der Vaart…) but we are doing great.
Throughout the game I manage to catch up briefly with friends but when I’m about to leave, a complete stranger comes up to me. He is the only one to make a comment on my sunglasses as I was protected by friends in the know. He looks at me and then asks me genuinely: ” I hear you live in London… why on earth would you want to do that?” I smile and I get saved by a friend who says goodbye. Three kisses, left right left. I give him back his tie.
As I walk home, one of the guys comes and rides his bicycle close to me:
How long are you here for?
Good, Monday they will play again.
I’m not sure if I can make it.
I think you can! Anyway see you soon!
And with those words my whole body feels that Audrey missed out.