It’s Coming Home

How’s your World Cup going?

I’m not even a football fan but I got well and truly sucked into it last night.

The England games are being shown on a big screen in the village hall, thanks to my soccer-mad husband, who took no persuading in setting it up after learning that the pub was going to be a footie-free zone during the tournament.

Last night, the chip van in the village square was doing a roaring trade.

“But it’s funny,” said the young woman in between battering cod and haddock. “I’ve never seen so many ladies queuing up. Obviously the men have something better to do.”

Up at the hall, the smell of testosterone on a warm, sunny night hit me as I walked in at half-time with our supper.

“Just in time,” said my husband behind the makeshift bar, before he was inundated with requests for ice-cold pints of Thatchers and Branscombe beer straight from the barrel.

“You couldn’t do me a favour, could you?” he said, as I handed him the chips. “Only I’m running out of cider. You couldn’t pop down the shop and get me about four lots of four cans?”

Easy enough, you might think, but the shop closes at six o’clock so I ended up disturbing the manager at home and getting him to unlock the store, just for a bunch of thirsty football fans.

But, true to form in this village, all you have to do is ask the universe and you get what you want. The manager said he really didn’t mind, and was there anything else I needed?

“Several pairs of hands to carry the booty back to the hall would be nice,” I said, only for four teenagers to suddenly appear with open arms.

“We can drink it on the way back,” they laughed, reeling off a litany of drunken exploits that was meant to shock me to the core but was pretty tame for a teenager from the 1970s.

The cider safely delivered (I counted it out and counted it back in again), we settled down to watch the second half. I have to say, I’ve got a soft spot for Colombia, having been there two years ago, but even I knew it would be risky to declare my love for that particular South American country right at that moment.

It was all going so well, what with national hero Harry Kane scoring a penalty yet again, but when Colombia equalised in the ninety-third minute the hall erupted in fury.

To go into extra time and then a penalty shootout was all too much for some of us, with a world musician, local resident and football fanatic hiding in the toilet and others hiding their faces in their hands.

I couldn’t bear it, so went into the hall kitchen and booked tickets to see The Blockheads at The Electric Palace, Bridport, in November.

I could hear my husband shouting “Dier, Dier-Rea” when England missed a penalty and he mistakenly thought it was Eric Dier rather than Jordan Henderson.

Well, they’re both young, white men wearing red, so it’s an easy mistake to make. They all look alike to someone who should have gone to Specsavers.

And then there were excited roars and the sound of people running around on the hall’s wooden floor as England triumphed. Anyone would have thought our village had collectively used mind control to skew the score in our country’s favour.

And that, of course, was it. After fifty-two years of hurt, a nation is predicting that football’s coming home. You just have to believe.