Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homeward Bound

"Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on." (The Littlest Hobo, 1979)

I fly back to London later today for a business trip, a precursor to a permanent move back home in six weeks' time. Our time in New York is rapidly coming to an end.

Upon the fifth anniversary of our move to the Big Apple, I wrote a piece from the heart about the experience we had enjoyed here.

I am relatively sanguine about the prospect of leaving. I've increasingly become conscious that Manhattan is a place for the young, single (or at least childless) and the rich, or preferably all three at once.

Given that I am none of the above, our time here has thus reached a 'natural' end. It is time for the next chapter in our lives.

Certainly when one finds that weekdays are more enjoyable than weekends, it's time to reevaluate one's life situation. Since our second son was born, I've coined the phrase "Monday morning is the new Friday night."

Admittedly he has been a very difficult baby, which has not helped matters. If I took him on a tour of the country's secondary schools, teenage pregnancy rates would plummet; this kid could do more for population control than the condom.

Fellow New Yorkers with young kids tend to make life more bearable, by finding a suitable weekend escape from the city whether to parents in the suburbs, or perhaps a second home (hence my comment above about the rich).

The obvious transitional step would be to move as a family to one of those suburbs, but we figured we'd feel isolated without fully buying into the whole American lifestyle.

Moreover if we considered it likely that we'd eventually move home anyhow, it's surely fairest to the kids to do it before they reach school age, than when they're settled into schools and amongst friends. They will however retain their (dual) citizenship which pleases me.

We'll thus avoid the horror of their American accents, as well as the ignominy of developing our own mid-Atlantic twang, the tell-tale sign of an expat who overstayed.

Living abroad brings a new and generally positive perspective to Blighty meanwhile, which for all its drawbacks still firmly remains 'home'.

I have missed the UK's humour and quirks, whilst life away makes you appreciate institutions like the BBC that are often taken for granted.

It is a hellishly expensive country to live in of course, but it lacks the rampant commercialism which pervades so much of life in the US. One can live with less 'fear' back home.

It saddens me however that there seems to be a pervasive thread of nastiness running through UK life these days, although I wonder how much of it is media-driven. There always seems to be the threat of violence lurking, imagined or otherwise.

Our well-developed tradition of self-deprecation and irony can easily be interpreted in a destructive way, when left to those too ignorant to appreciate it, especially teenagers it seems.

America has enough of its own problems of course, grinding inequallity being the worst (as best exemplified by its healthcare system) but it seems to have greater pride in its history and traditions. This may just be by virtue of its relative youth.

Philanthropy is an integral part of life here, not an occasional £20 donation to someone running a marathon.

We will leave behind good friends, but rejoin old ones as well as some we made in New York, who themselves since returned back to the UK.

After over five years of perhaps the purest urban experience in the Western world, we are keen for a quieter life as we seek to find somewhere new to live.

The mother-in-law has declared her nervousness about motorway driving, which led me to enquire about long-term stays at the Travelodge at Toddington Services (rooms very small unfortunately, and noisy too).

Realistically we intend to settle somewhere in The Chilterns, an area we researched thoroughly when we were back in August, and liked very much.

Indeed I recall there used to be an enthusiastic official Chiltern Addicks club, so perhaps this can be the catalyst for its reformation?

I'd be sadder about leaving New York, if I wasn't fairly certain that I'd be back on a regular basis, hopefully as often as several times per year.

My much-loved runs in Central Park will be something to look forward to and savour, rather than snatched inbetween nappy changes and bottle feeds.

Although I remain somewhat undecided, it also feels like the right moment to bring this blog to a close.

Writing it has felt like a chore in recent months, and frankly I no longer have the time. There are plenty of excellent newer ones, as well as sites like Charlton Life to fill any small gap that this blog might leave behind.

By way of example, it's taking me so long to write my piece about Richard Murray approaching the Dragon's Den for new investment, that they've already found another £7million. It's certainly taken the edge off some of Duncan Bannatyne's more biting observations.

Living abroad has also hopefully given a different and interesting perspective to Charlton matters, as well as other subjects that I occasionally turn my hand to.

Moreover for the blogging fraternity, the past few years will surely be looked back on as the halcyon days, for those keen to provide incisive and thought-provoking debate.

Two relegations and five managers have provided considerable fuel, occurring after fifteen years of near linear progress that must have been terribly dull to opine upon.

Equally it's no surprise that this season's table-topping exploits have been the least interesting to write about for me. Much easier to write about things going wrong.

The blog meanwhile has allowed me to meet dozens of interesting, friendly and equally passionate fellow supporters. Ironic that I had to move nearly 4,000 miles to achieve this.

Until moving to New York, supporting Charlton had been virtually a solitary pursuit. Hopefully these connections will become stronger as my attendance at matches increases.

Strangely enough, writing reports on the occasional matches I've actually seen live has been one of the least satisfying aspects of the blog.

I want to just go to enjoy them again, rather than cheekily taking notes on my Blackberry like a budding young reporter.

Perhaps the rumoured takeovers by David Sullivan or a consortium fronted by Dennis Wise will provide new excitement, but both leave me stone cold and even less interested.

Either way I'll probably keep the blog alive for the occasional brain dump because sometimes when the Guinness has kicked in, I just can't help myself. However let's be honest, Berkhamsted Addick doesn't quite have the same ring to it does it?


At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Mal said...

Your blog will be missed, it has been consistently one of the more thoughtfully written. But I understand your reasons and good luck for the future.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Ketts said...

Home for Christmas NYA, it will be good to have you back.

The blog would be sorely missed if you decide to call time on it, so on behalf of many, can I urge you to think again?

If you do call it a day though, can Doctor Kish be first in line for your services when you feel like writing?

Safe journey(s), look forward to seeing you at the Millwall game!!

Welcome back to Christmas in England.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about "Financial Meltdown Part 3"? You can't go without leaving us that! Welcome back to Blighty, and do keep writing when you get the chance please...the CAFC blog-world still needs your input!


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

I completely understand what you say about finding it difficult to write about things going well. I have just this week had a conversation with a former colleague (my last Boss) about how I think I must have a natural destructive nature as I struggle for inspiration when I have nice things to say, but the prose just literally flows when I’m bitching about something. Sadly he immediately agreed with my theory thus confirming that I am a manager’s worst nightmare. I guess it’s a good job that he liked me and I was able to write business or I’d have been self-employed a lot sooner.

As for giving up, I quite understand. I have, more recently, found it harder and harder to find the time (and perhaps motivation) to write posts. I have felt that with the absence of the need for my greatest skill (to complain about things) what I’ve been writing has been hardly worth reading. It’s interesting to note that, like you, I judge a post by the number of comments, and it does seem to be the criticising posts that receive the most.

I would, however, suggest that you keep going. Your hidden secret about keeping notes on your Blackberry aside (I just thought that your ability to summarise games so much better than I can remember was due to my being a bit of a Thicky-Pants) your blogs have generally been the most insightful, and contain significantly more of the things that bring out the “I really wish I’d been the one to say that” thought. I’m guessing it has more to do with your writing style as the non-Charlton posts are still very easy to read but I suspect that, unlike me, you do more than just log in and type away.

As you have yet to make a decision I suggest you do what I have been known to do on occasion when a few minutes need to be filled. Go back and read some old posts of yours. I could recommend some, but I think that would be just way too much of a boost for your ego. If you read them and you genuinely believe that the new blogs are sufficient for you to retire then good luck to you. If not I will expect (less a demand, more a prediction) to continue to see ‘New York Addick’ on the list of Charlton News on forevercharlton.

Either way, all the best for the move.

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah rubbish! Honestly, your blog is one of my favourite reads online. But as long as you keep up with the occasional analysis or humourous post then we can't complain! Off the top of my head, I particularly remember Les Reed emails making me cry from laughing so much.

Anyway, thanks for the time you spent entertaining us! Good luck with your move.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Marco. said...

Only you can make the decision on stopping or continuing.
If it's become a chore then stop.
Life is too short to do any extra things you don't really enjoy.
I would like to add my comments congratulating you on your past successes online. Your insights into the CAFC email system became legendary.
I always look forward to your well thought out pieces and the Charlton blog fraternity would be poorer without you.

It's also been good to meet up with you, in SE7 and also in NYC. - neither of which would have been likely without your blog.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Dave said...

"New York Addick living in Hertfordshire?" I've always been struck by the fact that two of the three best Charlton blogs should be written by fans who can't get to many games. If you consider that the other one is by the wandering Inspector Sands,then there must be something in this? Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

At 5:49 PM, Blogger ChicagoAddick said...

For some reason that has made me really sad. I knew a move back was upcoming but stopping the blog?

You are the second person I am privileged to call a friend leave NY recently for London and it will make my trips there in the future nowhere near as much fun.

The blog is a labour of love, but it's like a drug too. My life is about to take a massive change and I am relying on Dave not telling me porkies because he reckons it's easier to blog when missus and little ones are asleep. Dave?

The very best of luck to you NYA, keep drinking the Guinness because I am going to miss your clever and funny musings.

Will buy you a pint next time I see you.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger charlton north-downs said...

NY _totally understand about looking forward to Monday rather than Friday. Our two kids (Adults) are only 15 months apart. My son gave us sleepless nights for three years whereas my daughter was the opposite funny thing is now there 18 and twenty its the otherway round as we often wait for the front door to open after 2am and with relieve my daughter is home.
Great Blog and very sad to see it close but as many aging footballers seem to know when to call it a day you know the time is right for you.

Good Luck back in good old Blighty

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one will miss your excellent blog. Whether they are about Charlton or the economy they are thoughtful, intelligent, frequently funny and well written. Your observations of life in New York, on Americans and indeed the British are really insightful and enjoyable. I agree with a previous comment that a few blogs on life back in Blighty would be interesting but if there is no fun in doing it, stop. Good luck with the new life and many thanks.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Thanks for all the kind words, which I will recall when I reflect upon the right thing to do with the blog. To misquote Winston Churchill, it is more likely to be the 'beginning of the end' than the 'end of the beginning'.

Ketts - thanks for the offer re: Doctor Kish. Following Frankie Valley's semi-retirement, it's nice to know there's a place ex-bloggers can go for a runout (a bit like 'Masters' football).

Pedro45 - don't worry, I will begin working on Financial Meltdown III, just as soon as I can work out what the hell I think might happen from here.

KHA - I do occasionally read through the old posts, and it does provide inspiration thanks. Either way, I do need to update the 'best posts' links on the right hand side so thanks for the reminder.

Marco - those email server posts are definitely my favourite. I just haven't found the inspiration to write a new one recently as many of the easily satirised characters (eg. Thomas, Ambrose, Varney) have gone.

Dave - I think being miles away from The Valley forces you to think of more interesting and esoteric ways of assessing the goings-on. I haven't been able to join the 'is McLeod useless?' debate because I haven't seen him play enough!

ChicagoAddick - Dave must be lying to you. I find I have to be tucked up in bed by 10pm to have any semblance of a productive life.

CND - let's get that game of tennis organised when I get back. Being able to play more regularly at home is definitely a bonus.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

I would like to add my expression of sorrow that you are closing your blog as it has been of the truly outstanding blogs and always worth reading. There are certainly quite a few Addicks in the Chilterns, e.g., Dick at Chalfont St. Peter's. Remember also that Gerrard's Cross is invaribaly referred to as GX.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Lancashire Lad said...

I have silently enjoyed your blogs from up here in the North West. Good luck to you and your family on your impending return to the UK.
Selfishly I hope you keep blogging, but only if you enjoy it, life is too short for the unenjoyable.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have enjoyed you postings here in Queensland Australia. and the humour . I like many other cannot wait for you to send another serve of the Email at Charlton with our prospective suitors.
Thank you for the time you to to give your views .

At 10:06 PM, Blogger CharltonChris said...

Fully understand your reasons NYA, and thanks for all the times you've made me smile over the years (there have been many).

I also remember some of the advice you gave me when I started up Cynic Athletic a few years back. Writing that became a chore as well, so I salute your staying power to this point!

Best of luck to you and the family.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger laneender said...

Just to add my thanks to those above. I too have silently enjoyed your blog. It has always been the first I pick off the list at Forever when I log in and am avidly looking forward to Meltdown3. You will be very welcome in the Chilterns, I am live there currently and did go to a few Chiltern Addicks meetings a few years back, so perhaps a revival is overdue.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Otherwarwickaddick said...

Must add my thanks for all your postings in the past and for the kindness and help you gave when I visited NY when we were playing Chelsea in the Carling Cup. With your help we found an Irish bar where the scoores were flashed up along the bottom of the screen. When it got to the penalty shoot out we found a unsecured wifi and followed it on a PDA on the BBC. Of course we won. A night (or rather late afternoon) I'll never forget!

Following on from Wyn's remarks Warwick/Leamington coild be thought of as North Chilterns railwise.

At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a Shame, I can fully understand as your 2 bundles of joy more or less coincided with my 2 and any spare time I have is mainly spent giving the wife a break and am given just enough time to check my Yahoo mails before the next task is thrown my way. Good Luck for the future NYA and for our Mighty Red's.
All the best
Steve Izz

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't try and influence your decision about whether to continue with the blog, NYA. I'll just set out a few observations about how I perceive your blog:
1. In the field of football blogs it is unusual in that it is exceptionally well written. You are obviously someone who is very comfortable with the written word.
2. Your love of Charlton shines through. Your physical separation gives your thoughts a detachment and perspective that is lacking in others ("too close to the trees").
3. Your quirky "English" sense of humour is a joy. Your series of spoof emails were some of the funiest postings I have seen.
4. In my opinion your blog is the best Charlton blog.
I wish you well in whatever you decide to do.


At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add my thanks as a silent reader of your blogs for many years. As well as all the comments above with which I agree, I always like the way you approach the analysis of the boardroom aspects of the club - trying to understand why any rational person would want to spend a lifetime of toil earning a fortune only to pour it down the drain at a football club is a bit of a mystery. Your approach looking at probability and rational expectation of a future (non specified) benefit always lent a new perspective on things.

Good luck in whatever you do.

Corner Counter

At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to echo and amplify many of the comments that have been left here. Your blog is the only one I read and its status is such that I usually read it before I turn to the CAFC website. The nature of a blogger's relationship with his or her readers is no doubt the subject of PhD theses but it is largely one-sided. I first read your comments in the car this morning on a handheld (I hadn't started driving) and was touched with sadness. You have been so much a part of many invisible lives that it really will be like losing a friend. I have lived in the US for seven years, lived in Charlton for eleven and share much of the love and amusement that you have experienced for US life. I get to see an average of 3 games a year with a 10,000 mile round trip. Congratulations on having made a difference. Enjoy your children, take a break and then come back. Please.

At 7:21 AM, Blogger StoneMuse said...

NYA, I have to echo what others have said and I hope you have a re-think on the blog ... even if it is only on an intermittent basis.

Always enjoyed reading your stuff.

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous West Ham Blog said...

Hey mate

Sad to see you are giving up on the blog but happy to see you will be coming home. At least you will provide some back up when watching games with Nov and Harris and hopefully the smiles will soon be wiped from their faces. Though living in the Chilterns and with the 2.4 kids, not sure how much we will see of you!

Blogging is certainly more fun in the midst of a crisis, mine toddled along until the Tevez affair (let's not go there) and then it provided a much needed outlet for my anger towards the ambulance chasers. Unfortunatley at the moment, it is also a source of bewlilderment at our start to the season, so plenty to write about.

Anyway, do drop me a line when you're back and thirsting for a pint down the White Lion.


At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Tim said...

NYA - I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog as someone who does not even follow Charlton. I guess you gave me insight into what it was like being a 'real' fan. I grew up in Somerset in the 80's and everyone supported either Liverpool, Everton (the big two), Man Utd (who hadnt won the league since the 60's) or spurs. I fell foul of this as well and always felt a tinge of guilt but what can you do!

The comments prove that you have achieved a penetration far beyond your imagination (ooo eerr missus), with readers all around the world. I think you should keep it alive and just update your readers when you feel you have something to say. Is there a way we can get an email prompt when you have had that extra guiness and feel the urge?


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