Monthly Archives: May 2009
I headed down to the Royal Oak in Widcombe which was totally decked out ready for the onslaught of supporters, at one point it really felt like no one was going to turn up. But people soon started flooding into the back room where I had some tables reserved. Didn’t need as many as had reserved as not as many people turned up – oh well. The tables were only saved until 1/2 hour before kick off. I however was there from 1pm wanting to catch up on any prematch commentary engulf myself fully in the hype. I put up my massivo flag on the curtain rail and got myself a Pimms and I was all set.
I am rubbish at writing match reports but good god we played appallingly in the first half. Keith Earls had a shocker as a debut dropping balls left right and centre a couple of shocking passes he is the youngest squad member and having read some of the websites today I notice that he is not being picked for the mid-week match this week against the Golden Lions – funny that! Lee Byrne had a stoncking match in my opinion. I just love it that for the rest of the time I take no interest really in the Welsh, Irish and Scottish players (and have a specific dislike for some members) but when they pull on that Lions top where they come for is fairly irrelevant! The cheers were pretty loud when Mearsy came on, bless him, the shivers up and down the spine came into full force then. I kept having to pinch myself that I am going to be there. I saw June and Hamish who are out there for all 3 tests with Gullivers and area a week ahead of me in my countdown and chatted at length with June about the excitedness that we were both going through. We both had received our kit but Hamish had a few issues with the sizing which clearly was screwed up in the warehouse as the XXL had come out as a small. They must be having an absolute mare at Gullivers with the amount of people phoning up and wanting to change etc – I am so lucky that all of mine fit! (thanks to Dani at Gullivers suggesting the sizing – what a star)
So, one down and 9 to go. I just know that time will fly by now. It’s quite scary. My want to start packing is apparently not unusual – June has already packed unpacked and repacked and has every thought that she will be doing so more times before she flies!! I just keep throwing things in the suitcase that I know I am taking and keep thinking of more things that I need to remember to take – like a hot water bottle for the cold nights – I know that is going to be invaluable!
So the count down is officially on with 31 days to go until I fly and 5 days until we can watch the boys in action the excitement continues in the Sparks household. In a bid to find more people that are going to share the excitement with I found out that Gullivers have started up a forum and so on their website. A blinking good idea in my opinion. It has all of the different tours that are going and when I looked down the list to see if Leopard Pink was there – low and behold the tour leader had started it off. I read it all very excited before I read the name and looked at the mini picture that had been put up as his profile picture. Blow me – Simon Jones former Team Manager for Bath 2 people ago (we had Haag after him and now Dave Guyan). How amusing but darned good news to be a Bath person. I sent him and email and introduced myself and he said that he had recognised my name off of the list of people on his tour. Now I am not too sure how good it is that my name precedes me here! (Hopefully it is because I worked in the shop and on the Supporters’ Club) I then emaiked Dani – the girl at Gullivers’ who I have had communication with in regards to my trip and asking inane questions – the amusement factor and the good choice of tour leader as he was Bath and she too confirmed that he recognised my name when looking down the list! AAAHHHH! Any hoo I also asked her to give me the rough demographics of the group (is that the right use of word?! – it sounds right in my head!) and found out that I am not the youngest and there are 40 on the group in total and quite a lot of friendship groups too so I was calmed by that I had visions of it being a Saga holiday or all couples. I can relax about that part now!!!
On Thursday of last week – the 5 week mark, I had a parcel – an unidentified one as I have not been having an ebay craze as of late. I went to Sylvia and Bob to go and collect it and I am not quite sure that Sheila was quite prepared for my reaction when I looked to see where it had come from and it had Leopard Pink on it – I knew it had to be all of my Gullivers’ stuff. They said 2 weeks before we depart so I was not expecting it just yet!! Cue ear piercing shrieks and lots of jumping up and down and I skipped back to the house to rapidly open every packet and put everything on – yes all at once. So There is a polo shirt (proper cotton one not the nasty material), a fleece – zip through, a waterproof jacket – zip through, ruck sack, swim bag type bag, baseball cap and a Berlitz Guide Book. I sat in them all for at least a couple of hours not really wanting to take them off, savouring the moment that I had waited so long for – things were finally real its not just a number anymore!!! I had to take them off in the end as I was ROASTING!
So I am back at Mum and Dad’s this weekend – last one I reckon before I go away. I showed them all of the kit and they thought that I have purchased it all – I suppose I have in effect from going on the tour – but I explained it is what all Gullivers tourites get when they travel to the Lions with them! I also took the Lions Supporters Club Flag back with me and the 4 flags that I got off of the shop that were left over from the hand outs at the matches towards the end of the season. After tacking some of them together Mum and I (well I sort of helped!) managed to get them all sown together so that I have the Lions one in the middle and two Bath flags on top of each other on either side (4 in total) I will upload a photo of it later. Its mahoosive! I will need to speak to Jimmer to find out where he got his clips from or I will buy a pack of pipe cleaners to tie it on to things!!! I managed to get on ebay as well some kids face paints in sticks which will hopefully be easier to put on than with a sponge – we will see, also they are small enough to put in the luggage!!!
I need to start thinking about what to take Lauren and Juliet and Ant as thank you presents for having my to stay after the tour – I am spending approximately 5 days with each. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, the most important thing is that they are small so I am not stuck for space!!!
So Saturday gone was a big day semi-final play offs and all. It was going to be a loose loose situation for me though. I’d be sad if we lost but even more gutted had we won as I couldn’t make it as it is Mike and Hannah’s wedding this weekend. I guess that the best team won and all and it certainly makes things easier for the wedding this weekend but we so didn’t really seem hot enough to want the place in the final – or was it that Leicester were far to good?! I think that I prefer the latter interpretation.
When things were not going swimmingly about two thirds of the way through the match it suddenly dawned on me that no matter what the result of the match I was watching the next live match of rugby that I would be watching would be the 2nd test of the Lions. The loss suddenly paled into insignificance as yet another wave of extreme excitement came over me. It is getting ever so close now and I have already started making lists of things to do both before I go and things to pack for while I am out there.
I heard back from my cousin in Cape Town yesterday and sadly he is not going to be there during my short stay in the city, but I have plenty of other things to do so that is fine by me. I also heard from Lauren on the weekend as we need to catch up this week – sounds like she is getting as excited as I am which is so cool. I can’t believe it is nearly two whole years since I last saw her and I just can’t wait to see her again. I miss her loads and am looking forward to seeing Lauren world over here, staying at her place and meeting her friends and family. We are all geared to Skype after my nail appointment on Thursday. It will be the first time that she has seen my hair of course!!! Wonder what she will think!!
I’ve attached photos of the latest top that I have purchased for the Lions as well as the two that I have only just gotten around to taking photos of that I got Lee to sign for me at the Race Night in April.