Final Test Day
The breakfast looked amazing and I tried so hard to eat some but my stomach was still having a party to which the rest of my body was not invited and the mouthful of croissant that I tried was quite enough so it told me. I was of course donned in the Bath face tattoo, Lions colours and the wig, the flag and for the first part of the morning I was also wearing the Bath Tubs Shirt as I had promised Robbinhio (is that how you spell it?) from ERE that I would wear it on the last match day. Ok I never worse it into the stadium but even if I had he would not have seen it was it was cold and so I was wrapped up.
We were taken to Soweto by bus for our big bar which today was Gulliver’s only as we had sorted out various things with Soweto Rugby Club and so everything for the pre-match entertainment was going to be there. It was a long way from the hotel to put it mildly. Driving into Soweto was heart warming as the streets were all full of people waving ferociously at the passing buses, namely small children. We arrived at a large gated area which turned out to be the rugby club. The grass was all brown and there was the pitch and then the massive marquee which was brilliantly equipped inside for us all with food and drink outlets and a stage on which there was entertainment at times. Its weird hey, in the 2,500 I saw not one of the Bath lot but then in the masses the previous week I saw each and every one! The portaloos here were way better than the Rec – I nearly took photos of them they were that impressive, you also have ladies that were going in after each person to clean them down to ensure that they stayed in a good condition. The thing is you wouldn’t be able to find people willing to do that.
I wandered over to the Gulliver’s Barbarians match with some of the others. There were loads of us that were going but somehow no one seemed to follow on behind us. Ah well, I still wanted to watch and, frankly, if anyone wanted to find me all that they had to do was to look for the wig! See there were benefits to wearing it separate to looking like an arse! The others went of to get more drink but I stayed put after being asked to do a small report for Super Sport – their Sky Sports I guess. Well I as going to be picked on at some point really – I was asking for it rather! I milled around as I kind of lost the others and really could not be bothered spending most of my time looking for them and so I went up to quite near the stage where a bumped into FatBoySlim (the guys from Dubai – not Boyzone though) who were also taking photos of the dancers on stage. The men all seemed to do a couple of random moves and it was like a competition to see who could land on the floor with the loudest bump. Really quite odd.
There was a movement back towards the buses and so I joined in the snake. The open way was so small that it was a bit of a bottle neck to get out and taking quite some time I was with none of the Pink Leopards but I could hear them all right – ‘BEASTIALITYS BEST BOYS’ I didn’t half giggle – particularly as I was standing next to Cooch as they started! Finding the coach took me a little while as all of the Gulliver’s coaches were all parked in the same place. Once back on the coach we all started moving off and I put face paints on John and Amanda at least some of them were getting into the spirit with me!
Getting into the ground was no problem compared to last week to put it mildly. I had my cans of soft drink take off me which I was quite annoyed about as I later found out that others had managed to get beer in. We stood soaking up the atmosphere for a little while. Some Bok had a sign up that said F%£k the Queen, Our blood is green. It was very interesting watching the majority of the other South African supporters’ reactions to the sign. They were getting way more incensed than we Brits were. I could not see a programme seller anywhere which was really annoying as I was not happy with the idea of going home without one.
I made a move to the seats with Val and Alan who I was sat next to. There was NO BLOODY WAY that I was going to miss the pre-match entertainment on the pitch this time for anything or anyone. It was chilly in our seats to put it mildly. I was glad that I had a windbreaker in the bottom of my bag as that did help keep me warmish. Our seats were up the top-level this time and the sight of the mass of red shirts around the ground was far more impressive than in Pretoria I have to say. I have a feeling that there was only a small selection of us over where we were as looking down to the left there looked to be a sea of green rather than broken up with the red tops of the Lions. Just to our right was the Sky box, you could clearly see Simon, Dewi, Will and the others. I took some photos of them and we chanted Dewi, Dewi give us a wave – which he dually did! I couldn’t stop giggling to myself as I have the picture of Jimmer shining his head on the TV with the duster and the Pledge from earlier in the year!! I was sat near to Simon again and big Keith and then the rest of the guys were all down in front. We had some obnoxious Bokka shite standing in the aisle for the first part of the match and Peter (of Fatboy Slim fame!) asked him if he could move or something to that effect. The Bokka guy pulled out his VIP pass and abruptly told him that he had it which means that he can go anywhere and sit anywhere that he wants in the stadium. How absurd was that? If there was a fire we would have all been screwed!
I was glad that we had made the effort to get there in time for the pre-match stuff. Apparently it was exactly the same as the week before which Alan oh so sweetly pointed out to me several times, knowing full well I had not made it for the start of the last match – the shit! The anthems were awesome and I made sure that I recorded both of them on the camera.
The match was totally different to last week. We were not so amongst the Lions supporters and I guess being more out in the open the atmosphere I don’t think was as electric. I guess also the series had been won and we were looking to win for honours sake. We needed a 2-1 loss and not a 3-0. The Bokka supporter who stayed on the stairs for most of the match was an aggressive shite and nearly every time that we got the ball or were making progress up would go his middle finger-pointing to us whilst he continued to watch the play. He was the only sort of hostile supporter that we really ran into. The match itself was pretty violent and the fights on the pitch were frequent and namely started by them I have to say. We ended up in winning though which I have to say was a huge relief. The trip out (rugby wise) was not all in vain – thank god!
We were all quite quiet I have to say on the trip home. The reality that it was now all over really and the others were all heading home tomorrow and I was moving on without any of them was all sinking in. I still had two parts of my holiday to look forward to though, firstly Juliet and Uncle Ant and then staying with Lauren. I thought the whole thing would go really quickly – being only 12 days on tour but, to be fair it really did not speed by at a rate of knots
I packed and got ready to meet the others that I was going for supper with in the bar. It was bloody lovely to be asked if I wanted to join people for a change than falling into gate crashing or organising it myself! We went to a sort of burger place in the square and had a delicious steak supper. We concocted the Pink Leopard cocktail – vodka, cherry liquor and lemonade. It tastes rather like a refresher bar but do-able!!
I am not really all that good at final goodbyes and so come the end of the evening after we had gone on for one more drink and I had had a Milo to try and keep warm I decided that I would give more than my contribution to the drinks bill and walk away. I could feel my eyes welling up already at the thought of saying goodbye. The only way to have done it and not look like a mahooisve tit. I got back to my room in one piece and decided to write a little note to everyone that I had not seen that evening for Simon to read out on the bus the following day and slipped it under Sue and Clinton’s door the following morning on my way out. I don’t know if it ever got read out but I felt more at ease for not seeing everyone the night before to say goodbye personally.
I went to sleep a little bundle of excitement. Despite one part coming to an end I was spending the next few days relaxing with my Aunt and Uncle – I could not wait. I had not seen Uncle Ant since 2002 I don’t reckon. I have officially toured out!