Match day – First Test
Match day finally arrived & after discussion last night, I was going to put the suggestion forward of anyone coming with myself & one of my couples to visit Lone Pine Koala Park after everyone had collected their match tickets from me in the lobby. I managed to round up a group of 9 of us in total to share a cab up there including Sophie as well. Having read & realised that you can cuddle a koala & hand feed the kangaroos & wallabies I was as hyper as anything like a kid in a candy shop!! This greatly amused everyone I think, and they certainly seemed to feed off my enthusiasm!!
I was taken for a fool by some of them that told me that there was a bird in one of the cages that sounds like it was saying ‘Emma’ – fell for it hook line & bloody sinker. The buggers had got one of the keepers who was cleaning in one of the bird pens & was hiding behind a bush to say ‘Emma’ just as I walked past. I could see that I was never going to live this one down as I sucked it up (I thought it was like a parrot that repeated what people said – hence my excitement & utter gullibility, in my defence!!)
Seeing the koalas for the first time was phenomenal. Really, honestly, breathtaking. I was in utter heaven. They are SO cute its absurd & some of the positions that they sit in is ridiculous?!! It can’t be comfy – surely!!! They sleep for 18-20 hours a day so I guess if we were visiting them in a Zoo there would only be a couple of them but here there were over 100. The sanctuary started off with 2 in 1927 and has grown and grown ever since. With the retirement home, kindergarten and variety of other areas where the koalas were we managed to see loads of them. It is sad that we were at the wrong time of year for the joeys to be climbing on the backs of their mums, but hey – you can’t have everything! Instantly boosted to my favourite animal EVER. I really had to stop myself from buying a $35 large stuffed toy of one!!
Of course I HAD to have my photo taken with one as did a few of the others. I had to move my hair out of the way before I could do any cuddling as it would need to see where he could hold on to. I cuddled Matt after being shown how to put my hands and that I was not to bring them up & that he would just sit there. I had the professional photo taken as well as loads on the iPhone & the camera so I’m most definitely not short of images!! I might have gone a little OTT with them, but hey!!
We moved on from here to go & feed the kangaroos & wallabies which was again just fabulous. We had the most beautiful day for it I have to say! Having purchased the food we were keen to hand feed them but as most were in the rest area we were not allowed in to there were only a few that were interested in being fed outside of the area. We tried regardless! And posed for multiple photos!! I hardly got many of the kangaroos to eat anything that I put out in front of them so wandered off a little & found a female sitting quietly in the shade without loads of people around her and so I went down to see if she was at all interested in the nibbles – got a wonderful photo of her as I lay down feeding her! Their fur is so soft it’s amazing, I could have stroked her all day!
Thankfully my group were all on time ready to get the bus to the pre-match entertainment that we were sharing with the Trevor Brennen Group as we will be for all pre & post match entertainment. Thankfully I did ask everyone to check their tickets, as in that they had them & for the right match?!! ‘Shit!!’ As one of mine disappeared back up to his room to get it! Driving the short trip through town was fab, seeing all the bars bursting at the seams with Lions fans as far as the eye could see & not so many Wallabies in sight though. Nearly every pub had a group in full song which we could hear from the inside of the coach! We were the first of our group to get to the bar & finding the function room was a little tricky but managed to locate the wrist bands that everyone needed to be wearing & led the group inside through a very busy bar.
I was buzzing, I had all the hairs on my arms standing on end & seriously couldn’t stand still – which was good as we were meant to be floating around the room checking everyone was ok in our group & generally mixing – networking almost! The beers were flowing for everyone & thankfully they were in sort of just over half pint glasses so no one seemed too inebriated, thankfully. I was getting really itchy feet as Sophie had been given her ticket but I hadn’t & I was DESPERATE to hold it in my hands & soak it all up pinch myself that this was actually really happening!! It was my golden ticket & once it was in my pocket I had the BIGGEST Cheshire grin on my face & had to pinch myself on a couple of occasions to check it was all happening (as well as running to the loo to take a picture of it to tweet & put on Facebook – the excitement was almost too much!) As one of the last out the bar to ensure everyone was out I could almost hardly walk, let alone talk with the sheer excitement.
Walking in the stadium & up the stairs to the level where our seats were, I heard an Irish voice that I recognised – only the couple that I met in the Royal Oak a couple of weeks ago?! Not really a small world I guess but still, quite amusing!
Walking to my seat was amazing, taking in the pockets of red everywhere all over the stadium & trying to see how much of an impact the yellow colonial style hats were having – very little to be honest! I was on my own as such in that I had none of the VU group next to me but Fliss & Sophie were in front (Sophie’s first ever match of international rugby??!!! – what a way to start!!) I was buzzing & fidgety & everything you’d expect that comes with both nerves & excitement!! I was trying to be cautious of the amount that I was shouting, we all know what I can be like at times! Thankfully I was also able to refrain from screaming abuse of any form at either the re for the wallabies only encouraging words were uttered from my lips (took a lot not to I have to say, there were a couple of very close calls). Come the second half though I realised that I actually must have been shouting quite a bit as my throat was quite sore & I was sounding rather husky!
The match was tense, we seemed to be all over them statistically at half time but yet only a few points ahead – it didn’t seem right? The match ended with our hearts in our mouths as a final penalty was given away in the last couple of mins. We have A LOT to thank Kurtley Beale for – slipping when kicking the penalty causing him to spectacularly missing thus leaving us with the win!! The screaming & jumping around & the run back to the bar, it was all exhausting! I was trying to get on the phone to send pictures FTC out on social media sources as well as whatsapp – little success as the battery was dying on everything! I did it when I finally got back to my room. Conscious that we had a reasonably early check out of 10am & I hadn’t packed or got my head sorted as to timings for transit day at all.
What a day tho?!!! Cuddled a Koala, hand fed a Kangaroo & my favourite – stuffed a Wallaby!!