Category Archives: Lions Tour 2009


Its lunch time on Friday before the first test and I am feeling as sick as a dog – I thought it was hunger but nope. Its friggin butterflies about later. Not tomorrow, thats just pure excitement that the actual first test is here. These are for the big trip this afternoon. My trip to be stabbed in the arm and be given yet more drugs to take. I hate injections with a passion and have even brought Bunny into work with me so that she can calm me down in the Doctor’s Surgery later – sad isn’t it! I get myself in SUCH a tizz over the whole thing. Hugo knocked the Doctor while he was giving me one while I was very small and it slit the skin – eww I am squirming in my seat just thinking about it I remember having to have my BCG at school, I didn’t sleep for days prior and was given good luck cards by several friends. I am also hoping that the Malaria tablets won’t give me too many really nasty side effects, particularly with my other meds too. Could be an interesting few days!

I remembered to book a table at the Royal Oak again managed to get the last one for Jimmer, Stace and HG I must actually remember to take some photos this time!! So we are all set – I just need to work out Tuesday evenings viewing location and I am sorted!

Penny and Kelvin had blue, black and white wigs which they dug out for me so the red one will be abandoned and I now have that one instead – I look like a prized banana in it – but that is half of the point. They also lent me their Gulliver’s Binoculars, a very clever idea. You would have thought that they would have thought of that this time around with some of us going on Game Drives as well?! So I can actually pretty much pack this weekend. Wooo hoooo! Just the last wash to do and put the clothes away so I don’t have a massivo pile to do when I get back on the 16th of July, hoover, check on the Sky+ for while I am away, chuck out the things in the fridge that will go off – ooh and I need to sort out money. I thikn it might be best to write a list at this stage!!

6 days!!!

Last before the Tests

Having invited myself and Rach up to Mummy Pen and Kelvin to watch the match we were also treated to supper – lucky us! I got there straight after work and caught up with how Pen has been doing and if her hair is starting to fall out – I am amazed (and so pleased for her) that it hasn’t yet. She is fully prepared for the time when it starts coming out in clumps and that is when the clippers are coming out. The wig she has got is so like like it is great it needed a little fiddling with when I saw it as it had only a little fringe. She still seems in amazingly good spirits despite the excruciating pain that she is in at times. She has found out that she can take the two pain killers that she has been given together and as a result I hope that things are a little easier for. It was a beautiful evening and the sun was beaming down on the right side of the house, the English countryside looks so beautiful on days like this.

Kelvin had his shirt on and I put mine on Rach came with hers and so Kelvin went to find Pen’s as we all sat in their front room watching the match from earlier as it was on at lunchtime on a weekday – stupid timing but the joys of Sky + meant that we could watch it at like 6 once Rach had turned up. I had kept off the internet and the updates on my phone all day just in case I found out the score. It was odd seeing Frikkie Welsh and Wylie Human playing – they have bulked up quite a bit to put it mildly since leaving us. I remember Frikkie quite well as he was definitely around the first Christmas that I worked in the shop and I remember the name Wylie Human but I couldn’t have picked him out in a line out. There was also a Bristol player – Turner (can’t remember his Christian name though) that was out on holiday in South Arica at the time and was asked to play. I am pretty sure that it was the Southern Kings that Mike Catt might have played for – I am sure that I heard rumours that he was asked and he might have been one of the few to have played both for and against the Lions.

Thankfully we won the match but to be honest it really was not the most convincing of wins to put it mildly. With the Test coming up on Saturday it was interesting to see some people trying to put in a performance and really not doing well at all. Shane Williams did not start as he had a stomach bug but he came off the bench towards the end and highly amusingly did not get a hand on the ball – oh, shame!!! It is quite a thought that the First Test is only on Saturday. Eeeks!!

I heard from Lauren on Monday – she has booked a place in the Drakensburgs for a couple of nights while I am there which should be awesome. I know that the hot water bottle will come in handy there as the weather will be very cold at night up there. She has sent an SA sim card but only by normal post as they were wanting to chasrge her a fortune to send it over here and if that does not get to me then she will send one to the hotel with dome rands already on there. It will make life so much easier when I am out there for getting in touch with her and Juliet. She is still getting just as excited as me which is cool. I must remember to put her Bench top in my luggage, thinking about it I totally forgot to tell her that I have not been through all of her stuff at the top of my wardrobe, just have not had the time but also I really wont be able to take much as I am only on 20KG.

I was meant to have gone swimming today but I have zilcho motivation after my appointment with Katrina. She got me thinking that the reason why I am sleeping even worse than usual is because I am worried about not having my support network around me and what I will do if I am having an off day. I can’t very well hide in my bed for a day – that will just be awkward and raise eyebrows. I am soooo excited don’t get me wrong but I am still having that niggle at the back of my mind. Also so often when I feel a bit pants a certain black creature with a silver collar is always at my side sitting right on me giving me licks to make sure I am ok and she isn’t going to be. Trust me to find fricking negatives in going away. Made me certain that I need to get the sim card which means when people call me it is free to me as Mum can phone me every night and keep in touch without it costing a fortune. I MUST do that this evening after finishing this as it might not turn up in time otherwise.

Tomorrow I have another appointment after work which I will bring up the negative thoughts of the trip. Oooh I may have bungy jumped off a bridge in 2000 I have just remembered what I am going to try and do this time – abseil down the side of Table Mountain – I just have to hope that it is not too windy which prevented me from doing it back in 2000. Another fantastic feeling – but yet you are tied on with ropes. After I am going over to Helen’s as she needs help with the twins as Andrew is going out and she does not want to have to ask the in-laws if she can possibly help it and frankly who am I to turn down cuddles with my godchildren to be?!! Plus I can hear all about their holiday to the Isles of Scilly. On Friday I have a visit to the Travel Nurse in the new Doctor’s Surgery so that I can get my Malaria tablets and any VIAL injections that need topping up before the trip over as I am almost positive that my Tetanus needs updating. I am also having my hair trimmed on Friday and, if I can be bothered I will see if I can venture into the pool again at the gym if not it will be Saturday and Sunday mornings. That prior to the first Test and taking Sky back to Granny and Grandpa!!


The match on Saturday was once again watched in The Royal Oak and I had reserved a table again for the 5 or so of us. I went into town prior to the match and so on to go and pick up my boots that I invested in and did a couple of other bits and pieces in town that I needed to do before I leave. Thankfully the boots fitted and I got a new pair of the orthopaedic innersoles that I use in nearly all my shoes as the others that I have are all in need of binning as the top layer is peeling off and they hum!! Despite the heat I wore them for the rest of the day to start trying to wear them in, I can just see that I will be covered in blisters if I don’t!

I was starting to head back up to start walking down to The Royal Oak and I heard some fantastic music coming from near the Abbey and went to investigate – there was a group of African singers and dancers from Zimbabwe outside the Pump Rooms and they were fabulous, in the warm sunshine and less than 2 weeks from going out to South Africa and on route to the next Lions match against the Western Province in the pub the timing could not have been more perfect. I stood there for quite a while listening to them and soaking up the beauty of the beats. I ended up in actually buying one of their CDs as I was starting to run a little late and the others were nearly at the pub and I was still stood there just listening!

So once again we were in the back room on the skittle alley and it was lovely to spend another match in the company of Jimmer, Stace and HG but also Paddy who had come down from London to join us for some rugby watching and was clearly getting withdrawal symptoms from not being amongst us all! We all got the food in and the pitchers – mine of Pimms theirs of Fosters. God that first beer is going to taste SOOOOO sweet! It was another sweltering Saturday and I remembered that the last time we had no through flow of air and so I opened the door at the back as well as at the front of the room and it certainly helped.

Another interesting performance which was pretty close to put it mildly. Not too impressed with Mr Powell after todays match I have to say. Mighty relieved that Shane Williams never actually made it off the bench as a scrum half (Blair was injured and so he was there as a last min replacement). We won but the skin of my teeth, the weather in Cape Town looked awful, that really nasty swirling clouds and with the heat I can’t see how it really made a very good playing surface, but hey ho – we won – 5 from 5 now. Please let us be able to complete the rest of the series with the same record. We stayed on for a few more drinks after the match and catch up on all things Bath rugby and life in general. I made plans for next weekend with Stace and Jimmer as I really don’t want to watch the first test on my own and I am meant to be going to Ellie and Greg’s BBQ in the evening which I have said temporarily maybe to as I am taking Sky back to Granny and Grandpa so as I am not having to chase her around the house on Wednesday evening or even Thursday morning. I can’t fit her and Simon in the car anyway on Thursday morning. But we are going to watch the match together and then we will all go over to Ellie and Greg and,bless them they will drop me home after. None of us really want to be too late and they won’t be able to stay too late because of Blue. Brilliant. That means I don’t have to worry about not having enough time to pack and so on and so forth and STILL get to see my friends. I must remember to email Simon at the Royal Oak to see if he can squeeze us in on a table somewhere, I have a feeling not at this late stage – if so happy to watch it at home with the Jimmer and Stace really!

I had a really nice relaxed evening catching up with this (obviously – see previous entry!!) and writing a list of all of the things that I wanted to do on Sunday. Cooked supper – that was a first and caught up on tv curled up with Sky on the sofa. What fabulous company. Made me think that I am really going to miss not having Sky around whilst I am away – sad isn’t it! Just in case anyone thinks I might miss them – NOT A CHANCE!!!! Sunday was spent hoovering, cleaning, washing, ironing, de-fleeing, gardening, reading, cooking, sewing and of course packing!!! – God I am getting old!! I felt way chilled come the evening having had a productive day for once and got a hell of a step closer to actually being somewhat ready to go a week on Thursday. Cor the time is flying by now! I had a lovely long bath too and noticed how stupid my tan lines looked after wearing a vest top rather than a v-neck and it stang – like big time. Lets hope it goes down later in the week when I hit the pool again!

Posted in Lions Tour 2009

Busy few days

Jun 13

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Wednesday was a mental day at work to put it mildly – I have another job title under my belt for Business Development Team Organiser and I was already being asked to do more things, yeay busy!! I had an appointment after work which was a massive brain dump and fricking draining to put it mildly. I felt as if I had had a ten tonne lorry run over me – totally flat. I let myself feel a little like that whilst I popped into Sainsbury’s to pick up the steak and more chips for the others which I had failed to do last night as I just HAD to have a glass of vino after the tickets turned up and thus never made it to Sainsbury’s! After rushing home to make sure that I was not leaving anyone on the doortstep I managed to turn up at exactly the same time as Jimmer and Stace who were armed with Choccies, vino, and also a beautiful orchid which Sky was far more interested in for most of the evening! After the vino was put in the fridge and the excitement had started we awaited HG’s arrival. On went the Lions. . . . . What a match!! We had decided that Stuart Barnes clearly has been using the word of the day bog roll as he was coming out with some classic words in his commentary. I did supper after the match which we watched on pause play so that we could see the pre-match chat and so on and I have to say the steaks were pretty darned good, even if I say so myself. AND I managed no to smoke the entire house out!!! Mearsy got a try, god how we screamed with joy. We were all like sort of ooo, whats the term? Well like Mum’s proud of their son – bless him. God, imagine is he gets another in the Second of Third Test – OMG that would just be soooo awesome. I’m going to be as hyper as hell anyway but if he gets a try I hate to think what Ill be like!!!

Thursday was an evening around at my friend Pam’s that I taught with at Regis many moons ago. Some shite had thrown a boulder over the fence which had landed on Holly (the dogs) foot so I was helping hold fort as the kids and Pam were all over the place. The poor thing had to have part of her leg amputated which is just SO uncalled for. The Police are involved now as they are pretty sure who did it even though sadly they did not see them. Whilst I was there I spoke to Simon (Tour Leader) and sorted out the arrangements for 2 weeks today. Oh sorry did I forget to mention that? 2 weeks to go!!! I am going to pick him up in the morning and drive over to Mum and Dad’s where I am dropping off my car as I don’t want to leave it on the street for 3 weeks and then either Mum or Dad (probably the latter as Mum has Lip Reading on a Wednesday) will take us up to Heathrow. The flight goes at like 5pm but we will be there from like 12.30 – Ill be on the ceiling by then I think! It was good to hear him getting all excited too though I have to say and catch up about some of the plans for while we are there like the Robben Island Tour and supper out in Camps Bay with some of one of the other groups whose Tour Leader is Dani (as in the girl I have been in touch with at Gullivers over previous months). Sounds like a plan to me and then of course up Table Mountain on the ‘Day off’ and that I did read it right there are 4 possibly 5 Game Drives. OMG can’t wait 3 weeks today Sundowners in the Bush (probably a Castle if I have anything to do with it!!!) with the native sounds of the African Bush all around. BLISS!

Friday was a trip into Cardiff which was a nightmare as Jane from work and I had been waiting for the tickets to turn up from her Dad all week as he sent them first class on Monday but we had not seen them. In Fridays post she had a postage to pay card and zipped off to see what it was and THANK GOD it was our Oasis tickets. Seriously excited. It had only taken me a whopping 14 or 15 years to see them live. I did have the opportunity of Maine Road back in 1997 but thanks to the joys of some of the little beauties that I was at school with I was told at the 11th hour that actually they didn’t want me to go and someone else was going instead of me. Charming hey?! – Welcome to the inclusive environment of an all girls school. I think it had kind of haunted me for years so it was such a frickin buzz actually seeing them. The Enemy and Kasabian were supporting who I am both quite keen on. Kasabian were totally awesome though and when I heard Fire come on the radio this morning I was not only singing but boogying in the shower too. But Oasis themselves – ah. Worth every penny that was paid to see them. We had a really nice couple sitting next to us, the husband of whom was in the same position as me as he too had never seen them live but had always wanted to. He didn’t do what I do when they came on to Live Forever I think it was. I started crying. The emotion of finally getting to see them suddenly overwhelmed me. Tears of joy though. Even though it was a Dig Out Your Soul Tour they played loads of their old stuff which the crowd went wild for. They were, well words cant really describe it well enough. Fucking A though I think might be a good one! Safe to say I slept like a baby and woke up this morning at 10.15am. Check me out!

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Jun 9

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Popped home after filling up the car on the way home from work expecting to pick up my cossie and dry towel and head back out to the pool at the gym and do a few laps in there. Fat chance after I spotted what was on the doormat after opening the door! A rather shiney white bag and I was not entirely sure what it could be until I remembered the date and that it is coming up close to two weeks until I leave (the time in which we are mean to have the tickets and so on sent out) . On picking it up a shriek once again erupted as it was indeed the tickets etc. Bugger the idea of swimming! I poured myself a glass of vino to celebrate and carefully opened the package to see what it contained apart from my tickets! A guide on the names of everyone in the tour, info on a sim card that could be useful but on looking further on the website in relation to it the calls don’t appear to be free when people call you despite what the letter said. I need to double check with la as to whether she has sent me an SA sim or not. Also there was the luggage labels for all of the bags and a cover and so on to hold it all in. I have read it all once and got excited and had to put it down and concentrate on something else my poor little heart is racing with excitement!! They even give you copies of the itinerary so that you can leave one behind – very clever!! Saves typing it out again for Mum and Dad!

I finally got around to emailing everyone in the address book the link to this last night. Quite odd to now think that other people are actually reading this and its not so quiet and personal as it once was! Things will pick up when I am out there, still cant decide whether or not to actually do a handwritten diary as well or not – don’t think I can be bothered or have enough time!!!

So match no 4 tomorrow evening. I have a doctors appointment and so I am not going to be able to make it down to the Royal Oak in time and so I will be watching it at home on delayed start – god I LOVE Sky +! I want to watch all the hype and so on but my appointment is due to finish 5.30 the other side of Bath – will never make it back quickly in that time. Stace and Jimmer are coming over and Helen Grace too and I have said I will do supper – steak and chips (well chips for them – steamed veg for me – JOYOUS!) pretty easy. Was meant to go out and do the shopping for that this evening – oh well, probably better if I buy the steaks tomorrow anyway. Eeek! I put the Lions strip through the wash and thankfully none of Mearsy’s signature faded!!

P.S. BUGGER – the baggage allowance between cities is only 20kg I am going to have to pay SHED loads in excess baggage.

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Lions in Lincoln!!

Jun 8

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Good Lord that was a tight match on the weekend.

Slightly bizarre surroundings in a crowd of about 20-30 people in the end of a Walkabout pub in Lincoln with Tash. I was the only one in the newest shirt and we were getting looks for being girls in the Lions tops anyway from some in the pub. It was very odd, so used to being in public places surrounded by fellow supporters. It meant that my shouting was noticed a little more and got a few looks. Apparently ‘AVE ‘IM is not a commonly used term when watching rugby further north. (Stace I blame you for that one!) I was quite looking forward to a day of rugby in the pub with the England match after (particularly as I had forgotten to record it!) but nope Setanta was turned on and the football was all that was being shown. The crowd that suddenly appeared to watch the footie was . . . how do I put it . . . special?! It looked like half of the drunks of Lincoln came in to watch it and so a speedy exit was made by the pair of us!

After making my way back from Lincoln in the peeing rain I did joyous housework and STARTED ACTUALLY PACKING!!!!! Yes, it is actually true I started seriously thinking about what clothing I need to take as well as other bits and pieces and they are all on the spare bed – no room for guests now!

Should be getting the tickets and so on any day now .. . . perhaps I should start hunting out where I put that passport of mine . . . . ?!!

Posted in Lions Tour 2009

First Mid Week Match

Jun 3

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A far better match this evening watched in The Royal Oak with Trudy and family and friends. We both had our Fat Boys Sevens tops on and got Simon and Sue (the owners of the pub) put theirs on too. They looked awesome but oh my word it was roasting in it like I was in the real Lions top on Saturday. Had an email from Simon this morning suggesting we travel up to Heathrow together, I replied offering him a lift via Mum and Dad’s as that is how I am getting up there so I can leave the car at theirs as I feel it would be safer there than here out on the street. I raced home for The Apprentice which is so nearly at its finale and that is where I am currently sat!

3 weeks tomorrow!!!

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First Match

May 31

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31 May

First Lions Match

I can’t quite believe that the Tour has actually started. The count down is EVEN more real now. I spent Saturday morning enrolling with a new Doctor and then heading into town to try and get some bits and pieces that I still need for the tour basically anything to try and stop me working myself into a state with excitement! I bumped into a friend in town already in his Lions shirt – the long sleeved version. It was only about 10am but it was pretty stifling already and I was fairly toasty just in a vest top.  I really don’t agree with the tag ‘climacool’ on the jersey.  By the time I put mine on I was desperate to take it off again.  Roasting absolutely roasting!

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!

25 days now eeek!!

Posted in Lions Tour 2009

One and a Half

May 25

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25 May

One and a half

I spent ages typing up an entry last week and saved it – but I’m blown if I can find where it saves it on here!


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!!!


Posted in Lions Tour 2009

4 Weeks to go!!!

May 21

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28 May

4 weeks

Do I really need to say any more?!!!

Posted in Lions Tour 2009

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