The day after the night before my Dad had secured two tickets to go to Twickenham to watch England versus New Zealand. This was super exciting as
- I've not been to Twicks before
- We were going on the train which meant opportunities for more Guinness ( didn't quite pan out like that, but the intention was there!)
- The tickets were as rare as chocolate teapots and we had two great seats, if a little high up!
- I don't get to spend much time with my Dad these days and he's ace.
I've not been on public transport in the UK for ages, and all you ever hear about is how terrible the train service is, but I was really impressed. Comfy, half empty and super quick.
It was about 10.30am when we caught our train and wasn't quite beer o'clock, so it was Earl Grey all round (apparently I'm a heathen for adding a dash of milk) and tacky mags for me and something more interlectual for Dad.
Before we knew it we were pulling up at Euston station in London, and Dad was desperado to spend a penny....well it's not a penny anymore. It's 30p (50c) !!!! WTF...and guess what, YOU MUST HAVE THE CORRECT CHANGE.
See how they show people how to make 30p up!(top right)For those of you who don't know my father he's lucky to carry notes let alone shrapnel, and I only had foreign bits and pieces..so no pee here...Dad told me to take a picture of him in front of the disabled loo, claiming he was disabled by his lack of 30p, but this somehow did not seem too politcally correct, particulary as a man in a wheelchair was wheeling up (whoops). I told Dad to cross his legs and we hot footed it down to the tube.
If you have not experienced the joy of the London tube service then make sure your 1st time is always outside of rush-hour or on the weekend. It was easy, clean, no fetid smelly tramps next to us (always a plus on the tube) and all the escalators were working which is always a bonus as the tube is 200ft underground at some points and as it turned out we would need our climbing legs later.....
The tube took us within a short overground train ride to Twickenham which is where the English train system fell disasterously over. OK, a stadium holding 80,000 people, of which at least half arrive by train...more than the eight carriages on our train would be required...we were like sardines...something like this, but with more of a beer smell....
Still it could have been worse
Luckily this stretch wasn't too long and we emptied out onto the road leading upto the stadium into the throngs...Locating the greasiest burger stand, Dad procured two nasty bacon cheesburgers and we munched them as we went along the street...I managed to spill burger relish on my jacket so gave off a pungent grease smell for the rest of the day...nice!
For future reference wait until you are further down the road to buy food. You can snaffle up Indian, Chinese, Hot Dogs, South African barbeque etc etc....we bought a couple of vegetable samosas from the Indian corner shop where we bought a beer, and these were delicious!
Tickets in hand we joined the swarm on route to our stand...and there they were...14 flights of stairs...
Now my Dad is a fit 60 something and I'm nearly 40...surely we didn't need the escalator that takes you half way there....gulp...stopping half way up to catch our breath I felt like the 60 something!! the only good thing is that coming down would be a breeze ;-)
We had great seats after that climb, being able to see all of the pitch...
and the traditional Haka that the New Zealanders perform ( the traditional dance form of the Māori of New Zealand, a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment)
If you've never seen it, watch this..it's great!
All Blacks performing Haka in front of England
So we were waiting on the match (England lost by the way) to start and suddenly from nowhere this big white ball appeared, which in itself is not that weird, however currently they are showing a re-make of the Prisoner from 1960's, where the white ball was all things strange...were we extras in a movie?
The Prisoner ball coming to get some poor unfortunate
Soon our fun came to an end, we left a little earlier (poor fans that we are) to get up to the station..the plan succeeded as we managed to get seats on a very full train, and just as the heavens opened. It was hot and sweaty (and I still smelt like a burger van!) but we were on our way.We both slept on the train back to Birmingham ( after some more Earl Grey..notice the serious lack of beer!) and soon we were back at home..Thanks Dad for a great day out!!