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December 2005

WELLIES AND WHEELBARROWS IN CARDIFF

Saturday November the 5th started badly for me. Melfyn and myself were heading to Cardiff to watch Wales play the All Blacks and had arranged to leave at 7 a.m. sharp. However I’d started the rugby celebrations the previous night and wasn’t quite ready when Mel arrived. After a brief telephone conversation (through which I assured him I was up), I crawled out of bed, grabbed my kit and dived in the car. We were off.

It was as we passed through Llangollen and my hangover really took hold that I realized my overnight bag contained a can of deodorant and nothing else. I had intended to pack the night before but somehow never quite got round to it.

Not being one to miss an opportunity to make a quid Melfyn had decided to take a load behind the car to Cowbridge. Unfortunately we hadn’t reached Welshpool before part of the load decided to deposit itself on the road. I’ve tried many hangover cures over the years and I can assure you that a 100 yard sprint up the road after an Ifor Williams canopy is not one of the best.

The next minor set back occurred at Builth Wells. Having enjoyed a fry up in the Little Chef and enjoyed the acne ridden adolescent comedian on the till who persisted in asking everybody in a red jersey ‘going to the match are you?’’ I realised I’d left my wallet at home and only had the left over change from the night before on me.

As we left the Little Chef car park two Jemima Nichols look alikes were attempting to change the wheel on their car. I’m sorry to say neither of us offered to help them. We discussed our lack of chivalry as we continued our journey and come to the conclusion the two girls would have understood our reluctance to help - there was a match on and we were in a rush.

Having got rid of Mel’s load in Cowbridge we arrived in Cardiff and in spite of some erratic map reading on my part we eventually found the hotel.

After a few pints in the hotel bar we joined the sea of red and headed closer to the stadium stopping off in a bar on the way. A makeshift choir was singing so we joined in, me with my best tenor voice and Mel with his shaky baritone.

Suddenly somebody started swing low sweet chariot and I have to say I was shocked. Shocked that was until I realized it was obviously a Health and Safety tune for the benefit of the English rugby fans, advising them where they could safely stick their chariots. The volume of the singing doubled during that particular number.

We took our seats in the stadium at half past three, and at a quarter to four out they came. First the All Blacks, then to a deafening roar Wales and lastly Katherine Jenkins. Sadly she turned her back to us to sing, but as looking at her backside wasn’t an unpleasant experience I forgave her.

The match itself was over in a blink of an eye, with the All Blacks just managing to sneak a win by the narrowest of margins. Afterward we met up with Jack and Judith had a meal and a few more drinks and then - well god knows what happened. I remember meeting Big Dave and Rhys then losing Mel and not too long after Big Dave and Rhys as well!

Other than that the whole nights a bit of a blur. I know I had a kebab at some point as I woke up the next day with chilli sauce down the front of my shirt.

The following morning after a fry up in the hotel and a quick drive around Cardiff bay we left Cardiff and headed home to Carrog with a match program and a severely dented bank account as souvenirs of our trip.

Gareth Llan.
© Copyright Gareth Bryan 2005

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