Saturday, November 29, 2008

[strange saturday] gorillas in the mist


It’s one thing to blog on Britain from Russia and another from Sicily but today I think I came up to speed on the real Britain again – some of it was nostalgically great and some was fairly ordinary.

About eleven we went to the forest and wandered about, avoiding hurtling dogs and getting half lost off the beaten track. There was a thickish fog off the sea and it made the forest look spooky and Tolkien-like.

My friend had his kid with him and she lost her doll somewhere along the way so we had to backtrack and after I put in a little prayer, guess what? Yep – there it was, to the side of the track, lying face down in the mud.

So, everyone happy, we went and had a bite to eat, then I asked if he gets Sky 2. No. Not to worry. At 2:25, it was across the road at the forest pub and an interesting conversation took place.

Barboy [18 or so]: Wot you having, mate?

Me [glancing at the big screen and noticing a minor football game on]: That depends – you running the England game today?

Barboy: When’s it on?

Me: Five minutes. I’ll have a Carlings if you’re running the game.

Barboy: Well, it’s rugby like, i’n it?

Me: No, it’s England. You know. You remember the country?

Barboy: Yeah right. OK, I’ll put it on but if anyone objects, like ...”

Me: Right.

So it began, the anthems, the haka and so on. England really took it up to them but were let down by sheer indiscipline. I don’t remember an English team with less discipline and they gave away penalty after penalty but at least, for a while, Dan Carter’s [NZ] kicking boot was letting him down too.

Looked a bit moist down on the pitch and hard going. England were showing a ton of grit and were harrying the All Blacks into errors all over the place and then, just before half time, they let loose with a massive assault but … you guessed it … indisciplined errors again.

In the second half, the All Blacks racked up the pressure a notch and scored but their second try was just extraordinary. To their credit, England stuck in there and had one or two chances but you know – they never looked dangerous once. Grit is excellent but brooding danger is what it’s all about and these gentlemen lacked it.

What was happening though was that they were being sent off to the sin bin too many times. Even at the end of the grim affair, NZ was still attacking. I went for an absorbing game, a stirring affair and by and large – we got it. Anyway, I left the pub in the dark and some girl started chatting about it being chilly and I’d best do up my jacket. It was chilly, too.

Hands in pockets and muffled up, I headed back to the hosue, reflecting on the Stepford Drinkers and wondering if everyone was so robotic these days. Er ... people? Did anyone see any national pride anywhere? Funny - must have lost it under a rock.

On the road proper, it was dead still, the yellow street lamps emitted their diffused light through the gloom and I realized I was back in Britain. Strange day, nice in a way, apart from the result, of course.


4 comments:

CherryPie said...

Not related to rugby but my Brother once did the haka on the local railway station.

Dragonstar said...

Sounds like a reasonable way to spend a Saturday.

James Higham said...

Cherie - you need more than one.

Dragonstar - it was a good day overall.

CherryPie said...

There was a class full of them ;-)

There is a photograph, but I don't think I would be popular if I put that on my blog!