Thursday, 11 July 2013

When a bit of home comes to Australia

You know that feeling that you get when life is happening at full speed and you have a hundred and one things that you would love to sit down and blog about but your days just merge into one and the moment seems to get lost?

So much has been going on around here - good stuff.

Stuff that I so wanted to record on this blog but time slipped by.  So I am going to indulge and go backwards. Spend a little time capturing a few of those moments that have been making my memories...

I went to Sydney last weekend.... and so did thousands of others!

I went to watch the third and final test of the British and Irish Lions v Australia. I was fortunate enough to watch the first test in Brisbane and it was great being part of the atmosphere that a Lions tour brings.

Being Welsh I was brought up watching rugby. I was a child in the glory years of the 70's when Welsh rugby was at its best. Seeing as the British and Irish Lions only play in Australia every 12 years it was no surprise that I was keen to watch them.

We even had the chance to go and watch some players train one afternoon and Sibs got to meet some of them. 

She was keen to share her knowledge of who's who in the team.

A good friend of mine is a primary school teacher in a small school in Wales and her year 5 class have been following the Lions tour and learning about Australia at the same time. We got one of the Welsh players to pose for a photo with a personal message to the class. They were thrilled (understatement!). A few days later we arranged a Skype call with them and the children were so excited. It was lovely to be a part of it. There we were on a Monday evening chatting in Welsh to a classroom on the other side of the world - magic!

thank you Alex Cuthbert

It was a bit last minute, but some tickets became available for the final test in Sydney and in a very unlike me manner I decided to grab the opportunity and go.

If I though the Brisbane match was amazing, Sydney was something else - it was really special being a part of it.

Walking along George Street in Sydney on Saturday afternoon was incredible. It was full of the most glorious of Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh accents. There was even singing on the train on the way to the stadium courtesy of some Irish lads. Everyone wanted to chat, everyone had a story to share about their adventures following the rugby.

It was reported that there were around twenty five to thirty thousand British and Irish fans inside the stadium with many thousands without tickets  outside soaking up the atmosphere. Even though the Lions fans were probably outnumbered 3 to 1 they easily produced the most noise. I have never heard anything like it in a rugby game.

There are plenty of reports about the rugby game but here's a story that I want to share...

I'm sitting in my seat about half an hour before the game starts just enjoying the people watching. I'm surrounded by Australian Wallabies supporters all decked out in yellow and there is one empty seat to my side waiting to be filled. Next minute a red jersey appears and makes his way to the empty spot.

I have a red scarf on and he immediately strikes up a conversation along the lines of "Where are you from then?"
We exchange the safe "I live in Brisbane but I'm from Wales" chit chat and it turns out he lives in Singapore and is also from Wales...
"Which part of Wales....?"
We establish that we originate not too far away from each other and then it gets interesting.

(You can see where this is going...?)

He tells me where his family farm is and I tell him that I have really good friends who farm in the same place and we quickly come to realise that he is the first cousin of some very close friends of mine. So close that we both had received messages that day from the same person commenting on the rugby game that we were now sitting next to each other watching!

Oh my goodness...out of 83,702 I was sitting next to someone that I had a connection with.

We took the obligatory phone photo and it was sent across the world to share.

Even though I am thousands of miles away from home, every now and again I don't feel too far away...

Congratulations to the British and Irish Lions team and supporters for a great tour with a special 
llongyfarchiadau i'r bois o Gymru!

3 Comments and thoughts:

  1. WOW!

    In very nearly the words of Max Boyce 2you know 'cos you were there"...

  2. Amazing coincidence! My dad...a long time ago..was cycling up in Scotland. He was from NZ. He fell off his bike and the man that helped him up was a bloke he new from school in NZ! What are the chances?