Trip Start Aug 07, 2011
110Trip End Jul 14, 2012
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It's Saturday morning, the sun is shining, the 80s tunes with matching aviators are on and we're on the coastal roads through rolling hills to Auckland to see England take on the stuttering French at Eden Park. Life can't get much better (well Fran may substitute old school UK garage for 80s, but fortunately I'm driving so I get to choose).
It wasn't until this country that I, and I think Fran herself, found out that Fran has a thing about trees - she loves them and tries to spot pretty trees she likes all of the time. She thinks they have 'personality'.....hmmmm! So before we headed to the game we went to see some trees on road 309 about 7km down a dirt track outside of Coromandel Town. Now, these weren't just any old trees, these were 600 year old Kauri trees, of which New Zealand was once covered in before serious logging took place
After the Kauris we got on the road to Auckland and our camp site to meet up with Jon and Laura. Unfortunately we couldn't get 2-bed unit this time so Fran and Laura would be sharing the van (with heater) and Jon and I would be sharing a tent (with no heater). Nevertheless Jon and I were pretty sure that with enough alcohol our internal central heating system would hold out (and the fact that we're men of course).
Before we left the camp site we had some lunch and a couple of beers to get us in the mood. After about 1/2 hour we heard some music, and couldn't quite make out what it was. After a few seconds an ice cream van came into view outside the kitchen window. At this time Fran's head was obviously elsewhere and her mouth clearly wasn't working as quickly as her brain because as soon as she saw the ice cream van she pointed to it and instead of saying "Ice cream van!" she stuttered and spluttered her way to shout "sp.....ma.....na......ka.... MICROWAVE"!! You may have had to be there but we all wet ourselves with laughter. What have I married...
After getting the bus to town we headed for the fan zone because Jon wanted to take a look inside. So we wandered round, took a few pictures and got our cheeks painted with the English rose ready for the game
We ended up in an Irish Bar near the stadium on Dominion Road to watch the Ireland v Wales obviously expecting an Ireland win.....this never came and we were gutted because we really wanted to see an England v Ireland semi-final. Nevermind, hopefully we'd get to see at least England in the semis.
When we got to the game we met up with Barney and also one of mine and Jon's old school teachers, our ex-PE teacher Mr Ferguson or 'sir' as we called him, who is now living and working as a head teacher in Auckland. 'Sir' hadn't changed a bit but was 10 years older and had ditched his tracksuit for a blazer, jeans and scarf combo.
After a photo with Mr Ferguson, Jon quickly spotted a famous ex-rugby player walk by, big Bill Beaumont, so he set his sights on getting a picture with him, as did I. Job done.
By this time we'd had a few beers and were ready for the game. Again, you all saw the game and unfortunately Frans "signs from the universe" came true. Disappointing doesn't cover it, the team let their fans down big style
With my second team out (Ireland) I'm actually forced to support Wales!! I genuinely think that a NZ v Wales final will be the most entertaining game of the tournament. As long as the All Blacks don't win!
After the game Jon got a little lairy and decided he wanted a picture with the rugby statue (Jon-style). Afterwards we all went with Barney to console ourselves with a beer. Also, since England had been knocked out it meant that Barney had to head home that week as well. So all-in-all it was all a little sad. However, on the way home I did get consoled by a frenchman who hugged and kissed me European style.....