Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rugby proud!

I can't head off for two weeks holiday without posting about the triumphant win of the Welsh national rugby team over England on Saturday. In a pounding game filled with edge-of-your-seat hysteria and nail-biting intensity, Wales rolled on and on and over England to defend their Six Nations title, leaving England stupefied at the low end of a 30-3 result.

I wasn't able to attend the game. I did work part of the day at the hotel where the party atmosphere was more subdued than other games, and I was able to walk around the city centre and by the stadium before kickoff and before heading home to catch the game live on television. So, I soaked it all up, but I didn't have my camera with me. So, here are a few good shots from the people at The Telegraph.:


Monday, March 11, 2013

travels and toilets

It's the second week in March and a further winter chill has descended for a few days. This has been the coldest, longest winter here since I arrived. The hardy daffodils, crocuses and primroses have been out for weeks but without the sun -- though no rain, a minor miracle. I fear the flowering trees, which are just beginning to blossom, will be cut short by the frost over the next week. I also fear my heating bill will make the energy firms happy.

I've been busy with my computer time during the last couple of months planning trips for the spring. Next week, on the 20th, I head home to Canada for a two-week break -- or more exacting, one week in Canada at my brother Kevin's home and then one week down to Florida for a stay at my stepmom's with my other brother Kelly and his wife. One week in hockey arenas with my niece and nephew and then a week, hopefully, in glorious sunshine and heat!

Then, in mid-May I am meeting Kelly and Wendy again while they are in Germany on a business trip. I am excited about this European excursion. I will be flying into Venice from London Stansted via Ryanair (a first) and spending one day with Kelly and Wendy in Venice. We will be staying overnight in Venice itself in Dorsoduro before driving the scenic route to Munich. Overnight in Munich, then a day seeing the sights and sampling the beergardens in that city before we go our separate ways -- Kelly and Wendy on to see friends in Germany and attend a Pink concert in Mannheim, and myself onto a Munich sleeper train (first time!) to arrive in Paris for a few hours (!) before catching the Eurostar back to London and the Megabus back to Cardiff. I'm heady with anticipation.

I just need to get through a long, seven-day stretch at work before I'm Canada-bound. Unfortunately there is the last of the Six Nations rugby matches next Saturday. I say 'unfortunately' only because I now work all the rugby games as a house porter, meaning I'm on public areas (read: toilets) duty for the day, which is not a fun job. I used to look forward to the International rugby matches because thousands upon thousands of people descend upon the city centre and the buzz is electric. Trying to maintain cleanliness in the hotel lobby when hundreds of people in varying degrees of sobriety descend upon no more than twenty toilet stalls, however, is a sure way to break the celebratory mood.

That being said, this final game between England and Wales will be the decider for the Six Nations title. England and Wales are tied in points but England has the advantage. They only need win to take the title. Wales, defending champions, need to win by eight points. The game is here and the momentum seems to be on Wales' side as they beat Scotland away last weekend and England almost blew it with a near-escape against Italy.

I think Wales is going to take it!