Archive for the ‘Wales’ Category

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It is somewhat ironic that Adam and Rosanna’ household is as uninterested in the lions tour as I am enthusiastic about it. As a consequence I go out to watch the game with some ex-pat surfing friends of mine from back in the UK.

Chris is another old flat mate of mine from back in London and I have surfed with Ben many times in the UK. We are joined by Saul who also lives locally.

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All are now living in the Sydney area, and we bump into countless others because there is an army of lions fans who are all out in Manly, where we are watching the game.

We have opted for The Steyne Hotel and the bar is packed so there is a fantastic atmosphere. It also appears that Brits outnumber the Aussies because a lions’ score always gets a bigger cheer than a Wallabies one. 

NailbiterThe game itself was a nail-biter going down to the last kick of the game where had Kurtley Beale not slipped over there is every chance that Australia would have won the game. However he did, and they didn’t. Unlucky!!!! 1-0 Lions, lions, lions!!!!

Things get a bit chaotic towards the end of the evening when one of our party who shall remain nameless gets shown the door. Although it brings an end to our evening I am quite impressed by the approach to booze in Australia. If you have had enough they stop serving you and you are asked to leave. There are sobriety checks on every door to stop you moving your grief to somewhere else too. There was a time when the landlord did the same in the UK but we seem to have lost that somewhere down the line. Shame.

You can’t by alcohol to take home anywhere other than a pub or an off license either. I haven’t seen one drunken brawl anywhere in Oz yet. I will leave you all to make the connection yourselves, because I was too drunk by the end of the night to make it myself!

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Marlborough Sounds 1

I stump up the cash for another ferry crossing back to North Island. Marlborough sound really is pretty but it isn’t anywhere close enough to justifying why it is $300 to take a campervan across.

My credit card takes the hit and I try to forget about it as soon as possible.

British & Irish Lions 2013I arrive in Wellington and find a campervan park right on the waterfront where I stop for the night. I get settled in and then head straight out into the city to see on of the lions tour matches.

It is so long ago now that I can’t even remember who they were playing, but given I missed much of the game due to getting my time differences wrong that is not surprising. I caught the last five minutes of what was a rout and there is nothing much to report on the game itself.

AnimationI did however make some new friends in the bar which had plenty of ex-pats in it enjoying a night out. I got adopted by a table of computer animators who were all originally from the UK but now based here and working for Peter Jackson and the other movie companies based in the area on post production work.

It is more than a bit parky at the moment and we a freezing as we go on a bit of a pub crawl but it is a fun night for me despite missing most of the game.

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Llyn Peninsula Tremor 2013

I had a bit of a chuckle when  I heard that there had been an earthquake in North Wales recently.

It is rather ironic that I am covering almost the entire Pacific rim with it’s associaed seismic activity but have yet to feel so much as a tremor during my holiday, whilst the whole of North Wales is getting woken by a sizeable earthquake. 

Llyn Peninsula Tremor 2013 DevastationI had to forward on this picture that somebody has posted online detailing the devastation left behind by the 3.8 quake.

Very funny!

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Rugbi Gogledd Cymru LogoMassive congratulations to RGC 1404 for winning the SWALEC Division 1 East. Rugbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 is part of a long term objective to get more rugby players from North Wales involved in the national side.

Despite having many passionate players and supporters, North Wales has always been pretty bereft of access to top level sport. The Welsh Rugby Union have finally decided to tap into the resources available in the north of the country away from the rugby strongholds along the M4, by part funding this team and their development centre. RGC 1404 entered the lowest level of the Welsh leagues this season, with the long term objective of becoming another regional rugby side like the Ospreys and the Scarlets

I saw their first competitive home match before leaving on my adventures and have been following their results via the web, as well as wearing my shirt on match days for moral support. The team won the league at the first time of asking and managed to remain unbeaten at home in Eirias Park throughout the season.

Watch out world the Gogs are coming!

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Richard BirthdayMany happy returns to my brother Richard.

Hope you have a great day.

Thinking of you from South America.

Much love

Robert

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Pirates_of_the_CaribbeanI am not talking about the recent Disney movies here, more about the two British seafarers who had a significant impact on this part of the world. I have been hearing a lot about them since arriving in Panama so thought I would pass some of that on.

In particular I am talking about Sir Francis Drake and Admiral Sir Henry Morgan who caused quite a lot more havoc than I have whilst visiting the region in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries respectively.

Sir Francis DrakeOn his ship The Golden Hind Sir Francis Drake was the first person from Britain to circumnavigate the globe, and I suspect that feat was a tad harder than my own trip in 2013. He was also largely responsible for the defeat of the Spanish Armada when it intened to attack England in 1588, but that is just as well because he was probably part responsible for the Armada being created in the first place due to number of attacks that privateers like him made on the Spanish settlements in this neck of the woods. Under the sponsorship of the English monarchy Drake and others like him would sail into the ports and steal all the gold and silver warehoused here ready for transport across the Atlantic, which the Spanish had in turn largely stolen from the indigenous people here.

He also died off the coast of Panama after contracting dyssentry on the last of such voyages. The lead coffin he was buried at sea in near Isla Grande on the Caribbean coast is still being looked for by treasure hunters today.

Henry MorganHalf a century later Henry Morgan, who was originally from South Wales, was up to the same sort of mischief. He is remembered as the greatest of the privateers, amassing huge fleets and attacking prominent targets. His three most famous exploits were the 1668 sack of Portobello (which is just down the coast from Colon), the 1669 raid on Maracaibo in Venezuela and the 1671 attack on Panama City. Most of this was done with the support of King Charles II of England but the attack on Panama City with about 1,000 men in which the city was destroyed, was undertaken after a peace treaty had been signed between England and Spain, so you can imagine that the Spanish were not best pleased.

captain_morganMorgan was summoned back to London because the situation was at the very least embarrassing for the English too. However not only was he never punished, but he was feted by the gentry and commoners alike upon his return who were impressed with his exploits. He was also knighted by the king and then sent back to his base in Jamaica as Lieutenant Governor of the island, where he worked on improving the defenses of the island which was Britain’s jewel in the Caribbean crown.

He was guilty of the death and torture of countless innocent Spanish civilians and spread terror far and wide on the Spanish Main, but the English loved him. So much so that the Captain Morgan dark rum that you may enjoy today over ice with coke is named after him.

All of which means I have a lot to live up to in the time I have left here! What would they call the drink they name after me?

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Warburton CaptainCongratulations to all those selected to be a part of this year’s tour of Australia, and especially so to Sam Warburton for being asked to captain the British and Irish Lions.

It makes him the first Welshman to be captain of the team since 1977. I can’t wait to get out to New Zealand and Australia where I can enjoy all of the tour later in my travels without having to get up early to do so. I will be seeing them play at least one game in the flesh too.

British & Irish Lions 2013Being good enough to play for the team which only tours every four years and is made up of the best of the best of the home nations rugby sides, is the absolute pinancle of any player’s career if you are from the UK.

For that reason I think the press should be making more of the fact that anybody has made the team, rather than running the story with the headline that Jesus Wilkinson is not going because he didn’t feel up to it.

It is pretty insulting to everybody who does want to go down there and will be putting absolutely everything on the line for games which they may only get one opportunity to play in during their career. I can only offer my utmost support to anybody who has been selected.

The test match I saw with Genevieve and Clem in South Africa four years ago still remains the most brutal game of rugby I have ever seen. I’m looking forward to the same level of commitment this time around and no quarter being given by either side. However I can admit to wanting the Lions to win the series a tad more than I should, due to the two Aussies who abandoned me in the desert in Mexico.

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WrexhamIt has been pointed out to me that I have not given Wrexham Football Club any credit for their achievements this year.

Adding more glory to a fabulous year for the Welsh sports fan Wrexham won the FA Trophy last month and I really should have given them the mention they deserved then.

Wrexham TrophyI am sure I would have done so ordinarily, but checking my records suggests I was moving from Nicaragua to Costa Rica, which likely means another epic IT fail upon arrival in the new country.

However congratulations to the club closest to where I grew up. They have had a shocking few years, with financial problems, administration and the associated drama that goes with that.

I’m sure all those at the Racecourse will be suitably stoked about the trophy and hope it is the springboard to better times for the club.

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Cardiff_City_CrestA quick word of congratulations to Cardiff City Football Club for winning the Championship.

Their promotion and Swansea being already in the Premier League means that 10% of next season’s top flight football will be Welsh.

With Swansea winning the League Cup and Wales winning the Six Nations rugby tournament it has been rather a good year to be a Welsh sports fan, and I will admit to being a tad disappointed not to have been around when it happened.

Only a tad though, I am doing ok. 🙂

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Jenkins and RobshawA quick word to wish the Welsh boys well in the 6 Nations Championship decider in Cardiff later today.

I will be listening to the game via BBC radio online here in Monterrico in Guatemala, having test run the functionality on Friday morning.

I believe the roof is going to be closed at the Millenium Stadium so with the Welsh in full voice it should be an epic encounter. England with grand Slam ambitions, Wales needing a 7 point victory to take the title, the final audition for a place on the British Lions’ tour of Australia (for which I have already bagged a ticket to one of the test matches – thanks Chris) and that glosses over the fact that the two teams playing have the biggest rivalry in the tournament with the most championships between them.

Rugbi Gogledd Cymru Logo

A game I cannot miss even on the other side of the world. I will be wearing my Rugby Gogledd Cymru top with pride, and generally shouting encouragement at my computer.

Feeeeeeeeeed me now and evermore, EVVVERMOOOOOORE!!!!!!!

Cymru am byth!

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