I HEARD a little known story of Welsh history last night: The Aussie invasion of Caernarfon Castle. I am sure this has not been widely recorded, so keen students will no doubt be fascinated.
The story was told by an Aussie called Bob we met around the pool last night. "Where ya from, mate?" he inquired. When I told him that I'd travelled from Cardiff his eyes lit up. "Hey, I've been to Wales," he said.
The visit happened in 1981 when Bob and his wife took their camper van around the principality. When he arrived in the north of the country he decided it would be a good idea to try to drive into Caernarfon Castle. Big mistake. He crashed into a wall and ended up in the moat. It took us all about 10 minutes to stop ourselves laughing.
Met some good people out here. Last night the Kitchen Designer and I spent the evening by the pool knocking back a few cold ones and were joined by Aussie Bob and his mate Graham, who are from Newcastle, New South Wales, and an ageing Devon hippy with long straggly hair, a drop earring and a sunburnt nose, also called Graham. It was nice to actually find some time to relax and shoot the breeze with some interesting characters, and helped us take our mind of the cricket, which has been pretty disastrous as far as England are concerned.
It's led to a lot of Aussie crowing, and though the Barmy Army have tried to keep spirits up it is pretty hard going in the face of adversity.
At the Gabba cricket ground they have a notice that comes up on the scoreboard inviting anyone who feels a supporter in close proximity is causing a nuisance to text a message pointing out the offender. It has led to a number of people being removed from the ground, including the Barmy Army trumpeter who did nothing worse than cause an enjoyable atmosphere with his regular renditions of the Great Escape. Not one for the purists, I guess, but hardly an offence worthy of eviction.
It also got rid of the 10 face-painted Aussie schoolboys behind us who had somehow managed to get the day off to drink weak lager and shout obsenities at the England cricketers.
"Cam on, Harmison, bowl another wide you jerk."
"Harmison you're sh**, you are a liability."
"My mum could bowl better than that, Harmison."
Highly amusing to us English supporters who knew all the time that the guy fielding on the boundary in front of us was actually Matthew Hoggard.
There are plenty of Brits out here and the Gashead away top got plenty of acknowledgement. I met one guy from Frome who claimed to remember me from Gashead games about seven years ago, even though I rarely attended then because I was working in London. Then there was the Bristol Sh*thead who told me the Barmy Army were chanting "Who are you?" in recognition of my Gashead shirt. And then there was the guy who said he was visiting as a guest of the Gasheads largest shareholder. Don't know if he was expecting a pat on the back but he got an earful over how the bloke should be spending more money on buying us new players.
Haven't really got into the eating experience as yet. Getting to the ground for a 10am start means a quick breakfast, yesterday morning's was a bacon and egg muffin which also contained onions, then something from one of the snack bars at lunch (Calamari and Chips made a nice change from pie and chips).
Decided to walk back from the ground yesterday and finally succeeded in finding the hotel, but my experience of flip flops is getting no better. I bought some in Dubai and now have a king-sized blister on each toe, plus the fact they regularly slip off when I am walking along. No doubt I will seriously damage something before long.
Added to that I walked almost the entire way to the ground yesterday before realising I actually had my shorts on the wrong way around. Even by my standards, which include wearing two entirely different shoes to work once, that is pretty incredible.
Anyway, off to the game in half an hour. First stop for some plasters and blisteeze at a chemist, I reckon.