SO England lost the first Test, but the Barmy Army certainly won the battle of the fans. For the first time yesterday all the England fans were in the same part of the ground and they sang all the way through the last rites of the game. There are some great characters, like the nutter who runs over to the Army every now and then from his place high up in the stands and waves two pieces of card at us marked: "Av it!" Every time he raises them everyone shouts "Av it!". Yesterday, a lady standing in close proximity to him gave us all a laugh when she raised an imitation Ashes Trophy and waved a card announcing "Got it!"
Took the wind out of his sails a bit.
Jimmy leads most of the singing and I don't know how he manages it. I've found I've been losing my voice on a regular basis.
Freddie Flintoff and the England team certainly appreciate the support. At the end of the game he bought them over to acknowledge the fans, which was a nice touch.
The heat in Brisbane yesterday was sweltering and humid.
Had my hair washed and head shaved at the Brisbane School of Hairdressing for about a fiver which helped me to cool down, then visited the big Food Court in Brisbane's main area, Queen Street. You have the option of sampling dishes from many different countries - heaven for a coinnosseur of eathing like myself so why I eventually plumped for a good old Beef and Lamb Kebab with hot chilli sauce I don't know. It was like being back in City Road.
After doing a bit more shopping it was back to the hotel and a bit of rest and relaxation in the cool of our room. It is starting to resemble a bomb site as living out of a suitcase takes its toll.
Every day I've been waking up at about 5am with the daylight streaming through the windows. It has given me the chance to do things you would never do at home and I've got into a bit of a routine. I come down, blog then have an early swim in the outdoor pool here. First, though, I check it carefully. I've heard that one of the Aussie spiders can survive for up to two months in the pool. Alastair, the guy we met on Sunday, said they have a saying here: "If it has eight legs or no legs, give it some respect". Kempy will delighted to know I came across my first cockroach yesterday, lying upside down and on the verge of pegging out. It was about the size of a big thumb nail. Nice.
The other thing that has amazed me is the size of the bats that fly through the trees in the park opposite the hotel. They are truly massive and shriek as they disappear over your head. Scary.
Those who know me won't be surprised by the news that I lost my complimentary Barmy Army cap after just a day, but I was delighted when the hotel reception called the room to say it had been found in the smoking area by the bar and pool. No surprises there.
Last night we actually hit Brisbane for the first time and I was tempted into trying the local seafood delicacy, Moreton Bay Bugs. They resemble giant prawns or small lobsters and you have to crack open the hard shell to get to the flesh inside. Ok, but I wasn't particularly bowled over by them. The firm white fish resembles cod in its texture. Still, for the first time I've tried something a bit different.
The Kitchen Designer, like me, loves his cooking and we swapped tales of the kitchen over our meal. His girlfriend is currently at his mum's having a cooking lesson because she wants to make her own cakes. Apparently, she has just two dishes - grilled mackerel and liver. It sounds a strange diet to me, but each to their own.
Going on from our meal at a place called Jimmy's on the Mall we visited the Victory bar for a couple of pints of VB, then headed back. We were both shattered from the sun and the strength of the Aussie beer. Getting back we found the hotel bar had closed by 10.30 (what's THAT about), so we finally raided the mini bar for a couple of cold beers and lay on the bed watching the Fox sports channel.
Woke up covered in beer, having fallen asleep in world record time. And this is a bloke who suffers from insomnia back in Blighty!