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Odds Blog: A weekend of two halves…..

Posted by indigodream on 12 November, 2009

Saturday 7th to Monday 9th November

Saturday…..

The second half of our weekend started on Saturday morning when Lou ran down the garden then ran up again with a slight limp. A comprehensive paw police inspection didn’t reveal anything in particular so we dropped her and Blue off with Richard’s mum. More on that saga later……

In the meantime, all unsuspecting, we set off down to Cardiff for the first half of the weekend – the Wales/New Zealand rugby match. We’ve lost count of the number of rugby matches that we’ve been to in Cardiff but there was a particularly fine atmosphere in the city this weekend so I think the day’s worth a mention.

We were staying the Vale Hotel just outside Cardiff, which is also where the Welsh rugby team is based and has its training ground. The place was full of excitement as the players congregated to get onto the team bus that would take them down to the station. They looked relaxed and very very large; it’s obvious really, but rugby players are BIG, especially when you see them up close. They’re a good bunch – not too proud to talk to their fans and sign autographs for the kids waiting eagerly to meet them. Our companions, Liam and Lena, and 2-year old Seamus,  were amazed at how ordinary the team were, considering they’re superstars off the telly! I wasn’t so surprised, Wales is a small country and it’s hard to put on airs and graces when a large proportion of your fans know your mum and have seen all of your embarrassing baby photos 🙂

We didn’t wait to wave the team away – we set off down to Cardiff to have a preliminary wander around town. Cardiff has changed almost beyond recognition since we lived here in the 1980’s; many of the more run-down areas have been cleaned up and, of course, there are the two new stadia. Massively built from white tubular steel, the Millenium Stadium (Rugby) and new Cardiff City football ground glowed like pearl necklaces in the weak November sunshine – a suitable adornment for the up and coming city.

The town centre was busy but not unpleasantly so – I guess it’s had a little bit of practice at accommodating a rugby crowd over the years :-). The stadium was almost to capacity – 74,300 people – luckily there are more than enough pubs to go around! Sadly most of the pubs wouldn’t let Seamus in after 2.30pm so we did something unprecedented- sat in Starbucks drinking a coffee……before a rugby match!

The Haka

The Haka

Going into the Millennium Stadium is a thrilling experience. This time we were in what used to the old stadium’s North Stand – they’ve retained part of the old structure and the steps up to the terraces are narrow and utilitarian. The stairs in the newest parts are a little broader but equally plain, being just grey unfinished concrete. But as you walk towards the heart, the sudden emergence of the stadium’s broad vista sets your pulse to racing with the magnificent sweep of the terraces, the startling green of the pitch far below and the extravagantly latticed roof. We’ve sat in just about every terrace and tier of the stadium and I swear that there isn’t a bad seat in the whole place. Each seat gives a different perspective – high up you get a view of the shape (or lack) of the game; from lower down you get a real feel for the pace of the game. It’s warm in the stadium with the roof shut – the warmth of 74,000 excited fans; it means that you can take you coat off and show your team colours – mainly red in this case!

Rugby may be unique in that it can arouse such tribal passions without engendering violence. Welsh and New Zealand fans sat side by side in the stadium; there’s rivalry and banter for certain, but not hatred and strife. As it happens, we seemed to be in a sea of Welsh supporters and it’s a wonder that the roof stayed on when we all sang the national anthem. The choir on the pitch seemed superfluous as, from the first note, their conductor turned his baton towards the crowd. I defy anyone, of whatever nationality, not to be moved by the sound of the anthems, especially coming as they did after a minute’s silence for the war savaged dead.

The match itself was a thriller, with Wales almost, but not quite, managing to defeat the mighty All Blacks. Funnily enough I’m writing this on Indigo Dream, moored next door to a boat owned by a Kiwi. We’ve just had an entertaining FORTY FIVE MINUTES chat about about rugby. I was going to give you my match report, complete with commentary on the ref’s apparent lack of vision and need to visit specsavers, but I guess everyone will have their different perspectives on the match. My neighbour on the moorings certainly had a different view to me; but the thing with rugby is that we won’t be spending the rest of the evening sorting our disagreements by throwing molotov cocktails at each other’s boats!

After the match we found somewhere that hadn’t changed since our time here – the restaurant “The Italian Way” still serves fine food and we had a great time, indulging in a lengthy debate on the nature of sexual discrimination, our oratorical skills honed to a fine edge by some luscious bottles of wine.

We got back to the hotel quite early, just in time, in fact, to join the Welsh coaching team, and later by the rest of the players in the bar. They looked physically and mentally battered, more so when the shots glasses flew. My claim to fame is that I shared a lift with Jamie Roberts – one of the Welsh backs; the lift was barely big enough! He pronounced himself “gutted” with the result – reading the rugby papers the next day, that was about as eloquent as it got…..

We girls got off to bed before midnight, leaving Liam and Richard to get over the earlier visit to Starbucks by drinking in the ambience and the alcohol at the bar until the wee small hours…..

Sunday/Monday…

I think it’s fair to say that we were all a little subdued on Sunday morning, though the Vale’s comprehensive breakfast, followed up by multiple cups of coffee helped considerably. We enjoyed another ogle at the welsh team,  who also looked reassuringly feeble after a late night (well feeble is a bit of a relative term, they seemed to have shrunk to being just 7′ tall). With everyone feeling (and looking) so pathetic there was nothing for it but to head for home (and no, we weren’t still over the limit – we made sure through careful calculations of time and consumption).

We had a tedious trip home – not because of any particular delays but just because we were tired and it’s a long way – we’ll take the train next time. So now we’re into the second half of the weekend…..

When we picked Lou and Blue up from Richard’s mum, she commented that Lou had hardly been outside at all (she’d normally spend all of her time exploring the garden with Blue). My nasty suspicion was confirmed when I saw that her back foot was grossly swollen, though she wasn’t lame at the time. We got her home and rang the emergency vet who advised some doggie painkillers (plenty of those in the house) and a precautionary doggie antibiotic (funnily enough we have a stock of them as well!).

r-rugby7Nov09 016

Feeble dog!

I really thought it was just an infection but when I took her in to the vet on Monday we had the bad news that it was likely that she’d broken her toe – aaargh!!! I left her with the vet for an X-ray, an hour later the news got worse – the bone had snapped like a breadstick – crumbs of bone everywhere with little hope of healing; so poor old Lou has now had one of her toes amputated. I was very upset though, in fact, greyhounds are always injuring their toes and seem to manage perfectly well without the full complement. I was also a more than a little alarmed when the vet said that if we couldn’t think of how she’d fractured the bone (and we couldn’t) then it was possible that it had been weakened by a tumour, but that amputation ensured that it wouldn’t be an issue going forward – aaaaarghhh aaaaaaaargh!

Anyway, the evil deed was done on Monday and Lou is recovering well. Her foot is swathed in a huge pink bandage and she occasionally points it at me in accusation; conciliatory chicken pieces soon follow – she’s not daft, that dog! I stayed in to nurse her on Tuesday – I had planned to take the doggies to the boat but that seemed wildly inappropriate given that we have to keep this bandage clean and dry for at least a week.

So after a brilliant Saturday, the rest of the weekend left me feeling a bit tired and stressed; thank heavens I had boating to look forward to on Wednesday – but more of that in the next post……

3 Responses to “Odds Blog: A weekend of two halves…..”

  1. Kath Corbett said

    Poor Lou! And poor you, you must be exhausted. Don’t feel too guilty – she’ll end up enourmous 🙂
    Kath nb Herbie

  2. indigodream said

    Well she does take the two of them for a lot of walks so I am sure Sue gets a lot of exercise.

  3. Lesley said

    After that last comment Richard I’d be surprised if you are still standing – I can see the swipe from Sue a coming boy.. Anyway, here are our best wishes for the invalid from all aboard Caxton. Take care
    Lesley

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