soapbox is back from a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in Cardiff, via the delights of Birmingham Airport – possibly one of the first airports I’ve encountered where they don’t charge you twice the average price for everything. Unlike the motorway services stop where we paid £7.95 for a fry-up, but what better way to start a rugby watching weekend.
Sitting in a Spanish bar in Cardiff surrounded by Kiwis, Aussies and le french was a great fun. Shame the same couldn’t be said for the watery poorly poured black stuff. Cardiff is a prime example why the government’s insistence on putting a national stadium at the Maze is crazy. The prematch atmosphere in Cardiff was great – full of colour, and pretty darn good for the local economy too. They had great park’n’ride schemes too.
The view was amazing. I was full of expectation at the fast flowing rugby I’ve come to expect of the All-Blacks, only to be disappointed as they failed to show up in the second half of a marvellous french revival. I had my trusty (not very good point and shoot but not a lot more) digital camera along to record the action. So i spent about 6 of the first 10 minutes taking a few photos, struggling with the light, the odd video of the haka, and then caught myself on.
In my obsession with creating tangible memories i was missing out on enjoying the occasion (certainly more than our kiwi neighbour). Its a phenomenon I’ve noticed at gigs – people are so obsessed with taking photos and videos to prove to their friends they were there, or just gloat, or just trying to preserve the experience to be relived, that they missed out on the wonder of what was happening – not soaking up the sights and sounds of the here and now.
The three of us had a wander around Gloucester the next day, enjoying some infantile sniggering as we walked down ‘Three Cocks Lane’ before checking out the memorial to Bishop Hooper – an early reformer martyred for his faith. Interestingly the Cathedral seemed more interested in telling people that Harry Potter was filmed there than celebrating a hero of the faith and man of great integrity… The cultured one of us took the Cathedral Tour while the youth worker and student worker retired to ye olde pub for some fine ale and South Africa – Fiji…