A Grand Slam Weekend

Well, here I am sitting in Cardiff Airport yet again waiting for a flight back to Dublin so I reckon it’s time to break my self-imposed blogging silence.

I had an enjoyable little break, the highlight of which was the rugby on Saturday between Wales and Ireland. I actually managed to get a ticket for the game, though I am not at liberty to divulge how I got it. I was a long way back from the pitch, practically in the rafters of the Principality Stadium, but the view wasn’t bad. Sadly, I forgot to charge my phone up overnight before the match and by the time I made it to my seat the battery had died, so I have no pictures of the event to share.

I had expected Wales to win, but hadn’t expected such a one-side match. After scoring after just over a minute, Wales controlled the game. Instead of the intense atmosphere I’d been anticipating, the mood in the crowd was more like that you might find at a cricket match while the home side is steadily accumulating runs against ineffective bowling. When the Ireland fightback hadn’t materialized by the fourth quarter of the game, the celebrations started and the singing grew louder in the steadily falling rain. At least Ireland got a consolation try at the end, but if truth be told they didn’t really turn up for the match.

I got absolutely drenched walking back to the Cardiff residence, but it was worth it for the privilege of seeing a Grand Slam unfold live. I only caught the second half of the final match of this year’s Six Nations, the Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England, on the radio. This seems to have been the most exciting of the tournament, ending in a 38-38 draw after England had been 31-0 up! Greatest comeback since Lazarus!

But all credit again to Wales for their Grand Slam, a great achievement by any standards. It’s revenge what happened ten years ago, when I was in Cardiff (though not in the ground) for a Grand Slam decider between Wales and Ireland, a frantic and exciting match which Ireland won. Not so much excitement this time, but a far happier crowd of Welsh supporters!

So that’s the St Patrick’s Bank Holiday Weekend over with and I’m now heading back to Ireland. This week, or what’s left of it, is `Study Week’ which means there are no lectures. We have finished six weeks of teaching this term at Maynooth, and there are six more after Study Week but there is another week off looming for Easter. As it happens, I’m attending a small conference in London on Thursday and Friday (of which more soon) so I’m just back in the office tomorrow before flying off again for two days in the capital of Poundland.

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12 Responses to “A Grand Slam Weekend”

  1. Speaking of a different type of grand slam, I read today that a baseball player has been offered $430 million to extend his contract by 12 years.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    I was in my local pub watching both the Wales-Ireland and England-Scotland games and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Now the cricket season beckons…

    • telescoper Says:

      Indeed. I see that Glamorgan’s annual fixture against Cardiff MCCU starts on 5th April, and their first County Championship match six days later…

      • Simon Kemp Says:

        I still remember the last 4-day season, so don’t have my usual pre-season optimism…..

    • telescoper Says:

      How `local’ is your local?

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Good question, for the signpost in the village it is in says that my village is a mile and a quarter away, whereas the signpost to that village from mine says one mile. Evidently space is nonmetric in Shropshire.

        I can drive to the Sun (such is the pub’s name) in five minutes, which exceeds the speed of light, which might explain it.

      • telescoper Says:

        How long does it take to drive back?

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        5 * 1.25 = 6.25 minutes, of course.

  3. That reminds me – just about on topic – of a gig some years ago at a pub called the Moon at Garway which is near, well, nowhere in particular. We found the place without too much trouble, thanks to the OS and their excellent one inch maps, but a friend who was travelling separately lost his way in the lanes. Seeing a man in a field nearby, who was leaning over a gate and watching him with interest, he went over and asked for directions.

    By the way there’s no punch line to all this, indeed it did occur to my friend at the time that there’s very little point to what follows.

    “Ah, the Moon,” reflected the local, holding my friend with his glittering eye, “Now, there’s a story to that.”

    To spare you nearly all the details, it seems there were once three pubs in or close to the village: the Sun, the Star, and another one whose name I disremember, but let’s call it the Globe. However the locals with characteristic wit always referred to it as the Moon – Sun, Moon and Star, see – and over time the name stuck. The years went by and both the Sun and the Star closed, leaving just the Moon, which is still open, except that isn’t its proper name.

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