I caught the ferry today to Rangitoto Island, which is, I hope, for at least today, an extinct volcano. While I was buying my ticket, some very subdued England players were off to Waiheke Island. (Croft, Cole, Youngs, Flood, Tuiagli, Thompson). It was difficult to know what to say to then. Bad luck was wrong as luck didn’t come into it. The papers were scathing, calling England cheats over the ball swop, rubbish team, arrogant and badly disciplined. They didn’t need me to say anything to them with press like that.
The ferry took 40 minutes to get there, with a stop at Devonport to pick a few passengers up. The return was 4pm or stay on the island overnight (I was at the quay at 3.30pm, and first on the boat – there was a rugby game to get to). When we disembarked, the road to the summit was signposted as a 1 hour walk for people with moderate fitness. The gauntlet was down and I was determined to get to the summit in less. It took 45 minutes and I was only over taken by 3 Americans in their 20s and a woman in sports gear. The path was volcanic ash, or exposed lava rock, and it wasn’t easy to walk on to the 260m above sea level crater. I also walked around the crater, which was about the size of Fauld crater. Fauld was the biggest man made explosion before Hiroshima, and was a miracle it didn’t kill more. It was a munitions dump in the gysum ines near Tutbury, and my mum had friends who lost their dads, and when I was at school their children had no granddads. The story is told at Tutbury Museum.
I went in a bar on my return. There were shelves about, and instead of the usual second hand books, there were 12 inch vinyl LP records. I wished it was empty and I could stay there all day, as there is something about the sleeve notes, the artwork, that cd’s tried to replicate but were too small, and i-pods stripped away that I miss. That used to be one of the best things about going round to someone’s house, was to browse through their LP collection looking for new sounds.
On to the match. For the second night on the trot, I had to climb 164 steps to get to the top of the temporary stand to watch the All Blacks v Argentina. You just don’t drink during the game because the toilets are 164 steps away at the bottom (along with the bar.). 20 minutes from the end, one guy went down to find the bar shut, so a wasted journey anyway. The programme was 5 dollars cheaper than the night before. (Thanks IRB for the fairness). There was someone called Nick Mulligan being interviewed and he pointed out that the semi-finalists were exactly the same as 1987. Hang on a bit, the game hadn’t been played yet. If that had been on British tv, about England, there would be complaints from the Celts for years to follow about the arrogant English.
The All Blacks are definitely stuttering, and are now on their 3rd fly half. The crowd were subdued, the procession to the final is not guaranteed. When we watch the Tri Nations, G always comments about how poor the defence and defensive lines are. Up against a well organised committed defence like Argentina, the running rugby that we in the Northern Hemisphere can’t play, surprise surprise neither could the kings of running rugby. They struggled to find any sort of fluidity in their attacks and the scoreline at the end flattered them, - especially as one try had a foot in touch – ignored or missed because of white boots. (White boots were banned years ago in hockey for the same reason.) maybe the Argentinians aren’t as bad a side as the press made out when Scotland and England played them.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross, as there’s not many songs with volcano in the title.