Artists Impression

Artists Impression

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

3-2-1 Back In The Game

Well, where to start?? Since my last post so much has happened it’s going to be impossible to put it all down here in a way that anyone who wasn’t a part of it will enjoy, so I’ll keep it brief.

Firstly, my holiday. Africa is still amazing. Cape Town has changed considerably from when I was last there eight years ago with The Hog, the Waterfront is now a brilliant place to hang out and there’s so much going on it’s pretty tough to pack it all in to a week. Still, we gave it a good go!

Needless to say the first couple of days were booze fuelled events that involved numerous amusing stories, but I’ll save those. The Wednesday was Tristan’s stag do(I was there for a wedding for those of you who didn’t know) which as best man I had organised. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing – firstly because everyone had paid me and if it went wrong then I would have taken a serious beating.

The day began by throwing a pillow case over Tris’s head and dragging him through the Waterfront before boarding a Huey Helicopter and embarking on a combat mission along the coast. I seriously recommend this to anyone who goes over there – it is unbelievably cool. Perhaps the most amusing part was before the ride when Tristan’s Dad suggested that the two of them should not go on the same one as it would leave Tris’s Mum as the sole survivor in the family if the chopper went down – way to get morale up that!

After that we got on a boat for four hours before hitting the town – while this was my first stag do, I am pretty confident the evening adhered to the usual stag do model and judging by the absurd amount of money that was spent by some people I am pretty confident everyone enjoyed it!

The wedding itself was amazing, I think one person laughed at my speech so that was good, even if I did have to get the bouncers to remove with force the man lobbing rotten fruit and knives at me. It also lead to the creation of my new favourite game, Big Face/Little Face which I am determined to make an international phenomenon.

After that it was off to Botswana and Vic Falls where The Big Five came into action and I had the pleasure of sharing a tent with G-Man for the next 10 days. Having already spent most of the past seven nights sharing a bed with the guy we were in danger of becoming a little too close…things were only to get worse on that front.

I shall repeat now to all those going to Everest, the words that the Tenzing Vice Captain said to me at the end of the trip. His exact words were: “Mate, I really thought I’d drawn the short straw sharing a tent with you because of your snoring reputation…but it seems it was actually you who got it, so I’m sorry about that.”

Out of 10 nights I think there was just one where G did not disturb me in the night, but I may save the stories for a later date…oh sod it…he tried to arrest people, give directions, point out where the bus was and sexually assault me all on separate evenings – and those are just the ones that spring readily to mind. Good luck if you get him up the mountain!

I should say however, that despite such antics it was great to get away with a bloke I’ve known for the best part of 15 years, and when he was actually awake he was a brilliant travelling partner. As were the other three of the big five; Shorty, Simcard and Kinsey(the latter two also being Everesters, as you should know by now) each made superb companions and brought their own unique brand of comedy to the jungle.

On the trip itself we went white water rafting and bungy jumped in Victoria Falls, not to mention drank a ton of booze, then cruised through Botswana in Mokoro’s in 40-degree heat, which was awesome. All the while we were seeing animals, consuming the odd beer and talking nonsense, while even having the odd afternoon to chill out and swim in a swamp with some hippos – pretty cool.
Coming back to the UK was a serious culture shock after three weeks in Africa. I got off the train at Earls Court and walked to work in Fulham at 8:30am, in the rain wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip flops along with my safari hat(nicely sweated through now after Botswana!) while people pointed at me and laughed. Worse was to come of course, I’d lost my keys while away so couldn’t get in the office and nobody was due for half an hour, so I took refuge in Maccy Dees and began to wish I was dead.

Solace was not far away however. Upon getting into work and reading my 400+ emails I quickly began to catch up on all things Everest Cricket related and felt a distinct tingling in my loins. How can you get the post-holiday blues when you’re going to Lords in two days and flying to Nepal two weeks later?

So wish fresh enthusiasm I jumped back into the mix like I have never been away…although it’s hard to hide that I’ve been away due to my rather impressive jungle beard. I may not have managed any fitness training while in Africa, but at least I have proved that after 18 days of not shaving I will look like a real man

Saturday opened up with the freeze mobs in London which were such good fun I really can’t wait to do some more, the middle order consisted of a meeting at Lords, of which I spent the entirety sat outside like a naughty schoolboy who hadn’t done his homework, frantically typing up the details for Cricinfo, who were all too happy to put the story up on their front page for 24-hours.

Huge thanks to Will Luke for that one, considering the situation involving England in India at the moment it was brilliant to get that kind of exposure, and the story seems to have caught on and is popping up on random sites all over the place! We even managed to get Kirt on Talk Sport today as a result of the article while The London Paper ran a small clip on the freezes last night as well, so it looks like we have some momentum and I really hope we can capitalise on it.

With all this in mind I have to turn my attention now to Christmas and the forthcoming trip to Kathmandu. Between us Kirt and I have managed to set up meetings with the Nepali Government, Tourist Board, Cricket Association and Himalayan Rescue, so it looks like it’s going to be a busy few days, although I have no doubt whatsoever that we’ll find time to do what we do best, and enjoy a few beers with the locals! Can’t wait.

The Everest Test