Monday 10 October 2011

Spreading the joy

As I waited, yet again, for my old dog to catch me up on our walk back from the dairy, I stood and watched a couple of council workers in hi-vis vests trimming the grass verge along the footpath past the park, one of them buzzing along the edge with a weedeater while the other used a long-handled gripper to pick up bits of rubbish out of the gutter. What a dispiriting job, I thought, cleaning up cigarette butts and other unpleasantness thrown down by ratbags. The wind was blowing the grass clippings about, the sky was grey and it was cool enough for me to have put on a jacket; so when the dog finally dawdled up to me and we wandered past the men, I was surprised when the rubbish-picker turned to me with a broad grin and said, "What a great day!"

And then he continued, "Go the All Blacks!" and turned back to his work, clearly light of heart and convinced that all was right with the world, leaving me to walk home with a smile on my face. I'd already heard the men building a new deck next door having a long and detailed discussion about last night's game against Argentina as they hammered and sawed, thoroughly enjoying their serious analysis. So that's why I've decided to come off the fence and say that I want the All Blacks to win the Rugby World Cup: personally, I don't give a fig, but if it means so much to other people, and makes them so cheerful that it improves my daily life, then I'm prepared to put up with the inevitable after-party rabbiting on in the media. That's going to happen anyway: better it's positive than the negative wrist-slitting mourning and recrimination that would occupy exactly the same number of column-inches.

So, France: I love your little villages, your boules players, the pavement tables, your grand buildings, the narrow tree-lined roads, your hyper-markets, your stylishly squiggly Metro signs, crazy traffic, silly little cars, fondness for mongrels, shocking handwriting and hopeless attempts to cram too many words into your song lyrics;

Wales: you have so many great castles, beetling bare rocky hills with ancient history, ridiculously long and unpronounceable place-names, leeks and daffodils, such a lovely accent, stern stone no-nonsense towns, beautiful hills and woods and moors, and your choirs are second to none;

Australia: I've had so much fun every time I've come, you have fabulous native wildlife and pandas too, the Outback is truly glorious and one of my favourite places on the planet, the Reef is amazing, there's so much dramatic history to learn about, the little stone towns are so pretty, I'm very fond of your gum trees, the Opera House is a wonderful sight and Uluru is mind-blowing:

but I'm sorry, I want you all to lose.


the queen said...

Not two hours ago I was at my refrigerator trying to remember the name of your team. I got as far as "Blacks" or "Black Socks."

TravelSkite said...

Black Socks is about the only one we don't use: All Blacks, Black Caps (cricket), Black Sticks (hockey), Tall Blacks (basketball)... so it goes on. Certain lack of originality. I'm just glad we don't have a national rooster-fighting team.

the queen said...

Tall Blacks? Speechless.

TravelSkite said...

Of course, you have the Anaheim Ducks, the Banana Slugs, Golden Gophers... Team names are another language it seems.


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