Saturday, October 22, 2011


I stood all the way from Peterborough to Waterloo. Everywhere there were hoardings showing Taine Randall leading the haka. No doubt about it, the All Blacks were going to bring the Rugby World Cup home.

Four years before we had watched the unthinkable happen as they had staggered about losing to South Africa. This time would be different.

Youngest son Ivor met me at Waterloo. He hopped on and off the escalator with the ease of a seasoned Londoner. I clung to the rail, white knuckled. At Waterloo East Ivor's cell phone rang.

"Hello, Ivor Davies. What? Nah, you've got it wrong." He disconnected with the look that Australians term 'stunned mullet.' and looked at me.
"The All Blacks lost."
"No! You must have heard it wrong."
"I'm telling you. The Bloody Frogs beat us."

We stared uncomprehending at London gearing up for the twenty first century; the highest ferris wheel ever built, the OXO tower, Londoners riding the train, reading their papers, unconcerned.

Up until then English newspapers had been full of the awful things those perfidious French did. The fed their cows and pigs on unmentionable fodder made from sewage. They blocked imports of healthy British products. Overnight British perceptions changed, they became Europeans. Girls from Cockfosters to Cambridge were seen wearing French Rugby shirts.

I wasn't that concerned about Australia winning the cup. After all one of my grandfathers was born in Echuca.

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