Adventure, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Bergamo – time to say goodbye

Time to say goodbye, Paesi che non ho mai, veduto e vissuto con te, Adesso si, il vivro, con te partiro, su navi per mari che, io lo so, no, no, non esistono piu, it’s time to say goodbye. – Andrea Boccelli

Una ciocolatta di caldo densa at Balzer in Bergamo

Ciao Bergamo e grazie mille. Molamia, miei amici, stay strong my friends.

It’s time to say goodbye, although on my terms and not Signore Johnson’s.

I have made it my mission to come to Bergamo since the start of the outbreak to find out why the pandemic came here first.

What it was like for the Bergamoschi to live through.

And something a little stronger

And how they are living today and how they see tomorrow.

Peace to Bergamo

The overriding feeling I have found is one of peace (except for the raucous ragazzi e ragazze outside my window at midnight although this is how the young should be.)

I spend my last afternoon reading the stories on the picture boards in the piazza they are using as a testing centre.

And, of course, nothing tells a story quite like a picture, or a photograph.

Mars, Venus and love in Accademia Carrera

I wish mia moglie, the long insufferable (sorry, suffering) Mrs M was here to put her award-winning photo skills to work.

A work of art

I have come too from the Academia Carrera where I have been enjoying Titian, Canaletto and trying out Lotto (no, not the lottery, but the artist.

I have just enough time to treat myself to my Italian guilt pleasure, una ciocolatta di calda densa, a hot chocolate that wants to be a dessert.

Una fotographia di Bergamo in Covid

At a Bergamo institution Balzer cafe. Near my 4* Hotel Excelsior San Marco.

And here’s to beer

And then a Grumge IPA at Gate 11 in the airport.

I plan to have molti.

I am going back to a madhouse. And Britain is not much better.

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Bergamo – alta e bassa

What’s Italian for phew’ I’ve been walked off my piedi today in Bergamo Citt’alta e Citta Bassa (City High and City Low).

And phew too… Johnson, Schnapps and Co. are too late to quarantine me on my return. I was always flying back tomorrow evening anyway, so Sunday is troppo tardi, idioti!

David and Goliath: The Basilica

That’s if I don’t decide to quarantine myself anyway with the Bergamoschi (the people that is, not the local sheepdogs who share their name. Although…!)

La Prima Citta

Bergamo, as we all know by now, is where Covid-19 entered Europe.

To the greater glory of God

But they have taken the worst it can offer and are coming out the other side, and will prevail.

Or as they say here ‘Molamia’ (stay strong).

Chin-Chin

The Bergamoschi have done just that since Covid visited in March and shut the town off from the rest of Lombardy, Italy, and the world for four months.

To the greater glory of beer: With Matteo

But not from each other… or not in the ways that matter.

Matteo, my tour guide volunteered to help out the old and infirm.

Restaurateur Niccolo the same with his original ice cream and food.

Stay strong: The Bergamo credo

And model citizen Emmanuele, who lives in a palazzo on the hill too, as a volunteer.

All are heroes… and all Bergamoschi are an example to us all

La Storia

Perhaps it is in the blood. It is certainly in their history.

I am standing in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Ciitt’alta.

The Bergamo bear: With Matteo and Atalanta Bear

Where the Bergamoschi built a new church after they were delivered from the plague in the 12th century.

And filled it with frescoes, magnificent paintings and special picture boards of other scenes where humanity prevailed over adversity.

Noah anyone?

Pasta Basta

Ma mi scusi. I have just eaten my own weight in food and drunk today, a small lago di vino and must now repair to my bed in the Hotel Excelsior San Marco.

I scream for ice cream: With Niccolo

A Domani.

And if you want to slip on the Italian Boot to follow in my footsteps, here’s my Via Francigena, into Rome

While as the Veneto region is just over the horizon to the east, here’s the City of Frescoes Padova.

INCONTRA A VOI NELLA VIA

 

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, UK

Holidos and don’ts – the Road to Bergamo

At the umpteenth time of asking I’m on the road again… this time to Bergamo, Italy.

Where Europe first witnessed the virus, but now, Grazie Dio, it is a tourist destination again.

The journey, like so many these days does not begin in a travel agent but in an Edinburgh pharmacy with a Covid-19 home kit.

That’ll be £115 to you and me with a £10 courier service to get the sample to Belfast (no, me neither)

Wash those handsies: Edinburgh Airport

The test is invasive and involves you scraping the tonsils (or back of the throat if you’re sans tonsils).

Break the swab stick in half and insert it into the tube provided.

Then break the swab in half and repeat for the nose.

Love a duck: The kerching shop

And if you think I’m going to do that to myself you have another thing coming.

The indomitable Mrs M is my willing assistant in this.

And she seemed a bit too enthusiastic too about the task, saying she was ‘going tae stick it right up me, pal!’

I felt my only brain cell too being scratched as the water welled in my eyes.

Follow the science

When you’ve stopped blinking fill out an online form.

And then sit back and wait for them to email you the next day verifying they got your samples.

Then within 48 hours they’ll email you again to tell you if you’re positive or negative.

You’re on your way.

Check, of course, that your politicians haven’t changed the rules regarding the country you’re visiting.

Or in the country you’re imprisoned in.

And make your way to Edinburgh airport.

Airports are normally a hive of activity but with a vastly reduced number of passengers now it’s refreshing to be able to breathe.

Or it would be if I wasn’t wearing the compulsory medical mask that you have to sport when you’re on the move.

I saw one imposter wearing a bandana around his mouth (the very thought!) but better not risk it.

Not that the staff in Edinburgh are airstapo or anything… they are, in fact, delighted to see you and are I’m sure smiling behind their masks.

Seeing this is a whistlestop visit I’ve taken only a small rucksack and a slightly larger rucksack with wheels.

Ryanair: Those clouds are lifting

Which meets the Ryanair regulations.

And it all cuts out the need for the electronic bag drop off which I hate.

So you’re now through the first test of the Crystal Maze and into the shopping and eating and dining concourse.

Flying safe

It’s all pretty much the same although there are no wee whisky or gin plastic samples.

I guess you’ll just have to buy the stuff.

The kerching souvenir shops are still pedalling their merchandise and you can, of course, still buy your Saltire rubber duck and fridge magnet.

Grab a seat, buy your bottle of water (unless you’re an airport drinker even if this is 7.30am) and pour it into your own container.

Better still if you can find yourself next to a plug to keep your phone charged… the Scary One is bound to text.

And besides if you’re under the age of 30 you’ll have your ticket and documents on your phone.

All the time remember to hand sanitise after everything you do.

Make sure you’ve got all your possessions and documents and sit under the departure board.

Particularly your passport and evidence of your negative test to show at the gate.

Made it: Bergamo

And, maybe go to the toilet before you board.

Now barring being stopped at the gate I’m back on the road… to Bergamo.

Now, what could possibly go wrong?

And seeing this is my first time in Il Bel Paese for a couple of years I’ve been taking a trip down Memory Lane…

And Rome, Padova and Venice. Bella, bella.

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe, UK

Holiday Snaps – Amsterdam attics and grand hotels

I really should try harder, or even try at all, to get back to church.

That would mean me filling out a form on the net which is as nothing compared with the Mass Rocks of Ireland, the nooks of England and the attic of a canal town house in Amsterdam.

Our forebears whether they were Catholic, Protestant. Muslim or Jew, or any other belief would go to greater lengths than we do now to practise their faith.

Fit for my queen

We all know about how Anne Frank  and her family and friends lived in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.

And it is truly humbling to hear the words from her diary spoken as you walk through the confines of their attic retreat.

That truly does put our own lockdowns into perspective.

As does the Ons’ Lieve Here op Solder.

The Ons’ Lieve Where?

That’s the Lord of the Attic Museum the ‘Our Dear Lord in the Attic’ built in 1663 when Catholics lost their right to worship in their own way.

Genke will show you around the Dylan

You’ll have a lot more room, and comfort. in George and Amal’s favourite Dutch billet, The Dylan Amsterdam.the Keizersgracht, one of the city’s most famous canals in the stylish Nine Streets shopping district.

Where, of course, their peerless personal service, will ensure you know everywhere to go in Amsterdam, from brown cafe to Sunday chapel.

Doubles start from €223 per night including breakfast.

Fit for yer man, the President

A sign of the times that the most bombed hotel in the world was now hosting the most important couple in the world of the times, the Clintons.

The Europa Hotel also entertained another stellar group, the Republic of Ireland’s finest journalists, to see a Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco jazz cabaret.

The Europa.

The Europa is undergoing an extensive refurb of its bedrooms to be completed by March.

Of course, the staff can’t be improved on, and they’re always there to clean up after you… when you leave your room like a bomb-site, as I do.

All llamas great and small

If like me you’ve been enchanted by the new version of All Creatures Great and Small on the telly you’ll be warning to seek out the Yorkshire Dales in England.

For those who don’t know the story it’s the real life tale of how a Scots vet won over the suspicious people of ‘God’s Own County’.

Let me remind you of a particularly humorous incident sees James Herriott lose his watch up a cow’s bum.

But they’re certainly there now. The Nidderdale Llamas  experience offers treks through the farm in the company of llamas and alpacas.

The best stay is at the nearby Grantley Hall.

You’ll never want to get up

Where you can get pampered at the Three Graces Spa and get restorative treatments from Ila and Natura Bisse.

Dip in their 18-metre indoor swimming pool, indoor to outdoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and snow room (me, neither).

You’ll also have six drinking and dining outlets.

Rates start from £385 per room per night, including breakfast.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Adventure, Africa, Asia, Countries, Culture, Deals

What the world really looks like… Africa and South America

Empiricists love to boast about how the sun never went down on the British Empire which is probably why our little island is on steroids on atlases.

But not just us… the US obviously but also China and randomly Greenland.

So who loses out here? Well Africa and South America mostly.

Well this site is nothing if not a vehicle to change the world so let’s do just that and flag up to why these two continents should be on our radar.

Wendy Wu Tours have been telling us for years.

They have just released their 2020-2021 Treasures of South America brochure.

And they have put in some incentives just for us.

Their Essence of Argentina & Brazil is a 12-day tour from £4,090pp with flights which, of course, includes Rio, Buenos Aires and Iguazu. Pure redemption!

Hit the peaks in South America

Twelve days, of course, is never long enough, 28 is a bit more like it.

That’ll give you more than enough time to see…

Lima, Urubamba, Agues Caliente, Cusco, Puno, Huatajata, La Paz, Uyuni, San Pedro de Atacama, Santiago, Mendoza, Buenos Aires, Iguazu and Rio.

Fancy a waterfall?

And if some of those names are new to you it’s because they reduce the size of those countries on your map.

Ultimate South America, 28 days from £8,690pp, including flights.

Who hasn’t whiled away a coffeetime looking at our atlas, and picking out African names, say?

G Adventures will take you there… they laid me on my back in Jordan and came back for me.

And I promised to come back for them!

Now having dipped my toe into the Muddle East, and North Africa on a memorable trip to Morocco.

The pride of Africa

And realised a dream by visiting South Africa, I just have to do the bit in between.

So picking out Tanzania here which as you can see would dwarf Germany if we would only let it…

The sun also shines: Kilimanjaro

It’s all about the safari, the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro but there are beaches too, and exotic Zanzibar.

They have 19 days Kilimanjaro, Serengati & Zanzibar from £3356.65.

Tanzania was calling me in South Africa when my hotel in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape played Toto’s Africa on a constant loop.

Wild beasts of South Africa

I know that I must do what’s right. As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.

Famously, writer David Paich had never visited Africa when he penned the song….

Perhaps he too had been looking at his atlas with a magnifying glass, of course, to pick out the names!

MEET YOU ON THE RESERVE

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Orlando’s Dinosaur Rollercoaster

What do you get when you cross a paleontologist with a coasteroligist? Universal Orlando’s VelociCoaster that’s what?

Great news from our old pals in Florida that the coaster we’ve been we’ve been waiting a year for is ready and snarling.

Jurassic Park VelociCoaster will roar into life next summer and we’ll be first in line.

But let’s go back in time for a minute… to Spring 2019 when I met Veloci at A VIPs event in Universal Studios Hollywood.

Hello sailor

Maybe not at my best having shaken off 24-hour sickness bug to make my meeting.

Although, I wasn’t quite ready for rollercoasters then – and I know you have to be at your fighting weight from my past visit to Orlando.

You want a sneak preview of VelociCoaster… well, that was it.

A world of wonders

I caught the rollercoaster bug on a mostly-Irish trip there… Irelando, if you will.

And have been back there and up the road to The Donald’s place.

So here’s what our holiday providers have lined up for for us for 2021…

The American Holidays Hot Offer is a seven-night Universal Orlando Resort Stay including Park tickets from €975pp.

And, of course, you’ll get the run of three theme parks and a water theme park.

Harry’s Hollywood

You’ll have a wizarding time, we promise you.

Contact Tour America who have been serving you for 25 years which is all the recommendation you need and they’ll sort out your beat deal.

While I would always direct you to Attraction Tickets who took this young dinosaur to Orlando and then Hollywood.

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Adventure, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland, UK

The travel pack… we (you, me and the turtles) came from the sea

If I could talk to the animals, learn all their languages, maybe take an animal degree, I’d study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle, Alligator, guinea pig and flea – Bobby Davro

And this is one I’ve been thinking on, and I’m possibly spurred on my old pal, Ireland’s Travel Writer of the Year Isabel Conway of Travel Times.

She is walking in Kinsale, Co. Cork for endangered animals. Although while she’s doing something I’m more Mr Do Little than Dr Doolittle.

So to launch this series (and I’ll try and stick to this one this time) I’m starting at the beginning…

Where we came from, the sea, and celebrate all things who live there, big and small, colourful and grey, beautiful and those who only a mother could love. First off turtles…

Turtley Japanese

It’s easier when they come to the surface

Yakushima, Japan: Now my first issue in getting to know our old friends from the sea is that I’m not a great swimmer, and an even rubbisher snorkeller.

And more of that later but here’s how you can see a sea turtle without even getting your feet wet.

The rainforest island of Yakushima, off Kyushu‘s southern coast, is home to the largest spawning grounds for loggerhead turtles in the North Pacific.

Between May and August, more than 500 turtles take over the shores of Inakahama Beach and lay their eggs.

And here’s where it becomes a spectator sport.

Because later in the summer we get to see the newly-hatched infants scramble their way to the ocean.

Turtley Bajan

And we’re limin’ in Barbados

As magical as that sounds you really want to try and dip your toe in the ocean.

And strap on that big rubbery snorkel and mask to the face… and believe me if I can do it you can too.

The first encounter I had with turtles in their natural habitat should have been on my first trip to Barbados.

Only I’d overdone it on the rum, both that early morning at Foreday Morning.

That’s the booze, mud, paint and Soca festival for the locals.

And then on the boat which took us out to meet our heroes in a half-shell.

And so while I did see schools of beautiful fish I never did get to meet Mr Turtle.

Fast forward a year though and I was back and determined to catch me me turtle.

As fate would have it I didn’t just get to shake snorkel and shell with one turtle but two.

I was staying at Club Barbados couples hotel, alas alone…

I had invited the Scary One, perhaps not very clearly.

And maybe when one of her beloved gardening or interior decorating shows was on and she had distractedly said no.

Before coming back at me a few days before I travelled to ask me why she couldn’t come.

Anyhoos I went out solo and found that I was the only single in the hotel… and the ocean.

Like the Scottish buses you wait all day for one, and two come along the same time, Mr and Mrs Turtle.

And because this is a family blog I’m not going to tell you what they were up to.

Turtley Floridian

Paradise Coast

And you’d better bring your fins with you when you go to SeaWorld in Tampa Bay in Florida.

That is where I met me sea turtles that were recuperating (and few better places) before being returned to the sea.

Where they’ll swim for years in a loop from the Atlantic Ocean to North Africa.

Before using magnetic fields to find their way back to within 40 to 50 miles of the beaches where they had been hatched.

And to think that I can’t even get to the end of my road.

Without having to either ask someone for directions or call for a search party.

Hatch of the day

Now again because it’s all about us the turtles have been known to make their way to the nest beaches of Marco Island and Naples.

And those who make it their life’s mission to know and protect our turtle friends say.

That the Paradise Coast at the southernmost tip of Florida is where to go for your turtles.

Turtley Maldives

And here in Kuramathi and its wee sister island the 1.2km Kandolhu you get so close to the turtles they become your friends.

Which obviously means giving them names.

Selma was the superstar in Kuramathi in the Maldives when I visited, well the half-shell superstar.

Her keeper Vanessa, a German from the Black Forest, well away from any sea, is the human superstar as she runs the Island Eco Centre.

If you can snap a new turtle with your Go-Pro camera.

It is left out in your room for you on Kandolhu then you too can adopt a turtle.

Now since us humans are all making such a mess of it since we wriggled out of the seas and evolved.

Into the flawed form we now occupy, wouldn’t it be better if we slithered back into the seas.

Only, the turtles probably prefer us to keep our distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – my sporting New York

And as the best golfers in the world hack their way around Winged Foot on the outskirts of New York I’ll drive you around one of the world’s great sports cities with my sporting New York.

Anyone for Tennis

Flushing Meadows, Queens: And we’ve just put down our rackets at the Billie Jean King Center

Home to American tennis’s biggest tournament since 1978 it became a big deal to the residents of Queens obvs and especially my NY rellies.

To whom it gave casual work when they would dream of booming down winning serves.

 

The US Open is a treat awaiting me when I next pitch up there. And it’s hot dogs rather than strawberry and cream.

The Garden

The Mecca for boxing before Vegas and in many traditionalists’ eyes still the place to trade punches.

But I’ve not come here, to Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, for a fight, but a dance.

It’s a Halloween and we’re staying in SoHo and I’ve brought my nine-year-old daughterie here for an ice-skate. Like a real New Yorker.

And like a real New Yorker you’ll be wanting to follow the Rangers in the Garden.

It means something else in New York than in Glasgow, and it’s ice hockey so that’s OK.

Knickerbockers… how sweet!

You’ll know them as the Knicks, New York’s basketball team but the original name was the Knickerbockers.

Knickerbockers are what Americans call plus-fours.

Father Knickerbocker was the symbol of New York, channeling the Dutch influence because they too wore their trousers to just below the knee.

Now all you need is one of those vests (hell, the Americans call them waistcoats) but you know what I mean. And a big foam finger.

Yes, they too play at the Garden.

And Brooklyn has a team too

Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn: Brooklyn is a proud borough (aren’t they all?) which we probably know best for its bridge and the now defunct and romantic baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

But here they have a basketball team too. And the name that jumps out from their roster here is All-Star Kevin Durant.

So that leaves the Yankees and the Mets

New York Yankees, The Bronx, and the New York Mets, Queens: And what they all dream of in New York is a subway series which is a derby to you and me.

Although obviously it turns into a nightmare if you end up on the losing side. My old New York brother and sister friends Tom and Kate informed me that if we were to remain friends then I’d have to pull for the Mets.

I even have the baseball bat and ball here with me on my desk to remind me.

While Kate has few illusions about her beloved Mets who lost the World Subway Series of 2000 to the ‘Damned’ Yankees. ‘They always break your heart, those Mets,’ she sighed.

Their football

Even before we got into the Kevin James sitcom, the King of Queens, I was already being pulled this way by my Uncle Eddie on my first trip to New York, after school.

Uncle Eddie, a proud son of Donegal, now living in Long Island supported the neighbouring Queens teams and particularly the New York Jets.

Whisper it but they’re no longer a Queens team, playing their games in New Jersey. As do their great rivals, the New York Giants. Yes, the same stadium, and that’s another subject we’ll get into sometime.

Then there’s ours

And the New Yorkers look to have embraced our football having flirted with it back in the day with Pele, Beckenbauer and the New York Cosmos.

New York City only has the one team their fans will be quick to tell you, in much the same way that their sister franchise Manchester City supporters will inform you that is the case in Manchester, with United playing in Salford.

New York Red Bulls, the older club, play their games in New Jersey.

This tie-up is as close to a grudge soccer match as you’ll get in the US.

You want more New York… then check out this Old New York piece of old.

MEET YOU AT THE GAME

Adventure, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Music, UK

The real Queen of Barbados

There can only ever be one queen in Barbados so I’m not surprised Elizabeth is getting the push for… my queens.

Dee-Dee The First

‘Don’t come too close you’ll smudge my make-up’, Dee-Dee, the Purple Queen of the Foreday Morning, drolled.

To be fair I had purple paint and mud in my beardie and hair. And enough rum to sink a Johhny Depp ship.

Walk this way, Geraldine

And just like a royal corgi I and my new Virginian friend Patsy would get walked every day from Club Barbados around the Platinum Coast.

By Geraldine who would give us her generational view of her island, political correctness and its colonial past.

But also loved her Soca and burned me a Crop Over CD which when I play it here always brings me back to Bim’s West Coast..

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

In the British vernacular a Ruby is a curry… in my Barbados my Ruby is my cooking instructor.

Ruby at Club Barbados taught me how to make Bajan Cou Cou…

And already a bit Cou Cou, myself, from my morning rum punches she had to pull me into line.

The Saintly Donna

Jimmy, Jevan and Donna

Donna would always bring a friend with her because she needed to be mob-handed for Jevan at Foreday Morning.

And this year they had me to contend with too!

Donna drove us home at about 4am, hosed the paint and mud off us and gave het a Bajan cooked breakfast.

Donna is an angel… and is now looking down on her great love Jevan. Her spirit lives on.

Ri-Ri rah-rah

Where’s that hand?

I spent two trips to Barbados in search of Barbados’s other superstar Rihanna.

I checked out Oiston’s market (that was always too touristy), Bridgetown, the Platinum Coast and the Grand Kadooment, the climax to Crop Over.

But I finally did get my Kiss from Rihanna.

Bajan women rule

Mia my-oh: Mia Mottley

And Mia Mottley rules supreme as Jevan predicted she would when he took me to her rally… and yes, there was rum and soca, my kind of political party.

The head honcho of the Barbados Tourist Board is the redoubtable Cheryl ‘Mrs’ Carter who kept an eagle’s eye on me when I went off piste. Legend!

In the frame: With Cheryl

And Crystal who wouldn’t let the lurgie slow her up, stop her dressing up, getting her nails done (and the Bajans do that in style).

And showed me how to do up a bandana… now look at me.

America, Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

Football’s back – take your pick

Now it all depends on whether you’re American, English, Irish or Australian who all embrace their football game.

It’s in the human DNA you see since the day Cain decided to kick Abel’s skull into a ditch.

So here are some thoughts on some of the teams I’ve adopted from my travels.

Touchdown

Off Pat

New England Patriots: I don’t know if you’re allowed it but I adopt all the American sports teams wherever I go.

It does make it easier to pick a winner if you’ve got the New York Jets (my Long Island cousins’-team), the Washington Redskins who are now looking for a new team, and the Denver Broncos.

It’s just that you go with the team where you spend the most time… and that was my summer after university in Boston.

Hoop dreams

All’s Well: Celtic v Motherwell. www.celticfc.net

And I had little choice growing up in Glasgow in the Seventies where Catholics and Protestants didn’t mix to choose Celtic.

Particularly as my Great-Uncles had built Celtic Park.

But Scots kids were allowed too to have an English team and I chose Liverpool.

Forward fast to the Nineties, had a son on Merseyside and it came full circle with The Son and Heir becoming a fully-fledged Red.

GAA-GAA

Prize guys: Donegal

In Ireland, soccer (football) was known as a Garrison game, a preserve of the occupying British Army.

And Gaelic Football, Camogie (the female version) and the stick game hurling were the Irish sports.

I could pick any of Donegal, my Dear Old Mum’s county, Dublin where I worked for 13 years or Co. Wicklow, my adopted home.

But as my Mum drummed it into us as kids that Donegal was the best place on Earth.

And that the rest of Ireland hate serial winners Dublin, it has to be Donegal.

Perth, WA

What’s up your sleeve?

My bonds with Western Australia started when my parents took me back a jersey of the West Coast Eagles. Minus the sleeves of course.

And continued when I joined a Top Deck booze bus to the Oktoberfest in Munich and discovered they were all Aussies and Kiwis.

Fast forward six months and Brownie and Smutley had arrived on my Aberdeen doorstep and went on to set up a WA colony there with their friends.

My one and only Aussie Rules football game was with an English guy at Surrey’s cricket ground, The Oval.

I remember Collingwood were one of the teams but don’t recall the other.

Collingwood are the New England Patriots, Dublin or Manchester United of their country.

Everybody else dislikes them unless you’re one of them.

MEET YOU ON THE PITCH