I drove to London and back yesterday; it’s so easy and free to park in the suburbs on many of the resident permit- holder spaces (weekends only and still check each road’s signage. Don’t try this during the week though – you are likely to get ticketed, clamped or a brick through your windscreen).
The vibe along the Thames was very hearty. Plastic pint cups of pimms and lager were sipped, dripped and tipped off the walls along the Westminster section of The Boat Race route.
The crowds were friendly, and reminding me of a rugby match at Twickenhan I took my daughter to watch back in December 2012.
As we mingled through Victorian streets that cold day we were shoulder to shoulder with Kiwi fans, our England supporter facepaint flags clearly on display. Like a glacier moving slowly but steadily towards the stadium from the tube, excited fans from both teams intertwined and shuffled along towards the spectacle.
“We won’t win obviously.” I told my daughter who was then about twelve. “They’re the All Blacks – the best team on the planet, but the atmosphere will be incredible because they have come to hallowed turf. This is where rugby began. A match here, against them? It doesn’t get much better.” I explained as we paused at a garden whose owners had set up a gazebo under which they were cooking hot dogs with onions, like many of the enterprising residents.
Every few properties displayed different food options and cans of fizzy or water … whether they’d attained licenses I’ve no idea but it appeared to be the norm and all had queues.
For anyone even only vaguely into rugby, they will know which match I am referring to.
Watching the Haka was a heart beat-inducing treat. So impressive. So gang. So male. So intense. I adore watching it close up on tv but I’d been looking forward to watching one live. However they couldn’t be heard! England supporters chanting and singing their way through the Haka ensured that their team members stood facing their opponents on the grass below felt no intimidation from the AllBlacks’ ancient chant, but instead only support from their own!
(photo credit – zimbio)
We led from the start, it was electrifying. No-one could believe it; including the kiwis. It will go down in the sporting history books and we were there to see it!
Even the mood of the glacier during the shuffle back to the tube remained fun, light-hearted and above all, safe.
And this is what I felt yesterday sat on top of the wall waiting that hour before the ladies race started back somewhere on the shores of Putney. Healthy banter between rival supporters 👌🏼🥂 all very pleasant. Swallows & Amazons, University-style 🤣.
Amusing moments when the Thames came up to surprise us due to wakes created by the flotilla of boats who follow the racing teams upstream (I’ve watched this live on TV for years but never absorbed the fact they row upstream).
Before I go…. I must just share that yesterday morning before I departed, I did some research for the book. I need Milan to be the central city… but I needed the vineyard to be no more than an hour and a half away by car.
Research for your plot is so essential. As a reader, if I come across a fact which ‘simply wouldn’t work’ I lose faith in that story, then the author. If they couldn’t be bothered to research that, or ask a Profressional (perhaps they chose a gory death for their MC but forgot the disease they opted for was wiped out a hundred years ago) why should I believe their characters?
So our vineyard now, my lovelies, is on the shores of the river Po. It flows eastward out into the Adriatic. You see? I even gave myself an impromptu geography lesson, mixed with a little history lesson because I learnt about wines developed in the Lombardy region (good, I needed to know that setting my vineyard there could be believable 👌🏼).
So I am truly excited now that I can picture Lucy’s journey to and from Milan from Varzi … an old district on the Po with lots of history.
By the way. I don’t drink wine!! It gives me migraines. Hilarious; why the hell have I chosen that subject then? 🙈 Well, I’m guessing if I ever publish this and you stick by me and read a copy, it’s not my wine connoisseur moments you’ll be looking for is it 😈