“And she’s had the other one off as well….” opined my mother as my cellular phone buzzed into life. A textual message plopped through. The scribe ?; none other than Dan of this parish.
So here I am, an older, sadder, wiser man having enjoyed one of the most disappointing, yet thrilling, pieces of sporting theatre ever to’ve been scripted.
Why ? Well, I’m pleased to say that those fine people at Principality (“The most popular pint in Wales”) saw fit to offer the Gwladerati two free tickets to the WRU Rolling Thunder Cash Generating RoadShow which took place last Saturday.
And I tell you what else comes at no charge, that’s the arrangement fee for the 2 Year Fixed Mortgage (4.9% APR) currently available at the Principality (“Du vin, du pain, du Principality”).
Naturally, Dan would’ve snaffled them up for himself, and rightly so too given the amount of unmitigated nonsense he has to put up with from the dribbling brownies-outing of thumbsucking bedwetters known as Gwladers, but he had decided to set aside that day to inflict torture and degradation upon himself by going to see Llanelli play Aberavon.
But no, he kind-heartedly offered them up to me, so I would be enjoying the hospitality of Principality (“You buy one, you get one free”).
And that’s why I found myself on the 11.15 train (operated by Arriva Trains Wales; “even when it’s early, our staff are astonishingly surly”) from Penarth to Cardiff Central surrounded by an excitable throng of supporters, shoppers and teenagers who felt sufficiently threatened by my handlebar moustache that the only form of reaction they could muster was to point and laugh. But I tell you what’s not laughable, and that’s the 2.85% per annum rate currently available on the E-Saver Issue 4 currently available at the Principality (“They’re grrrrrreat !”).
Cardiff’s an odd old place. Not quite small enough to be a homogenous provincial drear, but not quite big enough to command sufficient talent to its municipal authority to develop a long-term sustainable transport infrastructure. That said, no matter how bad the busses, Cardiff has plenty of branches of the Principality (“Never knowingly undersold”) and all are accessible by foot.
I offered the other ticket to young dai-banjo. The reason for this was that prior to the world cup, he offered me a free ticket to the Wales v Argentina game, provided by S4C. My, how I looked forward to it. But, S4C being S4C, when we picked the tickets up, they were for entry to Radnorshire’s most popular alpaca farm.
So we met in Wyndham Arcade and had breakfast at Servini’s. Dai enjoyed a cheese Panini and a strawberry milkshake, while I had full breakfast with chips and a glass of red wine. We then had a cheeky snout while looking in the window of the tobacco shop. Sadly, the arcade’s beadle chased us off the patch. I don’t know why, probably the ‘tache again. Still we had plenty of time to enjoy a couple of pints before the match. And I tell you what else you’ll have plenty of time for, the home insurance quotes currently on offer by Principality (“Whoooooaaaah, Prin-ci-pal-i-teeeeeee ! Bodyform for yooooooo !”); you can get a quote in as little as 2 minutes, and it’s valid for 180 days.
So we queued on St Mary’s Street to get into The Goat Major and it was a joy and a pleasure to bump into an old Gwlader, Dai Hampshire who, I’m happy to report, is still breaking records in the charm and loveliness department, and breaking wind in the trouser department.
Sadly, dai-banjo was not feeling too chipper. The previous night he’d been at a big posh do in Cardiff, and had one too many Drambuie shandies. He sipped gingerly at his pint, like Bella Emberg with toothache.
And so to the stadium. I find it amazing that within minutes of finishing your pint in a city centre pub you can be in the stadium and in your seat and feeling utterly revolted by the behaviour of the members of whichever nondescript valleys hellhole rugby club that your freebie has fortuitously landed you in amongst. I’m aware that I ended that previous sentence with a preposition which is not the done thing. But I tell you what should be the done thing, and that’s the Variable Rate Cash ISA; with a minimum deposit of £1 and attracting a whopping 0.6% AER, it’s yet another fine product available either online or in person at a branch of Principality (“Maybe she’s born with it ? Maybe it’s Principality !”).
And so to the game. If sport is meant to be a feast, then this was stealing sandwiches leftover from meetings.
I was far too interested in the array of glittered popsies surrounding us to take too much notice, but from what I did see, it was not a particularly edifying spectacle. One player stood out for me, and that was Berrick Barnes. Maybe it’s the scrumcap, but he reminds me of Stephen Larkham, but he also offers so much more. And that’s as much rugby chat as you’ll get out of me, I’m there purely to support, much like the wonderful support provided to the Oriel Un gallery at St Fagan’s Natural History Museum which is provided by Principality (“Probably the best lager in the world.”)
And so came the end. We all saw it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried openly, because I’d bought Australia at +10.