Are There Any Men Left in Britain?

Friday morning and the hotel is swarming with men in British Lions’ rugby shirts. Out in the street? Thousands more red rugby shirts. On the bus? You’ve guessed it… more Lions shirts. Anyone would think there was a rugby match going on!

I had not realised that the British Lions were due to play in Sydney this weekend but it didn’t take long for the penny to drop. The fans in the hotel where I am staying are Welsh so I’m surrounded by people who start talking in English, veer off into Welsh and then back to English. It’s just as well I don’t want to eavesdrop as it would be terribly frustrating!

It’s a similar story out in the street. Mind you, they are not all Welsh, there are some Scots and English fans as well. In fact, I came across some English fans on the bus. One of them made a really sexist remark about women not being able to understand the time difference between the UK and Australia. Well, I couldn’t let that one go, could I? I was very restrained – I simply turned around to face him and told him to ‘watch it’. His companions all chuckled at his situation. We chatted a little and one told me he lived in Ashford, Kent, which was where I went to senior school. Following on from that, this morning in the hotel restaurant, I was chatting with some of the Welsh fans and it turned out that one of them had a brother living in the town where I live!

I have to say that the fans I have encountered have all be very pleasant and chatty. It hasn’t felt at all threatening being in the street with so many around. i’m really not sure I would have felt so at ease with football fans.

I asked one of the fans in the hotel where the match was being played, as there were at least two possible venues. I also asked what time it was due to start. I wanted to know so that I could ensure I kept away from the stadium. Luckily it was being played at the Olympic stadium, which is to the west of Sydney city centre and is further out than where Nick lives.

On my return to the hotel on Saturday evening I checked the result of the match with the staff on Reception. I was stunned to discover that the British Lions won. My prediction is lots of noise tonight (yep!) and lots of headaches tomorrow morning!

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