Today’s deadline was simply to get to Christchurch with enough time to park up and catch a few Z’s before the England match at 4am the next morning. No big rush, then! We woke and had breakfast before leaving the campervan park and stopping a few yards further down the road for a go at the Gold Rush minigolf.
The site also has an Adventure Maze thingy, but it was closed due to the weather being somewhat inclement. OK, freezing. There are quite a few jumps and so forth inside, apparently, the worst result of which is usually just a bit of a dunking in some tepid water. The owner wasn’t that keen on people asking for their money back to help pay for time off work due to snapped limbs so had decided to just open the golf up. He’d done a great job of clearing all the snow away so it seemed a shame not to take advantage of his hard work.
In the car park we made friends with another local – a little black and white cat which took to following us round the entire golf course. We treated her as a natural hazard (unless she ran off with the ball in which case replacing at approximately the point of original contact was allowed) and it was the duty of the non-player to keep her busy.
It really was a nice course, the snow really showing it off. The owner was a hugely friendly guy who’s two sons were abroad – one in London and one in Canada somewhere. Nice bloke – tell him we said “hi” if you pop in.
In passing, and not to gloat, I thrashed Lou at the Gold Rush course. Of course, I’m typing this up without letting her read it so she’d probably argue about the use of the word “thrash”. But there’s nothing she can do about it. Ha!
The drive back down to Christchurch was fairly quiet apart from Lou trying to find a campervan park for us to use when I was quite happy to just park up in a street somewhere. Women seem to have this idea in their head that if they mention “showers” and “toilets” often enough, men will bow to the pressure and fork out money just so that one of us can’t drink during a major sports event.
We spotted an Irish pub doing steaks for $10 and pulled into a shopping centre just past it to get some groceries. Also nearby was a cinema which we scouted for times and then we made soup for a late lunch / appetiser for dinner. It did seem somewhat trailer trashy making soup in a campervan in a shpping centre car park, but ask me how much I cared.
Dinner was superb. $10 is little over £3.30 and for that we got a fairly impressively sized (and superbly cooked) steak with far too many chips and salad. We had to have an early meal so we could make the cinema in time for the film we’d picked out – Poseidon. I admit I wasn’t really expecting much from it… and that’s about what I got. It was OK, I suppose. Some great set pieces and the effects made Titanic look like a rubber dinghy – plus no crappy love story running underneath when all everyone’s really bothered about is watching the boat go down.
Straight after the film we headed into Christchurch centre and found some free parking a stonesthrow from Cathedral Square and the Holy Grail sports bar. We thought it best to scout out the pub beforehand, so plodded over and – lucky us – got there as hapy hour started. $3 pints and decent pool tables. An hour and a couple of Tui’s later, we returned to the van and conked out, the alarm set for 3:30am.
Because we weren’t in a van park with the 220V cable plugged into a junction box, the power sockets (and therefore the fan heater) in the van wouldn’t work. Lou’s got this issue about being cold so we ended up with a duvet and two sleeping bags on the bed. Needless to say, she slept snuggly while I woke up at about 1am covered in more sweat than the last time I did Body Combat at the gym. It may have been freezing outside, but I slept on top of the covers until the alarm went off.
Rob had already arrived at the Grail when we called him, so we ran across Cathedral Square to get there quickly. Lou had forgotten her England shirt (doh!) so was wrapped in my NUFC/St George flag.
Beers were ordered and pessimistic opinions of our chances against weaker opposition spouted before kickoff… and another thoroughly dull game. Pretty true to form for El Sven. 82 minutes failing to score against Trinidad and Tobago – and not even a shot on target worthy of the name until Crouch’s goal. We may well have qualified for the next round, but I don’t hold out much hope with Sven bowing to popular pressure and insisting on running Rooney out instead of Owen.
Regardless, we had a good night and it was nice to see Rob again. We may catch him and Pam again when we head back north at the end of our little break. We schlepped back to the van and buried ourselves back under the covers at around 6:30 with the alarm set for 8:50. Just enough time to shift the van before we had to pay for the parking!