New Years Eve
Another early start as we had to make our way to the Airport to catch our flight to Sydney. Probably didn’t help that we had a long night in the Casino (well financially it did) but we were all pretty excited at the night ahead. We arrived at the airport nice and early, well very early in fact as our flight time had been put back an hour. The flight was ok, it only took just over an hour so it wasn’t long before we saw Hemmings and Kendal at the arrivals lounge. Hemmings had travelled on his own to Sydney and arrived a in the morning whilst Kendal had caught an earlier flight from Melbourne.
We jumped in a cab and asked for the Mercure Apartments in Darling Harbour. It looked like we were onto a winner when we saw the red carpet out in reception, although we did panic at one stage when the receptionist couldn’t find our booking. Eventually they found our room and we made our way up to floor 8. As soon as we opened the door we couldn’t quite believe our eyes, the place was awesome! Probably the nicest abode we had set foot in. Take a look at the pictures of the apartment and then at the views we had from our balcony.
As it was mid-afternoon, we headed out to find a supermarket and stock up the 6 tier fridge with alcohol and meat for the BBQ before we got ready to head to Bondi for the evening. The tunes were pumping inside, Kangaroo steak sizzling on the BBQ outside and the bottles of beer flying down (hard life this Australia game).
Once we had all finished getting ready for the evening, we took advantage of seeing the city skyline at night and also gazed up into the stars with the telescope we found on the balcony. There were already fireworks going off around the city and the vibe was good, this was going to be a special night.
The crowd down at Bondi were very glamorous and high in numbers. It didn’t take us too long to get in though and we made our way straight to the beer tents. After stocking up on Heineken and Smirnoff Ice (Turbo Shandys were to follow!) we found a spot in the middle not too far from the stage. Basement Jaxx played in the New Year with some cheesy classics …. Oh, oh my Gosh! And the main man Mousier Sinclar came on shortly after. If I’m totally honest we were left a bit disappointed with his set as he played a lot of commercial records for the Aussie crowd but the night was still wicked. We then had the job of getting 10 of us back to the Apartment, only problem was we all seemed to lose each other so it was going to be quite a test.
Whitto, Kendal and Anderson were the first to arrive back but made the schoolboy error of leaving the two keyholders (Alby & Jacko) there. Obviously they thought we’d be back not long after them but we didn’t show up until two hours later so they were left waiting in reception.
As we arrived back to the apartment we were greeted with this burly looking man with an ear-piece attached opening the cab doors and taking our money to pay the driver. Whitto followed explaining that this is his new bodyguard! Apparently as the boys were waiting for our return in reception this guy arrives and approaches Whitto asking if he was related to Danny Green. Of course Whitto tells him that he’s his cousin and then next thing he knows they’re having a long chat about Whitto and Danny Green’s family and the bodyguard can’t stop looking after Whitto, making sure his coffee was hot, opening doors etc. At this stage we hadn’t a clue who Danny Green was but we were quite mystified and eager to find out.
When everyone managed to get back into the room, we carried on drinking, at least they did, no surprise that I fell asleep. I think they finally stopped about 6am when there a few knocks at the door, probably in complaint of the loud verses of 10 Terry Waite’s being sang at the top of their voices.
New Years Day
After a pretty long day and night previously the movement that morning was pretty slow. Me, Whitto and Anderson laid in bed watching Laurence of Arabia whilst everyone else got ready to go and look around the Harbour. The plan was to join them (at least that’s what we told them!) after the film had finished but for those who have watched it will know how long it goes on for. So instead we got the BBQ back on and the beers back open. When everyone all returned we were exactly how they left us, walking around the apartment with towels on our heads dressed as Arabs.
Wanting to make the most of the luxury we were living in we decided not to go out in the evening. Instead we went and made the most of the facilities by going from a swim, Jacuzzi and sauna. The weather was pretty crazy too with one half of the city completely black and the other half in bright sunshine. A storm was brewing.
We still sat up pretty late even though it was an early start and I even managed to knock up some spag bol at 2am for Me, Johno and Whitto when we got the munchies.
Our Last Chance
Another opening Test which started with rain, must have something to do with us being here I’m sure. We weren’t complaining too much as it gave us a chance to spend a little bit longer in bed and of course the more play lost to the weather the better chance of England getting a draw and not losing the series 5-0.
Whilst me and Whitto made our way to the SCG the others headed to Kings Cross to our new hostel in the middle of Sydney’s Red Light District. Now before everyone gets the wrong idea this is apparently one of Sydney’s liveliest areas with lots of bars and is popular with backpackers. There are quite a few hostels which are pretty cheap and anyway it’s the only place we could get into for the New Year.
Typically England wickets were falling but there was a glimpse of hope as we put a bit of a stand on in our middle order. Sat in amongst the Barmy Army we were thoroughly enjoying the afternoon. Meanwhile down at Sydney Harbour the boys were taking a look around the Opera House and took a ride around the Harbour in a Taxi Boat.
Unfortunately our evening was ruined as we had a bit of a nightmare with our room at the hostel. Someone had been staying in our room and hadn’t checked out so we had all their things and they had a key. Also two other people had been checked into our room and put their things in, which meant us having eight people in a four bed dorm. We spent most of the night trying to sort it out with the receptionist and were too weary to leave the room unattended at anytime in case our possessions were to go missing.
Just when we thought it had all been resolved the next morning someone else had then been checked in again! Finally everything had been sorted by the afternoon and we got a free night’s stay for our troubles.
More Tea Vicar
Looking like we might actually have a chance in the final Test it all went pear-shaped as we struggled to bowl out the Australia tail. Things went from bad to worse as we ended the day five wickets down and still in pursuit of making Australia bat again.
The weather had improved considerably and making the most of a bright sunny day Johno and Jacko were checking out Bondi Beach for the first time. They were very impressed indeed and the first thing they told us was that we could have a great game of Beach cricket down there!
We went our separate ways in the evening, Johno and Jacko went into the city for a drink with the girls from our hostel in Melbourne that they met in Kos whilst me and Whitto went out for dinner with our friend Gemma who had come travelling with her mate Lisa too.
But we soon ended up together later on as we met the other boys in the World Bar. It was packed when we got in there, song after song was Indie Rock and they were all drinking out of teapots ….. a bit of us we thought! As Kendal, Anderson, Faye and Jo were going up to Whitsundays the next day it was mandatory that we made a night of it and we failed to disappoint.
With England still trailing we didn’t hold much hope now of winning the test but at least we hoped we could set some kind of target. We got to the ground about 20mins after play started and were already a bit worried when we some England fans getting into a cab? Not for one minute though did we expect to see that we had already lost three wickets! A bit of a stand at the end but we were soon leaving the ground before lunch. Oh well.
Outside the ground we thought we’d have a few pictures done with our ‘Basildon Hammers’ flag. As Whitto isn’t a hammer it was up to him to take the pictures, then some suited guy kindly asks if we’d like him to take them. The next thing we know a camera crew came over and he asked if he could ask us some questions for Channel Ten news. We kindly obliged and talked about the Ashes as Johno remained upbeat and told him how there was still plenty of beer to drink and women to meet! Of course after that we didn’t expect it to make the news at all, I mean they probably interview loads of people and pick the best.
In the evening we decided we were going to try out a club next door to our hostel called The Cross but due to the fact England fans had been singing all day in The Empire Hotel (a lot of pubs are called hotels) a Barmy Army base, the doormen were reluctant to let us in. So our thinking was ‘if you can’t beat them join them’. We into the Empire but found ourselves upstairs in the club area and not with the drunken English downstairs.
Nothing unusual was happening, we were having a good booze, an ogle around and a dance when I recognised the English guys we met in Melbourne whilst drinking all them shots watching the Perth Test. Johno went up and said hello and straight away one of them said “I thought I recognised you when I saw you on the TV earlier and kept thinking, I know that face!”
So it appears our interview did end up being shown on the News and the mad thing is we’d never had known had we not bumped into some English blokes we met in another city nearly a month a go.