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The benefits of optimism...a tale without Haggis

After a fairly typical week by my standards, this weekend was, well, by my standards, strangely typical. Yesterday, Bec and I got up early because she kindly dropped me at Cardiff airport. I met up with some of the players, who told me that the team manager had a little problem - he'd turned up with an expired passport and no other valid ID, and had been turned away. This meant that we didn't actually have our kit, either. I was also informed that we had lost a handful of good players to injury in the last couple of days.

The flight to Glasgow was incident free, and I arrived with 8 players (and various WAGs and family members) for the 10-a-side Haggis cup; an Aussie Rules carnival held in Scotland each year. I had been nice and organised and had hired a car. Unfortunately, Alamo couldn't get their act together, and I was left waiting for my car for an hour and a half. It raised the question of whether their stuffing me around was routine service or whether I needed to pay extra for the privilege.

At the same time, we found that the venue had been changed because it was water-logged and council health and safety meant we weren't allowed to use it. We went to the new venue - only to discover the same thing. We eventually made it to the revised venue, and got started half an hour late. We were up first, and only got the jumpers we were being lent a couple of minutes before the game.

We borrowed a couple of players to make up 10, and off we went. Unfortunately, I let the lack-of-jumpers be an excuse for the team preparing poorly, and we started the first game quite slowly. I made a couple of changes but by then the damage had been done (matters not helped by our oponents kicking some freakish goals), and the eventual tournament winners beat us comfortably. Full credit to the boys though, and they kept trying right until the end.

In the next game, we were better prepared, and just a couple of unlucky breaks and some good kicking for goal by the opposition saw us go down in a close match. Like the previous game, they kept trying right to the end though.

I set the systems in place for the team for the final match (which the boys won, to end the competition in 5th place), said my goodbyes and headed off to Edinburgh airport, because I didn't want to leave Rebecca home alone this close to the due date. I left plenty of time to get to Edinburgh and catch the 5:15 flight.

Or so I thought

Unfortunately, I missed one turn due to a poorly laid out sign. No worries. I still had 2 and a quarter hours. I took the next exit, hoping for a roundabout so I could go back. I had to wait for the next exit from that motorway, which was only 3-4 miles or so. Unfortunately, there had been an accident and the traffic was absolutely horrendous. An hour and a half later, and I have got to the exit. An hour and a half of stop-start traffic. An hour and a half of panic.

I got to the roundabout, went round it and fifteen minutes later, I had returned the car. Now, with the time at the gate-closing time, me still needing to get from the car drop-off to the terminal, get in, find where I'm going etc. a sense of reality suggests that I am not going to make it. Consequently, the most rational course of action is to keep the car overnight, find somewhere to stay and fill it with petrol the next day before I return it.

I am, however, a remarkably optimistic person, and like I try to instil in my team, I keep trying right to the end. I dropped the car off, and went to catch the courtesy bus to the terminal. 26 mins until take-off. The gate is supposed to have closed.

The bus was 4 minutes late. 21 mins to go. People get on and off along the way, and then I lose another minute as the bus driver changes and we have a different driver. I put my valuables in my bag and get out my passport and boarding pass (thank easy jet for online checkin). I no longer know the time, but I no longer need to worry about setting off the metal detectors.

I get to the first security hurdle, and series of "excuse me, I don't want to be rude, but my plane leaves at 5:15. Would you mind if I pass through"s, and I am through. The same trick at the queue for screening gets me to someone who apologises for not speaking English. I point to the 5:15 on the boarding pass, and he motions me passed.

I am now at the front of the line, bag in one hand, belt and shoes off. I pass through security without at a problem, take the shoes and belt in hand, sling the bag, and bolt. Fortunately, the gate was close, and from full speed and in my socks, I do a 10 metre skid to the desk, am let through, and make it on the plane with two minutes to spare.

The optimism certainly paid off.

From there, everything was anti-climactically, but happily, easy, and I make it to Swansea, and back home, with no problems at all.

But through all that, I didn't actually eat any Haggis...

Today was house working day. The floors are ready in both rooms, the bedroom ceiling is done, while the spare bedroom ceiling will get one more coat. Simon and Anja came round and helped with the plastering, and we got one wall done. I also started re-assembling the wardrobe. But with the wall done, we will be able to move in on Wednesday.

I hope.

But we have seen the value of hope, haven't we...


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