There’s light at the end of the tunnel.So it’s the start of the end game ,or beginning of the end ,or just our last blog ! For now!
Ambers last road trip for a while heading for the docks at Kawasaki just south of Tokyo.
Mt Fuji With first snow cap of the winter . We must have seen Mt Fuji about 10 different times from various angles and every time.Its just Sugoi! If you know what I mean!
Bye bye Amber you’ve been a good girl and have earned a well deserved rest,just don’t embarrass yourself at the docks with all that clean concrete and taking a leak or not starting when you arrive in Southampton for the New Year celebrations!
She’s just getting a good looking at by a Japanese customs official and shipping agent before we kiss her goodbye and wish her a safe journey homewards! Wow it’s really strange being without her!
And even stranger without these two who are heading back to Blighty and work !,
Having left home on the 1st of May and today being the 5th November that makes it just over 6 months ,188 days to be exact and to be pedantic it equates to 4,521 hours.
Of which I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every single one (except for the hour after loosing the Final against S Africa)! But even that was tempered by a great evening out after the match meeting up with fellow England supporters .We certainly do celebrating losing well.Which is more than can be said for some of the other teams!
After a good win against Australia and a few celebratory pints, things are looking up !
Even the mighty All Blacks had to huddle together!
One great moment which will stay ,is this one ! England facing down the All Blacks Haka. Which was done with respect and dignity even though England RFU were fined for breaking a rule it was worth every penny as it set the mood for the game of the tournament!
With Exeter Chiefs very own Luke Cowan Dickie over the line along side Billy Vinapola naughty boys!
Cousin Owen Farrell accepting the bow from the All Blacks!
Fire met with Fire! England v South Africa in the RWC Final A great build up and fantastic atmosphere .The game didn’t go as planned and South Africa were crowned the Worthy winners!
Where I must confess The Bottle of Otter I had been carrying out in the hope of delivering it to Ben Moon just had to be opened.
It had been with us all the way from Otter Brewery in the Blackdown hills stashed away in Amber,smuggled across borders,strapped down and constantly drooled over but not opened until all hope of Ben Moon being called up had faded. Which was about half way through the second half when things were looking a bit grim! Sorry Ben I just couldn’t resist it any longer!
After match celebrations spent with many of our new friends.It has been an unforgettable experience being with these guys and many more met along the way.See you next time chums!
Another great character who we had been in contact along the way is this shy retiring guy John Richardson who drove his Land Rover solo from the UK getting as far as Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia before it experienced catastrophic transmission failure so had to be left and will be retrieved some time next year. A true gentleman of the road – In the nicest possible way!
Our route to the Final was not without incident and they don’t get much better than this one!
When I bought our tickets for the England games ,1/4 finals, Semi final and Final I must have had a Glastonbury festival ticket buying panic moment as I managed to purchase the 3rd/4th play off Bronze final tickets instead of the Final .To be honest I wasn’t sure England would go all the way so decided to buy once we knew for sure.
Well having beaten, Australia, New Zealand in the knockout games it was time to start looking for tickets. With a week to go this should have been easy. With the power of the internet, Facebook resale sites and loads of leads coming in from all over the world but there were none being sold at face value that we could purchase.Refusing on principal to buy tickets from those wishing to make huge profits ,highest price we had been offered for a standard ticket was £3,500
So I made a sign for my hat and wandered around with it on and a look of desperation around the popular NZ hotels and bars to no avail .Time was now running out with less than a day to go I posted a picture and a shout out for help on Facebook and was inundated with advice, suggestions and wishes of good luck. There we also several friends and contacts who had emailed their contacts .
Through the power of Facebook the BBC heard about our plight and wanted to do an interview about our journey so we met up with the three man BBC team about 15:00 did a quick chat to camera wearing my hat and tickets wanted sign.This gave the production crew time to prepare it for the U.K. 13:00 lunchtime news program which was then repeated at 18:00 and then again at 22:00 ! We were certainly getting the attention as my phone just kept pinging with lots of messages and support.
A long story short but I eventually decided that time was running out and reluctantly concluded that to pay a little over the face value would be OK as it was from a friend of a friend of a friend from New Zealand . Price agreed and payment terms arranged I was having difficulties making payment which lasted for about 3 hours of losing signal, battery, patience and then finally card was blocked! Things were getting a little tense I can tell you!
My brother Simon who is resident in Tokyo could see this was going nowhere so suggested he paid from his card which was a great relief as time was cracking on !
Simon was typing in the details with just the send button to hit and at that very second my phone pinged an email from the Rugby World Cup organisers offering two tickets FOC! They had been contacted by a complete stranger to me, a Mr Bill McCafferty who had sent an email to both the RWC and Jaguar Landrover advising them of our trip and predicament which obviously hit the right buttons as offers from both came in. So to all friends ,family ,Facebook chums and the mysterious Mr Bill McCafferty The RWC organisers and Landrover. Thank you so much for all you did it was such a relief to have finally obtained tickets after a journey of a lifetime it brought a tear to the eye!
Some random shots of some memories of our last few days in Japan thanks to our resident navigator and photographer Sue.
This handsome chap is Kai my nephew who we had some great bonding time with.A potential overlander of the future!His Parents Simon and Tomoko have been fantastic hosts being so generous allowing us to base ourselves with them and ensuring our stay was eventful and full of memories to take home.Thank you so much Simon and Tomoko. Arigato!
So now leaving ,thank you Japan and the Japanese for everything we have experienced . I have never travelled in a country like it before, so different in so many ways but so familiar in others.Much to learn from their culture and respectfulness of others .We will definitely be back for more Onsens,Chicken slabs,and other treats!
If anyone is thinking of going to the Olympics next year just book your flights it will be a fantastic event I’m sure.
Our view out of the window this morning is of some of the mountainous terrain we travelled through and over on the way out.Which seems a very long time ago,it’s been a blast and a life changing experience.
Which I only hope anyone who has managed to read this drivel so far ,might just be inspired to do what ever has been niggling away at them for 30 or 40 years ! Go on you know you want to!
What could possibly go wrong? Just remember it’s when things go wrong that the best memories and friendships are made!
What’s next ? I have no idea what’s around the next corner, except for planting 400/500 trees to offset our carbon footprint.Which will be a job for the winter months and then let’s see what happens next spring .You never know Brexit might have happened , we will have a new government hopefully and England will win the Six Nations, Calcutta Cup and The Grand Slam!
Bring it on.Come on England!
Thanks for following us it’s been like travelling with friends .With over 13,000 views of swinglowsweetchariot.blog I just hope it will have inspired and encouraged those who want to do something a bit Bonkers!