After all of this time waiting around our Jetstar plane (Boooo) even managed to be late taking off. This turned out to be due to a couple of passengers not turning up as they possibly deciding that rowing their way home to Oz would actually be quicker than using Jetstar. We finally made it into the air and at long last we were on our way from South East Asia to Australia, amazing eh! Australia here come the Poms, a nickname that is possibly short for Pomegranates, which after the heat of the Sun is what we are said to resemble!
We had one of the biggest and best welcomes ever as we were greeted by our former drinking (and dancing) buddy from Dalat, Vietnam, Sue. I cannot tell you how much our plans have been flung into utter confusion since Sue suggested we come over and see her and stay with her family. It is not something we had ever envisaged or planned for but isn’t that what is supposed to happen on these trips, you sometimes get the chance to do something you never imagined, so here we were. I can give you some idea of the extent to which our plans were in disarray by saying that we had only planned to do the East coast of Oz but already here we were on the West. Sue and, although he had no idea what he was letting himself in for, her husband Neil had offered so we had made a bit of a detour to go and see someone we had only shared a couple of nights with in Dalat in Vietnam and I could not believe their generosity, maybe they are mass murderers, who knows but I like them already.
When we met her Sue was all a jibber jabber – now please understand that this is something of a ‘normal’ state for Sue but today she seemed even more frenzied and not just at our arrival either, so we guessed that ‘something was afoot’ and whilst driving us back to her home in Fremantle she began to explain to us about today’s ‘big game’. The game was Australian rules football, (football, as in kick a ‘ball’ with your ‘foot’ or ‘feet’?) and the local team Fremantle were playing in the semi finals of the cup and our host Sue supported ‘Freo’ like only the truly fanatical can. So everyone was doing as fanatical fans do the world over when they have no tickets for the actual game itself – go to the pub and watch the game on the big screen instead, so it was that me and Liz had been invited to go along as well and perhaps see what all the fuss was about eh … lol!
On the way back to her house Sue also popped us into her husband’s business so we could be introduced. We were both extremely grateful to Sue for inviting us but she had met us before, her husband Neil did not know us from Adam and yet he seemed genuinely happy to meet us and that was quite astonishing – could I honestly say that I would have been so gracious, I am honestly not sure I would be even though I like to think I would. His welcome was gratefully appreciated by both of us and he was a really good bloke too.
At the garage we also met Sue’s youngest daughter Meg who like her sister Lucy seemed to be a ‘go get ’em’ type of girl another great laugh too, Sue’s eldest Lucy was her travelling companion when we met them both in Dalat. Meg had brought her new pick up that Neil had just recently finished restoring and it was an absolutely beautiful car and it had been great to meet Meg too.
Once back at their house Sue showed us around the place and cooked us a bite to eat as well. Their home was lovely, unlike the UK, Australian homes are mainly bungalow style and built on large tracts of land but Sue and Neil’s house had an upstairs too but the place was open-plan and lovely. We found out that Neil had worked on it since they had bought it and had even made some of the furniture too, the place looked like a show home with some really nice wood features and furniture. Right now though we needed to catch up on a bit of sleep though as we were both absolutely knackered and with the excitement of the game to look forward to, we needed to be in good shape for the evening … lol.
When we awoke we got togged up in the team’s colours as Sue lent us a Freo top each – purple – and I topped the look off with my ‘Grandad Cap’ and so dressed off we went into town. This was to be our first look at Fremantle and it managed to look like both a quaint and buzzing place at the same time. The pub Sue took us to summed up this feeling completely and because of the game the place was filling up quickly but we managed to find ourselves a table big enough for everyone due to arrive to all sit round. So nicely ensconced we had ourselves couple of beers before the big game but this came as quite a shock as it is quite expensive here in Australia compared to the prices we had been used to paying in Asia. Then Lucy turned up to and it was great to catch up with her and all she had been up to since we had last met.
Then Neil turned up as did a lady called Jan and one of Neil’s mates and soon enough we had quite a large party round our table and just in time for the game to start too. Me and Liz did not have the greatest grasp of what was going on in the game exactly except that although the game was named ‘foot’ball, kicking only seemed to be a very small part of the proceedings. The Dockers ‘our team’ seemed to get off to a great start too and seemed to be having the best of the play but Hawthorn soon enough came back and then they started to forge ahead into the lead. This is one of those games that is played in ‘quarters’ and though it was all new to us it was also quite fascinating to watch too. As the game progressed though both sides started making mistakes but it was the Dockers whose mistakes were becoming ever more costly and eventually the Hawthorn Hawks ran out 94 to 67 winners!
Afterwards Sue was not a very happy bunny and to add insult to her injury her son, Mitch supported the other side! So somewhat demoralised off home we went, driving through Freo, it looked like whilst half the town was celebrating and drinking the other half were commiserating and drinking, so I am sure that there would be some very heavy heads tomorrow morning. Once back at Sue and Neil’s there was nothing for it but the food of the broken hearted – cheese on toast a la Sue. So it was that Sue went off to bed wondering about all of the ‘might-have-beens’ and I for one, having supported my local team, Grimsby Town – aka the Mighty Mariners – for a good number of years now can totally empathise with how she was feeling.