Every two years a sizable proportion of the Welsh population head north for Edinburgh for what is one of the most friendly of occasions. It’s also a match with a reputation of producing exciting endings (although none more than last year). Tickets for away supporters are easy to obtain in contrast with matches in Dublin and Twickenham where they are like gold-dust. Edinburgh on match day is full of colour and sound; bagpipes on every corner and mass parties dressed as daffodils, dragons, leeks etc. The positioning of the ground relative to the centre means that everyone approaches from the same direction in one vast crocodile from Haymarket to Murrayfield.
At the end of the match the march reverses and distributes to various hostelries. One of the best is the Bow Bar which always has a good range of beers on a hand pump, and as you can see and excellent range of malts. It also has the advantage of being ever so slightly off the beaten track so its never too packed.
I drove over in the morning from Glasgow and headed into the centre on a mission for my son to the Disney Store to buy a present for his girlfriend (the alien doll from Toy Story, all Chemistry students are nerds or so it seems) and just soaked up the atmosphere. Thence to Haymarket station for a nervous wait. Huw was coming up by train and its arrival time was 1616 for a 1700 kickoff with a mile walk. I wasn’t the only one waiting, although I was more soberly dressed that others! It all worked well although the turnstiles as ever were insufficient to demand. It was good humored but frustration levels grew. It took us 20 minutes to get through and we got to our seats as the anthems started so it was, as they say a close run thing. The match was not the greatest ever, but was a vindication for all those right thinking people who have supported the selection of Hook in the great Welsh fly half debate. Two yellow cards meant we were down to 13 men for ten minutes, but the defense was awesome. The exhaustion levels were high at the end of it though and holding on to the lead rather than extending it made for a less exciting second half, but we won and I was there as we say.
Now for over a decade I have been going to Rugby Internationals sober given the responsibility of looking after my son. He is now old enough to drink, but I no longer have the capacity or recovery ability of a decade ago! With a 400 mile drive the next day and the need to make a morning flight to Brisbane on Monday there were limits! However we had a good meal and few drinks before heading back to the hotel around midnight. However I am not sure about the Chemist’s antipathy to Humanities. To give one example: What do you say to a Humanities graduate? A: A big mac and fries please.