Day 13 Thursday August 1st:
The female members of staff are down early for breakfast – they have to leave early to pick up the girls from Lindisfarne.
Miss Morgans asks me if I could carry some photographs in my hand luggage – I’m being implicated in the crime!
When the ladies get to Lindisfarne, our girls have been well looked after. Lindisfarne are hoping to come to the UK in 2021 – I’m sure we’d love to return the compliment they’ve paid us. If we return this way in 2022 they’d be happy to take us again and by then, their rugby team is likely to be able to play us as well.
As the boys are about to board the coach to Brisbane airport for our transfer to Cairns, we check on Robyn Williams and Will Thomas. Robyn is fine, but Will’s arm is still painful – we’ll give it 24 hours, reassess, and if there’s no improvement get him a medical assessment then.
I speak to Warwick Melrose about the issues at the under 16 game and he apologises – the representative game in Cairns is against an under 15 team so we shouldn’t be dominated physically.
We arrive at Brisbane airport at 10:30am and check in for our two and a half hour flight north. Some of the cases are now over 20kgs with Brianna Richards and Miss Morgans both trying to hide the reading on the scales – their cases weigh over 22kgs, much to the delight of Dr Michael Lewis, Doctorate of Food and Nutrition who takes great pleasure in reminding Miss Morgans of her efforts to ‘offload’ some of her belongings to others in an attempt to lighten her case. But alas, the tables turn when it is Mr Lewis’ turn to weigh his case – he is also over the limit! Miss Morgans’ face says it all. Karma is a cruel mistress, Mr Lewis. The airline are very generous and allow them to proceed without charge.
We make our way to security and again it’s the staff who are causing problems with one being stopped for attempting to take two aerosols onto the plane. No names mentioned here, but needless to say the smile of the Cheshire cat was now firmly on Mr Lewis’ face.
We find an area in departures and dismiss the group for an hour to allow them to get some lunch.
That hour in airport departures was not without its dramas;
Lewis Grove checked his case in and left without his boarding pass-Lewis said he enjoyed Brisbane and Surfers Paradise so much that he didn’t want to leave anyway.
Lucy Steadman collected her boarding pass, but then thinking she didn’t need it threw it in the bin-We organised a replacement.
Owen Parry almost missed the flight, he mislaid his phone and frantically retraced his steps-no joy, as a last resort he went to ‘lost property’ and luckily it had been handed in-he reclaimed it just in time to hear ‘final call’ for flight VA 785 to Cairns.
We reassemble at Gate 39 at 12.50pm and board the plane on time. Take off is a little late at 1.45pm-apparently they’d had to take on extra fuel due to the additional weight in some cases.
We collect our cases from baggage and meet our coaches at 4.30pm for the 10 minute transfer to the Cairns Colonial Club. We have booked a meal with the hotel and will use the Central Tour Fund to pay for it.
The group settle in and the majority spend time in one of the hotels’ main pools.
Dinner is served in two sittings. Bus 2 at 6.30pm and Bus 1: at 7.00pm. It’s either Burger and chips or Fish and chips. Service isn’t particularly friendly and for the price paid ($20pp) it’s probably the worst meal of the tour.
Mrs O’Sullivan settles the bill of £1,250 which includes buying everyone a drink.
We decide that it’s best to get a medical assessment of Will Thomas’ injury. Mr Thomas takes him to the local medical centre. They confirm nothing is broken and suggest a programme to aid his recovery.
After dinner, most of the group spend more time in the pool while others play table tennis or cards. Tomorrow is another early start (7am) so we set the room curfew time to 10.30pm.
I watch the first session of the test match. Australia, having won the toss are 83-3 at lunch. They collapse to 122 for 8. At 12.40pm it’s tea time and they’ve recovered a little to 160 for 8 and I turn the TV off to go to sleep hoping for a quick end to their innings after tea. I’ll find out in the morning.
Another big day tomorrow-day 2 of the test or the Great Barrier Reef-take your pick!
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