The 2017 Cape Town Sevens Review

OK, so here it is. The thing which I was too tired to write last night. A quick run down of my experiences with my son at the Cape Town Sevens Finals Day yesterday.

The parking: I’ve told you how to do this before, but ok, I’ll tell you again. You park at the CTICC (right hand lane off the elevated freeway, almost as if you were about to do a U-turn to go back out of town at Walter Sisulu) and walk through to the Civic Centre (it’s 900m, you’ll manage), from where you get the shuttle bus up to the stadium.
On your return, you get the bus to Thibault Square, and walk down Lower Long to the CTICC (it’s 600m, you’ll be fine).
The parking lot exits directly onto the elevated freeway, so no traffic problems at all. So it’s faster, cheaper and easier than the Waterfront. Or virtually anywhere else.

The stadium: I’ve been to several concerts, many football and rugby events and precisely no happy-clappy  religious gatherings at the stadium, and (without meaning to be negative) each of them has had their own little niggles. Not yesterday. The experience was flawless. Friendly staff, little (or no) queuing for refreshments (including at the bars), a wide variety of foods, lots of activities and freebies for the kids. Brilliant.

The entertainment: Lots going on between the games kept us interested. Dancing, music, beagle herding, enthusiastic MCs. The highlight for us (and many others, I suspect) was the “Rugby Skills” competition for a few happily inebriated fans towards the end. Very funny and very well managed.

The rugby: It was good fun and played in good spirit, as it should be. England were in self-destruct mode, New Zealand were in we’re-out-to-shock-the-opposition mode, the USA was basically just speed and muscle and the Fijians were just muscle. And then there was the Blitzbokke, who were clear favourites for the win.

But that didn’t happen, which brings me to my final point.

The crowd: Oh dear. I’m going to get into trouble for writing this, but that’s rarely stopped me before, so here goes.

We’re repeatedly told that Cape Town is the “best” leg of the 7s. I don’t know how they work these sort of things out – hey, maybe they tell everyone that their event is the best. That would be a bit naughty, but then, people are a bit naughty sometimes.

The thing is, if this alleged optimal status has really been bestowed upon Cape Town’s event, then it must surely only be for the fancy dress and the partying. Because yes, Cape Town does do the fancy dress and the partying very well. When it comes to actually supporting the rugby though, the fans are fickle and fairweather (OMG, he said it! And now see how the hordes are gathering their flaming torches and pitchforks! OMG! I can’t bear to watch!).

I took a few pics to illustrate my point.

Here’s the scene as the Blitzbokke played their first game (a fortuitous, ref-assisted win over Fiji). 60,000 fans in full voice:

Incredible gees, colour, passion, volume etc etc (allowing for iconic imagery like this). And it was the same for the second game against New Zealand. But when they lost that, and with it, any chance of winning the event, this was the scene during their last game of the day – a third place play off against Canada:

Either a shedload of fans couldn’t actually be bothered any more, or else they had turned up in grey plastic seat fancy dress.

And it got worse. Even more people left before the New Zealand v Argentina Final:

and we were one of only a few hundred that stayed for the Trophy presentation:

Mmm.

OK. So some points here:

South African sports fans are notoriously fickle and fair-weather. We knew this already. Comparing photos one and two above, indicates those fickle fans who came to see South Africa win, versus those real fans who came to see South Africa play.

I don’t know if this happens at every 7s event. Do Australian fans leave once their team has been beaten once in Sydney? Is the same in England, Scotland, New Zealand, Canada and the USA? And if it is, does anyone even bother to turn up to watch in Dubai and Singapore?

There were very few people in the stands to see Wales v Russia, because it’s a meh game between two sides who lost a lot on Day 1 – well, ok. Equally though, that won’t be replayed all around the rugby-playing world. The final (and the trophy presentation thereafter, will). It’s not a great advert for the event when it’s being played (or presented) in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. And yet we all cried about not getting the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

That said, the spin is obviously good, because (as I may have mentioned earlier) Cape Town was voted the Best 7s Event on the Tour.

So, all in all, I think it shows a complete lack of manners and it really doesn’t look great on the international stage, but hey – it’s a free country (well, sort of, anyway). I’m not saying that you have to stay until the end. You’re free to leave when you want.
Equally, I’m free to pass comment on you leaving when you want, you disrespectful, fair-weather, part-time, so-called rugby supporters.

Sound Cafe Request

You’ll need to know a few things for this blog post:

1. There’s a place on the Isle of Man called The Sound. There’s a cafe there.
2. On the cafe building is a webcam, which one can view through the Manx Radio Webcams page (it’s the one on the bottom left, between Port Erin and Port St Mary).
3. It was very hot in Cape Town yesterday, and very cold in the Isle of Man. I wanted to apply this principle. But the webcam lens was very dirty (sea spray, rain, sleet etc).

Problem.

Or was it? Because I dropped the cafe a quick message on Facebook:

Fastyr mie from Cape Town, South Africa. It’s 40-odd degrees here and I’m craving something cooler. I recognise that it’s pretty chilly there today and I’m not sure how accessible it is, but if you could give the webcam lens a quick wipe, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

(Fastyr mie being Manx gaelic for Good Afternoon – I can like to be locally polite in my salutations.)

And almost instantaneously, got this back:

We’ll have a go…. it’s not exactly accessible but we’ll give it a whirl ?

That, I think I am right in saying, is the spirit.

And they did it too, before responding again:

Marginally better… ?

But it was actually much better:

Allowing me not only to see the drama of the waves crashing onto Kitterland, but even the (rather less dramatic) Stena Precision en route to Belfast from Birkenhead (on the horizon, far left).

And yes, there’s still a bit of muck in the corners, but the weather is clearly a bit wild there at the moment and like they said, the webcam is “not exactly accessible”.

All in all, a great effort and really amazing service.

BestNine

My #2017BestNine Instagram pictures include:

Four drone shots, three beagle shots, one drone and beagle shot, one of that storm and one of that sunset.

Go here to follow me on Instagram (although presumably, this means that I’m not going to post anything remarkable for the rest of the year (at least)) and go here to find your #2017bestnine.

SOFS

(with apologies to Alice Cooper)

And so just like that, it’s the end of the school year.

The Boy Wonder finished his time at Junior School with a great year, ending on a high note with really good results and an award for Academic Excellence in Science. And this year is a biggie, with him moving on to what passes for High School in his system. It was a good way to sign off.

I may have mentioned before that the SA and UK school systems are a complete mystery to me: The SA system because I was never part of it (and neither of my kids have been), and the UK system, because it’s fundamentally changed since I was in it. Equating the end of Year 6 with the end of my third year at Middle School seems about right, but then, I didn’t go to High School for another year after that (starting directly into the second year there) and my school year finished several months earlier (or… er… later, I guess) than the SA ones.
Even though my kids aren’t in the SA system, at least their school still respect the local seasons.

Our little girl – not so little anymore – also had a wonderful year and has really developed in character and confidence. She finished with the highest marks in her class. And yeah, I may be showing off a little about how well they’ve done here, but I am so very proud of what they’ve done this year. Also, I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and it’s only the third time this year that I’ve done something like this (see here and here for the others), and if you can’t share your good news and your kids’ achievements on your blog, then there’s something very wrong with the world.

A well-deserved break for all concerned now then. With no packed lunches to make and no school run, I awoke from uneasy slumbers (because of this) at a heady 7 o’clock this morning. Just another 6 days in the laboratory and then I’ll be joining them. This is the life.

Three or Floor days

We’re replacing a bit of flooring at home. The kitchen was looking scruffy and needed some work. The laundry is attached to the kitchen and so that now needs doing too. The study tiles are being replaced which would have meant that the guest bathroom stood out like a sore tiled thumb and so that’s being done too.

Apparently, it’s going to take three days. That’s also what they said last time when they did the floor in the living and dining rooms.

It took nine.

We’re lucky enough that we can manage without the guest bathroom for a few days, and with work winding down and school wound down, we don’t need the study much either at the moment. The kitchen is kind of a different matter though. Three days without a sink or a cooker is going to make me grumpy. (Hello, Uber Eats). Nine days will make me angry.

Of course, when it’s all done, I’m sure that it will look great. And the heavy duty option we’ve chosen (see: kids, beagle) means that we won’t have to do it again for 25 years. Or something.

Soon there will also be a new handrail in the kitchen (the beagle chose to teeter on the edge of the unguarded garage steps as soon as I removed the old one this morning) and repainted cupboards. A new desk will follow in the study and then we are all done on house renovations until Mrs 6000 gets itchy feet once again.

Next week, then.