Risk and reward

Travelling to see the England test team should bring its own reward, but my last overseas cricket experience (death throes of Root’s era) brought no cricketing rewards but the rewards of decent cricket, new countries, experiences and cultures. No real change then!

On the risk side…well very little, other than businesses, organisations and people getting to grips with life after and as the pandemic lifted. So, overall a great experience and relatively stress free.

The latest tour had the same risk/reward ratio – a revisit to NZ, new tourist experiences after the Tests and the reward of seeing how the new England approach to Tests is progressing and received.

However whilst 2022 had the global pandemic reopening, the 2023 tour – five days in – didn’t take a cyclone into its risk planning. Not only the cyclone but the aftermath; if you don’t encounter or haven’t experienced a cyclone or hurricane these are master craft level works performed by Mother Nature at her worst!

So whilst you’ve read and smiled/laughed/enjoyed/cried over my experience to date, today took another surprise. My transfer to Tauranga was cancelled at pick up time due to the after effects and having checked out of the hotel I was well and truly at the bottom of Maslow’s triangle especially after alternative bus journeys were a) cancelled b) already full and c) not able to forecast what tomorrow brings!

But as happens with these things, I called back at the bus company to ask about alternatives when the lady who had served me first remembered me and my need to get to Tauranga for the Test and did I still need to catch the late bus? I’m sure it was my wit, charm and sparkling personality which she recalled most but…in terms of customer relations – spot on!

So I stand in the queue for the bus, ticket in hand (NZ$26) to experience the Kiwi equivalent of the US Greyhound or UK’s National Express – new experience, new thrills (?)…so a reward from the risk.

And a front seat too! I’m excited like a 5 year old! perhaps I should get out more?

I’m writing more in expectation than hope as I have as yet to get to Tauranga!

Which leads to the prime objective of the tour – two Tests v NZ with two Kiwi-born experts leading the England side! Will the new approach rub off on the land of their fathers? Can England sustain it?

Will the ageing pace attack start look like needing new blood brought in (England in NZ are notorious for culling ageing or failing players!). Did anyone say anything about spin?

Will the Kiwis be at their full strength – seems that newborn babies as well as travel issues are a concern!

Will there be play after Gabrielle had finished having wind? How does Bazball take to a green top in cool, pleasant weather?

Just a few questions we might see answered over the next 10 days or so.

And now a few photos on the journey…

A cathedral for the modern age or an optical illusion? Redoubt, Auckland NZ
Significant flooding across the north island. NZ has had a years rainfall since Jan 1

And dear readers (one and all) thanks for your suggestions about my luggage challenge. I don’t know why anyone would think I’d want to join the military and have something to do with the commandos? I’ve lost my luggage not my marbles!

Charity shops are few and far between – especially in central Auckland – and I’ve spent the day being relieved of close on £200 on clothes and toiletries! After all, I only have what I stand up in plus a couple of extra T-Shirts.

No contact from the airport agents – best odds are that the luggage will be delivered close to the end of the Test, but at least I can be well-dressed in the interim!

Or has my luggage decided to have a holiday on its own away from me? The rain kissed beaches beside Auckland Airport, time in the steamy tropics of Singapore or dare one say, sampling the delights of the A4 London to Bath road just by Heathrow? All I ask is that it gets in touch – it never phones, emails, sends a postcard or anything. I want to know if it’s ok and will it be joining me soon?

As you can tell, taking a maniacal approach seems to be helping my well-being! 😜😜

And in other news, the north island grape harvest is at risk, yields will be lower, demand for 2023 vintages 🍷🥂will exceed supply and prices…remember, you saw it here first!

And a few hours later…the lights of Tauranga on the horizon! 😜