Ok, ok, ok. I’m sorry I’m having such a great time over here. I’m sorry it’s snowing and it’s cold with you. I’m sorry over here and in this beautiful country. I’m even sorry I moaned when it rained last week. You can get your own back now though.

This week is my favourite week of the year.

Best mate Eats’s birthday, Cheltenham Festival, the final Six Nations weekend, St.Patrick’s Day and the Paddy O’13 nights out.

And this year, in anticipation of the marriage between my great friend Gary and his beautiful fiancé Sinead, the lads are off to Hamburg for a Stag Weekend.

Stag Weekend? Auf Deutschland? Ohne mich? Das ist nicht güt!

Word reaches me from another cherished chum, Jim lad, that they’re really upping the fancy dress outfits as well. Salt in the wound.

Salt in the wound.

I mean what am I supposed to do? Away from the action. All this way over here on the other side of the world.

Here in Wellington.

My third favourite city. Of all time. With its harbour. And mountains. And culture. And pubs. And its women.

And memories.

My third visit to the capital of New Zealand and its like visiting an old friend. Breezing through the busy streets in contemplative mood, echoes from my previous visits here call out like siren songs.

The Irish pub on Cuba street where Johnno and I taught some German girls how to celebrate St.Patrick’s Day, the restaurant where Will, Sian and I tucked into delicious NZ lamb, the open air bar with the huge Maori doorman, biceps like pistons and his friendly un-bouncer like hospitality.

And the Basin Reserve the spiritual home of Kiwi cricket, my third favourite cricket ground behind The Warren and Lords’. Meeting Merv Hughes. Being intimidated by Merv Hughes. Styling a ‘tache like Merv Hughes. Being glared at by Merv Hughes while sporting the impromptu hairy tribute. Being intimidated by Merv Hughes.

Trisha’s pies. Mr Bun’s pies. Hell’s pizza. The lass from Mermaids who ended up sharing a dorm with us in the hostel. Breaking into the Cake Tin. Johnno’s purple fleece.

Shuddering at the thoughts of Jaegers downed with Big Red. Shuddering more because I know there’ll be one or two recurrences of that coming this week. Smiling at the big man’s rendition of Footloose on the Karaoke. Taking pride in my rendition of Delilah next to the water feature in fond retaliation.

I could go on. And probably will should you be unfortunate enough to encounter me over the next few days.

Eats, Rob, Andy, Gary, Jim, Mark, Steve. Will, Sian. Phil. I’ll miss you this week chaps I really will. Thank you for Paddy’s weeks past. It’s time to get stuck into this year. This week.

My favourite week of the year.

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