Up before the sunshiiiiiiiine this morning. The Shandyman was a-rising-and-a-shining for a good cause: Test Match Cricket, so at 5:30 am I was packed up, and after leaving Tina a 'thank you' note and feeding Graham the cat one last time I entered the Shandy Kopter's cockpit and powered up all four jet turbines. Headed north in the darkness past Lower and Upper Hutt, quite a climb up out of Wellers. The terrain then flattened out and the going was good as mountain passes turned into flat farmland and vineyards that characterise the Masterton area.
Cruised into Napier 3hrs 30 minutes later at 10am, and, to my amazement I was not only able to purchase tickets on the gate for about 7 quid but I was also able to park right outside the McLean Stadium gates, for free! Bargain. Bowled in, paid for my ticket on the door and had a bit of patter with the ladies on the gate. Security was minimal, just a cursory almost apologetic glance in the bag, as if they felt it was impolite at best to have a look in someones bag. None of the zealot-like searching you get in England.
Super Cricket, Super Technique
Watched Ian Bell crack an excellent century and Andrew Strauss ('Strauss, Strauss, can't get him out, he plays shots that we dream about' - The Barmy Army 'to the tune of 'Shout, Shout, Let It All Out') scratch about and bat himself back into the England starting XI after a dip in form with a big 175 not out. A day totally dominated by the bat which is remarkable because both sides had been bowled out cheaply on the first two days with Southee (on an impressive debut) and Siders doing the damage respectively.
Drove to a local camp site and set up the smallest tent in the world. Had an early night after playing with two little Kiwi tots from the camper van next door to me. Reminded me of E&E. Kids are brilliantly inquisitive. Tucked up in the smallest tent in the world and garnered some much needed shut eye.