Day 10 - Fordoun Spa

Our last day in Nottingham Road, and a chance for the team to have a day off and indulge themselves in a variety of pursuits, from battlefield tours to golf, making use of the spa, or driving down to Durban to play the tourist.

The battlefield tour went well, which is amazing when you consider that Steve and Mick had been given directions to the wrong establishment for the commencement of the tour. Apart from looking slightly surprised, they organised everything very efficiently, and nobody would have been any the wiser had Karen not received a call from where they were meant to be going to say they hadn't turned up...

Having been convincingly vanquished by the English in the rugby recently, a number of Irish members of the team challenged their English counterparts to a rematch on the golf course in Nottingham Road. So it was with some trepidation that the combatants took to the field - who would be victorious, what would the course throw at us, and more importantly, had we bought enough balls to complete the round? The English had been deprived of their star player, thanks to the unavailability of left handed clubs, and looked certain to be entering the competition a man down, however, a last minute injury to the Irish team evened up the numbers. 10:40 saw the first three -ball of DC, Ben and Gareth head out, DC hoping to hold off the young English pretenders, and based on the quality of the tee shot off the first, he looked to be relatively safe. The second three-ball was heavily weighted in favour of the Irish, with Jon taking on Alwyn and Gary.

The rounds progressed, balls were well struck in some cases, and lost in others, and at the finish of nine holes Ben and Gareth had a convincing 2 hole lead over DC, despite the large water hazard leaving Gareth without sufficient balls to finish the round. So the Irish needed at least a 3 hole lead off the second three ball for the win, and after some confusion over how to score the round, the overall result was 1 hour in favour of the Irish, restoring the nations honour.

Five of our younger team members, CJ, Jonny, Peter, Lauren and Rick, took the opportunity of our latest non-shooting day to have a trip to the city of Durban, located 90 minutes closer to India than the spa. This involved a descent of some 4000ft to sea level, through some beautiful landscape – only surpassed by that found in Scotland (no guesses as to who is contributing this section…). Unfortunately, the main road between Johannesburg and Durban took us straight to downtown Durban, an area which made us all a little nervous. Using our excellent senses of direction, we managed to find our way to the local casino, where we were ensured our vehicle would be safe. This almost turned out to be a very different diary entry, as it seems that some South African drivers treat red lights on freeways with the same contempt as one would a double glazing salesman. A very lucky escape thanks to the quick thinking and heavy right foot of CJ meant that all 5 of our team members made it to the car park intact. A little light relaxation was just the ticket, so we decided to hit the beach and have a little dip in the Indian Ocean, and see if any of the local sharks fancied saying hello (they didn’t). 35 degree heat meant the outdoors portion of the trip was limited to walking down the beach and back again, then off to a place for a little retail therapy before the similarly ‘interesting’ drive home. The arrival back at Fordoun was celebrated with beers, steak and…for our less adventurous team members…chips.

Nothing left to do but relax for the remainder of the afternoon and evening, and enjoy more of the excellent food (and chocolate wine) that Fordoun has to offer, sad in the knowledge that we will be leaving in the morning, but glad to be heading towards the ultimate purposes of the tour in shooting at Bloemfontein.

Quote of the day goes to anyone playing golf, simply because of the vast amount of innuendo that's possible from a sport involving balls and holes.