The noble readers of this blog might have noticed that I have been quiet recently, mostly because my wife and I have departed on a three-week tour of Australia to follow the British and Irish Lions as they play three test matches against the Aussies. The lack of activity is partially due to travel (Dublin – Abu Dhabi for a quick two-day stop – Brisbane – and now Surfer’s Paradise) while part of it is down to struggling with various poor Wi-Fi connections in hotels. Things got so bad that I resorted to using the “reach” version of Outlook Web App running on a version of embedded Linux on a Samsung in-room TV with an odd wireless keyboard to keep in contact with the world… (technology geeks will understand what kind of combination that is).
It amazes me that hotels can’t get what is now an expected facility right. Connecting with my Surface Pro has been easy enough, if slow. On the other hand, connecting my wife’s MacBook Air has been a perfect nightmare, as has the purported “service” provided by the folks (like MovieLink) who set up and maintain Wi-Fi networks for the hotels. Failure to call back is a cardinal sin for any customer service industry. I’m now thinking of buying a 4G pay-as-you-go modem from a local Telco provider for use during the rest of the trip to serve as a way of maintaining connectivity. It’s got to be less expensive and probably faster than hotel Wi-Fi.
In any case, as I type I’m looking out over a damp and dreary Surfer’s Paradise with low grey clouds and rain falling. Truthfully this isn’t our kind of place as it’s a summer resort location that’s built to deal with crowds of tourists that probably looks quite nice in full sunshine but definitely is not so good in the Australian winter.
We’re travelling with Trevor Brennan Rugby Tours and met up with the rest of the tour party last night. Lots of people seem to have on the road since the Lions played their first game in Hong Kong on June 1 and many reports of flagging livers and not enough sleep have been heard. In any case, it seems like a nice group of people and I’m sure that we will have fun with them.
Tonight we head up to Brisbane to see the Classic Anzacs team take on an equivalent bunch from Britain and Ireland in a charity match. Trevor Brennan makes an appearance as No7 while Alan Quinlan, who’s also on this tour, will come off the bench at some point during the game. Should be interesting, especially as the game is at Ballymore, the old international ground and the location for the famous 1979 match-winning performance by Ollie Campbell, who kicked Ireland to a win over Australia.
Tomorrow we’ll be back to Brisbane for the first test match. The team looks like a good combination. Let’s hope that they do better than the awful performance in Canberra last Tuesday when the Brumbies rightly won against a very poor Lions second-rate team.