6 days from Dublin!

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5.46am, Sunday18th September, Angaston Hills, Barossa Valley, South Australia

It’s cold and wet outside this morning early, folks, but not because it’s raining. After a nasty hot and windy day that came out of nowhere, today has the whole Valley shrouded in thick wet mist, and not a leaf is moving out there.

And Angaston is sleeping after its big day yesterday as the neutral venue for the local Australian rules football final. Tanunda played Willaston and won – it’s fourth year in a row as local footy premiers. I reckon the whole town of Tanunda was up here yesterday, and you forget what traffic is like living in the village up here. But good luck to the Tanunda Magpies, they won the B grade as well.

That’s probably why the streets and pubs of Tanunda were deserted last night when I and some mates from the New Zealand air force went down there to have dinner and watch the Rugby World Cup crunch match between Australia and Ireland. I had already had several emails from mates and customers in Dublin asking me to come to town next week quietly if the Wallabies got up … plus I had several bottles of wine on the outcome! So as I pack my bags this week heading for the Emerald Isle – this time next week will see us in Dublin at the Ely Bar at the Quay Celebrating International Grenache Day. But I can guarantee you that World Cup Rugby will be the other big conversation topic. I can remember being lucky enough several years ago to be on the Aer Lingus plane out of London on the Sunday morning with the Irish Rugby Team that had just beaten England at home after a long drought. People, that plane needed no jet fuel to get across the Irish Sea that day … it had its own lift! The pilot had a chat and the folks on board literally sang that plane to Dublin.

So this morning I have to say well done to the Irish boys, they made the Wallabies look ordinary last night getting up 15 – 6. Several times you saw our blokes looking at each other as if to say “who was that masked Irish man”? Their lean, mean, hungry swarming defense was staggering and caught us on the hop. So today’s picture is the present that the folks from Cassidys (our agents in Ireland) gave me earlier this year so that I could fit right in on this well timed trip to Ireland. Thanks Bridget, Pete, Owen and Kieran, you must have had a premonition!

PS with this warmer spell in the weather, the vine shoots are off and running, and there’s not much at all that hasn’t burst. I’ll get some progress photos today to give you an idea of how things are traveling.

PPS Not good either to be watching that game last night with the New Zealand boys – howdy to the blokes from 5 Squadron Whenuapi – their disdain at the Wallabies’ performance came off them in waves, even if they were polite enough not to make any comment other than the odd “that was a strange thing to do”. Thanks boys and travel safe.

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