23/10 Final Day

We queued up, all our guns to export,
Then left camp, when an Irishman thought:
"If I'm going to go home
I'm going to have to (groan!)
Go and beg customs for my passport!"

Team members surfaced at varying times depending upon their habit, constitution and their previous night’s indulgence after the Palma dinner. Similarly, the appearance of team members also varied widely, from the surprisingly chipper to the downright unhealthy. All of this said, a strict schedule had been laid out for the morning to head out to the range and get the rifles checked and cases sealed by Australian customs to ease the passage through Brisbane airport, so most people made it out of bed in good time and there were no frantic enquiries as to the location and disposition of any team members.

Packing up rifles and heading out to the range in good time, the team joined the customs queue at the range. Given the delay a few of the more athletic team members started throwing a Frisbee ad rugby ball about, which killed some of the waiting time. To give the officials their due, the wait was not that long; although it was ultimately increased when your correspondent discovered to his embarrassment that he had left the keys to his gun case back at the hotel. A swift trip in one of the team vans ensued; however with no further issues reported, the checking and sealing of the cases was completed in short order which would save us considerable time at the airport the following day.

Little had been planned for the rest of the day beyond lunch at a rather nice restaurant in central Brisbane to be followed by the Rugby World Cup Final. Named MooMoo and specialising in superb steaks, the chosen venue for the team’s farewell lunch is situated in a fine building of the colonial style, with broad balconies and an extensive wine list. After a trip back to the hotel to scrub up, taxis were commandeered into town and the team descended upon the restaurant. A small starter of warm olives and roasted artichokes with preserved lemons teed up our taste buds and was superbly tasty with a glass of Kiwi sauvignon. As with many of the restaurants in Australia, guests were welcome to bring their own wine for a small corkage fee, and the team had brought along a small few bottles for enjoyment. After a brief interlude, the main course arrived; a thickly meaty Cape Grim steak served with delicately truffled mash and sides of chips and French beans. With a superb dessert of icecream and honeycomb to finish, all were satisfied with a meal rounded off with the odd glass of port or dessert wine.

The team split into two main groups, with one staying at the restaurant to watch the rugby final, while the remainder headed back to the hotel, also to watch the final but in the hope of being joined by a few invitees from the other teams in the Palma. With Wales’ untimely demise at the hands of France, there was the expectation that the rugby was going to be rather one-sided; however the French surprised all with the strength of the game that they brought to Eden Park. Ultimately though, the Kiwis proved too strong and were toasted widely by all present. The remainder of the evening is remembered by most in only fragments; however your correspondent feels that it is safe to say that GBRT celebrated their victory in the Palma Match well, and drank to the many new friendships formed and old acquaintances renewed.