Well, sort of. The headline should read “I had a date with a (woman called) Gypsy”, but it's close enough.
Yes, the revival continues. I feel that I'm in some sort of Renaissance period, with a job, a football premiership, having seen Bill Bailey live, a Mariners season pass and all the little toys and electrical goodies that I've acquired during the year.
And, as the psychologist commented during one of our sessions, to see that I really have recovered (to an extent), and to see if I can handle social situations better, I needed to go on a date.
So I did. I wasn't expecting that latest foray into internet dating to work. (Must say, at times, the website of this particular company doesn't even want to work... ) But with the second person messaging me, I arranged a date for Sunday, originally at Long Jetty to take a few pictures (she likes photography as well), but with the weather going from one extreme on Saturday (about 36 degrees and very sultry) to the other on Sunday (overcast, 20 degrees, and a little chilly) she offered to meet me at Lake Haven shopping centre.
So, instead of being on a bus for an hour, I was on two in two hours, having to change at Bateau Bay SC in order to get a bus to Lake Haven. Another minute later and I would've been stuck at Bateau Bay, as the only bus that would be able to get me there before midday pulled in not long after I walked to the bus stop outside the SC. I was pleasantly surprised that the bus I got on next went straight to Lake Haven, but took the long way round, via Tuggerah station and Wyong.
On the return trip, I discovered that it's a hell of a lot easier (and quicker) to go from Tuggerah/Wyong to Lake Haven. At least from LH we can go somewhere else, seeing she has a car.
Anyway, transport issues aside, it turned out to be a pleasant afternoon. She wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it didn't really matter. For 47 she looked pretty good, was quite easy to talk to (I tried very hard not to hog the conversation), and in two-and-a-half hours I discovered that we had quite a bit in common (apart from us both being Taureans), even to our thoughts on religion and society in general.
She's been around. Has two kids and even grand children. She doesn't really like the locals, and I don't blame her. (I don't like them either.) She has tattoos, seeing she used to work in a tattoo parlour long before they became fashionable.
Would I see her again? Of course. No alarm bells are ringing at the moment, but as we parted, and I got a peck on the cheek, I felt a delightful shiver go up and down my spine. It has been a long time since I felt that.
Dates aside, a mate of mine (and his son) came with me to the Mariners versus Adelaide clash on Saturday. We weren't disappointed. It was a tough, bruising encounter, with four Mariners picking up yellow cards, but, after trailing 0-1 after 17 minutes, they equalised just before the break, then got the winner with 14 minutes left. Not a bad effort considering they were missing their chief play-maker, Rogic, who's on duty with the Socceroos, along with keeper Ryan and Adelaide keeper Galekovic.
And all three were quality goals. Superb strikes, two from range, defender Josh Rose's probably the best of them, but not by much. His shot was belted in, going to the keepers' right, and even though the keeper got a full hand to it, he couldn't keep it out.
It was a very entertaining fixture. End to end plays, doubtful challenges, some free-kick milking, superb passing, poor refereeing decisions and exciting counter-attacks. It was what you'd expect from first versus second.
The only thing disappointing about the game, was the crowd. Since the 7-2 thrashing of Sydney, the crowds have dropped (surprisingly), with the top of the table clash not even attracting 7,000. I ask, what do these boys have to do to get a decent (10,000 plus) crowd to the game? They're winning matches, having only lost one game this season, and are at the top of the ladder. They'll even be playing in the Asian club championship as well, plus they're scoring goals too – quality goals, from great lead-up work.
Yes, it was hot on Saturday, but it has been hot in the past, and people have turned up. A few seasons ago I attended three matches in-a-row that were club attendance records, in excess of 20,000 spectators. (I even posted this on Wikipedia on the Mariners' page.) However, I cannot think of too many more excuses, apart from the fact that the Central Coast is filled with lazy, apathetic people, who don't know a good thing when they see it and will use any other excuse not to go. Yes, I am aware that there is another summer sport (cricket) in this country, but how many people play it at 4/5pm on a Saturday afternoon? It's surely not 90% of the coast's population? I'm also aware that 5pm may not be suitable to some people either for personal, family or work reasons. Again, I ask, it's surely not 90% of the coast's population that has a problem with the time slot?
Of course, there's also the “it's not league” factor. Well, let me point something out. If the Central Coast still wants a rugby league team based here, people will have to start going to the ground, regardless of the football code. It's all well and good to all turn up for the odd NRL match that is held at the stadium, but realise that the powers that be in the NRL will be no doubt taking note of the attendance figures at Bluetongue Stadium for the Mariners, and they will use the argument that “Well, you're not supporting the national competition team that you have there at the moment, so why should you have another?”
I don't mind league, or union for that matter, and if North Sydney ever get back into the NRL here I would probably take a membership with them as well (even though I'm still a Canberra supporter), seeing I can appreciate the game that is being played. But for that to happen, people need to start returning to the ground, and support the champion side that this team is becoming. I have no doubt that this has to be the season that we'll go all the way.
Better to get on board now, and enjoy the ride, it'll be a doozy!
As for other first versus second clashes, one can see why South Africa is the number one ranked cricket test nation in the world. The way they hammered the Australian bowling attack yesterday, giving the locals 600+ runs to win in two and a little bit days. Kudos to Johnson and Starc who soldiered on and bowled out the visitors between them, but without Siddle, the attack, despite bowling them out fairly cheaply on day one (but we were bowled out for cheaper on day two... ), looked a little pedestrian, especially with Amla at the crease.
Still, stranger things have happened in test matches...
Seeing the weather is cool again today, I'd best take advantage of it and see if I can get some work done.