Life post-tour – Mark Gardner

Urgh, the post-tour lull.

Worse than heartburn.

Long gone are the daily endorphins and sheer bloody happiness of escorting great people across a great country.

My home ‘shire isn’t quite the Cape of Good Hope. There’s only one type of bread at breakfast and no water melon available within immediate ladel-swooping distance. Wine by the glass costs more than the African bottle and Ross (sorry, Dai) isn’t here to share it with me. I wanna go back to The Rainbow Nation (but may give Bloem’ a miss 😳).

It sounds cheap and easy to comment that this was the best touring group ever, but it genuinely was. Led spectacularly by my good friends Alex and Andrew, the inimitable and socialite Dan Vaughan, plus Ross seducing us with his tailored TV brogue, the joie de vivre of our Welsh fans conducted its own daily energies.

The personalities amongst the Lion, Rhino and Tonmawr/Taibach/Cwmavon elite were enhanced by the Gwent boys from the Coleg, surviving spectacularly on a single pair of pants and socks (one bag still missing, BTW). Dai’s flip flops, Jonny’s phones, the Scarlets girls’ singing and God knows when Barrie is going to finish his set on the Eight Feet Village karaoke all evoke fond memories.

You can see how the ‘97 Lions remain best pals 25 years on. Our video must surely rival those scenes by Johnson, Bentley et al who rose to fame on Living with the Lions. Sun City and Ross’s behind-the-scenes opener at Loftus Pretoria seem an age away, yet a glance through the 500 photos on my phone tonight remind me how lucky I am to do what I do and meet such fabulous folk.

A famous man once said that you’ll never enjoy the view unless you sit on the edge. We wanted to show you South Africa our way and appreciate all of the wonderful feedback that’s arrived in the chat groups and surveys.

There’s more to see in this fabulous world and you’re all more than welcome. Red flip flops for all on the next one 😉

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