The Boys Trip – Day 1: Gestation

Dorrington Castle


It began as an idea some seven months ago. We hadn’t booked a summer holiday, the boys weren’t keen on doing ‘another’ beach holiday since their Mum had already taken them on two during the year. And besides, what parent of teenage children hasn’t been told “it’s not that we don’t want to go to the beach Dad, it’s just that we don’t want to go with YOU”. Oh the trials of being a teenager at the beach and potentially being seen with your parents. Social death I’m told.


My (very small) immediate family (mum, sister, brother in law, two nieces) live in England in a lovely little market town called Newbury. Famous for horse racing and not much else although the local rugby team hit the dizzy heights of the Championship (the level below the Premiership) a few years back taking on the likes of Harlequins and Northampton on equal terms. Then the money ran out and they sunk like a stone with four consecutive relegations. More on that another time.


On the subject of relative fame, little old Newbury was the scene of a battle (surprisingly known as the First Battle of Newbury – I didn’t realise people cared enough to fight over by home town) during the first English Civil War that was fought on 20 September 1643 between a Royalist army, under the personal command of King Charles, and a Parliamentarian force led by the Earl of Essex. The Parliamentarians apparently won handsomely and there are still a number of places around the town that bear the scars, such as Donnington Castle.


So enough of the history lesson and on with the story. We had a chat about going to England and seeing the family. I asked the boys what they wanted to do and their response was unanimous. We want to watch loads of sport. Dad thought……I can do that. So the planning began. Tickets were procured (at great expense) to Old Trafford for Man U v Chelsea on Easter Sunday as well as Leeds v Wolves on Easter Monday. Throw in Harlequins v Exeter on Good Friday, a bunch of local quality sport and stadium visits to Wembley, Twickenham, Lords, Wimbledon and a few more besides, we’ve got a hell of a trip lined up.


A day of work is ahead of me. We leave tonight on QF9 at 2300. I’m a bit filthy that the AFL decided to schedule Swans v Collingwood on a Friday night at the SCG while we’re in the air, but when have the AFL listened to anyone but themselves?


I’ll be writing the occasional post over the next couple of weeks as we tour the English countryside, do family stuff, take the boys to my old local pub where my Dad took me 35 years ago and watch shed loads of sport.


It’ll be fun and I hope you enjoy the journey with us.

About Stuart Hunter

Swans tragic since 1989 and father of two boys. Would rather forfeit a game than travel to ANZ Stadium. Also passionate about most other sports involving a ball.


  1. I’m jealous. Looking forward to your reports. If I can’t be in your suitcase I’ll settle for your pen.
    Just cut out the bullshit about planning this months ago. 0-2 and you said to the family “let’s get out of here”.
    I found that my Eagles 2015 GF loss was much easier to bear on AFL Global Pass on the IPad with a few white wines gazing over the balcony to the Adriatic.

Leave a Comment