We watched Saturday Kitchen, which was a Valentines Day special sort of thing, and they had the usual two chef's table guests, but the twist was, the bloke had arranged with the show to propose to his girlfriend on air, which was very sweet. She was somewhat shocked, but said yes of course :-)
Then there was a short period of waiting, as it was too early really to leave, but we had already done everything we needed to do packing wise. So we bounced nervously and excitedly in our chairs until it was time to leave. We drove to Cardiff, via the sorting office to pick up an undelivered parcel. I had intended to drive the first stretch, but I was a little overexcited so Jamie took over once we'd got petrol in Tesco, and he drove till Membrey Services.
We swopped over there, and swopped back at Magor, after the bridge. Drove into Cardiff, got there around three-ish. As Jamie used to live there, we know a handy spot near the town centre for parking the car, and there's usually always a space. Then we walked into town from there, stuck our head round the door of a pub to check the score in the France v Scotland game (which was 0-0 after 20 mins). Decided not to bother finding somewhere to watch that, so wandered round Cardiff for a bit soaking up the pre-match atmosphere.
Then we wandered over to the stadium, initially planning to see if they were showing the France game on a big screen. When we got to the entrance of the stadium, it quickly became obvious that the crowd gathered was arranged in such a fashion for watching the team bus go past into the stadium (in two lines either side of the road, lots of police making sure they stayed in place). It was 4pm, so an hour and a half before kick off. We stuck around in the crowd, quite near the gate, at the front of the mass of people. Shortly afterwards, we heard the roar of the crowd round the corner up the road, then the police escort hoved into view. Two mounted police on gorgeous brown horses, followed by two police motorbikes. Then came the team bus, followed by more bikes and horses. So there was much cheering and yelling and chanting of "Wales! Wales! Wales!". It was amazing. And to cap it all off.......
Neil Jenkins looked at me!!!!!!!!!!!
I had a real fangirly squee moment. It was hilarious.
Once they'd gone into the stadium, we made our way over to gate 5 and headed inside. Our seats were in the middle tier, the first time we've been sat up there. In the stand behind the posts, but off to one side, so about halfway between the posts and the edge of the pitch. Wales were playing towards us in the first half, and away from us in the second, so as you look at the game from the point of view of the telly cameras, we were on the right hand side.
We were mostly surrounded by pleasant people, which is always nice, although throughout the game there was far too much of people going back and forth to the bar/toilet, always at the wrong moment and getting in the way of the view.
So we were in our seats a long while before kick off, and got to watch the teams warming up. We were entertained by that school choir that were runners up on Last Choir Standing last year, and they were awesome.
It was a full house. 74,594 was the official attendance, and the entire place was buzzing. The roof was open, which made it colder, but did nothing to dampen the spirits or reduce the noise. If anything, we were making even more noise to compensate!
The anthem almost had me in tears. The confidence I'd been feeling all week about the likely result had all but disappeared by then, and there was a tight knot of anxiety and nerves in my stomach. By the time we'd sung the anthem, I felt physically sick.
And then the whistle blew, England kicked off and for the next 40 minutes I was screaming and singing as loud as any other Welshman in that crowd. Then came 10 minutes of quiet, as Jamie disappeared for a break and a stretch of the legs (there isn't much space for legs in these stadiums!). Then came the second half, and another 40 minutes of screaming, singing, hiding my hands behind my eyes.. lots of tense moments, lots of nervousness, and by the time the final whistle blew, and we'd won the game, I had run out of any energy with which to celebrate.
We made our weary way back across town, stopping only to get a small burger each from Burger King (and for me to have a wee!), and to get Jamie some coke from Sainsburys. A quiet five minutes sitting in the car, then we drove home. Well, Jamie drove, I collapsed in the passenger seat. I was meant to be taking over at some point, but was so tired and drained that Jamie agreed to drive the whole journey, in exchange for a cup of coffee at Membrey, and me cooking him a curry for dinner tomorrow!
Got home at about half ten - would have been earlier, but there are a number of stretches of roadworks on the M4 which have average speed cameras, and one of them has a speed limit of 40 mph! Very irritating, but we got through it.
I am utterly exhausted. But very happy.