Peter Gilham begins his regular pre-season blog at Jersey Road...Another year, and another pre-season Training Camp.
Welcome back to those who've followed my regular blog over the years, well regular inasmuch as I write a weeklong blog once every 52 weeks. That's consistency for you.
This year we're back in Deutschland albeit West as opposed to the previous two visits to the East. This time the hosts are a hotel/sports complex in a town called Harsewinkel ("whoops sorry missus") which is I suppose in North West Germany about 50 kilometres to the east of Munster. But more about our hosts and this lovely area that we are located in, in a later blog.
The day started with a 7am meet at the Training Ground with breakfast preceding our 7.30 departure for Heathrow. However from the off it didn't go too smoothly for one in our midst. After I had handed out the briefing notes and itinerary for the week ahead, the said person on reading the first four words which were in bold and red, came over cold and sweaty as it plainly said - DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT - if being asked to report in time to make a morning flight to Germany wasn't enough!
So it was off the coach, a swift return journey to his house to pick up the offending passport which had been left in a vase so he wouldn't forget it, and a drive to Heathrow to catch up with the rest of us.
However that wasn't to be the end of "our" passport problems. When it came to the time to board the BA938 flight to Düsseldorf, for some inexplicable reason a player who shall remain nameless inadvertently went through the final passport check and got on the plane with a bag that belonged to someone else. So (and I'm sure you know what happened next) the owner of the bag wax initially unable to get on as his passport was already on the plane ...... whilst he wasn't. Fortunately the bag and its owner were finally repatriated and he was able to board, and we were able to depart.
Fortunately the party totalling 37 were all grouped together in the plane and I was "piggy in the middle" of a row of three which I was very happy to say enjoyed an average age of 38 per person. As I said, great news for me, but not so for two of our new signings, John Egan and Romaine Sawyers who are both considerably younger then the average age suggested.
The flight was over in 55 minutes (not much longer than our journey to Heathrow) and on arrival in Düsseldorf we were whisked away for the near two hour journey to our home for the next six nights.
Once you get off the autobahns, the countryside is very picturesque with small neatly set out towns along the route, with a number of strawberry sellers pitched roadside at varying intervals. If must be Wimbledon fortnight.
On arrival we were met by an enthusiastic band of hotel staff plus Bob Oteng (Head of Kit Logistics) or Kitman in old money, and Neil Greig (Head of Medical). Bob and Greigy had driven here with the training gear and apparatus, training wear and medical supplies, in about eight hours.
After a meeting, snacks and a chance for everyone to find their rooms and leisurely unpack, it was time for medical prep followed by a training session. This included foot tennis with teams of five or six pitted against each other with the overall losing team having the ignominy of having to stand on the goalline with part of their rear anatomy in full view of the eager penalty takers. It was a sorry tale/tail as very few found the target to the relief of Lasse, Andreas, both Josh's and Macca.
Then it was a choice for all to either have a swim in the inside or outdoor pool before a stint in the dreaded ice bath.
All that was then left was dinner.
Not wishing to disappoint my regular readers but the tinkling of the glass wasn't heard this first evening to signify a song from each of the debutantes. However you will be pleased to know that the Free from Europe Song Contest in its new format will begin on Sunday evening. So watch this space and the Bees Social Media outlets as you will all have a chance to share in the entertainment which will be set before us. Aren't you the lucky ones.
And so to bed ........