Barry University sits in an unremarkable part of suburban Miami, flanked on all sides by one story condos and corrugated iron. But it looked pleasant enough in the strong morning sunshine as we arrived on campus to see a full England training session, rather than the 15-minute vignettes we've been allowed up to this point.
The sun is out.
I repeat - the sun is out and not obscured by any of those cloud thingies.
I could easily pass for a meteorologist in South Florida, actually. It appears to be almost impossible to give a fully accurate forecast for 12 hours ahead, never mind a 3 or 5 day summary. Sunshine wasn't on the menu necessarily, but I'm not complaining - really I'm not.
It's said that the cost of building & renovating the stadia in Brazil for the upcoming jamboree was an estimated *adopts Dr Evil voice*....$3bn.
Funnily enough, that figure was trotted out again last night as Jim, Laurie and myself stood outside the sprawling Marlins Arena, home to the Miami Marlins baseball team which, I discovered, because of bond schemes and the like have apparently resulted in a similar bottom line to the one quoted above. Frightening really, especially as the 2-time MLB champs (last time 2003) rarely sell out the 36,000 capacity indoor arena.
The rain finally abated late Monday afternoon - I'm sure you're thrilled skinny for me on that one.
And in even better news, the Comrex broadcast equipment which was still steadfastly on 'everybody out' mode for me was fixed in a matter of minutes by talkSPORT's freshly-arrived engineer Adam Reed - a miracle worker if ever there was one! That meant my interviews on Extra Time and Breakfast were finally in broadcast quality and my mind can focus on things other than...faulty dongles.
Stop sniggering at the back.
We're officially in 'Hurricane Season' here in Florida.
Adverts from Walgreens, K-Mart and countless others are pushing a 'Hurricane Sale' of items such as flashlights, generators and batteries; news stations cheerfully remind you of how to best protect your home from 120mph winds - it's all done with a cheery bonhomie that both startles and comforts you at the same time. The calm before a possible storm. Suddenly, being on the 23rd floor seems disturbingly high up.
"The loneliness of the long distance reporter..."
Suddenly this feels very very big. I've bid a tearful farewell to my girlfriend and for 6 weeks or so, there's no going back.
There are few bands of any real note these days that are still to reform and ride the nostalgia train one more time.
Weller won't countenance taking The Jam round the world; Morrissey would never cheer up enough to consider a fresh alliance with Johnny Marr et al; Rick Davies hates Rodger Hodgson more than enough to rule out Supertramp bothering again.
Whether that last example bothers anyone else is open to question.
Some years ago, Charlie Watts was asked by a reporter what it had been like playing for 30 years as Rolling Stones drummer. His reply was short and to the point: “It wasn’t 30 years of playing – more like 5 years of playing, 25 years of hanging around”.
Having spent the first part of this week in and around the England camp, there are doubtless many print and broadcast journalists who’ve followed the national side for decades who could trot out exactly the same statistic.
First of all, I should take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope that 2014 brings you everything that you wish for. Thanks for visiting this site too, however often it is that you stop by. I’ve had another varied, exciting and interesting year in many ways, and next year promises to be no different as things look from here.
2014 will also bring a couple of personal anniversaries into view for me. Actually 3, come to think about it.
Who was it that stated ‘Never meet your heroes’?
Such a rule of thumb is clearly designed to leave those whom we idolise firmly on the pedestal that keeps them at 15 arm’s lengths from us mere mortals. How depressing would it surely be to encounter someone you’ve held in the highest possible regard, only for them to disappoint and depress you with bad gags, bad attitudes or simply bad body odour within seconds of touching the hem of their garment?