The day after Souths won the Grand Final last year Heidi and I put the kids on a plane back to their mum’s at Port Macquarie. Feeling rather sad we stopped at the Royal – a Wests Tigers pub – for a commiserating drink. As we walked in wearing our Souths jumpers Glen, one of the locals we had befriended, led the entire bar in a standing ovation for us. We were clapped, cheered and hugged by the local die hard Tigers supporters as if we had personally played a part in the Rabbitohs historic victory. It was an amazing experience and it really lifted our spirits.
A couple of weeks ago we went to the Royal for a final drink before leaving Leichhardt on the first leg of our journey to Laos. Glen was there having a brew with the regulars so I went and told him how much I appreciated his efforts after the Grand Final. It wasn’t something that had registered on his radar as a big thing, but when I told what it had meant to me and why, well I got a little tear and a ‘bloody sook’ from this local rogue. Hugs, handshakes, fist bumps and a promise of ‘visiting when we came back’ was the only way they would let us leave. It was a very touching goodbye.
On the way home I stopped by to say ciao to the lads at Il Cugino. We’d had many a magnificent family night there as well and they were surprised to hear we were leaving.
The following morning we had one last coffee at Taaza in Norton Street before spending the afternoon packing the storage unit like it was a real life game of tetris. All our worldly possessions that had once adorned our two-bedroom flat in Allen Street looked rather odd in a 2.4 square metre box. C‘est la vie 🙂
Leichhardt has been my home twice now and both times have been wonderful. So, in the words of an Austrian body builder come actor / politician, ‘I’ll be back.’