I was a prisoner, I was owned, I was someone else’s trophy. For 40 years he kept me locked up in a cupboard. Just me and this hideous painting of a dog that looked like it was capable of genocide. I was a joke to him. A piece of kitsch to be passed around to his mates, to be manhandled, laughed at, ridiculed … but then I escaped … !!!
I needed to make up for lost time. To get as far away from my captor as possible. To see as much of this bigger world as time would allow. This is my story. It is the story of one of the most well travelled trophies in history. It starts in Sydney Australia in a Post Office.
I can thoroughly recommend travel by padded post pack. It is comfortable, safe and, while it lacks a little on leg room and service, you can be sure you will arrive … somewhere … eventually.
I arrived in Bovec, the adventure capital of Slovenia. A captivating little town with lots of good restaurants, bars and places to stay. It is snuggled high among the peaks of the Julian Alps, blessed with the crystal clear emerald waters that feed the mighty Soca River and ready for any mountain adventure you can dream up.
I stayed with this gorgeous local family, the Hosner’s, who made me feel so very welcome and spoke excellent Australian. After feeding me the best Kranjska Klobasa (Carniolan sausage) I have ever eaten, Matej and I went to Bar Črna Ovca for a night out. We explored all the different types of Slovenian Schnapps available. I’m not sure what happened after that, but I woke up dressed as a female Anime character covered in chocolate and cheese with a wooden kitchen utensil in my butt. Good times!
Here is the only photo I have from the night … I have no idea what Kalian is.
The next day team Hosner took me to Predil Pass which is on the border of Slovenia and Italy. Originally built in 1319 as a local trade route the pass saw some serious fighting during the Napoleonic wars. The road was as bent as a 3 dollar note and with the hangover … it was a tough trip … but well worth it.
On the way back I was feeling a bit average so Matej kindly popped me into his camera bag where I could catch up on my sleep. This really was first class travel … for a trophy.
It was a teary send-off with the Hosner family. They were the first people to treat me with the respect an Under 11B Player of the Year Club Trophy deserves. The food, the warmth, the laughter, the wood polish … I will never be able to repay.
And … if I was to continue evading my evil jailor I needed to keep moving. He is a very well resourced individual and will stop at nothing to get back what he believes is rightfully his. Even though I know that I’m more than just a trophy to be looked at and pawed I suspect I will be on the run for the rest of my days.
Matej understood this and shrewdly slipped me inside the backpack of a tourist …
By the way … if you are ever in Slovenia and want to have so much fun you’ll wet your pants … go canyoning with Matej. Tell them Glen’s Trophy sent you.
The next night when my unsuspecting porter was snoring like a standard whale I extracted myself from their toiletries bag smelling of hotel soap, toothpaste and baby wipes. I silently closed the bedroom door, leaving a note that I hoped would say more I went down the stairs to the kitchen clutching a handkerchief. Quietly turning the backdoor key, stepping outside I was free.
I made my way through the crowds. People having dinner, shopping, drinking … doing what people do when they are not being chased by the Player of the Year … 40 years ago. I made my way to the bridge. It was a beautiful bridge but very slippery. Even though it was not raining, and I was wearing some tissues I had stolen from my lifts toiletries bag I could not walk to the apex of the bridge. Fortunately, a man from Mostar saw me slip, picked me up, took me to the apex of the bridge and got these stunning photos:
Travel Trophy Part 2
Jumping Off the Mostar Bridge
The Stari Most was originally built in the 16th Century and being a single span bridge was quite an achievement in the day. Rebuilt in 2004, the bridge is now recognised by UNESCO.
For many years it has been a right of passage for 16 year old boys to jump from the bridge, 24 meters to the Neretva river below. It is said that a boys life will be a complete failure if he doesn’t jump. Well … there’s a challenge if ever I heard one. Also, because of my 40 years in solitary confinement (Glen has no other Trophies), I thought that my life couldn’t get any worse … I decided to jump.
I registered with the Mostar Dive Club, paid my 20 Euro’s, went through their training and, with the promise of a certificate and lots of high fiving afterwards I found myself on the edge of the bridge looking down the 24 meters to the river below. Tourists and locals were there with their phones. I steeled myself, exhaled and then vaulted toward the water. It was absolutely exhilarating … until I realised that I am a trophy and I can’t swim.
Looking up from the bottom of the Neretva river I could see the people on the bridge wonder what happened to me as the current dragged me down river and into the Mediterranean.
15 days I was drifting at sea with the currents when I was washed ashore on the southern tip of Portugal.
While in Portugal, being a Football Trophy, I was invited to visit the training facility of the Portuguese football team. I found myself in a conference room with all the great Portuguese football stars … Cristiano Ronaldo, Rui Manuel, Bernardo Silva … Amazingly, not one of them knew of Glen. I was struggling to reconcile that with the way he talks about his own career. Inexplicably, Dennis Bergkamp was there and he took me to The Netherlands …
Windmills and Weed
After cycling around the canals, tulip fields, windmills and the house where Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid during WWII (She asked after you Deb) … things got a little wild …
Travel Trophy Part 3
I’m not sure what was in the rolled cigarette in the Netherlands, but I woke up in a meat locker in Germany! It was Christmas and Santa bought me my own house and transport.
Tricycle to Prague
Even though the accommodation was nice … I needed to keep moving to stay ahead of my evil pursuer … so I rode the tricycle east. It died on the road to Prague and I was getting very cold.
I managed to find a train and hid on board while winter faded. When the sun started shining again I was in Shanghai. I even found an under 11’s soccer game and won a trophy.
Travel Trophy Part 4
Return to Sydney
I very much missed my mate Rod. He has been an absolute champion through my whole bid for freedom and is probably the person who most deserves a trophy … like me! So I packaged myself up and returned to Sydney to visit my patron saint.
It was wonderful to see Rod again. We laughed full belly laughs, we drank the nectar of the honey dew, we ran through the sun kissed fields while the birds ducked and dived in a playful manner around us before we fell giggling into a soft pile of freshly cut lavender.
We knew that our time together would be short because Glen might get wind (He often does. Just ask Deb.) … He might also get wind that I’m back in town and then snatch me away and put me in his trophy dungeon … all alone … with no other trophies.
Fortunately, a friend of Rod’s, Mark, was travelling to Europe and so it was time to pack myself up again and stay on the move.
Mark was the perfect host. He took me to all the top cultural sites in Lisbon including The Museum of Architecture, Art and Technology (MAAT) where Mark spoke … at length about the flow of the lines creating a space that was human centric and successfully condense the ethos of the intention of the designer to efficaciously encapsulate the way of being that would create an intentionality for the consumer experience despite the work of the nasty builders who turned all the beautiful designs into crap. It was … educationally soporific.
Then it was onto the 16th Century Jeronimos Monastery. “One of the best examples of Portuguese Gothic Manueline style” Mark told me. Whatever it was … it was magnificent and more culture in a dark corner than any Central Coast Clubhouse.
Travel Trophy Part 5
After all the culture of Portugal, Mark decided that we needed to … uncomplicate ourselves … so we went to Yorkshire. He booked us a charming cottage next to a stream … it was very romantic.
’m not sure why Mark was so disparaging about his homeland. I thought it had culture. For example …
And even if she is asking for donations … she’s outstanding in her field.
Also … I learned the Yorkshire motto: “‘ear all, see all, say nowt. eat all, sup all, pay nowt. ‘n if thar eva dos owt for nowt . . Allus do it for thisen”
This translates to “Hear all, see all, say nothing; eat all, drink all, pay nothing, and if ever you do something for nothing, always do it for yourself.” This may go some way to explaining why people from the south of England describe Yorkshiremen and being like a Scotsman but with all the generosity squeezed out of him.
The Land of Saints and Scholars … and Soaks
Ah Ireland! The land of Saints, scholars, soaks, horizontal rain, plywood teeth and a thousand welcomes. Here I am at Longford Cathedral before being invited to a Devlin family reunion. 2 pints of that black beer goes straight to your nuts and bolts.
36 hours, 97 traditional song and 38 Ceili dances later I woke up in an airport in Holland.
Caught an envelope back to London.
I was very thirsty after my Devlin Family Reunion but couldn’t stomach any more beer so I caught the tube …
Travel Trophy Part 6
Southern Summers & Sunday Soccer
The weather in the Northern Hemisphere was cooling and so my thoughts turned to a Sydney summer. I knew that my wicked imprisoner would be leaving Sydney on some sort of summer escape. I expect it would involve poor people serving him thin slices of the meat of endangered animals while he tells the punkhawallah to put his back into it.
So, safe in the knowledge that he would be somewhere else, I returned to Sydney just in time for an End of Season Trip with the soccer boys. We laughed, we drank, we partied until 9.30PM. These guys are legends!
After I told them my story, they gave me Life Membership. I can now turn up on any Sunday morning over summer and, after a game of soccer, I will be awarded to the Best and Fairest.
There’s No Place Like Home …
After our romantic getaway in Yorkshire, Mark and I spent a lovely few days in a seaside fishing village south of Sydney. I really am wondering if he is going to pop the question.
He had the perfect opportunity … and the Bollinger! But no. Always the Bridesmaid …
Back to Sydney for a couple of days in Manly with my patron saint Rod. Reading, relaxing, swimming, eating … While I’m still traumatised from my 40 year imprisonment, it’s days like these that make you glad to be alive. Wait … am I alive? Do I have consciousness? Is this real? I wanna be a real boy!