David Flatman: My Blackadder accent is mocked but cunning plan now is to rest

A meaty, fun tour rounds off a long, hard season – and smiling at the haka is a perfect way to bow out

A man at Napier airport, who was wearing the All Blacks jersey and hat, asked: "What happened last night?" Working on a hunch, I countered: "Didn't you see it, mate?" "Yeah, I saw it." "Then you know what happened, don't you?" OK, so perhaps I was being a bit touchy and perhaps the mild malaise brought about by the night before had shortened my normally medium-length fuse, but this was a level of smugness that, at that point, I could not handle.

The queue for customs snaked on and, in between daydreams of making a run for it to escape the desperately awful world of air travel, I had time to reflect on my actions. Three minutes later the Kiwi chap and I were like old friends; he mocked my "Blackadder" accent while I lamented the absence of any Maori genes in my bloodline. Having repaired this mini-relationship I felt much better about life as I walked on.

This was, after all, not a touchy, angry tour. It was a proper, hard, meaty, fun tour and that is how I intend to remember it. Rugby really is a wonderful way to earn a living. It takes us to all manner of places, acts as the introduction to so many different people and puts before us so many challenges that, surely, no other job does. Last week's match against the New Zealand Maori was an evening I will never forget. It was the first time I have ever played against a team from New Zealand and, therefore, the first time I have faced a haka. I absolutely loved it.

The choreography was a feat in itself; it looked incredible. But more impressive than that was the level of respect given to it by the Maori players themselves. Every single one of them bought into it like it was the last thing they would ever do and performed it with such intensity and pride that I, myself, found it an inspiration. I am not sure if we Englishmen were supposed to smile during it but I found it happening and I could not stop it. After the match I asked one of the players to tell me what the words meant.

Out of respect (and a poor memory) I shan't offer a translation now but suffice to say, I might not have enjoyed it quite so much had I asked this question before kick-off.

Ultimately it's maddening to finish a tour with a defeat. I suppose with two wins, two losses and a draw we come out of the trip about even. When this experience ages enough to be just a memory, I guess that is how it will feel in my mind but now, sitting at home looking at my still-fresh stud marks and bleeding cauliflower ear, it kills me that we did not win.

Of course, I'll get over it; that is what the summer is for. A month with no meetings, no rules, no dress code and, most importantly, no collisions for my body to absorb. Still, being a young whippersnapper, soreness rarely affects me but I am told the older geezers really feel the benefit of a good rest.

For me it is more than physical recuperation that makes July such a vital month in my year. I get to wake up late, walk the dogs in my own time and be available to help the seven-month-old critter who, for someone so small, seems to demand an awful lot of time and attention.

All the talk on the plane home was of lads' holidays and assaults on Las Vegas. Yes, those are some of the greatest days a man can have with his mates and I intend to still be holidaying with the silly boys' club for as long as my waist/hairline will allow, but sometimes, after an especially tough shift, it is nice to just go home and be quiet.

I know that in about three weeks I will again be craving the rigid schedule offered by our fitness staff and will be mad keen for a bit of rough and tumble but for now, while the diary is empty and the sun is out, rugby can wait.

I certainly will not be watching the Maori game on Sky Plus for fear of grinding my teeth down to a paste. In fact, for reasons of nostalgia, I might just dig out that Blackadder box set, close this laptop and waste an afternoon. Because I can.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform