My World Cup warm-up has been an interesting one: last Wednesday I was sitting on a stool with Rio Ferdinand in London talking to him about captaining England.
The event at Niketown ended with the crowd giving a rapturous send off to Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney – the other two popped in for the grand finale.
Rio spoke with real understanding about how Theo Walcott would be missing out on the World Cup and as he left (just after I had awkwardly spat some flapjack on his tracksuit) he said ‘see you in six weeks’.
Less than 48 hours later he – just like Walcott – was getting used to the idea of spending the summer watching his country rather than playing for them.
I am also carrying a knee injury – a grade-three tear of my medial collateral ligament. Thankfully it didn’t stop me boarding a plan for South Africa this week.
The highlights of the 10-hour flight were witnessing Garth Crooks spill an entire cup of tea on his ivory shorts and watching Denzel Washington’s antics in the post-apocalyptic movie The Book of Eli.
I spent quite a bit of the flight reading the BBC World Cup ‘bible’ – a staggering tome put together by a group of statistical legends.
It’s essential for all commentators, pundits, presenters and reporters but sadly not available to buy. Its near 500 pages will tell you everything from the goal tally of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez to the name of the Nigerian president! If you’re interested, it’s Goodluck Jonathan.
Talking of stats… I have given the one about Suarez scoring 49 goals for Ajax this season to both Alan Shearer and Lee Dixon. They are now involved in a battle to see who can use it first during our coverage of France v Uruguay on Friday so keep an eye on them.
When we touched down in South Africa we received the vuvuzela welcome. The hotel receptionist told me that the instrument was originally used to scare off baboons but was so loud it actually killed some of them!
It sounds a bit like the noise who would expect an elephant to make if you had it in a really tight headlock. They’ll be plenty from the squealing pachyderm throughout the summer because everyone in South Africa seems to have one.
I am only in Cape Town until the weekend because the BBC bus leaves early Saturday morning. I have now met all the bus brothers and I can’t wait to hop on and bring you some fascinating stories from all over South Africa.
My first job on arrival was to get Fifa accreditation. I think they are having a problem with their printers because my head looks a lot wider than normal. I’ll take it though because my cranium normally looks like a bit like a cashew nut in real life – thin at the front and getting wider as you approach the rear.
The accreditation centre is around the corner from the BBC Cape Town studio on top of the Somerset Hospital and the view of Table Mountain in the background is a bit special.
Just below the studio is the media centre where much of the hard work is done. I will give you a little look around later this week which also gives me some time to sort out the biscuit collection. Of all the beauties they could have gone for they’ve opted for lemon puffs! What a disappointment. I consider it my mission to service my colleagues with some fig rolls before the bus leaves Cape Town.
Despite the biscuit news, I can’t wait for the World Cup to start. There will be so many compelling stories to tell from a complicated but fascinating country. I shall try and keep you up to date through this blog and if there’s anything you’d particularly like to see then bung it down below.