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Secrets, truths and some little white lies.


NOW that, my friends, is what I call a great week.

After dealing with the loss of Masterchef (and Greg Wallace: "The skin on your zander is soft and rubbery"), a new series of The Apprentice kicked off.

And before that of course there was the slightly bonkers matter of a rugby match as we saluted a new generation of heroes without a golf buggy or a red card in sight.

Up until that point I had watched all the games at home but on this occasion I threw caution and my MasterCard to the wind, grabbed my friends and mingled with the other 250,000 crazy folk who filled Cardiff's streets.

There was a lot of hugging and after failing to remember any French apart from "le chat est sur le mat" I turned to the greatest international language of them all - a big fat hug.

But in the middle of all the celebrations I found a quiet little corner and thought about my father who passed away before being able to savour the recent sporting successes.

Eighteen years ago he took me to witness Wales beating France at the old stadium. I'm pretty sure it was my first proper international, and I remember how I was extremely overawed with the whole occasion.

My little heart sank when my father explained that our two seats weren't actually together. I've never been very good at doing anything on my own, let alone watch a rugby match but off I toddled, clutching my ticket tightly as thousands of excited supporters engulfed me.

I eventually took my seat and nearly wet myself. I wanted to tell someone how fabulous everything looked and that I'd never seen grass that green before but the man on my right didn't speak English and the seat on my left was empty.

I sighed and contained my enthusiasm. It was going to be a long afternoon.

As the players appeared out of the tunnel and scampered into the bright sunshine I took my cue off those around me and stood on my feet. It was at that point that I heard a familiar voice making its way down the aisle, politely excusing himself in Wenglish as he approached.

With a big cheesy smile my father pulled down the seat next to me, punched me on the arm and said: "Did you think I would leave you on your own?" Those 10 words are worth a million. The thing is, Dad's been on my mind since I met up with my friend Tara a few weeks ago.

Three years have passed since she lost her father Orig Williams, and like me the "hiraeth" comes in waves.

The great thing is we both realise how brilliantly fortunate we were to be able to stand on their shoulders for the time we had them because they made us feel 10 feet high.

Rugby victories are great, but if you're lucky, like we were, fathers are even greater.
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 25, 2012
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