Wednesday 2nd June
Two Trollies of kit on this Trip.
Could it be True?
The baggage carousel was empty. I had one piece of luggage. I should have had ten.
Kevin one of the ITV News cameramen was also standing with an empty trolley staring at an empty belt and an empty baggage hall.
Sean from BBC sport was also wearing a weary bewildered look as all the other passengers on our flight wandered through to the exit of Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo airport.
We looked around for someone to ask if there was a special area for fragile or unusual baggage.
There was no one around.
The kit must be somewhere. The three of us could not possibly have lost all our kit.
We were just about to head off to bang on doors or thump on desks to get someone to help when a door opened in the far corner of the hall.
We breathed a lot easier than the poor guy who was pushing a couple of laden trollies, one of which had my bright orange flight case teetering on the top.
Phew! Here Comes The Kit.
Kevin Starts to Unload.
At last we could leave the airport and get some rest after the very packed BA flight that had managed to get us to Johannesburg despite the dispute between willy waving Willy Walsh and the militant cabin staff.
Mark the producer on the trip had flown in on a separate Virgin flight and met me in the hall.
We were met by Philimone and Samson, our driver for the day.
Philimone had been the driver we had used when we were in South Africa earlier in the year.
He had not thought that he would need a big vehicle for just the two of us. Last time there were five of us.
He made a quick call to organise something with a bit more space for my kit.
By the time we got the three trollies piled with kit up to the pick up area there was a white mini bus waiting for us.
We loaded up and set off into the busy Johannesburg traffic.
We had not gone very far but had been on the road for a while when Samson’s phone rang.
In response he checked his pockets and then handed the phone to me saying that Philimone needed to speak to us.
A few moments later we were heading in the opposite direction back to the airport.
He had driven away from there with us, the kit and the keys for Philimone’s car.
Although it would make it a lot longer until we got to the apartment we were staying in we could have a look around the airport area for a place to do live broadcasts from in the morning when the England team were due to arrive.
There were no areas that were very good either from a satellite point of view or a point of view point of view.
A lot of the car parks and roads were being close when the various teams arrived.
We got back on the road and rejoined the bumper to bumper traffic into the city.
Samson’s day did not get better when we arrived at the basement car park of the brand new apartments in which we would be spending some of our time.
He was manoeuvring around one of the many pillars between the parking bays when there was the gentle sound of graunching metal.
The yellow pillar paint had done a bit of a swap with the white paint of the combi.
GMTV wanted some live broadcasts from us in the morning now that we were here in South African Capital.
The plan had been that as the England team was due to arrive during the time GMTV would be on air we would get the shot of them arriving live.
That plan was scuppered pretty quickly when FIFA said that they were only going to allow a couple of cameras in to film the arrival and the authorities would not allow satellite trucks near the airport.
Given that plan had gone the editors at GMTV were still keen to have some sort of live broadcast.
That left Mark with a bit of a problem because we had not front of camera people from GMTV with us, correspondent Richard Gaisford and presenter Ben Shephard would not be arriving for a few days.
Also we had not been able to find a suitable place to broadcast from on our quick recce.
The news of the massacre back in Cumbria was starting to come out and the office was very busy responding to that horrific story.
On our way to the IBC (International Broadcast Centre) at Soccer City to get our accreditation Mark was making lots of call and sending lots of e-mails to try and sort out some camera talent and a location for the morning.
Lots of Satellite Dishes Outside the IBC.
At the Accreditation Centre we went through the rigmarole of handing over our passports along with our accreditation letter, getting our photographs taken and being issued with our large badges to wear round our necks.
We joined a the long queue of people clutching their IDs and letters outside in the low sun.
The Queue in the Sun.
Waiting With the World's Sporting Press.
Mark was slightly concerned about getting his accreditation because he had mislaid his letter.
The minders on the door were only letting a certain number of people in at a time.
They were clearly doing it all by the book and the book clearly stated that the accreditation letter must be produced with the ID.
The tension was building. Would Mark manage to get accredited or would he have to turn tail and head way back into the city to the apartment to get his letter.
The efficient doorman went down the line counting us off.
We were in the next group to go in. We joined another queue to be seen by someone at a lap top.
As I went forward I handed my passport to the chap and he started typing away.
I nodded to Mark.
He was next to go and sit down.
He was relieved when the guy did not even mention the letter.
Photo Time for me.
Photo Time for Mark.
A short time after getting our photos taken we were given our passes.
Lanyards ready for the Passes.
My Pass Ready for me to Collect.
I could not believe it when I saw mine.
In bold letters between my name and ITV Sport was a sight that made me very happy. It said Scotland!
Sadly that is about as near as Scotland is likely to get to the World Cup Finals in many a year.
.....With Its Fountain of Balls!
Late on in the evening we had our guest and a location confirmed thanks to our colleagues at ITV news.
Martin Geisler the ITV News Africa correspondent would be getting up early to come and join us.
So from thinking that we might have a restful day after our long flights we ended up getting things sorted out around 10pm.