Over the past 48 hours, we here at TSLR have been acclimatising to the extreme heat that formulates the temporary location of TSLR Towers as we tour southern Spain for the next week or so. Despite the almost unavailable information handed to us through the official channels at the club, we have managed to find ourselves within spitting (OK, driving) distance of the club's humble Spanish abode for the next few days.
Having flown over the weekend to Seville, we took a train to Jerez. Say what you like about the economy in Espanol at the moment but their public transport is awesome. A €10 rail ticket took us on an hour long journey with air conditioning. Now FCC offer air conditioning from Brighton to London but that's generally only after a Tuesday night match in the middle of an English winter when the driver has forgotten to put the heating on.
The last time we ventured to the Mediterranean in the name of a pre-season Albion tour, we were over the western border in the Portuguese Algarve. Luckily this time around, the club - despite not telling us - are not as isolated as they were then and have decided to stay in a hotel that is at least located near an actual place where people live.
That place where people live is Jerez, in southern Spain's Andalusia. The town is famous for its obsession with horses and sherry. We fit in perfectly. What with our obsession of the ultimate horse, Fran Sandaza, and our taste for drinking alcohol, it seems as if the Albion chose this part of the world just for TSLR. Plus in Jerez they like fountains - and Brighton is intrinsically linked to water, albeit in a slightly saltier form known as sea water.
The thing that has always stopped me from emigrating to a hotter country from the UK is the Albion. So imagine how remarkable it is to be visiting a potential place to live (simply because it is warmer, cheaper and has better looking women) in the name of the Albion.
Today marks the beginning of our campaign to stalk Albion players. Well not stalk exactly (that's what Twitter's for), appreciate is the term. We're here mainly to get photos of our favourites holding a copy of their most loved fanzine. Hopefully, Vicente will be at the sherry factory for the guided tour.
Meanwhile, every local person we've spoken to on this pre-season tour so far has expressed their ultimate disbelief that we'll be kicking off against Pompay at 6pm on Tuesday night. To give you an idea of life here, it was 40 degrees Celsius at 6pm last week. Nobody plays football at that time. But then, this is Brighton and Hove Albion. We do what we want, right? Even if our players have exhaustion issues.
We'll be updating you on the lack of Jagaermeister and a sport named Paddle in the coming days. And the Albion I suppose.