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English rain innovation

August 17, 2012

There is a film called The 39 Steps. Had it been just 39 steps to the bar at Lords then I could probably have dealt with it with just a lot of whimpering and miserying. But 75 steps? Down then up carrying beer? Each time? Outrageous. What were the Lords thinking of?

Lords is of course the home of cricket and is located in St Johns Wood in London as any right thinking human being would know almost from birth. Cricket is also the best game known to man, surpassed by no other contest. Forget the Olympics, forget football, forget everything, even games that may require a brain, cricket is the ultimate, and Test cricket, five-day games played an international level, are the cream of the crop. Add in the fact that Lords is the spiritual home of cricket and you will see why having to do a step class to get a pint was so disappointing for me. Please do not forget that I had to catch a train leaving Arundel at 7.30. I was not certain the train service would start that early, or it may have been the late train from the night before.

It rained of course, but only at lunch time when we had set up our picnic on Harrison’s Lawn, one of the immaculately kept outdoor grassy areas inside the stadium so that the coronation chicken could be suitably crowned. With us were Nigel Medina Palms Rowley who on this occasion did not don a wet suit and cricket pads at a cricket match as he had done many years ago on a cricket tour to Jersey. He still has a mad streak which surfaces occasionally. Talking of mad streaks, we were also accompanied by old pal and senior Adidas commercial manager Ben Dobson who found a novel way of keeping the rain off his eccentric mauve suit as my picture today illustrates. Don’t worry Ben, it will look better when it has shrunk. It could hardly look worse. Fashion is such a fleeting concept often out of the grasp of even the great and the good.

Is that a man with a plate on his head?

Of course, standing outside whilst having lunch in a monsoon is a particularly English trait which hardens the resolve of the soul, and is the type of activity those pesky public schoolboys constantly witter on about when talking about “character building” and the “stiff upper lip”. Cold showers at school and cross-country races in plimsoles through the freezing mud, you know the sort of thing. However, I left England for France, to the lovely Valbonne, to where I shall shortly return for a brief holiday, precisely to avoid this sort of weather, so I am afraid I must admit to being unhardened, even soft bellied, and, at the height of the storm my stiff upper lip was certainly quivering.

Last night then to the famous Sea Shell Fish And Chip Restaurant in Lisson Grove where we were joined by that nice lady decorator who had eschewed the cricket in favour of more mundane tasks yesterday and arrived in the evening. However, she has made time in her busy shopping schedule to be available at Lords today where we are both guests of Adidas in their box. It will be tough going and I am sure you will spare us a thought later this morning. I believe the champagne will be served from 10 am onwards, an hour before the start of play.

The annual Arundel Festival also starts today so after the end of days play and no doubt a couple of pints for sustenance before taking the train back, we should be able to experience the event first hand for the first time. I looked through the list of sponsors but was unable to find those wonderful purveyors of foreign currency Currencies Direct, which was a surprise. Maybe next year?

Chris France

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