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No sleep for the wicked

June 16, 2013

Lunch in the members pavilion at the Arundel Castle cricket ground was about as English as its gets. Sitting close to many current legends of cricket, such as England players Matt Prior, Monty Panesar and the massively tall Chris Tremlett standing 6 feet 7 inches, (the two teams, Surrey and Sussex, sitting at one end of the quaint pavilion, some twenty or so members at the other end) in idyllic surroundings, in fact one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the country, eating turkey and ham pie, followed by apple and rhubarb pie and custard was about as English as you could get. A bargain at £18, barely 20 euros at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates was a very special and very English occasion.

It was lucky that yesterday’s lunch was being served in the pavilion rather than a purpose-built marquee which had been used on earlier match days, because the wind whipping against the canvas would have made shouting a necessity to be heard. There was some shelter to the leeward of this marquee so that is where, after lunch, that Nice Lady Decorator and I set up picnic camp with James “Desperate Dan” the Landlord and the mightyily beautiful Mighty Omega, close to the biggest and most impressive horse-chestnut tree I have ever seen. Desperate managed to stay awake this time rather than sloping off for a sleep at Dingily Dell (pictured today) as he had done the day before, mainly because he was being watched after by his luscious other half who had read this column and was aware of the sleepy danger .

kids playing cricket

Dingily Dell at Arundel Castle cricket ground

The match ended in a rather tame draw, although a moral victory for Surrey as expected, a situation not helped by losing the whole first day to rain. Today is Father’s Day and I am going to make the best if it. After the early morning customary Fathers Day reward, a large cooked breakfast will commence the pampering a father can expect from a day dedicated to his virility. I am glad to say that both my brothers are, as it were, coming today together with their spouses and the results of their virility. I am clearly the most virile of our family being the proud owner of two Sprogs, whilst both of my brothers are only half as virile owning just one each. It is a point I shall be making loudly and often over lunch at The Bay Tree in Arundel this afternoon. It also means that I am twice as poor, but will not be dwelling on exactly how much fatherhood has cost and continues to cost me financially as I want to enjoy the occasion.

Also in attendance will be two of the cousins of the That Nice Lady Decorating Operative, although why is not clear as neither have yet to open their accounts at all in the context of what day this is. Perhaps they have come to worship those amongst us who have something expensive to show for that proven capacity to procreate? Anyway I am looking forward to the occasion, which will start with some Pimms in the garden (weather permitting) at around 1pm.

Talking of the weather, the return to my beloved Valbonne for six whole weeks at the end of the month is now close enough to be tangible. I do not expect to be shivering in long trousers and a splendid striped jacket (as was the case yesterday) trying, in the teeth of a gale and scudding low cloud, to pretend that it is summer. No, shorts will shortly be the order of the day and I for one cannot wait.

Chris France


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