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Shepherds pie, sideburns and cricket

February 26, 2014

It was an innocent comment but if I think back, that was when the trouble started. That Nice Lady Decorator and I were out walking at Cissbury Ring near Findon on the South Downs yesterday morning in splendid and rare sunny weather and were descending quite a steep path back to the car park when I said “you go down hill quicker than me”. We had been talking a little earlier about the speed with which some people were able to get drunk, and I believe she must have thought that was to which I was referring. The comment was met with that gaze which is somewhere between a laser beam and a blowtorch but much more destructive. However a quick explanation about how I was praising her ability to walk down hills quicker than I, just about repaired the situation.

As soon as we got back from the walk, I was forced to book a haircut because I had looked in the mirror and remembered that the night before, after rather too many pints of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord at the Red Lion, we had met up with that red-headed and gorgeous siren Carolyn, who had come back to ours to help devour a huge shepherds pie which had been constructed by the Decorating Operative. Inevitably a bottle of wine was open and by the time I sat down to take a sip of mine, another bottle was required. The third took a little longer but the upshot was that a merry, devil-may-care attitude descended on the girls. That Nice Lady Decorator for some reason took exception to my side burns (“too long, too straggly”) and set about then with some scissors. One look in the mirror this morning and I knew that urgent repairs to my deep seated good looks were required.

sussex walk

The top of the Cissbury Ring

Haircut completed, the customary chastisement delivered to Edward the hairdresser about the fluffy scuzzy grey hair surrounding my hair cutting throne, which always seems to be there after my haircuts nowadays, I returned to the house in order to consider the benefits of opening an account with Currencies Direct and prepare for cricket practice with the Sussex Seniors at the Arundel Castle Cricket Club.

As soon as I arrived I knew I had made a mistake. I had purchased a new cricket sweater embellished with the motive “Sussex Seniors” some weeks before, assuming that these were club sweaters, available for all to buy, but as my wearing of the said item was noted, and became a subject for discussion, I quickly became of the opinion that I had made a rather presumptuous purchase. It may be that these are only awarded when one is picked to represent one of their teams, as I have not, yet. Think of it like wearing an England cap when cleaning the England teams boots. My only excuse is that I had been asked to confirm for which games from the fixture list I may be available.

After practice, no fewer that 8 of the dozen or so who had attended from all over the county, some travelling 20 miles or more to attend, adjourned to the White Hart for a post practice pint. It is almost as if the whole set up has been formed for me. Practice in Arundel, then the gathering at the pub next door to my house. I could not hardly improve the situation to suit me more. The tradition amongst my generation of cricket players was that, whilst the game was played hard on the pitch, after the match, the social aspect was almost as important and one would always stay for a drink with the opposition. I had never before found myself in a pub after practice, so this is an extremely satisfying development.

Chris France

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick permalink
    February 27, 2014 12:17 pm

    “The comment was met with that gaze which is somewhere between a laser beam and a blowtorch but much more destructive.”

    Between laser and blowtorch ? – amazing !
    That’s some glare, if it’s just for a fazing…
    No, ’cos I’ve recently heard
    It’s Izzy’s method preferred
    For her soldering, melting, and brazing !

    Sounds like she could vapourize rocks at 100 paces — PETRIFYING !!


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 27, 2014 2:50 pm

    ‘ I could not hardly improve the situation to suit me more’.

    Hmmm…. that pesky predictive text playing up again?

    A post practice pint, p.p.p.
    Sounds just about perfect to me.
    But with all those old hands,
    With enlarged prostate glands,
    It really should be p.p.p….eeeeeeeeeeee !!

    Good one Patrick. Issy’s a doll really and saintly in the way she puts up with Chris’s excesses !


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