Spring has sprung,
Da grass has riz,
I wonder where da boidies is?
Da little boids is on da wing,
Ain’t that absoid,
Da little wings is on da boid.
There’s something different about this morning. It maybe that, for the first time this year, I’m able to sit in my garden with a cup of tea without the fear of losing several digits to frostbite. It may be that the new European Champions at Rugby Union are Ireland. (4th place. FOURTH!! How d’ya like THEM leeks?). It may even be that the blue tits in my garden (no, nothing to do with the cold weather) seems to at last be taking an interest in one of the several bird boxes I nailed up over the winter months.
But no, there’s a spring in my step this morning because yesterday IT arrived, just as he promised it would. It came in the post yesterday morning (well, lunchtime—my postie likes his lie-ins nowadays) and was accompanied by a piece of paper on which he’d written “Drool Away”. “He” is my long-time pal Andrew, and “it” is my ticket for the first day of the Lords Test Match against the Australians this July. YES.
I can hear monocles flying out all over Tunbridge Wells, teacups smashing in the Garrick, and a million expletives uttered under a million breaths as a large proportion of the population come to terms with the fact that the tickets are out only a lucky few will get them.
I’ve been going to the Thursday of the Lords test with Andrew for nigh on 20 years now. Through thin and thin we’ve supported England as country after country have turned up at HQ with the press predicting they’ll be over-awed by playing at the Holy of Holys, only to teach the home side a lesson in, well, pretty much everything. I think we speak about six words to each other when we’re there, and we certainly never talk during overs. It’s heaven.
Supporting English cricket is not for the faint-hearted or the easily-disappointed (being a Charlton Athletic fan, you’d think I’d suffered enough unpleasantness), but addict and Addick as I am, I just can’t help myself. Imagine the thrill of seeing 2 out of the first 3 Aussie batsmen get clattered on the head when they were last here. It was hilarious beyond words. We stuck it to ’em alright. So they decided to return the compliment and rout us when it was their turn to bowl.
It happens with an almost predictable regularity but nothing can dampen the goose-bumped optimism for my team’s chances as I pass though the gates and enter the Great Place, awaiting those flanneled fools in their Green Baggies to skip down the pavilion steps. Anyone who’s been on the Nou Camp, the Augusta National, the Oval Office or the Taj Mahal must surely recognize that feeling. (In the Taj Mahal I always order the Doipaza and the Taka Dal, very tasty, and remember, they stop serving at 11.30 sharp). Twickenham is always a bit of a disappointment—it has to be the coldest , soul-less ground on earth, and oddly The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff knocks it into a cocked hat (have I mentioned that the Welsh came in 4th?).
So now the long build-up to that great day begins: There’s the Lions Squad to be announced (PLEASE DON’T TAKE THAT POWDERED PONCE HENSON), Charlton’s Oozalum season will come to it’s inevitable conclusion, and the drone of millionaires parading round an F1 track will soon be interrupting my Sunday lunchtime pint. But I have my ticket for Lords and that means cricket’s back in town, and the world seems a better place for it.
Now where did I put my lucky jockstrap?
Or as Andrew would put it “Scratching around all morning until Posty arrived at the crease, put on a ton together…marvellous”.
Ha! yeah. British Rail delivered me a couple of bouncers this morning which I ducked out he way of, managed to carry me bat til I got on the tube.