This was to be my last sighting of live cricket this season; even though it was a day one at Lord’s, I knew I was to be busy working or otherwise not around for the rest of the match.
As tradition now has it, Charley “the Gent” Malloy joins me for a day during that last County Championship match of the season.
I was starting to run out of new ideas for picnic food for this season, but Daisy had started a new weekend fad of buying amazing smoked fishes from the Polish deli in Ealing.
The weekend before this match, in a fit of over-enthusiasm, Daisy had bought, amongst other smoked delicacies, a whole smoked eel. Smoked eel is one of my favourites as well as one of hers, but a whole smoked eel is a big fella. I suggested that Daisy might donate some of the smoked eel to the Ged and Chas Picnic Benevolent Society. She agreed wholeheartedly.
The night before, I mused about the picnic and decided to safeguard proceedings by procuring some nice juicy prawns as well, so that if Chas really didn’t go for eel, I could eat two eel rolls and Chas could eat two prawn ones.
An early trip to the bakers (Championship matches start at 10.30am in September, remember) secured a couple of particularly interesting breakfast muffins and two big bagels.
Of course Chas was at the ground in good time. Of course we nabbed a couple of prime seats on death row before the start of play. Naturally I outlined the proposed picnic. Chas exclaimed that he didn’t think he’d ever tried smoked eel before but that he’d enjoy giving it a try.
So, we enjoyed our prawn muffin jobbies late morning while still on death row, then the smoked eel bagels a bit later in the day.
Chas showed little emotion in the matter of the eel bagels at the time. I think he might have mentioned that his all-time favourite remains the wild Alaskan salmon, but that hardly needs saying. He did say that he liked it, so I thought that was a pretty successful variation on our picnic theme.
The next day, however, I got a kindly thank you email from Chas (as usual) that also included the following short paragraph:
“I think I have yet another phobia – you guessed it, smoked eel! What is completely ludicrous is I actually liked it but can’t mentally cope with eating it, I’m a little troubled with all of that!”
I responded with the following wise words and links on the matter:
“Eels are simply elongated fish; nothing weird about them.
…unless you jelly them rather than smoke them, the former being kinda Essex weird…
No doubt Charley and I will discuss the matter of eels some more when next we meet, which at the time of writing up this match report (April 2016) will be very soon indeed – like, next week. But I’ve taken the hint, so it won’t be “eel meat again” for the start of the 2016 season.
Send your match reports to firstname.lastname@example.org. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.