The best laid plans, eh?
My plan for the day was to have a real tennis lesson at 10am and stay to watch the finale of the Middlesex v Durham match. But Middlesex decided to bring an end to those proceedings the day before.
Plan B. Real tennis lesson at 10am, then scoot from Lord’s to Radlett to catch at least two sessions of dinky-doos play there (Editor: We have no idea what this means, but sometimes it’s just better to publish and hope that no-one uncovers your ignorance than actually ask for an explanation.) To my shame, I had still not been to Radlett, despite my constant intention to get round to it since my last aborted attempt, reported on King Cricket years ago.
After the lesson, I returned to Dumbo (Editor: Ged’s car) in Car Park No. 6 to find Paul Collingwood, in his Durham track suit, loading up an Enterprise van with Durham kit, much of which was piled up in front of Dumbo.
I threw my measly tennis kit in the back and turned on Dumbo’s engine. Colly gave me a look of exasperation and started moving the kit that was blocking Dumbo’s way.
“Smart move,” I said. “You don’t want any of your kit inadvertently run over, Colly.”
Colly didn’t smile. He looked in a thoroughly bad mood for some reason.
I added to the bad mood by then remembering that I needed to book Dumbo in for his MOT and service, so I got out of the car to get my diary, fiddled around for a few minutes making that call and then drove off.
Dumbo suggested that he or I might write up that Colly encounter for Cricket Badger (Editor: Now Wisden Cricket Weekly). Indeed, you might well have read about it in that esteemed organ before you read this.
Dumbo got very excited when we drove into the Radlett car park, as you could see the field of play just beyond a low hedge. Regular readers will know that Dumbo is constantly trying to repeat his first cricket experience, at Clontarf, Dublin, where he could actually see the field of play. That is hard to achieve at, e.g. Uxbridge and/or Lord’s.
Radlett is a lovely ground and that day was a beautiful day for being around cricket. Michael Atherton was putting his son Josh through his paces in the nets – a fairly regular school holiday sight at Radlett, I am told. As one of the Middlesex regulars put it to me: “You get a very good class of father and son playing in the nets here at Radlett.”
The afternoon passed remarkably quickly. I didn’t get as much reading done as I had intended but I did chat well with some of the Middlesex regulars, who are always good company.
On the way back into London, at the end of the M1, Dumbo started coughing and spluttering. He’s been doing that intermittently of late. Perhaps the excitement of seeing the cricket had been too much for him. Probably just as well I had booked him in for that service.