I started at Newcastle station. “A day return to Seaton Carew, please”
“Why do you want to go there?” the ticket guy quizzed me, with genuine amazement and some concern.
“Umm, to watch some cricket.”
“So you’re not taking a kayak ride then?”
“No,” I said. “There is a clue there – I want a return.”
Seaton Carew: a station that is a barren wasteland, nothing on it, no map of where you are or where you might want to go. There was a sign to the beach. I had no idea if I needed the beach. Luckily Gordon Muchall’s Greatest Fan was just a text away and gave me a lift to the cricket ground.
The club ground is small and surrounded by the kind of ambience that only Teesmouth can provide. There was a faint smell in the air. I asked if it was from the Huntsman Tioxide plant, it being a working day, with plenty of white plumes drifting from the cracking towers. Gordon Muchall’s Greatest Fan said it could be the sewage works which was “just over there”. Luckily the smell seemed confined to the car parking area.
All the Surrey players had a variety of kit, so we really could have been down the park. There is a lovely vista of Hartlepool nuclear power station and the associated pylons give vertical landscape interest, usually only added by tall trees in most parks.
As Bert pointed out in April, you might need a house on Teesside to see some of KC’s ones to watch for 2010. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to find myself watching two from that very list – Smith, now Durham’s ex-captain and the Viking, not taken a wicket since being listed and down for a third ankle operation.
It was soon lunch. We went for fish and chips. The gulls by the seafront were conspicuously indifferent to chips – they may have been holding out for fish. I ate all my fish, it was top notch. I purchased a stash of coltsfoot rock.
After lunch, it was soon raining. There was no problem getting into the pavilion bar, as most of the ‘crowd’ swiftly departed. One of the players’ mates had a white sports car. Some of the players spent some time driving about in it. It made an impressive sports car type noise.
Time went by and all the players ended upstairs, playing darts. I did not even try to view this spectacle; I have an inbuilt sense of health and safety. They sounded like a herd of elephants, despite the fact that at least three of them have knackered ankles. Perhaps imitating trouping elephants is the cause of our injury problems? The physio was not on hand to stop this reckless behaviour.
I had another Jagermiester.
I decided against more time on Seaton Carew station and opted for Hartlepool instead – a good move as I was soon on a bus to Darlington. There were no trains due to a power failure at Stockton. Being near to a power station is no guarantee of power, people.
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