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Daisy and I took a short break in Provence in the spring of 2008. Our main purpose was to help Kin celebrate her birthday in St Tropez.
Knowing what a whirlwind affair those celebrations were likely to be, we arranged to spend a few days in a quiet Château in rural Provence getting “acclimatised,” if you know what I mean. We didn’t take many photos at the Château but we did take this one.
I have a very strong memory of reading Fatty Batter while sitting on a lovely sun deck at that place and indeed my journal records the matter: “… enjoy the sun on our sun deck one last time before heading off for St Trop. I finish Fatty Batter before we leave.”
I was very keen to read Fatty Batter, not least because I had met and chatted with Michael Simkins at Lord’s one time, through Michael Billington, the long-time Guardian theatre critic. I have also seen Michael Simkins perform on the stage several times, before and indeed since.
Fatty Batter is a very good book. The early chapters, about Simkins’s childhood love of and enthusiasm for the game being somewhat dampened by his lack of ability and suitable physique, in particular rang a great many bells for me.
The book gets a bit luvvie towards the end, but then I would probably go on about it if Kate Winslet had turned up and watched me play cricket. Not that I ever mention Garry Sobers having watched me play cricket. But I digress.
Fatty Batter was a very suitable book to read during a quiet 48 hours in rural Provence. It would have been less suitable during the birthday celebrations that followed in St Tropez. More pictures and stories from rural Provence and St Tropez can be found through this link.
I did take a good book with me to Stefano Forever, just in case the burlesque didn’t please me, but I was inadvertently press-ganged into participating in the show. Sadly, the title of that book is lost in the mists of time, but I’m pretty sure it was not a cricket book.