Life Beyond the Airing Cupboard by former Sussex captain John Barclay – a holiday reading review by Ged Ladd

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I read Life Beyond The Airing Cupboard in September 2009, while Daisy and I were on a short holiday in Burgundy. We had joined Daisy’s sister, Lavender and her husband, Antonio Ordóñez for a few days, then we stayed on for an extra day or two before returning home.

Lavender and Antonio looked at us quizzically before they headed off when the answer to their question, “what are you going to do after we leave today?” was, “we’re going to the Bresse service station for lunch”. This is not such a crazy thing to do; I should imagine it is the only service station in the world that serves the indescribably wonderful Poulet de Bresse; at affordable prices too.

We also wanted to see Bourg-en-Bresse; I found a wonderful music shop there and bought a good few CDs, including Bach Cello Suites and some cool Parisian jazz.

Then back to the Moulin d’Hauterive for a game of crazy tennis on the hotel’s unbelievably dilapidated tennis court; then some reading around the pool.

As you can see, the hotel was not very busy in September.

Strangely, several years later, Life Beyond The Airing Cupboard came up in conversation, reported on Ogblog – here, with Bill “Wild Bill” Taylor, at Trent Bridge.

Life Beyond The Airing Cupboard by John Barclay – click here for Amazon link.

**** 4 Stars = Highly Recommended.

(The Ged Ladd Cricket Book Review scale: From 1 Star = Don’t Bother to 5 Stars = Essential Reading).

Have you read a cricket book on holiday? Tell us what it was, where you were and give us a star rating.


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  1. I recently read Mark Nicholas’ book, ‘A Beautiful Game: My Love Affair with Cricker’, which is exactly the kind of dewy-eyed title you’d expect from him. It was actually a decent read, with much more swearing than I had anticipated – I’d love to see Nicholas throw a few naughty words out during Channel 5’s highlights shows (do they even still show cricket? I live in Japan, we don’t get Channel 5 – in that respect it’s just like living in Kent in the 1990s). He also has a tendency to refer to people by their full name, including middle names, which is a bit odd.

    I only know Nicholas as a presenter and had no idea about his actual cricket career, so in that respect the book was interesting. Disappointingly, despite having a section about the 2005 Ashes, there was no “Hello! Massive!”

    Also I was expecting the final line of the book to be something corny like, “and that’s why cricket truly is a beautiful game,” but I was doing Nicholas a disservice.

    I’m not submitting this as an actual book review because it mentions the book far too much to get accepted, so it’ll just have to be hidden away down in the Appeals section.

    1. If we were Mark Charles Jefford Nicholas, it’s hard to say whether or not we’d be keen for people to use middle names more often.

      1. I suppose I should have said “much more effording and Jeffording than I expected”. Eh? Eh? Sorry.

  2. Apologies for the error in my piece above; our companions were Daisy’s sister, Buttercup and her husband, Antonio Ordóñez. Lavender is their daughter (our niece).

    For those who like a bit of sport in their King Cricket reading, my side piece on the dilapidated tennis court at the somewhat snooty little Burgundy Hotel might raise the odd smile. Word on the street is that the Taunton groundsman went to visit that place last winter to pick up some tips for Somerset CC:

    1. Ha!

      I eagerly await your CC Division 2 match reports, Ged, which by King Cricket rules should invariably go into excruciating detail of the actual cricket 😉

      1. I don’t write match reports for this site any more, Mike, although KC might have one or two left on his yet to publish pile. I am writing book reviews, recipes and conversations at cricket instead.

        All the very best counties in the recent, two-division era (by which I mean those who have won the county championship) have spent some time in the second division, often just before or just after winning the title.

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