I arrived at the home of the Oxford University Cricket Club with a sore shoulder and a light wallet. The former was due to packing a heavy bag to cover all weather eventualities (although in hindsight the mosquito repellent was a tad unnecessary). The latter was due to forking out £12 to park in Oxford city centre for five hours.
A large number of spectators failed to materialise (as did the players – the weather was not good), and I found that upon arrival I comprised precisely 50% of the crowd. My fellow specator was a dead ringer for Germaine Greer, which was unfortunate as he was a man.
I struck up a conversation, only to discover that Germaine had once been the Dutch national team’s wicket-keeper, and so I was kept amused for a considerable time whilst he tried to teach me the correct pronunciation of Ryan Ten Doeschate.
We companionably ate our sandwiches (mine from M&S, his provided by Rugby Travelodge where he had spent the previous night). Coincidentally, we had both also brought along a piece of fruit (he a pear, me an apple). Conversation had moved on to Ruud Gullitt, Johan Cruyff and the Dutch Resistance movement during World War II as the clouds cleared, and I prayed that play would begin before I ran out of Dutch-related conversation.
He must have sensed that I was on the verge of bursting into “Tulips from Amsterdam” and announced that he was bursting in an entirely different manner and went in search of the toilet. I was quite relieved myself, as I only had Denise van Outen left up my sleeve.