“What are you going to do about your breasts?”
This was the beginning of a brief but earnest discussion between members of my cricket team, regarding the safety of my lady bouncers (top cricketing term) during play. Their concern was touching (not actually touching, you understand) but as this took place in the pub after the match, it was a moot point. Besides, The Girls have come through many a perilous escapade unscathed so I wasn’t too worried about them. Best to let them get on with things on their own, I reckon.
There really is little more lovely on a Sunday afternoon than a leisurely game of cricket – although you can’t be too worried about actually winning anything if you play for the Rain Men. A nomadic team of eternal optimists, the Rain Men roam the country, offering other cricket teams the unique opportunity to feel better about themselves by giving us a sound thrashing. Two marvellous books written by our brave and fearless leader, Marcus Berkmann, have chronicled the ups and downs (mostly downs) of this illustrious team. Comprised mainly of the eccentric, elderly (they say you can’t beat experience but apparently you can – frequently) and infirm, there are nonetheless a smattering of thrusting athletic types and one or two of them are actually jolly dashing. No doubt fraternisation is frowned upon so I shall restrict my attentions to balls of the leather nature, to be on the safe side.
Cricket is a marvellous game. For a start, there are no rules. There are laws, true enough, but I am naturally averse to rules where as laws I find appealing, so this suits me nicely. Also, it has a whole language all of its own that sounds vaguely rude. Grown men talk about googlies and yell at each other to ‘go deep’ and no one bats an eyelid. I can compliment a bowler on his lovely length and ball handling prowess without a hint of impropriety. The game involves a fair amount of standing about which allows one time to admire the scenery and have a bit of a think about things. Best of all, after a while, someone from the pavilion calls you all in for tea like they are your mum or something. When no one can possibly squeeze in any more tea, cake, sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps and whatever else, the match resumes – albeit at a slightly slower pace than before the tea, obviously. Some players enjoy a beer or glass of wine during play. No one minds.
This Sunday saw a record-breaking performance from the Rain Men, to which I undoubtedly contributed. It was our lowest scoring match ever, with us all out for 36. Pretty terrible, even by our standards. In a shock twist, the opposition invited me to come and play for them, but this was probably due to the fact that one of them recognised me (fame at last!) as opposed to my sporting credentials. They are an absolutely super bunch who wear natty striped blazers and carry bottles of wine on their bicycles, so I immediately agreed. Besides, I need all the practice I can get, so playing for two teams can only improve my game.
Anyway, I promised you other nonsense as well. Aside from roaming pretty English villages in my whites, I have been interviewed by prolific and world-renowned (he’ll love that) writer and editor Dan Alatorre. Of course, with two literary heavyweights such as ourselves at work, the interview was jam-packed with hard-hitting, intellectual cut-and-thrust about the writing world. But there were still a couple of questions with which we may have struggled…
Oh, and there was news about Who Shot Tony Blair? too, but with all the rambling on about cricket I shall have to get back to that next week… do stay tuned!