The aim of my blogging has always been twofold – firstly to comment on my cricket watching and secondly to share a few tourist photos from my various travels.
Clearly neither of these is happening now or fairly soon. So, what to do? Rehashing old photos may bring back memories (but we’ve been there before) and there are only so many photos of my garden I can take whilst in lockdown!
So, for today…some thoughts on where we are and some trick photos I’ve taken recently (seems this could develop into a hobby during lockdown and beyond!).
Last weekend the nation’s granny (or great-granny) spoke directly to her ‘people’ here and across the world and reminded everyone that we ‘will meet again’ – and so we shall and there will be cricket again! (She didn’t say that last bit – she wanted to but there wasn’t time!)
For me there are two days in the year which are more special than any others – birthdays, anniversaries and so forth – and they both fall in April (usually!). And this year will be more poignant than most.
First there is the arrival of the new Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack with its pristine saffron cover – and the chance to revisit and remember the exploits of last season, read the biogs of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year, the fortunes of the game across both here and across the world (and why didn’t my photo win the annual ‘Photograph of the Year’?) and so forth in its 1500-plus pages. Sheer bliss!
Then…just a matter of days later, the first class season begins in earnest.
You just know that the weather will now take a turn for the worse, it will get colder and windier and you’ll freeze to death in the biting cold wind that rushes through the gaps in the ground and however well you wrap up against the elements, it will still feel like November in the Arctic! (I defy anyone to find a colder place in April/May than the top of the Lord’s pavilion but am open to suggestions!).
So today I should have negotiated the (probable) rail replacement bus service and rocked up to Lord’s for Middlesex v Worcestershire – the eager anticipation of the first ball of the season – will it be Finn, Roland-Jones or Murtagh to carve their way through the Worcester top order like a Sunday roast or will it be Gubbins or Robson to claim the first century of the Middlesex summer – or will they collapse like the proverbial pack of cards? Have they wintered well? Have things changed? Have we turned a corner? All questions to scramble the mind as 11.00 am approaches – but no!
Not this year…or rather not quite yet!
What will the season be like? At some point, club cricketers and others will be searching for the kit they so loving packed away last Autumn and asking themselves the same questions they ask – literally or metaphorically each year. Where did I put my kit? Do I need a new bat? How about pads/boots/whites? (I’m sure these whites have shrunk during the winter!) And – and it comes to everyone – ‘Should I make this my last season? (“Well, you said that last year didn’t you?” comes the reply from the voice in your head).
And you’ve been looking forward to these days since the end of last season, counting the weeks and days until life and sanity are restored but this year we just need to count for a bit longer – how much longer? Who knows?
We cricket lovers can take solace in that we are not alone – every sport has been closed down, half the people on the planet are in some kind of ‘enforced quarantine’ – and we all now appreciate how large a role in our lives sport plays – all sport plays. But it will return and the ache that we feel now of having such a large part of our ‘daily lives/routines’ ripped away from us will subside.
So, we need to keep believing that life will soon be restored to normal, the sun will shine (at some point in June, July or August but not for long!), cricketers of all ages and abilities will soon be crossing the boundary ropes, spectators will gather in numbers from dozens to tens of thousands, the camaraderie of the season will come back even stronger than before as we each become more forgiving (even when you drop a sitter which would have won you the match!) and thankful for each other and, of course, remembering those we have known who didn’t make it to the start of the season for whatever reason.
It won’t be long now – just hang in there! There’s light at the end of the tunnel as you can see below!
At the moment everything seems out of focus, upside down, you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing or hearing or experiencing – just like a trick photo?