What am I to do in lockdown?

Life in lockdown for a ‘self-employed cricket watcher’ – in other words a ‘retired oldie who’s off to watch cricket wherever and whenever he can!’ What am I to do?

By this point in the 2020 season I should have watched a maximum of 10 days first class cricket spread between Lord’s, The Oval and Chelmsford and the prospect of loads more before the crash/bang/wallop stuff starts later on.

Also by this time I should have tried out my new battery powered heated bodywarmer, my (new) Kiwi beanie hat (I’ve promised to wear it in the Pavilion at Lord’s – seems you’re not allowed them at the Adelaide Oval!), retrieved my winter coat from its Spring hideout, plus gloves and scarves and packed my poncho just to be safe as the weather would take a distinctly cold turn as the cricket season starts – but this year no! We’re heading for the warmest and driest April on record/since time began. Sun-screen would have been the order of the day!

What are the odds that as soon as the cricket season does start, we’ll have the wettest and coldest July and August on record? With talk of the season being extended in October – assuming social distancing/bio-security allows – I reckon my beanie and poncho will be overused!

Incidentally, social distancing is nothing new for County Cricket watchers – you’re probably 10 metres from the nearest other spectator anyway!

So…what to do? Well, like most other people I’ve communicated with…we’ve collectively spring cleaned our houses to within an inch of their lives, prepared the garden as never before and so early in the year before, started DIY but then had to leave it as you needed more paint/brushes/paper/tools etc and DIY stores are not ‘essential’ (but it seems that they are self-proclaiming themselves as essential at the moment). Unfinished DIY doesn’t matter as no one is coming round to see you anytime soon!

The only ‘refurbishing’ is to make sure that the background in any video call or conference you do looks either as plain as possible, or has all the erudite books on display (admit it…you’ve read none of them!) and that the alcohol is out of sight! And you need to make sure you’re properly dressed and know how to ‘mute’ your microphone!

And then there’s your daily exercise! Given the obesity levels in the UK have done nothing for our general health, it’s surprising how much exercise is now being done by those who’ve never seen the outside of a house/car before!

And the constant worry is ‘am I over the time limit allowed? Will I be reported?’ – all very ‘1984’ stuff but at least Orwell was right – the animals are beginning to take over parts of the urban areas that used to be theirs! At least it’s a reminder that we’re all equal!

My exercise of choice for many years has been cycling – and yes, I’m one of the legion of mamils crowding the streets or more likely the lanes of Essex as we speed along; each of us thinking we’re Tour de France winners or Olympic champions as we squeeze every each ounce into what is ever-shrinking lyrca! I’m telling myself that muscle weighs more than fat!

And increasingly during these times, it seems there’s an unwritten code of conduct between cyclists as more take to this as a form of exercise. Mamils will not acknowledge any cyclist without a crash helmet; those wearing helmets earn a smile but no more; those in lycra earn different acknowledgements (and these come naturally after you’ve learnt the ‘laws’) – novices do a (hands off the handle bar) wave, the more experienced  nod as you speed along and the true experts wiggle the fingers of the right hand (in other words…I’m too busy and much faster than you to be bothered with anything else but I’ll acknowledge you anyway). I imagine secret societies may have similar idiosyncrasies! All strange stuff! But let’s hope that we do learn from this lockdown and we all do more exercise and we get fitter as a nation!

But what about cricket I hear you ask? Well, there’s loads to watch on TV if you’re still paying your sub…but that doesn’t compare to the real thing. Simulation games abound – I’ve mislaid my ‘Owzthat’ from my childhood – so what am I to do? The Times today has published an alternative using books and authors and imaginary teams. I’ve tried it and I can safely say that (here) Middlesex are 94-3 at lunch on Day 1 against Derbyshire. If only!

My cricket reading has been voracious – I’ve never read so many pages of the latest Wisden so early in the season – I could be on for 1,000 pages by the end of May! And I learn from the latest Surrey members handbook that Aiden Markram is the only test cricketer whose name is a palindrome! All useful/useless stuff should I ever enter MasterMind or Millionaire!

I must dig out my copy of CLR James Beyond a Boundary since I need to move on beyond cricket for a while. New hobbies and skills? Well, I’ve started to learn how to do some trick photography and with the legion of photos I’ve already got, some fun could be had!

Already I’ve photographed a light bulb that needs no power, turned a ring into a heart, managed to photo my hand inside my laptop and been amazed at how water can turn straight lines into curves.



IMG_3069 (Edited)


Perhaps I need to get out more? Yes please!  But in the interim, it’s time for the afternoon session of the (imaginary) Middlesex/Derbyshire game!



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