Sunday 14 March 2010


Ah, Cricket. It has been said that there are only THREE forms of Cricket worth watching.

1. Prep' School Cricket: Played by very zealous under 14 year-old boys. This game usually lasts for about 2 hours, and is VERY serious.

2. Village Cricket: Played by the village blacksmith, plumber, carpenter, etc. This usually starts sometime in the morning, and ends when the Pub' beckons (see illustration). Lunchtime sandwiches are supplied by long-suffering wives and girlfriends. Played mostly for fun and beer.

3. International Test Cricket: Played by professionals. Each game lasts FIVE DAYS. Participants include England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, The West Indies, and South Africa. International kudos at stake.

At first sight Cricket could be described as a 'bat & ball' game, where you score points by running between two sets of 'stumps'. But in reality it is a game of moral character, of poetry, aesthetics, and exceptional skill; the rules of the game being liberally translated by an 'umpire', who's decision is ALWAYS final.

As such, Cricket has always been a 'gentlemanly' game, where, other than 'leather on willow', the only sound one might hear is that of elderly ruddy-faced retired-Brigadiers whispering 'Well played sir, well played'.

I'm posting this NOW simply because our lads have just embarked on a series of Test Matches against newcomers Bangladesh (which means we SHOULD win something); I have the scent of Linseed Oil in my nostrils.

The illustration shows a game of Village Cricket on the green at Tilford in Surrey; a perfect setting. The pub' (The Barley Mow) in the background was run by one of the world's most eccentric landlords. But that's another story for another time!

N.B. The Pub' name 'Barley Mow' indicates the Barley Half of a Barn; where the beer was brewed (the other half probably held wheat). The word 'Mow' comes from an Old English word 'Moiety' meaning 'Half'. The origin is Latin, but comes via the French word 'Moitié', also meaning 'Half', and still in common usage.

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  1. I thought I recognised that pub, Cro. In fact, it's the only place that I have watched a village cricket match in (almost) it's entirety. I had a Norwegian girlfriend who lived there, and we spent a lot of time drinking Barley Wine in it, whilst pretending to watch cricket.

  2. Tom, what better way to spend a saturday afternoon; unless, of course, she'd been Swedish!

  3. Addendum: When I was very young I would go (in the school summer holidays) to watch our village Cricket team in Lingfield. Most of the players were also voluntary fire-fighters. I remember on more than one occasion, the fire siren blasting out in the distance, and almost all our players rushing from the pitch, leaving behind a very bemused visiting team. As a typical small boy, I would (of course) jump on my bike and follow the firemen.

  4. So charming, even if I'm not interested in Cricket. I'v always wanted to ask a dumb question to a person in France. Are you severly limited in what design you can use when building a house? They all seem charmingly the same.

  5. If only twas so Linda! My tiny group of three ancient houses is soon to be invaded by several system-built bungalows, that have nothing in keeping with their surroundings. I wrote at length about this in my last blog (perigordlife/je t'adore 24), but fear that many small communities will soon be visually spoiled by inappropriate new developments. France needs to have more 'conservation areas', and not just in well known locations.


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