Ashes to Ashes

It was always going to be a week of cricket.

On Monday morning I set off with Steve to watch the first day of the county match at Taunton between Somerset and Sussex.

The weather forecast looked great for the week so I told Steve to bring his sun cream, sunglasses, sun hat and water with him to survive the day.

We arrived a bit earlier than normal as I thought there would be a decent turn out by the members – I was wrong – maybe it was too hot for them.

A wander around the ground was the order of the day as there was some time to kill before the start of the game. On passing the members bar, I popped in to buy the first drink of the day just before 11:00 kick–off (sorry first ball of the match). As I left the bar, Steve said ‘don’t you find it strange drinking a pint at this time of day?” I replied “No’.

Somerset made a terrible start losing both opening batsmen for ducks and they struggled up to 244 all out in the middle of the afternoon.

I did miss a wicket when I popped to the loo just prior to going out to lunch – typical.

A very nice lunch was taken in the Sanctuary – selected from the luncheon menu of course, which again I had to ask for.

Sussex made a similar poor start losing their first two wickets for 8 runs but then they did not lose another wicket until just before lunch on Tuesday. History was made as the two Sussex batsmen scored the highest ever score of 275 for the third wicket in a match between Somerset and Sussex.  It was a good job as the rest of the team only got under a hundred between them.

Although it was reasonably quiet on Monday it certainly wasn’t on Tuesday as a 1000 school kids were invited along.

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The throng of kids were seated in the next section to us and the noise level was high. A few stalwart members did move to another part of the ground, as they didn’t want their after-lunch snooze to be disturbed.

When the announcement was made at the start of play that the umpires were taking to the field the children gave a loud cheer and applauded them. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard umpires greeted so well before.

The young Somerset chap, Jamie Overton, opened the bowling and then came down to the third man boundary to field – big mistake-as he was inundated by the young peeps wanting his autograph.

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As soon as one youngster did it of course then several hundred more thought it was a good idea. The poor bowler got no rest between overs and he was busy signing away until one of the stewards took it upon himself to stop the kids and move them away.

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It was an extremely hot day again and the bowler was provided with an ice-filled scarf to cool him down a bit.

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I hadn’t seen one of those before.

Lunch was not on the same scale as the day before as I had taken my own tuna sandwich, in Bawdens bread – multi-seed loaf. I did have time to take my watch in for repair at lunchtime so treated myself to a double black cherry whirly ice cream.

I did notice that under the stands there was a plentiful supply of cold water and cups for the children during the day, as alcohol would have dehydrated them!

The noisy kids were joined later in the afternoon by something even nosier – a flock of seagulls.

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These pests live on the weir on the river at the back of the ground and once they spotted lots of people with food they came over to scavenge around. They were a pain in the neck, flying around and for some unlucky people a splat on the neck.

The cricket moved on and Somerset tried to bat again. Marcus Trescothick of England fame managed to get another duck, his fourth in a row and the second of the match. In 21 years of playing cricket it was the first time he had been out for 2 ducks in a game. He waved his bat to the crowd as he left the field in celebration of the fact.

I did notice that as some of the school children were leaving one of the boys offered his hat to a steward to get an autograph – he duly signed it – it was the same steward that stopped the kids getting signatures earlier on in the day!

By the end of the day Somerset were in a near hopeless position so it made it an easier decision of whether to return to watch the third day of the game or stay at home to watch the first Ashes test match.

When I was working in the shop I would always wear my England v Australia Ashes tie from years ago but today it stayed in the wardrobe – it was a bit hot for a tie today anyway.

While the sun was steaming through the curtains as I was sat inside watching the match can you believe it was overcast in Nottingham and they had to switch on the floodlights to continue with play.

Trent Bridge has changed a bit since I was there almost 50 years ago. I remember catching the bus from Retford to Nottingham with some school chums the Saturday of the test match against the West Indies when they were in their pomp – The days of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffiths steaming in to bowl. I remember sitting on the grass just behind the boundary rope and Wes appeared to start his run up just in front of us.  It is not the same nowadays as you all have to be allocated seats.

Here in Bampton, I saw this chap getting into the spirit of the Ashes series.

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My other half had a visitor, David from Hundred-Aker Wood Pottery,

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when he came to deliver some new lines for her website http://www.clairejanegifts.co.uk

We met David at the Exeter food and drink fair a couple of years ago and bought a pot similar to this for roasting a chicken.

You put herbs, spices etc. in the pot along with some liquid (water, wine etc.) or whatever you want to infuse the bird with.

The chicken is them steamed on the inside, roasted on the outside and the fat runs away down the bottom so you a nice juicy bird (careful!).

When tea was being taken at Trent Bridge I popped down the road to check my booking at the Toucan for the Sausage & Mash night next week as we have got friends coming to stay and I had check I had booked enough places.

As I wandered down the road the fire engine came towards me, lights flashing but no siren.

As I opened the door to the Toucan I looked back and it had stopped outside of my house so I hesitated going in and stood with the door open, gazing back. I thought that as I had just left the house it couldn’t have been my home with a problem. All was resolved when Neil from the butchers next door ran out and hopped aboard the engine before it raced off.

They returned about an hour later, dropped off Neil, and then went back to the fire station.

I’ve had no reports to date of Bampton providing the next set of Ashes.

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