So, it’s Saturday. The day of the Friends Are Pointless Trophy, and it’s time for me to get ready to go to Lords. I prepare the sandwiches. One ham; one cheese. Plus an apple. (And a sneaky cupcake that no one knew I took.)
So the journey in was horrendous. There are no pictures. I was too angry for pictures. The Jubilee Line was down. I spent all week travelling to see a client on that bloody line, hating it, and now it twists the knife by failing me one last, bastardly time.
So, I arrive eventually at Lords. In an unreasonably angry mood, given the dry conditions of the day, but I have been determinedly knarked as late. I ask one of the unnecessary stewards how I go about buying a ticket.
He pointed left.
He shouldn’t have pointed left; he should have pointed right.
But he didn’t. He went and pointed left anyway.
After trekking a right old trek, I find a man that seems to live in a booth carved into the perimeter wall.
“Can I have a ticket please? A ticket for the cricket?” I ask.
“Are you a member?” The chappy asks.”
“Do I look like one?”
“Well, you need to buy a ticket from over there somewhere. I don’t really remember where. All I can recall is its extreme distance.”
I get annoyed at this point. I indicate this state to him by real rolling back my eyes, jabbering and frothing at the ears.
“Er,” he offers. “Uh. Here. Have a ticket. It’ll save you the journey.”
“Um,” I begin to stammer myself, but this time, in a non-jabbery way. “What?”
“Here.” He passes a ticket across to me. “This will get you in.”
“Right.” I think the foaming stopped at this point. “Thanks.”
So. In one of the biggest events of Britain’s sporting summer, the authorities are giving away tickets. Literally. They literally gave me a ticket. For nothing. Apparently, it was worth £42. But the ECB decided a more realistic price was £0 (for you Indians, that's about a million rupees) .
This improved my mood substantially.
So. I cheerily picked my way through the crowd, most of whom had paid more than £0 for their tickets, to settle in to my day’s spot. La:
I arrived just as Kent were beginning their suicidal tumble. They had lost both their openers. Seeing that they were the underdogs and that I was British, I instantly formed a bond with them, and decided that they should win. For the good of losers everywhere.
Wickets continued to tumble. Eventually, Geraint Jones came out.
“Oh good,” thinks I. “Last time I saw this goon bat, he scored a century for England. He must be good.”
Here he is walking back to the pavilion 15 minutes later.
Talking of goons, I was surrounded by a lot of them. “Come on Kent!” some of them would shout. This had little effect.
All but one of these dapper chappies got lost at the interval. The remaining bloke, despite his energetic and thirsty start, slept through most of the second innings. Although, I suspect their dress-sense was a few notches above Kent's. I don't know why they all dressed like robots. Perhaps it's a strategy to get into the England outfit?
So. Lunch. As tradition dictates, I enjoyed my little picnic on the nursery ground. I read the Times. I still haven’t fully adjusted to its new lay-out. Why did they turn it into the Observer? Why?
Much of the remaining day was spent searching for tea. Obviously, I didn’t want to wait 40 minutes in a huge queue. So I opted to spend the next few hours seeking the El Dorado of Lords: the quiet tea shop.
And, you know what. I found it. The joy! The joy of tea!
The £1.85 spent on buying this rather over-strong, but no less refreshing cuppa represented the sole expenditure for the day. This fact brings me great pleasure.
More happiness was brought about by this fellow.
The crowd liked him. And so did I.
After a bit, we applauded a Zimbabwean. Previously, we had clapped for a South African, another South African, sworn undying love to an Antiguan and celebrated the highs and lows of various Pakistanis. A great day for English domestic cricket.