Well that’s it folks – or is it ??
There may be life in the old dog yet
On the evening of Thursday April 10th I drove from home to headquarters at the Emirates Old Trafford for what could be termed a symbolic occasion. I was there to attend the Annual Meeting of the Lancashire Cricket Board. It was the first time for some while that I had been to EOT and into the new Pavilion. The Members Room was the venue and there were many old friends in attendance. I was welcomed by one of two comments – where on earth have you been and / or when’s the next blog. The first I will talk about later but the second is answered if you are reading this.
I will not go into the details of the meeting except to say that some pretty dramatic but welcome changes were agreed as to how the LCB will be governed in the future. At the conclusion of the meeting both Alan Wright and myself were proposed and accepted as Vice Presidents of the Board, and my thanks to John Williams and Ken Standring for what they had to say about me. The third and most significant Vice President to be proposed and accepted was the LCB Chairman, Dr Tony Crook. Tony has been a major factor in the development of the Board during the time he has been Chairman. He could be forceful, always supportive, interested in all aspects of the Board’s activities and at times extremely amusing. I have enjoyed his company and a glass of wine at EOT on a number of occasions. We will be able to do this from this summer onwards in a more relaxed manner as he has decided to step down as Chairman – hence his VP recommendation. This meeting was in fact also the final action in my easing out of activities with LSCA and the LCB – or was it.
In my time as Boss of Hayward School I had the pleasure of arranging early retirements for many of my staff as we needed to reduce total staffing numbers often with many years’ enhancements – and then seeing them return almost immediately as Supply Teachers. I am not too sure whether this practice continues in schools – but there was a hint at the AGM that it may now be happening in cricket. There were a couple of conversations I had that hinted that my “experience” may be useful if tricky staffing situations cropped up within certain age groups – I can almost see a new career opening up for Supply Managers. Well actually I said if they were really absolutely desperate I would help out on the odd occasion providing the games did not clash with occasions when my two grandchildren Sophie and Thomas were involved in county games.
Talking of these two – they are currently in Barcelona with their school, Woodhey High from Bury. The Mrs and me did the honours last Friday morning at school. Mum and Dad were busy so we deposited the kids at school and waved them off. This brought back a few memories as in my younger days in the teaching profession I did organise a number of school trips abroad. It would be no surprise to my regular readers to know that the latter of these trips involved cruising. They provided some wonderful opportunities for youngsters to see many parts of Europe as well as enjoy the social experiences of being on a ship. I could bore you with tales but I will not for now.
This leads me nicely in being able to answer the other question almost everyone put to me at the LCB AGM. It was the bronzed nature of my baldness that prompted people to say “Where on earth have you been?” The presumption was that we had been cruising again but this time the answer was quite simples – WE HAVE BEEN TO BARBADOS.
We had delayed making a decision about a cruise due to my continued affliction with the dreaded gout but as this began to diminish I suggested we stayed in one place preferably where there was plenty of sunshine and warmth – Barbados was just the trick.
Mr Branson’s aircraft did the transporting and the Savannah Beach Hotel and the wonderful people of Barbados did the rest. We had a smashing time with good food, a super hotel, lots of all inclusive and great experiences around the island. I did have some little local difficulties at first. In my travels over the years I have proved attractive to mosquitos – it could be the Tesco in me. On this occasion on the first night we chose to play our nightly game of 7 card brag on our balcony. My shorts offered me some protection but the Bajan Mozzies appeared in battalions to dive bomb my other exposed parts. The Mrs said I looked like had been machine gunned on my legs. Fortunately we were able to obtain the necessary medication at the hotel and along with mozzy spray and plenty of the all-inclusive the problem disappeared. Over the years the Mrs otherwise known as the Most Famous Zoo Keeper in the World and Candy Crush Champion never gets bitten. She does have an issue with wild life however – and in particular “Birds”.
There was plenty of lush vegetation around the hotel and lots and lots and lots of birds of varying sizes. Now just as the mozzies were attracted to me so the Good Lady has the same impact with birds. Quite a variety used to visit us daily as we sat on our balcony in the afternoon. Two sparrows in particular were regulars. I noticed from early days that one had a poorly leg and when it came to stand on the balcony ledge it would tuck one leg up and remain standing on the other. I called them Hippity and Hop. I will not tell you what the Mrs called them. Fortunately when sunset came the birds were not to be seen although I am not saying they were quiet.
Many thanks to everyone at the Savannah Beach Hotel and all the Bajans we met and were helped by – I have a feeling we might be back there again.
It will be no surprise to know that the Good Lady and yours truly made the pilgrimage (by hire car) to the Kensington Oval which unlike the last time we visited was open for business. A very nice lady took us on a tour of the ground and allowed me to bore her about my friend Gary. Just to prove I was there below is one of many snaps taken.
I am embarrassed to say that after that morning visit we set off on a tour of the island – and got lost. In trying to get ourselves found we came across a large school and a cricket match in progress. As the Restaurant Man back at the Savannah said you cannot really be lost for long on Barbados and soon after we were back in places we knew.
Whilst waiting at the airport for our return flight home we got a text from Sophie to say that Tom was at EOT for his squad sessions and he had been “crusted”. After further texts we found out he had top edged a ball into his grill. His county coach is Nathan Wood but one of Nathan’s good friends was giving him a lift that session and was looking after Tom’s net. It isn’t everyone who gets asked by Andrew Flintoff if he is OK but Tom did. Nathan confided to Andrew (I can still not call him Fred) who Thomas’ Grandad was. I have been reliably informed that he paled, shot up to speak to my son and got him to promise not to tell me. Sorry about this Andrew but there is no escape you will have to answer to me next time I see you and it will cost you at least a photo and autograph.
What about the Skakers ???? We go away for two weeks with us in serious danger of being sucked into a relegation dogfight and lo and behold – three wins, nine points and noises about possible play offs.
Well that’s it folks ??
Or is it ??
I have now completed goodness knows how many of these epistles and enjoyed doing it. I seemed to have unearthed a lyrical potential in my psyche. I will miss it all but as I am no longer part of the active LSCA or the LCB I have no official position to hang my hat on. I do have some serious thoughts as to how I could still offer something to Lancashire cricket and I also have some views about where cricket on a wider scale is going.
Well let’s hang on a while. I could consider a VP Blog ???? or "Tales from a Supply Manager". I will need to talk with Dipesh and the mighty Titch.
You never know.
Time for a Tesco