|"errrrrarrrrrerrrrr","ee bah gum do you remember spangles?"|
|England's new no. 9|
Friday saw me delight in driving to Maidenhead in rush hour traffic and freezing conditions for over two hours. It's an hour's drive. No matter - the gig was sweet and the drive home so effortless that I found myself calling Steve again because I was early. He welcomed a return drinkathon having had little to do in the pub all night. This time when I got there he had regular stalwart Matt, Lisa (again) and her daughter Tasha, visiting the pub for a couple of nights to escape the horrors of her home town, Kettering. Matt left after an argument about Australia. I believed England would skittle them out in similar fashion to how they had ruthlessly dispatched us for around 260. He thought they would get at least a 150 lead. "Preposterous" I declared.
That left the four of us - a perfect number for "Spoof", a game which requires each player to bet on how many coins are in their collective clenched hands (with a maximum of three coins per person). Each time a player gets it right they are removed from the game. The last one drinks the shot of the previous loser's choice. Lose three games in a row and things can start to get hazy (normal drinking obviously continues during gameplay). Tasha had never played before. A couple of hours later, Tasha wished she hadn't. Australia took a 150 lead and we retired to bed, one after the other. Tasha mounted the wooden hill to Bedfordshire first. I was not far behind and passed her, bent over the toilet reacquainting the contents of her stomach with the outside world, bless her. I got a cat for company in the night which was nice because it was bloody freezing. We snuggled together for warmth. Cats are not stupid.
I woke up around 1pm with mischief on my mind, got dressed and left without anyone knowing. An hour or so later I got a text from Steve saying "Where are you? I made a cup of tea!". I answered simply (And giggling to myself as I did so) that I didn't like long goodbyes.
Saturday afternoon came and went and I was on my way to Wigan. This involved the M1, M6 and my newly-beloved A49 into the centre of town and its famous pier. I had received an email on Friday to say that the Mayor would be there and could I keep the "language" down. I had nothing to worry about - I was on last and by the time I took the stage the three previous acts had all been nothing short of disgusting, the audience were leathered and the Mayor of Wigan was clearly having a whale of a time. The gig was at The Orwell. It was my first ever trip to the town and I sincerely hope it won't be my last. It was really good fun and the assembled throng were delightful. The drive back was even better though. England began exacting revenge on the Aussies for their cheek in amassing a first innings total of 481 and by the time I got home were already rocking along nicely. When the Antipodean day's play eventually ended (about 7am) we had only lost one wicket and were coasting along beautifully and already about 80 ahead of them, our opening batsmen had both got centuries and we had only lost one wicket.
|despite their first innings score of 481, Australia's captain Ricky Ponting was responsible for only nine of them. Ha.|