Do not adjust your computer screen. The distortions are produced by a thick film of rainwater on the windscreen.
‘Rain Stopped Play’. Are these the three worst words in cricket, closely followed by ‘Match Abandoned – Rain’ and ‘Match Cancelled – Rain’?
We have had a very good start to the cricket season with barely a day lost to the dreaded wet stuff, but now a depression has settled across the country metaphorically and literally.
Yesterday, Third Man and Son drove north via the M6 towards Lancaster on their way to a fixture at Morecombe Bay.
Not only was it raining but, before they had been on the motorway for more than a mile, an electric notice board kindly informed them that their exit at Junction 34 – the turn-off to Heysham and Morecombe – was closed.
A hasty recalculation of the route – no satellite assistance for them – resulted in a decision to leave the motorway at Junction 33 and use the old A6.
After the 25 mile walks of C18th cricketers and the train journeys of their successors, but before Motorways, ‘A’ roads had been the main way that cricketers reached away grounds.
And before Bypasses, this meant driving or crawling along single carriageway roads, behind lorries and caravans, through depressing ribbon developments and shop filled towns that could have done without our intrusion, stopping at every traffic light – all too often to the accompanying metronomic sound of windscreen wipers filling the car with their mournful squeegy rhythm.
When seen through a lead-like film of water on the windscreen, limestone-built urbanity, that is charming and interesting in sunshine, in constant rain takes on the dull minimalist colour of sludge .
Why do we, who live in a temperate rain-drenched clime, love a game that is so weather dependent? What did our bucolic predecessors do when the rains fell on the sheep fields of Kent and Sussex long ago? Repair to the Tavern? Play cards in the Bothy? Listen to the patter of rain on the Dressing Tent? Irritate each other ‘til it came to blows?
At Morecombe, two officials walked half way to the square, turned and walked back to the pavilion. The only action on the field that day. Match Abandoned.
The queues through Lancaster going south were only marginally shorter than those encountered travelling north an hour before.
Why didn’t they call it off before we set out?
Because they never do.
Dead headed soggy roses, picked mushy raspberries, dozed depressingly and so so needed a dramatic finish to the Open.
How is it that rhythm is so important when striking a stationery ball?
Ask the windscreen wipers.