Fielding In the Deep

The Squire has long believed that God is a cricket tragic.

“And a bowler, Third Man.  Quite obviously a bowler.  You have only to look at the wobble he puts on the orbits of his planets.  Superlative deliveries eon after eon.”

This conversation comes around annually just as our own fair planet moves towards the December solstice.

“Look at that seam position, TM.  23 degrees and 26 minutes. Precision.”

Of course, as a founding member of the Royal Society and an old team mate of Sir Isaac Newton, His Grace might be forgiven for shunning the implications of the Quantum Theorists with their pajamas, white spheres and artificial lighting, but he has a theory for that.

“All came about after The Master retired from the First Class game, TM and started thinking about it instead of just turning at the end of his run, storming in with that perfect glide and bowling the thing.  Too much thought can be a dangerous thing – over complicating matters. Once you start thinking of fermions and photons and bosons, it becomes a very different game.”

The Squire and Third Man were taking a turn about the hothouse looking at the progress of the pineapples destined for the coming seasonal celebrations.

The silence was eventually broken when the Squire admitted, “I’ve been thinking a lot about Iris and of course about dear, dear John.”

By whom he meant Iris Murdoch  and John Bayley .

“They liked their cricket, didn’t they TM.  Bit of a fuss getting them here.  The Bentley and the travel rugs and all the paraphernalia they insisted on bringing. Do you remember?”

“But they loved it when they were here Your Grace, hats and caps and deck chairs.”

“I once scored an effortless century when she was watching, Third Man. In 1978, I think. From the very first delivery, the ball just came off the bat perfectly. Iris gave me a stone by which to remember the day.  Still have it in the Library.  And a copy of ‘The Sea, The Sea.’.   Just published I seem to remember.”

“A difficult book that one, Sir.”

“But rewarding, TM.  I struggled over the first few paragraphs.  Put it down.  Picked it up again and away it went … love, loss, myth and magic.”  

All cricketing themes too, Sir.”

“Yes, indeed, love, loss, magic and myth. And vanity, jealousy and self-deceit.”

“And that old fellow Shakespeare hovering in the background.”

“Like batting at a packed Lord’s in the fresh of the morning with the good Doctor next man in, sitting on the balcony and scowling through his beard, the crowd reserving their full concentration until it was his turn to bat.”

“Started talking like this to Her Grace last night.  Want to know what she said, TM?  ‘And to think, twenty years later and that mind, that personality, that potentiality lost in the transubstantiation of Alzheimer’s disease like the particles in a drop of rain returned to the ocean.’”

Thallata! Thallata!

“Even if readers claim that they ‘take it all with a grain of salt’, they do not really. They yearn to believe, and they believe, because believing is easier than disbelieving, and because anything which is written down is likely to be ‘true in a way’.”  That conceited bugger, Charles Arrowby, in The Sea, The Sea, p 76

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Fielding In the Deep

  1. backwatersman

    I don’t know whether John Bayley (this one, anyway) did like cricket, but he was my Father’s Tutor at New College and once summoned him to tell him that he thought he ought to do less work and play more cricket. True story.

    • A wonderful story, BWM, with an unmistakeable taste of truth; just what this post needed. Thank you so much for sharing it.
      There are many references to cricket in the novels including a description of a useful innings by Donald Mor in The Sandcastle.
      Had you come across the seascapes of Waugh before? Their effect is extraordinary
      TM

  2. backwatersman

    Thanks, TM.

    No, I don’t know Waugh’s work at all. The one you reproduce reminds me of Rossall Point at high tide.

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