In An Enchanted Garden, Melbourne


“Jimmy, what yer doing?”

“I’m building a pyramid, Joe.”

Two England cricketers were in the grounds of the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School. Joe had been on his way back from the pool ( a real woodland pool, not a Hockney blue hotel pool, an idyl of a pool.  His flip flops had been making a pleasant, comforting sound on the woodland path.  But the relaxing clip-clop sound had been suddenly interrupted by discordant crashes of a hammer beating metal, coming from a maintenance workshop.


Inside he had found Jimmy who, despite the heat, wore thick overalls, gauntlets and a welding mask pushed back on his head.

“I find it therapeutic, Joe, building simple shapes.  You should try it. Here you are; go for a cube,” he said, handing Joe a bucket of plasticine. “It’s an idea I got from a wise man when I started playing cricket in Burnley.  It’s my way of replenishing inner and spiritual resolve – it’s all taken a bit of a battering of late.  I need a top-up.”

“I’ll get Johnny,” said Joe, taking his phone and thumbing out an @jbairstow21

–         @joeroot05 can’t mate. Not don no Xmas shopping yet.

“It all helps with the clarity of thinking, Joe.”

Joe gouged some plasticine from the bucket and began rubbing it vigorously into a warm ball, transmitting heat from the living to the inert.

“Good start. Just picture the shape.  See it clearly.”

Joe used his palms at first to shape the six sides, but then searched the workshop and found a couple of pieces of wood to give sharper edges to the form.

“Thinking is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear, Joe. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.”

It was Bressy who joined them first.

“I’ll go for a cone: a big one.”

He disappeared outside returning with earth and a bucket of water from the pool which he mixed into a dark satisfying paste.

“Who needs those mindunfcukers.”

“Bress, you won’t get the best out of this if you accept that level of aggression to remain within you. Close your eyes and really see that cone.”

“Gotcha Anders.”

“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are the very nerve of cricket,” said Jimmy.

By this time, Joe had made five perfect cubes, all in a row.

Bresser’s cone was really impressive.

“One for the Yorkshire sculpture park,” quipped Joe.

Jimmy’s pyramid, which was on a semi-monumental scale, was taking form, the welding arc colouring the workshop blue.

“It’s an idea I got from seeing one at Selly Oak railway station: ‘Birmingham toys, all men praise, And riches spring daily from Birmingham toys.’

“This tour has homogenized us.  There’s been no room for the different needs of our individual psychology. You see, choleric risk takers, like KP, phlegmatic laid-back types, you know who I mean, sensitive, introverted melancholics, the Skipper to name the obvious one, and sanguine types who need to take things lightly and flippantly, like Swanny, are all going through the same flour mill. Real professionals do it for themselves.”

By now the remaining Big Quicks had joined them.  Used to working in ‘the fast bowlers pack’ down field from the rest, they went for a joint undertaking: a spire.

Ten eyes with one mouth declared, “It’s going to have a five sided base and be twenty bloody foot tall.  Where’s the wood?”

“Common purpose must leave room for many differences to thrive.”

“Yea, pass me some more plasticine, someone.”

Third Man and the Squire would like to thank the staff, pupils and parents of the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School for the making of this documentary, a re-enactment is planned for the weekend. Members of the Barmy Army are welcome to join the event.  Meet at the school, 213 Wonga Street, 12 noon, Saturday. BOM: bring own materials.


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