Positively Dripping With Nostalgia And Overloaded With Cliches
An English county cricket ground in spring.
Idyllic and iconic.
A trip back in time and a scene positively dripping with nostalgia and overloaded with cliches, if I could just bring myself to use them.
But if I close my eyes, I don't need words to remind me. I can still feel the warmth of the mid-May sunshine on my face and hear the polite applause as yet another stylish stroke guides the ball over the ropes for four more runs.
I can hear the clinking of glasses from the members balcony and see the bright, garish ties draped over protruding, members stomachs as they promenade around the boundary, meeting and greeting those with matching ties and loudly praising the hospitality.
I can hear excitement and hunger as plastic covered sandwiches, scotch eggs and crisps, fresh from the supermarket next door to the station, are unwrapped and passionately devoured by those unfortunates without club membership.
I can smell the sun cream being liberally applied to winter-white flesh in anticipation of a day of unseasonably hot sunshine and almost certain dehydration caused by too many Spitfires drunk from plastic cups left over from last season.
And I can hear chatter, inane, almost comical chatter, as mostly retired people with time on their hands talk pensions and redundancies, score boxes and committee members, name checking cricket clubs, long gone ex-colleagues and best forgotten tours with people they barely remember suffering afflictions they recall with relish and clarity.
And at a time when employed people work and those that study learn, I hear, smell and feel this slow but passionate world whilst gently cooking in the heady sunshine. Inhabited by a surreal mix of the retired and the privileged, with temporary attendance granted to those on holiday or finishing early shifts, I warm to this anthropological sub-culture of clock watchers and dog walkers.
And rather than the sound of leather on willow, these are the things, more than anything else, that define for me an idyllic day watching English county cricket in Kent.