Ah, the sound of leather on willow, sunny weekends, cricket teas and the applause of the hardy spectator. Thus is the game of cricket defined within this fair isle. As Sarah Bernhardt said "I do love cricket - it's so very English"
Being in my third season up here in a not so sunny Scotland, after a twenty-five year lay off, it is hard to equate those endearing words of lovely Sarah to this quintessentially quaint and historic game. Sure, the sound of leather on willow resounds throughout many a Scottish cricket ground (in my case its usually the stumps getting it rather than the bat) but sunny weekends are at a premium up north and I can tell you from personal experience that two shirts and a thick cricket sweater do not keep the raw north-east wind blowing off the sea at bay at all.
Given that everything related to English sport is anathema to our northern cousins, it really is strange that cricket is such a popular sport in these climes. Jaunty Scotsmen who would rather pour whiskey down the sink than support the 'Sassenachs', have even been heard to talk about the wonders of the English cricket team; unheard of praise in any other sport!
One thing I have discovered though is that sprinting quickly 22 yards between wickets is considerably harder at 57 than it was 25 years ago. No doubt the reason why we were soundly thumped by a team of 16 and 17 year olds last week, plus the fact that the aforementioned leather smacked me on the knee, foot and finger requiring a five hour wait in the local emergency department.