“I think cricket’s use of language adds to the charm,” writes Dave Adams. “I love the Australian use of ‘ordinary’, which is similar to when you hear commentators say a batsman averaging 7.9 in a series is ‘pretty moderate’ when they actually mean ‘dismal’, ‘shocking’, or just ‘shit’. There’s a fine line between cowardly and diplomatic, and I guess it’s difficult to be too harsh on a player as a journalist if you’re reliant on them being willing to give you an interview at some point.
By the way – forecast says it’s going to stop raining (properly this time) in 53 minutes…”
I’ll believe it when I see it.
“I used to have a knack of coming to Ashes Tests on wet days,” writes Tim Sanders. “The Friday at Lords in 1977 was the last rain in England for 3 months. The Sunday at Headingley in 2001 had just enough play to avoid refunds, and led to Gilchrist’s bold declaration. The Saturday at Old Trafford in 2005 gave me a treasured memory of my late father-in-law, as he sat alone in the stand attempting the crossword as the Yorkshire Post turned to papier mâché in his hands.
“So when my son and I made our way to Trent Bridge on a cloudy Thursday morning in 2015, I was pessimistic. However, that day turned out OK for most of those present. I’m convinced that it was Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow’s batting that made the sun come out that afternoon.”
“I can’t wait to see how you keep yourself entertained over four days of rain at Old Trafford. I think we might see the emergence of ‘Canal Walking With Geoff Lemon’ as an OBO highlight.”
Bring me a raincoat will you, Grif? I’ll need a local one.
The rain came back, if you hadn’t guessed. It’s really just a matter of when we call it off now, though a decent wedge of crowd remains under the roofs. May as well be here as anywhere, I suppose? If you want something else to do while we wait, have a listen to Our Emma and her Spin podcast.
“Good morning, Geoff.”
Good morning, Graham Samuel-Gibbon!
“‘Not clever’ doesn’t make much sense, I agree. But the Australian use of ‘ordinary’ is not particularly ordinary.”
That is true. It’s an ongoing legacy of cowardly language, where we use euphemisms until they lose their meaning. So if something is reasonably acceptable, you can’t call it average or mediocre or ordinary. A rating of 7 out of 10 is seen as a condemnation. Superlatives are wasted like water down the storm drains.
“I am having a disturbing vision involving a lemon-yellow Australia shirt slithering off David Boon’s broad and hairy chest before he reaches for a squiggly-writing “laaaaaaady’s” shirt, saying “Don’t judge me” as Jonny Bairstow looks at him askance, moodily handling a pair of purple sparkly balls. The rain means I might now get to bed this evening here in Australia but that vision has now ruined any chance I have of sleep. Cheers, Geoff.”
Jane Evans, that sounds more like a dream to me. Jump straight in the middle of that situation. A melange of eras, a meld of minds. Adventures on the astral plane beat commutes on the bus.
I think it has stopped raining in the most immediate sense, because the ground staff are out there sweeping water to the edges of the covers, but I’m sure it will start again soon enough.
Thanks to David Peacock for unearthing the Brendan Taylor report. I assume it was a dealership promotion where you get one Zimbabwe player for free with each purchase.
“There’s nearly always live sport at Lord’s if you know where to look,” writes Michael Keane. “Having done the shop, if you you get really desperate you can pop in to the real tennis court. Spare a thought for the players though – the roof has had a leak for quite a few weeks and that floor gets slippy.”
I will be in there within the hour, I reckon.
TMS overseas link
Alastair Ferguson is the fastest gun in the West.
If someone can send me the TMS overseas link, I’ll disseminate it more widely. Better yet, tell me where to find it on an ongoing basis.
“The best rain delay I experienced was at a one-day cup semi final between Notts and Durham at the Home of Cricket (Trent Bridge),” writes Daniel Dalby. “My friend and I met Paul Collingwood and Samit Patel (a true cricket legend) early doors. Due to certain contacts that I wouldn’t like to incriminate we had a half-price bar for the day. The heavens opened from 3 until 7, and the match was reduced to 20 overs a side. Samit Patel ripped through the Durham top order and smashed the ball to all corners. My friend was seen on local news, dancing to celebrate a six behind a very serious Mick Newell interview. I think the Notts players had a similar time, based on us seeing them in a bar later in the day and Brendan Taylor waking up the following morning in a stranger’s car in West Bridgeford.”
Ryan Loonan went to quite some lengths to watch Lancashire play in a T20 quarter-final at Old Trafford.
“I arrived on Friday, it rained, it rained a bit more, and we were told to return the next day to do it all over again. Saturday came and rain was in the air. The game started at 14:00 and stopped 4 or 5 times, each one a swift shower followed by a 45-minute mopping up job. The thousand or so people in the ground got pretty efficient in their exits from the stands. There were a couple of games of varying quality against the bins under the stands. Every time we thought we were getting somewhere, more rain would come, and people were trying to find ball by ball DLS targets. At around 7pm, two days culminated in Glamorgan needing 15 runs to win off the final over. They scored 13 and Lancs won the day.”
Back in the day TMS was always at its best in the rain,” emails JP. “Burbling was happily raised into art. Reminiscence was especially purple and dewy-eyed and often rheumy-eyed. Titans of the past had a weather-fuelled space and soapbox in which to ferociously berate every misguided venture and sin of modernity and it’s younger denizens. Gluttony abounded, and tippling too apparently. It was always something of a disappointment when the clouds parted and the (much less interesting) game could recommence.”
I rather enjoy the rain blogs more than the play blogs sometimes, if we’re honest. More of a stroll, less of a beep-test sprint foreshadowing arthritis. I can pop upstairs and see how much tippling is going on in the TMS box. They do have a fair few magnums of champagne floating about for one of their awards.
“Whilst your piece about the umbrellas was almost poetic,” writes Alistair M, “I do wonder how many such pieces you can come up with for the rest of the day. When do you get to quit and do something else? Our cat isn’t letting persistent, almost torrential rain prevent her from sitting in next door’s garden. Clearly a better option than a house.”
Almost poetic. That’s a review I would have accepted gladly when I wrote poetry. Never try to understand cats, anyone. You know that by now. As for the opening question, I will be here writing almost poetry until play is called off or until Rob Smyth carries my cold rigid husk out to the bonfire.
“The 113 was the bus we took from home in Cricklewood during my 8 years of London life,” writes Paul Blundell. “It was only for going to Lord’s for whatever game was most interesting that summer that our backpacker’s budget could allow.
My overwhelming memory is it raining every time…”
Raymond Reardon has some helpful advice for us all. “The internet site for St John’s Wood needs updating as it currently states that sunrise was supposed to be 5.45am. Also Geoff, if you are delayed at the liquid mood enhancer parlour today, also note that the last 113 bus today leaves at 0.38am Thursday.”
I’m going to be sleeping under the desk, aren’t I?
Dave Adams has sent me a screenshot of the radar. “This doesn’t look too clever, but it’s moving slowly eastwards. Play by 14:30 is my super-optimistic shout…”
It’s interesting, the English use of ‘not clever’ for something just being not good. Especially inanimate things or events or situations. It confuses my brain a bit because my understanding of cleverness involves intent. This is your linguistic thought for the day.
And that’s it. Your exciting tour through the Lord’s shop. Don’t say you haven’t got your money’s worth today. (I am expecting a kickback shipment of purple sparkly cricket balls to land at my door shortly.)
I have been off round the ground again to curate some Top Quality Online Content™ for you. One moment.
Of course you can still email me or tweet me if you like. Let me know your rain stories. What’s the most fun you’ve had during a rain delay? What was the least? What was the smartest or stupidest time that you played the rain card the night before?
One thing I’ve learned a lot about this summer is umbrella etiquette. In Australia, it has to be raining for about three days straight before more than 0.1% of people remember to bring an umbrella out of the house. Here, the first drop of precipitation and bang: up go a forest of brollies. Then you have to work out footpath spacing and walking trails as everyone has a wider profile, and for the taller people among us there are a lot of metal spines at eyeball height. And yet it seems to work. People naturally take slightly wider berths and the umbrellas zip seamlessly between one another like a water ballet. It’s a wonder to watch.
Ok, I’ve taken a tour on foot around Lord’s to bring you the latest. It is… wet. Not Noah wet, but maybe a half-Noah. There were more people leaving the ground than coming in, which frankly seems like good common sense. The ones remaining are some hardy Australians who have nothing better to do because none of our Prime Ministers is being deposed right this minute. The covers are on tight and the runoff hoses are pouring torrents out near the boundary line. Let’s settle in for more of the same.
Good morning from London, buckaroos. Good other times in other parts of the world. Good different times again if you are simply astral travelling, beyond the plane of time as we understand it in a linear dimension. Good existence!
I am not astral travelling, I am 113 bus travelling. It is absolutely tipping down with rain in London, and I fear this may be something we repeat an untoward number of times.