Michael McCarthy: A nice day out, but the wrong kind of weather

You don't play cricket in rain, hail, snow, fog, frost or even bad light


Is there a game for autumn, as cricket is the game for summer? I ask this because at the weekend I saw football played on the most exquisite autumn day, which was a great pleasure, and yet I felt the two experiences (the seasonal weather and the football) were somehow separate, whereas in cricket they would be conjoined.

Cricket proclaims summer (as butterflies do) because it needs sunshine (as butterflies do). Consider: you don't play cricket in rain, hail, snow, fog, frost or even bad light. Basically, the orb has to shine; it is high summer's game.

But you play football in all of the above, you play it even in ankle-deep mud. So in watching a terrific match, Fulham versus Arsenal, at Craven Cottage on the banks of the Thames on Saturday, the fact that the river was bathed in soft golden light and the blue air held a perfect warm stillness with just a hint of a tang on its edge was somehow irrelevant, in football terms. It didn't mean a thing.

In fact, I know someone who would have considered it a positive distraction. A few years ago I was, for a season, deputy manager of my then 10-year-old son's weekend football team, and one of the other parents, "Terry The Scouser", would shake his head and grumble in irritation if we turned up for training on a Saturday morning and the weather was like it was this Saturday just gone – that is to say, autumn-perfect. It was the "wrong" weather for football, he said. It was not till mid-November arrived and the rain was coming at you like horizontal stair rods that he beamingly approved. "That's more like it," he said. "Tests your commitment."

So I'm left with a strangely dislocated feeling about Saturday afternoon, having hugely enjoyed the limpid beauty of the day itself at Craven Cottage with its unparalleled location, and also having hugely enjoyed the match – the records will show only that Arsenal won 1-0, not how hard Fulham fought them – yet somehow wishing the game might be remembered for the weather as well. Maybe I should take up lacrosse.


I wrote here a year ago about how, uniquely among Premiership football grounds, you can birdwatch from Craven Cottage (from the riverside terrace) and that my Fulham list of species stood at 11. (For the record, mallard, tufted duck, coot, black-headed gull, herring gull, Canada goose, cormorant, heron, mute swan, pied wagtail and great-crested grebe).

I added two more species on Saturday: a carrion crow flying over the river, and following it, a ring-necked parakeet, right, with its unmistakable elongated tail. South-west London is parakeet country; they're all along the river from Barnes to Hampton Court.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style