The blindingly obvious brings refreshing vision

It was, I felt, an exceptionally fine cup of tea. Clearly the white china cup and saucer helped, as did the ambience of a refreshment room set within the splendour of Hever Castle.

It was, I felt, an exceptionally fine cup of tea. Clearly the white china cup and saucer helped, as did the ambience of a refreshment room set within the splendour of Hever Castle. But, even as my family made for the door, I decided I needed to know more about it. I planned to recreate this magnificent experience in my own home.

So I got the girl behind the counter to tell me what kind of tea they used. "Oh. Thank you," I said, thinking: "What did she say? Peechee? Pekee?" My family were waiting. But I needed to be sure. "Sorry, what was that again?"

A woman at the nearest table looked round.

"PG" said the girl. "PG Tips."

It was not a long conversation, but for some reason it has stayed with me. I find it a useful reminder that things are often simpler than we think.

It's a principle that is constantly applicable within the realm of sport. Take, for instance, Ipswich Town's Uefa Cup second leg in Milan on Thursday night. In the first leg, the Blues – I'm not going to call them the Tractor Boys, even though The Sun might want everyone to, because they aren't tractor boys. One or two of the local lads in Alf Ramsey's 1962 League-winning side might once have helped out on the farm, but the method of conveyance for today's internationally assembled Ipswich squad is either Mercedes or Audi. So why not call them the Audi Boys?

Sorry, where was I? Yes – in the first leg, the Blues managed an admirable 1-0 win against an Inter side minus half a teamful of first-choice players. No Christian Vieri. Definitely no Ronaldo.

When they ran out in the San Siro this week, although the 10,000 Ipswich supporters who had travelled to the game were hoping they could win their third successive away leg in Europe, the travelling team were without a prayer. Vieri was on the pitch this time, and helped himself to a hat-trick. Meanwhile £61m-worth of talent – £61m! – resided on the home team's bench.

You can play any formation you want – 3-5-2, 5-4-1, 10-0-0 – but you are unlikely to win in such a situation. Even by half-time, the match resembled the boxing match conceived by the men from Monty Python many moons ago between the heavyweight boxer whose favourite diet consisted of housebricks and gravel and a plucky Birmingham schoolgirl.

Six years ago I witnessed a similarly blatant mismatch – the rugby union meeting between England and New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup.

The witnessing, admittedly, was televisual, but the setting – Bishop's Stortford RFC clubroom – made the experience particularly acute. Before the game got under way, the mood was one of rising excitement as players and staff looked forward to watching their old team-mate Ben Clarke – club president Bev Clarke's boy – make his mark at No 8.

Thankfully, Clarke was one of the outstanding England performers on the day. But once the fearsome figure of Jonah Lomu began to take England's defence apart in the opening phase of the match, the clubhouse banter petered out, and the beer quaffing gave way to reflective sipping.

Again and again Lomu ploughed through England's resistance, scattering opponents like something out of a comic book. Afterwards the England captain, Will Carling, called him a freak. If that means being higher, faster and stronger than one's opponents, in the best Olympic tradition, then it was fair comment. Lomu was merely illustrating that old boxing tenet – a good big 'un will always beat a good little 'un.

As media coverage of sport becomes increasingly analytical, with experts lurking everywhere ready to explain the real story behind whatever we have just watched, it is refreshing to witness the blindingly obvious.

The off-court musings of Goran Ivanisevic during this year's Wimbledon tournament were hugely diverting, particularly his perceptions about his own fractured personality, with its Jekyll and Hyde characteristics.

Many words were spoken and written about the complexities of the Croat's pysche in the course of the Wimbledon fortnight as he edged nearer and nearer to the title which had so cruelly evaded him over the years.

We recalled his agonised interview after Pete Sampras had delivered his third defeat in a Wimbledon final in 1998. We saw him teeter on the brink against the perennial home hope Mr Henman before the divinely convenient onset of rain altered the course of the match.

We watched him exhibit only the extremes of emotion. There was no despondency, only despair. There was no satisfaction, only joy. Ivanisevic, as he maintained from the first moment of competition, believed that this time, finally, irrevocably, God was on his side. Why did he win? Simply, because no other result was possible.

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

John Moore starred in Coca Cola and Morrisons adverts

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
people

Former boxer recalls incident when he was seven years old

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
football

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Are you looking for a...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £100,000: SThree: If you would like to work fo...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission £100k +: SThree: Trainee Recru...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes