Dom Joly: The cricket-loving Aussie is an endangered species

Share
Related Topics

I've been in my Indonesian hideaway for 10 days now, and my world view has shrunk to the size of the little bay that we're living in. News of the world has been reduced to five headlines posted by my friend Kaj on the dive site board every morning. They are to be found under the heading "News from the outside".

As we kit up, ready to do battle with Japanese divers equipped with space-age photographic equipment in our attempts to capture the flamboyant cuttlefish or the elusive airy frogfish on camera, we scan this information from another world. I do try my best to take in stuff about dead Swedish birds falling from the sky and to care that former Bee Gee Robin Gibb is "saddened" by the manufactured nature of the pop industry, but it all seems very alien. Real news here is about whether we are going to have to share a boat with a "dive bore". These are a very dangerous species who will corner you and insist on talking you through their 500 dives round the world while their long-suffering partners gaze out to sea with a thousand-yard stare praying for a tsunami to end it all.

Evenings are spent huddled over laptops editing the photographs of the day and insisting that everybody then sees their day's "work". Sadly, my photographs tend to be of a Japanese bottom or a blurry fin as scuba kamikazes barge you out of the way to focus their assortment of strobes and lights on a terrified sea critter.

One piece of outside news, however, has kept the tiny English contingent here enthralled – The Ashes. Despite desiring almost no contact with our real lives, news of the cricket is somehow fed to us. We return from a dive to see a figure on the dock waving excitedly. "Anderson has just got another wicket!" he shouts to a dumbfounded boatload of Swiss-Germans and French bankers from Singapore. A lone couple of diving Aussies pretend not to hear while we Brits cheer and proclaim that all is right in the world.

It was only a month ago that I was stuck in the "celebrity jungle", desperately trying to get information on the Adelaide Test from recalcitrant Aussie soundmen. It's therefore been a real pleasure being out here and following the Test in relative "real time", as opposed to having to bribe a cameraman in Oz or stay up all night in the UK. It's one of the peculiarities of cricket that you don't have to watch it continually. A good Test match unfolds slowly over five days with the important moments punctuating your day.

It's a very British thing, however exotic your destination, to want to have news of a sporting event. I remember as a boy, sitting in the passenger seat of a very early Range Rover while my dad tried to negotiate the highest sand dune that surrounded the phenomenal Roman ruins of Palmyra, deep in the Syrian desert, so that we could get decent BBC World Service reception for the Grand National. We were never a particularly horsey family, but this tenuous connection with home was special and strangely exhilarating.

Back in Sulawesi, when the final wicket was taken in Sydney and the Ashes were properly ours, we were sitting by the pool huddled around a little MP3 player. We immediately sought out the Aussie couple, as we were sure that they would want to be the first to congratulate us. Strangely, they announced that they were "not really followers of cricket...." We didn't challenge them further but their crestfallen faces said it all. Sometimes, just sometimes, an English cricket fan's world is a good one.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A still from the BBC's new rap about the outbreak of WW1  

Why give the young such a bad rap?

David Lister
Israeli army soldiers take their positions  

Errors and Omissions: Some news reports don’t quite hit the right target

Guy Keleny
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice