I learnt at Lord's that Mafeking should only be relieved responsibly

Too much champagne while watching a Test match can ruin a day out

Share

It was cricket overload last week for my son and me. I was able to show him both extremes of the same game while quietly confirming to myself that there is nothing more English and incomprehensible to a foreigner than cricket.

First we were off to the Cheltenham Cricket Festival. This is a glorious event in which my boy's school pitch is turned into a county ground for two weeks. We went to watch a four-day match between Gloucestershire and Derbyshire and ended up sitting in the members' enclosure for a while. These members consisted almost entirely of middle-aged to elderly men in shabby sun hats and food-stained shirts. These are the bowmen of cricket – the sort that raised two fingers to the French at Agincourt and then had a hearty breakfast. Nowadays, their ire is reserved for a sloppy ball or the buzz of a mobile phone in the stands. Their knowledge of the game is almost mystical and I found myself answering any question from my boy in hushed tones in case I made some elementary mistake and embarrassed myself in front of the faithful.

Two days later we were at the home of cricket itself, Lord's, for my boy's first visit. Once through the gates, it felt as if my fatherly duties had been completed. Small boys are disappointed by much these days but the excited hum of the crowd at Lord's on the first day of a Test match did the trick.

We had the best seats I've ever managed to get, high above the pitch and slap bang in the middle of the officer class. The day was peppered with comments like "here comes the relief at Mafeking" as another jug of Pimm's was passed to a man in red trousers, pink shirt and ruddy face a couple of seats down from us. It was a seriously hot day and the Mafeking Relief was plentiful, more so even than on a usual Test day, and the crowd were soon in a very generous mood.

This generosity led to much howling of advice to Captain Cook and to the almost universal booing of Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian player who had the temerity to accuse Jimmy Anderson of pushing him. Sadly we were denied the gladiatorial pantomime of Jimmy bowling at his nemesis as Moeen Ali (the beard that must be feared), perhaps hoping to avoid a bloodbath, quickly dispatched him.

I had now relieved Mafeking several times over and was keen to take up a kind invitation to a corporate box. My boy was thrilled with the copious amounts of free sweet things on offer. Five minutes later he was seated next to me with a plate stacked with patisseries, and a massive grin on his face. "I like Lord's dad." I smiled benevolently and leaned back congratulating myself on what a great father I was. That was when I slipped and poured a large glass of champagne all over his plate and trousers. There was a mortified silence in the box. I had gone from hero to zero. I had made it look as if my boy had wet himself in the officers' mess. We left soon after. It will be some years until I'm forgiven, methinks.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Syrian refugees flash the victory sign  

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Robert Fisk
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent