The Caravan and Cricket

Australia and New Zealand played a cricket match recently and it created quite a stir. World Cup Final, I think? I don’t understand cricket. More than that, I seem to subconsciously reject it. I’m not sure why.

When we were kids, we used to holiday in Dorset in Summer months – cricket months. We had a static caravan in a park on a hill just outside the small but beautifully formed town of Wareham.

Looking back, it was spending time with my father that made weekends and holidays in Wareham really special. Normally, Dad was always at work, out in one of the lorries or at the pub, so it was wonderful to have him present and involved (and sober) at the caravan.

He had his routine. Every morning, depending on the weather, he would walk along the river into Wareham. If it was raining, he drove his stately Jaguar instead. I often went with him. He bought a paper (The Express – oh the shame!) and freshly baked bread. Then he would go to the butchers for free-range eggs, bacon and best pork sausages. I can’t remember if he cooked breakfast usually or whether it was Mum, but I think it was Dad. He was the better cook, but cooking was her ‘role’. They were both still children of the 1940s at that point; Mum still is. When they divorced, I think he was secretly delighted to finally get his hands on the kitchen.

Anyway, those breakfasts in the caravan were wonderful, and I can taste them still. Dad would slurp his hot mug of Tetley tea noisily whilst reading his Express, and I’d sit next to him reading my Beano finishing off a Cumberland sausage.

Caravans are small spaces, and noise easily pollutes. That, I believe, is why my mother would banish Dad to his car when the cricket was on. Or did he choose to go, and escape us for a little while so he could listen in peace? I’m really not sure now I come to think about it. Both?

I clearly remember hearing the sounds of Brian Johnstone commentating, the thwack of a ball hitting a bat, and the softened cheers of a crowd coming from Dad’s Jag. And I remember him sitting behind the steering wheel staring fixedly ahead, concentrating, or dreaming.


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