UnLucky reads a lot on his kindle. Poor bugger. No one else on tour reads anything, comics aside, except me and Coach2.0 who reads my stuff on email [Ed. I wouldn’t read your diary but for the email you send, and if I don’t read it my bloody ipad shuts down for 24 hours.]
UnLucky was consuming all the gossip about family first policies and David Cameron’s proposal to elevate a Scottish lingerie tycoon to the House of Lords. As the only member of the batting order not to be buried under a tonne of journalistic bile, he can afford to use his wit. Apparently, Michelle Mone [Ed Like Ms Mone herself, the onomatopoeia appears carefully crafted], a Geordie, was tickled pink, and thanked Mr Cameron and his Chief of Staff for recognising her support for Scottish Union despite her Labour heritage. A peerage was well beyond her expectations she said when she first began to model her own lingerie, but she is delighted all the same.
This is all part of Cameron’s scheme to flood the promiscuous Lord’s with tory-leaning nobodies to bring, as he expressed it, “this carefree appendage of Parliamentary democracy to heel”, and, as a bonus, “to stick it to the Scottish rebels more permanently than a town hall quartering.”
Although not as dramatic, the media feeding frenzy over the team’s family first policy makes an amusing interlude to bridge the days between tests. Coach2.0 dismisses it all without the slightest heart murmur. It is fine for a player to take time out – one need only ask – but a position in the starting XI is not a sinecure like a peerage, a parish priest, or Speaker of the House [Ed. Another Captain’s toss] where bad form is tolerated or hushed up until a scandal breaks.
Resuming your position in a cricket team is not guaranteed. There are no unfair dismissal laws and the idea of keeping your seat warm is as outdated as the position of the Keeper of the Stool in the modern Royal household. How would it look if Wicky – whose recent form is as weak as a reused teabag – resumed his position, dropped another catch, and scored bugger all against the swinging Dukes last week? Bad, very bad for a 37 year old. Knowing when the clock strikes midnight is a subtle art.
I finally managed to corner The Prof for an ice-cream and soda in a café near Trent Bridge. We reminisced a little about the test here in 2013, until he saw the steel in my eye and agreed to account for his absence over the last 5 days.
“Nothing tawdry”’ he hastened to say “All within the rules. No jet skis, private jets, wedding or funeral expenses.”
“I wanted to send out a search party of the non-playing squad, but Sarah didn’t think she could spin a marketing angle from it.”
“I was incognito anyway, off the grid”
This was a tale with more fantasy than a Jules Verne adventure. The Prof has been liquidating many of the Players Pension Fund investments to pay lump sums to players retiring after the Ashes. He named 6 in quick succession, including The Natural.
“Liquidating investments can be done electronically”, I replied. “I don’t get it.”
“There are the new players to look after as well. New investments. And us, of course.”
I could tell there was something big. The Prof had a broad smile. He and his New York bankers have financed the Greek repurchase of the Elgin Marbles using convertible notes issued from the Players Investment Fund No 11, and backed by the German Banks, in exchange for a British pledge to contribute to the EU bail out of Greece. The deal gets everyone out of jail. The Greeks mortgage an asset they do not own (which is in keeping with their national psychosis) to kick the can again, the German’s get an asset worth something, and Cameron’s Tories get to debase another rich Lord’s legacy. The British Museum holds the Marbles on trust for the Greeks for 99 years, which should be long enough to repay their debt.
“Are the Greeks happy?” I asked
“As good as one can expect.”
“No change to the status quo then?”
“No. A typically British deck chair shuffle.”
I asked The Prof about the bandages on his forearms and the faint scrape along his chin. Apparently, he couldn’t find his way out of the British Museum on Friday (he had been with the Marbles) and was assaulted overnight by a couple of moaning Egyptian mummies…
There is an old Turkish saying “If you get burned on the milk, you blow on the yoghurt too.”
You can work out what this means for the betting market at Trent Bridge – surely an Australian win? (no moaning!)