As I commence this offering, I’m sitting in what’s classed as the Popular Enclosure at Emerald Headingley cricket stadium. In the absence of my laptop, I’m typing this narrative on my mobile phone – An onerous task but not as difficult as, say, writing this with a leadless pencil, or Cheesestrings***.
*** – Other processed cheese snacks are available – Be aware, though, they’re equally inept for use as a writing aid.
It’s the first day of the 2nd cricket Test between England vs Pakistan. The powerful solar rays manifesting an ever deeper scarlet hue on my already crimson forehead. Despite bearing a visage thoroughly smeared in SPF 50 sun cream, the lotions stoic defences are fighting a losing battle at protecting further sun damage. Consequently, reinforcements have been summoned in the shape of my cap.
Gazing out from my seat in the Popular Enclosure (aka the Western Terrace) the vast emerald playing area is bereft of international cricketers. They’re currently tucking into their lunch somewhere in the contemporarily designed stand to my left. This a vast glass construction, green of hue, whose controversial aesthetics attract mixed opinions from cricketing punters.
Instead, the grass cricketing surface currently stages the groundsman and his team; utilising this forty minute break to apply cosmetic changes to the wicket.
Seeking sustenance nearby the boundary line is a solitary pigeon, who I’ve named Frank. His leisurely stroll mirroring the reasonable serenity in the stands at this juncture.
It’s just gone 1pm and shortly the crowds, currently feasting on the cosmopolitan choices of fare below stand, will return to their seats. The calm will then abate – Replaced by an afternoon storm fuelled by alcohol and (generally) good natured tribalism.
Sitting behind me are a group of guys dressed as female air hostesses. At least I’m assuming they’re guys in fancy dress. If they are indeed real ‘trolley dollies’, I’d venture they need to address several grooming and deportment issues. They may not care, but I’d be less inclined to fly with their airline should those idiosyncrasies not get ironed out.
A few rows in front of my perch are a clutch of lads dressed as 1990’s international footballers. I’m unsure if clutch is the correct collective noun for a group of 1990’s soccer stars, but in my uncertainty have played safe with clutch.
It’d be great to think the collective noun paid homage to one of the games icons from that era…… Something like an Carlton Palmer of 1990’s footballer’s, perhaps…….. Or a Peter Beardsley of bad footballing haircuts….. It’s unlikely, though, so I’ll stay with clutch.
Amongst these footballing fancy dressers are Chris Waddle, John Barnes, Roberto Di Baggio, Rudi Voller, Ruud Gullit and Alexi Lallas. Thankfully there isn’t a Glenn Hoddle amongst them, meaning the Popular Enclosure shouldn’t be later subject to a rendition of the song Diamond Lights…….. Although with John Barnes in their number I’m not ruling out a drunken Anfield Rap later this aft.
As always, the selection of fancy dress costumes enhances the whole experience of spectating at a Headingley Test. Today there are groups of fox huntsmen, Morris dancers, guys dressed as WI members, Donald Trumps, a pantomime horse and various ecclesiastical attire.
There’s always questions I take from the stadium about those dressed in these whimsical costumes. Today is no different. Firstly, I’d like to know if the guy dressed in a Pakistan cricket shirt and bearing Caucasian appearance, really supporting England’s opponents, or was it just a rubbish fancy dress costume.
Secondly, some members of a group dressed as Anglican priests are adorning masks, which for the life of me I can’t recognise. The cardboard mask has a resemblance of Martin Lewis (the guy who gives money advice on TV). I’m pretty sure, though, the founder of moneysavingexpert.com isn’t (or has ever has been) an Anglican priest.
Consequently, I’m ruling that theory out, resulting in me probably taking the enigma to my grave…… A service that, even if he’s an ordained priest, I don’t want presiding over by Martin Lewis whose a bit too excitable for my liking.
Right, I’m off as lunchtime has concluded and England cricket captain Joe Root is leading his boys onto the field. The Yorkshireman and his charges looking to add to the four Pakistani wickets they plundered in this morning’s session of play – With a view to bowling out their opponents cheaply.
Before I turn my attention to the cricket, though, I need to quickly ask one of the Anglican priests if they can recommend a high yield cash ISA product.