West Indies Tour 2009
West Indies Tour 2009: Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum - Day 2
Excitement mounts on the first morning of the Barbados Test.
All expected guests at Tara have now arrived.
Except Vinny , who , like Herbie possesses superior flight arranging skills and whose plane will arrive during the afternoons play meaning he will miss the first day of the test.
Son of and Freddie the food fascist arrived last night , which I think I omitted to include in day 1 diary – apologies boys I’ll make it up over the next few days.
Junior the taxi driver from Gangsta Cabs is pleased to see Son of , sensing from his manner and attire many lucrative trips out to sleazy establishments during the wee hours over the coming nights. Tomorrow Junior will negotiate a new car loan off his bank manager on the strength of Son of’s additional income.
The kitchen staff at Tara are even more pleased to see Freddie - especially when they learn he has not brought his staple travelling diet of jaffa cakes and crisps with him from home this time. They set up a small separate stove and serving area in the kitchen so that his food can be specially prepared without spices , garlic or any other form of flavouring applied.
Before we leave for the cricket at 9.00 am we thoughtfully position Vinnys camp bed next to the air conditioning unit near the front door – so that when he arrives he can stay cool whilst answering the door to all comers at all hours.
We travel to the cricket via Reggae bus which is itself an alarming experience – a 12 seater minibus festooned with rasta décor inside and blasting out dub tunes all the way into Bridgetown. Our route goes through the local ghetto , “Bush Hall”. Clearly we wont be walking back late at night.
We already have match tickets so avoid the large queue at the ticket office and on the way into the ground I spot Giles Clarke.
Mr Clarke is sweating profusely. I wonder what the cause could be – the embarrassment of the Allen Stanford debacle? The fact that England are like a rudderless ship and look less like winning a game than Bangladesh? Or perhaps Steve Harmisons latest pay rise ultimatum?
On entering the ground we find that my favourite little workhorse has not been selected for the team but has instead been nominated to carry drinks. What a way to earn a living. The photocopies of the Sun and Daily Star being sold at the ground before the start all rave on about Bank bosses ( well a certain one , in fact ) being England’s public enemy number one for ripping people off but forgive me if I state publicly that Sir Freddie Kruger can only ever be at best public enemy number two for me.
The game starts – England win the toss and bat – superbly well.
We see West Ham Mike at the front of the stand with some of his trolley dolly colleagues from the airline and certain members of our party are attracted to the empty seats nearby like moths to a candle. Almost as if the dollies were equipped with a whistle to attract attention! We will come on to red flashing lights later.
Herbie does not fall for the charms of the trolley dollies but has not partaken in alcohol since January 1st , and is in a hurry to make up for lost time.
First, he orders a gigantic box full of beer and ice. After this is finished he makes a fatal call. Soon bottles of Mountgay rum are being purchased and consumed at an alarming rate.
Its getting messy.
The Barmy Army are gathered behind us in the stand and we indulge in a little friendly banter.
Neither Jimmy Savile or Billy the trumpeter are present in the West Indies , rumours abound as to why but we cannot resist…..
“ Wheres yer leader gone – wheres yer leader gone!”
Sat behind us is a West Indian cricketer playing for Kendal during the English summer who is familiar with our drinking customs. He challenges Herbie to a rum drinking competition – and just like in Highlander , there can only be one winner. Herbie is soon spangled and can be seen after the cricket finishes spread eagled beneath a limbo dancing pole in the Wicket Keepers Arms waving his camera around like a drugged up Hollywood director. Somehow we get him home in the taxi despite Juniors offer to ferry him to a nearby lap-dancing club - whereupon he goes straight to bed.
Day 1 of the test is over for Herbie apart from, I gather , an early morning chunder.
When we arrive back at Tara rather worse for wear Vinny is there to greet us looking incredulously at all the inebriated specimens climbing out of the taxi.
During and after our meal that evening Mr Blade demonstrates that whatever the courts may have to say on the subject , the enmity between the Blades and West Ham cannot be entirely resolved by a compensation payment. Red card for Mr Blade today and a day off the rum tomorrow. Mr B , there is a right of appeal via Judge Garry of Maracas Bay the Sheffield Wednesday fan if you disagree with this verdict.
Saint , Son of , West Ham Mike and Wycombe then make their first excursion to St Lawrence gap. They are taken by Junior of Gangsta Cabs to a pub , and later to a lap-dancing bar where Saint is to have a fateful encounter with local exotic dancer Kelly – later to be known as “West Ham” Kelly.
After 18 rum and cokes each , Saint, Son of & Wycombe somehow manage to return to Tara at 2-3am , after Wycombe has screwed up and thrown away the piece of paper with the directions home on - where Vinny is delighted to alight from his bed to let them all in.
By the way , the cricket finished England 301-3.
Quotes of the day
Herbie “ Right , lads , the next rounds a bottle of rum”
West Indian Cricketer “ Naht like dat , mann . down it neat in one”