Our last few days in Perth were not without amusement.
I found the local laundrette and did all my dirty washing for four dollars plus a two dollar bus fare ( Gippo army I hope you have something nice to say about this for a change – Ive been reading your criticisms on the ADDIS live page!) . LOFTY , meanwhile , used the services of the hotel for his own bag of washing for the modest price of $233 , or a measly one hundred and fifty pounds. It would probably have been cheaper to bring over his butler with him ( economy class, naturally ! )
Who could forget the game of golf at Wembley and especially after the round , when we returned our expensive hired golf buggies to the caretakers shed. Who could forget the almost casual ease with which LOFTY crashed our buggy into TREMERS and STEVE’s like an old dodgem right in front of the annoyed caretaker. ” Boll*cks” said LOFTY for the seventeenth time that day , by way of apology.
” I didnt mean to do that”. It was no surprise, as most of our driving had been somewhat off line that morning. STEVE probably excepted!
The following night we all went on the Fremantle Prison tour which was made more entertaining by LOFTY being appointed by the “warder” to sweep up behind the group and make sure everyone was following on track. Our tour started at 9.15pm and was supposed to last 90 minutes. What with delays , hanging back for crafty fags and losing people, we were lucky to escape from the prison by midnight. We were joined by our latest recruits to ADDIS , STEWART and GRAHAM , two southern lads on their first tour with the Barmy Army who we have arranged to meet up with in Melbourne.
I was hoping against hope that the carnage of Heathrow Airport over the last few days may have delayed certain flights , or one certain flight in particular , but no such luck – WYCOMBE / RODNEY WHITE has dodged the bullet – he is here, and I expect him to be waiting for me in my hotel room on arrival in Melbourne like Rosemary’s baby. However when I arrive at 12.30am after a long flight with free alcohol all the way , there is no sign of Wycombe. He has gone out. To the casino. Taking the only key to the room. After an hour long wait for the porter to let me into my room , I see that he has spread his belongings throughout the floorspace and claimed the double bed for himself. Not bad , seeing as how I booked and paid for this accomodation in March. I settle down for some sleep and Wycs duly arrives home at 4.30am. In an effort not to wake me up , he doesnt switch on the light as he comes into the room , which is fine , except that he then falls over my bed piss*d up moving it about four yards and waking me up in the process. Not an auspicious start.
Now those of you who read this blog will know how much I love Melbourne – I would rather be cleaning windows in the snowy wastes of Royton on Xmas day than be here normally. I hate the ground , the catering facilities are inferior to those in Bangladesh and the wind whips through the concrete tunnels chilling you to the bone.
However even I have to admit that this experience has been a little better than previously. We have had a reasonable time.
Christmas Day was the usual cocktail of beer in the Shanghai Club, wine , a Chinese meal and then more beer and wine in the Shanghai Club , which is a gambling den near our hotel which Wycombe was drawn to like a moth to a candle. Present myself , WYCS , TREMERS , LOFTY , and WYC’S friend NICK ( yes folks he does have some other friends , amazingly! ) who has lived at Stokenchurch , Guernsey and now the Phillipines !!NICK works for an on-line bookmaker , and no , his second name is not Leeson.
Boxing Day we went to the concrete Colisseum that is the MCG. Normally I dont mention cricket much in this blog but today , I think I will.
85,000 convicts turned up to see their beloved team get blown away by the England pace attack. By the time they were all out for 98 , the heavy roller came on and TREMERS remarked he had never seen juice like this coming up from the pitch – it looked like a blessed Dulux roller going on! Clearly the Aussies had doctored the pitch hoping that they would win the toss and insert us. Unfortunately for them the coin landed on the wrong side. We then reached 150+ for no wicket. We cannot remember a better day of dominance than this and as the game went on the stadium emptied gradually to choruses of ” Are you Scotland in disguise ” and ” We can see you sneaking out” from the England fans until only the Barmy Army trumpet and songs – in full cry – could be heard. The play didnt finish until 6.50pm due to a rain delay. Simply amazing.
When we returned to the hotel in high spirits RODNEY WHITE was already tapping away on the wires and I feel I must share this gem with you , even if you have already had the priviledge of reading it in the Daily Star:
” Rain delayed England for about an hour but the only shower on display after that was the Australian middle order and tail”.
The other ( older ) Alastair Cooke would have been proud to write that line!
Joined now by HARRY of HARRY & JIM fame we then went out for a celebration meal and the funniest moment of my holiday so far – well , now it is – occurred.
WYCS ordered a big bowl of chilli beef , which was the size of a small bucket , and when it arrived he decided he didnt like the taste as it was too strong.
Step in LOFTY ” Thats bloody ridiculous – let me have a taste ” and LOFTY spooned a small measure of the deadly sulphuric brew into his mouth. No reaction for about a minute then :
” F*cking hell I cant breathe ” and he got up from the table in a convulsive coughing fit , packets of fags , and gold and platinum credit cards falling out of his pockets like confetti. Absolute magic and it took at least ten minutes in the toilet to calm down the coughing fit. So much so we were actually getting worried.
If ever there was a hint to give up smoking…..ex-smokers are always the worst hypocrites arent they?
All LOFTY could say afterwards was…..wait for it……
” THAT WASNT HALF HOT MUM ” .
Day two our first concern was to make sure LOFTY was okay after his Chinese incident as he had gone home early after the meal. He explained that he had spent the evening in , watching a music show by his favourite band , the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Hope they covered ” Im on fire” by Tina Charles and ” All I need is the air that I breathe ” by the Hollies !!
At the cricket we had another excellent day. The crowd was down on day 1 – only 61,000 – about a third of which were English.
We did lose a few wickets but then came the pivotal moment of the day when Prior was caught behind , given out and walked but the umpire referred the decision and he was eventually given ” not out “. You can imagine how that went down! The result – a 150 partnership between Prior and Trott , who was incidentally also given out in the UK by Dobcross Doubter on a text message , I think after too many Boxing Day sherries.
TREMERS and I had the great pleasure to be sat behind the bowlers arm , the SKY camera , and a family of third-generation Italian Aussies out for a day on the p*ss. Father , who looked uncannily like Kenny Rogers , was consuming huge amounts of red wine and very soon his conversation consisted of :
” Ive only one thing to say to you Poms – F*CK OFF “.
However , he was very amusing , it wasnt meant in a nasty way , and we did enjoy his company and antics immensely.
No doubt in a different sitution he would have been the life and soul of the party but some of his fellow Aussies clearly considered him the drunkard of the County and had words with him on leaving the ground. One guy especially gave Kenny a torrent of abuse ( “call yourself an Australian!!” ) but only , we noticed , when he was safely near the exit. He picked a fine time to leave MCG. A four hundred deficit and Trott in the field. Weve had some bad times , but now its just good times and this time the hurting has healed…..sorry folks…..!
For our part , we enjoyed your performance greatly Kenny and thanks for the memories. Always nice to see the Aussies falling out.
To continue the Italian theme we went to Lygon St that night for an Italian meal and TREMERS enjoyed a very nice LASAGNA SURGELATO.
Which was sent back to the kitchen as the middle wasnt cooked!
Day 3 was a blur and all I can remember is Jonathan Trott batting , Bresnan taking Aussie wickets , and getting extremely drunk at St Kilda. The guy serving us at the restaurant looked like Karl Pilkington from ” An idiot abroad ” and on telling him this he went upstairs to google the programme , then instead of throwing us out , brought us a free bottle of wine – he turned out to be the owners son!
Day 4 didnt last very long and all you could hear around the ground was the Barmy Army going through their repetoire. One song had special resonance.
” He bowls to the left. He bowls to the right. That Mitchell Johnson – his bowling is sh*te” – which carried on even through the MOM presentation.
We have retained the Ashes and won in Melbourne.
Pinch me somebody.
On second thoughts , no dont.
A special mention to PC Tintin for suggesting that the selection of Bresnan was a big mistake and that Finn should have played. I think Dusty Miller’s job is secure.
Love , Midnight.