Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Game of Cricket in the English Countryside..

At some point, I reach for a cap. The sun can look innocuous, beguiling even, the temptation to feel the warm tingle on my skin overriding any caution of sitting out in the open for too long. We are here to watch a game of cricket. But for me cricket is only a backdrop (Shame on me , I can see the spouse frown :)). Don't blame me , look how beautiful it is around. When we entered Eynsford, we had to stop by the little river 'Darent', teeming with people, kids playing in the water, swans and duck merrily wading about, people picnicking on the Grass. Summer ravished, Eynsford had the prettiest pubs. We would enter one only to leave as it was too posh and not nearly as pub like as we would have liked it to be. Soon we were seated outside on the wooden benches so characteristic of this country. The
gentle breeze cool against the sun kissed afternoon. The boys didn't want to eat too heavy cause of the game at hand, but what was that to us:). To fore go a pub lunch would be a cardinal sin. I savor the Ravioli, but have to admit that I can't finish my portion inspite of a bet with S that I would. In my defence the portions were deceptively large!

We saunter back to the ground. I have a book, which remained unopened for most of the afternoon. The car is parked close enough. We sit in front of a tree , which seems to have come alive with spring, white petals rain down and I collect a few to accentuate my idleness :).

The game is about to begin and the ground where the action is about to unfold has been around since the 18 hundreds. The river hugs the ground , and beautiful weeping willows stand around and I remember Virginia Wolf - "On the further bank the willows wept in perpetual lamentation, their hair about their shoulders. The river reflected whatever it chose of sky and bridge and burning tree, and when the undergraduate had oared his boat through the reflections they closed again, completely, as if he had
never been"...

The Church spire stands tall , magnificently brown in a blur of green. As we watch a pair of mallards fly over the grounds. We discuss the mechanics of mallard flight. They could not have flown too far, probably just over the ground, we decide ; cause the mallards are relatively big birds and flying is an energy expensive operation...

Wickets fall and the game proceeds at a steady pace. The sun climbs further up. The boys join us having batted and we take a walk around the ground. This time we get a little more adventurous and jump into the river. The river is shallow , and we are fooled by the happy children fishing for tadpoles in its merry waters. We step in and the cold water is electric against my warm feet. I stay in just long enough to get pictures. Once outside I can feel the rush of blood, the invigorating cold waters sending tingles up my feet. We walk on the grass. Its soon time for tea and cakes and the boys take the field.

We decide to take a walk. The town itself is not very big. Big brown cows graze on the verdant green grass. They look happy. They turn into tiny specks as we walk up a small hill and then altogether disappear. More dramatic greens and yellows emerge into view. But first we must cross the railways tracks, where only moments ago A train seemed to have whizzed past. We approach cautiously. There really is nothing worth stopping for in sight. And we hop across quickly into the fields of gold. The horizon is a pale blue and theres not a cloud in sight. The Rape seed fields are gloriously yellow. I stop to smell them, and get some pollen on my nose and my friend laughs in amusement.
Rape Seeds are 'break crops' (rotational crops) and the name comes from the Latin word 'rapum' meaning turnip. We stroll over to the other side and then try to find our way round the hill, only to be thwarted in the attempt by a steep drop onto the motorway.

We walk right back along and take a differnt route down, as we discuss the absence of potential slythering threats in the English countryside. We have both travelled in the subcontinent, where snakes abound and the chances of provoking one of them into a bite in self defence by encroaching into their territory(like paddy fields) are plenty. This time around we are lucky and can find our way down.

We pass a Roman Bridge, a truely beautiful piece of architecture providing semi circular frames for the scenary beyond.

Between discussing the choice of being vegetarian (which can be sometimes hard to explain)
and other things of extraordinary importance we find our way to the grounds again. There still 20 odd overs for the game to get done and we begin to count it down.

Every now and then the ball would fall into the river and would have to be ferried out resulting in frequent interruptions of play. A bunch from the fielding team stand around the water, and then someone is brave enough to get into the icy cold river :). Some stand and watch from afar. It starts to get chilly as evening approaches and we get out coats..

When its finally done, we drive back home and enjoy a nice cup of english tea , a perfect end to a beautiful summer's day. :)

Meena Venkataraman

The reculsive traveller...

The reculsive traveller is doing the rounds...
Will spill all the beans soon :)



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