'On a fine summer day many people spend hours watching cricket matches, the women and girls wear pretty summer dresses and the men and boys take off their jackets. The spectators often eat ice-cream or drink orangeade as they watch.'
This is the text on Fantasy Bob's Ladybird Mug - which has the cover of the Ladybird Story of Cricket. Unfortunately he hasn't got the full text of that worthy volume, but if it's anything like the extract above it must be something precious - a lost memory of a bygone age.
Of course many of FB's readers of a certain age will have gone weak at the knees with nostalgia at the mere mention of Ladybird books. What an institution and still going strong although FB bets they've changed a bit in our multi-cultural times. In FB's time they looked at the world through a very middle class set of lenses. The very thought of men taking off their jackets...............but that's how things were.
But let's look at the mug with our cricketers' eyes. We, who sweat on the field while girls in pretty summer dresses and men without jackets eat their ice-cream. What do we see?
FB will pass no observation on the way the pitch has been mown or marked.
Obviously there are no umpires; in those gentlemanly days, players just did the right thing because, when they had their jackets off, their stiff upper lips told them what to do. But what a field setting - silly-get-in-the-way-of-the-bowler's-follow-through is not a recognised position in most coaching manuals and even as rabidly an experimental skipper as Fantasy Bob has not tried it. But wait until next season.