Friday, 5 November 2010

The Ladybird mug

'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? 
One side of the mug is shown on the left.   A perfectly respectable shot - in fact it looks a bit modern, a bit KPish. 

But the other side - photo right - parts company with any understanding of the game. 

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.


  1. Aaaah, the heady whiff of nostalgia. That very volume was one of my earliest possessions.

    While it disappeared at some point over the numerous decades since then, the good news is that, thanks to the wonder of EBay, a copy can be yours in 2010 for just £2.70 plus £1.25 postage.

  2. Dear Groupie, FB is glad to learn that you are of the jacket wearing classes.

  3. I am a little surprised that a man of Fantasy Bob's wide grasp of cricketing knowledge should not realise that the pitch marking shown on the Ladybird book is an accurate depiction for the period in question. The current "box" style came in in the late fifties or early sixties and was a consequence of the amendment of the no-ball law that brought in the front foot law.

    While the pitch shown is mown too wide, the striped effect is not unknown (though highly unusual)- and it is probably legal. See the Carlton 2 match report for 12 June 2010.

    Magnus, however, assures me that he would not be happy with a pitch mown like that at Grange Loan.

  4. Iain - many thanks. Although Fantasy Bob passed no observation on the pitch apart from observing that he was passing no observation, he is happy to take instruction on these important matters from such an authoritative source.