|Lago di Como|
Instead she must find her own amusement as her life partner's every waking hour is devoted to cricket. As if playing and net practice weren't enough, he spends the time in between filling the team sheets of the go-ahead Edinburgh club Carlton with increasingly unlikely combinations of old laggards and thrusting young talent. Compared to FB's challenge of finding 55 players every week, Lord Kitchener had it easy when he was appointed Minister for War in 1914 with the simple task of assembling a force of 2.5 million.
Mrs FB is resigned - it may sizzle, it may drizzle, she may scan the travel mags with longing. But her only summer trips are those when she measures her length over the kit bag FB has left lying in an unexpected place.
She therefore looked sceptically at FB when he asked whether she fancied a few days away. Had the searing heat of an Edinburgh June finally fried what brain cells he has left?
She played it safe. 'No way,' she said. 'I'm not going on a cricket tour with you.' FB appeased her. While a cricket tour seemed a good idea he was thinking of something more along the conventional holiday lines. 'What ? With no cricket?' she asked distrustfully, searching her contact book for the number of a reputable care organisation in case the time had come. With a sigh, FB pulled out his dog-eared fixture card and explained that a Saturday fixture followed the next week by a Sunday fixture gave the opportunity for a break.
|Local tourist attraction|
He was still in mid-explanation when Mrs FB looked up again from a flurry of keyboard clicks and said, 'That's done - Lake Como. Pack your sun hat - it'll be over 30 degrees.'
FB had no reason to demur at the choice of venue but, as he wearily slotted player number 52 into his matrix for the weekend, he wondered why she had chosen this venue. Then a clue came as he heard a murmur from another room. Mrs FB was practising her Italian. 'Dove è villa di Giorgio?' ' Signor Clooney sarà in visita in questo ristorante? A che ora?' 'Si. Mio marito sembra niente come George Clooney. Egli è ossessionato con il cricket. Lui e una tragedia. Grazie per la vostra simpatia.'
From the deeper recesses of his memory FB dredged up the recollection that Mrs FB's heart throb George Clooney owned a villa on Lake Como and was regularly reported visiting local restaurants and beauty spots. Mrs FB was on a mission. Quite why Clooney, a man of no known cricketing skills, should so command her heart is a mystery to FB. But life is full of such mysteries for FB.
Later she said, 'You'll be able to read that book I gave you - Who Wants To Be A Batsman. Looking at your recent scores suggests you need all the advice you can get.' FB let that cruel shaft pass. 'And what will you do, carissima?'
'Oh, this and that, you know,' she said, coyly but with a gleam of excitement in her eye.
Sadly, her expectations were unfulfilled. No sighting of George was made during their visit. Villas and gardens, restaurants and cafes were searched without success. It would seem that George had gone to ground. Like a batsman on the end of a cruel LBW decision, Mrs FB remained philosophical.
As did FB. Only once did he remark to Mrs FB that the tranquil lakeside landscape was beautiful in every respect apart from having any land flat enough for a cricket field of any meaningful size, so precipitously do the mountains descend to the water. This observation seemed of disappointingly little interest to Mrs FB.
This was not cricketing country, concluded FB. How then, he wondered, does the Navigazioni Lago di Como, the ferry company whose boats run up and across the lake, come to have as its logo a perfect representation of a set of stumps with a ball flying over middle?
|Once a cricketing organisation?|