When I was a teenager, Nature ruined my life. In middle age, it helps make it worth living.
TODAY IS a bloody excuse for a summer’s day: grey skies, pissing rain, flood warnings and uppity winds. More like early March than mid-June. About a month’s rain fell in a single day on Monday, but there seems to be no water shortage up in the Heavens as a result.
The 2019 Cricket World Cup is already the most rain-affected ever and, right now, Jupiter Pluvius is still messing with almost 80 per cent of the domestic games that are supposed to be taking place.
It doesn’t look like we are in for a re-run of last year’s fabled summer. But it’s all right. Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride. Or, indeed, slow me down. Because I have started the day happy, and I trust myself to manage my mood from now on.
Over the years, I have got quite adept at noticing the things that leave me feeling chipper, and finding sly little ways of ensuring that I do them.
I HAD A SPOT OF LUCK the other day – I caught a cold.
It wasn’t so bad a cold, just bad enough to stop me working.
And I got it on a sunny day, meaning I could sit in the garden with a book.
The book I had to sit in the garden with – Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje – was a very good one.
Which meant I could sit in the garden in the sun with a very good book and read all day.
I told you I was lucky. Because what my cold had given me was the certainty that I would now be happy for the day. Not so shabby, eh?
It’s not an exaggeration for me to state that I would find this life much, much harder without books. So far, they have been one of my few truly reliable sources of happiness in this world and, since I first learned to read, my constant and true companions.
Cricket was my first love – but we’ve drifted apart since the kids were born. Can this year’s ‘once-in-a-lifetime summer’ bring the feeling back again?
I WAS ELEVEN, breathlessly waiting for it all to start.
England versus Australia. Summer 1977. Our living room sofa. I sat, cross legged and leaning slightly forward, with a cheap paper-backed scorebook open on my lap; orange squash and a biscuit by my side.
Shaggy-haired Bob Willis charged in and bowled the first ball of the day – as I remember it, the first ball of the entire Test – to Rick McCosker.