My thanks go to Poll for holding the fort again. She’s a fine gal, even if she seems a sight too fond of clasping young Farrell to her bosom in a way she insists is just maternal. Poor lad – I’m never sure he’s able to breathe in there.
Summer is a-coming in, loudly sing Cuckoo and all that. I’ve previously alluded to the sap rising, but when summer bursts into full bloom it’s more a case of fully risen and getting sunburned round here. They get out on that roof garden without even a small picture of Her Majesty to cover their modesty and the next thing you’d know it’s roasted meat, seared veg and the crown jewels more like crown of lamb.
I accept that you’d think from reading my accounts that my gentlemen (those breeches ripping, thigh poking lumps of harumphrodites I work for) never do anything that can be seen in broad daylight, but maybe I’ve not presented an entirely rounded picture (even though there’s many an entirely rounded thing up on that roof garden). Summer also means cricket. You can imagine that my gentlemen get all excited at the thoughts of donning their flannels and college ties (usually in place of a belt, which is healthier than what they sometimes use them for) and flouncing around the field trying to look attractive.
Lord Anthony plays to win, of course. He’s a dashing bat, wily spin bowler and a nimble hand in the slips. Jack Starr, when he bothers, is the fastest bowler I’ve seen since Spofforth (but then he’s a fast piece of work at everything.) Nash, on the other hand is more interested in the sweet sound of leather on flesh than leather on willow. A real “smote them hip and thigh” sort of cove. Spence and Alexi are no mean hands in the middle order, fours and sixes flashing everywhere (which makes a change from what they usually flash).
You can imagine that they form a successful team and winning has become a habit. I’d wouldn’t say winning at any cost: they might be totally unprincipled in the service of Her Majesty (and in the service of getting their ends away) but when it comes to cricket they play scrupulously fair. No itching powder in the opposition’s boxes or pins in their pads. Never an LBW appeal unless it’s plumb in line and no trying to hit them in the wedding tackle. (I suspect the latter is motivated less by fair play than by the chances of inveigling some comely batsmen into bed with them after the post match pint of “Old and filthy”.)
And don’t think it’s all tea and scones. One of the ways they first knew that Victor was a scurrilous piece of herring poo was his shouting for a catch behind when the ball had clearly only come off the batsman’s pad. That and trying to bribe an umpire with promises of untold riches if he’d swing the decisions in his favour. Any man who could stoop so low needs must be a rogue.
Now, I must away as Poll says she’s going to help young Farrell break in his pads for the new season and I feel the need to supervise proceedings.