Photo by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash
A cricket tea on a boundary edge in old heat. Trains and cars passed, skirting the park’s rim where sunlight was streaming through poplars. On the surface, at least, we weren’t normal sporting types – sweaty and earnest or urgent. A team of the wayward and the alternative, playing because we played, in scruffy whites. Some of us coached ourselves from books. A few even had prior experience. No-one knew how to put their whole game together for more than a few overs before resting by a pavilion of less than evocative splendour. We watched, hoping someone else would have his moment with its smattering of luck, joy and panache. On certain wickets, we were not good enough to touch a well-bowled ball, let alone stroke it easily into the boundary. The Council’s grass grew thick and slow, so hitting a bit uppish made sense, as long as the blow was decisive. When we began to convert gallant rear-guard into narrow victory, it all felt distinctly odd.
An Evening Stroll
I can be found in the street at certain times. There is nothing deliberate about the way this occurs, but my arrival often coincides with my neighbour and her carer returning from their walk to the church and back. My neighbour is pleased if I greet them first. This makes it easier for both of us to cope with her perception of me as just a stranger. Meanwhile, the sea is perfectly calm in Islay and the air has settled in one orderly layer all over the island. The absence of drama is welcome, in many respects. This means we can proceed slowly round the whole bay, watching the peaceful waves as they stroke the water’s edge and listening to the noise our footsteps make, pressing on the grass.