Lord's, Ladies and Birthday Boys ; First Up

Article excerpt

Birthdays and anniversaries are the bane of the married man. My beloved son Jackson was three last week. I celebrated it by spending the day at Lord's, watching the cricket. I felt that Jackson would understand. Kids' birthday parties are really no place for a grown man.

They tend to consist of long tables of screaming children being individually talked through each crucial step by mothers hovering above them like nervous swimming coaches. Besides, I'd paid for the whole thing. Stacey had organised a huge and very successful "Auction of Promises" for the school. Sadly, she was keen on me bidding up some of the more lacklustre lots.

I ended up paying about [pound]300 for a children's party worth, at most, [pound]60. After that I really felt that I'd earned my day at the cricket.

Besides, Jackson would have been right there with me if he'd been a tad older. I took my old friend Harry whom I first met way, way back when we were both nine years old and threw the cricket ball for our respective prep schools. We threw a cricket ball because, at nine years old, we were considered too young to handle a javelin. We were not, sadly, considered too young to be sent to boarding-school/ prison, nor to be savagely beaten on regular occasions - but I digress and it was clearly character building.

Back at Lord's there was glorious sunshine and we settled down for a fabulous day that I envisaged would only be marred by the odd frustrated phone call from Stacey drowning in the screams of children. Sadly, fate (or Stacey) had placed a terrible dampener on our fun in the shape of an unbelievably vociferous lady cricket fan sat behind us. Women cricket followers are to be avoided like the plague. It's not that I object to their right to enjoy the game.

It's just that, in their eagerness to prove to male fans that they understand the intricacies of the sport, they become unbelievable bores. …