Archive for July 22, 2010

Selected Memories Of Last Week’s Trip To Durham [1 of 3]

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I have only one hour to spare so tonight’s piece is not in ‘creative writing’ mode and has no real or imagined resemblance to the writing of Thomas Hardy [as if].

I was sitting opposite an adolescent boy for the best part of the journey up from Kings Cross to Durham and witnessed his almost perpetual eating routine. To get to his food store he had to put his hands beneath the table and extract his food from a bag; in doing so he frequently brushed against my shins. I can tell you now that there was nothing remotely erotic about it and his movements were no doubt accidental. Thank goodness.

Eventually the  majestic sight of Durham Cathedral came into view and soon afterwards my cousin scooped me away to Chester-Le -Street for what turned out to be a very interesting break. She announced that something very unusual was due to happen in Chester-Le – Street that very night; in passing it’s a lovely name for a town but bad news for a non touch typist short of time. Anyway  I was to see a cultural event performed by a German company and entitled ‘Firebirds’.  I attended the event with members of my family, together with some of their friends. The friends included an elegant lady called  Lorraine and a heartwarming friend called Maureen. I must not forget Maureen’s brother – an Arsenal supporter of long standing. We were in position by 8.40pm on the pavement about a hundred yards opposite the Methodist Church and  therefore well in time for the event – which was due to start  at 9 pm. The Methodist church clock showed twenty to five and was still showing that time when I left the town during mid- morning several days later. 

It began to rain but we did not care: our spirits were high and we were full of anticipation. It is true that  the event began an hour late, during rain, and and  my lovely companions declined to go in the pub immediately behind us on the grounds that they had a temperance spirit. Well I am not a frequent drinker but must admit to a  heartfelt tinge of disappoinment [if such a thing is technically possible] at the news that drinking alcohol was bad form. The tinge quickly dispersed and we were all as one again like children waiting for a German Santa and his accompanying elves. 

The production duly arrived and boy was it colourful and exciting. The only downside is that although I would be willing to bet that  our group were above average mentally [even though I no doubt dragged the average down a bit] none of them fully understood the exciting and colourful spectacle occuring before our very eyes. Only later did I understand that it is based on the idea of a competition amongst six daredevil pilots and their flying machines. There were several dramatic fire effects and explosions and I would not have missed this colourful and dramatic event for all the world.   

The following evening I went to the headquarters of Durham’s Cricket to see the home team take on Derbyshire Falcons in a limited over game under 20/20 rules. In the event the game was abandoned after thirteen overs, owing to heavy rain, but not before I saw the Derbyshire team for the very first time. I have followed its scorecards since 1954. Les Jackson and Cliff Gladwin are of course long gone  but elements of the child are still within me and therefore it was exciting just to watch Derbyshire practice! The Derby wicket keeper seemed a bit special to me and took one or two very awkward deliveries very well indeed. Mustard batted  well for Durham. The Durham County bar was not a very exciting place to be that night; little groups of men – on average four per group – stood around talking about goodness knows what. I was almost the only person sitting down so I had no  interesting conversation with anybody; it seemed very dull and very ‘County’ to me. Probably an overreaction.

The next day I paid a  short visit to Durham library to take advantage of its microfiche newspaper record. It is a treasure of information about Ushaw Moor and the surrounding area and the Durham County Advertiser is expecially good. Which year to select? I went for 1950. Do I hear groans of disappointment? Let me give you a couple of scorecards:

By the middle of July 1950 Ushaw Moor CC was still waiting for a victory in the North Western Durham League. It had Whickham on 48 for 9 so a win seemed a formality….

But big hitting from tailenders gave the opposition a slightly more respectable final score of 81. But surely…..

Ushaw Moor’s reply:

D Dunn 0

G Smith 6

T Liddle 16

R Telfor 10

N Gill 6

H Gillespie 0

J Wyatt 19

G Marsh 4

B Hull 6

R W Hope 0

W Anderson not out 1

Extras 4

Total – I will let you add that up!

Meanwhile New Brancepeth were in good nick against Tudhoe.

New Brancepeth scores:

W Ross 28

E Holmes 20

A Patterson 5

W Brass 66

N Gleghorn 19

J Milburn 0

R Ayre 1

W Cruddace 0

J Nelson 2

L McConnell 3

J Young not out 1

Extras 9

Total 154

In reply Tudhoe were all out for 113 – Brass taking 5 wickets for 11 runs and J Milburn 3 wickets for twenty three runs.

New Brancepeth won by 41 runs.

Part two coming up when I grab the time.