07 December 2016

"There you have cricket"

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to center field; and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher's mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle forty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and everyone retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket.
An excerpt from Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country, via Tom Hull.

Reposted from 2012 because I've been reading a more recent Bill Bryson book.


  1. It is, overall, a brilliant book. One of my favorite travelogues, even if he does come of as something of a scaredy cat.

  2. Shame on you Bill! I only forgive you because you presented my partner with her degree certificate at Durham University a few years ago. You were wearing a pair of enormous hiking boots under your robe (you thought they were out of sight didn't you?) :0)

  3. 'That's right Clive . I haven't known anyone start his delivery that far back since Stopcock caught his sleeve on the reversing mirror of a number 11 bus during the first test at Brisbane in 1957 and ended up at Goondiwindi four days later owing to some frightful confusion over a changed timetable at Toowoomba Junction.'

    (I'm wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. One of my all time favourite books)

  4. All in all a wonderful Australian summer's afternoon, snoozing on the couch in front of the TV with the cricket on...

  5. That does it. This is my next book. It has been recommended to me before but fell off my radar. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. your link to 'Tom Hull' responds with a 404?


    1. That's not surprising; it's a repost from 2012. Linkrot occurs.

  7. Linkrot. I like that one. It it yours, or an anonymous spawn of the interwebs?
    Either way, I like it, and the occasional dip into my own archives reveals lots of it. Long gone websites, blogs, and youtube accounts. The great library of Alexandria that is the internet, went supernova and burned its own galleries. The information age became an age of mutating truth, we have hogarthian rumour mills creating false news, we have pamphleteers touting their lunatic notions, but now, everybody can publish. The medium is not the message.
    We live in infinite universes of every kind of truth and lie, and most can't tell the difference. If we see it in print it must be true.
    The infinite monkeys are having a ball.


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