Friday, August 25, 2017


It is extraordinary how the little and often unusual things of life define a day.
I go to Lord’s Cricket Ground each summer for three days of watching Test cricket.
I talk to my neighbour spectators who want to talk (and they are sometimes very interesting), but are just as happy to have non-talkers next to me.
When we made room for another cricket-lover in our row to pass by, my neighbour saw that this man had a fly button undone. We questioned if we should tell the undressed person of his condition. But the unknowing spectator had already passed by. And we could not decide what we should or should not have done anyway.
As a boy, should any of our number of males have a fly button undone, someone would introduce the words “Olga Polosky” into the conversation. Then we males would lower our eyes to see who might be the unfortunate.
Then, on the very next day, I sat down in the Underground train on my way to cricket, only to discover that three of my own fly buttons were not done up.
Fortunately I had a newspaper to cover my undress and surreptitiously managed to do up one button before other passengers might see what I was doing and think that I was an exposeur (if there is such a word).
At the station of my destination, Victoria, I did manage to do up the rest behind the newspaper as I walked along the platform.
Nowadays this would probably not happen as the trousers that I found to wear that day were probably made before the advent of reliable zip fasteners.
I had made the same journey to Lord’s for many years – Stamford Brook to Victoria by Underground, then 82 bus to Lord’s Ground.
Where I normally boarded the 82 bus is a stop where several busses stop at the same time. So it is wise to stand around the middle of them to be able to rush either way to catch the 82. This time, busses came and went, but an 82 was not to be seen. I waited for probably 15 minutes, then took an alternative bus that involved a longer walk to reach Lord’s at the other end. I asked the driver what might be holding up the 82. “It’s been discontinued, mate. The number 13 has taken its place.” So I took the 13 next day and all was well – and I hope will be in the future.

It is an accumulation of small things like these that are unexpected and define a day.