A month or so ago, I wandered through to the back of the flat. There was an odd noise coming from outside. I didn’t recognise it.
Two days later (my membership of Neighbourhood Watch has been rescinded) the noise was still happening. I peered out the window, and realised that one of my neighbours was running a sprinkler in their back garden. A sprinkler, I say. Attached to a hosepipe. Watering the garden. For days. I have only read about such things.
This is a Scottish summer of unprecedented heat, certainly the best summer since I was in short trousers. And I’m back in them again. I have been wearing shorts for weeks, which has turned my legs from a shade of translucent blue into a dull pink. I have been to the beach multiple times, and even paddled in the sea. The grass in Holyrood Park is brown. I have, on several occasions, left home without an emergency jacket and pair of trousers in the car boot. And I have completed several loads of washing without washing a single sock. Well, almost.
Although several of my acquaintances consider cricket to be a game which requires one only to stand around in a field, wearing white, the unpopular truth is that one does have to break into a gentle trot now and again. And breaking into a trot while wearing flip flops is positively dangerous. Ergo, cricket socks have been worn and washed.
Only last Saturday I was standing around in a field wearing white, and wearing socks, and looked over to see the opposition players huddled underneath a couple of umbrellas on the boundary. This is not an entirely unprecedented sight in Scottish cricket, except that it wasn’t raining. And the players under the umbrellas were, to a man, of Asian extraction, sheltering from the fierce Scottish sun.
A few days back, I walked up a brownish hillside in Holyrood Park, and found a clearing to sit down in. There were discarded bottles in the nearby bushes. Water bottles, not alcopops. Even da yoof are concerned about dehydration it seems.
Meanwhile, all the way from Russia, the World Cup has been captivating most people, especially south of the border. “It’s coming home” has been the hashtag of choice.
I feel confused. What is coming home, exactly? I thought football came home in 96. Did it go away again? Is it coming back?
Except that the tournament has been in Russia. Do they mean the World Cup’s coming home? In which case, England isn’t its home. It was made in Italy (I checked) and Germany would surely have the best claim on it being at home there.
All very confusing.
The Glamour Girls and myself watched the England semi-final at IndigoYard last night. England took an early lead from a free-kick. There was a somewhat muted response… a couple of shouts, suppressed quickly, the shouters suddenly conscious of their Englishness in a Scottish bar. But they needn’t have worried. Most of the place didn’t seem all that interested in the game, and there were no celebrations when Croatia equalised. Not even from me, although that may have been because a large man in a blue sweater walked in front of the screen at the moment in question.
Croatia went on to get stronger and stronger, and eventually scored the winner in extra time. I was saddened, although not distraught. England exiting a major tournament always brings a certain amount of relief. Although if they won something again at least it would mean we presumably wouldn’t hear quite so much about 1966. Maybe.
Now I guess football isn’t going to get a chance to come home for a while… Croatia and France aren’t such bad places to hang out for a few years mind…