I'm absolutely shattered at the moment, but there's no lie-in for me tomorrow, I'm afraid to say. Oh no. I'm up at some ungodly hour to catch a train to Manchester. Why? Because I'm off to watch me some cricket!
I'm sure the sacrifice will all be worthwhile when I take my seat in the stands at Old Trafford and my personal involvement in the 2005 Ashes series begins..... judging by the close of play score today, it should be a fantastic day. I appreciate that cricket is something of a minority interest, but I'd be pleased if you could all humour me over the next few weeks. The series is delicately poised at 1-1 and England have a great chance of making it 2-1 over the next couple of days. This is pretty exciting news. England have not won the Ashes since 1986/7, and have barely won a single meaningful game against the Aussies since then. In fact, in all my years of attending cricket matches, I don't think I have ever actually seen England beat Australia, and certainly not when the Ashes were still at stake.
The Premiership football season also starts tomorrow, but as I've said elsewhere, when the cricket is as good as this, who cares? If England can win the game at Old Trafford, that means they will begin the Trent Bridge Test with a chance of taking a 3-1 lead in a 5 Test series and actually winning that stupid bloody urn.
Trent Bridge! That's my home ground - it's barely 5 minutes' walk from my front door. That would be brilliant.
And the fancy dress costumes arrived this week.... This is something of a tradition. Over the past few years I have variously attended the Saturday of the Trent Bridge Test dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi, Fred Flintstone & Santa (that year was especially memorable actually: there were 9 of us in all, all dressed up with full-on beards & hats and everything - the hottest day of the year). This year's costume is still a secret, but let me give you a clue by saying that Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise....
....But that's not for another couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I'm just getting excited about the prospect of England maybe winning this game....
I leave you with this: if you thought that Juan Carlos was the King of Spain, then you are very much mistaken.... and that's all I'm saying.