So here’s Wormsley. Sir John Paul Getty II built it after Mick Jagger introduced him to cricket in the 1980s, and his interest quickly turned into an absorbed fascination about the game. Of course, being the son of one of the richest men on the planet enabled him to construct perhaps the most idyllic ground imaginable.
I arrived there not knowing an awful lot about the place, and was amazed to see it was hidden among his 3,000 acre estate. A chap from Empics told me that he owned the surrounding land “as far as the eye can see” which, given we were 30 miles outside London, is quite astonishing. It goes without saying that the M40, which is perhaps five miles as the crow flies, couldn’t be heard at all.
It began with bacon sarnies and coffee, at the ungodly hour of 10.30am when most of Cricinfo is rising from their slumber. And with breakfast out of the way, the Pimms and rum were soon wheeled out by waiters and waitresses who tended to our every need! It was quite unbelievable; I’m not really comfortable with the whole waiter/waitress thing. It’s normal at those sorts of events, and I’m sure they earn more than enough, but it’s nevertheless a bit weird.
No matter, though. I soon recovered from my anxiety at being offered free alcohol, and took full advantage. Meanwhile, some people even played cricket, including the venerable Jenny who took the unusual, but by no means unique, warmup method of downing several cans of lager.
So much fun was had, watching CFOs, CEOs, Financial Execs, Marketing Execs and some bloke who I swear was pregnant, bat, bowl and field with remarkable inadequacy. Having not played for ten years, I opted out of making a complete tit of myself to turn my rusty arm over in the nets. It wasn’t pretty; in fact, it was downright ugly. It took me 18 balls (three whole overs to you and me) to find a length, and not one of them turned. Back to the tent, then, for more Cobra and Pimms and to meet Patrick Eager, who was just wheeling out a lens so expensive that I felt honoured to be sitting two deckchairs away from it. I’m sure you all know Patrick’s work. Suffice to say he’s a bloody decent bloke to boot.
And there we have it. Perks of the job, eh? I’ll stick some more photos up tomorrow.