So after continued nudging from Granddad Robinson to arrange a tour (to get out of baby sitting duties), I dusted off the old tour contact book and set about spreading the charm of the Eastwood Touring party. Two fixtures and a hotel (with late cancellation policy) in a week, I sat back very proud of myself. Then the week before departure, Tomlin cries on/off/on and finally off due to work leaving us down to 13. Granddad gets a call that he is required for duty at home on Monday so will return after the Curry, cancellation policy comes in handy. Praggy cries on, oh non drinker and top fielder, that will be handy on Sunday – more to come down the page! Saturday’s oppo cry off – top replacement found. Lack of both Armitage’s but E Ratic wants to drive a minibus – again more to come! So more work done in the last week than before.
With some working Friday, the town of Reading and its charms was the base. Cam and I raced each other from work in London, I won by about 10 minutes and therefore got the queen size double. Agent C appeared before anyone else, checked in and already ordered room service. Martini, shaken not stirred. We did not ask any questions. We all made it though via, trains, planes (Condus), automobiles and the tour bus at the set meeting time of half three in reception.
The Friday afternoon activity is now by tradition to pick something that Al Wade; is well how can I put it, not very good at. This year we found Clay Pigeon shooting was something else to add to the list. Clearly letting us loose with real guns and bullets would make America’s gun policy seem sane, so lasers it was. My Chanderpaul shooting technique was righty torn to shreds by the experts behind me. It was effective though, which could not be said for Al, 0/22 on hitting a stationary clay in the warm up. Killer Cam soon lost his “killer” nickname also scoring a duck when the pigeons started to fly. After the 3 or 4 warm up rounds, Wing Commander, Stinky and E Ratic are the ones to beat. Jan finds he can score easy points by shooting Priggy (large target) and not the clays which leads to cries of cheating on a par with sandpapergate. The competition rounds see team 2 win on the last clays through Praggy. Off we go and after a freshen up, have a team meal in Zerodegrees. Condus retires to bed early. Others enjoy a pub with no beer and Karaoke with little singing – not us. E Ratic commented all night on the different colour buses he was spotting and how the minibus was parked with 400 of them.
Saturday morning sees us avoid the £20 breakfast in the hotel and cross the road to the local ‘spoons. With bellies full we hear one or two younger tourists broke Captain Condus curfew and spent all their weekend's money, Al sets oud on the local park run. Condus was still preparing tactics in his room. Finally we all departed on the bus with E Ratic at the wheel to arrive at the lovely ground of Binfield CC. More on the game in Condus’ match report but it was a delightful ground. Agent C, wanted to protect the bowlers names so during the period of rotation he was off, Ratic E came on for Eastwood. Which followed was a long conversation on our Croatian superstar and how the game of cricket was played in the Balkans. Anyway we won and Captain Condus did his job. It was also great to see an Elton John on the field for Eastwood. Rob Palmer mistakenly allowed us to find out it was his birthday, hat, glasses and sash where worn in the field all day. After some post match beers, back to the hotel and some slip off to have a bit of steak, others street food and two experienced tourists decide that eating is cheating and head to The Alehouse, first stop on Al’s pub tour of Reading. Now, Al’s pub tour of Reading was note worthy on two facts. 1. There was only 2 pubs in this “tour”. 2. You did not need directions to the first pub as you had to follow your nose (Think clubhouse toilet/Smokers/BO). The second pub was better. Captain Condus went to bed early. Others enjoyed the 80’s/90’s music at the hipster Social Club and Popworld where clearly we were a good 20-40 years above the average age. E Ratic spotted more buses. Praggy has a few glasses of red...... Oh dear!
Sunday again spoons for the wiser ones as the other option cost a lot more and was next to the church bells. No good for Granddad’s hangover. We say good bye to Killer Cam and off we go to Bradfield CC for the Armitage Ashes. Main highlights include Agent C noting the lady scorer was last seen as he left said Popworld, facedown with Kebab juices around her face. She was wise to his “fake” names this time. During the game Wing Commander instructed a few fly pasts including a B-17 and E Ratic suffered a theft. This clearly put him in a bad mood for the drive back to the hotel as a number of red lights and bends in the road were ignored. The stolen object was seen around the hotel but has yet to be returned. Ask him about it. Fines were fairly dished out by the acting Fines Chairman and a curry was enjoyed by all before some departed for the trip home or an extra night in the hotel bed. E Ratic spotted less buses. Praggy looked ok after his first taste of wine.
Thanks for Binfield CC, Bradfield CC, E Ratic for driving the minibus and everyone else on the tour party. A great weekend of enjoyment and laughter. Till next time….
Video killed the radio star.