The excuse for the following is that Winnie the Pooh is set in Ashdown Forest, where we were.
A Game at Pooh Corner
In which The Greys play in the Forest, and Eyore wears a funny hat.
Rabbit was in a bad mood on Sunday., and being Rabbit, he thought everyone else was in a bad mood too. Fortunately, Eyore cheered everyone up by arriving wearing a cowboy hat and a poncho patterned cardie, which made him look like a Spaghetti Western style donkey. Or Guther van Hagens, that nice German doctor. Or maybe just Steptoe with a cowboy hat on. Eyore never cheers anyone up, so it was very nice of him, and unusually thoughtful. Pooh was as happy as ever, and rarely needs cheering up, and always seems to be thinking about something funny, like where his next honey is coming from. Tigger was in a bit of a bad mood too, and being Pre-Raphaelite, was not his usual bouncy self. Triggers don’t like broken down cabs, and they definitely don’t like chalitan mechanics.
Cars and passengers allocated, off we all went to Ashdown Forest and the Theatre of Trees to play a game. Eyore was lost, but found the rest of us eventually at the aptly named ground, surrounded as it was by trees. Rabbit won the toss and elected to bat. Now, Rabbit is usually very clever and right about everything, but this was a decision he may have regretted soon afterwards, as the Greys slumped to a megre 2 for 2, after Christopher Robin was deceived by an inducker from the tall Woody and he himself was out to small boy spinner for a golden duck. Rabbit hates small boy spinners who open the bowling, and had to retreat to the burrow and have lots of grass to make himself feel better. With both openers gone, Kanga and Roo found themselves together in the middle. Kanga took the lead, as she is inclined to do, and Roo as usual took no notice of the situation and after a couple of 4s was promptly out. Kanga realised it would be sensible to anchor the innings and was joined by Owl, who also took the mature approach we’ve grown to expect from such a wise old bird. Leaving the scoring to Kanga, Owl helped steady the ship and stayed for 38 balls for a glorious duck. A.A Milne followed in much the same vein (look, I’m sorry, but there are only 9 characters in Winnie the Pooh, and I’m not going be reduced to using the made up ones from the Disney travesty), although he should have been out second ball, Roo cleverly spotted an overstepping by the small boy, the first of two wickets not given due to no balls. Surely a first for the Greys.
In bounced Tigger, and playing with the usual abandon, helped Kanga with the scoring of runs, until he too succumbed after a quick fire 19. Kanga always looks after Tigger, and felt she ought join him back in the Pavilion, which she did after scoring an innings saving 82. Piglet came in next, but was unsure about things, and went again after a couple of turns round the corner, leaving Pooh and Eyore to make hay with what remained. Pooh had not been too sure about which bat he should use, and even thought that perhaps Kanga was using a smaller one, and was genuinely surprised to find out that everyone uses the same size bat when they’re grown up. “Do it like this,” said Eyore, showing Pooh what a proper shot looked like.
“Oh, I see what you mean, Eyore”, said Pooh, and proceeded to play lots of rather different shots, while thinking about honeys. Soon it was time for Pooh to go, but Eyore was having none of it, and he stubbornly stayed right to the end.
In which the Greys have a very sweet tea, and Pooh falls over a lot.
Everyone was looking forward to tea, really rather hoping it would be a grand affair, but the lack of sandwiches was a bit disappointing. Eyore had been hoping for one of those little pork pies that fit so neatly in your pocket and are just right for when you feel like a little smackeral of something half way through your spell of bowling. And still no cheese. Two weeks and not so much as a Dairylea triangle. All very bothersome.
And so, after all that, out everyone went to start the fielding bit, all feeling like even though 166 was better than it might have been after the terrible start, perhaps it was just a little bit not quite as much as we wanted. All, except Pooh, who quietly was having a think that maybe it was after all. Pooh opened the bowling, because the Hefalump (really sorry Rob, there’s no characters left, unless you want to be Rabbit’s friends and relations) had a jolly sore paw, or something. After a short time everyone began to realise that these openers were really rather good, and were hitting the ball really rather hard, mummy, and can I go a bit further back, please, Rabbit? Tigger came bounding in with the usual enthusiasm, but kept being steered between gully and point, and Tiggers definitely don’t like that. Pooh, meanwhile was having a whale of a time, throwing himself this way and that, on top of the stumps, along the ground and generally any other way that the ball wasn’t. Tigger and Pooh tried and tried but they simply couldn’t get the batsmen out.
Next it was Eyore’s turn to have a go, and Pooh had to throw himself around in a different place on the field, at one point even falling over his own hat. “You know,” said Pooh thoughtfully, “I’m not very good at going backwards.” Although what he really meant was he IS very good at falling over. Finally after a lot of huffing and puffing, Eyore got one of the batsmen to play a bad shot and the ball went in the air to A.A.Milne (the middle A stands for Alex, by the way, although it still doesn’t really work, does it?) and he caught it with a fall over and outstretched hand sort of thing. A wicket at last. That was 53-1, but it wasn’t until much later that, on 150, the very lucky batsman was out after smashing everyone to lots of places the fielders weren’t, but were very close to. This was the Hefalump’s doing, having decided to appear, his sore paw much better now apparently, and the woodland folk began to make runs seem hard to find, and Pooh announced to no one in particular that the Greys might actually win this, even though there were only 16 runs to get. Just for a little while, it looked just possible that Pooh would be right, with wickets falling, Christopher Robin doing a stumping from a Piglet throw, and the Hefalump taking another wicket and going for no runs. In the end though, it was too much to ask, and Kanga was very kind and understanding and gave the last runs away so we could all go home. Their innings finished with both batsmen not out 0. Another first, perhaps.
After all that excitement everyone had a nice cold beer on the balcony, and the lucky batsman showed how very lucky he was by winning the sweepstake as well. It turns out that Tiggers don’t like that either, but after deciding that he wanted to be Post Raphaelite, he soon forgot about that, and sang Christopher Robin and Milne a nice song about a man called Ludo Miklosko who came from near Moscow and apparently played as a goalkeeper for West Ham (WEST HAM!). Back at the pub he was his normal bouncy self again.
And there we must leave the Greysmen, happily drinking away in the Constant and drifting away from reality. And perhaps, just perhaps, this is the most ridiculous and contrived match report you have ever read.
And that hat…