We had bought our tickets many months ago, but Jenny and Jimmy had been watching the highlights of the first 3 days of play and decided that they wanted to go too. Fortunately, they were able to buy two tickets from someone outside the grounds and got into the match.
The first problem of the day was how to get there!!!! We knew that there was a train from Oxford to London Paddington station at 8:38am, so we headed out about 7:45 to walk to the station. When we got there, we found out that the schedules had changed effective TODAY and that the next train wasn’t until 9:05. Then, the ticket seller told us that there was a problem on the line between Oxford and Didcot Parkway (the next stop), but that a bus would be arriving at Oxford at 8:20 to take us there. We would then be able to continue our journey by train. When we first went out to the bus area there were only 5 or 6 people waiting with us, but there was no bus. Then the number grew to 20 to 25 people, but no bus. Then, 30 – 40 people, but still no bus. Finally, about 8:30 the station master came out and started hiring taxi’s to take us to the next station. Fortunately, we were able to get into the 3rd taxi that arrived and we had a very FAST journey to the station. We jumped out of the taxi and ran into the station, seeing that there was a train to Paddington on Platform 2….leaving immediately. We sprinted up the stairs and onto the platform. Just as we got to the train, the doors closed, so we all started to turn around, but then the doors opened again and Michael and Jenny jumped in on one end and Jimmy and I jumped in on the other end of the carriage. After we made sure that all 4 of us were on the train, we started wondering “were we really on the right train?” Fortunately we were and the rest of the trip was mostly uneventful.
We arrived a t the Lord Cricket Ground, which is the home of cricket. It is an interesting stadium that holds about 40,000 people. At one end stands the castle type building that was the original clubhouse, while the other end has a raised “football-shaped” silver pavilion that houses box seats. You can tell that seating has been added over the years because each section of seats looks different. We were on the 5th row from the ground and were almost in the middle of the field….just slightly toward the clubhouse end of the wicket (where the bowling and batting takes place). Cricket is a civilized game which can be fairly slow at times. They take breaks for drinks, and stop for lunch and tea. The game that we saw was part of a 5 day test match between England and the West Indies, with us seeing the 4th day of play. By the way, the test match ended up in a draw!!! The crowd seldom yells, but clap politely…even when the other team makes a good play. One of our favorite things was listening to the crowd around us. Our favorite comment came when one of the England players mishandled a ball. The comment was “oh, he fluffed it”!!!
We had a “square pie” for lunch which was made with a flaky crust and had steak and cheese inside. It was wonderful. Of course, it had to be consumed with a glass of Fosters beer!! Alcohol was flowing all around us. You could take 750 mls of alcohol in with you, but then could purchase it while in the stadium. At one place they had an oyster and champagne bar and another had places to buy bottles of wine. The crowd became a bit louder and rowdier as the day went on.
Even though the match didn’t end until 6:00, we left about 4:30, knowing that it would take about 2 hours to get back to Oxford. Jimmy and Jenny were sitting in the sun the whole day, so they left about 3:00. We met up with them in Oxford and had a nice dinner at a local Italian restaurant.
Although not traditional, it was wonderful way to celebrate 30 years of marriage!!!!!