There I was manning the barricades of sanity against the gibbering hordes of the SNP and attempting to counter their deranged rantings with carefully selected barbs of calm wit and reason. And, to be scrupulously fair and honest, shouting at the odd one of the traitorous bastards just a tad every so often.
Then Mrs M suggested that I should unman said barricades for a long weekend and go for a wee trip just to allow me to calm down and to recharge my batteries of reasoned, totally understandable and justified invective. I humoured her and we drove off at lunchtime on the Thursday after I had set the Sky box to record the opening NFL game of the season on Thursday night, the England v India ODI on Friday and Germany v Scotland on the Sunday.
She would not tell me where we were going even after we started driving. Once we were well south of Embra, she explained that she had planned a 65th birthday surprise for me. This was, of course, a major problem. My 65th birthday will not happen until after Libra takes over from Virgo and I am severely Highland about premature celebrations of anything. I almost turned the car around to go home but she talked me out of that.
She would still not tell me where we were going. We passed place after place. I wondered about Lindisfarne and Alnwick. I considered Durham and then thought about York. It began to narrow down when we turned off at Weatherby and headed towards Leeds.
I have many teams to support. In NFL, it’s the Green Bay Packers. Scheduled to play in the aforementioned opening game of the season against the Seattle Seahawks. I only know two other Cheeseheads in the UK. Three now because their daughter keeps the faith. Close friends from the Uni of Embra. They live in Leeds. That’s where we ended up and I was so touched that Mrs M had made the effort.
Except she hadn’t. The Packers @ Seahawks game was total serendipity. And we lost anyway. The whole point of the weekend was made clear to me within 30 seconds of arrival. She sat me down, made me close my eyes and put a piece of card in my hand.
It was a ticket for England v India at Headingley on the morn. I’ve only ever seen a couple of ‘real’ cricket matches – England v Australia at Headingley about 20 years ago and Kent v Warwickshire in a John Player Sunday League game that was so long ago that Alvin Kallicharran was playing. I had not actually registered at any point that the last ODI of the series was going to be in Leeds that Friday.
I didn’t get to bed until 3 am that night, having drunk my way through the Packers being thrashed, but I didn’t really sleep much anyway. The gates opened at 8.15 am and we were in the ground an hour before play.
It was a wonderful experience from start to finish. And ‘we’ won. I particularly enjoyed the break between the innings when we adjourned to the bar for a Pimms. Rubbish plastic glass but very tasty.
The Yorkshire hat was newly purchased and mine. Opening another front against JW whose team is blue but whose rose is red.
Mrs M had arranged the whole thing over a year ago and had successfully kept me in the dark all that time. I am a very lucky man.