As a kid, my idea of cool included footy cards, motor bikes, and Test Match cricket (I loved putting the silver ball in the tiny cup at the end of the bowler’s arm and tilting it so that the ball rolled along the green felt straight towards the wicket—whether or not it hit depended on the timing of the batsman’s swing, not on my skill).
Later I’d follow my brothers into the yard for backyard cricket. One would yell, ‘I’m batting!’ another, ‘I’m bowling!’ and the third would claim the wicket-keeping position. I’d run along behind yelling, ‘I’ll be the filter!’
For those not in the know, fielding is a vital part of the game. It absolutely requires baggsing. (Does anyone still use that term—baggsing? Kids should. It eliminates all fights—once someone else has baggsed the front seat or the blue twirly straw, it’s case closed.)
In the backyard, bowling and wicket-keeping involved catching and throwing so fair chance I didn’t want to do either of those, or more likely, wasn’t encouraged to. Probably they let me have a turn at batting; after all they’d only have to toss a ball or two my way before it hit the stumps behind me, or my bat did. And I’d resume my position fetching fours and sixes.
When one of my brothers joined Cub Scouts, I longed to wear a scarf with a woggle like his and to earn money in Bob-a job week. But true envy came when he arrived home with his very own length of rope and a little booklet that showed how to tie all sorts of knots. How cool.
No (apparently), girls can’t join Cubs. So I joined Brownies.
And on my very first day, after we’d all sat around worshipping a large stuffed toadstool that the most important Brownie got to put back in the storeroom, Brown Owl showed us how to do hospital corners with the sheets on a stretcher bed she’d brought in especially.
I got to practise my hospital corners last week when we made up beds at a house at the beach. When we walked in, Maeve looked along the bench and commented, ‘No mixmaster.’
We had a great few days jumping on sand castles, swimming, flying kites and playing hide-and-seek with cousins.