Monday, April 12, 2004

The return of Street Cricket

When I first moved into the close, street cricket was a regular feature; we could field a full team plus reserves and represent at least 4 countries. The kids would set up a wicket in front of the end garages and the boundary was defined by the surrounding houses. The mothers (and “Aunty L1z” as token singleton and honoured occasional babysitter) would set up some old chairs to the side. Here ‘keeping an eye on the kids’ and minding the babies could be combined with the opportunity for a right old gossip session (generally carried out in around 3 different languages, with translations overlapping each other!).

Here we’d set the world to rights over some of Zaheeda’s samosas or Naheed’s seek kebabs and raita, washed down with juice from my fridge (“L1z, you work too hard, you have no time to cook”).

Once we’d finished with world affairs and fiscal policy we’d move on to how useless husbands can be, segued neatly and without a trace of irony with “L1z, why do you not get married yet, no one likes an old bride…”.

Sadly the cricket tradition died away a few years ago. Naheed’s family moved to Burnage and I haven’t seen her since another neighbour’s daughter’s wedding last year. Zaheeda separated and had to move out and so the kids are only here part of the week. We also hit a period where the older kids grew up and moved on but the younger ones were still too young to play unaided.

However today the close echoed once again with the sound of children shouting and tennis balls being hit over fences. A new family have moved in to the top of the close and field a strong team of 4 new recruits, combined with Zaheeda’s youngest 3 (now older than I care to think about) sufficient numbers were achieved for a decent game.

It makes me realise how much I miss Zaheeda and Naheed, there’s a far greater language barrier between me and the remaining mothers and so our conversations are sadly much more limited (though we do a great line in mime). Even so it was great to hear the new generation of cricketers at play in the close; interrupted as ever with the regular shout of “Car!”.