Monday, June 26, 2006

All of your Lord's are belong to us

I have seen the light. There is no going back now, and my life is enriched for it. Yesterday my chum S.R. took me to see some cricket (my favourite sport by miles) at Lord's. He is a member of Middlesex County Cricket Club and as such can take a guest into the historic pavilion to enjoy the day's play and its various amenities. On the basis of this one life-changing experience I have just handed over a not insubstantial sum of money to MCCC so that I may enjoy the same privileges. To be honest it's worth the cost of membership just to get access to the bars (of which there a four, count 'em, four) not to mention the spectacular views from the top balcony.

Entering the pavilion is a bit of a bizarre experience in this day and age to be honest, rather as if you've been transported back to the 1930s. There is a strict dress code and I quote it straight from the rule book:

Dress in the Pavilion

Whilst in the Pavilion, gentlemen shall wear ties and tailored coats and acceptable trousers with appropriate shoes. Zip up golf-style jackets are not permitted. Gentlemen will not be admitted to the Pavilion, including the Pavilion concourse, unless, on entrance, their dress conforms to this Regulation. However, coats and ties may be removed on the Pavilion Concourse, and outside balconies, but must be replaced for entry to the Pavilion building.

Ladies should wear dresses; or skirts or trousers worn with blouses, and appropriate shoes. Dresses and blouses may be sleeveless.

Religious, traditional or national dress, or service uniform, is permitted. However, the following items of clothing are prohibited; jeans and their close relations; leggings; jodhpur-style trousers; t-shirts; track suits; training shoes; plimsolls; flip flop shoes; denim clothing and overalls.

See what I mean? "jeans and their close relations." Tee hee; I love it. So first of all there's the deferential time-traveling aspect of a visit, and you do really feel like you've stepped out of time. Then, once you've signed the visitor's book, there's the beer. As per most sporting venues the beer in the rest of the ground is horrid mega-swill and fairly expensive at that. In the pavilion you have the choice of proper hand-pulled pints of Fuller's London Pride or Young's Bitter, both of which are well-looked after. For lunch you can potter down to the Long Room Bar where there was roast-beef (cut in front of you) sandwiches and salad and then lovely chocolate cake for pudding. As you eat your gaze can wander around the room taking in the portraits of the great and the good from cricket history and the memorabilia in glass cases.

After this agreeable repast you may wander back up the beautiful staircase (did I mention the chandeliers?) to the Member's Bar, collect another couple of pints of lovely beer, and settle back down to watch the afternoon session from the benches on the top balcony.

I think heaven must be rather like this.


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