I was ill.
I knew it.
Friday was a wash-out in every sense.
The weather was awful so we decided to take the ferry to Sydney but by the time Lisa, the owner of our holiday apartment, had arrived to drive us to the ferry terminal, I’d decided I needed a doctor as I was convinced I had a terminal chest infection.
Eventually, having tried several local medical practices crammed full of sickly deep-tanned Aussies, Lisa tried her own surgery and half an hour later I saw Dr Gail who told me that I had a sinus infection and prescribed antibiotics and a weird salt water sinus wash.
I took two days’ worth at once and spent the rest of the day in bed.
On the positive side, Dr Gail gave me a pretty thorough examination for my $75 and told me I was a fine physical specimen — infection apart — for my age.
Not the sort of cheerful and uplifting message one would get from a prescription jockey at home.
I love this country.
The antibiotics got to work, beavering away as I slept for around ten hours (the normal equivalent of two nights kip for me).
Net result: I felt way better. The sun was shining and a perfect beach day lay ahead. Jane decided to go for a run and I went with her on Lisa’s bike.
Shelly Beach is about two miles away and I veered off to the gym on the way back where I managed 45 minutes of gentle cardio and puffed out my uninfected chest in the Big Boys’ Gym. In the event, I didn’t get near the beach.
The Manly Cricket Oval is two blocks back from the front (here we have a slight deviation from Sidmouth, where the cricket ground is adjacent to the Esplanade and a decent slog can plop the ball into the sea).
There was a 50 over cup final in progress, and we arrived as Manly posted 225 for 6 from their allotted overs.
Jane finished reading her paper and went to the beach but I decided to see how the visitors — local side Mosman — would do in reply. It’s a big ground with a slow outfield following Friday’s rain, so the Manly total (on the low side for a 50 over game) began to look formidable.
However, Mosman’s No 4 and 5 gradually got the better of the Manly attack until both got themselves out slogging needlessly to the spinners.
This brought a fellow called Bess to the crease, and as that is a good Sidmouth name, I decided to see what he could do. After a nervy start, he did quite a lot, adding 96 for the 5th wicket with a chap called George, before middling an attempted pull to the keeper.
This was sufficient for Mosman to run out winners with four balls to spare, and my suspicions that I knew this fellow were confirmed when the teams got together to shake hands: it was indeed the same Josh Bess who I had taught cricket at St John’s School from the age 9 until 13, and a former senior Devon cricket captain.
Small world… and how very Sidmouth.