Summer officially arrives this weekend. Not, you understand, astronomically or meteorologically, but for cricket fans everywhere the first England test match of the year on home soil heralds in the (supposed) sunny season.
And part and parcel of the excitement is the anticipation of long car journeys, or a lazy day in the garden, listening to Test Match Special on Radio 4.
Luckily for those of us who were at the Colosseum in Watford last Thursday night, TMS stalwart Henry Blofeld and the programme’s producer for three decades Peter Baxter were on hand to whet our appetitites for the forthcoming international season.
I’ll come clean, this is not the first time I’ve seen the duo on stage and I wasn’t surprised that a lot of their tales were repeated. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment one bit – much like those familiar stories that are always wheeled out at family gatherings, Blowers and Baxter’s recollections are just as funny, if not more so, than the first time around.
The reality is they only have a limited amount of time on stage and when they do include new material – such as the recounting of a gaffe by Blowers during England’s ill-fated tour to Australia last winter – it has to be at the expense of one of their equally entertaining anecdotes from 30-odd years of working together.
For instance, the pair’s memories of Brian Johnston – particularly his infamous “Leg Over” commentary – simply have to be told in all their glory, and likewise their recently departed – but quite clearly much loved – colleague Christopher Martin-Jenkins’ haphazardness is a must-tell.
It is a shame these two old sages only have two hours, as they must have enough stories to keep everyone amused all night, and much like the last time I saw them, I could quite happily have sat there and listened.