I grew up very aware of Lancashire cricket and, for a few years, Brian Statham was a neighbour. (I see from his Wikipedia page that he lived 'in quite poor conditions' after his cricket career faded; it was certainly a subject of great fascination to the kids in our road that such a famous retired cricketer lived round the corner - although we didn't exactly grow up in abject poverty - and the boys always played street cricket near his house in the hope that he would come out and bowl at them). But this didn't mean I took much notice of the game. It was only when Tom started playing that I picked up the basic rules so that I had some idea of what was happening when I went to his matches. Since then, I have grown to like cricket enormously, and happily watch it with Tom and/or Simon (and even understand it, mostly) both on TV and at the Oval.
Cricket is fascinatingly thoughtful, a sort of physical chess. I like the way it requires an intellectual, philosophical, long-game approach, and is a mix of strategy and split-second decisions, strength and flair. I like multi-coloured T20 games and 'death' bowling, I like fast-and furious ODIs but not so much the kits, I like green-and-white test cricket and elegant innings, and I just love the Ashes.
The Australians have arrived for the series, and already I'm wondering what I should quilt while I watch/listen to the matches and commentaries (and the inevitable discussion of cake). The Ashes and quilting go together perfectly: they are both about individual elements (fabrics and runs), careful placement and positioning, and a build-up to a final result.
During the 2013 series I made this quilt and have good memories of spending a long time cutting out, laying out, enjoying the thought processes and the repetitions. I passed much of the time kneeling on the floor, windows wide open, sun shining, TV on in the background, Simon and/or Tom stretched out on the settee, as I worked out the positions of the fabrics which are from a single collection (a team effort, so to speak) to create a personal win.
And now it's nearly Ashes time again. I need to get my 2015 series fabrics out.
[Own design, machine-pieced, hand-quilted with cotton perlé 8. I managed to include the equivalent of a quilting googly, more by accident than design.]