My great-grandfather was disappointed when, 46 years ago this week, I was born in Cornwall and not his Yorkshire. In those days, you had to take your first breath in God’s Own County to play cricket for them. He was surprised that my mother wouldn’t drive up North to give me that golden chance. So my playing career got off to a bad start, and, frankly, never really improved, peaking in the Summerfields’ 2nd XI at prep school.
Instead, the old man drove down to the West Country in his Rolls-Royce and presented me with £500 of Premium Bonds. This was a huge amount in 1964; you could have bought a cottage in the village we lived in with it. At times, particularly as an impoverished student, I considered cashing the bonds in, but these days, I enjoy the hope that one day my patience will be rewarded.
That Cornish cottage is now worth more than £200,000 and my Premium Bonds, despite three small wins, are still worth £500. However, I won £25 last week. I’ve decided to buy a willow tree to plant by the pond in his honour. I couldn’t hold a bat, but at least I can grow the stuff the bat’s made of.
* For more Country mouse like this every week, subscribe