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Harry Pelling

INDIA | Friday, 8 January 2016 | Views [475] | Comments [1]

Harry Pilling was one of my favourite childhood cricketers. He was a batsman for Lancashire and, from what I can remember, particularly good off the back foot. He was also, not unconnected I'm sure, very short of stature. I particularly liked it when he partnered the 6 foot plus Clive Lloyd, another of my all time favourite cricketers. Lloyd's 100 in the world cup finals against Australia being one of my most treasured cricketing memories along with playing for hours, pretending to be Pilling and Lloyd amongst others, with my brother in my grandparent's back garden in South Devon (Green house compartments as slip fielders, apple and plum trees as outfieldsers).

The last few days, enjoying the tail end of a cold, has found my mind dredging up the past. I find that I have no complaints. Born in India, an incredibly loving immediate and extended family and even boarding school, a bete noir of mine, was, on reflecion, at least an unusual and interesting experience. I have been lying in my bed remembering names: Canners, Gunners, Fatty Watkins, Dago Young, Chris Bulford, John Buckland, Sebastian Barry-Taylor, the list goes on. If've also been recolleting schoolboy crushes and, of course, missed opportunities as well as the plasticky experience of buying records from Woolworths.

As I do this I imagine the young me and I feel old looking at his youthful features and body. I definitely feel my age recollecting buying records from Woolworths. Something so normal to us that must seem incomprehensible and antiquated to many.

I've also been reading Shakespeare's sonnets, at times crying out (not literally) for Matt Fay to help me comprehend a line or 8. A  recurrent theme in the early sonnets at least is that one, or Shakespeare's 'love' in particular, will only live on through their offspring and I have been reflecting that I have none. Who will pilgrim to Sherborne School to see my name on the honours board as I have done, sort of, to the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club to see my father's name on the Captain's board. 

Maybe I'll do this myself. I've also received an email from my Cambridge College advertising ticketsfor this year's May Ball. Any takers? As a consequence, I think, I then dreamed about my godparents, Tony and Liz Marks, Tony being at the same college with my father.

So plenty to reflect on, including experiences such as polishing my CCF boots in the House boot room, playing endless rugby and waiting for the morning call of incoming mail in the hallway as Christopher Knott, our housemaster, placed each letter (or better yet, parcel) on the table. What an experience.

Not to be morbid but should anything happen to me sooner rather than later then I cannot complain of a dull life. I've also been thinking of my Mum a lot of course in this vein of being.

So, back to Gangtok. I am in the Coffee Shop again today, listening to Bob Dylan singing 'Like a Rolling Stone' and I'm hoping it does not apply to me. The waitress here is inscrutable but I get the sense she is rather fed up with me - who knows.. who cares (me!!). Well, she will be seeing the last of me today in any case as I have booked my shared taxi (front seat I believe, so an ample 2 as opposed to a squashed 4 in the second and third rows) to Pelling (Hence the reference to Harry Pilling in the title), leaving 1pm tomorrow. 

I may only have a few days there as Karma and Dia have invited me to join them in a trip to Assam (I think!!), which I was really happy to accept. They are both delightful in their unique and wonderful ways, it will be great to have company again after some solitary time and it will be good to travel with an Indian speaker. If this comes off it promises to be an interesting time, for me at least.

Otherwise, I'm posting off some more gifts today. That's almost IT!

Loads of love to you all,



Tags: cricket, nostalgia, school



Hi David. I was just reflecting on how I had not read any of your writing before you started this blog. How strange and interesting it is to experience someone through the medium of the written word when I have known them only through verbal/aural interaction! I've sent you a test text message to check if I can get through. I hope the trip to Assam has gone peacefully. Michael

  Michael Inglis Jan 14, 2016 8:45 AM

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