Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bring on the Druids

This very midsummer madness........In another life Fantasy Bob may well have become a new age traveller and joined the 18,000 fellow travellers, with their nose flutes and finger cymbals, in their revels during the summer solstice at Stonehenge.  Stonehenge is of course one of the finest cricket stadia of antiquity, although its wicket is now tragically neglected.  Sadly not a ball has been bowled at Stonehenge for millennia as the ECB continue to find modern facilities such as the Rose Bowl more attractive venues.  So much for the respect of heritage.

The summer solstice is said to mark the start of summer or midsummer, depending on your preference.  This is deeply confusing.  FB thinks it marks the start of winter as the nights begin to draw in immediately.  The cricket season reaches its half way point this week. Summer's lease hath all too short a date, as Shakespeare put it.  In any case, summer in FB's northern latitudes is on occasion a fragile, not to say elusive, concept.  No more so than this year and the longest day has turned out to be the wettest day since, well, yesterday, probably. 

The summer solstice brings out the Druid in everyone.  FB's researches do not reveal the extent to which the Druids influenced the development of cricket.  Indeed little is known about the Druids, there being no Wisden at the time to record their deeds.  Their culture and philosophy appears to be wholly oral.   Possibly the most authoritative source is Julius Caesar who described the Druids' influence in Gaul, but there is some doubt as to whether he was telling it like he'd seen it or just reporting folk-lore.  As a Roman he paid scant attention to any cricketing detail in favour of lots of stuff on battles, road-building and bath construction.  Caesar held that Druids took the function of judges but also had important roles during human sacrifice and that the commonly used method for this was through burning in a woven frame - a wicker man.  Movie buffs will be familiar with the cult move the Wicker Man which culminates in ritualistic sacrificial burning.

Oh dear.  FB's researches reveal that there was an elementary error in transcription.  Caesar did not write wicker man - he wrote is wicket man.  Sacrificial burning gradually gave way to LBW as a mode of dismissal as early cricket clubs began to struggle for numbers.

It is very important that this contribution to the game is celebrated every year and all cricketers should be grateful to the new age travellers for keeping this tradition alive.  It is a pity about the nose flutes and finger cymbals.


  1. The association between Stonehenge and the Druids is anachronistic. Stonehenge was an ancient monument long before the Druids put in an appearance - and long before Julius Caesar made his two unsuccessful tours to the south of this island.

    Although one of the greatest test captains of all time - ranking with such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Napoleon - Caesar's British tours rank very low in his achievements perhaps only surpassed by his disastrous last match on the Ides of March.

    Nonetheless, the best known phase of Stonehenge, the standing stones topped with lintels, are clearly a monument to cricket. That feature is clearly based on the original design of the wicket - with two stumps and one bail, the middle stump being a comparatively recent invention.

  2. Iain - many thanks. FB is ashamed to think that any of his witters have any trace of anachronism about them.

  3. Druids as Cricket players haha :D
    Thought you might like my machinima film,
    The Lammas Wickerman
    Bright Blessings

  4. Celestial Elf - FB sends his bright blessings to you in return. He has watched your film with great interest and he is sure you will be turning your attention to the depiction of cricket in your future work.

  5. Greetings FB, Cricket ranks High in the Celestial spheres and be assured that when the time is right, this noble and ancient English sport will be correctly memorialized in machinima :D

  6. Excellent - FB looks forward to this greatly.