Wednesday, 22 February 2012


 Aberdeen -
typical street scene
Fantasy Bob doesn't know his ash from his elbow.

FB hesitates to make further reference to his growing up in that sub-tropical paradise in the North East of Scotland known more widely as Aberdeen. But he must. While he was well and thoroughly schooled in the ways of the Church of Scotland, he cannot remember too much fuss being made of Lent and Ash Wednesday. Pancakes were always welcome on Pancake Day but that was that.

Maybe it was because in that sub-tropical paradise there was already enough privation so the thought of giving anything up for 40 days was a bit too much to ask.  After all, it was not as if Aberdonians had samba'd their way up to Mardi Gras in scanty spangled bikinis to give themselves something to recover from. And giving up something might have targetted biscuits, from which no Aberdonian can be parted. The population was sufficiently devout without additional devotion.


So ash has other significances in FB's tiny mind. Most particularly is the fact that cricket stumps are typically made from the wood. The reference books suggest that ash is used because it is has excellent properties of resilience and flexibility.

But this is very prosaic - too prosaic for FB.  FB thinks is it more likely that
ash was selected for stumps for a far deeper reason - one in which the symbolic position of the batsman is to the fore. Regrettably with modern education being what it is, the true lore has been lost. In Norse mythology it wasYggdrasil, the world ash tree, which held up the entire world and nurtured it and the first man, Ask, was formed from an ash tree. The ash exudes a sugary substance 2 which, by traditional accounts, was fermented to create the Norse Mead of Inspiration.

What could be more symbolic of the batsman's lonely vigil than to be guarding the tree of creation? Regrettably even on the rare occasions that FB has successfully defended the World Ash Tree he has found precious little by way of Mead of Inspiration at the crease.

Pieces of the World Ash Tree
More fitting to FB's case is that the reference books say that ash wood makes excellent firewood. And that is what the stumps behind him, carefully honed from Yggdrasil as they are, frequently become as he misses another straight one. Firewood.

FB doesn't know his ash from his elbow.  Perhaps FB should have done more to seek forgiveness during all those many Lents so long ago............................

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