Friday, 4 May 2012

The Hundred Acre Wood CC - Again

Many posts ago Fantasy Bob discovered that the works of AA Milne had been tampered with prior to publication.  Their rightful focus on cricket, which would have reflected their cricketing author's true interests, had been removed.  FB has furthered his researches and finds that wet weather was just as much of concern to the Hundred Acre Wood CC as it is to clubs in this very wet start to the season.

Chapter 9 of Winnie the Pooh starts as follows:

It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old - three was it or four - never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.........

It then goes on to tell of how Piglet is stranded by the flood water and how Pooh and Christopher Robin come to his aid using Christopher Robin's upturned umbrella as a boat. Charming in its own way, but no patch on what Milne really sent to his publisher.

......Never had Piglet seen so much rain. Piglet was a very small animal and as number 3 batsman in the Hundred Acre CC First XI he preferred to see the sun shining and the wicket hard and firm. Piglet was not a bold animal, he was mainly a backfoot player. He wished he was different and that one day he would get onto the front foot and smack the ball over the bowler's head. There was no chance of that today. The wicket was wet, the outfield was wet, Piglet was wet.

Piglet was in the Club's Pavilion early because Rabbit had said crossly to his team after last week’s match. ‘Someone had better come early on Saturday to set the ground up and make sure the visiting dressing room is clean.’ Rabbit was the team skipper and was a very cross animal. He found that being cross and waving his arms a lot made him feel very efficient as captain. Sometimes however he felt his team could show more enthusiasm at his orders.  When he felt that he found that waving his arms a bit faster would make him feel better.

Piglet asked Pooh, ‘When Rabbit said someone, who did he mean?’ ‘I don’t know someone I suppose.’ Pooh replied. ‘Yes, but which someone?’ Said Piglet.

One by one the team concluded that they weren’t someone, or at least they weren’t that someone, until only Piglet was left, and he couldn’t think why he wasn’t someone. ‘After all,’ said Pooh. ‘Rabbit was looking at you when he said it so that makes you someone.’ And so Piglet had come early. 

On his way to the Pavilion he passed the groundsman Eeyore’s dark and gloomy place. ‘You’re wasting your time it’s going to rain all day.’ said Eeyore rather sadly. Piglet replied cheerfully, ‘The weather forecast said we should get a break in the clouds later. We could play on the artificial.’ ‘We haven’t got an artificial,’ said Eeyore gloomily.

Piglet had tidied everything as well as a small animal can. Rabbit entered and immediately said in a cross voice, ‘As I said last week, what we need is covers. If we had covers we would have a nice dry wicket. I don’t see how I can be expected to bat on a wet wicket like that. It was the same last week, the wicket got me out just as I’d played myself in.’

‘You were bowled first ball by a full toss.’

‘Precisely.’ It was hard to point things out to Rabbit.

One by one the team arrived and got ready for the match. Rabbit had decided to bowl first. ‘If it had been up to me, would have batted first but Eeyore didn’t think that wise,’ he said crossly. ‘I can’t see why. I feel in good nick, I could get a hundred today.’

‘That’s what you said last week.’ said a voice very like Eeyore’s.

There was a silence, which all the team recognised as an awkward silence. Clearing his throat, Rabbit then said ‘Now, where’s Pooh?’

Pooh was the wicketkeeper and the team couldn’t take the field without him. Just as Rabbit was getting ready to say something very cross indeed, the door opened and Pooh came in. He immediately tripped over Tigger. Tigger was the team's fast bowler. He was extremely energetic and was doing press ups behind the door.

Pooh rolled over and the sack he was carrying over his shoulder fell open. ‘What are those Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Pooh proudly answered, ‘Rabbit said he wanted covers, so I brought all the covers off my honey jars. Will they do?’

There was another silence, which was recognised as even more awkward than the last awkward silence, before Rabbit left the room without speaking. He slammed the door behind him and it quivered in its frame for as long as Piglet could hold his breath. As he drew breath again, Piglet heard a long shouted speech outside in which the only words he could distinctly make out were, ‘That bear of little brain.’

Later that evening, after the match had been abandoned because of more rain, Christopher Robin met Pooh. ‘Rabbit was so cross. How was I to know what he meant by covers ?’ said Pooh ‘The only covers I know are my bedcovers and my jar covers.’ ‘Poor Pooh,’ said Christopher Robin, ‘you were only trying to be helpful.’

Pooh said sadly, ‘Sometimes it is hard to know what Rabbit means when he shouts and waves his arms. I’m wicketkeeper so I know where I stand, but the others just guess and that makes him crosser.’ ‘Yes,’ said Christopher Robin, ‘that is what captains are like.' Christopher Robin helped Pooh take off his wet boots. 'I expect Rabbit was thinking of things to keep the rain off the wicket.’

‘Oh.’ Said Pooh. ‘You mean like umbrellas.' He paused then said, 'Couldn’t we get him a very big umbrella.’

‘That is a very good idea, Pooh.’ said Christopher Robin. ‘I’m sure I’ll manage that. What a clever bear you are to think of that.’

And as Christopher Robin left, Pooh put his still slightly damp feet up. With a smile on his face, he thought to himself, ‘I have all those jars of honey with no covers on. It would be a shame to waste them.’  Maybe the rain wasn't so bad after all.

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