Again there seemed an unnecessary amount of emphasis - but FB was unable to inquire as to what she was implying for she had immersed herself in the Rough Guide to Venice's pages on jewellers and proved impervious to further discussion.
So it was that FB did find himself sipping prosecco with his life partner, and friends who claim to be among his handful of worldwide readers. He sat in the evening sun by the Grand Canal with guilty enjoyment as he thought of his teammates toiling through a series of exacting fielding drills in the cold Edinburgh evening. He sighed wistfully. 'Ah,if only,' he thought, as a gondolier o-sole-mio'd his watery way past 'Ah, if only I could be there.'
'Don't be daft' came Mrs FB's voice through his reverie, 'you haven't done fielding practice for years - you know it does your back in.'
FB's attempt to engage the company in discussion about the possibility of changes at the top in the ECB met with stony silence, almost as stony as his earlier offer to talk them through his two catches in the weekend's matches. He glumly returned to the consolations of his prosecco with the conclusion that Venice had little to offer the cricketer.
A conclusion that the next few days did little to counter. During FB's tour of the Palazzo Ducale - or Doge's Palace - he found himself in front of a painting entitled Paradiso, painted in 1590 by Jacopo Tintoretto, whose bowling action remains uncertain.
This is believed to be the largest painting done on canvas, it covers one end of what is said to be the largest room in Europe. The painting measures 74ft by 30ft - in other words it is as long as a cricket pitch and as wide as 3.
|Paradiso by Jacopo Tintoretto - 3 cricket pitches of paint|
Art critics are divided about this picture. It is too easy they say to be overawed by its size and the grandness of the design. But they are less than happy about aspects of the execution. FB must add his reservations to these. To call a painting Paradise with no indication that there is cricket to be played in the after-life is sloppy in the least, and verges on the heretical.
It maybe that Tintoretto was himself aware of this fault in his work. For historians tell that when he
was asked to name his price,he declined leaving this to the commissioning authorities. When they tendered a handsome amount he is said to have given a sizable chunk of it back. Obviously, he was ashamed of his error.
|Paradiso - detail showing complete absence of cricketing action|