'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Against a Tie & a Crest

Yesterday afternoon, for reasons that need not detain us here, the Northern Professor, the Lady Novelist & I happened to visit the northernmost Eton Fives courts on the planet. This theatre of perspiring dreams resides on a bleak terrace overlooking a glacial valley that empties into the Irish Sea. The courts themselves were in a rather distressed state - all pealing paint and stoved-in roofs. In a fit of middle-aged enthusiasm I demonstrated, inexpertly, the basics of the game from behind the buttress.
This led the Lady Novelist to wonder how many other sports are played on a pitch or court that replicates, wherever located, the precise architecture or topography of a specific place (in this case the flying buttress of Eton College chapel).
We eventually came up with just one - and that only as a tangent. The Marathon is run over a course of 26 miles & 385 yards: the extra yards were tagged on for the 1908 Olympic Games, conveniently placing the starting line outside Mary of Teck's front window - in Windsor Castle, just over the river from Eton.

This geographic coincidence must be significant, but we can't think how . . .


Anonymous Peter said...

Ah, only in England could one middle aged man in good condition serve an imaginary fives ball to another middle aged man in rather less good condition, in a roofless fives court with a stroke-deflecting wind off the sea.
It is established fact that there are Rugby Fives courts yet further north. When I was younger and less spherical I sometimes used to play fives (always on winter evenings)with a Fife laird on his private court.There were special house rules which ensured that he always won.
How much of our lives are in fact scripted by the late Michael Innes, in reality a Scotsman called Stewart and that rare breed of Scotsman who is in love with England.

23/3/05 10:44 am  

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