A week at Scarborough feasting on cricket in the wonderful surroundings of the North Marine Road venue is only bettered by enjoying it with friends. Once a year our old touring team, Yorkhull CC meet up to enjoy a few day’s cricket watching and renew friendships. Seven of us met up this time enjoying Yorkshire v Somerset and the excellent overnight venue of Raven Hall Hotel in Ravenscar, nestled on that iconic East Yorkshire coast just across from Robin Hood’s Bay. The perfect settings for old friendships to be renewed coupled with lovely food and for those imbibing, real ale and good wine.
I think I belong to a generation where friends are spread out rather than clustered where I live. Having had six years at university, a bit greedy really, I then moved back to Yorkshire and all school and university friends remained scattered everywhere. Indeed as time went on some found their way throughout the world. Sustaining such friendships can be difficult particularly if you enter a busy work life, get married and have children, all of which I did. Inevitably, if sadly, you will lose touch with some of those friends, sometimes for ever, sometimes years later through chance or social media or something like the site Friends Re-united, relationships can be rekindled but they only work if there is enough to share to make it sustainable. Sometimes the past is not enough to keep a friendship going, the contexts have changed too much for there to be a continuing conversation. For others, you can re-start a friendship having not seen someone for years and it all falls into place. It is not a science but you can sense it when you get into conversation. The years roll away and what brought you together all those years ago is once again evident.
I see something of that in this annual gathering of cricketing buddies. To be fair some of them I see much more often and we also have had a winter gathering until this year at our favourite hotel in the Lake District sadly now closed down and which I wrote about in an earlier blog. But we quickly get back into a communicative mode, based partly on historic memories, the old worn out jokes and memories do come flooding back, but often in pairs we simply catch up on what is happening to each of us and re-affirm our friendships. As we have got older the subjects have changed, no longer dominated about what are children are doing or our own careers but more likely to feature retirement talk, ill-health and the exploits of grand children. But this is part of the natural evolution of friendships which, unless interrupted by early terminal illness or another tragedy, rolls forward and becomes renewed as much by the changes as the continuity. Symbolically we always have one designated day at the cricket where we wear our red t-shirts dedicated to one of our group, George, who died in 2012 but is never forgotten.
I like this group of people and for obvious reasons we are drawn together for one purpose, our love of cricket, but it is much more than that its a mutual respect and shared interest around politics and other topics. By no means is there agreement and the nuances of different views get put through the wringer of intense conversation. None though more forensically interrogated than cricket itself. This is where an outsider looking in might get bored but for us it is what it’s about and much debate, some argument and many reflections take place. The past always figures as Kate Atkinson has remarked:
“The past is a cupboard full of light and all you have to do is find the key that opens the door.” from Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson
So I never tire of those reminiscences which bring back good memories of cricketing exploits now more grander and better than ever they were on the day but we can enjoy the tweaking of memory as the context and the events certainly did take place.
One thing for me I like about Scarborough is that I get to bump into other friends and acquaintances as they arrive to enjoy the cricket. Most know where I tend to sit so pop down to say hello which will be great in a few weeks when I return without this group to enjoy the Festival week game. But I met up with a friend I had not seen for at least a couple of years and that was a good catch up. All in all a great few days with one exception as Yorkshire lost but I shall rush over that thought.
This is one group of friends but they serve to illustrate the importance of friends in our lives. I would find my life much diminished if it were not for friends, some I see often, some I see occasionally, some I rarely see but through social media try and stay in touch. Every time you see such friends, that warmth and mutual regard returns and it can be as if it was just yesterday. I have held a BBQ for those friends and this year will be the sixth. It has become a lovely engagement for me but also brings people together who would otherwise not meet at all or very often. This is an added benefit and is now just two weeks away. It is so worth making effort to keep in touch particularly as life is always uncertain and leaving it too long might just be a delay too much. Get out and renew those friendships, ring one up tonight you have not seen for a while and set a lunch date. You know it makes sense.
My week in pictures.