The lamest of excuses

Much as we all look forward to tour week, not everyone can make it every year. We understand this, of course, especially as most potential tourists are considerate enough to send a personal note of apology direct to Mill Dene. Most people have a legitimate excuse for missing their July appointment in the Cotswolds; some, however, provide the lamest of excuses . . .

Suite 94
Carrera 16 #9414
Santa Fe de Bogota

16 July 1998

For the Attention of Mr B. Dare, and anyone else who may happen to be present, purely coincidentally of course.

It is with great feelings of guilt, sorrow, remorse, sadness, bitter loss, disconsolation, disappointment, distraction, dire disruption and depredation that Mr James Streeter, known to many as Rather Overextended Skeletally, or simply, One Span Too Tall, and Mr Harry Stevens, commonly referred to as Carrying A Surfeit of Redness, or, perhaps more concisely, Too Strawberry Blonde, have to break the sad news that they will be unable to attend the 1998 Cricket Gathering-Thingy, and ask forgiveness of The Great Baz and his charming, impish young sons, Clarence and Jefferson. Unfortunately they have been detained by forces beyond their control in the region of South America, in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet Earth.

As has already been expostulated, they express their deepest wistful regret at their enforced absence from the festivities, but wish to reassure their doubtless distraught would-be team-mates that their time in this far-off region has not been entirely wasted. Read on for an indication of their activities over recent days . . .

The following is an excerpt from the TV commentary at last week's final match of the 3-day Fajitas And Salsa (FAS) Cricket Festival in Bogota, Colombia:

Introducer: . . . over to you, Meester Benno.
Richie: Gracias Antonio, morning ivryone, welcome to the BCG [Bogota Cricket Ground, ed.], and may I say first of all what a tremindous pleasure it is to be invarted to witnuss this hustoric and todally unique sporting evint, the one dayer between the local sard, the Bogota Burros, and an invitation Sarth American XI, the Jalapeno Harriers. Your commentators today are the follicly chellenged Pedro Arristu Ginga, and the verticly overendowed Jimmagio Largo Strecha. Expurt anelysis will be provarded by the famous Venezuelan Llama Wrestler, Juan Sherri Toomeni.
Ginga: Well the Burritos won the gunfight this morning, and have elected to bat. Opening the bowling from the Time Share end will be Juan Anova with his miserly left-arm over (Occasionally he's been cautioned for excessive appealing and bad language, but I just put that down to youthful enthusiasm.) and Alonzo Runup, the Jalapeno's top fast bowler (He's small but he's hot.), expected to come in from the back of the stands at the Big Moustache end. He tends to take quite a while to get through his overs.
Stretcha: Noweh Jose to face the first ball, and that's Picchued Macho too shorto, and has been Caracased over medio on for six! What a start! Juan Anova's in again, and a big shout! Ole! But that was well above the el nino roll, and umpire Juan Short has given it not out. Third ball of the innings now, and that's right up in the Guacahole. There's no way for Jose to score off deliveries like that.
Introducer: Absolutely correcto, Largo. Anova's in again now, he bowls, and Noweh Jose has tapased it back to the bowler, and they take a quick single.
Would Certainly Need a Largo Stretcher: The batsman taking strike now is Adrink Milaga Widalime, an effervescent character who's somewhat ridiculed in the countryside for his fussy style. This ball's been taco-ed away off his legs very delicately, and they're going to run three. But no! Umpire Juan Short has, would you believe it, signalled one short!
Toomeni: La llama es un quadrupedo. Hic!"
Ginga: Thanks shezzer, mucho interesante. Fifth ball of the innings, plenty happening already, and Widalime's sliced this one -- caramba! what a brilliant catch by Andres `Great Pair of' Andes behind the wicket! What a start for the burros!
Stretcha: (Sotto voice) And while we're waiting for the next batsman to come out we're going to take a quick drugs break . . .
. . . the new bowler's Gary Linacoke, who can cut it most impressively, coming on instead of Alonso Runup, who, it appears, has been kidnapped. The new batsman is Manuel Hung, the ``Bogota Banger'' as he's known out in the haciendas.
Ginga: That's right, this guy's sporting a seriously big, ah, reputation. He likes to give it a bit of long handle. Such a long handle, in fact, they say it takes at least six rubbers to cover it up! And looking over there to the Panama Hat Stand, you can see his girlfriend Gladys Nobigga. They say she always comes when he performs. And who can blame her! He's probably Bogota's best known member.
Toomeni: Ees a perfecto p-pair of papayas!
Still ginga: Isn't that right, Juan, Manuel's a senior member?
Juan Toomeni: Caramba no! I never showed it to heem!
Tall Man In Box: Well Manuel Hung is taking guard now, and it looks like he's asked for `three legs'!
Red Man With Rum: What a fantastic sight!
El Gran Senor: Whoa there little fella!! Linacoke runs in now, past Umpire Don Toverstep Demarco, and that's a snorter! He's fired that one right up his nose!
Ginga: What a great line! It's practically knocked his head off.!
Toomeni: I teenk Ima bouta chukka. Ooooooohhhhhh.
El Gran Senor: He's knocked Hung over onto his stumps -- terrifico! Two for eight and Bogota are in real trouble! Who's due in after these three, amigo?
Much 2 (Ginga): Well, due in next is Gime Acorona Rapido, followed by Micaraz Gotta Poncha (his game's gone a bit flat recently), then at number six we should see Minaz Gotwon II, the only Buddhist monk playing top class cricket in South America. We think he'll need a runner . . .

Too Tall and Too Ginger.