What a poor day for England to welcome the winning of the Ashes. An impartial greyness embroiders London’s horizons welding the cold, damp sky into the city’s stone buildings and the broken pavements that skirt them, giving one the impression of being surrounded by neither heaven nor earth.
Turner, perhaps, could make something of these mist-hidden scenes but then it takes a talented eye to see deeply interred beauty.
Not that this problem is the one presenting itself to the average (English)man on the Clapham omnibus. In Alistair Cook and James Anderson their nation has delivered two talents worthy of whatever accolades are to be thrown at them.
Skilful, masterly, controlled, imperious even.
No, this London day was put on by the Bureau of Meteorology, presumably, for the sake of us ex-pats for it perfectly suits the wants of the wandering introspectives who stand now on the withering front line of the antipodean working holiday crusades.
As though to rub in our hurt at losing the series, the British Isles themselves are now looking over an indifferent shoulder at our sufferings.
Losing is as easy to take as to do when the manner of it gives some midnight solace to the troubles of restless, guilty sleep. But we haven’t even that.
We were flat. Without even the energy to push out a fart should the intestinal muse so bless us with such a distraction from the hiding we took.
When old men hold no fear a land is no longer a frontier.
Say it as a couplet if you like, it sounds like something vaguely dramatic. Australian cricket somehow went from being the foremost, the outermost, the horizon that slowly faded from the margins of even the most aggressively pursuing of its challengers, to the cricketing world’s suburbs.
Safe, unchallenging, living on credit in good times, rejoicing in its town planning banality.
But what Australian reader needs cause for further depression?
Boom and bust follow boom and bust and the ease with which one can drift off into unrealistic criticism of Australian cricket as it exists beyond boardrooms and central contracts tempts our dyspepsia.
For now, the only thing for Australians in London to do is acknowledge a victory well planned, executed and deserved. It’s what Keith Miller would do.
The hope is that for Australians living in Australia and, more specifically, those working within its cricketing administration, such acknowledgements are taken to heart.
For much of the series we should have been embarrassed to cool ourselves in the long shadow England’s cricketers cast over our own.
How does a nation with pretentions of being one of the world’s great sporting dams now respond?
Our national sport, our maidenhead surrendered without having fought on beaches, on landing grounds or fields and streets.