I don’t think Basil liked cricket much. As Martin said in his wonderful eulogy to the Fallen Mighty – he wasn’t so fussed whether we won or lost, as long as it was over quickly. But, being a good and loyal schoolmaster, in the days when schoolmasters worked, especially in boarding houses worked 6 to 6 1/2 days a week, he thought it was his duty to coach it.
We went out in his old orange Volkswagen Combi, in which if you dropped something, it landed on tarmac. Being Pauls son, no doubt, he made me the captain and I won the toss. I won the toss and told their tattooed skipper that we would field. All I heard was Basil shouting from behind “Don’t do that, don’t do that”- Basil imploring me not to field.
I soon realised why, we were all out for 21 and we are back at the school at 10:15 AM. I then cheerfully said to him “Sorry about that Sir, but at least you can make Newlands now.”
When we got back, we realised we had given Paul the keys for the place, and secondly that I’d forgotten that my bell didn’t work, so we couldn’t get through the main ground floor entrance. With other apartments not answering, and given the temperature, Basil suggested we go for a beer to think about what to do. When the Pub closed, and the temperature now minus 12, we went back and shouted for Paul to buzz us in. No luck.
Basil said we shouldn’t worry as Paul would get up in the night and go for a ‘piss’, “his bladder is weak. Like most Arians.” With the temperature hypothermic, we decided to wait in the car with the heart, taking turns to watch for when the light went on when Paul went for his ‘slash’. However, the car heater only works if the engine is running. No problem – until we ran out of petrol. Probably joining an elite band of those who have run out of petrol without driving a metre.
As we started to shiver, Basil spotted a drainpipe and thought he could make it up there, but he got stuck on the second floor on the balcony of the Italian Communist party offices. I wish we had cellphone cameras in those days. He managed to get down and we stood outside shivering; but then, just before we became hypothermic, at about five am, a light clicked on and Basil gleefully shouted “I told you I told you! Paul, Paul open the door” and all was well.