Fine Gentlemen of Darjeeling,
On this, the seven and twentieth day of October, I wish for a few minutes of your valuable time to share your thoughts with a select number of Darjeeling men that shall over the next few days be carrying the Darjeeling Coat of Arms to far off lands to do battle in our name.
….tis unprecedented that we have two simultaneous venturing parties both on noble missions to nations o’er seas (and they both begin with the letter ‘B’)
Whilst many of the more cynical membership will dismiss these brave heroes of simply ‘going off on a Jolly’ allow me dispel some of those myths and consider what these courageous soldiers will be up against.
Let us consider the virgins facing their first crusade to alien lands. This evening, whilst you’re safe in secure watering-holes sipping away at your second mug of ale – these daring neophytes shall encounter the prospect of a pint-sized initiation ceremony of toxic liquor to be consumed in the face of cheering peer-pressure, no mean feat….what brave souls….
Fine gentlefolk like Sir Benjamin Jones, Noble Watto and Earl Isra of Haq will be further tested, forced and strong-armed into further tests of his ale strength throughout this primary eve..
And pray, tomorrow reflect upon these Men of Steel whilst you arise from a gentle slumber. As you dress carefree, these knackered warriors of Darjeeling shall be strapping on their body armour, testing their swords of willow whilst whispering incantations to protect them from the cruel intentions of their enemy……
…and as you’re scratching your backside, calling for your dutiful wives to break your morning fast, these Crusaders will be there on the field of battle, striving to see their aging, rotund opponents raining down leather missiles of speeds between 35 & 60 mph……..sometimes, slower….
And at lunch tomorrow, when you fine folk are at sat in luxurious dining palaces calling for refills of effervescent Italian wine, ponder fearless Men like Sir Nathan Cartwright, Viscount Higgins & Marquis Jonathan bravely swigging down their fifth Red-Bull tainted Jägermeister…….all in the name of valour…..
Aha! I hear you cry – more evidence that this nonsense is a jolly! Poppycock and codswallop I say!
All battle-hardened tourists will tell you, the sole purpose for the intake of this Jäger-fuelled poison is to punish the faults on the field of battle and to hone and focus their fighting performance …….though, this purpose, I confess at times does induce further errs……tis a show of will and fortitude.
And take a moment please to consider the audacious spirit of our Banner-Carriers venturing East to the land of Siam, brave men like Sir Nathan Williams and Earl Isra guided by our former comrade Lord Kesby, struggling through exotic hovels and dangerous folk of the Orient. They face the perils of sly hawkers and traders, tempting and peddling their vice; luring them into Eastern dens of inequities – what focus and resolve these men must demonstrate whilst they negotiate their evening route in the land of Sukumvit.
What perils these bold souls must confront! Beautiful sorceresses, dressed in colourful silks with tempting glances…yet armed with hidden male appendages and smooth, hairless armpits of an irresistible nature….(to some)… All of this to be managed with obligatory alcoholic stimulants.
….and Gentlemen, tomorrow late at night whilst you rest of soft mattresses and blankets of down, snoring carefree against your soft-skinned other-halves, veteran athletes like Stuart Matthewson will be proudly carrying the flag of Darjeeling in darkened drinking taverns. Swigging, singing his heart out, on his fourth pack of Benson & Hedges, this warrior doesn’t sleep…..all for the Glory of Club!
Pray, sympathise for the soul for Saint Christopher of Dommett – cast adrift for 3 months in Kuwait with no battle (drink) practice…..how will he fair to the peer-pressure of his fellow ale-guzzlers with blood so pure and clean?….….pretty piss-poor most likely…..What Heart the Man posseth!
Such sacrifice these men go through….. honourable kinsmen like Julius of the Mooney Clan, away from his family, all alone and exposed to the dangers of the East. I can perceive him now, on the battleground, wrestling intoxication and testing his anger-management classes on deceitful riders of the tuk-tuk… such resolve…..
What a tribulation our Greenhorn Captain Sugeesha must tackle. Picture a Saturday morning in a quiet Soy off Sukumvit – what challenges must he defy to arouse his “battle” affected men in the morn…? sleep-deprived, toxin-induced, men awol – how will he muster the strength to rally the troops/herd the cats/plait the fog??? Whoever, led the merry tour to Chiang Mai in 2009 may have some words of wisdom for our rookie-crusade-leader…for he confronts this mammoth task..
So please Fine Folk of Darjeeling, on Saturday morning, sitting with you mug of hot ale, do not envy these touring Combatants – for they must face a final onslaught. By now, battle-weary, bleary-eyed, stoned, drunk, nauseous, broke, anguished with many nursing injuries (borne from age, fitness-lack of, weight and drunken falls)…..consider of the herculean effort to once again don their battle-dress, shake off nights’ misdemeanours and sharpen their nerves whilst gagging on their first bomb of Jäger……
All this! and for why?
Why do these noble men of Darjeeling Cricket Club (est. 1969 – year of the Summer of Love, Moon-landing, the Manson murders and the birth year of Catherine Zeta-Jones) suffer so?
To fight for the honour (we will fight on the field, on the square and in the bar..) to represent our shield, our banner and our colours, to bring forth glory and reputation to our historic club.
What warriors these men and Touring Gentlefolk are.
Darjeeling Tourists. We Salute You!