Continued from yesterday

Staring at me from beneath the sheet and within a cracked frame smothered in dust and what looked like mouse droppings: a watercolour painting of Fred Trueman’s cricket boots, signed by Fred Trueman.

I’d forgotten I had it; hadn’t seen it for years. And I’d just come from the Village Shop, in which I’d purchased a newspaper, the front page announcing that Fred Trueman had just died.

This seemed like a bit of a coincidence.

The picture had been stashed away since – well – the turn of the century, I guess. Nothing against Fred Trueman or Fred Trueman’s boots, but I’d never really fancied the thing on my wall. There are houses in which I’m sure it would sit excellently with the décor, but I’ve always been a bit conservative-English in my taste in art – Constable, Lowry, girl tennis players scratching their arses, etc. Pictures of cricket boots would come a reasonable way down my personal list, just above male nudes and crayon drawings by other people’s children. So I’d stuck it in the loft and forgotten about it.

Yet here it was, having reappeared on the day Fred Trueman’s death was announced.

(Incidentally, for those readers not from England or the colonies, I should explain that Fred Trueman was sort of the Abi Titmus of the game of cricket, having the undeserved misfortune to be known by many not for his achievements in the early years but for subsequent loud moaning onscreen.)

I replaced my painting thoughtfully. If I am going to have spooky haunted coincidentally-appearing Fred Trueman boot paintings then I would rather just leave them be than start prodding about with them.

I do not want lots of alien Fred Truemans appearing from the divide in order to go on about how our fast bowlers aren’t as good as those in their dimension.

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