We were once on holiday on Santorini and had ridden a couple of hired mopeds to the beautiful village of Oia at the northern tip before following the road down the eastern side of the island. Except the road disappeared, or at least the tarmac did, and we found ourselves creeping carefully down a rutted track.
That side of Santorini was pretty much uninhabited as far as we could tell so were surprised to come across someone walking the other way with a rucksack and a guitar on his back.
He turned out to be an Australian doing the grand tour of the rest of the world and that he’d slept the previous night in one of the caves to save himself money so he could afford a ticket for the ferry to the next Greek island.
And that’s thing about Australians – no matter where you go in the world, no matter how remote or unlikely – you’re bound to run into one. There’s even an Aussie who manages our local shoe repair shop.
I once asked him how he’d ended up in Stockport from Adelaide and the answer was simple – he liked to travel. The trouble with Australia is that going anywhere is a major expedition, whereas the UK was a much better base from which to sate his wanderlust.
I mention all this because we were at Old Trafford today for the final day of the third Ashes test match – that’s cricket for the uninitiated – and it came as absolutely no surprise to find hundreds of Australians there.
Some were the very vocal members of the Aussie Fanatics, the equivalent of England’s Barmy Army, but others were just ordinary folk who enjoy their cricket as a way of seeing the world.
And what an optimistic lot they are with their shorts, flip-flops and green and gold t-shirts when the weather forecasters were unanimous that it was going to rain pretty much all day. And so it did.
I suppose we Brits can be equally and futilely optimistic judging by the number of people who hung around hoping against hope that the skies would clear.
The only cricket action we saw were the impromptu games that broke out around the ground with bags for wickets and umbrellas for bats. I particularly enjoyed the fancy dress contingent and the sight of Superman bowling slow left arm to a tiger with a Smurf as wicketkeeper.
I could complain about the weather, I could complain even louder about the increasingly discredited Decision Review System, but I won’t. Despite everything it was an enjoyable and thoroughly typical English summer day.
In fact we came home and booked tickets for the One Day International match against Australia on 8th September. Gluttons for punishment or what?