From the rough: padding up

Would you think your neighbour was mad if you looked out of your window in mid-February to see him mowing the lawn in cricket pads?

My boyhood dream was to be the first Englishman ever to win all four major golf championships in the same calendar year. Now that I have reached the age of 58 without even a European Tour win to my name, I must grudgingly concede that this is increasingly looking an unlikely route into the record books. So, I have had to be somewhat more creative in plotting my path to posterity.

As often happens with these things, it all came about by accident. Saturday afternoon, you will recall, was bizarrely warm. In this sunny corner of Sussex it was verging on the hot. Since there obviously was no snow around to shovel, I decided to mow the lawn instead.

Remembering the bruises I sustained on both legs last year on the opening cut of the season, I donned my faithful old pair of cricket pads before freeing the rotary mower from the million webs that ensnared it in the shed. One hundred and seventeen pulls later, the mower finally spluttered into life and, now sweating profusely, I began mowing the grass.

Some of you, I sense, are unclear as to why I needed cricket pads. Had you been standing there alongside Edward and Katie Bearcroft, my bemused neighbours, the answer would soon have become apparent. Before I had even reached the birdbath, a Topflite had fizzed past my ankles before decapitating a daffodil on its way into the vegetable patch. It was soon followed by a ProStaff and then a Titleist that thumped into my front pad and was well worth a shout. And believe me I did!

You see, my back garden is a specialist short-game area from which the practice balls are never collected. Consequently the grass grows up around them to the point where they are completely concealed until the first mow of the year when the rotary blade pings them to all four corners.

As for my place in the record books, do you know of anyone else who has cut the grass in England in February with cricket pads on?

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