This week 11 young men from these islands will take part in a game of cricket on the other side of the world, and, as they step onto the ground at the start of play, I, who no longer own a pair of whites I can fit into, will be smitten with envy. For they will be playing at Lord's. And saying so to some means nothing. Others, it leaves nothing to be said.
Generally speaking I am not given to reverence. I am not given to awe. I am emphatically not given to temples. But Lord's, well, that's different.
Lord's is the home of the MCC, the Marylebone Cricket Club, which began as a gentleman's club in the 18th century and has pretty well remained so ever since. Indeed, until the MCC grudgingly yielded to the modern age in 1998, the only women to set foot in the Lord's Pavilion for 200 years had been servants and the Queen.
Despite, or perhaps because of this, the MCC has a membership of thousands and a waiting list of thousands more. The reputation of MCC members is that they are effectively fossilised. I cannot judge if that is so. The only member of the club I have known at all well went to prison for child molestation, but I have no reason to believe he is indicative.
A crime that every member commits, however, is aesthetic. The club's colours are famously egg and bacon, the egg being a rich yolk and the bacon a well-nitrated orange. When a member dons the club's striped jacket, unrelieved by other colours, the effect can damage a retina.
During the 18th and 19th centuries the MCC acquired dominion over the game of cricket. It was the MCC that drew up the first laws of the game. It was the MCC that published the MCC Cricket Coaching Manual, which I devoured as a child and which seems now as much a moral document as a sporting one.
And it was the MCC that oversaw the spreading of the game to the British Empire by sending teams out to represent England. You may recall that the England team always had yellow and orange borders to their sweaters. That's the egg and bacon.
All of which meant that for a child obsessed with cricket the MCC acquired a revered status. And that reverence transferred onto Lord's cricket ground. I longed so much to play there it was a physical ache.
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Named after Thomas Lord, the ground was acquired in 1814, the year before the Battle of Waterloo. In other words, had Napoleon been a cricketer he could have played at Lord's. But there again, if Napoleon had been a cricketer there wouldn't have been a Battle of Waterloo. No cricketer would ever have behaved that badly.
I was taken to Lord's twice as a child. It's a tricky place to get to, there being no tube station nearby. I remember walking through North London with my father, frantic with expectation.
I was any Iron Age supplicant processing to Stonehenge. I was any bare-foot pilgrim cresting a hill in Galicia to catch a first glimpse of Santiago de Compostela.
I have written before about the beauty of cricket grounds. Lord's was a distillation of all the virtues. The pavilion was red. The stands were white. The grass was green. And that was that. It could not have been simpler or more beautiful. The whole was an arena, a stage awaiting actors.
And when the actors came down the steps from the pavilion they passed through the congregation of seated spectators and through the little wicket gate and onto the sacred grass as if passing from nave to altar and my little boy's heart wanted nothing so much as to join them.
In later life I went on a tour of Lord's. I saw the courts where they play real tennis. I saw the stuffed and mounted sparrow killed by a ball in 1936. I saw the famous Long Room through which every player passes on his way to bat. But I never batted there myself. It is probably just as well. Fantasies are best left as fantasies.
Nevertheless, when 11 young men step out onto that turf this week my heart will give a little leap and, well, should one of them be injured, I'm available.