“Sleep when you’re dead, play cricket while
you’re awake” are the words of advice eagerly
followed from Taunton’s County Ground to the
many a twenty-two yards treasured down a
A cider or two in the Three Ferrets can help
make sense of a Somerset summer where
the green stains on whites are not just from
grass but also from the moulds of damp.
In the villages there are those who play in the
Shrubbery and those who don’t; and where
amid the moos of protest from cow corner
there are accusations of creating crop circles
while ball rummaging in farmers’ meadows.
Call it perverse, but while incredulous tales are
told of the valiant knights Sir Beefy and Sir Viv
playing hippy cricket, among the counties of
Saint George other good men, and women,
of Somerset continue to wield willow in defence
of a dragon beast flying from a pole.
A county where for lesser mortals a Wurzels ring tone
from silly mid on can distract a batter from a
beamer and Shep the sheepdog helps stop the
runs at third man.
Compiled during the vintage season of 2010,
here are vaulted stories and little histories of
cricketing characters both famous and, perhaps,
not so much, to charm and to wince at between
innings, dredged from a cricket mad soggy
county that the author loves to his apple core.
Charles Wood gave up the legal profession,
and the stress of work in Libya and
Hong Kong, yearning for the artistic life.
For the past twenty years he has just
about managed to avoid wearing a tie to
work or getting grubby. Instead, he has
preferred to eke out an existence in the
Somerset custom of self-employment.
As a self-taught documentary filmmaker
he has made over thirty films. His
Somerset the Summerland and Exmoor –
An English Wild Kingdom sold in their tens
of thousands. In 1994 he made Somerset
County Cricket Club’s first official club
video film. His film Dragons – The Story of
a Country Parson was broadcast on HTV
in 1999. And in 2005 he was the first Englishman
to win a documentary film award
in the Republic of Moldova.
Charles has also found time to be a
full-time dad of four, a writer of fairy tales,
an illustrator, a part-time college lecturer,
a part-time school teacher, an occasional
broadcaster on BBC Somerset Sound,
and a director of Somerset Film and
He now admits to his enjoyment of
cricket and poddling through the lighter
side of life’s rich tapestry relieved that he
has never been bankrupt.
Charles Wood lives with his family in
the Somerset town of Wiveliscombe.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 065 7, hardback, 210x148mm, 160 pages. Published May 2011.
Other formats available: Amazon Kindle