Cricket match weekend Sept 17-19 2021

The annual Keeling-Sedlescombe cricket match was rained off in 2019 and COVID cancelled in 2020. It came back in full glory on Sunday 19 Sept at Brightling Park near Robertsbridge. It was preceded on Friday by a convergence of the clan on Jacobs and Northlands and a feast and games on Saturday at Jacobs. It was also the 50th anniversary of the family moving into Jacobs.

At Northlands Farm we whiled away the evenings with parlour games of which there are photos. There is no record of quiet evenings at Jacobs. Fire Hockey was the preferred way to pass the time. Apparently Simon caught fire and had to be doused with a fire extinguisher.
On Saturday caterers provided a plentiful lunch in a marquee on the lawn. The sun shone gloriously and there was a photo shoot, bicycle polo and then water polo. They had to play water polo with a football instead of a water melon because a certain perfidious person pushed the ref Polly into the pool and the only surviving melon was smashed. In the resulting fracas, I and my phone joined her. The evidence is in the photos. This made my journey back to Berlin even more difficult as you can read below.

Missing: Alice, Luke, Viv, Art, Dulcie; Kate, Will, Jasper, Monty (came to cricket); Harry Harriet, Florence; Archie, Lucy; Jasper, Zak 

The official plans for the weekend are here. It did not all work out as expected. Some went missing, some reappeared and the Keck family, headed by Meg, joined for lunch, photos and games.

Cricket report 

On the Keeling team were Simon, Tom, Jim, Paul Sr (on-field captain), Poppy, Ted, Arthur, Edward, JJ, Fred and Kev. Josh was off games, Harry had other engagements, the perfidious Trev Sr played for Sedlescombe, Trev Jr and Ruth were scorers.

The Keelings batted first in light rain. Paul was out quickly for 9 and Ted for a duck. Things were looking bad until our secret weapon JJ came onto bat and was very instrumental in propelling us to a creditable 168 by getting a massive 69.

The weather improved a bit and Sedlescombe went into bat. Their opener was very stubborn, would not be out even against bowlers Edward, JJ, Paul, Fred, Kev.  There was one hopeful moment at about 160 runs when we got two wickets in two balls. Sadly no more wickets followed and Sedlescombe went to 172 for five wickets. So they won with Crittenden the opener finishing on 83 not out.

After the match, amid mass confusion with the Southeastern Rail network, half of our team and most of the opposition, repaired to the Ostrich pub for friendly pints where Trev (the perfidious) Sr led a rousing chorus of ‘Delroy Reid, he’s the meanest……’ which rather shattered the quiet Sunday evening peace of the place.

JJ was definitely our man of the match. He not only scored a lot of runs and bowled but he made an amazing catch. He was sprinting to the boundary and a barbed wire fence with the ball descending behind him and he caught it over his shoulder while screeching to a halt.

As he said later, "We will be back stronger next year".

Water polo

Cricket score books

George's journey home

This is an account of my bumbling travels amid COVID confusion back from London to Berlin. It is written in the same spirit as Dad's account of his journey from Lohr to Jacobs across storm wracked Europe after Cally's funeral.

Before travelling I had checked what was needed in the way of COVID documentation. Going to England seemed quite simple - I just needed a negative antigen test certificate (in English), a passenger locator form from the internet and a "day 2 PCR test"¹ in the UK and the test booking reference must be on the locator form. I booked the day 2 PCR test (to be done at Paul's), I got the pre-flight test easily at one of the many little test centres in Berlin. There is one in Bayerische Platz about five minutes bike ride from me. Armed with passport, test certificate and locator form, travel to England was almost normal. Check in in Berlin was in person only and at Heathrow I passed swiftly through automated passport control. Online / automated check in is not available any more in Berlin or Heathrow.

The return journey was not so simple. I had found out that I must fill in a German entry registration form - but not earlier than two days before arrival in Germany. The British Airways ticket info said that no other information was needed. German government websites said that I additionally needed a pre-flight negative antigen test and a certificate of full vaccination, which I have. I decided I would try and get an antigen test at Heathrow and checked the Heathrow website where I could not find anything about COVID tests except a year old press release². Hoping that the press release was still valid I planned to find a walk in test at Heathrow.

On Saturday afternoon Ted threw a spanner in the works by pushing me into the pool with my phone in my pocket. Efforts to revive it in warm dry rice at Northlands failed. I carefully sellotaped the SIM card to some papers in my travel wallet, thus removing it from the damp phone and hoping that at least it would recover. With Paul's help I was able to print the German entry registration form and upload my vaccine certificate to their website. Sunday night was spent at Ruth's in north London and we decided to leave my bedding in place on my departure in case I failed to get away. On Monday I got to Heathrow terminal 5 departures at 10.30. My flight was at 13.30. 

I found a COVID test site run by expresstest. However, you have to book online in advance which phone-less I could not do and they only did PCR tests. By this stage I had forgotten the 4 hour turn-around on PCR tests and I went to the back of the long queue and pleaded with my fellow victims for someone to book a test for me while we waited. There was a lot of examining of phones and feet. Except for one nice man called David who actually looked at me and I zeroed in on him. He magnificently twice booked me a PCR test (crashed at first payment attempt) while we moved forward in the queue. I gave him £120 cash. We then realised that I would not get my result in time and further it would be sent to his phone. David then said they did antigen tests on terminal 2 or 3. We parted company. And I got in a lift where I met a medical person going to expresstest in arrivals with some equipment. She said that I could get an antigen test there and she would boost me to the front of the queue to the boss who could make my booking with paper. She did that and went on her way. Five minutes later the boss said: GDPR regulations say no.

It was now about 11.30 and I decided to try to check in anyway - perhaps BA check in staff would read BA regulations not German regulations and wave me though. On the way up in the lift I met more expresstest staff. They said that the departures test place did do antigen tests and that, once booked online and barcode printed, paper only would suffice. I went back to that test place. Dave was nearing the front of the queue. I asked the queue supervisor if my PCR booking could be converted to a much cheaper Antigen booking (they could keep the change.) The computer said no. At this stage I couldn't face a repeat begging performance and so I went to check in.

The lady at check in said I only needed a vaccination pass OR an antigen test pass! I was saved and bought out my nice little German vaccination book with a flourish. There amongst flu and polio vaccinations are two stickers off syringes saying COMINARTY® with dates in April and May. I pointed these out and she got sniffy. "It doesn't say what kind of vaccine it is".³ She phoned her manager. No hope was provided. On the plus side she did book me on a flight for 18.00 Tuesday and gave me a £10 voucher valid for 18 months because it was a bit cheaper. 

I now decided to get a new phone and went to Curry's in Oxford Street. The first thing to do was to test the SIM card. If that was broken a new phone was pointless and I faced more problems in Berlin getting a new one with my old phone number on it. It was sellotaped somewhere in a four page double sided printed document containing dense differential equations. It wasn't there! Luckily the nice lady saw that I was looking on the wrong side and said "Is that it there?". It was. We duly tested it in a display phone and it worked. I bought a new phone and returned to Ruth's. 

I still had work to do. I needed to book my antigen test at expresstest and redo the German entry registration form for my new arrival date. I had to use Ruth's little Chromebook for this and it took two attempts to book expresstest, just like the previous day. But I was much slower than David. There was an added difficulty that my personal email was not functioning⁴. I also got distracted because my old phone suddenly came to life. I might have screamed, I got a fright. It died again after about 30 wasted minutes. For the German entry registration form I needed my passport number and of course my passport was in my travel wallet. There was no travel wallet! I had taken it from my bag at Curry's to find the SIM card and then left the whole wallet there. Of course, you can't phone Curry's in Oxford street to ask them so I had to go back on spec. I was praying as I approached the store. It was there. 

Later that evening Paul D printed the two vital documents for me (after his printer had had a hissy fit of course.) I was all set!

On Tuesday I also arrived very early at terminal 5. They were sniffy about paper for the booking and test result. But I won and got my test. I might have prayed again 40 minutes later as I approached the test desk. I got a good result on paper! There were two more trivial setbacks: German passport / disease control was very slow. 30 minute queue and some of the staff were laughing and joking with non-working colleagues in their booth. The final insult was a mosquito which attacked me in bed so I couldn't sleep for ages even though I was shattered.

All's well that ends well and it was a great weekend, George.


1) There are three kinds of COVID test:
A PCR test takes a minimum of 4 hours to have a result.
An Antigen test takes about 20 minutes for a result. Also known as lateral flow test.
A LAMP test which seem rather useless.
All the above can be self administered but not before travel!
I did the day 2 PCR test at Paul's and Paul return posted it. I have no idea what the result was and I don't care.

2) When back in Berlin I checked the Heathrow website again and I did find links to I erred.

3) Also on my return home, I googled COMINARTY. I immediately found a WHO website which says in huge letters at the top "Pfizer/BioNTech COMIRNATY®, COVID-19 vaccine". If I had had a phone I might have done that at check in. BA could have done it too. I should have suggested it to them. 

4) I had rather a complicated email password which I could not remember without help from my computer at home. I do not regularly log out and in. I had thought of simplifying the password before I left but never got round to it. Grave error which is now corrected.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to catch up on Keeling news. Definitely keep me in the loop please. Account of your difficulties getting home made me laugh a lot, and put me off wanting to attempt to travel anywhere! Xx