Jason Dundas has cricket in his blood. His dad is a statistician and Jason's had a cricket bat for longer than he can remember. With the battle for the Ashes between England and Australia just around the corner, Jason was ready to head to Lord's, the most famous and important place in the world of cricket.
The Ashes legend dates back to 1882, when Australia defeated England on British soil for the first time. That major event inspired a group of Melbourne women to give a little urn of ashes to the English captain, suggesting English cricket had died.
Almost 127 years later, the fight for that now-famous little urn is as ferocious as ever. It's almost time for bleary-eyed cricket lovers in Australia to burn the midnight oil in the hope of watching the Ashes return home.
The short ride to the ground was filled with good-natured banter between Jason and the cabbie, each convinced of victory. Even those who aren't cricket tragics join in the fun, and it's all just fun. Isn't it?
The MCC has the world's oldest sports museum, and you can take a guided tour or do it alone. Jason happened to run into an old enemy; Paul Winslow, a member of the crazy English supporters group, The Barmy Army. Once it was established that they have won the Ashes 26 times compared to our 29 times, they continued the tour of the museum.
The tour takes you on a journey through the 400-year history of the game, and is full of paintings, photographs and cricket gear used by the greats. It is also where the urn is kept under lock and key.
Attractions include a stuffed sparrow which was "bowled out" by Jehangir Khan in 1936, and the copy of Wisden which helped sustain EW "Jim" Swanton throughout his captivity in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. There are portraits, busts and other memorabilia associated with the incomparable Dr WG Grace and many items from the 19th century.
There are cricket kits used by some of the greatest players of all time, including Victor Trumper, Sir Don Bradman, Sir Jack Hobbs and Shane Warne.
The famous Long Room is both a cricket-watching room and cricket art gallery. The Brian Johnston Memorial Theatre shows footage of some of the greatest performances in the game's long history.
About the Barmy Army
It all began in 1994, a period of inglorious England defeat. A group got together, named themselves the Barmy Army, had T-shirts printed and headed Down Under.
They happened to be in Adelaide for an unexpected England victory and since then, the group has grown in membership and follows their home team around the world. While they take the game seriously, they inject a lot of fun with the use of flags, banners, songs and chants to encourage players and supporters.
The group engages in charity work and enjoys a good reputation among cricket administrators and other fans.
Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood, London
Lord's Cricket Ground 100-minute tours are $29 for adults and $17 for children. Visitors see the Pavilion (Long Room and dressing rooms), real tennis court where the game enjoyed by King Henry VIII is still played, MCC Museum, Investec Media Centre. Locations are subject to availability. Tours run every day at 10am, noon and 2pm.
Emirates has great low fares to London. They are for a limited time only so log on to www.emirates.com/getaway for more details on the most up-to-date fares.
Prices correct at June 18, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
Marylebone Cricket Club
Lord's Cricket Ground
St John's Wood
London NW8 8QN
Ph: +44 20 7616 8595
Fax: +44 20 7266 3825
Barmy Army Ltd
101 Green Street
Middlesex TW16 6RD
Ph: +44 20 8237 7979
Ashes 2009 series
- First Test: July 8-12, 2009 Cardiff
- Second Test: July 16-20, 2009 Lord's
- Third Test: July 30-August 03, 2009 Edgbaston
- Fourth Test: August 7-11, 2009 Headingley
- FifthTest: August 20-24, 2009 The Oval
Visas: Visas are not required for Australians entering the UK for tourism for stays of under six months. If you wish to work, you must obtain the appropriate two-year visa in advance.
Electricity: 220V with a three-point plug.
Time: The UK is on Greenwich Mean Time between October and March. Between March and October it is on British Summer Time.
Currency: The British pound sterling.
Telephone code: +44.