When my folks told me of their cruise to the Caribbean to watch some of the test series, I didn't think too much of it in terms of The Everest Test. It was only after they let on that Ian Botham, David Gower, Alan Lamb and Darren Gough were going to be on the boat with them in the evenings and between the Test matches that I thought we could benefit from their trip. So I took advantage of their 40kilo/person luggage limit (that's a whole extra old person!!) and bundled them off with as much branded Everest stash as I could get my hands on and asked them to get the doubtless inebriated ex-internationals to sign everything.
The trip didn't start well with their flight getting cancelled by the snow, you may have noticed Gower missed a day's commentary as well. Cricketwise, the tour got much worse too as England were skittled out for 51 in the second innings meaning the Test ended a day and a half early. Pistol Pete was not impressed. Then he was absolutely pissed when the next Test was cancelled altogether because of a sandpit of a pitch.
These two mishaps did, in an unexpected way, mean good news for my Everest stash signing. The days off for the players allowed them to wander round looking for entertainment and booze. Some of them, not surprising for Freddie Flintoff in the West Indies, ended up on a boat...my folk's cruise ship! Annie Get-Your-Gun pounced on the chunky fast bowler immediately and explained all about her son and his crazy friends climbing up Everest to play cricket, shoving the stash into his hands. Fred, being a good lad, agreed to take our branded kit into the England changing room and see what he could do.
So hopefully, as my rents sip their rum in the sunshine and fail to update me as they can't work emails, and I sit watching the match on Sky wishing I was sweating away out there, 3 shirts and a number of ties sit in the England changing room waiting to become the jewels in our fundraising and raffling crown. I'll let you know when they sober up and come home!