Busy week here at the MCC library (if not in the stands!). I’ve been working on lots of enquiries, I had one about the fixtures of the first Aboriginal tour of England in 1868, one man wanted to know what 1902 Lord’s looked and ‘felt’ like for a chapter of a children’s book he’s writing that features a cricket match. I also had a rather tedious task that took half a day looking up book reviews for every book written by Eric Midwinter over about 15 years, so glad when I found the last one!
My ‘show and tell’ this week doesn’t involve any of my enquiries though. I’ve picked a rather interesting menu card for a welcome dinner given to the 1904 England touring team when they arrived in Australia. It was found by my colleague Heather.
What first attracted me to this item was the marvelous cover. The lion pummeling the kangaroo is pretty standard Ashes contest imagery. What’s a little more unusual is the crazy grasshopper thing holding a sinister looking canister which appears to be emitting clouds of some kind of gas. What does this mean? Can anyone shed any light on this? I was also intrigued by the fact that Warner has brought a bag of dead kangaroo to Australia with him, very strange and most unpleasant. Is he bringing it to the dinner for everyone to eat or is it just a gift for his hosts? It’s enough to put me off my dinner but maybe the items on the menu would tempt me…
At the risk of appearing utterly unsophisticated I have to admit that I have no idea what any of these dishes are! Are they really posh dishes or is it just ordinary food written in French? Again, can anyone enlighten me?
The final thing that drew me to this item was the entertainment laid on for the touring team.
I love the names of the dances, especially ‘Cozy Corner Girl’. Also I just love the idea of a team of cricketers getting together for a Waltz and a Two-Step etc. I can’t help but picture the modern teams having a go at this, Prior, KP and Broad et al all twirling and two-steping around a ballroom, mind you most of them will end up on Strictly eventually so maybe it wouldn’t be so strange. What do you think?