I had an idea. This idea meant the entire 30-minute journey back to the club from Windsor saw white garments flapping out of the windows of my car, in a desperate attempt to dry them on the wind. Sadly it had no effect. Charlie laid them out on the patio in the sun, but I don't think that worked either. Nothing worse than putting on wet clothes.
Another point in the season saw the game which Charlie is still recounting, and provides the rest of us with a specific line to remember him by. I wasn't at the game, however the goings on have been drummed into everyone so much that I sometimes think I can actually remember being there. I've no idea who Camberley were playing, or who won, or even how many runs Charlie scored, but I do know one thing.
"Mate...did you know that I hit four sixes and lost two balls?" Yes Charlie, I did know that, you told me earlier. And yesterday. And last week.
From that point on, no matter what was achieved by anyone, "Yeah but did you hit four sixes and lose two balls?" was the response. Superb banter.
Another thing that needs a quick mention happened in a game that was otherwise very disappointing and poor from a CCC perpective. Playing Staines and Laleham in the Development League, following a largely dismal batting performance, lit up only by Sam Holmes and Alex Boorman as far as I remember, we took to the field.
The point of interest came when I was fielding at fine leg and the ball came my way. I stopped it adequately enough, but my throw in to Charlie, who was keeping, was slightly undercooked. Charlie, in prime position behind the stumps ready to take the bails off if necessary, realised my throw wasn't going to reach him so took a step forward. Perfectly acceptable, you might think. Well, yes, apart from the fact that Charlie either forgot, or didn't realise, that he was behind the stumps. So, in attempting to move towards the ball, all the lumbering Aussie managed to do was boot the stumps, trip up and fall flat on his face. Cue howls of laughter from me and everyone else. A rare high point on an otherwise frustrating day.
Other highlights for me were going to watch Man Utd - Newcastle, and especially Aston Villa - Arsenal. The latter game was particularly good, although the day had an almost catastrophic subplot which just added to the banter. As we were cruising up the M40 at about 9am in preparation for a 1245 kick off in Birmingham, my car suddenly lost power. At first I thought it was cos I was driving on a snowy part of the road and the tyres had lost grip, but as I moved into the middle lane and still got no response, the realisation dawned on me. I'd run out of petrol.
As we pulled over onto the hard shoulder, I sat there in disbelief whilst Charlie pissed himself laughing. Luckily, for once in my life, we were considerably early, so even after the hour and a half delay, we still arrived in Birmingham an hour before kick off. Not so luckily, the ordeal cost £138. But even so, walking down the hard shoulder of the M40 in the snow with one of your best mates is a memorable experience. Then for the game to be as good as it was meant the day was a success.
Less of a success was going to Wembley to watch England play Montenegro. The less said about that the better I think, although Wembley is still awesome. Another good match was QPR - Watford, where the Hornets produced arguably their best display of the season against a previously unbeaten Rangers side.
Another special memory for me is when Sam and I went up to Watford to get the specially made shirt as Charlie's leaving present. Having already tried twice to get to Watford by myself, but failed due to weather and traffic conditions on the M25, finally getting the shirt just before Charlie caught the plane home was a relief. But the best was yet to come.
Sam and I had agreed to meet Charlie near where he lived for a quick drink and one last chat before he left, but little did he know that we had a surprise for him. Upon arrival, I hid round a corner with the shirt, while Sam bantered about how I'd had to go home. Just as Charlie approached, I stepped out, carefully holding the shirt so he'd only see the front of it when he took it off me.
The look on his face was one of pure joy, but it was nothing compared to when he turned it around. On the back read his famous line about hitting four sixes and losing two balls, carefully positioned so to look half-decent. It was clear Charlie was very happy with the present, which made sitting on the M25 for hours on end instantly worthwhile. The three of us proceeded to a nearby pub where we had a couple of drinks before a photo or two, and manhug and the goodbyes.
The day we bowled a team out for 59 and lost.