It's a well-known fact that someday, inevitably, we turn into our parents. Habits, phrases and behavioural quirks that we swore would never become part of our daily routine end up sneaking in like a weasel through some form of genetic osmosis. Resistance is futile and it's safest to accept the inevitable and enjoy the ride. There's a great difference between noticing certain traits that have been handed down from parent to child and that specific point where it's clear that the transformation is complete, but you'll know it when it comes. I did.
For some time now I have been walking into rooms for something, forgetting what it was, doing something else, then remembering what it was only by walking back to the exact location at which I first realised there was something I needed to get in the first place. I have on various occasions found my pen in the toothbrush holder, my toothbrush in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard where we keep the teacups, but even this didn't strike me as marking the definitive move over to the parent-side. I was expecting the change to be rubber-stamped the day I rushed to answer the phone because a phone rang on the TV programme I was watching (which didn't sound at all like the house phone) and I've been watching out for this particular event hawk-like for some time. Maybe this was the problem and I must have taken my eye off the ball, because a couple of weeks ago I made a conscious decision to not simply complete the transformation, but to smash right through any kind of behavioural barrier than may have existed between myself and the intimate generation above.
The County cricket season started extraordinarily early this year, in the first week of April. March had been balmy, giving hope that this early start might be justified weather-wise. But the Gods of cricket have not built up a formidable reputation for nothing, and on Thursday 5th April a Baltic wind swept the Country, heralding the first day of the County Championship. Undeterred, I headed to perennial strugglers Leicestershire and their pretty Grace Road ground. A surprisingly large crowd (not quite into triple figures, but this is division 2) had gathered to see if Leicestershire could make a good start against Glamorgan. Not quite a battle of the Titans admittedly but Glamorgan were the only side that Leicestershire had managed to beat in the last 12 months. Two balls into the match, Leicestershire were 0 for 2. When I turned up, they were 7 for 3. I took my seat next to a woman, at least I think it was a woman; it was difficult to tell because she was wearing an anorak and furry hood tied tightly so as to resemble a periscope; a tartan rug was wrapped around the knees. It was the sort of day on which Captain Oates might have stayed inside. Still, as the scene unfolded before me, it still didn't occur to me that I had completed the transformation by merely being here at this Cathedral of cricket on such a polar day. However, as lunchtime approached and I delved into my bag to collect the goodies I had brought, it became all very apparent. Crisps - check; Wispa - check; bottle of water - check. Wait a minute! 3 separate tupperware pots! How did they get in there? As if in a dream, I had carefully placed the main ingredients for my picnic into different sized tupperwares. There was one for the pork pie (it was Leicestershire remember), a smaller one for my slab of cheddar and the smallest was reserved for a smear of Branston pickle. Yes, really - Branston pickle in a tupperware. This was the moment I had been expecting for some years and I could imagine my Dad sitting there, next to me on the cold plastic seat, under leaden skies, and as another Welsh medium-pacer of little regard turned at the top of his run-up I could see Dad nodding to me with a mixture of pride and pity: 'you're one of us now, son'.