New Oval a sign of great things to come

It's still winter but the days are getting longer. The occasional daffodil is making a mistimed dash at spring while people chat about plans for summer. I saw a mad duck walking along the road with ducklings the other day, looking desperately for a home in what I believe is a crowded market.

Normally in winter I look forward to snowboarding. But this winter all I've been looking forward to is summer. You see, in autumn I damaged my knee showing-off doing wheelies on a motorbike. This means my winter exercise has been limited to gentle swimming, physiotherapy and walking.

Over the weekend I wandered down to Hagley Park to have a gawk at the new cricket area being created. It was one of those winter days that reminds me of why I live in Christchurch. The air was crisp and I could see my breath as the sun lit up the park. I was thinking about how we need to endure winter so that summer is all the better.

We wouldn't appreciate spring and summer without autumn and winter. Besides, without winter we'd have to kill all the flies ourselves. I wouldn't appreciate my good parent without the bad one. Yin and yang and all that great stuff the Chinese worked out years ago while the rest of us were still culturally hanging from trees.

In the winter sun the first cover on the Hagley Oval grandstand looked majestic and boy what a cracking wee ground we're going to have. The turf looks magnificent and the new bank's a dream.

When there's no cricket I'll be able to take my niece and nephew and do roly-poly races down that bank. Or just wander around it and find the best bit of an afternoon to sit and dream that I'm out there, facing up as a young Courtney Walsh comes galloping in, needing 20 to save the test. Why don't we build more hillocks? I think a bit of public grassy elevation is definitely in order. It's uplifting.

Here, in this venue's pregnancy, is another portent of great things to come. With the oaks in the background, what a venue it may be. We all dream of another great New Zealand cricketing era. My grandma and I do, anyway. That's what fans do.

It makes me think about Boxing Day, when our Black Caps take on Sri Lanka in the opening test of the ANZ International Series, and then February 14, the opening match (again v Sri Lanka) of the one-day ICC Cricket World Cup 2014.

I don't have a ticket but my mate, the Old Hack, says he's got some booked and is going to take me to either that match or the Pakistan v West Indies match on February 21. I'm Pavlov's dog when it comes to cricket tickets. I reckon he'll keep me guessing right into the New Year just to see the saliva every time he rings that bell.

I can wait for summer, but only just.

The Press