Guy Pickard, Barmy Army

I'm walking, Caribbean paced, through the tropical gardens of our hotel. That pace is slow, easy man, no rush. It's hot and it's only quarter to seven in the morning.

"Morning". "Mornin' man" is the reply. It's only Shivnarine Chanderpaul.  At breakfast, we squeeze past him to the toaster. Glancing round the dining area, the rest of the West Indies cricket team are milling about. They are eating no more healthily than me, it seems. Ok, they weren't in the bar with the Barmies last night but we are sharing their start to the day before the first day of a Test match. Lovely guys, too. Almost want them to scrape a draw.

Waiting for our transfer to the ground, we bump into Michael Vaughan and Swanny and utter legend Clive Lloyd. Then we are off into the crazy traffic and up and down the roller coaster roads to the stadium in Grenada to watch some cricket. Typical day, really, when you are touring with England's Barmy Army supporters.

Our companions: humorous, knowledgeable, interesting, affable. Cricket fans. Beers at 9.30am. Never a word out of place or anything embarrassing, just fun.

We've done South Africa and Sri Lanka with the Barmies and so recognise one or two folk, now friends. The fact that we are in amongst it again tells its own tale. Each trip had its own highlights. Table Mountain, a wonderful hotel and the most enthralling escape on the pitch at one. Flying through insane traffic, dodging goats in a tuk-tuk, laughing at Monty trying to take a catch at another.  The best bit: the fun and frolics with the Barmy Army.
 

Guy Pickard, Barmy Army

Friends are made easily. All ages, couples, groups, guys on their own, quickly become part of the tour.  And that kind of sums it up best for me. The organisation is slick, you are looked after, you can dip in and out of the partying at will and no one thinks you are lightweight but you do feel part of an England cricket tour.  The Caribbean and cricket were made for each other.

And we make a difference - after an hour or so of clueless captaincy, the Barmies get into gear and sing. And sing. And sing. Until a Barmy Army wicket is taken. Hope to be there the next time it happens.

Guy Pickard.