For 20 years or more Rupert Morris has graced our game, and Kitty has graced the boundary with her pleasant banter and erudition. But not her culinary skills, at which she is ‘useless’; fortunately, Rupert is not. He can create saumon en croûte de pâte feuilletée even with a bottle of Muscadet inside him, such is his mastery of cuisine. His talents are legion – supremo of the written word, of the green baize, of Holmesiana, a distinguished journalist, Humanist celebrant and sometime publisher.
Master of many trades, but not cricket alas. He came to it late, never really played at Eton or university. We scouted him while he was playing for the GTs, already middle aged, but capable of a quick opening 30 if catches were missed. The transfer was made because the V&A was not then and should not be about cricketing prowess, but about clubbability – and that Morris has in abundance. It pays at the V&A to be an oenophile with a love of France, to know Manet from Monet, Schubert from Schumann. But there is nothing elitist about Rupert who – unlike Christiaan – knows full well that Lady Gaga is neither senile nor in the House of Lords.
Rupert caught a catch once, in the last millennium. I remember the rejoicing. Church bells rang, British Leyland went back to work, Torville fucked Dean. But he missed one on Saturday, in his patented manner. It was a simple catch as catches go, and as catches go it went. His cricket, if technically deficient, was always enthusiastic and nerveless. He opened against menacing bowlers without flinching, without protection apart from his box and patterned tights. Always immaculately turned out in crinkled flannels and old club sweaters, he was the picture of Corinthian insouciance. And he listened to my prattle with polite interest. Or, to put it another way, without interest.
For many years he was our Treasurer. It can be said of him that a) he did not abscond with the funds b) he left us solvent. There can be no better obituary.
He will be much missed at Stonor, as will Kitty. They are going to live in their delightful French house. I know it is delightful because Lachlan told me so. If you want to visit let them know, but I gather they prefer guests to stay for longer than just a month and adore pets and children and please don’t bring any gifts like cases of wine, there’s plenty in the cellar.
Rupert has fluent French. He understands signs like ‘Défense D’Uriner’ and instructions like ‘ne pas cracher dans la soupe’, which is just as well. We can picture him in his jaunty beret strolling down to the boulangerie for his morning croissant, chatting to the Froggies playing boules and trying not to cracher or uriner.
So, Rupert, bien joué mon brave! Adieu et à bientôt!