One hot sleepy Sunday afternoon at my restaurant in rural France Dennis Lillee came in for lunch. Dennis is a former Australian cricketer rated as the “outstanding fast bowler of his generation”. Lillee was known for his fiery temperament, ‘never-say-die’ attitude and popularity with the fans. According to Wikipedia.

He sat outside with friends enjoying the good weather and how he came across us in the middle of the Périgord-Limousin natural park I never got to find out.

I did have a lengthy chat with him about what he was up to these days – a little commentary and a share in a dry cleaning business didn’t seem to do justice to such a great athlete even if he was on the other side.

Now, I am not the world’s greatest cricket fan but in 1981 I attended an England vs Australia test match at Manchester’s Old Trafford. The first session of the morning was rather dull but when we returned from lunch Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham was at the crease. It was where he set a record of six sixes in a single Ashes innings. One such six was scored when Dennis caught the ball but the momentum took his foot over the boundary line thus ‘Beefy’ recorded a six instead of losing his wicket. Botham went on to score 118. I reminded Dennis that I witnessed this little piece of history first hand. He smiled convincingly.

We chatted for some time whilst I prepared his bill. What a great man who even took time out to chat with a young lad of around 9 who would never had known who Dennis Lillee was.