Thank you, Prime Minister
From: the Ashes 'Ball'
To: The Prime Minister, the Rt Honourable Gordon Brown MP
Dear Prime Minister,
Thank you so much for hosting the England women's cricket team, their guests, the World Cup, the World Twenty20 trophy and myself to a reception at Downing Street to celebrate their recent triumphs.
It was immensely exciting to be carried across the threshold of that famous front door, through the entrance hall with its red carpet, down the grand staircase with its wrought iron railings and out into your spacious garden. The roses looked lovely - although the lawn could do with a teeny bit more work if you want to rival the outfield at Lord's.
I was last in your humble abode in 2005 when the women had won the Ashes for the first time since 1963 and the men for the first time since 1986. My illustrious older cousin, the urn, was too frail to come in person, but his proxy hopes to receive another invitation later this summer, once Andrew Strauss and his team have sent the current crop of Aussies on their way. They've told me there'll be no extraneous fertilizing of your herbaceous border this time, as long as you promise to provide some champagne.
I must admit that in the last few days I've been a little upset by a number of people questioning my existence. I didn't get the chance to speak to you in person at No 10 (although I appreciated the admiring glance you directed my way as you strode over to shake hands with Charlotte Edwards) so I feel I must take this opportunity to explain how I came into being.
The first women's Test between England and Australia took place in 1934, long after Ivo Bligh was presented with the tiny urn that sits proudly in the MCC Museum. I'm the product of a ceremony in 1998, whereby the women's teams from both England and Australia signed an autographed bat and ceremonially burnt it in the gardens behind the pavilion at Lord's. They took the ashes, placed them inside yours truly (a hollowed out oak cricket ball) and I now sit atop a small oak plinth. So whilst nobody tries to pretend the women are playing for the 'Ashes' as the wider public know them, they do have a genuine version of their own.
Once again, many thanks for hosting us in your back garden, and even more thanks for not mistaking me for a paper weight.
The Ashes Ball
Alison Mitchell was delighted to join the England women's cricket team at a Downing Street reception to celebrate their victory in the World Cup, the World T20 and the Ashes.