Joomla! Lead Developer Johan Janssens has been in a coding pressure-cooker for almost a year now. With a free day on offer before Sunday's UK Joomla! Day, we took him away from all the code to enjoy the Yorkshire countryside, some pub grub ... and the gentle game of cricket.
Yorkshire is synonymous with cricket — think Geoffrey Boycott; earnest, stoic, stubborn and occasionally downright cantankerous. In fact, Johan spent his first night at an old coal mining village, near where Mr Boycott was born.
We hooked up with Chris Adams, of Rochen, in Leeds, and travelled due west by train to World Heritage Site, Saltaire. After some good food at a real Yorkshire pub, we ventured down to Saltaire's cricket ground. In keeping with our olde-worlde theme, we used the oldest means of transport available to reach the cricket pitch, the Shipley Glen Tramway.
So what happens when you take a Belgian super coder out of his technological bubble and show him a "foreign" sport. Presented with the sight of men dressed in white, bowling a ball to be struck by other men wielding willow bats and the subsequent chasing of a red leather ball, Johan looked completely bamboozled.
An attempt to explain the rules went something like this: 'You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in, goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not outs, that's the end of the game'.
This explanation didn't help and left Johan scratching his head and when asked "what type of code would cricket be" he replied "a bloody mess". Somehow the conversation turned to the less-than-gentle Scottish sport of Caber Tossing (from the Highland Games). Chris Adams claimed no knowledge of this ancient highland sport and expected Johan to explain it.
"We (the Belgians) invented it," he quipped ... lifting his camera to focus on the cricket once more, capturing an image of "a little blue man". One last amusement. It is a tradition that most cricket umpires are older gentlemen, but the presence of a white-coated old man standing at the centre of the pitch was a mystery to Johan. Pointing to the middle of the field, he asked "Who's Pops?". All was explained yet Johan couldn't erase his first impression that the man in the long white coat was actually a lost pharmacist.
With the unforgettable cricket experience some 24 hours behind him, Johan presented his overview of the pre-beta release of Joomla! 1.5 at the UK Joomla! Day. Organised by Brian Teeman, the day was an outstanding success. You can read more about the event as documented by Johan in his dev blog and by Brian on his training website.