16th July 2013 at 5:07pm
In 1882 The Sporting Chronicle declared in a perhaps ill-considered satirical obituary that, having lost to Australia for the first time on English soil, English cricket had died and the body would have to be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.
Word spread quickly (clearly the message was ‘trending’) and by the time England arrived in Australia later that year a group of Melbournian women mockingly presented England’s captain with a small terracotta urn full of ash – the ashes of a cremated cricket ball as it happened. It was to become the unofficial trophy of the series.
The Ashes was born.
So began the 19th century equivalent of #thequesttoregaintheashes. England won the inaugural Ashes in 1882 – 83 and 66 encounters later, the challenge is finely balanced with England trailing ‘the Aussies’ by 31 to 30, with 5 series drawn.
Media interest quickly grew and inevitably the competition has become increasingly hotly contested, with no love lost on either side.
Why the fuss?
I wonder why we get so het up about the Ashes. Perhaps it’s because our cultures are so closely associated – we certainly have a penchant for the place as Britons continue to look to Oz when retiring abroad.
If you’re of such a mindset a new life down under can sound very attractive but you really should make very careful preparations where retirement income is concerned.
You could do worse than starting with this article on moving abroad by Pension Wise who offer some great pointers on the things to consider before retiring abroad.
It provides information on a number of retirement destinations including Australia but, perhaps most importantly in these turbulent times, it points out the importance of currency markets and the effect that currency fluctuation can have on your retirement income.
Sterling is particularly weak just now, resulting in ex-pat retirees effectively losing thousands of pounds in income.
Foreign exchange firm HiFX have calculated that UK ex-pats have seen their pensions fall in value by as much as £10.6bn over the last six years.
Of course, what goes down can come up too. So there’s no guarantee that this situation will remain. But it pays to make allowances for the ebb and flow of the markets when making retirement plans, as nobody can predict that past performance is a guarantee of the future.
Which is why those that have written the Australians off before a ball is bowled might just have egg on their faces come 25th August.