Dave Bracegirdle on tour with Nottinghamshire

Stephen Moore
Lancashire batsman Stephen Moore relaxes in the hotel in Abu Dhabi

I know this is a cricket tour, but in my previous column I happened to mention the former England football great Bobby Moore. Well, that was a surname that cropped up on a couple of occasions early on Wednesday morning.

One of the first MCC players to surface was Lancashire's Stephen Moore and we had a lengthy chat about the way the match had gone.

Stephen seems quite a switched-on young man, very driven and focused, and it was good to see him playing again after dislocating his shoulder in last year's FP t20.

He clearly takes an interest in a wide number of topics and it was perhaps appropriate that here in one of the wealthiest parts of the world his reading material of choice was the Financial Times.

A wide variety of books and magazines have been brought on this trip by the travelling party. Many of the lads are into their gadgets and have the latest monthlies with them, while scorer Roger Marshall has brought The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (although I haven't seen him turn a single page as yet).

My eyes then alighted upon Paul Johnson, the Notts batting coach. He seemed a study of concentration ploughing his way through Brian Moore's autobiography. Hard to tell which one of them used to be nicknamed 'Pitbull' isn't it?

Derek Brewer gained himself a new nickname today. As you'd expect from a fairly luxurious hotel the breakfast eggs are cooked to order. Derek's preference was for the scrambled variety but he then made the mistake of popping out onto the restaurant veranda to eat it.

No sooner had the plate touched the table than a bird (of unidentifiable breed and origin) swooped to grab a beak-full of delicious egg to the astonishment of the Nottinghamshire chief executive.

Returning to the chef with a please-can-I-have-some-more look, he ensured that he would be called Oliver for the rest of the day.

From birds to dates...

Just inside the hotel foyer stands a man offering liquid refreshment to guests as they walk in out of the sun.

For some reason, he has ignored ignored me, despite my frequent attempts to catch his attention by walking in and out several times and even loitering in the vicinity.

Today business must have been slack. "Tea sir?" he asked.

I'm not usually too fussy what I consume but I played the slightly interested card. "What is it?" I queried. He informed me that it was cardamom tea.

As I tried it he then opened a box and offered me a date. This was the most delicious, succulent piece of fruit I think I've ever tasted and my new friend, Mouhcine, gave me another.

Those you get in the UK at Christmas are nothing like the real thing you get out in Abu Dhabi. I've absorbed a few stats this week but was astounded to learn that 18 million dates are produced here each year.

As for the drink Mouhcine offered, let's just say that it's not my cup of tea.

This afternoon I went down into the city for the first time and almost brought Abu Dhabi to a standstill, but I'll tell you about that next time.

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