The MCC Tour party to Cyprus departed Lords through the Grace Gates exactly 110 years to the day since Plum Warner took the first MCC team to Australia for a famous 3-2 series win.
The Spirit of Cricket Kit has been distributed, rooms allocated and tour roles and nicknames assigned.
After clearing security checks, practice began in 28 degree heat at the British Army base in Happy Valley in a single, bouncy, AstroTurf wicket surrounded by long grassy outfield.
The skipper scheduled an early morning slip catching practice on the volleyball courts and high catching with fielders dispersed in the Mediterranean much to the bemusement of the Russian sunbathers on the beach.
We have suffered two early casualties to sun stroke and burnt feet on the black plutonic sand but our cricketing medics have been on hand, albeit with the bedside manner of an Australian cricket coach.
The first night team dinner in Limassol Old Town by the 11th Century castle where Richard the Lion-Heart was married followed by late night taverns and further cultural exploration.
The team is in fine spirits ready for the opening tour match against Cyprus.