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Showing posts from 2008

I Tend to Stay Away from Bandwagons...

I tend to stay away from bandwagons, especially when said bandwagon takes up a lot of news airtime, but this whole Baby P business has raised a question to which I have no answer: Why are the identities of the mother and step-father being protected, when we're allowed to know the name of the lodger and when pictures of the poor child are allowed to be published? Okay, so I'm a relatively net-savvy guy and it only took me 7 minutes to find out their identities, but it still goes no distance towards answering why the free press are not allowed to use their names. Of course, another side of me says what difference does it make knowing who they are, the damage is done.

Day at The Oval

On my first Saturday in London I decided to do the only think that made any sense; I went to watch the cricket. Living where I do now, in Thornton Heath, I headed down to my local ground, the magnificent BritOval in Kennington.  This weekend Surrey were playing Sussex in the County Championship and the match was set at one point to perhaps be Surrey's first win of the season. Alas, it wasn't to be as Sussex stayed in bat and got a draw. The main reason for going, other than seeing Mark Ramprakash batting, was simply just to say that I'd been. The weather was beautiful, but Ramps was out before I even got to the ground. Damn it! The heat and the Scrumpy made the afternoon something special and the atmosphere was exceptionally lively for that of a four-day game. If I'm lucky I'll catch another match before the end of the season.

An Old Wheel

Mum has taken to selling her homemade produce to farm shops. So far it has turned out to be a modestly profitable enterprise. On one of her latest sales runs to the ramshackle Mickleton Nurseries Farm Shop, near the village of Mickleton, Glos, I took my camera along and found an old wheel I liked the look of.  Clicking on the picture will enlarge it.

A Forgotten Gem

Whilst on the way down to Dorset for a camping holiday (Taffstock 2008: On Tour) a song came on the radio that neither myself or my driver, Chris Jones, had heard for a long time. The song in question had a fantastically positive effect on the pair of us as the dawn sunshine began to get hotter and hotter. This song was Sunchyme by Dario G. It is well worth another listen if you haven't heard it for a while. Needless to say I got straight onto iTunes upon my return to civilisation to download it.

Camping in a Wood

Early on Friday morning, whilst camping with friends at our annual Taffstock event, I grabbed my camera and made the most of the sunshine breaking through the trees. Although the weather was good for all of the holiday, on this particular day the weather was very hot. A few hours after this photo was taken we would all be sunning ourselves on the beach at Studland and, believe it or not, swimming in the sea.

Monsoon Season Hits Warwick

There is this weird thing that bugs me—I can be a very particular, even peculiar person at times. This thing comes about when you speak to a fellow Warwickian who no longer lives in Warwick—a Warwickian expat if you will. Upon meeting a said expat, one often finds themself being greeted with the line "... and how is sunny Warwick?" Sunny Warwick? I've never heard people refer to anywhere else I have come into contact with as sunny wherever, it seems it is a purely Warwick phenomenon. I have never heard the names Sunny Cambridge, Sunny Oxford, Sunny Farnham, nor Sunny Croydon uttered by a single soul. Of course, I may be wrong. Anyway, it finally dawned on me today why Warwickians say this. It would appear that it is just a very clichéd use of irony as when it rains in Warwick—which it does regularly—it really rains. So after all of those years of thinking no-one from Warwick understood irony it would appear that I was wrong. Needless to s

My Cricketing Debut

This Saturday I made my [substantially less than] first class cricketing debut. The setting was the beautiful village of Send, near Woking and the temperature was something around the 28°C mark. I was playing for the Cuddington Casuals 'A' team and kind of scored three (2 wides and a leg-bye) and lasted longer than I thought I would—about three overs.  Newdigate's 3rd XI, our opponents for the day, reported the match on their website as follows: Newdigate 221-4 beat Cuddington Casuals 177 all out Played at the picturesque Concorde CC ground near the village of Send, Newdigate 3rd XI travelled in hope of a third straight win. On winning the toss Cuddington sent the visitors in on a slow but true wicket and whilst picking up the early wicket of opener Chris Fox for 13, U16 Colt Matt Clarke joined Dev Patel (52) and built a superb innings of 72 before being bowled late on in the visitors allotted 40 overs. Newdigate had also welcomed back Simon Goddard (14) to their line-up w

Zimbabwe: I Have A Dream

Without meaning to sound like a 1960s civil rights activist, I have a dream. This dream is to one day follow the English cricket team in a test match against Zimbabwe at the historic Harare Sports Club. I have a somewhat romantic notion of wishing to sit in the intense African sunshine, a cool drink in my hand, watching 22 cricketers in action as the sun rises overhead and disappears again behind the city. This idea is not an unrealistic one, in theory, but what likelihood has it got of coming to pass when the political climate is what it is in Zimbabwe? Well, it remains rather unlikely. What helps to perpetuate the situation in Zimbabwe, in addition to its racist tyrannical leader Robert Mugabe, is the support that the ruling Zanu-PF party of Zimbabwe gets from the equally racist ANC party of South Africa. South Africa's president, the leader of the ANC, believes that there is no "crisis" in Zimbabwe and believes that "It's a normal ele

Ramprakash: Stuttering To a Century Of First-Class Centuries

So we're making our way towards the middle of the domestic cricket season in England and we're in the midst of the break from the County Championship whilst the Twenty20 Cup takes place. During this break in season, where my favourite form of the game is temporarily forgotten in favour of the more commercially lucrative form of the game, I have been able to sit back in astonishment in how much difference a year has made for Surrey's Mark Ramprakash. As far as first-class cricketers go he has had quite a solid batting record to date. In 671 innings, between 1987 and 2008, he has scored 31,057 runs, picking up 134 half-centuries and 99 centuries along the way—all at at average of 52.99. His consistency at county level, both for Middlesex until 2000 and for Surrey from 2001 onwards, although never matched during his 92 test innings, was rewarded in 2007 by Wisden, who named him as one of their 'Cricketers of the Year' for his play during the 2006 season. His go

Farnham 2nd XI vs. Old Whitgiftians 2nd XI: Have the Oldies Lost Their Gift?

There is something to be said about Village Cricket. I accept the fact that both Farnham and Croydon, the home of the Old Whitgiftians, are towns. But both the style of play and the scene of the action in Farnham, with a castle shrouded in vibrant green trees as a backdrop, have a distinctly village-like feel about them. On the day in question, the May 31, 2008, the sun was shining and thus a small, but noticeable, gathering of spectators had assembled to watch the match between the Farnham second XI and the Old Whitgiftians second XI. So this wasn’t Lords, and it wasn't first-class, but the match was still engaging. Old Whitgiftians, winning the toss, opted to field first, despite at this level of cricket, a win batting first being worth more in league points than a win batting second. The thing that perhaps struck the casual spectator was the apparent age gap between the two teams—the Farnham team comprising mainly under-20s, with the Old Whitgiftians, perhaps, more likely t