New Shoes and England Looking Down Both Barrels

More (as promised) on my new shoes and an account of England’s Ashes Woes, as well as lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

In my previous post I included a picture of my new shoes, bought in Holt on Wednesday along with a challenge to my followers. In this post I complete that story and look at England’s current woes in the Ashes series.

THE SHOES

First up, the picture from my previous post and its accompanying challenge:

P1260532 (2)
The pair of shoes – can you identify their many plus points from this picture (all will be revealed in my next post)?

Here are the particularly good points of these shoes as I noted them:

  • Soft and padded leather uppers
  • user-friendly and sturdy laces
  • soles that are a) thick, meaning that they should last a long time and b) rubber, meaning that they will provide good grip even in wet conditions
  • Also, an advantage that is often available to me as a man with size seven (40 in Continental Europe) feet, they were massively discounted – £49 instead of £125.

Well done if you identified all the above. Here are some more pictures looking more closely at some of the features identified:

P1260534 (2)
The full underside
P1260535 (2)
The Ecco name

P1260536 (2)

P1260537 (2)
See what I mean about the thickness of the soles?

I wore the shoes for a couple of hours on Wednesday to get an early feel for them, and was pleased. Yesterday I put them to a stiffer test, because my physio session was cancelled due to staff sickness. Thus I decided that a long walk was in order (see the photos at the end of this post), and used it to give the new shoes their first real test. They passed with flying colours – my feet were aching by the end of the walk, but that was tiredness, not because the shoes had caused them any problems.

ENGLAND’S ASHES WOES

After a magnificent bowling effort yesterday, spearheaded by Jofra Archer (6-45) accounted for Australia for 179 (and that after they had been 136-2) England’s batters proceeded to throw away the good start, slumping to 67 all out, with only Joe Denly (12) making double figures. Broad has claimed an early wicket in Australia’s second innings, but given that short of rain of ‘ark building’ intensity a draw is now a virtual impossibility it has hard to see how England can keep their Ashes hopes alive. At minimum they need a superlative bowling effort after having had a mere 27.5 overs respite and then a jolly sight more application in their second innings to have a chance.

All of the problems in this innings (most of the wickets were given rather than being taken) are ones we have seen before. The following are the most obvious needs for this squad (and with the Ashes likely gone the last two tests should be used for experimentation):

  1. An opening batter alongside Burns (Roy is not suited to this role in red ball cricket, though he may be able to handle no 3 if the openers see off the new ball). Absent anyone who has made a really commanding case I once again suggest the radical solution of dropping Tammy Beaumont a line and seeing if she is up for having a go alongside the men (I first suggested this about a year ago).
  2. Roy or Stokes (if you fancy a calculated gamble) at no 3, to enable…
  3. Root to revert to no 4 where he really belongs.
  4. Ollie Pope in at no 5 to stiffen up the middle order (he is fresh off the back of a double century, and has a first class average of almost 60).
  5. Stokes down a place to no 6 if you don’t put him at no 3, otherwise Ben Foakes to bat here as keeper
  6. If Stokes is at no 6, then Foakes bats 7, otherwise Roy (if deep batting is needed) or Lewis Gregory (if you want five genuine bowlers possibly with Stokes as 6th).
  7. No change needed at nos 8-11 – the bowlers acquitted themselves well, though Sam Curran has to be considered, and a second spinner (for my money either Matthew Parkinson or Helen Fenby depending on how radical you are prepared to be) should be in the squad.

Thus my 13 for the 4th match would be: Burns, Beaumont, Stokes, *Root, Pope, +Foakes, Roy, Woakes, Archer, Broad, Leach, Gregory, Fenby, with the first 11 names listed likely to play unless conditions warrant Gregory for Roy or Fenby for Roy if two spinners are warranted. As for Denly, he has had too many nearly innings, most of them given away by ill-judged shots and has to go. Australia’s new opener Harris has just fallen to Jack Leach making Australia 36-2. Eight more wickets and then some much better batting now the requirement.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

P1260538 (2)P1260539 (2)P1260540 (2)P1260541 (2)P1260545 (2)P1260546 (2)P1260547 (2)P1260547 (3)P1260548 (2)P1260550 (2)

P1260550 (3)
I have noticed huges numbers of flies that mimic wasps in King’s Lynn this year, including a numnber that I photographed yesterday.

P1260551 (2)P1260552 (2)P1260552 (3)P1260553 (2)P1260553 (3)P1260554 (2)P1260554 (3)P1260555 (2)P1260556 (2)P1260557 (2)P1260558 (2)P1260558 (3)P1260559 (2)P1260559 (3)P1260560 (2)P1260560 (3)P1260561 (2)P1260562 (2)P1260563 (2)P1260564 (2)P1260565 (2)P1260566 (2)P1260571 (2)

P1260573 (2)
A swallow captured in flight…
P1260573 (3)
…and cropped much closer

P1260574 (2)P1260576 (2)P1260578 (2)P1260579 (2)P1260580 (2)P1260581 (2)P1260582 (2)P1260583 (2)P1260584 (2)P1260585 (2)P1260586 (2)P1260587 (2)P1260588 (2)P1260589 (2)P1260590 (2)P1260591 (2)

 

An Outing – Binham and Holt

An account of an outing yesterday, with huge numbers of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This was an outing arranged by my mother and my aunt which happened yesterday. Binham is a village about ten miles beyond the market town of Fakenham, Holt is a Georgian market town a little beyond Binham (more of this later). Binham is home a to an eponymous blue cheese, and also to the remains of a Benedictine priory (the same order who in the days when they were powerful controlled Ely, where the cathedral still stands). Holt as it is today is almost entirely the product of rebuilding after a huge fire in 1708 reduced the town to ruins, and as such is one the most noteworthy Georgian towns anywhere.

BINHAM PRIORY

Most of this section will be told by means of the photographs I took while at the priory, starting with some which give you some information about it:

P1260313 (2)P1260314 (2)P1260323 (2)P1260324 (2)P1260348 (2)P1260349 (2)P1260350 (2)P1260351 (2)P1260352 (2)P1260353 (2)P1260354 (2)P1260365 (2)P1260385 (2)P1260447 (2)P1260448 (2)P1260449 (2)P1260450 (2)

Just before moving on I will note that although this is an English Heritage site they do not charge for admission, clearly not reckoning they would take enough to justify paying someone to work there selling tickets.

INSIDE THE PARISH CHURCH

This is the only part of what was once a construction on an awesome scale that is still standing and usable – the rest was very determinedly destroyed in 1539 (not quite a match for Treebeard and the ents at Isengard, but a fairly thorough piece of destruction!). There are some very interesting exhibits within the church.

P1260327 (2)
Thisb door is not used – there is a side door for access to the inside of the church.

P1260328 (2)P1260329 (2)P1260330 (2)P1260331 (2)P1260332 (2)P1260333 (2)P1260334 (2)P1260335 (2)P1260336 (2)P1260336 (3)P1260337 (2)P1260338 (2)P1260339 (2)P1260340 (2)P1260341 (2)P1260342 (2)P1260343 (2)P1260344 (2)P1260345 (2)P1260346 (2)P1260347 (2)P1260355 (2)P1260356 (2)P1260357 (2)P1260358 (2)P1260359 (2)P1260360 (2)

P1260361 (2)
A splendid looking organ.

P1260362 (2)P1260363 (2)P1260364 (2)P1260366 (2)P1260367 (2)P1260368 (2)P1260370 (2)P1260371 (2)P1260372 (2)

P1260373 (2)
Several different styles of arch in one building.

P1260374 (2)P1260375 (2)P1260376 (2)P1260377 (2)P1260378 (2)P1260379 (2)P1260380 (2)P1260381 (2)P1260382 (2)P1260383 (2)P1260384 (2)P1260386 (2)

P1260389 (2)
Carvings on a bench (2)

P1260390 (2)

P1260391 (2)
the bench.

P1260393 (2)

THE RUINS

Outside the church there is a substantial area covered by ruins:

P1260312 (2)P1260315 (2)P1260316 (2)P1260317 (2)P1260325 (2)P1260394 (2)P1260395 (2)P1260396 (2)P1260397 (2)P1260398 (2)P1260399 (2)P1260400 (2)P1260401 (2)P1260402 (2)P1260403 (2)P1260404 (2)P1260405 (2)P1260406 (2)P1260407 (2)P1260408 (2)P1260409 (2)P1260410 (2)P1260411 (2)P1260412 (2)P1260413 (2)P1260414 (2)P1260415 (2)P1260416 (2)P1260417 (2)P1260418 (2)P1260420 (2)P1260421 (2)P1260422 (2)P1260423 (2)P1260424 (2)P1260425 (2)P1260426 (2)P1260427 (2)

P1260428 (2)
The brickwork at the top and bottom of this picture is reminiscent of genuine Byzantine churches in Southern Greece.

P1260429 (2)P1260430 (2)P1260431 (2)P1260432 (2)P1260433 (2)P1260434 (2)P1260435 (2)P1260437 (2)P1260438 (2)P1260439 (2)P1260440 (2)P1260441 (2)P1260442 (2)P1260443 (2)P1260444 (2)P1260445 (2)P1260446 (2)P1260451 (2)P1260452 (2)P1260453 (2)P1260454 (2)P1260455 (2)P1260456 (2)P1260457 (2)P1260458 (2)P1260459 (2)P1260460 (2)P1260461 (2)P1260462 (2)P1260463 (2)P1260464 (2)P1260465 (2)P1260505 (2)

LUNCH

Having finished at the priory and the shop selling local produce (including raw – i.e. unpasteurised – milk from the local cattle, not available in quantities of less than a litre, which since it only stays good for a maximum of four days is too much to be worth buying) we headed to the village pub for lunch.

P1260502 (2)P1260503 (2)

The first good sign at the pub was that it had three beers, two decent and one excellent, on tap. The food looked good as well, and while we were waiting for it to arrive there was what I chose to interpret as a further good sign, a delivery from a supplier based in nearby Fakenham. The food turned out to be excellent and we went on our way happy.

P1260464 (2)P1260465 (2)P1260466 (2)P1260467 (2)P1260468 (2)P1260469 (2)

P1260470 (2)
The village sign.
P1260471 (2)
The pub.

P1260472 (2)P1260474 (2)P1260474 (3)P1260475 (2)P1260476 (2)P1260477 (2)P1260477 (3)P1260478 (2)

P1260479 (2)
Two decent beers either side of one excellent one – a good start.
P1260480 (2)
A pint of Ghost Ship, a magnificent drink, especially if the weather is warm.

P1260481 (2)P1260482 (2)P1260483 (2)P1260484 (2)P1260485 (2)P1260486 (2)P1260487 (2)P1260488 (2)P1260489 (2)P1260490 (2)P1260491 (2)P1260492 (2)P1260493 (2)P1260494 (2)P1260495 (2)

HOLT

We did not spend long in Holt, a few minutes exploring and photographing, ending in the shoe shop, where I bought a pair of what looked like excellent walking shoes (more about them in a later post).

P1260509 (2)P1260510 (2)P1260511 (2)P1260512 (2)P1260513 (2)P1260514 (2)P1260515 (2)P1260516 (2)P1260517 (2)

P1260518 (2)
Buses going in opposite directions.
P1260519 (2)
Bakers & Larners – a survivor from a bygone age, an independent department store.

P1260520 (2)P1260521 (2)P1260521 (3)P1260522 (2)P1260524 (2)

P1260526 (2)
A tour bus.

P1260527 (2)P1260529 (2)

P1260531 (2)
A list of the Bakers of Bakers and Larners
P1260532 (2)
The pair of shoes – can you identify their many plus points from this picture (all will be revealed in my next post)?

Second Test Restrospective

Some thoughts on the second Ashes test at Lord’s and a lot of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The weather-hit second Ashes test at Lord’s ended yesterday evening, with Australia undoubtedly the happier of two sides to come away with a draw. This post contains my thoughts on the match and today’s announcement of an unchanged England squad for the third test, which gets underway on Thursday.

A GREAT TEST MATCH

A third of this match was lost to the weather and yet it was not far away from providing a definite result even so. England scored 258 in the first innings, Burns and Bairstow making fifites, and Denly producing a classic “Vince” – a well compiled 30. England bowled well to claim a slender first innings lead. Jofra Archer struck Smith a blow to the head, from which he briefly resumed, before getting out for 92 (progress for England after he had scored twin tons in the first test match). Smith did not take the field for England’s second innings and his place in the batting order was taken under the concussion rule by Manus Labuschagne. England did not start well – Roy and Root (who does not look to be relishing the no3 slot) both fell cheaply, Denly had a second “Vince” of the match, 26 this time round, and Burns fell for a gritty 29. However, Stokes in the company of first Buttler and then Bairstow dug England out of a hole and then propelled them to a declaration, being on 116 not out when England declared to set Australia 267 off 48 overs (a little overcautious – surely the declaration should have coincided with Stokes reaching the hundred). Archer was electrifying with the ball on this final afternoon and evening and Leach confirmed the rightness of selecting him as first spinner by taking three cheap wickets and comfortably outbowling Lyon, an absolute reversal of what happened with Moeen Ali in the first test match. Australia finished on 154-6 when Aleem Dar called time with three balls left in the match and four Aussie wickets standing (evidently he felt there was no chance of someone being stumped off a wide, then followed by a hat trick to finish it – and I can’t argue with that). A combination of overcaution on England’s part and the fact that, good is he is, Leach is no Underwood saw to it that the impossible did not quite come to pass, but this was still the second best match to take place at Lord’s this season.

England’s huge improvement in this match should not mask the fact that several problems remain in their line up. I am going to run down the list player by player with my thoughts (click on the player name to view their cricinfo details:

  1. Rory Burns – his fighting efforts in both innings here, following his Edgbaston ton confirm that he has arrived at the highest level, meaning that there is now only one problem in the opening slots.
  2. Jason RoyI believe that it is right for England to persevere with him, but I do not see him as a test match opener – no3 or 4 is more like it. Both his dismissals in this match were down to bad batting and not good bowling.
  3. Joe Rootit was right for England to move him up to no3, and such moves should be given a fair trial, but I for one will not surprised to see him back at no4 before too long.
  4. Joe Denlybatted decently for a time in both innings but then got out (again his wickets were given rather than being taken, in both innings). If he has a longish term future at test level (bear in mind that he is already 32, ) I think it more likely to be as opener than no 4, however he would not be part of my long term plans.
  5. Ben Stokeshis second innings century was a quite magnificent knock, starting cautiously, with England in trouble and then opening out as prospects of defeat faded. If England can accept that at test level he is not a front-line bowler, but rather someone who may bowl a few overs here or there I could see him batting higher up the order – he is technically excellent and has a full range of scoring shots at his disposal. Only Root in the current squad is definitely ahead of him on batting ability.
  6. Jos Buttler he played well in the second innings, when England badly needed it.
  7. Jonny Bairstow – He had his best test match with the bat in some time, and there were no huge howlers behind the stumps. I still rate Foakes ahead of him in both departments, but his return to form is welcome.
  8. Chris Woakes – bowled well, and made a solid effort with the bat in the first innings.
  9. Jofra Archera magnificent test debut, he was electrifying with the ball in his hand. He has taken to test cricket the way ducks took to 1990s England scorecards!
  10. Stuart Broad – In the absence of Anderson (likely to be out for the series) he is leading the bowling attack, and his performance in this match was one of which he can be proud.
  11. Jack LeachHe bowled well in this match, with his three second innings wickets being less than his bowling merited. As mentioned earlier he outbowled Lyon in this game, confirming along the way his status as England’s no 1 spinner.

England still have to find a second opener alongside Burns (Dominic Sibley has to be considered, there is still time to try my ultra-radical solution and as another outside bet, young George Bartlett of Somerset has had a fine season, plays fast bowling well and is better suited to long form cricket than limited overs stuff), unless Root starts delivering from there soon no 3 also remains a problem. There is also the question (and in the not distant future England will be playing somewhere where such a bowling attack is mandatory) of who will be second spinner (depending on how radical you are prepared to be I suggest either Matthew Parkinson, or for an attempt at a ‘mystery bowler’ option Helen Fenby). I would like to see Sam Curran and Lewis Gregory accommodated somehow as well. However, unquestionably after this performance England are looking in better shape than they were a few days ago.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual  sign off…

P1260150 (2)P1260151 (2)P1260152 (2)

P1260153 (2)
Pictures from yesterday’s walk

P1260153 (3)P1260154 (2)P1260154 (3)P1260154 (4)P1260154 (5)P1260155 (2)P1260156 (2)P1260157 (2)P1260159 (2)P1260162 (2)

P1260163 (2)
Information board near the station
P1260164 (2)
My bungalow is just off the northern edge of this map.

P1260165 (2)P1260166 (2)P1260167 (2)P1260168 (2)P1260169 (2)P1260171 (2)P1260172 (2)P1260173 (2)P1260174 (2)P1260175 (2)P1260176 (2)P1260178 (2)P1260179 (2)

P1260179 (3)
The las pic from yesterday’s walk.
P1260183 (2)
Pictures from today’s walk, which as you will see was longer.

P1260184 (2)P1260185 (2)P1260186 (2)P1260188 (2)P1260189 (2)

P1260190 (2)
I got to “Cormorant Platform”, the first time I have done so since becoming ill.

P1260191 (2)P1260192 (2)P1260193 (2)P1260194 (2)P1260195 (2)P1260196 (2)P1260197 (2)P1260198 (2)P1260199 (2)P1260200 (2)P1260201 (2)P1260202 (2)P1260202 (3)P1260202 (4)P1260202 (5)

P1260203 (2)
The South Gate

P1260206 (2)P1260207 (2)P1260210 (2)

P1260211 (2)
I think that this white bird is a breed of goose (it is too large to be a duck and both too solid and not long enough in the neck to be a swan).

P1260212 (2)P1260213 (2)P1260214 (2)P1260217 (2)P1260218 (2)P1260219 (2)

Two Developments

An account of two staging posts on my journey back to health and fitness, plus a few links and plenty of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post details a couple of staging posts on my recovery from the cancer that almost killed me at the back end of last year that occurred on Thursday and yesterday respectively. I end this introduction with a mini-challenge – below is a photograph of mine with all the colour removed – can you identify the butterfly in it? (answer located in the photographs at the end of this piece).

P1260136 (5)

THURSDAY: THE SIGNATURE DISH

Due to my illness and the fact that this requires over an hour of cooking time I had not done it in about a year, but, emboldened by my all-clear on Monday and generally improving state of health I had resolved to try it. I obtained most of the necessary ingredients by way of an online Sainsbury’s shop, delivery arranged for 3-4PM on Thursday. However, I realized that I had forgotten to order lemons and went across the road to the local shop to buy them (annoyingly they came packaged in plastic – ugh!!). I could simply refer you to my first ever blog post and leave it at that, but I am going to describe the process as it occurred.

Just after 5PM I squeezed the lemons (four of them), assembled my extra flavourings (two teaspoons ground cumin, one tea spoon ground coriander, one and a half teaspoons salt), and measured out 150mls of water. Then I prepared the ginger paste by chopping half a ginger root into chunks, adding a little water and whizzing them in my mini-blender until the mixture was paste-like. After that I started cooking the chicken thigh fillets in the pot I would be assembling everything in for the final stage (a minor irritation – there were five of them, when six what have been a much better number). While the chicken was cooking I chopped the stalks off the fresh coriander (a 100g bunch) and then chopped half a head of garlic as small as I could manage. Once the chicken was golden on both sides I placed it in a bowl and covered that bowl with a plate. Then I put the garlic in the pot and stirred it while it cooked for a minute, before adding the ginger paste and stirring the mixture together. Then I added the fresh coriander and extra flavourings to the mix, stirring it all together for about another minute before adding the chicken and associated liquid from the bowl. Then I added the lemon juice and water, and stirred again. At this point I turned the heat up for long enough to get the mixture bubbling, turned it down again and put the lid on the pot. I then left it for 15 minutes to pick up flavour (my evening carer arrived at this point and was impressed by my efforts). A quick taste of the mixture confirmed that I had not lost my touch, and I then started the water boiling for the pasta accompaniment (the original recipe from which I created my version stipulates rice as the accompaniment, but it works at least as well with pasta and the latter is easier to cook). Once the pasta was cooked it was ready to eat, and I served myself two of the thigh fillets, and spooned a decent quantity of the juices over my pasta. It was an excellent supper, and I shall eat the rest of it tonight.

SATURDAY – TO TOWN AND
BACK UNDER MY OWN STEAM

I had arranged to have lunch in town with my aunt, and had decided to use the occasion to test out my improved health by walking there (and, I hoped, back). We had arranged to meet up at 1PM outside the Lynn Restaurant. My music session (at the Discovery Centre, which from the point of view of the walk to town is effectively the same as starting from my bungalow) ended at 12:15PM, which left me 45 minutes to reach my destination, and I had some library books with me – my plan was to take a view at the train station as to whether to divert to the library to return them or take the more direct route to my destination. When I checked the time at the station there were 20 minutes remaining, which was enough for a quick call at the library to return the books. I duly arrived outside the Lynn restaurant dead on 1PM. My aunt suggested a new restaurant which had opened up where Top Shop used to be, but when we got there it turned out that we would have a long wait for our food, so we reverted to the Lynn Restaurant. The meal was excellent, and at the end of it I felt strong enough to make the return journey on foot, and again went by way of the library to take some more books out.

I was very tired by the time I arrived home, but for the first time since becoming ill I had walked to and from the Town centre unassisted.

CODA: THIS MORNING

This morning once my carer had called I went out for a walk, and emboldened by yesterday, I went to The Walks, heading as far as the Vancouver Garden, where the bandstand is located, before returning by a different route – taking the path the St John’s Walk, and then heading along Tennyson Avenue, crossing the main road at the lights and taking a cut through to Columbia Way that I have known for some time although not used in a while – it involves several short sections of firm but unsurfaced road which can be traversed in one by a pedestrian but not by a motorist.

LINKS AND PHOTOGRAPHS

I have a few links to share before we get to my usual sign off:

Now for my usual sign off…

P1260119 (2)
Four shots from music

P1260120 (2)P1260122 (2)P1260123 (2)P1260124 (2)

P1260125 (2)
Three shots from the new restaurant.

P1260125P1260126 (2)

P1260127 (2)
Four shots from the Lynn Restaurant

P1260128 (2)

P1260129 (2)
The door to the hobbit quarters!

P1260131 (2)P1260134 (2)P1260135 (2)P1260136 (2)P1260136 (3)

P1260136 (4)
The butterfly featured in the intorduction to this post – a red admiral.

P1260137 (2)P1260138 (2)

P1260139 (2)
A painted lady.

P1260140 (2)P1260141 (2)P1260143 (2)P1260144 (2)P1260145 (2)P1260146 (2)

P1260149 (2)
When the sun catches them at the right angle the feathers on a magpie’s back look blue rather than black.

Cricket, Petitions and Photographs

Some thoughts about the early stages of the 2nd Ashes test at Lord’s, two petitions and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This is mainly a sharing approach, but I have some comments about the test match that has finally gotten underway a day late as well.

BURNS CONTINUES TO ANSWER CRITICS

What should have been day 1 of the second Ashes test at Lord’s was yesterday washed away without the toss even taking place (such are the vagaries of English late summer weather!) but today we have action. Australia won the toss and decided to field (a decision on the borderline between confident and arrogant, based on attempting to bat only once in between two England innings). England a currently 112-3, Jason Roy having fallen to the third ball of the match, Joe Root having also fallen cheaply and Denly having done a “Vince” with a nicely made 30. Rory Burns is still there, currently 53 not out, with Buttler at the other end. This is an impressive follow-up to his first innings ton at Edgbaston after commentators had been unanimous in not thinking him worth persevering with. Having supported him all the way through since I first mentioned him when the Cook/ Jennings pairing was due to split due to continuous failings by the latter and impending (now confirmed) retirement by the former, I am especially pleased that he has picked an Ashes series to announced his arrival at this level (not quite on a par with the great opener who shares my surname, whose first four Ashes knocks were 59, 115, 176 and 127 – in two matches that England lost). Burns has just gone as I write this, but it is still a fine effort by him. England are now 116-4, and need a big partnership. Stokes has joined Buttler, with Bairstow, Woakes, Archer, Broad and Leach to come (I suspect that Leach, given his recent batting at Lord’s may get a promotion from his official no 11 slot, but we shall see). Only one team has ever come back from losing the first two matches to win a five match series, Don Bradmans 1936-7 Aussies, when the captain himself scored 270, 212 and 169 in those last three matches, so a collapse now would be doubly bad news (the 1894-5 Aussies levelled at 2-2 after losing the first two, but then Andrew Stoddart’s England rallied to win the decider and take the series).

PETITIONS

I have two petitions to share here:

1. A company called Adani are seeking to build a huge and very dirty coalmine near the Great Barrier Reef. Sum Of Us have a petition up and running about this atrocity and I urge you to sign and share it by clicking the screenshot below.

AIG

2. My second petition is open only to UK based signatories. The grouse shooting season, a source of shame to most of us Brits who do not participate in it, is underway, and a petition is running (and has already attracted over 40,000 signatures) to ban the practice. Please sign and share, clicking the screenshot below:

BDG

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

P1260010 (2)P1260010 (3)P1260011 (2)P1260012 (2)P1260013 (2)P1260014 (2)

P1260015 (2)
More shots from my favourite place for observing butterflies

P1260016 (2)P1260017 (2)P1260018 (2)P1260019 (2)P1260020 (2)P1260021 (2)P1260022 (2)P1260023 (2)P1260024 (2)P1260025 (2)P1260026 (2)P1260027 (2)P1260028 (2)P1260028 (3)P1260032 (2)P1260033 (2)P1260034 (2)P1260035 (2)P1260036 (2)

P1260037 (2)
These last shots were taken before and after physio at Tapping House today.

P1260038 (2)P1260040 (2)P1260042 (2)P1260043 (2)P1260044 (2)P1260045 (2)P1260046 (2)P1260049 (2)P1260050 (2)P1260051 (2)P1260052 (2)P1260053 (2)P1260054 (2)

The Big C: My Story

A brief account of the last 10 months, having reached a major turning point in the story of my illness and recovery.

INTRODUCTION

This post appears at this time due to news that I received yesterday, which while not entirely unexpected was nevertheless excellent to receive. We start with a…

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

This is a story that has been ten months unfolding, the key dates being (as far as I can remember them):

  • October 5th 2018 – Early return from work due to illness.
  • October 6th 2018 – Trip to Godalming to visit my mother and see the town cancelled due to illness.
  • October 8th 2018 – Hospitalized, so weakened that a saline drip was needed to get me from the flat I was living in (two outside staircases, one of them spiral, from street level) to a waiting ambulance.
  • October 9th-11th 2018 – Investigations reveal that the mystery illness is in fact stage 4 testicular cancer and that there are a number of metastases, including large tumours attacking both lungs (the brain and spleen are also host to smaller tumours).
  • October 12th 2018 – Bluelighted to Addenbrookes just in time to save me from an operation that had it been performed at that time would probably have seen the end of my life.
  • October – December 2018 – Once stabilized there follows a seven week period of intensive chemotherapy to deal with the tumours.
  • December 9th – discharge from Addenbrookes, arrive at new bungalow in North Lynn to begin recuperation.
  • December – January – in and out of Addenbrookes for various reasons, including an internal bleed caused by blood thinners working too effectively.
  • February – March 2019 – a couple of admissions to QEH for breathing difficulties (the second certainly brought on by anxiety)
  • April – July 2019 – A period of consistent improvement, assisted by regular physio sessions at The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, leading to:
  • July 12th 2019 – At Addenbrookes for operation to remove the testicle that was the cause of all the trouble.
  • August 1 2019 – New physio sessions at Tapping House start.
  • August 5 2019 – CT Scan at Addenbrookes, although due to my veins not co-operating (six failed attempts) they cannot inject the usual contrast medium.
  • August 9th 2019 – appointment with clinical psychologist Dr Amy Daglish at QEH, leading to the arrangement of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions which will start at end of August.
  • August 12th 2019 – appointment with Dr Danish Mazhar at Addenbrookes. Brings the hoped for and almost expected news that I am officially clear of cancer. My next appointment is two months away, and they will be steadily decreasing in frequency, although I will continue to be checked on for the next 10 years. On the way home I arrange to visit NAS West Norfolk’s allotment in West Lynn, where a sensory path is being laid that afternoon.

SHOUT OUTS

Another bulleted list as I do not wish to give these an official ranking order:

  • All the staff at Addenbrookes who were part of my recovery from oncology consultants Dr Danish Mazhar and Dr Han Wong through all the nurses I encountered to all the wonderful support staff who helped at various times. Also and overarching this to that great institution that made it all possible – The NHS.
  • My family, who have been incredibly supportive through all this.
  • NAS West Norfolk who have been incredible throughout this very difficult period. The comments in response to the announcement on their facebook pages of my ‘all clear’ have been amazing to read. It will not be too long now before you have a fully functioning branch secretary again.
  • James and Sons of Fakenham who have kept my job open for me through all this time – I expect to return to work in the spring of next year (given the damage to my lungs returning to that workplace during the winter months seems not to be sensible).
  • Various of my fellow bloggers who have been very supportive through these months (you all know who you are!).

For pretty much the first time since becoming ill I now look to the future with confidence rather than mere hope.

PHOTOGRAPHS

First up, I have just sent an email to the Independent Living Group asking them to include some of my photographs in their Disability Pride Digital Photography exhibition. As well as a link to this blog in the body of the email I attached 10 photographs, one my desktop background image, taken in Cornwall last year, and the other nine recent shots for reasons that should be obvious to anyone reading this post:

Carbis Bay II
The desktoip background image

P1250638 (2)P1250711 (2)P1250762 (2)P1250793 (4)P1250814 (2)P1250864 (2)P1250932 (2)P1250934 (2)P1260009 (2)

Here are some shots from the allotment area:

P1250979 (2)
A large and colourful fly.

P1250980 (2)P1250981 (2)P1250982 (2)P1250983 (2)

P1250984 (2)
Red Admiral and bee enjoying same plant.

P1250987 (2)P1250987 (3)P1250988 (2)P1250989 (2)P1250990 (2)P1250991 (2)P1250992 (2)P1250993 (2)P1250994 (2)P1250995 (2)P1250996 (2)P1250998 (2)P1250999 (2)P1260001 (2)P1260003 (2)P1260004 (2)P1260005 (2)P1260006 (2)

The remainder of my pictures…

P1250951 (2)

P1250952 (2)
Some shots from the new music sessions, which started at the discovery centre this saturday.

P1250953 (2)P1250954 (2)P1250955 (2)P1250956 (2)P1250957 (2)P1250958 (2)P1250959 (2)P1250960 (2)P1250961 (2)P1250962 (2)P1250963 (2)

P1250964 (2)
A ridiculously extended car seen from my window on Saturday.

P1250966 (2)P1250968 (2)P1250969 (2)P1250970 (2)P1250971 (2)P1250972 (2)P1250973 (2)P1250974 (2)P1250975 (2)P1250976 (2)P1250977 (2)

P1250978 (2)
A map of Addenbrookes, on the back of a leaflet which had been discarded carelessly on the ground floor of the carpark, and which I picked up rather than leave lying around.
P1260009 (2)
A beautiful Red Admiral.

Some Thoughts On The England Squad For Lord’s

Some thoughts on the England squad for the second Ashes test at Lord’s and lots of photos, along with an invitation for calendar nominations.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I look at the England squad announced for the second Ashes test at Lord’s, which starts on Wednesday.  There are also of course plenty of photographs for you to enjoy.

THE SQUAD

The squad, as shown at the end of a cricinfo article introducing it is as shown below:

Eng Squad
There is much that I agree with in this squad, but also some things I am not happy about…

MY THOUGHTS ON THE SQUAD

Archer had to come in, especially with Anderson and Stone both injured. I am not happy about the continuing presence of Broad and Denly, although if the latter is put in as Burns‘ opening partner that looks better than playing Roy right at the top of the order. In place of Broad I would have Lewis Gregory, whose ability to swing the ball and all-round skills fill some of the hole left by James Anderson, while his all-rounder status means that he cannot be considered as that impossible thing, a “like-for-like” replacement for Anderson. I would not feature either Buttler or Bairstow (the proverbial gun to the head proposition would see me select Buttler at test level) preferring Foakes as keeper and wanting a second genuine spin option, one of the following:

  1. Matthew Parkinson, the young Lancashire legspinner (even though as a batter he is as the old saying puts it “the ferret who follows the rabbits”).
  2. Dominic Bess, Leach’s regular spinning partner at “Ciderabad” aka Taunton.
  3. Amar Virdi, who recently took 14 wickets in a match for Surrey.
  4. Helen Fenby – her action took all the commentators by surprise the other day (and brought her four cheap wickets) – perhaps it will have the same effect on Steve Smith (surely something can unsettle him).

Still, the selectors have at least done the bare minimum that they had to after the Edgbaston debacle – jettison Moeen Ali.

PHOTOGRAPHS

As a lead in to my usual sign off, here is a graphic that I got from British Nature Guide by way of their twitter account, which I follow:

Butterflies

Now for my usual sign off…

P1250762 (2)
This is making its second appearance – I misidentified it first time round as being a type of painted lady, it is actually a “Comma”

P1250891 (2)P1250892 (2)P1250893 (2)P1250894 (2)

P1250895 (2)
What I did in yesterday’s physio session.

P1250896 (2)P1250897 (2)P1250898 (2)P1250900 (2)P1250901 (2)

P1250902 (2)
From now on, use the graphic (and better, follow the link to the website) to identify the butterlfies.

P1250903 (2)P1250904 (2)P1250905 (2)P1250906 (2)P1250907 (2)P1250908 (2)P1250909 (2)P1250910 (2)P1250911 (2)P1250912 (2)P1250913 (2)P1250915 (2)

P1250916 (2)
I invite commneters to naminate pictures they particuarly like for the aspi.blog 2020 Wall Calendar.

P1250916P1250917 (2)P1250918 (2)P1250919 (2)P1250920 (2)P1250921 (2)P1250922 (2)P1250923 (2)

P1250929 (3)
An azure damselfly in flight…
P1250929 (2)
…and a c,lose-up view extracted from the same original.
P1250930 (2)
These two pictures suggest that the butterflies are not done yet!

P1250931 (2)

P1250932 (2)
The next four pictures featyure some species of dragonfly – I have not been able to identify which

P1250933 (2)P1250934 (2)P1250935 (2)P1250937 (2)P1250939 (2)P1250940 (2)

P1250941 (2)
Appropriately enough for Norfolk, this is a ‘Red Admiral’ .

P1250942 (2)P1250943 (2)P1250944 (2)P1250945 (2)P1250946 (2)P1250947 (2)P1250948 (2)P1250949 (2)P1250950 (2)P1250950