A special post to celebrate my 48th birthday.

This post looks at the number 48 for reasons which will become apparent.


48 has the most factors of any number under 50, nine other than itself (24, 16, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1). It is therefore an ‘abundant number’ – abundant numbers are those whose factors add up to more than the number itself, while deficient numbers have factors that add up to less than the number itself, and perfect numbers have factors that add up to exactly that number. In the case of 48 its factors add up to 76, giving it an abundance of 1.583.

48 squared is 2,304, and 2*3!*4+0 = 48, while 48 cubed is 110,592, and ((11+0)*5)-(9-2) = 48.


As a cricket fan I look at occurrences of the number 48 in the game. In 1907 Colin Blythe, Kent’s left arm spinner of the era, conceded just 48 runs while claiming 17 Northamptonshire wickets in one single day’s play. This is the cheapest ever match haul of 17 wickets, and the joint most ever taken in a day in first class cricket.

In the 1925 first class season Nottinghamshire skipper Arthur Carr hit 48 sixes. The following season he would captain England in the first four matches of the Ashes series, before Percy Chapman was brought in as skipper for the last match of the series.

In 1896, WG Grace scored 301 against Sussex at the age of 48, still the oldest ever first class triple centurion.

In the ‘Jubilee Match’ early in 1980 Ian Botham claimed 7-48 in India’s second innings, noteworthy as he had already taken 6-58 and scored 114*, the first man to combine a century and a ten wicket match haul at test level, although a few months earlier Enid Bakewell had achieved the same feat for England Women against West Indies Women.

At Edgbaston in 1981 against Australia England captain Mike Brearley managed the highest individual score of the match with 48 in England’s first innings. This was the first completed test match since 1935 to not feature an individual half century. Australia had the better of most of it, but then collapsed from 87-3 to 121 all out in the final innings to lose by 29 runs.

Why I have I produced a post the text part of which focuses on the number 48? Because today is my 48th birthday.


I have decided to select a single image with which to end this post…

An Epic Backlog of Images

Some hints of what is to come on this blog when I have edited all the pictures I have from my holiday in the Lake District.

After yesterday’s boat trips around Windermere and today’s visits to Brockholes, Grasmere (“The Grasmere Grudge” for my fellow Tope fans) and Keswick (where in Tope’s lake mysteries series main protagonists Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown’s other half Christopher Henderson works as an auctioneer) I have a huge number of images to edit and prep for showing on this blog. However, I though this was a good moment to signpost some of the many forthcoming posts about this holiday.


Ambleside is a fine little town in its own right, and since every trip starts with a walk to some part of Ambleside or other (my parents car has remained parked just below the cottage in which we are staying since our arrival on Saturday and will do so until Thursday morning when my journey home begins) opportunities for taking photographs in and around Ambleside have abounded.


The atrocious behaviour of the local water company notwithstanding (they have been polluting Windermere by pumping raw sewage into it) Windermere remains very scenic, and the boat trips I have taken have been exceedingly enjoyable.


Windermere is home to a considerable quantity of birdlife (I have am not close to editing all my bird images yet), and I have managed to capture a not entirely insignificant fraction of it.


For very obvious reasons there are tight speed limits on Windermere, but nonetheless a considerable variety of watercraft make use of it.


One of the boat drop of points for the big Windermere Cruise is called Lakeside, and is one terminus of a heritage railway which follows the line of Windermere’s exit river towards the Irish sea. It travels a short distance to a place called Haverthwaite, and then back to get another boat onwards, and is a fun little journey.


The last place for which I have any edited images is Castle Wray, which I captured from afar a number of times before we actually landed at it’s boathouse on Monday evening. The close pictures are among the unedited at the moment. It is not a real castle – it was built in the 1840s for a wealthy doctor.

Lake District – Getting There

Setting the scene for a series of posts about a short holiday I am enjoying in Ambleside by describing the journey there.

Welcome to what will be the first of a series of posts about a short holiday I am taking in the Lake District. My parents and I are staying in a small cottage above the town of Ambleside (for fans of Rebecca Tope think “The Ambleside Alibi”). This post sets the scene by describing my journey from King’s Lynn to Ambleside.


I left my bungalow, situated just north of King’s Lynn, at 9:00 yesterday morning as I had planned to do. This meant that I got to the train station with time to spare before my train, the 09:42 to Cambridge (something must have been happening south of Cambridge as the service usually runs through to London). The train set off exactly when it was supposed to and chugged into Ely at 10:15AM.


The second and longest section of my train odyssey was part of a long cross country route (the full route is Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street). The train on this route consists of two carriages and there are no reserved seats. Fortunately, although it was pretty full at times it was never seriously close to ‘sardine can on wheels’ territory. I had some familiarity with the route as far as Sheffield, but beyond Sheffield was all new to me.


The third leg of the journey took me into the heart of Lancashire, the the county town of Preston. This route had some features of interest, and for the third time out of three on the day it ran according to schedule. Given that the final leg of my rail journey was in the incapable hands of Avanti I did not expect to make it four out of four.


The final section of my rail journey took me into the heart of the Lake District. I should have got into Oxenholme at 16:09, but the train for this last section was running 20 minutes late (which probably counts as punctual by Avanti’s unique standards). It was scenic, but I could not capture any of it with my camera because the “window” seat that I had reserved turned out to give me access to about 10% of said window, so I could see things, but not focus the camera on them. I got pictures from most of the rest of the route.


After a minor confusion at Oxenholme, where my parents were collecting me in their car, having made their own way up from Cornwall, we found our way to the location given for our cottage, but the cottage was so well concealed that it took several attempts to actually locate it. There then turned out to be a few other problems with it – my parents bedroom contains a nasty hazard in that the bedroom door leads straight on to the staircase. I will go into more detail about Ambleside in my next post.


My usual sign off…

From Old Computer to New Computer via Even Older Computer

An account of changing computers by way of explaining a few days of not blogging.

I am finally able to blog again after a few days without a computer on which I could do so. This post describes the trials and tribulations of the last few days.


My old computer gave warning signs of trouble on Sunday, and on Monday morning it became very obvious that it was no longer usable. As a temporary measure to maintain some degree of connectivity I dug my even older computer out, and fortunately it proved still just about usable, although I could not do much on it. On Wednesday morning I went to PC World to check out new computers and find one that would do what I needed and was not too extortionately priced (my mother was willing to cover the cost, for which I am very grateful. My local PC World is on an industrial estate just to the south of King’s Lynn proper, while I live just to the north of King Lynn’s proper. This gave me, as a non-driver, two options: two buses, into and then out of town, or a longish walk. It being spring, and the weather actually being springlike I opted without hesitation for the latter. I found a suitable machine at a not extortionate price and made the necessary arrangements, and left it with the store for them to set it up for me, which they said would take a couple of days. Today, wanting the machine in my possession for my upcoming trip to the lake district I went back to PC World to collect, and eventually was able to do so.


I connected to my new computer, while keeping the very old one connected as well for a few moments in case I needed to check emails on it to access my email account from the new device. Once I was sure I would not need to use it further I returned to it is old resting place in case of emergency. The photo editing software on the new machine is somewhat different from that on the old machine and I am still coming to terms with it.


The photographs in this section were edited on three different machines – my very old laptop, a computer at King’s Lynn library and my new laptop…

The above were edited on my very old laptop…

Some of the images I have edited on my new laptop…

The third section of the gallery are the pictures I edited at the library on Monday.

Glamorgan’s Record Breaking Resistance Act

A look at a resistance act by Glamorgan that has rewritten the first class record books and a substantial photo gallery.

As the 2023 County Championship heads towards a break for the Vitality Blast (which kicked off yesterday, overlapping with this round of matches), the match between Sussex and Glamorgan is heading towards a draw, but today’s action has seen several Glamorgan records go and one all time first class record. The Glamorgan innings is still ongoing at the moment.


Kiran Carlson was sixth out, having reached a career best 192, and when Chris Cooke also fell in the morning session it looked like Sussex would have a gettable target. However, Michael Neser and Timm van der Gugten saw Glamorgan through to lunch with no further loss.


It has been since lunch that the assault on the record books has been happening, spearheaded by Neser, supported first by Van der Gugten, then by James Harris and now by number 11 Jamie McIlroy. As I write this Neser has completed his maiden Glamorgan century and brought Glamorgan’s score past 700. The first class record came when Glamorgan reached 675, 552 more than the first innings score, relegating Barbados (175 and 726-7), Middlesex (83 and 634) and Pakistan (106 and 657-8) to joint second in this category with a 551 differential, though Pakistan still hold the test record, theirs having happened against West Indies. Glamorgan have beaten their previous record against Sussex, though their overall record, against Leicestershire last season is probably out of their reach at 795. There are some mitigating factors for Sussex – Ollie Robinson has an ankle problem and has not been on the field during this innings, and regular skipper Pujara has a stiff neck and is likewise off the field, Tom Alsop leading the side in his absence. Nonetheless, Glamorgan’s response to facing a deficit of 358 on first innings has been utterly extraordinary. Sussex will be recording a fifth successive draw after coach Farbrace had said they would always go for a win.


My usual sign off…

Surrey and Somerset Record big Wins

A look at the victories recorded by Surrey and Somerset today and a splendid photo gallery.

The county championship is heading towards its break for the Vitality Blast, and all though today is only day three of four a lot of matches have reached their conclusions. This post looks at two that I followed on the radio.


Kent went into day three at The Oval trailing by three runs with six second innings wickets standing. Both overnight batters fell quickly, both to Tom Lawes who claimed his third and fourth wickets of the innings. Kent were still in arrears at that point. Lawes completed a maiden first class five-wicket haul with the seventh wicket of the innings. Sean Abbott claimed the eighth wicket of the innings, and Jordan Clark snapped up the last two. Kent had mustered a paltry 141, leaving Surrey needing 58 to win. Burns and Sibley saw Surrey home by ten wickets, just before the scheduled lunch interval. Surrey look wellnigh unstoppable – they were not by any means at their best this match and they still won it by 10 wickets.


Somerset came to Lord’s having not won any of their last six matches. Midway through day three of their encounter with Middlesex they had ended that unhappy sequence in some style, routing their opponents by an innings and 13 runs. Craig Overton claimed five second innings wickets, while the rout was completed by Jack Leach. Middlesex now look absolute certainties to be relegated back to division two. I am now following the action between Sussex and Glamorgan. Sussex had an enormous first innings lead (over 350), but Glamorgan are back in credit with only three wickets down, Labuschagne and Carlson in a partnership that is closing on the 3o0 mark. Carlson has had a curious season – this is his third century of it and all of his other innings have been under 20.


I have a splendid gallery for you…

A First Innings Lead In Unorthodox Fashion

A look at the events in Surrey v Kent, particularly the transformation wrought by the Surrey lower order, plus a huge photo gallery.

In this last round of championship fixtures before a break for the Vitality Blast T20 tournament Surrey are playing neighbours Kent, and day two is entering its closing stages. Surrey are about where they would want to be, but not in the way they would have expected.


Kent had been restricted to 278 in the first innings, and when Surrey reached the 100 with only one wicket gone things seemed to be going well for them, but then Kent had their best period of the game, and by the time Surrey reached 200 they were six wickets down. With a seventh wicket falling not very long after the 200 was reached Kent may have expected a significant advantage, especially with number eight Sean Abbott being Surrey’s senior remaining batter. However, Surrey moved close to parity in a stand between Abbott and Tom Lawes, and then surged clear as Abbott and Gus Atkinson cut loose. Abbott was ninth out for 78, and then with last man Daniel Worrall at the other end, Atkinson blasted three sixes in the space of a single over to complete a 42 ball half century. Surrey had tallied 362 for a first innings lead of 84. Kent are currently 20-0 in their second innings, but Crawley has already enjoyed one moment of good fortune – a massive lash out drive at the second ball of the innings met fresh air – had there been a fraction of contact then, as has happened so often in Crawley’s career the slips would have been in business. The other opener, Ben Compton, has just gone as I type this, caught by Pope after Will Jacks missed it but fortunately sent it upwards, enabling Pope to atone for the mistake. Surrey thus lead by 64 with Kent having nine second innings wickets standing.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Before the County Championship

A look at the best players from before the official inauguration of the county championship, some comments on the selection of England test squad for the one off match against Ireland and a large photo gallery.

Today I create an XI of the best players most or all of whose careers took place before there was a county championship. Incidentally, there is a page from which all my posts about Saturday’s excursion to Pensthorpe can be accessed. Before I get into the main business of today’s post there is a brief section about…


The squad for the first test match of the home season, against Ireland is now out, and there are three areas of concern, two selections and an omission. Zak Crawley, a proven failure at test level, retains his slot at the top of the order. Far worse, Ben Foakes has been dropped to make way for the return to test action of Jonathan Bairstow. There may be a case for picking Bairstow, though in a test career which stretches back to 2012 he has blown hot and cold, and more often cold than hot, but there is not even the shadow of a case for dropping Foakes, the best current keeper by far, and someone who has been scoring big runs for Surrey in the championship this season, including a century at better than a run a ball when Surrey were looking for a declaration. Many people have posed this as being a challenge about how to accommodate Bairstow, and I have two options, listed in order of preference:

  1. Opt for what C Auguste Dupin would call “the sagacious and comprehensive expedient of making no attempt to accommodate Bairstow”. England are coming off a very successful winter without Bairstow, and Bairstow’s overall test record is that of a mediocre middle order batter, certainly not sufficient to warrant discarding Foakes.
  2. Have Bairstow open the innings as he does in white ball cricket and drop the proven failure Crawley (I would prefer to see a proper opener such as Ben Compton or Ali Orr picked in Crawley’s case, but at least Bairstow would probably be an improvement were he coming in in place of Crawley).

It is now time to get back to the main meat of the post…


  1. *WG Grace (right handed opening batter, right arm bowler of various types through his career, captain). Had a quarter of a century of first class experience by the time of the first official county championship, so even though he played his last first class game as late as 1908 he qualifies.
  2. Arthur Shrewsbury (right handed opening batter). The man WG rated as the second best batter around (himself obviously no1), and since he played 15 years of FC before the inauguration of the Championship and 12 afterwards he just qualifies.
  3. James Aylward (left handed batter). In 1777, just eight years after John Minshull had scored the first recorded century in any form of cricket, he hit the Hambledon record score of 167, which remained an all comers record for 43 years.
  4. William ‘Silver Billy’ Beldham (right handed batter). In an era when centuries of any kind were rare he hit three in matches of indisputably first class status.
  5. Fuller Pilch (right handed batter). Acknowledged as the best batter of the 1830s and 1840s, a period when scoring was very low.
  6. Alfred Mynn (right handed batter, right arm fast bowler). “The Lion of Kent”, an absolute man mountain, and a great all rounder. He was quick enough that on one occasion someone fielding at long stop (directly behind the keeper) to his bowling once had to be hospitalized after being hit in the chest by several of his deliveries.
  7. Vyell Walker (right handed batter, right arm slow underarm bowler). One of only two cricketers to have scored a century and taken an all-10 in the same first class fixture (the other, WG, is also in this XI). As an underarm bowler any turn he got would have been the equivalent of an overarm bowler bowling leg spin, which makes him a good slow bowling partner for the next guy in the order…
  8. Billy Bates (right handed batter, off spinner). A massively impressive career record, probably equating in the modern era to averaging 32 with the bat and 25 the ball (actual averages were 21 and 17). He was even better in his brief test career, averaging 27 with bat and 16 with the ball, which probably equates to 41 and 24 in the modern era.
  9. +Tom Box (wicket keeper, right handed batter). He appeared in every fixture that Sussex played for an unbroken 24 year period, and although his batting average looks very low to modern eyes it is about 60% of that of Fuller Pilch, rated the best batter of the era.
  10. William Lillywhite (right arm fast roundarm bowler, right handed lower order batter). Rated the best bowler of his era (he was referred to as ‘the Nonpareil’, one half of my envisaged new ball pairing.
  11. William Mycroft (left arm fast bowler, right handed tail end batter). 800 first class wickets at 12 a piece.

This side has a powerful batting line up, with everyone down to Bates at number eight definitely capable of playing a match winning innings. The bowling, with Mycroft, Lillywhite and Mynn to bowl pace, and Bates and Walker two contrasting types of slow bowler, plus of course the redoubtable WG is magnificent, having both depth and variety.


The two chief rivals to Shrewsbury for the position of Grace’s opening partner were John Small of Hambledon and EM Grace. Lambert, scorer of twin centuries in a match in 1817, a feat which stood alone for half a century until WG Grace emulated it might have had a middle order slot. George Osbaldeston was a fine fast bowling all rounder, but not I reckon the equal of Mynn. Had I been going to pick an overseas player it would have been Dr ME Pavri (India), who visited England in the 1890s and achieved remarkable things as a pace bowling all rounder (once in his native land he decided in advance that team mates weren’t needed, took on an XI on his unaided own, and beat them). Among the great bowlers who missed out were David Harris (Hambledon), the Notts duo of Alfred Shaw and Fred Morley, James Broadbridge and John Wisden both of Sussex and two Yorkshire speedsters, Tom Emmett (left arm) and George Freeman (right arm). Sam Redgate, John Jackson and George Tarrant would all also have their advocates.


My usual sign off…