Concluding my account of the day at St Michael’s Mount as we near the end of my series about my visit to Cornwall.
Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my recent visit to Cornwall. This post completes the day at St Michael’s Mount, leaving me with a post to do about the journey home and finally a page from which all the posts about this trip can be accessed. The fact that this will mean (including the page) 13 pieces relating to the trip bothers me not a jot – I have no more time for triskaidekaphobia than I do for any other ridiculous superstition.
WRAPPING UP ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT
Having finished our exploration of the mount itself it was time for lunch, which was excellent. The establishment at which we ate our lunch has a rule that alcoholic drinks can only be served if food is ordered at the same time, and according to their interpretation cream teas do not count as food, so on two occasions in the course of that meal we ordered portions of chips to go with drinks. Mention of cream teas (a speciality of the far west of England) brings me to a debate that rages unchecked: which goes on the scone first, the cream or the jam? The cream advocates argue that cream in this context is the equivalent of butter (and if it is Cornish clotted cream it is so thick that one can pretty much slice it like butter!), and that if you put the cream on first you do not get jam in it. I am not sure what the jam advocates base their case on.
Lunch consumed it was time to head back to our parking place on the edge of Penzance. The tide was just starting to turn but was still a long way out, and unlike the Mont St Michel, on which the current setup of St Michael’s Mount is modelled the tide here comes in slowly (no danger of galloping horses being swallowed by an inrushing tide, as allegedly happened at Mont St Michel on one famous occasion), so we were still able to walk back across a vast expanse of beach to rejoin the official footpath just west of Marazion. I omitted to remove my socks and shoes for this part of the journey, and they ended up thoroughly soaked, although by the end of the walk they had dried out again (without the sea breeze the heat would have been fiendish).
A post celebrating recent successes for the England men’s and women’s cricket teams.
The last few weeks have been magnificent for English cricketers of both sexes. Each side has been very dominant through a sequence of games, and each have set a team scoring record during the sequence of games.
The women warmed up with an ODI series against South Africa, losing the first match but winning matches 2 and 3 very comfortably, in each case with their efforts being spearheaded by centuries from Tammy Beaumont. Then they moved into a T20 tri-series featuring South Africa and New Zealand, the latter fresh from three straight 400-plus ODI tallies against Ireland, the last of which featured the first part of a ‘script rejection’ performance by Amelia Kerr – 232 not out with the bat, and then to settle things 5-17 with the ball. No author of a cricket themed novel would dare have a 17 year-old do that in an international match, but it happened in real life.
On Day 1 of the tri-series New Zealand opened proceedings by scoring 217 from their 20 overs against South Africa, which at the time was a new record in that form of the game, and won them the match comfortably. That record lasted until later that same evening when England took on South Africa, and with Beaumont scoring yet another century (getting there in a mere 47 balls) and Katherine Brunt responding to a promotion up the order by running up 42 not out off just 16 balls reached a total of 250-3. This proved way out of SA’s reach. On Saturday, the second set of games in the tri-series, England lost to South Africa but bounced back to beat New Zealand in the other match.
The men started the limited overs segment of their summer by losing to Scotland at The Grange, but then they commenced a five match series against Australia and were absolutely dominant through the first four matches, winning all comfortably and racking up 481-6 in the third match. The fifth match was a very different kettle of fish. Australia were all out for 205, a modest total that featured the most misjudged leave-alone in cricket history (perpetrated by Ashton Agar). England then collapsed to 114-8 and I was getting ready to point out that wins in dead rubbers don’t really count. However, Jos Buttler was still there, and now Adil Rashid provided some sensible support, and the pair put on 81 for the ninth wicket, turning the match into a nail-biter. Jake Ball, the England no 11 only scored 1 not out, but he survived 11 deliveries, while Buttler first completed an astonishing hundred (with a six that on sheer distance should probably have been a nine) and then sealed England’s one-wicket victory in this game and with it a 5-0 whitewash against the old enemy.
Tim Paine thus became the second Tasmanian born captain with a surname that begins with P to surrender a match in which the opponents had needed 92 with only two wickets left (look up Mohali 2010 for more details).
Buttler’s innings secured him both the player of the match and player of the series awards. Buttler was 110 not out in a score of 206-9, and the joint second biggest scores were 20 for Alex Hales and Adil Rashid, and he finished the series with 275 runs at a handy 137.50. In the course of this innings he passed 3,000 ODI runs. Unlike most of his previous big innings which have been all about putting opponents to the sword (his 3,000th ODI run came up off only just over 2,500 balls faced in this form of the game) this one involved getting his team out of trouble and probably rates as his finest for precisely that reason.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have benefitted from the fact that everyone has contributed somewhere along the line, but each also have had certain players who have been especially outstanding (see Buttler above), and I offer the following composite list of the best:
Moeen Ali: Watching the way the Aussies tackled his off-spin you might have thought they had been put in a time machine and taken back to 1956.
Jonny Bairstow: about the only thing he did wrong all the way through was get out in the game at The Grange when he was putting Scotland to the sword and would have had England firmly in control had he batted a few more overs. None of the Aussie bowlers, even the highly impressive Billy Stanlake, had any idea where to bowl at him.
Tammy Beaumont: the smallest player in physical stature in this list (5’3″ tall) she has been a metaphorical giant in these matches with three centuries from her position at the top of the order.
Katherine Brunt: In the first match she made 72 to give England something to defend. After her 42 not out in the 250-3 T20 game she followed up by picking up 2-18 from her four overs. Ignore talk of imminent retirement – so long as her body remains in one piece she will keep going.
Jos Buttler: The batsman-keeper did all that was asked of him in the first four matches of the series against Australia and when the going got tough in fifth match he got going and carried England to victory.
Alex Hales: started these matches as favourite to miss out once Stokes was available again but played several incredible innings, and I would now say that for all his all-round credentials Stokes has to be considered as far from certain to regain his place.
Adil Rashid: another of the ‘role-reversal’ aspects of this series was that on this occasion it was Aussie batsmen who looked like rabbits in headlights when facing an English leggie. In addition to his success with the ball he played that crucial little innings in the final match.
Jason Roy: the leading run scorer of the series with 304, including a ton which spearheaded the chase-down of 310 in the 4th game.
Anya Shrubsole: reliable as ever with the ball, and when really needed in the game against New Zealand on Saturday she delivered some quick runs.
Sarah Taylor: quite possibly the best wicketkeeper of either sex on the planet at present and she also scored some important runs.
Danielle Wyatt: opening with Beaumont in the 250-3 game she was quite magnificent, and she had other successes through the season.
Time now for some photographs, starting with a cricket themed one from James and Sons’ upcoming cigarette cardauction.
Where lego and New Zealand birds meet, courtesy of Heather Hastie.
The creation is magnificent, and Heather’s idea of using it to launch a whole lego range devoted to indigenous New Zealand birds is even better. It is a little unfortunate to use this phrase given one of the most famous quirks of these birds, but the products would absolutely fly off the shelves…
Note – this is Heather’s story and if you wish to comment you will need to visit the original.
Some thoughts about the early stages of the English Cricket Season, some photographs and some puzzles.
The second round of County Championship matches in season 2018 are now on their second day. Additionally the fact that here in England we seem to have skipped spring, going dorectly from a long, unpleasant winter into summer means I have a particularly fine selection of photographs for you, and there will be puzzles.
THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
Scoring is low everywhere. At Chester-le-Street it is looking a first innings tally of 169 will be sufficient for Kent to record an innings victory (Durham, shot out for 91 yesterday morning are 39-7 in their second innings, needing their last three wickets to double that paltry tally just to avoid the innings defeat). Essex and Lancashire are already into their third innings as well, Essex having scraped together 150 first up and Lancashire replying with 144. Essex are 39-0 in their second innings. Somerset, having actually claimed a batting bonus point by reaching 202 are poised for a handy first innings lead, Worcestershire being 153-8 in response. Surrey also topped 200 – making 211, and Hampshire are 79-6 in response. Yorkshire made 256 in their first innings, and Nottinghamshire are 110-6 in response. Derbyshire made 265, and Middlesex have also reached three figures, being 101-5 in response. Gloucestershire are 47-0 in response to Glamorgan’s 236. Northamptonshire were all out for 147 and Warwickshire are about to overhaul them, with wickets in hand. Finally, Sussex batting first are a comparatively monumental 304-7 (three batting bonus points, although they will not get a fourth as they have had 108.3 overs, and bonus points are only awarded in the first 110 overs of a team’s first innngs) against Leicestershire.
Every match is in progress, which beats last week, when Yorkshire failed to produce a playing surface on which the game could be played, resulting in their match against Essex being abandoned without a ball being bowled.
The low scoring is a major problem – the batters will gave little confidence since they are not making runs, and as soon as they face conditions in which the ball does not get up to mischief most of the wicket-taking bowlers will revert to being their workaday selves (we saw, unforgettably for all the wrong reasons, over the winter how seamers who bowl accurately but not especially fast are cannon fodder for international class batsmen on good pitches).
From the point of view of England possibles these two rounds of championship matches have been largely valueless – the 75 from James Vince on the opening day was the usual Vince fare – excellent while it lasted, but did not last long enough to be satisfactory and given the conditions no bowling figures can be taken with anything other than a substantial helping of salt.
PHOTOGRAPHS 1: AN ASPI.BLOG FIRST
The Muscovy ducks first saw a few months back are still in residence, and they have been joined by an unusual visitor, the second largest bird species I have seen in King’s Lynn – Canada Geese.
PUZZLE 1: MATCHSTICKS
My first offering from brilliant(the source of all of today’s puzzles – note also that all can be solved without even using pen and paper, never mind mechanical assistance – I did) is an exercise in visualization:
PHOTOGRAPHS 2: MUNTJAC
This muntjac was nibbling the grass on the playing field of the Lynn Academy, and I was taking pictures through a screen of plants:
PUZZLE 2: CLEAR ICE
PHOTOGRAPHS 3: SQUIRREL
I got two shots of this squirrel, one om the ground, and one as it swarmed up a tree trunk:
PUZZLE 3: POLYOMINO
Another exercise in visualization (my own success with this one enabled me to celebrate what I call my brilliant.org Pi Day – 314 successive days on which I had solved at least one of their problems!):
PHOTOGRAPHS 4: SMALLER BIRDS
PUZZLE 4: CONVERGENCE
PHOTOGRAPHS 5: BUTTERFLIES
PUZZLE 5: CUBE
My own method for solving this one once again involved visualization, although other methods were also used.
In view of some of the moans that appeared on brilliant in relation to this problem please note the crucial words “by rotating” in the question – they are absolutely key.
PHOTOGRAPHS 6: THE REST
While I have been completing this post Durham have succeeded in making Kent bat again, though it is still massive odds against that game even making it onto the third of the scheduled four days.
A brief account of my session at Musical Keys yesterday.
Yesterday was a Musical Keys session, and Oliver who runs Musical Keys put in an appearance. Also, some of our stuff was recorded – we will hear it in a fortnight’s time.
THE JOURNEY TO THE SCOUT HUT
Immediatedly after a light lunch of salami and salad I set off on my journey (I was starting early because I needed to check in on my aunt’s house en route and also intended to take advantage of heading towards that part of the world to visit Gaywood Library). After the few minutes it took to make sure all was OK at my aunt’s house I headed for the parkland and thence the footpath between the two academies, before a diversion to Gaywood Library and a walk along the bank of the Gaywood River to finish. Here are some pictures covering the period between leaving my flat and exiting the parkland at Tennyson Road:
The cricket season is underway in most parts of the country, but Yorkshire and Essex have had no play on any of the first three days of their match due to a sodden outfield. Norfolk has not been battered as much as the north, but this picture from The Walks shows the problem – saturated soil means that there is nowhere for water to go.
The second part of the walk to the Scout Hut provided a few photos as well:
Once it was time for the session to begin I did not take long to decide what I was going to do…
After I had been recorded I spent what was left of the session creating musical words (e.g playing the notes F, A, C and E for face or, C, A, F and E for cafe). For the bit was a recording I used a double pattern – each four note chord I used comprised two pairs of notes separated by two, and with an octave between each pair.
The entirety of my homeward journey took place not only in daylight but under a bright sun (yes, we sometimes forget about it, especially during long winters like the one we are just emerging from, but even here in Blighty we do get to see the sun). I only added one solitary picture to my collection during this journey – a pair of drakes swimming in formation in the Gaywood River…
Yesterday was a Musical Keys day, and on the way there I got a few photographs which I think warrant a post of their own, before I move on to the main meat of today’s blogging.
THE BLUE TIT
This was a picture I took more in hope than expectation, since small birds nearly always fly out fo shot before the camera has picked them up, but on this occasion fortune smiled…
As I approached the Scout Hut where Musical Keys sessions take place, walking along the bank of the Gaywood River I spotted a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. I investigated further and finished with six splendid pictures.
A post provoked by an asinine comment I saw on cricinfo yesterday, dealing with the question of failure to convert in cricket.
This post was provoked by something I saw yesterday morning on cricinfo’s online coverage of the second ODI between England and Australia (I was at work, so could not listen to the commentary, but having this tab open and peeking occasionally in between doing other stuff was manageable – I was constantly using the internet for work purposes anyhow).
ENGLAND 2-0 UP IN SERIES
England won this match by four wickets, with plenty of time to spare. Joe Root was there at the end on 46 not out. In the first match he had been there at the end on 91 not out. This coincidence that both times he was just short of a personal landmark led to a character posting under the name Dave (knowing what I do of such types I am not prepared to say that this is actually their name) to post a comment about Joe Root failing to convert. My response to this display of asininity is as follows:
Failing to convert implies regularly getting out before reaching important landmarks and Joe Root was undefeated in both innings.
Individual landmarks are valuable, and generally to win one needs someone to go to and well beyond several such, but cricket is a team game, and on both occasions Root missed his landmarks through playing a support role to people who were going more fluently at the other end (Jason Roy in game one, and Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes in game two).
Joe Root has proven frequently that he can go on to and well past significant personal landmarks.
To end this section I quote a post from a few minutes after Dave’s which provides an indication of how good Root actually is in ODI chases:
Hypocaust: “Joe Root now has the 3rd highest average (87.06) in victorious ODI chases (min. 20 innings), behind Dhoni (102.72) and Kohli (93.64) and just ahead of Bevan (86.25).”
Two birds of different species exhibiting similar behaviour (which I have previously only ever observed in cormorants).
This is whimsical little post inspired by an odd coincidence I observed while out walking yesterday.
DIFFERENT BIRDS, SIMILAR POSES
While I was out walking yesterday afternoon I saw a Muscovy duck in the stretch of the Gaywood River that is currently serving as home to a small colony of these unusual visitors to our shores posing in the fashion that cormorants sometimes so (for an amusing take on this see Anna’s recent cormorant drawing). Here is a composite picture featuring both posing birds:
Answers to a query of mine and to a puzzle that I set, accompanied by some photos.
This little post features answers to two problems and at the end a few photos.
BIG AVIAN FIND
A couple of hours ago I put up a post featuring some large water birds that were new to me. Since then two people in the comments section (Cindy and Vicki) have suggested Muscovy Ducks as a possibility, and my twitter friends @team4nature have made a similar though more detailed suggestion.
This level of consensus is sufficient for me – these are Muscovy ducks, possibly domesticated and possibly crossed with some other breed (possibilities raised by @team4nature). Here to conclude this section is the feature image from the previous post:
I offered up this problem from brilliant last night:
This is my own solution, posted as such on brilliant, and reflecting mu frustration at the sheer number of people commenting based on failure to fully read the terms of the question:
Can you identify these large water birds that I saw near Kettlewell Lane, King’s Lynn, today?
I was out walking this afternoon, and one of the places I walked was a section of river that runs parallel to Kettlewell Lane in King’s Lynn. It was there that I saw some birds I have never seen before…
BIG NEW AVIAN FIND
These are large birds, similar in size and build to a goose, but with colouring unlike any goose I have ever seen, and not matching any of the goose species listed in my bird book. They were probably about half as big again in each direction as the mallards that I also saw (and due to being overfed King’s Lynn mallards are bigger than average mallards!). I have lots of photos for you…
Based on the size of the birds and all the features that my camera managed to pick up can you identify them? If you can please let me know by commenting.