On Sunday I collected a substantial quantity of kindling, having been unable to purchase Asparagus I put the bag I had with me to alternative use, and filled it without ever leaving my path! Today we had a delivery of wood which means we now have ridiculously large quantities, but at least we will not need deliveries in midwinter when everyone is thinking about such things
A rose which a couple of months ago was showing no signs of life is now in full flower, having had no assistance other than being watered by me – a truly resilient plant. The stuff growing abundantly around the outside of the pot is wild Marjoram, which I use in some of my cooking.
A baby jay was in our driveway look very forlorn this morning, but it has gone again, hpefully safely back to the nest.
England have made a magnificent recovery from a poor start to the second test match. Having at one stage been 22-3 they reached 486, with Cook, Morgan, Prior and Broad all making major contributions.
Have just had a marvellous barbecue (our first this year). Our local butcher supplies the best burgers you could ever hope to eat, while for accompaniment we had locally grown rocket and even more locally grown lettuce.
This is the first post I am writing on my new computer, and in it I will tell the story of how an apparently straightforward process took over three weeks to be finally sorted.
When I decided to launch this blog, I also decided it was time to replace the world’s slowest laptop (which will be going out to Greece to enable schoolchildren there to have access to computers), since it was no longer able to connect to the internet regularly. I naively imagined buying the new machine, connecting it up and then launching the blog from it. Part one, finding an appropriate machine went extremely smoothly, and for an extra £30 it was supposedly set up ready to go. After getting the machine home and switching it on the problems started. It proved impossible to connect to the internet, so we went back to the shop and they apparently sorted the problem. Take two failed as well, so next up was a call to Talk Talk. They said we needed a new router, which would have locked as into a further 18 month contract, so we decided to switch to BT as we had had problems with Talk Talk. This entailed extracting a MAC code from Talk Talk and passing it to BT. Once we knew when the BT router would arrive we arranged for an expert we had used before to come out to do all the various things that needed doing. So approximately three weeks later than intended I finally have a computer with which I can access the internet instead of having to hop on to other people’s computers.
Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Not four hours ago I dismissed the test match at Cardiff as a rain-ruined draw. I should have remembered the astounding finale of two years ago when the straight bats of Anderson and Panesar (!) saved England, and also recalled that this wonderful game has a habit of flinging egg in the faces of those who make dogmatic comments. A combination of wonderful English bowling and the inexperienced Sri Lankan batting beign overtaken by panic has created out of nothing a victory by an innings and 14 runs, England’s fourth innings win in their last five matches. Swann and Tremlett each picked up four wickets and Broad two. Trott deservedly got the man of the match award for his double century which left this match with only the two possible results. Some have commented on his inability or unwillingness to change tempo, but as Strauss pointed out during the post-match interviews, the man is averaging nearly 70 per innings and his side are winning most of thgeir matches. A further response to one very well known Yorkshireman who was among those voicing this critiicism of Trott is: “Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle”. Sri Lanka will have a hard time bouncing back from this, especially with play getting underway at Lord’s on Friday. For England the only question is who will replace Anderson. England’s declaration immediately after Bell had completed his century seemed at the time a bold but futile gesture, but bravery was its own reward.
It is by now entirely clear that the test match in Cardiff has been one by the third participant – the weather! England have done enough to suggest that if they get an uninterrupted match thsi will be their series. Sri Lanka’s bowling looks very ordinary indeed. The selectors did the right thing in going for Morgan to replace Collingwood, though he has not had much opportunity in this match. It does seem ridiculous that in a year as dry as this one, the first test match should be ruined by rain but there you are.
To start with, congratulations to Sri Lanka whose enterprise in declaring early was rewarded when Middlesex collapsed for 161 in their second innings, and SL were able to knock off the runs.
Essex and Surrey are enjoying a run-fest at Whitgift School. Graham Napier has so far had the starring role with 196, including a record-equalling 16 sixes in a first class innings (Andrew “Roy” Symonds also hit 16 in his 254 not out for Gloucs v Kent in 1995. Essex totalled 548, but all results are still possible. The rec ord first innings score by a side who ended up beaten is currently held by Essex themselves who made 597 at Chesterfield in 1904 and lost by nine wickets after collapsing to 97 all out in their second innings.
Market day in Fakenham was particularly impressive, not least because it was sunny throughout. Tony’s Deli had some very good olives at very reasonable prices.
I have spent today listening to coverage of day 2 of Middlesex v Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka made a brave effort to breathe life into a game that has DRAW written all over it by declaring while still 51 runs adrift, so as to bowl at Middlesex this evening. They then disposed of Robson quickly for the second time in the match. Another youngster who has not done much to catch the eye is 19 year old Gurjit Singh Sandhu, whost first two overs were dispatched for 22 and bowled a mere eight overs in total for 46 – a comment on the unwisdom of giving someone their first class debut against international opposition. Middlesex failed to capture a wicket at all, both openbers retiring to allow team mates toi have a bat, which means that Strauss has been on the field for two innings against Sri Lanka (World Cup QF the other one) without seeing any wickets go to bowlers. It is abundantly clear from all this that the pitch is a batsman friendly road, unsuitable for a match of a mere three days duration.
Who do I think should replace Collingwood in the test team? Eoin Morgan. He has a decent record fom the tests he has so far played, and has not blotted his copybook, as Bopara (the other principal candidate) did against the 2009 Aussies. Do I think the three captain approach can work? Ask again at the end of the season. However at least we will see three captains in action because such is the plan, unlike previous multi-captain seasons which came about because of lack of planning (Yes, I am old enough to remember the horrors of 1988, the year of the four captains).
Have been helping out with various bits in the garden. One of our plants is a miniature orange tree, intended ultimately to be taken out to Greece, where my parents have a holiday home. Although the main purpose of this tree is ornamental, the fruit can be used as a component of salad dressings. It has now been re-potted having outgrown its original pot and moved to a new location on top of a wooden outside table that gets no other use. It is in fine fettle with a bumper crop of fruit, as the photo shows:
Today was Market day in Fakenham (The market runs every Thursday and is well worth a visit if you in the area). There are always cracking bargains to be had. As usual, Tony’s Deli stall came up with the best bargain of the day- 800 grams of sirloin steak for £10! The new potatoes from the local fruit and veg stall are now an acceptable price as well. The other fruit and veg stall, which gets stuff from all over the world had a few good things as well, including fresh coriander at £1 a bunch.
Wednesday is the night I regularly go to the pub. I got into the habit of having my night out on a Wednesday when it was quiz night at the Cat & Fiddle. Not only has the quiz night stopped, the pub in question no longer exists.
When I first moved to this part of the world, the village had two pubs. The Crown was rougher than most sandpaper, while the Cat & Fiddle was a good village pub. Things started to go pear shaped for the Cat & Fiddle when a new landlord (all names in this section withheld to protect the guilty) took over and turned out to be the one person I have encountered who is definitely even less suited to a customer service role than I am. People responded to his way of running the place by staying away in droves. When he bowed to the inevitable and departed, he was replaced by a family who were much nicer people (not difficult), but were not the most hygienic. It was while this family were in charge that the Cat & Fiddle suffered it’s death blow, although it was a slow death. The Crown, previously a place best avoided, was bought by a TV Chef, and completely refurbished, in the process unveiling a 14th century fireplace. When it re-opened for business I went to visit, in a skeptical frame of mind, and came away convinced that this was a good thing. This establishment manages to combine being a good local pub with being a top of the range restaurant. The final twist in this little tale came when Flying Kiwi (the company set up to run the stable of pubs of which The Crown is one) bought the old Cat & Fiddle, which is now divided between housing the Village Shop & Post Office, and providing accommodation for staff at the Crown (this part of the building is now called the “Kiwi Nest”).