Long Weekend 8: Berwick Upon Tweed and Home

Wrapping up my account of my long weekend away doing family things, plus a couple of important links.

This post wraps up my somewhat syncopated series about a long weekend away doing family things (14-17 August inclusive), by covering the events of the Tuesday. Before I get into the main body of the post I have a couple of links to share: there is a just giving page up in connection with NAS West Norfolk being the Lynn News Charity of the Year 2021, which you can visit by clicking here. Also PhoebeMD has once again opened her blog up to those who wish to promote their own blogs – please do so.


There is plenty of interest to see in this border town (it has changed hands between England and Scotland many a time in its history). My time in the town was limited by the fact that I had a train home to catch in order to back in time for an evening commitment in King’s Lynn, something I just managed, although an inopportune delay which had a knock on effect on the rest of the journey made it very tight indeed.


The train route from Berwick to York is very scenic, but once past York it becomes quite ordinary. Overall the journey was not too bad, though I was panicking for some of it due to time constraints. The departure from Berwick takes one over a remarkable bridge which features frequently in the photos that end this post, and Alnmouth, which also serves the adjoining town of Alnwick is remarkably attractive.


I have set the scene above but the main story of this post is told by the pictures that bring it to a conclusion.

All Time XIs – Days In The Sun

Today’s exploration of ‘all time XI’ territory celebrates some outstanding individual performances.


Welcome to my latest exploration of the ‘all time XI‘ cricket theme. Today the focus is on outstanding individual performances, in the main clearly defined match winners, although I allowed myself one exception whose outstanding individual performance came in a drawn match, but was frequently enough the key contributor to victories to qualify. (at least IMO). Our two teams, who will be competing for the ‘Stokes-Botham’ trophy to honour two famous match winners who I neglected to pick, are simply named in honour of their captains.


  1. Sanath Jayasuriya – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. He was the player of the 1996 World Cup, and his test highlights include a 340 against India. However, the performance that gets him an opening berth here came at The Oval in 1998. Arjuna Ranatunga, one of the outstanding captains of my lifetime, won the toss and put England in on a flat pitch, and England batted decently to record a tally of 445 in the first dig. To give Ranatunga’s decision, taken in order to guarantee his bowling trump card, Muralitharan, got a decent break between what were going to be two long bowling stints Sri Lanka needed a big lead on first innings. Jayasuriya responded to this pressure situation with a rapid 213, the key contribution to a Sri Lankan tally of almost 600, which gave them both enough of a lead to be firm favourites and time to press home the advantage. A refreshed Muralitharan proceeded to slam home this advantage by twirling his way to 9-65 in the England second innings. Sri Lanka won very comfortably, with Muralitharan Player of the Match and Jayasuriya having to settle for an honourable mention (a joint award may have been appropriate on this occasion).
  2. Graham Gooch – right handed opening batter, occasional right arm medium (and impersonations of more regular bowlers). His record breaking double act at Lord’s in 1990 (333 and 123 in a comfortable victory) might seem the obvious qualifier, but India on that occasion had a bowling ‘attack’ that barely merited the conventional descriptor, and the pitch was flatter than the proverbial pancake. In the Headingley test of 1991 by contrast the pitch was tricky to put it kindly, and the West Indies had a very hostile bowling attack (Marshall, Patterson, Ambrose and Walsh if memory serves). On a pitch which had seen first innings tallies of 198 and 173, and with Ambrose hitting his straps right from the start, Gooch produced an undefeated 154, as England scraped up 252 (Ramprakash and Pringle joint second top scorers with 27 each). The West Indies collapsed in the final innings and were well beaten. This innings by Gooch almost certainly did make the difference between victory and defeat.
  3. *Clem Hill – left handed batter, brilliant fielder. It was a must-win game in the 1897-8 Ashes, the pitch was ordinary, and with one exception the Australian top order failed badly. The exception was Clem Hill, and with Hugh Trumble playing a stubborn supporting role for 46 in the only really substantial partnership of the innings. Australia reached 323, which put them in control of the match, and Hill’s share was 188.
  4. ‘Tip’ Foster – right handed batter. Foster played his first test innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground, at the start of the 1903-4 Ashes series. He responded to this initiation by producing an innings of 287 in an England total of 577. The ninth England wicket fell at 447, but Wilfred Rhodes, giving the first major indication of the batting skill that would see him play for his country as a specialist opener only a few years later, scored an unbeaten 40 from no11, helping the last wicket to add 130.
  5. Garry Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket, brilliant fielder. When Garry Sobers walked out to bat against Pakistan after the loss of an early wicket at Sabina Park in 1957 he had a few decent knocks to his credit but had yet to go on to the three figure score that would confirm his claims to front line batting status. By the time the next wicket fell two days had gone by, and Comrad Hunte, the batter who was dislodged had scored 260, with the second wicket stand worth 446, just five short of the then test record held by Bradman and Ponsford at The Oval in 1934. Sobers, the century well behind him, continued on remorselessly, taking full advantage of a depleted Pakistan attack. Eventually he went past Len Hutton’s test record inidvidual score of 364 made at The Oval in 1938, and at that point the Windies declared at 790-3. Pakistan, thoroughly demoralized by Sobers’ ten hour display of dominance folded twice to lose to by a huge margin, and Sobers, having turned his first three figure test innings into a then record 365 not out was well and truly launched on the batting career that would ultimately bring 8,032 runs at 57.78 per innings with 26 centuries.
  6. Amelia Kerr – right handed batter, leg spinner. At the tender age of 17 she belted 232 not out in an ODI, the highest ever by a woman in that form of the game. Thus far this effort remains her only major batting effort, but thanks to it her batting average is ahead of her bowling average (across international formats she averages 24 with the bat and 22 with the ball), and as she is still only 19 almost her entire career should still be ahead of her. Given the dearth of quality spinners in New Zealand if I was put money on a current female player becoming the first to play test cricket alongside the men my £1 would be on her to be the one to do it. I have argued elsewhere the batting does not depend on pure power, but on timing as well, and cited examples of successful batters of diminutive starure, and as a spinner she purveys a type of bowling that is all about craft and guile. In terms of the current Kiwi men;s team, the natural way to accommodate her would be to stick with Watling as keeper and no six batter, play her at no 7, and then bowlers at 8-11.
  7. +Steve Marsh – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Wicket keepers scoring centuries has only become commonplace very recently, and wicket keepers making as many as eight dismissals in an innings remains a considerable rarity. To achieve both in the same match, as Steve Marsh of Kent did in the 1990s is therefore a truly remarkable double feat. In total during his career Marsh accounted for 737 dismissals and had a batting average of 28, which was very respectable for a wicket keeper in those days.
  8. Stuart Broad – right arm fast medium bowler. Trent Bridge 2015 saw a combination of a little bit of late movement for Broad, some poor batting techniques from our ‘frenemies’ the Aussies and a couple of superb pieces of fielding which between them amounted to SCJ Broad 8-15, Australia 60 all out and match and Ashes settled on the first morning. The pinchhitter included video footage of this in their post this morning and I recommend you read the post and watch the video.
  9. Jim Laker – off spinner. He qualifies several times over. At his native Bradford in 1950, for England against the Rest he took 8-2 on the first morning of the match as the Rest were skittled for 27 – and one of those singles was a gift to Eric Bedser, twin brother Alec having purposely moved back a few yards to make it easy for him to get off the mark! Fred Trueman scored the other single and was (no surprise here) unimpressed by the batting of some of his team mates. Then came 1956, with the prologue of 10-88 in the first innings of the Surrey v Australia tour match (2-42 at the second attempt, as Tony Lock came to the party with7-49) and the crushing final act at Old Trafford when his 9-37 and 10-53 (a first class record 19-90 in the match) won the match and the Ashes. England had run up 459 in the first innings, with Peter Richardson and David Sheppard, neither of them absolutely top ranking batters, scoring centuries. After Australia had slipped from 62-2 to 84 all out in the first innings, Colin McDonald batted five and a half hours for 89 in their second, with Jim Burke, Ian Craig and Richie Benaud all also showing fight, while there was a contest between Harvey and Mackay for the most embarrassing pair of spectacles in test history – Harvey bagged his by smashing a full toss straight to a fielder, while Mackay looked a complete novice, and although he survived a few deliveries he did not make contact with any. Four front line spinners operated in the course of this match and three of them had combined match figures of 7-380 for an average of 54.43 per wicket, while the other took 19-90, an average of 4.74 per wicket.
  10. Gideon Elliott – right arm fast bowler. He was born in Merstham, Surrey in 1828, but played his first class cricket for Victoria, between 1856-7 and 1861-2. In that short span he played a mere nine matches, which brought him 48 wickets at 4.87 each! His most remarkable analysis in this brief but spectacular period was 9-2.
  11. Edmund Peate – left arm orthodox spinner. The founder of a great lineage – he was thr first of a series of left arm spinners from Yorkshire  that continued with Bobby Peel, Wilfred Rhodes, Alonzo Drake, Roy Kilner, Hedley Verity, Johnny Wardle and the last such to play for England, Don Wilson. He began as part of a troupe of ‘clown cricketers’ run by Arthur Treloar but recorded some very serious bowling figures before he had finished, including the innings of haul of 8-5 that earns him his place here. In total he bagged 1,076 first class wickets at 13.43 – he was definitely not just the guy whose wild swing against Harry Boyle condemned England to the defeat that created The Ashes.

This team features an excellent top five, a hugely promising young all rounder, a keeper who can bat and a well varied foursome of bowlers. There are three top line pace/ seam/ swing options with Elliott, Broad and Sobers, while Peate, Laker, Kerr and Sobers represent an abundance of spin options. Now it is time to meet the opposition.


  1. Herbert Sutcliffe – right handed opening batter. His massively impressive CV includes two clear cut Ashes winning innings. In 1926 at The Oval, with the England second innings starting with a small deficit and on a decidedly unpleasant pitch he and Jack Hobbs each made centuries, Hobbs going for precisely 100, Sutcliffe scoring 161 in seven hours. Thanks to this effort England made 436 in that second innings, and another Yorkshireman, 49 year old Wilfred Rhodes, took 4-44 in the final innings as Australia slumped to 125 all out and defeat by 289 runs. Fast forward two and a half years to Melbourne 1928 and the third match of that Ashes series, with England two up. At the start of the fourth innings England needed 332, and the pitch was so spiteful that with their innings starting on the resumption post lunch there was speculation that England would not even last until the tea break. Actually, the opening partnership was still intact come tea, and as it endured Hobbs decided to send a message that Jardine rather than Hammond should come in at three if a wicket fell that evening (ironically it was Jardine who was despatched to find out what Hobbs wanted). When Hobbs fell for 49 to make England 105-1 Jardine emerged, with the wicket still difficult, and held out until the close of play. The following morning Jardine went on to 33, and by the time he was out the pitch had eased considerably. Herbert Sutcliffe held out until he had reached 135 and England were almost over the line. They stumbled a little in those closing stages, but George Geary finally cracked a drive through mid on to settle the match by three wickets.
  2. Alastair Cook – left handed opening batter. By the time England and Australia convened at Sydney for the final match of the 2010-11 Ashes Cook had already amassed two big hundreds in the series (a match saving 235 not out at Brisbane and 148 to help set up the win at Adelaide) and had helped, in company with Strauss to ensure that Australia’s first innings collapse at the MCG would be terminal to their hopes, although Trott with a big undefeated century was the batting star of that match. At The SCG Australia had won the toss, batted first and amassed a just about respectable 281, helped by some lusty blows from Mitchell Johnson. Unfortunately, when it came to his main job, with the ball, Johnson was barely able to raise a gallop or indeed hit the cut stuff. Weather interruptions meant that the England response got underway just before tea on day 2. There was less than an hour of day three to go when Cook finally surrendered his wicket for 189, bringing to an end 36 hours of batting for the series, with Australia’s goose well and truly cooked. A first Ashes ton for Matt Prior and some lively hitting from the tail boosted England’s total to 644, ending just before lunch on day 4. By the end of that day Australia were 169-6, and it was all over bar the shouting (of which the Barmy Army provided plenty on that final day). Before Australia’s third innings defeat of the series was confirmed Peter Siddle at no9 managed to be part of Australia’s largest partnership of the match for the second time in successive games, a stinging commentary on the efforts of their ‘front line’ batters.
  3. Dilip Vengsarkar – right handed batter. The tall Indian averaged 42.13 in test cricket, and especially impressive for a batter of the 1980s, his record was better against the West Indies than it was in general. His ability to handle tough situations was never better illustrated than at Headingley in 1986, on a pitch on which 21 players did not manage a single fifty plus score between them, and Roger Binny, not normally regarded as a frightening prospect with a ball in his hand, claimed seven cheap wickets. In among this low scoring carnage Vengsarkar scored 61 and 102 in a convincing win for his side, which meant that they had won a series in England, for the first time ever.
  4. Steve Smith – right handed batter, occasional leg spinner. Yes, I know that has batting style, to put it very kindly lacks visual appeal, and there are some who would say that being captain for ‘sandpapergate’ should have finished his career rather than merely interrupting it. However, ill disposed to him though I am, I have to acknowledge the sheer strength of character he displayed in making two 140+ scores on his return to the firing line at Edgbaston in 2019. Moreover that great batting double undoubtedly won the match for his side, and gave them a position of control in the series that, the ‘Headingley Heist’ notwithstanding, they never truly lost.
  5. Ellyse Perry – right handed batter, right arm fast medium bowler. I am picking her in this team as more batter than bowler, so the performance that officially qualifies her is one that came in a drawn game. However she contributed, often decisively, to a fistful of victories in other formats. The innings in question of course is her remarkable test double century, which overshadowed everything else in that match. Her recent seven-for in an ODI is just one example of an unquestionably match winning effort by her. I suggested Amelia Kerr as a possibility for playing test cricket alongside the men, and although I do not now see that happening for Perry, I refer readers to this post from 2015, in which I suggested an unorthodox solution to Australia’s then middle order woes.
  6. +Adam Gilchrist – left handed batter, wicket keeper. The most explosive keeper batter there has ever been. His first major test innings, with everyone thinking Australia were beaten was a thunderous 149 not out to win the match for his side, and it is that innings which gets him the nod today – his 57 ball ton at Perth in 2006-7 was scored at the expense of a thoroughly demoralized England who never looked remotely capable of doing anything other than losing that match.
  7. Gilbert Jessop – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, brilliant fielder. Until the final innings of the 1902 test match at The Oval he had had a fairly quiet game, managing only 13 in England’s first innings, and his highlight in the field had been a lightning pick up and throw that ran out Victor Trumper at the start of the Aussie second innings. Jack Saunders and Hugh Trumble tore through the top England batting (four wickets to Saunders, one to Trumble to follow his eight in the first dig), and when Jessop emerged at 48-5, with England still needing 215 all most were hoping was that he would provide some fireworks before the inevitable end. 77 minutes later Jessop holed out with 104 to his name, having smashed the all-conquering Saunders out of the attack, although Trumble was still wheeling away at one end. The score was 187-7, meaning England still needed 76, but George Hirst was still there, and Lockwood stayed while 27 were added, then keeper Lilley helped the ninth wicket add a further 34, and the second ‘Kirkheaton twin’, Wilfred Rhodes, emerged from the pavilion with 15 needed for a famous victory. Gradually, amidst huge tension, they inched their way to the target, and it was eventually Rhodes who obtained the winning single. Jessop’s innings would not be approached either for speed or match turning quality in an Ashes match for a further 79 years, until Ian Botham twice took innings that Australia’s bowlers looked like destroying by the scruff of the neck.
  8. *Alonzo Drake – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. Before World War I abruptly terminated his career Drake achieved some astonishing feats. At Chesterfield in that final 1914 season he and Wilfred Rhodes turned a Derbyshire score of 64-2 into 68 all out, Drake capturing four wickets with successive balls along the way. Against Somerset that year he became the first Yorkshire bowler ever to take all ten in an innings, 10-35, that innings being the fourth successive first class innings in which he and Major Booth (given name, not rank) had bowled through unchanged.
  9. Sarfraz Nawaz – right arm fast medium bowler. Australia, set 388 for victory, were apparently cruising at 305-3 when Sarfraz prepared to begin another spell of bowling. In his next 33 deliveries Sarfraz took the last seven wickets while conceding a single, and 305-3 had become 310 all out. Sarfraz’s total innings figures were 9-86.
  10. Curtly Ambrose – right arm fast bowler. The WACA in Perth is not a venue that many visiting sides have fond memories of, though a side equipped with fast bowlers who manage to pitch the ball up rather than being lured into banging it in short by the bouncy nature of the surface are less likely than most to suffer there. In the 1992-3 series when the West Indies visited Australia reached the hundred with only one wicket down, and the script looked like being adhered to. Then Curtly Ambrose produced a spell of 7-1 in 33 deliveries, and Australia ended with a total of about 120, and the West Indies did not let this amazing spell go to waste – they won comfortably.
  11. Arthur Mailey – leg spinner. During the 1920-1 Ashes, won 5-0 by Australia, he captured 36 wickets, becoming the first Australian to record a nine wicket haul in a test innings (9-121). Australia then travelled to England for the 1921 season. Their tour match against Gloucestershire seemed to be going fairly uneventfully, with Mailey having a couple of tail end wickets in the first innings, when in the second innings skipper and fellow leg spinner Armstrong tossed the ball to Mailey, saying “see what you can do against the top order this time.” Mailey responded by bowling right through the Gloucestershire innings, recording figures of 10-66, which gave him the perfect title for his autobiography “10 For 66 And All That”.

This team has a solid looking top four (that opening pair could certainly be expected to take a lot of shifting!), a couple of quality all rounders, a great keeper batter and a fine foursome of bowlers. It lacks an off spinner, but apart from that the bowling, with Sarfraz Nawaz, Curtly Ambrose, Gilbert Jessop and Ellyse Perry to bowl pace and Alonzo Drake and Arthur Mailey as spin options looks deep and varied.


Many will have their own ideas as to who I should have included, and you are welcome to post comments to that effect. However, rather than doing a long list of honourable mentions I am going to explain one exclusion which will undoubtedly have upset some. Brian Charles Lara twice set world record test scores, 375 and 400 not out, ten years apart at Antigua, and scored a world first class record 501 not out v Durham. The problem is that all three of those games were drawn, and the Warwickshire performance and the second test performance were noteworthy for Lara’s obsessive pursuit of the record over and above all other considerations, to the extent that he actually asked Warwickshire skipper Dermot Reeve not to declare because he wanted the record.


The contest for the Botham-Stokes trophy looks like being a cracker. I would expect it to go to the wire, and I cannot predict who would emerge victorious.


I have introduced my two teams for ‘Days In The Sun’, contending for the Botham-Stokes trophy, explained one high profile omission, and this post is already on the long side, so I am holding back a few things I intended to include until tomorrow. However, as some readers will be aware, my mother has recently started a blog. She has as yet no home page, and wants to rectify the omission. I have given her some advice on how to create one, and knowing how collaborative wordpress can be at its best I now ask people to visit my mothers blog, starting with today’s post, and comment there with suggestions for her home page. Now it is time for my usual sign off…

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Days In The Sun
The teams in tabulated form.

All Time XIs – Niners v Party Themed

This latest variation on the #all time XI’ cricket theme marks an aspi.blog landmark that you will have to read the full post to find out about!


Welcome to the latest variation on the ‘all time’ XI cricket theme. The current still slightly iffy state of my health precludes a serious attempt at doing a full blog post in one go, so I am aiming at publishing this one day after starting it, for a reason that I will make clear later in the post.


This post has a central aim celebrating a landmark which will be revealed later, and to that end I have created two XIs, one of whom have associations with the number nine and one of whom have associations with parties. As always class is by no means discounted even in these circumstances. The day on which I started work on this post, May 9th, was the day in 1895 on which WG Grace launched the first successful assault on 1,000 first class runs in the month of May, but I deemed that connection a tad too tenuous to include him.


  1. David Lloyd – left handed opening batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. He played nine test matches, in one of which he scored 214 not out, his only 50 plus score at that level (the record holder in this curious department is Karun Nair of India whose 303 not v England last time England toured there accounts for over four fifths of his tally of test runs).
  2. Herbert Sutcliffe – right handed opening batter, excellent outfielder. Nine of his 149 first class hundreds were amassed in Roses matches – at one stage big scores in such fixtures were so common with Sutcliffe that Neville Cardus of the Manchester Guardian took ro describing him as “keeping his appointment with a century”. .
  3. *Frank Worrell – right handed batter, left arm medium fast, occasional left arm orthodox spin. He scored nine test centuries (his conversion rate from 50s to hundreds was not especially good) in the course of a distinguished career that saw him become the West Indies first ever black captain.
  4. Clem Hill – left handed batter, brilliant fielder. In the 1901-2 Ashes series Hill had a unique series of test innings, 99, 98 and 97 in succession (he did amass eight centuries in his test career, and was at one point until overhauled by Hobbs the leading career run scorer at that level).
  5. Jess Jonassen – left handed part, left arm orthodox spinner. Scored 99 in a recent test match, which is her highest international score to date.
  6. Arthur Chipperfield – right handed bat, leg spinner. He scored 99 on test debut. Unlike Jonassen who has yet to do so he did eventually score a test hundred.
  7. Richard Hadlee – right arm fast bowler, left handed attacking middle order bat. He has the best innings figures ever recorded by a fast bowler at test level, 9-52 vs Australia in the 1984-5 series.
  8. +Gil Langley – wicket keeper, right handed bat. He was the first keeper ever to make nine dismissals in a single test match – he tallied 98 overall in 26 test matches (83 catches and 15 stumpings).
  9. George Lohmann – right arm medium pacer, attacking right handed lower order bat. He has the cheapest nine-for in test history, 9-28 versus South Africa (in another match in that same series he took 8-7 as SA were rolled for 30, the joint second lowest innings total in test history, shared by the 1924 South Africans who were dismissed by Tate and Arthur Gilligan for that same score). He has the lowest average of any taker of 100 or more test wickets, 10.75, the best strike rate, a wicket every 34 balls and was joint quickest to 100 wickets in 17 matches). He once played an innings of 62 not out in a test match that only included one single!
  10. Arthur Mailey – leg spinner. He took 99 test wickets in all, including the first ever nine wicket innings haul by an Aussie, 9-121 in the 1920-1 Ashes series won 5-0 by Australia (Mailey took 36 wickets in that series, a record at the time). He is one place above his regular batting slot, but I deemed a more worthy candidate for promotion than…
  11. Devon Malcolm – right arm fast bowler and genuine no11. He has the best test innings figures ever recorded by an England fast bowler, 9-57 vs South Africa at The Oval in 1994.

This team contains a solid looking opening pair, a good 3 and 4, all rounders at 5,6 and 7, a great wicket keeper who was no mug with the bat, and three quality specialist bowlers. The bowling, with a front four of Hadlee, Malcolm, Lohmann and Mailey backed up by Jonassen, Chipperfield and if needed Frank Worrell looks even more impressive than the batting (sorry, Bumble, you are definitely eighth choice bowler). Even with my decidedly unusual selection criteria it is unquestionably a strong and balanced unit that should give a good account of itself.


  1. Jack Lyons – right handed attack minded opening batter. The Aussie had some remarkable high speed knocks to his credit, often opening the batting with Harry Trott. He is here courtesy of the ice cream makers Lyons.
  2. Tim Robinson – right handed opening batter. The Nottinghamshire opener made an extraordinary start to his test career against India away and then Australia at home, before being found out in the West Indies in 1986, an experience from which Robinson the batter never fully recovered. His international involvement ended for good in 1989 when he signed up for what turned about the last of the rebel tours of South Africa. He is in this team courtesy of Robinson’s Barley Water.
  3. Alf Dipper – right handed batter. A regular opener for Gloucestershire I have moved him one place down here.
  4. Kevin Pietersen – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. He is here not just for his likely contribution with the willow, but also because his nickname, ‘KP’, is the name of manufacturer of snack foods.
  5. Andrew Symonds – right han ded batter, occasional right arm medium pacer. He is here courtesy of Symonds Scrumpy Jack, a brand of cider that is not actually a genuine scrumpy – it is fizzy, but a less sweet than most such, as well as for his big hitting batting and fine fielding.
  6. Ellyse Perry – right handed bat, right arm fast medium, brilliant fielder. The most complete all rounder currently playing the game in my book. In addition to her immense cricketing merit, perry is of course a variant of cider made from pears rather than apples.
  7. *FHB Champain – right handed batter, right arm slow bowler. Full name Francis Henry Bateman Champain, sometimes shown as hyphenated but I have seen scorecards from the period with it not hyphenated. His first class career began in 1895 and ended in 1914, and he amassed 4677 runs at 24.61 with five hundreds and took 17 wickets at 24.58, the latter figure suggesting that his bowling was underused. I have named as captain as none of this team are full time captains, and I think that his performances are least likely to be adversely affected by the captaincy.
  8. Will Beer – leg spinner, capable lower order batter. Although left arm spinner Michael Beer has a test cap and Will does not I remember how impotent Beer was in that match – other than Collingwood who holed out to ‘raging against the dying of the light’ type smear down the ground essayed when two metres from the pitch of the ball he got no other wickets, and I never sympathise with bowlers of no balls, especially slow ones, so for me his ‘denied wicket’ of Alastair Cook is an irrelevance, mentioned only to dismiss it. Will Beer, our chosen Beer, has played for Sussex for a number of years, and during the 2019 championship season they used him up the order when they were lacking options in that area.
  9. Robert Crisp – right arm fast bowler, right handed batter. The only bowler to have twice captured four wickets in four balls in first class matches (the second instance occurring in an innings haul of 9-64). He was a very adventurous type, and a multiply decorated war hero as well as a top level cricketer.
  10. +’Punch’ Phillipson – wicket keeper, right handed bat. Played for Middlesex and England the 1890s. Played the last four matches of the 1894-5 Ashes after Leslie Gay had a disaster in the first at Sydney.
  11. Doug Bollinger – left arm fast medium, genuine no11. Had it arisen it would have been rather harder to decide who got the promotion out of him and Malcolm than it was in the actual case of Malcolm and Mailey. He had his moments at test level before his unqualified disastrous performance at Adelaide in 2010 when he was lacking in pace or threat and quite blatantly obviously not fully fit.

This team has a fine top five, a magnificent all rounder at six, Champain at seven is admittedly something of a punt, but the the keeper and the three guys selected as bowlers all have fine records. The big decision is whether your trust ‘Doug the rug’ with the new ball or open up with Crisp and Perry (my inclination would be the latter).


I would say that the ‘Niners’ are not quite as strong in batting as the ‘Party Themed’ XI but their bowling is unquestionably stronger. The ‘Party Themed’ XI would probably need Perry to ‘come to the party’ in a big way to have a serious chance, but of course that cannot be ruled out. My prediction, borne out by the evidence of cricket’s long history that sides with better bowling and somewhat less good batting are more likely to win (see Yorkshire in the 1900s and the 1930s and Surrey in the 1950s as positive examples and the bowler-light but batter-heavy and never close to winning Sussex of the 1900s as a negative example of this), is that ‘The Niners’ would win a five match series, with the most likely margins for such being in my book 3-2, 3-1 with one draw, 2-1 with two draws and 4-1 in that order.


What was this little exercise all about (apart from obviously some fun)? Well today, my envisaged day for publishing this post is a landmark in aspi.blog’s history. It is my ninth ‘blogiversary’ (hence the team with the associations with the number nine). Click here to view the first post that ever appeared on this site way back in 2011. Since then this blog has truly gone global, which as an internationalist I am delighted by, with a follower count just topping the thousand, and visitors from the majority of our planet’s 192 recognized countries, as the map below shows – only the completely unshaded countries have yet to provide this sit with a visitor:


Incidentally for a real life example of XIs marking a special occasion I refer you to David Kynaston’s book “W.G.’s Birthday Party”, referring to the scheduling of the 1898 Gentlemen versus Players match so that its third and final day coincided with “The Champion’s” 50th birthday. On that day, WG, carrying an injury, took part in a last ditch resistance with Charles Kortright ‘the Demon of Leyton’ which almost saved the game for the Gentlemen. Precisely eight years later in 1906 WG playing in the same fixture marked his 58th birthday was last major innings in top level cricket, a match saving 74.

Finally, although I have avoided honourable mentions I must explain one omission: Mohammed Azharruddin played 99 test matches which I could have used to include him, but I took note of the reason why his tally of test caps did not reach the century: he was embroiled in a match fixing scandal.


Our two ‘blogiversary’ XIs have been introduced, the topped and tailed by explanations of the brief and the reason for the choice of theme. There is of course one last ingredient needed to complete an aspi.blog post – the signing off flourish…

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Multiple birds, multiple species of bird.

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A prowling on garage roofs across the private and hence rather poorly maintained road behind my bungalow (it is an unisgned turning off Raby Avenue and leads to nowehre other than the garages and the backs of the bungalows).

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My Fuchsia holding out the promise of glories to come.

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A rather splendid little bug crawling on my outside table.

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This world map, included by Patricia Fara in “Science: A Four Thousand Year History”, is designed to challenge northern hemisphere chauvinism by reversing the conventional polarity. In doing so, it shows New Zealand where it deserves to be ranked for its response to Covid-19: on top of the world.

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The two teams in tabulated form with abbreviated comments.


All Time XIs – Record Setters XI

My latest variation on the all-time XI theme, a USian thread about protecting one’s family, introducing my father’s blog and the inevitable photographs.


It is time for another variation on the ‘All Time XI‘ theme. Today I introduce you to a squad of record setters. While most of them had extraordinary careers, the records I have chosen to highlight were usually established over a few matches or a season, with one and a bit exceptions. As usual with one of my XIs I have been selecting it as a team as well as a collection of individuals, so it encapsulates a broad range of talents.


  1. *WG Grace – I have selected him for two extraordinary purple patches, not his overall career record, although that too is extraordinary. In his last 11 matches of the 1874 season, at the start of which no one had ever achieved the season double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in first class matches, he achieved that double. These 11 matches, capping an already fine season, included a spectacular burst of six games in which he scored a century and took 10 or more wickets five times, managing a 10 wicket haul in the other game but only one run. Before this the dual feat had been accomplished only seven times, four of them by WG himself. In August 1876 he scored 839 runs in three successive first class knocks – 344 for MCC v Kent, 177 for Gloucestershire v Nottinghamshire and 318 not out for Gloucestershire v Yorkshire.
  2. Tom Hayward – the Cambridgeshire born Surrey opener achieved a feat the to this day remains his alone – he scored twin centuries in each of two successive first class games, all four centuries being scored in the space of a week.
  3. Frank Woolley – the Kent left handed all rounder is the only one who is selected for a record achieved over the duration of a career – he alone achieved the career ‘treble’ of 10,000 runs, 1,000 wickets and 1,000 catches in first class cricket. He is joint record holder (with his captain in this XI, WG Grace) of the record number of 1,000 run seasons, 28. He achieved the ‘batting all rounders double of 2,000 runs and 100 wickets in a first class season on four occasions, which is also a record.
  4. Denis Compton – the Middlesex ace holds the record aggregate for first class runs in a seaon and first class centuries in a season, 3,816 and 18 respectively, both set in 1947. He also scored the fastest ever first class triple century, 181 minutes in Benoni.
  5. James Horace Parks – the Sussex batting all rounder is given his full name because his son, also a James Parks, played for Sussex as a middle order batter and sometimes wicket keeper. In 1937 he achieved a feat that is likely to remain his alone by combing 3,000 runs (3,003) with 100 wickets (101) in the first class season. His grandson Bobby kept wicket for Hampshire in the 1980s, but as yet there has been no sign of a fourth generation of first class cricketing Parkses to draw them level with the Cowdreys.
  6. George Hirst – the Yorkshire all rounder has a unique season double to his credit – in 1906 he scored 2,385 first class runs and captured 208 first class wickets, the only 2,000 run, 200 wicket double ever achieved in a first class season. Against Somerset at Bath that season he had a match that was a microcosm of his season – centuries in both of this sides innings and five-fors in both of the opposition teams innings, a unique match ‘quadruple’.
  7. +Leslie Ames – the ‘wicket keeper’s double’ of 1,000 runs and 100 dismissals in first class matches for the season has been achieved four times in first class history, and the first three occasions were all by the Kent man, including in 1929 a record season haul for a keeper of 128 dismissals (79 caught, 49 stumped). 
  8. Richard Hadlee – in 1969 the English first class season was drastically reduced to make room for the John Player League, a 40 overs per side competition (part of the definition of a first class game is that must run to at least three days, which is why Alastair Cook’s 2005 double century against the Aussies does not feature in his first class record – that was a two day game), and further changes since then have continued to reduce the number of first class fixtures played. The first of only two players to achieve the 1,000 runs, 100 wickets double for a season post 1969 was the Kiwi right arm fast bowler and left handed attacking batter, an overseas stalwart for Nottinghamshire over many years, in 1984. He planned his campaign that year with a thoroughness that would have left most generals blushing, assessing exactly what he reckoned he needed to do and which opponents he could do it against, and it worked out more or less according to his script. He wrote a book, “At The Double”, which came out in 1985 and detailed his extraordinary assault on the history books. Hadlee also has the best test innings figures ever recorded by a fast bowler, 9-52 against Australia, in the first test series that New Zealand ever won against their trans-Tasman rivals (the eighth Aussie dissmissed in that innings, Geoff ‘Henry’ Lawson, attempted to attack spinner Vaughan Brown and succeeded only in offering a dolly catch, which Hadlee, a possible all ten not withstanding, coolly accepted).
  9. Charles ‘The Terror’ Turner – the Aussie took 283 first class wickets on the 1884 tour of England, a record for any tourist anywhere, and in 1887-8 became the first and only bowler to take 100 first class wickets in an Australian season. 
  10. Tich Freeman – the 5’2″ Kent leg spinner took 304 first class wickets in the 1928 season, the all time record (he also has numbers 2,3 and 5 on the list, and six of the 13 occasions on which a bowler has taken 250 first class wickets in a season were his. Freeman also stands alone in achieving three first class ‘all tens’.
  11. Tom Richardson – the Surrey fast bowler, who took more wickets in a season than any other of his pace – 290 in 1894 was his best haul.

This is a beautifully balanced XI, with depth in batting (even Turner and Freeman had records that included test fifties), a bowling attack that is rich in both numbers and variety, with speedsters Richardson and Hadlee being backed an off spin/ cut bowler in Turner, a leggie in Freeman, a left arm orthodox spinner (Woolley), a left arm unorthodox spinner (Compton) plus Hirst’s left arm pace and swing and the far from negligible bowling offerings of Grace and Parks, and Hayward’s medium pace sometimes had its moments – only Ames would definitely not get a turn at the bowling crease (though even that could be arranged – WG deputized as keeper in test matches on occasions, once enabling the official glove man, the Hon Alffred Lyttelton to collect 4-19 bowling lobs!).


Within my brief (record setting, but over a few matches or a season, rather than a career, with an exception made for Woolley), the most obvious miss was Jim Laker, the Surrey off spinner who holds the record for most wickets in a first class game (19-90 v Australia at Old Trafford in 1956), while, as mentioned by Woolley in “King of Games”, had things gone a bit differently when Kent played Northamptonshire in 1907 Blythe would have had an unassailable case for inclusion with the only ‘all twenty’ in first class history to his credit. Maurice Tate and Albert Trott each had seasons in which they scored 1,000 first class runs and took 200 first class wickets. Don Bradman holds the record average for an English first class season, 115.66 in 1938. Geoffrey Boycott twice averaged over 100 for a full English season, but in both cases his side fell down the table (nine whole places to a then historic low of 13th in 1971), while Hirst’s annus mirabilis saw Yorkshire finish second to Kent, the single run by which they lost to Gloucestershire being the biggest small margin in cricket’s history until the final of the 2019 Men’s World Cup. Brian Lara holds the world record individual scores in both test and first class cricket, but both of those scores, and his earlier 375 v England in 1994 came in drawn games which never really looked like being anything else. Syd Barnes’ 49 wickets in the series against South Africa in 1913-4, missing the last game after a dispute over terms and conditions, was an extraordinary feat. George Giffen’s match for South Australia v Victoria in which he scored 271 not out, and then took 7-70 amd 9-96 nearly earned him a place.

I end this section by reminding folks that I am selecting XIs, not full squads or even tour parties, and that I endeavour to ensure that each side has a good balance to it, both of which need to be borne in mind when suggesting changes.


Another XI has trodden the aspi.blog boards, but before signing off in my usual fashion I have a couple of other things to do. First, Gabrielle Blair has posted a wonderful twitter thread on the theme of “protecting one’s family”, taking aim at the obsession some of compatriots have with guns, which she then turned into a blog post on her site, designmom. I urge to read it.

Second, in a couple of my recent posts I have drawn attention to my mother’s new blog (see here and here), well now it is my father’s turn. He has set up a blog called morethanalittlefoxed, in which he writes about books. He has begun an A-Z series, and as a starter I offer you his D entry, “D is for Frances Isabella Duberly” (he has reached the letter E, but shrewd wordpressers will realize that by picking out the D I have given visitors three posts that are no more than two clicks away – ‘previous post’ and ‘next post’ being available when they exist.

Finally it is time for the usual sign off…

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I was delighted to see this bird through my window this morning – my photographic opportunities are limited to what I see through my front window and what I can get while out in the back garden when weather permits.

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A large and surprisingly co-operative fly

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Even with a telescopic zoom lens capturing a goldfinch when looking upwards, with the sun in a less than ideal position and over a distance of approximately 50 metres is not the most straightforward of tasks.

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I spotted this stone while walking laps of my garden.

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An insect crawls on my book..

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…and here it is on the forefinger of my left hand.

Record Setters XI
The XI in tabulated form with abridged comments.

Brief Update

A quick update about my situation vis a vis coronavirus.


In view of the the coronavirus situation I thought I would let all of you know about what is happening with me.


With my lungs probably still damaged from the cancer that nearly killed me less than a year an a half ago and my immune system almost certainly still compromised from the chemo used to treat that cancer I am in an at risk group. Therefore my external activities for the foreseeable future will be kept to a minimum – I hope to still visit the two libraries that are within walking distance of me, and for the moment I intend to keep on doing my own food shopping, although I have a backup plan in place should even these excursions have to stop. I have already put my plans to return to work on hold, and my employer has indicated that he will try to arrange for me to do some imaging from home while I cannot risk travel by public transport. I am at the moment quite well, and definitely do not have a fever – I have been taking my temperature daily for several weeks now and it it is consistently reading in the 36 degrees range. My life is never exactly a dizzy whirl of social activities in any case, so such a minimalist approach as I am having to take is probably less of a hardship to me than it would be to many. Good luck to all of you finding ways to cope in these difficult times, and I will try to find more things to blog about in the coming period. Here are a few recent pictures to finish:

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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.


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…


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.


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.


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

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Here are some shots from the allotment area:

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A large and colourful fly.

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Red Admiral and bee enjoying same plant.

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The remainder of my pictures…

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

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A ridiculously extended car seen from my window on Saturday.

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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.

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A beautiful Red Admiral.

Nomination For Sunshine Blogger Award (#3) And Other Stuff

A response to my third nomination for a Sunshine Blogger Award and plenty of other stuff.


The nomination that gives this post its title comes from someone I had previously nominated for this award, which is why I am approaching things in the way I am, as I am going to use stuff from my last Sunshine Blogger Award nomination response to cover that side of things.


First, my thanks to Erika’s Corner (stigmasnomore) for the nomination. Now for those highlights (click the link in the section heading to view the full post):


I open my questions up to responses from everyone.


For the most extraordinary match of the year start here. In any other year the inaugural England v Ireland test match at Lord’s would have had no competition for the title of that year’s most extraordinary match. Twice in a few weeks Lord’s was the scene of a match that reached deep into “script rejection” territory.

England slumped to 85 all out on the first day, a combination of poor batting and some good bowling, especially from Tim Murtagh and MarkRed‘ Adair (a nickname I coined in a previous post).

Ireland themselves managed 207 in response, a lead of 122. Olly Stone, Norfolk born fast bowler, took three wickets and surely ensured continuing involvement with test cricket for himself. Then, with England having one over to face at the end of day two Jack Leach, averaging four for Somerset in the county championship this year, was sent out to open, shielding Jason Roy.

Having survived the over in the evening Leach proceeded to make 92, while Roy, shielded from a potential second failure in one day also topped the 50. The came a slide from 177-1 at the high water mark of the innings to 303 all out, a lead of 181. Then in the most extraordinary twist, Stuart Broad, reckoned by some (including me) to be a fading force at test level and Chris Woakes took advantage of swing friendly conditions to rout Ireland for 38, giving England victory by 143 runs.

I note that for the first Ashes test Joe Root has been moved up to number three (desperately needed although he has little relish for it). However, this only deals with one top order problem. The opening pair remains an unresolved issue, with Roy having done so much tter at three than he did opening in the first innings. If England are 30-3 at the start of every innings against Australia they will be absolutely hammered in the series. I continue to hold out for what I now call the ‘Beaumont Solution‘.


I have two links to share with you before getting to the pictures:

  1. Anna was kind enough to give me a mention in her post “No 39 in my drawing goals for 2019” and I reciprocate here by advising you to visit the post.

The Skwawkbox has recently put up a post titled 124 policies Labour will deliver in government” – the policies themselves are below, in the form of the graphic (click on it to view it full size) that is the centrepiece of the Skwawkbox post:
The feature image of my previous post was a water based insect that at the time I had yet to identify. My research suggests that it is an Azure Damselfly:

British Nature Guide Pic:


And my close up photograph is below.

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Now for my new photographs, and there are plenty of them…

Beer Festival GP
We start with a few pictures from the King’s Lynn Beer Festival at Stuart House (NAS West Norfolk was this year’s designated charity beneficiary)

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The moment the 2019 World Cup was won.

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A Peacock Butterfly (relatively uncommon, although known to have some living places in King’s Lynn)

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A Painted Lady (a variety of butterfly I had not previosuly observed in King’s Lynn)

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Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination

My response to being nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award.


Thank you to simpleillusionblog for the nomination. This post is my response to that nomination.


I hope that learnography will get something close to an answer to a question they raised in a comment recently:

Will you share how you feel before, during or after the writing? In fact, writing is the motor knowledge of brain circuits which deals with the finger mapping of cerebellar learnography. Your therapeutic experience is valuable in the development of cerebellar basal ganglia circuitry. Thanks

First up for the rest of thist post…


  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.


  1. How dedicated are you as a blogger? pretty dedicated – in just under eight years since I started I have produced just over 1,500 posts, and whenever possible I like to put something up most days. I also read a huge number of blogs, posting likes and where appropriate comments.
  2.  What do you love most about blogging? Interacting with a community, something that I struggle with except via the medium of a computer.
  3. Do you collect anything when you travel and if so, what and why? I collect maps to remind of me of places I have visited and I also collect photographs to share so that others can see things that have caught my eye.
  4. Do you speak any other languages? No, I am sadly monolingual (my efforts to learn other languages have all been failures).
  5. Are you a tea or coffee drinker? I am a coffee drinker. These days I drink filter coffee, and my method for producing the perfect brew is: Two heaped scoops of coffee grounds into the pot, cover with enough boiling water to produce two cups of coffee, place the top over the pot and leave to stand for not less than five minutes (I check my emails while filling in this time), then press the plunger down and pour. The result looks like black muck and drinks like liquid velvet.
  6. How did your blog get its name and why did you start it? My blog got its name from a shortening of my official 2006 diagnosis – Asperger’s Syndrome – although these days like most autistic people I simply use autism and refer to myself where appropriate as an autistic person. I started the blog because I hoped that people would be interested in reading about an autistic person from their own point of view. Also, I find writing to be therapeutic – I always feel better for having created a blog post.
  7. What post are you most proud of on your blog? The one I wrote about going through a melt down, because it was a difficult and sensitive subject and if I had misfired with such a post I could have copped some serious stick, while in the event it was very well received.
  8. Name one thing you didn’t expect to happen with your blog that has. That I would acquire as many followers as I have done – almost 800 of you now follow this blog.
  9. What is your typical weekend like? I can no longer claim to have a typical weekend, but unless something (usually an unscheduled hospital trip these days) prevents it Sunday lunch with family remains a regular feature.
  10. What is your greatest inspiration in life? My inspiration comes from the natural world – I love to get outside in to green spaces and see what the beasts and birds are doing.
  11. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a travel blog today? I would say start by picking a title for your blog and creating a wordpress site, then continue by searching wordpress for travel blogs and see what kinds of stuff they post, also leave a few likes and comments to advertise your presence (I spent my first three years or so as a blogger failing to do this), then think about what you want your first post to look like and set about creating it. Once you have created the post make sure it is categorized and tagged properly (no more than 10 tags for a post or you could fall foul of various spam filters) and that you have a good feature image. If you do other forms of social media (not all bloggers do) then post links there to maximise exposure of the blog.


  1. What inspired you to become a blogger?
  2. How do you promote your blog?
  3. What has been your greatest recent challenge?
  4. Do you ever set yourself to do muli-post blogging projects (e.g my “100 cricketers” series, which occupied 40 posts)?
  5. How do you go about creating a blog post?
  6. Which of your posts did you most enjoy creating and why?
  7. Where in the world would you most like to visit and why?
  8. What is your favourite meal?
  9. What kind of music do you most enjoy? If you fancy expanding on this one you could do a “Desert Island Discs” style selection of eight pieces and finish by pickinf one from that list.
  10. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  11. Do you have an idea that you think you could turn into a book? If so what is it?


I have nominated the following, who I present as a bulleted list to avoid any suggestion of a ranking order:

If I have not nominated you but you fancy taking on my questions anyway, please feel free to do so.


I sign off in my usual fashion…




My Third Admission to Addenbrookes

A detailed account of my third admission to Addenbrookes.


As promised in my previous post I am now going to give a full account of my most recent admission to Addenbrookes. 


Although I was admitted on a Sunday this story begins with the Friday (January 25th) before. That day I felt very tired and not really able to do anything, but hoped that a quiet day would see things improve because I was not feeling ill as such. I only managed to eat half of my sausage and chips supper that evening, and was still very tired and downbeat the following day. That Saturday evening I had supper at my aunt’s house but got very tired indeed, and by the following morning I was effectively not functioning at all. 


On Sunday afternoon my aunt drove me down to Addenbrooke’s for an emergency readmission. Two possible causes of the problem emerged as front runners very quickly – a lung infection or a delayed reaction to the Bleomycin. My breathing was at a dangerously low level, and I was on a high dose of extra oxygen for a whole week, before it was halved, and then, on my eighth day as an in-patient removed altogether.

I was moved up to the very familiar surroundings of Ward D9, having been allocated bed 13 (a sensible choice, as it is in a small room with just three other beds and the arrangements are such as to provide a measure of privacy.


My father made several trips to Cambridge Central Library to get me books to read in my hospital bed (focussing on science – my brain is functioning pretty well at the moment, and low oxygen levels not withstanding I was overall feeling not too bad). I had also been equipped with puzzle books, and I devoted some time to planning future writing in between these activities. 

This developed into a plan for a series of cricket posts in the course which I plan to write about 100 cricketers who mean a lot to me. I have divided my cricketers into nine XIs and one player to round out the 100 at the end. Within that division I have subdivided each 11 into parts to be covered in individual posts. The plan is for the 1st and 100th cricketers to get individual posts to themselves (and #cricketer 1 in the list habitually bats at no 1 in the order, being a choice that suits my purpose in several ways).

I also received a postcard from family in Sweden while I was in hospital, which came with a nice little extra:


A Sweden 2019 stamp – I love that fish.


From Monday morning (three days ago) onwards I was basically waiting to be discharged. I had fully accepted, especially given that this was my second emergency readmission in quite a short space of time, that I could not be discharged until a care package was in place for me. Nevertheless, it was difficult to retain patience when eager to be back home and when particularly wanting to be out in time to attend a certificate presentation. For a while at least I will be needing regular professional attention because my autism causes me not to realise how seriously things can be going wrong (e.g a general feeling of fatigue that turns out to be a lung infection making itself felt), and frankly I am no keener than anyone else on the notion of further readmissions to Addenbrookes, though I will of course be visiting as an outpatient for a considerable time to come. 


At last, just after 7PM yesterday, I arrived home and was able to start settling myself back into home life. I am on antibiotics for the lung infection, anabolic steroids and various other medications. Also, I am wearing compression stockings on my legs as a safety device (the swelling in the left leg has now definitely gone, and with it the pain I was experiencing in that area, but I will retain the stockings until told otherwise). 

Setting The Stage For Tomorrow And Monday

Setting out my stall for tomorrow and Monday, answering one problem and setting another. Also demonstrating the creation of a poster.


Between work, an important meeting on Tuesday and editing photographs from last weekend I have not been able to put up any blog posts since Monday. This post will set out what is on the agenda for tomorrow and Monday, give a solution to one problem and set another. 


I have already produced two posts in my “Autism Events” series, which take that story up to the end of the Norwich event (see here and here), and covering Saturday’s event in London will certainly take two posts, possibly three. Additionally the photographs I have of the journey between King’s Cross and Uxbridge will form the backbone of a couple of posts (at least) on my London transport themed website. 


In Midweek Medley III I posed the following problem:


Below is the answer and a published solution from brilliant.




Another one from brilliant:



This is one of the tasks I had to perform at work this week. I actually produced two versions due to a dispute over which photograph to use as the official sample. The brief was to produce a poster that looked like the front cover of a catalogue, advertising the fact that part 1 of the W A Sharman collection of  iconic steam locomotive photographs will be going under the hammer:

Dent Head Viaduct main
This was the choice of former railway worker Paul, one with which I am in full agreement…

Dent Head Viaduct - Label

Nicholas Nickleby main
…but auctioneer David liked this one, so I produced two versions of the poster. These images were obtained by scanning the original photographs at 600dpi.

Nicholas Nickleby Label

This is a screenshot of my preferred version.

Flyer 2
I also produced flyers for Paul to use at an event he was attending.

Flyer 1

Below are the links to the original word documents.

Sharman poster 1

Sharman poster 2