ODI Series Decider Goes To The Wire

An account of the concluding ODI between India and England, plus some thoughts on over rates and some photographs.

This post is devoted to the events of yesterday’s final and deciding ODI between India and England.


England decided to retain both Malan and Livingstone, so Billings missed out. They also opted to replace Tom Curran with Mark Wood, a decision that would have been indisputable had Wood been fully fit, but it rapidly became clear that he was not. India replaced Kuldeep Yadav with T Natarajan, changing the balance of their bowling attack. Jos Buttler won the toss and decided to bowl.


India got off to a flying start, with Sam Curran and Reece Topley both somewhat wayward. Mark Wood bowled fast in spite of obviously not being well. It took the arrival of the spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali at the bowling crease to stem the flow at all. Rashid accounted for both openers, one bowled and one caught and bowled, in successive overs, while Ali clean bowled Virat Kohli. Liam Livingstone had made his first contribution to the game with a fine piece of fielding out on the boundary that saved two runs. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant maintained the momentum and for a while it looked like something close to 400 was on for India, but then Livingstone got Rahul, as the batter could only put a filthy full toss straight into the hands of a fielder. Thereafter England picked up wickets regularly, and India were all out for 329 in the 49th over. At that stage it looked anyone’s game, with England possibly favourites.


For once neither Roy nor Bairstow managed a substantial score, and Stokes and Buttler both also went fairly cheaply. At that stage it was 95-4 and England looked in deep trouble. Livingstone and Malan batted well however and at the end of the 20th England were 132-4, two fifths of the way to the target after two fifths of the overs and having lost two fifths of their wickets. Livingstone was fifth out, having batted well, and then Malan having completed a fine 50 was sixth to go. That brought Sam Curran in join Moeen Ali, with England in deep trouble. At the end of the 30th England were 196-6. Moeen Ali’s departure seemed to be the final nail, but Rashid provided Curran support, and then extraordinarily, Mark Wood, for all that he was obviously not well, continued the support work, while Curran was playing a very special innings. Wood was ninth out, but even Topley, the most genuine of genuine number 11s, did his bit, and at the end of the 49th England were 316-9 needing 14 to win, and crucially Curran was at the strikers end. He did his best, but the task was just too much, and England were beaten by seven runs, with Curran 95 not out off 83 balls.


Sam Curran was named Player of the Match for his fighting knock, a decision which Indian skipper Kohli disapproved of. Shardul Thakur with 30 and four wickets was the obvious alternative candidate, and normally I would say that this award should go to someone from the winning side. However, at the point at which Curran came in to bat England were staring an absolute hammering in the face, with a three figure margin looking likely, and Curran turned that around to the extent that the game ended as a nail biter. Also most of Curran’s batting was done with the support of a no9, a sick no10 and a n011. Thus on this occasion I think the decision to give the award to someone from the losing side was justified, although I would not have quarrelled with the award going to Thakur.


This match was conducted at a tempo that to borrow from the world of music could only fairly be described as ‘adagio molto’ – very slow. 100 overs occupied eight and a quarter hours of actual playing time, with England being in the field for three hours fifty minutes and India for four hours twenty five minutes. This leads me to revisit an old idea of mine in slightly revised form: based on the 15 overs per hour officially required in test matches I would allocate each team a fixed time slot to bowl their overs of three hours and 20 minutes, and for each over they have not bowled in that period the batting team get awarded penalty runs at a rate of ten per over or double the scoring rate, whichever is the greater. Obviously umpires would have to watch out for batters deliberately wasting time in the hope of securing penalty runs. If this was adopted there might be one ODI series/ tournament in which extras had a Bradmanesque aggregate but I reckon over rates would speed up pretty quickly. Here is a very famous slow tempo piece of music, Albinoni’s “Adagio for Organ and Strings”, from youtube:


My usual sign off…

Accepting Extra Walking 2: London and Elsewhere

A second ‘accepting extra walking’ post, this time looking at two very different areas.

As promised yesterday, I am doing a non-cricket post today, resuming my ‘accepting extra walking series‘. For this post, and any others along these line that I produce I will start with a London based example and then move on to something from another period of my life.


There are many attractions in the South Bank Centre. In my case, with my love of classical music, I was usually going there for a concert either in the Queen Elizabeth Hall or the Purcell Room. From the then family home in southwest London I could take the Northern line to Waterloo or go to Streatham and take a train to Blackfriars (District and Circle as well as various mainline railways) and walk along the Thames from there, a slightly longer but more scenic route than the one from Waterloo. This walking route also takes in Southwark Station (Jubilee). Also, approaching from north of the river one could use Charing Cross (Northern, Bakerloo, mainline railways), from which one could exit direct on to a footbridge across the Thames, and if one was on the Piccadilly line this walk could be extended be getting off at Covent Garden, a short walk away from Charing Cross. Here are some pictures:


This one comes from my university days. Barnsley had a leisure centre called the Metrodome, but if you actually wanted to swim rather than just splash around Wombwell Baths was a superior option. The basic journey from Barnsley to Wombwell is one stop by rail with a walk at both ends, but I did sometimes walk all the way there and get the train back. From where I was living at the time, on a side road off Doncaster Road the straight walking route was down to Stairfoot, turn right, and keep walking until you reach Wombwell, which does take quite a while. One little bit of cricket content: one of the roads one passes when walking this way is Roy Kilner Road, named in honour of the Yorkshire and England all rounder of the 1920s who died near the end of that decade from an illness contracted while coaching in India. He only played a few test matches, but his first class record (LHB, SLA) saw him amass over 14,000 runs at an average of 30.58 and take 1,003 wickets at 18.45 a piece. He was born in Wombwell, hence having a road there named in his honour, and died in Kendray, also near Barnsley.


My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Music and Military

Today’s ‘all time XI’ cricket post sees two topics beginning with M, music and military, as the themes for our XIs.


Welcome to another installment of my ‘all time XI‘ cricket series. Today we have an XI of players with names that connect to music and an XI with names that connect to military matters.


  1. *Andrew Strauss – left handed opening batter, captain. The man who captained England to the top of the test world, and who have a very respectable test average. There have been a phalanx of composers named Strauss – Johann I, Johann II, Joseph, Richard etc. Here is a youtube video of Johann Strauss II’s “Blue Danube Waltz”:
  2. Dean Elgar – left handed opening batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. Has a fine record for South Africa, though just short of being genuinely top drawer. He gets in here thanks to Sir Edward Elgar. Since openers represent the overture to the innings, here is a youtube video of Elgar’s “Cockaigne Overture”:
  3. Bob Barber – left handed batter, occasional leg spinner. An attacking batter whose greatest innings was played when opening the batting for England in the 1965-6 Ashes – 185 to set up an innings victory. Samuel Barber was a USian composer, best known for his “Adagio for Strings”:
  4. Michael Clarke – right handed batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. Averaged 49 in his test career, in spite of a truly horrible series in the 2010-1 Ashes. Jeremiah Clarke was a composer, chiefly known for his “Trumpet Voluntary”:
  5. Walter Gilbert – right handed batter, right arm slow bowler. A cousin of WG Grace whose career ended in sad circumstances. He played a peripheral role in bringing about the first test match to be played on English soil – he and GF Grace strengthened many of the sides against whom the 1880 Aussies, who had arrived under a major cloud, played against, and were impressed by their strength, which they communicated to WG, who was eventually able to persuade the right people that a test match should be arranged. He gets is as name sake to WS Gilbert, the Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan.
  6. Felix Organ – right handed batter, off spinner. A very promising youngster, having already scored a century and taken a five for in the course of his fledgling career. He averages 26 with the bat and 15 the ball at the present moment, but his five-for does account for more than half of his tally of first class wickets.
  7. +Keith Piper – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Part of Dermot Reeve’s Warwickshire side that had a brilliant period in the mid 1990s. There are various musical instruments that include the name pipes, and one who plays the pipes is a piper, as in “who pays the piper, calls the tune.”
  8. Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie – right arm fast bowler. The original Dizzy Gillespie was a famous jazz musician:
  9. Trent Boult – left arm fast medium bowler. Sir Adrian Boult was a famous conductor.
  10. Neil Wagner – left arm fast medium bowler. Very different to Boult in approach. He is here as analogue to Richard Wagner, a great composer. Here is a youtube video of “The Ride of The Valkyries”:
  11. Charlie Parker – left arm orthodox spinner. The third leading wicket taker in first class history, with 3,278 scalps at that level. The other Charlie Parker was a jazz musician. Here, again from youtube, is “Ornithology”:

This team has a solid top four, two all rounders, an excellent keeper and four very respectable bowler. Gillespie, Boult, Wagner and Parker backed by Gilbert and Organ, with Barber’s leg spin also available make for a decent and very balanced attack.


  1. *Pelham Warner – right handed opening batter, captain. He earned the nickname ‘the general’ because by the time he became captain of Middlesex he had led England on several successful campaigns, including the 1903-4 Ashes.
  2. Harry Lee – right handed opening batter. A regular opening partner of Warner at Middlesex. He was once the victim in a very quirky scorebook line, when Middlesex played Somerset – his brother Frank took the catch that dismissed him off the bowling of his other brother Jack. His analogue is General Lee.
  3. Stan McCabe – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler. Nicknamed ‘Napper’, which derived from Napoleon.
  4. Julius Caesar – right handed batter, occasional fast bowler. Appropriately given his name he was inclined to the aggressive approach. His playing days were before the era of test cricket, but he did tour Australia in 1863-4. His military namesake can be read about here.
  5. Paul Collingwood – right handed batter, right arm medium pace bowler. His approach to batting earned him the nickname “Brigadier Block”.
  6. Stanley Jackson – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler. Hero of the 1905 Ashes, when as England captain he won all five tosses, led England to victory in both the matches that reached a conclusion and topped both the batting and bowling averages. Although it is as a namesake of general ‘Stonewall’ Jackson that I have picked him he also won a DSO in the Boer War.
  7. +Phil Mustard – wicket keeper, left handed batter. Due to his surname and the game Cluedo he was nicknamed ‘Colonel’.
  8. Xenophon Constantine Balaskas – leg spinner, right handed batter. The original Xenophon served as a mercenary soldier, while the most famous Constantine became Roman Emperor after winning the battle of the Mulvian Bridge.
  9. Paul Franks – right arm fast medium bowler, useful lower order batter. Referred to as ‘the general’ because of US general Tommy Franks.
  10. Amanda-Jade Wellington – leg spinner. Yes, on this occasion we have a Napoleon – ‘Napper’ McCabe – and a Wellington on the same side!
  11. Neil Hawke – right arm medium fast bowler. Played for Australia in the 1960s, and had a decent record. His analogue is Admiral Hawke who won the naval battle of Quiberon Bay. His direct descendant, Martin Bladen seventh Baron Hawke, captained Yorkshire for many years, but his playing record did not justify inclusion.

This side has a respectable top five, an all rounder in Jackson, a keeper who could bat and four varied bowlers. There is a lack of genuine pace, and also both front line spinners are leg spinners, but the bowling attack is perfectly respectable.


I have to say that, notwithstanding managing to accommodate references to Napoleon and Wellington in the same side for that purpose, the music themed side looks the stronger and I would expect them to win the contest for the ‘John Philip Sousa Trophy’ (he was a composer of military music).


DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) have produced an official response to Jonathan Reynolds’ (supposedly ‘Labour’) comments on welfare reform. Please click on the screenshot below to see it in full:


Now we are ready for my usual sign off…


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The teams in tabulated form.

All Time XIs: No Surname v All Surname

My latest variation on an ‘all time XI’ cricket theme. Also features photographs. Read and enjoy!


Welcome to today;s variation on the ‘All Time XI‘ theme. In this post a team who appear deficient in the surname department pit their wits against a team who seem to be all surname.


  1. Bobby Abel – right handed opening bat. We have met the Surrey man before in this series, playing for Davids v Goliaths among others. Abel as a given name of course goes all the way back to the beginning of the Bible. In my more recent times two fictional Abels are Abel Whittle who has a bit part in Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge” and Abel Fearon, villain in “Steps To The Gallows”, the second book in a series by Edward Marston that currently runs to four books.
  2. Alec Stewart – right handed opening batter. We met him in the very first post in this series, dedicated to Surrey. Stewart spelt that way does sometimes feature as a given name, even of Stuart is the more common version. A cricketing Stewart is the illustrious Stewart ‘Stewie’ Dempster, who we will be making the acquaintance of in tomorrow’s post.
  3. Ian Craig – right handed batter. The Aussie was a mere 17 years of age when selected for the 1953 Ashes tour. He never quite delivered at the very highest level, though at Old Trafford in 1956 he battled over four hours for 38 in the second Aussie innings.
  4. Harry Graham – right handed batter. He made his test debut at Lord’s in 1890 and marked the occasion with a ton. The next person to make their debut at Lords with a ton was John Hampshire v West Indies in 1969.
  5. Syd Gregory – right handed batter, excellent fielder. Between his debut in 1890 and has retirement in 1912 Gregory made a record eight tours of England. His finest batting hour came at Sydney in 1894 when he scored 201, helping Australia to a score of 586. Australia ended up losing that one by 10 runs however. In the 1902 match at Old Trafford, which his side won by three runs he took a crucial catch in the England second innings to account for Stanley Jackson.
  6. *Johnny Douglas – right handed batter, right arm medium fast. Douglas took over from Pelham Warner, rendered hors de combat by illness as captain of the 1911-2 Ashes side and guided them, with some important assistance from the sick Warner, to a 4-1 series triumph. 21 years later under the captaincy of a man with the given name Douglas, Mr Jardine, England would duplicate that 4-1 winning margin in Australia.
  7. +Dennis Lindsay – wicket keeper, middle order batter. The stumper once scored over 600 runs in a series versus Australia, in which he also effected over 20 dismissals.
  8. Ashley Giles – left arm orthodox spinner, useful right handed lower order batter. Before the 2005 Ashes series began Terry Alderman stated that “if any Aussie batter gets out to Giles they should go hang themselves.” By the end of that series Giles had accounted for each of the top eight in the Aussie order at least once and intervened twice crucially with the bat. At Trent Bridge he kept his nerve in a very tense finish to put England one up with one to play, and then at The Oval he played a crucial support role while Pietersen was destroying the Aussie bowlers, holding up his end for over two hours and amassing 59 runs of his own. This meant the Australia needed 342 from 18 overs when the England innings ended, an impossible chase even had the weather not intervened one last time (of course given the difference between losing and drawing the series Australia would but for the weather have been obliged to throw everything at attempting this crazy run chase, the draw being valueless to them, and 1-3 very little worse than 1-2).
  9. Shannon Gabriel – right arm fast bowler. The West Indian, part of a cricketing revival in that part of the world after a dreadful period in the early 2000s, is the heir to a great fast bowling tradition. For those who feel that he properly belongs in the other XI, most of the names that come up when I search cricinfo using the name Shannon are of players with forename Shannon, and I also give you current US politician Shannon Bearman. Gabriel is well documented as a given name, going back to the archangel, but I offer you as further examples composer Gabriel Faure and one of the principal characters in Thomas Hardy’s “Far From The Madding Crowd”, Gabriel Oak.
  10. Matt Henry – right arm fast medium bowler. The Kiwis have produced a lot of purveyors of pace/ seam and/or swing over the years (contrary to what some may think, New Zealand is actually an even cloudier country than England, so there is even more natural encouragement for that kind of bowling), and Henry is part of the current crop along with such luminaries as Lockie Ferguson, Trent ‘the conductor’ Boult and Tim Southee (Neil ‘the composer’ Wagner does not wholly count, since although a Kiwi he is actually a product of South Africa).
  11. Devon Malcolm – right arm fast, genuine no11. In the immortal words of then England chairman of selectors Ted Dexter “Who could forget Malcolm Devon?”.

This then is the ‘no surnames’ XI, with a solid top five, an all rounder, a keeper who can certainly bat, and four specialist bowlers. It is short in the spin department, with only Giles as a front line option there, but it still looks a decent side, especially given the actual selection criteria!


  1. Bransby Beauchamp Cooper – right handed opening bat, born in what is now Bangladesh but was then part of India, raised in England and played his two test matches, the first two ever contested, for Australia. He and WG Grace playing for the Gentlemen against the Players shared a then first class record opening stand of 283, Cooper 101, Grace 180.
  2. Easton McMorris – right handed opening bat. He churned out runs in domestic cricket in the Caribbean, but his test returns were disappointing.
  3. Everton Weekes – right handed batter, lends some much needed class to this side. Everton is not a hugely common surname, but some of my readers may remember snooker commentator Clive Everton, and additionally Weekes’ middle name of De Courcy is the surname of a former Australian batter James De Courcy, who toured England in the 1950s.
  4. Seymour Nurse – right handed batter with a fine record.
  5. *Warwick Armstrong – right handed batter, leg spinner. Although George Giffen, whose playing days overlapped with those of the Gloucestershire legend, was dubbed ‘The WG Grace of Australia’, this man was in many ways a better fit for that moniker. He once tallied 2,000 first class runs and took 100 first class wickets on a tour of England. He captained Australia to a 5-0 triumph in the 1920-1 Ashes, a scoreline not duplicated in Ashes series until 86 years later, when Ponting and company exacted a devastating revenge on England for 2005, and secured retention of the urn by guiding his team the victories in the first three matches of the 1921 series, before the final two games were both drawn. His eventful life can be read about in full in Gideon Haigh’s “The Big Ship”, a title derived from one of Armstrong’s nicknames. At the end of his career he weighed in at 22 stone. I am aware that Warwick is a recognized forename, but I also give you singer Dionne Warwick as an example of it as a surname.
  6. Digby Jephson – right handed bat, right arm fast (under arm). Digby Loder Armroid Jephson to give him his extraordinary full name started the brief revival of under arm bowling in first class cricket that was taken into the test arena by George Simpson-Hayward. Again, Digby is not entirely unknown as a given name, but I can also point to Fraser Digby, former goalkeeper for Swindon Town FC and Andrew Wingfield-Digby, former captain of Dorset in mim. nor counties cricket and briefly chaplain to the England cricket team. Also of course there was the 17th century courtier Kenelm Digby who had a later cricketing namesake who played eight first class matches between 1855 and 1859.
  7. +Ridley Jacobs – wicket keeper, left handed middle order batter. Many years ago there was a government minister named Nicholas Ridley, while in a cricket context Arthur Ridley played in the 1870 Varsity Match (‘Cobden’s Match’) and also played for the MCC in the 1878 match against the Australians that was done and dusted in a day.
  8. Mitchell Johnson – left arm fast bowler, left handed lower order bat. We met him when I turned the spotlight on Australia. This is a player who can form an intermediary in cricket linkages – Yorkshire player and later coach Arthur Mitchell, or commentator Alison Mitchell being obvious starts and West Indian opening batter Johnson Charles being the next link.
  9. Anderson Montgomery Everton Roberts – right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter. The first Antiguan to play test cricket, being selected just before Viv Richards gained the honour, and the original leader of the four pronged pace assault that propelled the West Indies to the top of the cricket world.
  10. Nixon MccLeanright arm fast bowler, left handed lower order batter.
  11. Beaumont Cranfield – left arm orthodox spinner for Somerset. 137 matches yielded him 621 wickets at 23.98. Of course Beaumont is very well documented surname, the most obvious cricketing example belonging at the other end of the batting order – Tammy of that ilk.

The all surname team has a solid top six, two of whom are genuine all rounders, a keepr who can bat and four bowlers. Johnson, Roberts, MacLean, Cranfield, Armstrong and Jephson is an attack should not struggle to take 20 wickets.


Notwithstanding the question marks over both openers for the ‘All Surname’ XI I still reckon they have a clear edge – their bowling attack looks much the stronger and has greater variety. On a turning pitch Giles on his own would not be a match for Cranfield and Armstrong, while if the pitch offers pace bowlers assistance Johnson, Roberts, MacLean and Jephson clearly offer more than Malcolm, Gabriel, Henry and Douglas. I am not going to take my prediction from the ‘Pidge’ McGrath handbook, but I would confidently predict that the ‘All Surname XI’ would win a five match series 4-1.


I compose these XIs mentally, jotting them down in a notebook preparatory to then creating the tables with abbreviated comments that I use to advertise the contents of the teams and ultimately typing up the blog posts. I use cricinfo to find out details about players, but not in general as a selection tool – sometimes if I am a player or maximum two players short of a full XI I will do a bit of hunting, but most of the players I select are players I have across in my thirty-odd years of being a cricket fan and reading about the game – no game has a greater wealth of literature than cricket. I am already prepped in terms of selections for further posts up to and including Wednesday, plus a post which for reasons I will reveal on that day has to appear a week today.


The pinchhitter has reached 300 not out – yes, today’s offering in which I get yet another mention, is the 300th post that blog has produced. A little etymological note: the term pinch hitter originated in baseball, where it referred to sending in a batter who adept at getting on base in preference to a regular batter who may be less reliable, it was pressed into cricket service in the 1990s to refer to batters who did not regularly open in long form cricket but were asked to do so in one day cricket in an effort to get their teams off to a fast start. The first successes with this method were Ian Botham and Mark Greatbatch, deployed in this manner by their countries in the 1992 World Cup, but it was four years later, when Kaluwitherana of Sri Lanka, Mark Waugh of Australia, Sachin Tendulkar of India and various others were used in the same fashion that the term became popular. Certain teams overdid it by using lower order batters rather than actual recognized batters (Zimbabwe tried it with Paul Strang, England with Neil Smith as opposed to Robin ‘Judge’ Smith who they should have used and there were probably others. And now it is time for my usual sign off…

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This muntjace put in an appearance last night – more pics in tomorrows post, as I had a surplus.

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Inaugural England v Ireland Test Match Interestingly Poised

England v Ireland and some of the things I have done this week.


I have a lot to share since I last posted, besides the situation in the cricket. However the first focus is indeed…


England went into this test match with two test debutants, Jason Roy and Olly Stone (Lewis Gregory, in the 13, missed out for reasons beyond my comprehension). England won the toss and chose to bat. Some good bowling from Ireland and a terrible batting performance by England resulted in a total of 85 all out. Ireland were themselves all out before the end of day 1, and England sent Jack Leach into open with Rory Burns, shielding Jason Roy. Burns was out cheaply, but Leach and Roy shared an excellent stand that put England into credit, before both were out, Leach for 92. Joe Denly has just been run out as I write this, making England 194-4, a mere 72 to the good. Ollie Stone bowled well in his first test match, picking up three wickets. Burns deserves a little longer to prove himself, and Roy has one fine innings to his credit here, though I suspect that no 3 at test level suits him better than opening. I am unconvinced by Denly, who is nearer the end of his career than the beginning. I continue therefore to argue for the ‘Beaumont solution‘ to England’s current opening woes. Bairstow had just completed a pair, plunging England into trouble. The successful bowler was Mark Adair, surely to acquire the nickname “Red” if he has not already done so, who along with the veteran Murtagh has been Ireland’s best.

If England can put together another 80 or more the prospect of a fine finish remains, but at the moment I make Ireland strong favourites (and good luck to them, they have earned it).


Yes, it is festival time in King’s Lynn. I attended the first of two early music concerts on Saturday evening. It featured the London Handel Players, with a programme of:

  1. Telemann – Concerto for Recorder and Flute in E minor
  2. Vivaldi – Concerto for violin and cello in F major Il Proteo o sia il mondo al rovescio
  3. J S Bach – Concerto for two violins in D minor
  4. William Herschel – Symphony for strings in F Minor (yes, he was also Astronomer Royal and a distinguished mathematician in his day)
  5. Vivaldi – Flute Concerto in D minor Il Gran Mogol
  6. J S Bach – Brandenburg Concerto no 4

It was an excellent and enjoyable evening, although the wine was overpriced even for such an event. The Herschel piece was not quite the equal of the others, but that is only to be expected given his other work.

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The stage is set (in St Nicholas’ Chapel)

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The Harpsichord, was played with consummate skill, providing excellent background without ever obtruding on one’s consciousness (like wicketkeepers, harpsichordists in group settings do not get noticed if they are doing things right).

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As this shows the harpsichord is a very modern version.

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I will be starting new physio sessions at Tapping House a week today. This will help with developing my fitness.


On Tuesday NAS West Norfolk had a steak night at The Globe near the Tuesday Market Place. I was given a lift both ways, and it was well worth it – the evening was excellent.

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I finish with my usual sign off…

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I have been taking walks when I can to rebuild my fitness, and on one of them this week I got the pond on Loke Road, and this water-based insect was one of the things I saw while there (two more pics)

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Receiving My Bronze Level Art Award

An account of how I gained an Arts Award (Bronze Level).


Today was the day I and three other people picked up Arts Awards (Bronze Level) from Trinity College, London, for work done at Musical Keys sessions in King’s Lynn run for autistic people. 


There were four elements to the work that had to be done to earn this award:

  1. Creating music during the sessions.
  2. Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of how to create that music and being able to share with the group what one was doing.
  3. Providing a record of an arts related event that one had attended.
  4. Providing some information about one particular artist from whom you have taken inspiration.

I am now going to give you access to each of these four areas.


My creative work was done using Scratch and Reaper on the computers. I do not have this work available to share at present, but here is a link to an old post which describes the process.

This one shows Scratch:

Here are some extra pictures set into a word document:

Photos from MK


I interpreted this a trifle loosely so that I could use something for which I not only had a record but for which mine was the only photographic record – the time when Number 2 Hampton Court, Nelson Street, King’s Lynn was turned into an exhibition for Heritage Open Day. 

This is what the document I submitted looks like:

2 Hampton Court


I selected Maurits Cornelis Escher as my featured artist. Before producing my own offering about him, including three sample pictures I give you a variation on one of his pictures from Anna, titled “Never Ending Blogger

Never ending blogger

Maurits Cornelis Escher has been a favourite artist of mine for a very long time. His mathematical pictures and impossible constructions particularly appeal to me because I enjoy mathematics, and unpicking optical illusions myself.


Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world’s most famous graphic artists. His art is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, as can be seen on the many web sites on the internet.

He is most famous for his so-called impossible constructions, such as Ascending and Descending, Relativity, his Transformation Prints, such as Metamorphosis I, Metamorphosis II and Metamorphosis III, Sky & Water I or Reptiles.

But he also made some wonderful, more realistic work during the time he lived and traveled in Italy.

Castrovalva for example, where one already can see Escher’s fascination for high and low, close by and far away. The lithograph Atrani, a small town on the Amalfi Coast was made in 1931, but comes back for example, in his masterpiece Metamorphosis I and II.

M.C. Escher, during his lifetime, made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. Like some of his famous predecessors, – Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Holbein-, M.C. Escher was left-handed.

Apart from being a graphic artist, M.C. Escher illustrated books, designed tapestries, postage stamps and murals. He was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, as the fourth and youngest son of a civil engineer. After 5 years the family moved to Arnhem where Escher spent most of his youth. After failing his high school exams, Maurits ultimately was enrolled in the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem.

Here are the three pictures I selected to show along with this:

“Relativity”, a personal favourite

Monks Large
“The Monks”

Waterfall Large
“The Waterfall”


I had been worried that my health might prevent me from being present to collect my certificate, but fortunately I improved sufficiently to be discharged from hospital AND a care plan was put in place ready for said discharge, and in the event, although I found the experience quite tiring I was able to attend and collect my certificate in person. Here are some photos from today:

Me with my certificate, with Oliver from Musical Keys next to me (the black beanie covers the most visible effect of the intensive chemo)

A group shot

A close-up of the certificate.


Looking Ahead

Accounts of a very important and successful meeting yesterday morning and of a personally very satisfying moment also from yesterday when it was cinfirmed that I have got anm Arts Award (Bronze level).


This post deals with two things that both happened yesterday, one of huge significance, the other less so but very personally satisfying. 


I had arranged to see Rebecca yesterday morning for a follow-up meeting after our first very successful meet-up a little earlier. This meeting went magnificently, with Rebecca making a number excellent and logical suggestions for ways to help me. I have agreed in principle to meet with either an Occupational Therapist or a Physio to talk about ways to improve my physical fitness. She also suggested that I might be interested in courses they run at Tapping House where I would have the opportunity to meet others who have had similiar experiences to my own, which also sounds a very interesting possibility. 

Knowing that I need help and support to get through this difficult time in my life I am minded to consider any options that seem sensible, as all of the above do. I finished yesterday’s session feeling much better about life in general for the knowledge that such potentially useful help and support is being made available.

Whatever happens from here on, Tapping House have already proven to be worth their weight in gold, and I am very grateful for everything they are doing for me.


One of the last things I did before illness took over my life completely was to submit a portfolio at Musical Keys for an Arts Award (Bronze Level). It has now been confirmed that I did enough to earn to said award (equivalent apparently to a grade D at GCSE), which I am delighted by. In addition to the specific Musical Keys stuff I had to produce something about seeing art in the flesh, and I had chosen something where the only photographic record of the occasion was my own, so this award means, albeit at a low level, official recogniton for my photography. I also had to produce something about an individual artist who had inspired me, and I opted for Maurits Cornelis Escher, for whom there is an official website from which I cribbed (and of course admitted to doing so).


Here are some pictures to end this little post:

This globe is on display at my aunt’s house

A cricket themed tea towel being displayed as an ornament in my kitchen.

Musical Keys On a Spring Saturday

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.


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:

Saturday Market Place
A welcome return of market stalls to the Saturday Market Place.

Hampton Court Cannon Ball
This cannon ball hangs in the entrance to Hampton Court (near my aunt’s house)

Red Mount Chapel
The Red Mount Chapel

Guanock Gate
The Guanock Gate

Black headed gull
A black headed gull in The Walks.

Not fit for play!

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:

Purple FlowersPurple FlowerYellow flowerDaffodils, Gaywood RiverLittle Blue Flowers

Blue tit
For more on the bird on this picture please visit my previous post.

BlackbirdThe above picture was the Featured Image in my post Blue Tit and Butterfly


Once it was time for the session to begin I did not take long to decide what I was going to do…

Yamaha music system
This Yamaha music system is not quite the equal of the Korg that I jhave used on previous occasions at Musical Keys, but it is still a very fine gadget.

InstrumentchordFACE4 chordQuintCAFE

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…


Monday Medley IV

A few recent finds, an solution, a new problem and some photographs.


I finished my posts about the two major autism events I have recently attended ahead schedule, so I am producing an extra post today. This post will contain some autism related links, a solution to the problem I posed on Saturday, a new problem, and a handful of photographs.


On Saturday, in a post titled Setting the Stage for Tomorrow and Monday I set a problem about an email spam filter. I now present the answer, and my favourite of the published solutions, offered by Aaa-Laura Gao Gao.

SFAAaa-Laura sol 1


First of all, the last blog-related thing I did yesterday was to create a page containing links to everything that I had posted about the two autism events I recently attended. 

Next up come two pieces that tackle the organization known in autistic circles as Autism $peaks or sometimes just A$:

  1. An open letter to A$ co-founder Suzanne Wright from the parent of an autistic child, published on the Autism Womens Network under the title “For God’s Sake Stop Speaking“. I quote one paragraph below:
    Your insistence that your tragic ideas on how autism should be viewed, managed, and treated be forcibly imposed on every country in the world is frightening in its scope and ambition. The very loud horn of the autism apocalypse you keep blowing at the world is sad because there is so very much good you could do. I cannot grasp this hate filled fear mongering in someone who has a neurodivergent grandchild. I would think you would want to use every means at your disposal to insure the world accepts him and supports and accommodations are made for him to actively participate in every community. I can’t help but wonder how he feels about a grandmother who speaks publicly about how difficult his existence is on his mother as you did in your previous unfortunate address to Washington.
  2. A piece by the Steve Silberman of Neurotribes fame with the self-explanatory title “Autism Speaks Need to do a Lot More Listening“.

My remaining links address Whitney Ellenby aka #ElmoMom. Firstly we have a three-part series of posts by mamautistic:

  1. Some Background Re #ElmoMum
  2. More Context on #ElmoMum
  3. Some #ActuallyAutistic Adviuce for #ElmoMum

We finish with a piece written by an allistic mother of an autistic child, Mind The Hypo’s splendid piece titled “A Different Perspective” from which I quote a paragraph:

Then she goes on to say “I’m also reaching out to fellow parents in pain to remind them to cast off shame,“. Not only an article but an entire book about the pain and shame of having an autistic child. To me, this is a self-centered, retrograde, outmoded idea. If one truly intends to cast off shame, how about starting by not calling it a tantrum, or not offering an explanation that sounds like “he’s broken” followed with “but it’s not my fault, I’m just a martyr of a mother, please recognize that!”


Here, courtesy of brilliant, is another problem:



Finally, here are some photographs:

Rear of MinsterKorg 1Korg 2SuperstringsBlack headed gullsBlack headed gull


Musical Keys and Birds

A brief account of Musical Keys and some bird pictures.


Saturday was a music day, and I have plenty of pictures to share from recent days.


These sessions are organised for the benefit of autistic people, so before I get into the meat of this section here is stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

The Korg is a very sophisticated machine (for classical music enthusiasts it looks a 21st century version of a clavichord, but it does so much more). I will let the photographs tell the story (I got most of these by playing with my left hand while using the camera with my right FYI):

Korg IKorg IIKorg IIIKorg IVKorg VKorg VIKorg VIIKorg VIIIKorg IXKorg X


We start with the largest bird to be a regular feature of life in Britain – the mute swan:


Next we come to a much smaller species, which I have not previously captured on camera, a little wader called a turnstone (I seem to recall that a few years back The Lynn News had a columnist who used Turnstone as a nom de plume):

Turnstone ITurnstone II

Further along the Great Ouse and on the side of the river were a few specimens of a larger bird that is not a regular sight in these parts – the greylag goose:

Greylag geese

We end with a couple of cormorant shots:

Cormorant CSwimming cormorant