Italy 2020 3 – Ancient Ostia

An account of a visit to ancient Ostia, as part of my Italy 2020 series of posts.

This is third post in my series about my Italian holiday (2-11 September inclusive) – see here and here.

Ostia was the port that served Rome in ancient times. Ships bringing goods across the Mediterranean would dock there and goods would then be unloaded on to barges to go upriver to Rome. Other goods would go out from Ostia.

There is a huge amount of stuff to see there today, including most of the main street, nine metres wide and two kilometres long, bath houses, warehouse quarters, the theatre which is well enough preserved to stage live performances, the forum and other stuff.

It is served by its own train station, Ostia Antica, which is a very short walk from the entrance to the site. To get into the site you have to undergo temperature checks and to wear a mask at the gates and in any inside areas (and the Italians overall take mask wearing very seriously, although there was an anti-mask protest in Rome while we were there). My disabled persons railcard got both me and my sister as my designated companion in free, while my nephew’s student ID (he starts at Oxford this year) got him a discount.

An attempt after exploring the site to find a different way back to the exit was foiled by the fact that the site borders farmland which is under cultivation, and we eventually went back into the site by a not strictly legitimate route and headed back.

My ticket for the return journey got swallowed by an automated ticket gate and a new one had to be bought, and I was sufficiently rattled by the experience that I failed to don my mask before boarding the train back (my apologies to the passengers on that train for the minute or thereabouts that I was aboard while not masked up). While we were waiting for the bus from the train station at Rome a pick pocket targeted my sister and got away with a fifty euro note but fortunately not with her phone and wallet.

I have lots of pictures from Ostia, and end this post as is usual for this series with a waterfall video from Tivoli.

All Time XIs – The London Transport Clash

An all time XI cricket post with a public transport theme – my thanks to insidecroydon.com for providing the inspiration.

INTRODUCTION

Today’s all time XIs cricket post features players whose names link to London stations, and then leads on to something I came across yesterday and wanted to expand on today. Incidentally, three of the names featured here were suggested by a twitter correspondent in response to a previous post in this series, and none of my own station connections from that earlier post have been reused today.

HEATHER KNIGHT’S XI

  1. Chris Broad – left handed opening batter. Various London stations have Broad in their name – Ealing, Fulham and Tooting Broadway to name three, while there used to be two termini at what is now Liverpool Street, the other one being Broad Street.
  2. Victor Trumper – right handed opening batter. His given name forms the first six letters of Victoria, a massive transport hub. With all due respect to Mr Marks there are not many cricketers of distinction who have had the given name Victor.
  3. Robin Smith – right handed batter. He gets in here via Hammersmith, terminus of the Hammersmith & City line, and now linked by a subway (it used to be a horrible surface level road crossing when I first did it) to the District and Piccadilly line station of the same name (the original western terminus of the Piccadilly), which of course contains his surname.
  4. Clem Hill – left handed batter. There are several stations in London that have hill in their name. Tower Hill (District and Circle), Hillingdon (Piccadilly and Metropolitan), Harrow-on-the-Hill (Metropolitan), Sudbury Hill (Piccadilly) and others.
  5. David Gower – left handed batter. When the Metropolitan Railway as it was then called opened for business in 1863 the station that is now Euston Square was named Gower Street after the major thoroughfare of that name.
  6. *Heather Knight – right handed batter, off spinner, captain. The presence of Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line) enables me to give this side an excellent (indeed world cup winning) skipper.
  7. +Tom New – wicket keeper, left handed batter. He averaged just over 30 with the bat in his Leicestershire career. New Cross and New Cross Gate, now part of the London Overground network, but once termini of London Underground’s East London line, get him in (New Barnet and New Southgate in north London would also do the trick, as would Newbury Park on the Central line).
  8. Sydney Barnes – right arm fast medium bowler. Barnes and Barnes Bridge are suburban railway stations through which trains heading towards Richmond and Windsor head.
  9. Shane Bond – right arm fast bowler. As the twitter correspondent mentioned in the introduction pointed out the presence of Bond Street (Central, Jubilee and in due course Elizabeth lines) creates an opportunity to include this brilliant but injury prone Kiwi quick.
  10. Kate Cross – right arm fast medium bowler. King’s Cross and Charing Cross, as well as DLR station Crossharbour provide the links that get her into this team.
  11. Phil Tufnell – left arm orthodox spinner. Tufnell Park on the Northern line is his link station (the second of my twitter correspondent’s three suggestions).

This team has a fine batting line up, and what looks like an adequate set of bowlers, although relying on Knight’s off spin as pretty much sole back up to the front four is a little chancy.

WG GRACE’S XI

  1. Gordon Greenidge – right handed opening batter. There is a London Overground station called Gordon Hill, which I used to fill one opening berth in this team.
  2. Harold Gimblett – right handed opening batter. Harold Wood is a station on what is currently a TFL Rail route, and will ultimately part of the route of the Elizabeth line when that is finally completed.
  3. Dennis Brookes – right handed batter. The Northamptonshire stalwart gets the nod thanks to District line station Stamford Brook (Piccadilly trains run fast from Hammersmith to Acton Town, passing Ravenscourt Park and Turnham Green as well as this station).
  4. Clive Lloyd – left handed batter. There is a Tramlink station called Lloyd Park, which enables me to include this scorer of 7,515 runs and also scorer of the first ever century in a world cup final.
  5. *William Gilbert Grace – right handed batter, right arm bowler of various types through his career. My only usage of now closed station in this exercise. When the first deep level tube line, the City & South London Railway opened in 1890 (the origin of the Northern line), its northern terminus was King William Street. This terminus was abandoned when the line was extended in 1900, so only served as a station for 10 years.
  6. Learie Constantine – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler. Thanks to his civil rights work Constantine became Baron Constantine of Nelson and Maraval, and there is a station served by the District and Piccadilly lines called Barons Court, which gets him in (neither the seventh Baron Hawke, nor the third Baron Tennyson have records that would justify using this link, although both did play for England).
  7. +Arthur Bush – wicket keeper, left handed batter. There is a Tramlink station called Bush Hill Park, and a section of what is now railway but was once jointly served by railways and the Bakerloo line features a station called Bushey, while one of the potential names for the station between Hampstead and Golder’s Green that was excavated at platform level but never opened was Bull and Bush after a famous pub in the area.
  8. Chris Old – right arm fast medium, useful left handed lower order batter. ‘Chilly’ as he was nicknamed (from C.Old – discredit allegedly due to Bob Willis for that one) was a fine player in his day, though injury prone – note that I have cunningly spread the risk by placing him and Shane Bond in opposite teams. He is the third of my twitter correspondent’s picks, from Old Street on the Bank branch of the Northern line.
  9. Arnold Warren – right arm fast bowler. The Derbyshire man, who took five wickets on his only England appearance, in 1909, gets in courtesy of Warren Street on the Northern (Charing Cross branch) and Victoria lines, which is literally round the corner from Euston Square (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan).
  10. James Bridges – right arm fast medium bowler. He took his wickets at 25.8 each, often bowling in tandem with Robertson-Glasgow, subsequently to find fame as great writer about the game, and the only Somerset player of the time to regularly bat below Bridges. London Bridge (Northern Bank branch, Jubilee), Putney Bridge (District) and Redbridge (Central) are three stations with bridge in their name.
  11. Amanda-Jade Wellington – leg spinner. My spin option comes courtesy of a piece of lateral thinking. She is a namesake of Wellington who won the battle of Waterloo, and London’s busiest station is also called Waterloo.

This team has a strong top six, a keeper, and four good bowlers. There is only one specialist spinner, but I think that can be coped with.

THE CONTEST

Both these teams are somewhat stronger in batting than bowling. I think that Heather Knight’s XI just have the edge because they have Syd Barnes, possibly the finest bowler there has ever been, and that in itself is enough for one to think they are more likely to take 20 wickets.

TRAMLINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Yesterday my attention was drawn to something on insidecroydon.com about Tramlink, and the role it could and should be playing in London Transport. They have drawn on the work of one Anthony Norris-Watson who has produced maps in the style of the legendary Harry Beck to show what might have been had every proposed scheme materialized. Some years ago in a post on my London Transport themed website I speculated about effectively combining the DLR, Tramlink and the Waterloo and City as an integrated network, and several of the Tramlink suggestions featured in the insidecroydon.com piece dovetail very well with that, while one branch that never materialized would have run through Streatham to Brixton, connecting to the Victoria line (as a former Streatham resident I particularly see the virtues of that one). I have used Tramlink and enjoyed it, and am also familiar with tram networks in Sheffield, Adelaide and Melbourne, all of which serve their purpose well, so why not give Tramlink a more central role in the transport infrastructure of the capital? It is certainly food for thought, and I may well revisit it in more detail later. For the moment please read the insidecroydon.com post – one of the maps from that post is below, formatted as a link and serving a segue to my usual sign off:

Tramlink

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My most up to date London Connections map.

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LTC
The teams in tabulated form.

Cornwall for Christmas

An account of journey from King’s Lynn to Cornwall for the festive period.

INTRODUCTION

After a very quiet day yesterday, following a day of travelling the day before I am settled at my parents place in Cornwall, where I shall be spending Christmas and the New Year. This post details the journey down, before ending with some photographs.

KINGS LYNN TO CORNWALL

On Friday night it was the sensory friendly Panto performance at the Corn Exchange, King’s Lynn, which was excellent fun. On Saturday morning, with my packing accomplished I got the 9:20AM bus from just opposite my bungalow to the town centre (my baggage was heavy, so walking would have been very tough), arriving in good time to board the 10:13 train to London. Almost precisely two hours later I arrived at King’s Cross, with 45 minutes to get from there to my pre-booked seat from Paddington to Plymouth. The Hammersmith & City line (the district/circle line station is Paddington in name only) played ball for once, and I was at Paddington in good time. There was a warning that all was not necessarily well on the GWR when the platform information for my train did not come up on the departures screen until 10 minutes before it was due to leave. Ensconced in my seat I poured a cup of coffee from my cheapo travelling flask (it proved up the job) and waited for departure…and waited some more, until an announcement came through that our driver had been delayed on an inbound service and that we would be at least 20 minutes late getting underway. At this point I phoned my mother because even with no further delays that was likely to prove enough to prevent me making my connection at Plymouth for an onward journey to St Germans. I therefore arranged to be collected from Plymouth instead. In the event, it was fully 40 minutes after our scheduled departure time that the train finally got moving. We lost no further time on the journey, although the last section between Totnes and Plymouth felt like it was taking a long time. It would have been about eight and a half hours after I had left my bungalow in North Lynn that I finally got to my parents place.

CORNWALL

A combination of tiredness from the previous day’s travelling and some fierce Cornish weather ruled out doing anything much yesterday. However today we will be going to Looe. In the bad old days of rotten boroughs the two villages of East Looe and West Looe were both recognized as parliamentary constituencies, and each returned two MPs. These days it is well known as a seaside resort.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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A present from Karan – a London Undeground themed storage box.

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Now Assembled (three pictures)

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Pictures from the James & Sons christmas lunch – which took place at a Thai restaurant near HQ in Fakenham.

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Christmas lights in King’s Lynn

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Waiting for the panto to start (three pics)

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A display at Paddington.

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Shots from the living room at Fort Picklecombe, showing some fairly dramatic weather.

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Waves crashing around the lighthouse.

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Sailing in these conditions is either very brave or very foolish.

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England In Control In 1st Test

Cricket, Politics, Public Transport and Photography, features two excellent videos.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at the goings on in the first test in New Zealand and at the upcoming election. I also have plenty of photographs to share.

ENGLAND IN CONTROL

England had made a solid start on day 1, reaching 241-4. Burns while never really looking convincing managed to chisel out a half century, while Denly and Stokes also made runs. Day 2 started with a lot of the good work being undone, as Stokes and Pope each played loose strokes to surrender their wickets, and Curran and Archer fell cheaply. However, Jack Leach’s adhesiveness combined with Buttler’s strokeplay to save England’s blushes, and a final total of 353 looked respectable. Sibley on his test debut managed 22, and shared a half-century opening stand with Burns.

By the end of the day it was looking rather more than respectable as New Zealand were 127-4, with the prize wicket of Kane Williamson falling just before close when a delivery from Curran leapt at him and he could only fend it behind for a catch. The Williamson dismissal indicates a pitch that is just starting to misbehave, and the kiwis will have to bat last on it. I would reckon that even 250 in that fourth innings will be too many for the kiwis.

An end of day 2 scorecard can be viewed here, and thefulltoss blog’s take on these first two days can be read here.

GE2019 LATEST

First of all, a little local item:

Video featuring Labour candidate Jo Rust speaking to two first time voters:

 

A good lead in to detail on the Labour party Manifesto…

The Labour Party’s manifesto was launched yesterday, and it is excellent. Here are several links for you to follow:

  1. Your starting point – the page from which you can visit the entire manifesto and all related documents.
  2. The environmental policies, for which they have used the title “Green Industrial Revolution“.
  3. Working in two links at once, Brexit and Internationalism.

Please read it all for yourself (a PDF version is here), including the accompanying documents.

To end this section, another video, courtesy of GMB by way of The Skwawkbox hilariously showing Johnson trying to concoct a manifesto:

A MORNING JOURNEY

I was required to be at Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Opthalmology reception by 8AM today. Making my usual allowances for things to go wrong I arrived there at 7:30AM. Just about an hour later it was time for the return journey, and I discovered that I had hit the start of a long gap between services heading into town. This strikes me as a something of a problem for a service catering among others to hospital patients, but I am fortunately in fairly good physical shape nowadays, and decided that rather than hang around waiting I would do some walking. Getting to the bus stop at which the routes from the Fairstead estate joined those from the hospital I checked the timetable, and seeing that I would not have much less long to wait even there, I kept walking, deciding that I would break for homeward journey by making a brief visit to Gaywood Library, after which I would leave the main road and head home by way of the Gaywood River path. I arrived back at just after 9:30AM having enjoyed the walk but conscious of the fact there would have been some who could not have avoided waiting for the bus, and conscious also of the crying need for the integrated public transport system outlined in yesterday’s manifesto. I have presented photos of the information boards along the Gaywood River path before, but deem them worth seeing again:

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PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are the rest of my photographs for this post…

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Hunstanton Library, where I was on Wednesday morning.

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Michael De Whalley’s leaflet (two images) – I understand that he is good local councillor, and I would be more than willing to vote for his party, but the only chance of non-Tory MP for my constituency is to vote Labour.

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Taken on the walk back from QEH this morning.

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Some Thoughts on Transport

Mainly about public transport, but also features autism and cricket, and of course has the usual stack of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post was prompted to by events on Monday, when I had to journey to Cambridge and back – in the course of the post I describe that day in full. However, before I get to the main body of the post there is something else to attend to…

NINE HUNDRED THANK YOUS

Well actually 902 to be precise, since that is the number of you now following this blog. I am very grateful to all of you.

A DAY THAT WAS AN ARGUMENT FOR RENATIONALISING THE RAILWAYS

I was due to visit Addenbrookes for a check-up on Monday, and had to be there by 12:00. This meant that the last train to Cambridge I could catch and arrive there with sufficient time to get to Addenbrookes was at 9:44AM, since the next was the 10:44 due at Cambridge at 11:37, which would have meant that even if it was on time I would have needed Lady Luck to play ball to be at Addenbrookes by 12:00. Being excessively cautious when it comes to making journeys by British public transport I was actually ready to leave my flat by 8:40 and saw no grounds for not doing so. I thus arrived at the station just before 9:00 and with no queue at the ticket office was actually able to board the 09:10 train, and never one to object to having extra time to spare did precisely that. It was a few minutes late departing, and then had to wait at Downham Market for a train coming the other way to pass (there are single track stretches between Downham Market and Littleport). Speed restrictions between Downham Market and Littleport cost us further time. At Cambridge I got a bus to Addenbrookes, and was there just before 11AM, giving me time to consume an early lunch before going to the oncology reception and announcing my presence.

Although the consultant was ready to see me promptly the people taking blood samples for testing were running behind, so I had to see the consultant first and then get that done. The consultation was exceedingly brief, since the scans done a week and a half earlier revealed nothing untoward (no news in this situation is most unequivocally good news). Once it came to my turn to be seen for them the blood samples were also to my great relief obtained without undue delay. Nevertheless, it was 12:45PM before I was finished at Addenbrookes. I got the express bus back to Cambridge (£2.20 instead of £1 for the regular bus, but in the circumstances worth the extra cost) and was there in time for the 13:36 to Lynn…

Cue more chaos. There was an out of service train occupying the platform from which the Lynn train was supposed to depart, causing a late platform alteration. The service was also delayed slightly (somebody had been hit by a train earlier in the day and the knock-on effects of that were being felt everywhere). However, once it got underway it ran fairly smoothly. Between them having the blood samples taken and the consultation took maybe ten minutes, maybe less, yet I left my flat at 8:40 and did not arrive back there until 3PM, and of that six hours and twenty minutes only about 40 minutes can be put down to Addenbrookes – the rest was a combination of my caution and the inadequacies of British public transport.

Although I fully accept that one cannot prevent incidents such as people being hit by trains from happening the rest, including the service pattern that meant I dared not run any risk being on a later train than 9:44 when I had an appointment at a hospital on the outskirts of Cambridge at 12:00 and the platform alteration due to an out of service train blocking the intended platform are wholly indefensible, and in the case of the platform alteration happen sufficiently often to be classed as regular occurrences on that line.

We need our railways to be fully publicly owned and fully publicly accountable. There only two groups of people in my opinion who should decide how railways are run – those who provide the service (railway workers) and those who use it (railway passengers).

Here are some photos from the journey:

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A NEW BOOK RELATING TO AUTISM

The book is to be called Your Life As I Knew It, and you can be part of making it a reality by visiting the funding site for it here.

EARTH XI TO PLAY MARS

This section was prompted by a post on the Full Toss blog comparing Virat Kohli and Steve Smith and inviting us to make a decision between them. My resolution to the conundrum was simply to avoid treating it as an ‘either, or’ situation. With Rohit Sharma and Mayant Agarwal shoo-ins as opening pair that left me only seven more players to find to make an XI. I have opted for Kane Williamson as the fifth specialist batter, Ben Stokes at six and as fifth bowler, Ben Foakes as wicketkeeper (he is the best currently playing, though as a controversialist I might be tempted to see if I could lure Sarah Taylor out of retirement for this one!), Rashid Khan the Afghan legspinner at 8 (a gamble, but I would love to see how he fares as part of an all-stars combo), Pat Cummins, Jofra Archer and Kagiso Rabada (Jasprit Bumrah is currently injured, otherwise he would be a shoo-in.). Thus the current Earth XI to take on Mars is as follows:

  1. Rohit Sharma
  2. Mayant Agarwal
  3. Virat Kohli
  4. Steve Smith
  5. *Kane Williamson
  6. Ben Stokes
  7. +Ben Foakes
  8. Rashid Khan
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Jofra Archer
  11. Kagiso Rabada

As twelfth man I nominate Ravindra Jadeja, spin bowling all-rounder and quite magnificent fielder.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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One Year On From A Narrow Escape

An anniversary, some thoughts about autism, the London Mayoral elections and diplomatic immunity and a lot of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have various things to mention besides the main subject of this post, and a few links to share. First up, in accordance with this blog’s “reverse tabloid” policy regarding such matters comes…

AN APOLOGY

I recently suffered a problem with my email settings that caused two things:

  1. I missed some of your posts because they were going to my spam folder.
  2. A couple of commenters waited longer than they should for a response from me because due to the same issue I did not initially see the comments.

I have now resolved the issue, and all should be back to normal.

THE NARROW ESCAPE

Exactly one year ago, on October 8th 2018 I was so ill that I had to be given a half-size saline drip and a lot of further assistance to get from the flat I was then living in to an ambulance that took me to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I will be visiting that hospital under my own steam today for a hearing appointment. I have written various posts about the illness that nearly killed me and my subsequent gradual return to health and fitness.

COFFEE MORNING

There is a coffee morning taking place at King’s Lynn Library tomorrow between 11AM and 1PM. At this time of year various shops and businesses have an “autism hour” during which they make particular efforts to be more accessible to autistic people. Of course many of the changes they make could and should be made permanently anyway – are such things as ultra bright lights and loud “music” really necessary to attract allistic customers?

Talking of which, Pete Wharmby, an #actuallyautistic autism advocate, posted a splendid thread on twitter last night about employing autistic people.

LINKS AND PICTURES

Just a couple of links before the pictures…

  1. The London Mayoral election campaign is now in full swing. There has been much entirely unmerited excitement about the decision of Rory Stewart, who knows precisely nothing about London, to stand. If I lived in London my vote would unquestionably go to Sian Berry, once again the Green Party candidate, with a second preference for the incumbent Sadiq Khan (they use STV for the London Mayoral elections). Here is an article in inews inwhich Ms Berry takes aim at Mr Stewart with (IMO) deadly accuracy.
  2. Autistica have produced an excellent guide to writing about autism, which I recommend you to read in full.
  3. Jerry Coyne at whyevolutionistrue has put up a post about Anne Sacoolas’ abuse of “diplomatic immunity” after she killed Harry Dunn in a hit and run accident. She is very probably going to escape unpunished for killing someone because neither of the two countries has a leader who can even be hoped to do the right things. For those who use social media look up #JusticeForHarryDunn. My own view is that diplomatic immunity should be waived, she should be done for causing death by dangerous driving and hit with the maximum possible punishment for that offence (on the grounds that her attempted use of diplomatic immunity counts as the absolute reverse of co-operation).

PHOTOGRAPHS

First up, a warning to arachnophobes – there is a spider coming up. Now, my usual sign off…

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A bug of some description exploring my spectacles (four pics)

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The first of a load of pictures during a journey to and from Addenbrookes

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Walking home from King’s Lynn station post Addenbrookes…

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…this poster produced by school students impressed me (sadly the weather overnight was dreadful, and I had to pick up a couple of badly damaged copies the following morning when on my way into town).

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England Fold Like A Pack Of Cards

An account of England’s surrender in the first test match and a suggested 13 for the second test match.

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with the first Ashes Test of 2019 which ended yesterday in defeat for the home team by a thumping 251 runs. I did not actually get to follow any cricket yesterday as a hospital appointment intervened, and by the time I was home England’s humiliation was complete. However, I did follow most of the first four days, and I have followed enough cricket over the years to have a fairly good picture of yesterday’s events in my mind. An official match report can be viewed here.

PICKING UP FROM MY PREVIOUS POST

At the end of day three Australia led by 34 with seven second innings wickets standing. It was day four which killed England’s chances stone dead and illustrated all too vividly the utter folly of regarding Moeen Ali as a test match spinner, let alone as being good enough to be sole spinner.  On a pitch which was turning he went at four an over (seriously expensive even in 21st century test cricket) and only picked up two wickets, both long after England’s hopes had been dashed. Both Joe Root and Joe Denly were called on to bowl their part-time stuff as Australia forged ahead, a king-size indictment of Moeen Ali. and of the original selection of just one front line spinner.

Steve Smith, for all that can be (and has been) said against his personal conduct is without much question the best current test match batter in the world, so his second century of the match deserves full credit, but Matt Wade, who started his cricketing life as a wicketkeeper, also racked up a ton, and there were further runs all down the order, until Australia declared at 487-9 leaving England a purely nominal 395 to chase in just over a day.

England reached 13-0 by the close of day four. The aim on day five was preservation of wickets, with an outside possibility of having a dart after tea if the situation warranted it (I was envisaging for this scenario a tea score of maybe 200-2 and then sending in Buttler and Stokes to have an almighty bash, with the option of falling back on defence if that tactic backfired). In the event England failed even to begin to make a contest of it, and in a final indictment of Moeen’s earlier toothlessness Australia’s own sole spinner Nathan Lyon demonstrated that a genuine spinner could use that pitch, taking 6-49 (the other four wickets went the way of fast bowler Pat Cummins, the quickest on either side in the match).

CHANGES FOR THE SECOND TEST MATCH

England need to make big changes for the second test. I reproduce below my own squad of 13 for the second test, with the additional note that I just been listening to my controversial choice as opener score a superb half-century and an invitation to view an alternative set of selections here.

  1. Burns
  2. Beaumont
  3. *Root
  4. Roy
  5. +Foakes
  6. Stokes
  7. Lewis Gregory (with Anderson likely gone for the series it is surely time for this move)
  8. Chris Woakes
  9. Jofra Archer
  10. Jack Leach
  11. Olly Stone
  12. Sam Curran (could play in place of Gregory, Woakes or Archer)
  13. Matthew Parkinson (with all respect to Bess I gamble on the legspinner as second specialist spin option, in the knowledge that the skipper can bowl passable off-breaks if needed)

Given England’s current desperation in that regard I end with two tongue-in-cheek suggestions for finding a way to dislodge Steve Smith:

  1. Set 7-2 onside fields for Archer and Stone and absolutely pepper him with short stuff in the hope of unsettling him (the Jardinian approach)
  2. When you know he will be at the non-striker’s end at the start of over toss the ball to someone like Rory Burns, with advice to keep an eye on where he is and in his desire to get to the striker’s end he creates the opportunity for a bowler’s end run out (absolute desperation).

LINKS AND PICTURES

I have a few links to share before we come to the photographs:

Now for my usual sign off…

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This is a local Norfolk brewed Porter (from Sunday’s supper at Golding’s)

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An interesting tower near Ely

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Ely Cathedral from just outside the town.

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Various shots of Ely Cathedral taken while we made a flying visit to the town on the way back from my hospital appointment.

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The focal point of our visit – an excellent independent bookshop.

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The next three shots show that is not just insects, ducklings and moorhen chicks who sometimes use lily pads as a resting place.

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The last five pics show ‘mama duck’ with her now almost fledged brood of six youngsters.

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100 Cricketers – The Second XI Opening Pair

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the opening pair from my second XI.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. We are starting on the second XI (as explained in my introductory post to the series I have organised my 100 cricketers in nine XIs with a stand alone at the end to round out the 100), with the opening batters (the whole second XI can be seen here).

CHRIS GAYLE

So far the most successful batter that T20 cricket has ever seen, he also has a fine record in other forms of the game, including having two test match triple centuries to his credit. I saw him play a magnificent innings at the Adelaide Oval, watching from what became my regular spot at that ground, the bleachers in front of the Chappell Stand. On that occasion he scored 167 not out, which left Australia with a target of 330 of 81 overs (4.07 on over). The pitch still appeared to be totally benign, and only two of the West Indies bowlers, Kemar Roach who was regularly hitting the 150KPH mark on the speed gun and Sulieman Benn with his left arm spin had looked capable of posing a serious threat. With this is mind I was hoping for a really good finish, because I did not reckon that Australia being 1-0 to the good in a three match series gave them an excuse for putting up the shutters when they had an opportunity to go for the kill.

Unfortunately Ricky Ponting assessed the situation differently and decided that no attmept would be made on what should have been a very tempting target. Most frustratingly of all, once the match had been condemned to an inevitable draw by Australia’s refusal to go for the target a couple of their batters did play some strokes near the end, showing what might have been.

Although it is his batting that earns Chris Gayle his place in my 100 cricketers he has also had occasional moments of success with his offspin bowling. 

SMRITI MANDHANA

Mandhana burst on to the scene in the 2017 Women’s World Cup, helping India to reach the final, before Anya Shrubsole’s incredible bowling, which saw her become the first female to feature on the front cover of Wisden won that match for England. In the very first match of that tournament, again between England and India Mandhana had made a spectacular 86, well supported by her opening partner Punam Raut and India had run out deserved winners. Still only 22, she is now captain of India and scoring lots of runs (although not earlier today – see my previous post).

Like Chris Gayle she bats left handed and takes a very attacking approach to the game. However she is small, while he is very tall and solidly built, so there are plenty of contrasts as well as similarities  between this pair of opening batters.

COMING UP

My next post in this series will feature the all-rounders from this second XI and then I will cover the remaining specialist batters and finally the bowlers, introducing the third XI in that post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my pictures, all taken this morning:

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I was well positioned while listening to the cricket this morning to take some photographs of this facsimile 1907 railway map.

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Cricket and Other Stuff

Cricket, in the course of which I make a very radical suggestion for dealing with England’s top order woes, and a few other things, including Maths and Public TGransport.

INTRODUCTION

As well as some stuff about the state of play in the current England vs India series I have a couple of mathematical problems for you and some of my own photographs at the end.

ENGLAND’S DREADFUL START

England won the toss yesterday morning before the fourth test match of the five match series against India at the Ageas Bowl, Botley Southampton. This was the last thing they managed to do right for some considerable time. At last, with the scoreboard reading a barely credible 86-6, Sam Curran, inexplicably dropped from the last test match and now returning to the fray, emerged from the pavilion. Much of the carnage was more due to good Indian bowling than bad batting, although Jennings (already on borrowed time for my money) will not want to see replays of his LBW (however good a piece of bowling it may have been padding up to one which would have uprooted the middle stump otherwise never looks good). Fortunately England’s tail managed to produce a diplodocid (see picture at end of this paragraph) proportion of the innings. Curran, making the ridiculous decision to drop him from the previous game look positively ludicrous, racked up 78 before he was last out, the total hvaing reached a semi-respectable 246.

Diplodocus
This is why I described the contribution of the England tail as being of diplodocid proportions.

India are currently 135-2 in response. Only once in test match history has a side come back from 0-2 down to take a five match series, in 1936-7 when Australia’s comeback was fuelled by scores of 270, 212 and 169 from Don Bradman in the course of those last three matches. In 1894-5 Australia levelled the series at 2-2 after being 0-2 down but Andrew Stoddart’s England rallied to win the decider. 

England’s continuing top-order woes need to be addressed if they are to avoid surrendering a series on which they seemed nto so long ago to have a vice-like grip. Rory Burns must come into the side in place of Jennings. I would also bring Pope back but place him lower in the order. brief interjection – BIG NEWS – Kohli Is Out! Also, thinking about the need for top order runs I now tender a suggestion far more radical than Rory Burns – there is one England opener who has making stacks of runs all over the place of late – the one and only Tammy Beaumont! The way they have performed thus far none of the current top order are entitled to object to that suggestion.

Beaumont on the attack

Yes going with two new openers would be a colossal gamble, but they could scarcely fare much worse than Cook and Jennings have in this series.

A COUPLE OF MATHEMATICAL TEASERS

Both of these, from my usual source,  are very easy problems which have tripped a number of solvers up. I give them in the reverse order to which they appeared:

Canteen problem.jpg

And

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HERITAGE OPEN DAY

Heritage Open Day this year is Sunday September 16th. There will be some 60 sites open in the King’s Lynn area, and if you there on the day do make sure you visit. If you happen to visit the cellars at the Bank House between 12 noon and 2PM I will be one of the volunteers you encounter.

TWO STORIES OF BRITISH PUBLIC TRANSPORT DAFTNESS

I start this section with the more minor but also more personal of these stories. Today I made my travel arrangements to Sheffield for a cousin’s wedding. I checked bookings from King’s Lynn to Sheffield, and the cheapest ticket would have cost me £68.20. Knowing that a ‘plan B’ was available I then checked out bookings from Peterborough to Sheffield and lo and behold up came a ticket for just £38.50, which when the two bus tickets on the ExCel are added in amounts to £51 all up. In other words to have travelled by train from King’s Lynn all the way to Sheffield would have cost me 33% more than the combined bus/ train route I am actually taking. Now of course not everyone booking this journey would have known of the alternative, and I wonder how many people have been swindled in this. 

My second story of public transport daftness is that The Elizabeth Line (aka Crossrail) will not now be coming into service until nearly a whole year later than planned (more here).

PHOTOGRAPHS

The pictures here are of items I purchased at our auction on Wednesday (it was reasonably successful, with a few big sales, and a lot of items finding buyers).

121
Lot 121 – I scanned these items rather than photographing of them.

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Under a viaduct and over a bridge
A photograph of the item taken this morning

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Two of the four items in this lot were of sufficient interest for me to consider bidding, the Nobel Prize cover, and the one that really settled it, the Classic Locomotives.

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