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

1,001.jpg

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.

121-a121-b

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

148148-a148-bBlizzard conditions

360
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.

360-a360-b

Classic Locomotives FDC
The main cover photographed this morning.
Classic Lcomotives stamps II
The first of two close-ups of the stamps (the reflectivity of the protective covering makes this a challenge).

Classic Locomotives stamps I

Classic Locomotives other side
The ‘cover’ part of this item contains a lot of information when opened up (see also next picture for the other side).

Locos fact sheet

 

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 2: St Germans to St Ives

The second post in my series about my visit to Cornwall, in which I cover the journey from St Germans to St Ives.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the second post in my series about my recent vsiit to Cornwall. As mentioned in the opening piece in this series I am breaking my coverage of my day out in St Ives into several posts. This post deals with the journey there (for the record, a day return from St Germans to St Ives costs £10.80), which is very scenic. For a Cornish perspective on St Ives check out this offering from the Cornish Maid.

ST GERMANS TO ST ERTH

The railway element of the journey to St Ives consists of two parts – a journey west along the main line as far as St Erth (penultimate stop on that route), and then a short journey north along a branch line which terminates at St Ives. St Germans to St Erth is a scenic journey in its own right:

Folk waiting flor 0927 to LondonConverted Carriage ISt Germans mapConverted Carriage IIGWR service to LondonGWR service to London IIGWR service to London IIIOld Oak Common locoUpgrade bannerSt Germans stationThe Bodmin and Wenford Railway curves away into the distanceAbove the line to LooeBodmin ParkwayBodmin and Wenford RailwayBodmin and Wenford posterLostwithielParSt AustellRedruthTowerPart of TruroCamborneCamborne II

Camborne III
I was particularly glad to note this tribute to the great Richard Trevithick.

ChurchesHayle

ST ERTH TO ST IVES

Though the route from St Germans to St Erth is scenic by any normal reckoning it is as nothing compared to the branch line from St Erth to St Ives. Although the route lists several intermediate stops the only one still in regular use is Lelant Saltings. I secured a window seat, although it turned out that I was not on the best side of the train and settled down to see what I could capture in the course of this journey.

Sea viewMarshlandMarshland IILelant Saltings

Heron, Lelant Saltings
The stop at Lelant Saltings enabled to me to zoom in on this heron.
River flows into Carbis Bay
The next few pictures feature mhy attempts to capture the beauty of Carbis Bay from a moving train.

Carbis Bay ICarbis Bay IIwatchpoint, Carbis BayPromontory, Carbis BaySt Ives StationWalks

A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE MAIN FEATURE OF MY NEXT POST

A few minutes after my arrival at St Ives the decision about my main activity while there was settled. It will be the subject of my next post – for the moment here is a clue to whet your appetite:

seal waves a flipper

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 1: Getting There

The start of a new series – A Grtockle’s Eye View of Cornwall.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome the first post in my series about my recent visit to Cornwall. Before we move on, here is a little bit of etymology for you:

Screenshot 2018-07-22 at 9.41.12 AM

For an insider’s view of Cornwall check out the Cornish Maid blog. In this post, because it is an introduction, and mainly about the journey down, you will only see Cornish photos near the end of it, but there will be several with many more pictures (St Ives is getting at least two posts and maybe more, St Michael’s Mount may well get more than one post and the Cremyll Ferry may figure in more than one post) before I wrap things up with a post about the return journey.

KINGS LYNN TO PADDINGTON

I had booked my tickets in advance, and part of the deal was that I had to be on a specific train for the long haul section between Paddington and Plymouth. My recommended itinerary had me on the 08:44 from King’s Lynn, but my usual prompt preparations on the morning of a major journey saw me at the station in time to catch the 08:12, and figuring that having extra slack to make the connection across London from King’s Cross to Paddington could not hurt I took that train instead.

This service was listed to call only at Royston between Cambridge and London, but at Cambridge stops were added at Letchworth, Hitchin, Stevenage and Finsbury Park, at which point having got the earlier train seemed an even better idea than it had originally. 

From King’s Cross to Paddington was noteworthy only for the fact that in a situation that is practically headline making these days all of London Underground’s lines were working properly at the same time, and I was early at Paddington, and had to wait for information about the platform. 

Cambridge NorthKing's Cross main stationKings Cross St Pancras MCHCKCSP roundelUxbridge trainGreat Portland StreetDistrict line mapCHC mapBaker StreetMail trainEdgware RoadPaddingtonTFL RailTFL Rail logoPaddington canopy roof

PADDINGTON TO PLYMOUTH

I was booked in a seat in a designated quiet coach, a window seat that should have been facing the direction of travel, but because someone had decided to reverse the running order of the train was not. However, the coach was quiet, and although I was facing against the direction of travel I did get some pictures along the way, and this train stuck exactly to its schedule.

Near Old Oak Commondistant view of trainsDepotHanwellPassing traintrackside tower, BerkshirePassing a train, BerkshireOld FactoryStation, BerkshirePassing a stationCountry house, BerksApartment blocksReadingPassing a train IIMaintenance trainUrban sceneChurch tower IChurchTrain at stationstation shotMajor station565BoatsBoats IIBoats IIIBoats IVSmall YachtSmall boatFishing boatsLong bridgeHouse through the trees585Water

PLYMOUTH TO FORT PICKLECOMBE

My train from Plymouth to St Germans was due to call at a number of places en route, and at Devonport it picked up a number of schoolchildren, who were fortunately well behaved, and not too noisy. It arrived at St Germans exactly when it was supposed to as well, making two successive trains that had run to schedule. My parents picked me up at St German and we went by car to their apartment in Fort Picklecombe.

Metal SculptureDevonportTamar Valley line590

The Brunel bridge
Crossing the Tamar

Many boatsArmadalarge boatsA medley of boatsBoats all over the placeGathering of boats

Unusual flower pot
This “flowerpot” can be seen at Saltash station
Bridges
A distant glimpse of the famous bridge. bridge that is used by Saltash station for advertising

HarbourRiverriver with boats

AT FORT PICKLECOMBE

Thursday evening in the vicinity of Fort Picklecombe is fish ‘n’ chips evening, courtesy of the two wonderful girls who run ahoyfishandchips, a mobile chippy. The meal was magnificent – if you are ever in an area being served by Ahoy Fish and Chips do not miss out. 

BreakwaterLighthouseA137sloopdecorative containersLighthouse and boatsBoat and islandOfficers messslipwayemplacementRocks

Fort Picklecombe
A view of the fort from out on the bfreakwater.

Sun on the waterPassenger boatLighthouse and fishing boat

Looking towards The Hoe
I found a location harbourside from which The Hoe is visible (this is only a couple of miles from Plymouth in straight distance).

Mooring ring

Crab I
A crab in the shallow water

Crab IIlooking out to sea

salt deposits, breakwater
This image from the breakwater reveals two things: The concrete had not set before someone walked on it, and that it regularly gets sea water washing over it.

ahoyfishandchipscruise linerCruise liner IIPrinsendam

Ferry and cloud
A rarity – a sky with exactly one cloud in it.

Marxism 2018: The Closing Rally

Wrapping up my series on Marxism 2018 with an account of the Final Rally.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the final post in my series about Marxism 2018. As this series has for various reasons been somewhat spread out I start by providing links to all the previous posts in the series, in chronological order:

GETTING TO THE FINAL RALLY

As I mentioned in the overview of the weekend I left my last regular meeting a little early to head for Friends Meeting House. I deposited my bag there, and then had to wait to be let into the meeting room because it had been decided not to open the doors until 5:15PM, which given the size of that room was allwoing absurdly little time for people to be in and seated before the 5:30PM start. Knowing that I would be leaving early I positioned myself in a position to do so without generating any fuss.#

Posters, FMHPosters, FMH IIThe light, just after openingThe light IIThe light IIIThe PlatformStarting to fill upSister actJanet Alder, Christine Buchholz, Amy Leather and chair Naima OmarFull panelChristine, Tina and JanetFilling upFilling up IIThe Light IVTina, Christine, JanetFilling up IIIFilling up IVFilling up VTina, Christine, Janet, Amy, NaimaAlmost ready to startPanelalmost starting time

Panel II
The panel for the final rally – Tina McVeigh, Christine Buchholz, Janet Alder, Amy Leather and chair Naima Omar

Filling Up VIFilling up VII

THE RALLY ITSELF

A little later (but only a little) than originally intended chair Naima Omar got things started.

Naima opens the rally

The first speaker to be introduced was Dublin councillor Tina McVeigh, who talked inspiringly about the current Irish political scene, and reminded us of the recent triumph for progressive forces in that part of the world, the repeal of the 8th, about which her compatriots Mary and Siomha had spoken so movingly during the Opening Rally. 

Tina McVeigh speaks
Tina McVeigh making her speech

The team

 

The picture above shows The Team, the people who keep the event running smoothly, act as first point of contact for queries etc. This is a challenging and exhausting task (I did it six times myself, so I know whereof I write).

The second speaker was Christine Buchholz of Die Linke, a member of the German parliament, and virtually bilingual. She gave us a direct account of fighting against the rise of the far right in mainland Europe (Germany being one of the places where this is a particularly hot topic at the moment).

Naima introduces Christine
Naima Introduces Christine

Christine starts her speechChristine Buchholz

Third to speak was Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher, a former soldier, was killed while in police custody. This is bad enough, but what followed was if anything even worse – while consistently refusing to reveal the truth about what had happened to Christopher the police also used resources that should have been used to investigate the death to spy on Janet instead (similar to how Doreen Lawrence was spied on by those who were supposed to be investiagting her son’s murder). Janet told us about the campaign, which has now been running fior almost 20 years to get justice done – to this day Christopher’s killers remain unpunished. It was at the end of this speech that I left the event.

Janet Alder
Janet Alder

Standing ovation for Janet IIIStanding ovation for Janet IV

The two pictures above show the response to Janet’s speech.

HOMEWARD BOUND

There was a train nominally for Cambridge and King’s Lynn leaving just after 7PM, which I managed to be on. An announcement by the driver told us that they hoped to be able to split at Cambridge and travel onwards to King’s Lynn but that they may not be able to because there had been problems, so I prepared myself to change at Cambridge (I have a justifiably low opinion of Great Northern, so I given two possibilities I naturally assumed that the worse would eventuate). In the event my assessment was correct, and those of travelling beyond Cambridge did have to change trains, so I arrived back at almost exactly nine o’clock.

St Pancras
St Pancras Station from the far side of the Euston Road
Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral

Marxism 2018: Martin Empson on Climate Change

My first post about Marxism 2018 – which has kicked off in fine style.

INTRODUCTION

The Marxism Festival is always one of the highlights of the year for me, and it got underway today. My train to London ran a bit late, but I was still at the venue in good time to do everything that I needed to before the first meeting. 

Double map, Kings CrossSt Pancras ISt Pancras IISt Pancras IIIRoundel

CLIMATE CHANGE: WHAT DOES THE ANTHROPOCENE MEAN FOR REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY

Just before I get on to covering this excellent meeting I wish to deal briefly with a related matter: Jeremy Corbyn has been getting stick in certain circles for choosing to use Prime Minister’s Questions this week to tackle Theresa May on the state of buses in Britain. He was right to take her to task on this topic, and she floundered hopelessly as she usually does, unable to answer the questions. Here are a couple of charts from nomisweb.co.uk that between them make quite clear the rightness of Corbyn on this issue, which I found by way of the twitter feed of somebody called David Ottewell

and with car journeys added to the chart:

That vast number of people using the car as their main mode of transport outside of London is a major problem in many ways, and is caused in large part by the scandalous state of bus services outside the capital. As a concrete example, King’s Lynn is the third largest town in Norfolk while Fakenham is a market town in the middle of Norfolk. The last bus out from King’s Lynn to Fakenham leaves Lynn at 5:40PM, while the last bus back from Fakenham to King’s Lynn leaves Fakenham at 5:30PM – and this is still a better bus service than most of Norfolk can count on.

The meeting began with an explanation of the term Anthropocene, and then covered some details about recent heat records:

Display IDisplay II

3E before Martin Empson meeting
The room in which my first meeting was taking place.

Book Display

Martin at the ready
Martin Empson preparing himself.

No To FrackingTimetable FCTimetable BCCover slide

Speaker and chair just before the start
Speaker Martin and chair Jasmine just before the start.

Fracking plus WindrushDump Trump

The chair introduces the meeting
Jasmine introduces Martin
Heatwave slide I
The first of six record temperatures set in a very short space of time to be shiown here.

Heatwave slide IIYerevan record

Quriyat min temp
This means that there was whole 24-hour period in which the temperature was never at any point less than 42.6 celsius in this location.

Pakistan 5o degrees

Colorado
A heat record set in the country with a climate change denier as president.
Heatwave slide - final
The final slide showing all the records.

After this the speaker went on to talk about the inadequacy of the provisions made at an important meeting in Paris, the demonstration that occurred in Paris at the same time as that meeting and to end with a message:

Climate Change meetingCC protest

Gas Platform
This is the largest floating object ever built by humans – an offshore gas platform owned by Shell.
System Change Not Climate Change
The ultimate message of this meeting.

There then followed an excellent discussion as people asked questions and made contributions, before Martin came back to tie everything together. This meeting was an excellent start to my Marxism 2018.

Camilla contributes from the floor
This young woman was to be the main speaker at the second meeting I attended, and her contribution from the floor in this one was excellent.
Martin summing up the meeting
Martin Emspon summing up.

LGBT+ Liberation