Just a brief post to remind people of my existence. I shall follow my title precisely…
ONE: HEARING AID
Ten days ago I was fitted with a hearing aid. I have had to change the batteries once (this is in keeping with the advice I was given that these batteries, which are specially made for use with hearing aids, and can be obtained free of charge either at the hospital or at the West Norfolk Deaf Association have a lifespan of approximately one week.
TWO: A MASSIVE AUCTION
A longstanding client of James and Sons is selling his collection. He was a bulk collector of stamps, postal history and first day covers. Yesterday I began the process of imaging these items, which will be going under the hammer in April. Even selling the stuff by the box/ crate, with no small lots, it will be a two day sale. Here are some samples from yesterday…
UNUSUAL BIRD SIGHTING
This is today’s sign off – I was out walking earlier (it is sunny today in King’s Lynn, though still cold enough to warrant a coat), and I saw a Little Egret in Bawsey Drain, not very far from my house…
I responded on twitter, but there is a limit to how much detail one can go into there, so I am now putting up a blog post to provide a fuller explanation of my thoughts (I thank CricBlog for setting a tough but fun challenge and inspiring me to create a blog post – a combination of an English late autumn/ winter and lock down is not exactly ideal for providing inspiration!).
The 12 test playing nations are: Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. Some of these nations have many current greats to choose from, others have very few players to merit consideration. I also wished as far as possible to pick players in appropriate places in the batting order and to have a properly balanced side.
THE SQUAD FROM 1-12
Dominic Sibley (England) – an opening batter who knows how to bat for a long time. He has impressed considerably since his selection for England, which was earned the old fashioned way by scoring shedloads for his county.
Babar Azam (Pakistan) – he often bats no3 in long form cricket, but he can also open, his class is unquestionable, and his attacking inclinations make him a suitable partner for the solid Sibley.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand) – one of the finest long form batters the game has ever seen, and certainly in the top handful of contemporary batters whatever the format.
Virat Kohli (India) – Another all time great.
Angelo Matthews (Sri Lanka) – Averages 45 with the bat and is also a potential sixth bowler with his medium pace. Sri Lanka are not especially strong at the moment, limiting one’s options in terms of selecting a team of this nature.
+Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh) – A fine wicket keeper and worth his place as a middle order batter as well, the little Bangladeshi can be counted as one of two genuine all rounders in the XI.
*Jason Holder (West Indies) – lower middle order batter, quick bowler and captain. He has a test double century to his name and has also taken some major wicket hauls, including a six-for to start the first test series of the 2020 English season. Although the West Indies ended up losing that series I was overall impressed by Holder’s captaincy and had little hesitation over giving him that role in this team. As an aside, England owe the Windies big time for this summer and should have reciprocal tours of that part of the world high on their priority list.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) – an outstanding leg spinner and a useful lower order batter, he was the easiest selection of all for this squad, so far above his compatriots does he stand.
Mark Adair (Ireland) – pace bowler, useful lower order batter (he averages over 25 in first class cricket). He was impressive with the ball at Lord’s in 2019, his only test to date.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) – pace bowler. The quickest bowler in the squad, and the best of the three pace bowlers I have named.
Nathan Lyon (Australia) – the best current off spinner (only Murali among off spinners I have seen in action ranks as an unquestionably better bowler – sorry Swanny), and a suitable ‘spin twin’ for Rashid Khan.
Brendon Taylor (Zimbabwe) – Zimbabwe has few stand out names at present, but as a 12th man a wicket keeper who is also a good enough willow wielder to average 35 in test cricket is a pretty decent option.
THE TEAM ANALYSED
This team has a well matched opening pair, an outstanding no 3 and 4, a no 5 who has a very respectable record, an excellent keeper/batter, and Holder filling the all rounders slot at seven. The bowling line up, with Rabada taking the new ball alongside Holder or Adair, a third high class pacer and two outstanding and contrasting spinners in Rashid Khan and Nathan Lyon is also formidable. I would fully expect this team to give a good account of itself in any conditions. For more about my ideas on selection policies and team balance you can look at my ‘All Time XIs‘ series and/or at my ‘100 cricketers‘ series.
EXTENDING THE CHALLENGE
Please feel free to use the comments to indicate your own selections, sticking to the brief of one player per test playing nation. Those who fancy a really serious challenge are invited to pick a XII on similar lines to go up against mine (without thinking too hard I can identify nos 4, 5, 6 (or 4, 5, 7 or 4,6, 7) and 11 of such a combination and would be interested to see if these names feature).
I finish this post with some photographs (to view an image at full size please click on it):
My all-time Surrey XI, as I find ways to make up for the absence of live cricket.
Since there will be no cricket, or any other sport come to that, for a while I am going to fill the void by playing selector for a few all-time squads. Since I grew up in south London I will start with Surrey.
MY SURREY XI EXPLAINED
Jack Hobbs – more first class runs and more first class hundreds than anyone else, also still has the England record for Ashes runs – 3,636 of them, including another record, 12 centuries in those matches. He was also a more than handy bowler of medium pace and a brilliant fielder at cover point. His claim to an opening slot is unanswerable.
John Edrich – the left hander was one of three strong contenders for this slot, and both of the other two, Andrew Sandhamand Tom Hayward, actually did open the innings with Hobbs, but although I see the value of picking an existing partnership, Edrich’s left handedness creates an extra problem for the fielding side to contend with, and for me that is the crucial factor.
Ken Barrington – finding big run scorers associated with Surrey is not difficult, but what sets Barrington apart (and no 3 is has natural position) is that he was even more of a heavy scorer at test level (average 58.67).
Graham Thorpe – that rara avis an English middle order batter from the 1990s with a record to boast about. A century on debut against Australia and an average in the mid 40s maintained through precisely 100 test caps tells its own story about his consistency.
Peter May – In what was an overall low scoring decade (the 1950s) he maintained a test average of 46.77, and was also highly prolific for his county.
+Alec Stewart – in spite of the fact that doing so loses some of the brilliance of Stewart the batter I name him as keeper for the sake of the balance of the side. The leading scorer of test runs in the 1990s, and a very able keeper. Given the top five he would very likely be coming in with free rein to play his strokes.
*Percy Fender – a fine all-rounder, a highly respected captain who many felt should have had the England job and precisely the right kind of person to be batting no 7 in a strong team – he holds the record (35 minutes) for the fastest century against genuinely first class bowling.#
Alec Bedser– a man who in the period immediately after World War two was not just the spearhead, but pretty much the entire spear of England’s bowling attack, and the first to take 200 wickets for England.
Jim Laker – probably the finest of all orthodox offspinners, and for Surrey he was frequently more successful away than at home (in each of seasons 1955, 1956 and 1957 this applied to name but three).
Tony Lock – the other half of the great spin pairing of the 1950s, a slow left-armer.
Tom Richardson – a fast bowler who took more wickets for Surrey than any other bowler in their history. His 1,000th first class wicket came in his 134th first class match, and his 2,000th in his 327th.
This team consists of an awesome top five, a batter-keeper at six, an all-rounder and four frontline bowlers. There are two left handers among the top batters, and the bowling contains the new ball pair of Richardson and Bedser, an offspinner, a slow left armer and a leg spinner (Fender), plus Hobbs’ medium pace if required. I have not included an overseas player, but if mandated to do so I would bring in Waqar Younis in place of Richardson.
George Lohmann (definitely in an all-time Surrey tour party as cover for Bedser), Martin Bicknell, Bill Lockwood and Alf Gover all merit consideration as bowlers, while other than the openers I could not accommodate Douglas Jardine andEric Bedser were two of the better batters to miss out. Mark Ramprakash did not come into my calculations because his record at the highest level was ordinary, and the bulk of his runs for Surrey came while they were in division 2 and not up against the strongest bowling attacks.
Accounts of the Rugby World Cup Final, a WBBL T20 and England’s 2nd T20I v New Zealand. Also lots of photographs.
Most of my readers will be aware of what happened in Yokohama yesterday morning, but that was not the only fixture involving an England team this weekend, and before sharing some photographs I mention both matches.
ENGLAND RUGBY TEAM HAMMERED
England went into the men’s Rugby World Cup final as favourites, having downed the mighty All Blacks in the semi-final. I was listening to commentary on theWomen’s Bag Bash League game while keeping an eye on developments in the Rugby. The best it got for England was when they were briefly level at 6-6. Thereafter South Africa were utterly dominant, the two tries they ran in near the end merely making the scoreline a realistic reflection of that dominance. The WBBL game was excellent. The victorious Melbourne Stars had spinners bowl 12 of their 20 overs, and those 12 overs went for a mere 51 between them. Lizelle Lee scored an astonishing century for the Stars to give them a very respectable total, which their bowlers as described above defended.
NEW ZEALAND LEVEL T20 SERIES
England won the first match of the five game T20 series in New Zealand, but the hosts struck back in the small hours of the morning GB time. Worcestershire’s Pat Brown got slapped for 32 off just two overs, while Lewis Gregory who mysteriously also only got two overs started his international bowling career by knocking a stump back with his very first delivery and finished with 1-10. England were not up with the rate at any point of the chase, and when their final wicket fell to the penultimate ball of the game the margin was 21 runs (substantial in this form of the game). Chris Jordan had a fine match for England, with 3-25 and then 36 off 19 balls (second top England score behind Dawid Malan with 39). Saqib Mahmood, picked without the domestic figures to suggest international quality, had 1-46 from his four overs, a very poor showing.
My usual sign off (features a couple of spider pics near the end)…
Links to some of the best pieces from today, includign several about autism, a solution, a problem and some photographs.
This post is divided into three main sections – a sharing section, because there has been some truly outstanding stuff come to my attention today, a problems and solutions section and some photographs.
I have already reblogged stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights, but I take the opportunity to point you all in that direction once again, complete with a jpg of the suggested Bill of Rights…
My remaining shares in this section are all from a new find…
Is Autism a Disability? A wonderful post which tackles head on some of the ways in which the conversation about autism is currently cooked against us from the start. I quote the closing lines of the post as an appetiser:
It’s a label that holds me down and pushes me into a box I can’t escape from. Give me some new words to define me. Or better yet, let me define myself.
Although not as dramatic as a few weeks back, The Walks, King’s Lynn’s best known park, is still somewhat lacustrine, which has led to it receiving a most unusual visitor – an Oystercatcher, a wading bird which would normally visit a park and for which King’s Lynn would be the extreme South of its possible living area…
As you will see there were a few other fine birds on show today…
An account of the opening salvos in the Women’s Ashes and some photographs.
Unlike the original Ashes, which have been fought for since 1882, the Women’s Ashes is contested across multiple formats. The current scoring system awards two points for a win in a limited overs match, 1 for a no-result and 0 for a defeat, while the sole test match is worth four points.
A Classic Match
The first of three ODIs that the women will be contesting took place at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Australia won the toss and put England in to bat. Several England players got starts but none managed to build a really substantial score, Lauren Winfield leading the way with 48. A total of 228 off 50 overs did not look like it was good enough, and in the end it wasn’t.
Eng;land bowled better than they had batted, and at 87-4 Australia were looking distinctly shaky. Alex Hartley failed to hold a return catch offered by veteran Alex Blackwell when the latter had 35 to her name, and Australia were behind the rate, Talia McGrath having occupied 26 balls for a score of 7. This missed chance and some aggression from Ash Gardner (27 off 18) made the difference, Australia getting home in the final over with Blackwell unbeaten on 67.
A highlight of this match was the preponderance of quality spin bowling on show – in Gardner, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Jess Jonassen Australia had three high-class practitioners, while Hartley and the experienced Laura Marsh both bowled well for England.
ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ‘WOMEN’S ASHES’ AND ‘ASHES’
This applies across the board, and not just to cricket between England and Australia, but this seems a suitable place to mention this. I see the distinction between these categories as that between a restricted (“Women’s”) and an open category – if a woman is able to play alongside the men she should have the right to do so – the existence of Women only teams is an acknowledgement that few women could because the men are generally larger and stronger. Similarly if a disabled athlete happens to be performing comparably to their able-bodied counterparts they should be able to compete alongside them.
In terms of cricket I would expect that a woman who earned selection for ‘The Ashes’ as opposed ‘The Women’s Ashes’ would not be a specialist fast-bowler, but I could see spinners, wicket-keepers or batters earning selection.
Among the things that autism is sometimes supposed to be but is not are:
A form of mental illness (more on this at the end of this section as you will see).
Something to be feared or worse still hated
Something that needs to be cured
I end this section with an example that absolutely shocked me when I saw it by way of twitter this weekend. I invite readers of this post to collectively identify everything they can find that is wrong with the formulation of the question below:
If you click on the image you can go to the quiz, take it yourself and then post a comment (if you choose to do this please follow me in highlighting the problems with this question).
AUTISM AND ME
My unsuitability for front-line customer service and the difficulties I have with communication are down to autism. On the other side of the ledger my eye for detail, reflected in my photography among other things, my mathematical skills, my aptitude for working with computers and several other of my strongest attributes are also due to autism.
I will finish this section by reminding people that different does not necessarily mean less, and that we are autistic people – note the emphasis given to the second part of that designation.
In this section I provide the solution to one puzzle and offer another for your inspection. Both are mathematical in nature.
The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?
a) series one
b) series two
To begin the solution, here is the table above with a column added:
You will see that the two sets of coin toss lists in the original problem were made up, but if you look at the results for the set of coin tosses I actually performed you will note that it looks much more like series two than series one – randomness is clumpier than we intuitively expect (the idea for this problem came from a book by Natalie Angier, in which she tells the story of a teacher who uses an experiment in which half of her class are assigned the task of inventing a series of coin tosses, and half of actually tossing coins and recording the result, while the teacher goes out of the room – and nearly always the teacher can tell the real from the fake).
My new problem comes from the mathematical website brilliant:
As usual I end this post with some photographs, in this case featuring a family of swans I saw swimming along the Gaywood River yesterdary morning:
A sneak preview of the 2017 Photographic Wall Calendar.
As some of you know I created photographic wall calendars last year. I recently mentioned that I was going to do again this year. This morning my inbox contained an offer from Vistaprint that was too good to refuse, so the calendars will be arriving with me some time around October 20th.
THE FRONT COVER
This time, there will be no borders, and no added text. It will surprise few who have followed this blog recently to find out that I have chosen an Inlandsbanan picture for the front cover…
The actual calendar will be much bigger than this of course.
Some stuff about autism, some important links and some photographs.
Although this post includes some links that are not specific to autism, and of course some photos, enough of it is autism related to warrant the first word of the title.
AN IMPORTANT EVENT ON MONDAY
This Monday an ‘autism positive’ event is taking place at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. I will be present in the dual capacity of autistic adult and branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk. As well as a display with full information about our branch we will be distributing leaflets about efforts to get some adult oriented events and activities going. Apart from the official NAS branding and header which I copied and pasted from the website the leaflets are entirely my work…
Advertising attended to, the second part of this section relates to:
AUTISM AND EMPLOYMENT
First of all, here is the grim truth about autistic people and employment in the UK:
75% of us are unemployed.
Others are employed in low paid and/ or part time work, so that 85% of us are classed as underemployed.
So, what can be done about this? Well, recruitment practices need to change and here is for me the single most important thing that could be done:
Abolish standard interviews, which place one in a position that one will never be in when in the job, making skills testing mandatory instead. Many autistic people however mujch preparation they put in cannot do themselves justice in interviews, while if you have them do the kind of work that they would be doing in the job they will fare much better, and you will learn not whether they can say the right things but whether they can actually do the work.
As a segue into the next section of the post, here is a link to a petition created by an autistic adult (Chris Packham), which calls on the Government to:
I give the last word before the photographs to DPAC, who have prepared some online action to coincide with the Tory conference for the benefit of those who cannot make it to Birmingham but want to be part of the protest. Please click the link below to see how you can be part of…
The special significance of lustrum in the sense of a five-year period to aspiblog is that today is the fifth anniversary of aspiblog. To view the post that started it all on May 10th 2011 click here.
There are many approaches to blogging. Some blogs deal almost entirely in original content, some blogs are devoted principally to sharing stuff created by others, and some like this one are a mixture of the two. I create new posts such as this when I feel I have stuff to write about and/or enough good pictures to warrant creating a post to share them.
SHARING ON A BLOG
Sharing can be done in various ways. There is the “Links” section was has been a frequent feature of this blog, which enables one to share lots of stuff in a single post. Other wordpress posts can be reblogged, and some other posts not on wordpress allow one the option of ‘pressing’ a link on to a wordpress blog (I have a ‘press this’ tool for my wordpress hosted London transport themed website www.londontu.be to enable me to post links to interesting and appropriate articles). This morning I used the press this button on Richard Murphy’s Tax Research UK blog to post a link to a piece of his speculating on the prospect of Mr Osborne being reshuffled into obscurity on June 24th and took some screen shots along the way to illustrate the process:
MAIN THEMES OF THE BLOG
This blog features many things, but there are several recurring themes:
Autism – I am #actuallyautistic, and although the Asperger’s Support Group that I ran for some time ultimately became a casualty of Tory funding cuts I am now on the branch committee of NAS West Norfolk.
Photography – I am a very keen photographer and invariably share pictures in my posts.
Politics – I am politically very active and I follow many political blogs/ websites.
Cricket – I am a huge fan of cricket and particularly during the summer months I will frequently have things to say about the game.
I spent yesterday listening to commentary of the fascinating match between Somerset and Warwickshire. While elsewhere in the country vast numbers of runs were being racked up this match was low scoring, and the better for it. The big scoring that has been such a feature of this early season is partly due to a daft playing condition introduced into the county championship whereby the visiting side can dispense with the toss if they wish to bowl first. This has resulted in a succession of pitches on which batsmen can fill their boots. There is no logic to such a playing condition – if you want to absolutely ensure that home teams cannot prepare pitches to suit themselves simply get rid of the toss altogether and award choice of innings to the visitors, although I would personally stick to having a toss for innings. If, as currently seems likely, Somerset win, they will owe it in large part to Peter Trego who in a low scoring game has amassed 94 and 51.
I heard while listening to that commentary yesterday that there are going be matches played between the North and South to give the best county players a chance to play in matches of higher standard than normal county games, taking place in the UAE in March, before the MCC v Champion County match, which I think is an excellent idea.
My next two links are both related and concern a subject close to my heart: libraries. Libraries in many parts of the country are facing cuts, and one of the areas affected is Lancashire. A campaign is running to save their libraries, and they have recently created a bit of a stir by telling their MP to stay out of it, such is their (entirely justified) lack of trust in the individual concerned. Two links for you: