Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ring Of Bright Water

Just four survivors from the batch in February

Previous tadpole & frog business here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Maximum Parameter Exceeded

Now this blog is clearly the epitome of vanity publishing - all the veg talk, vague references to my various music projects and random slices of pie. Today there can be little more vain than me bleating on about achieving what I've never been able to do in some thirty five years of trying. Still, it's worth recording for posterity, in a fairly abstract and anonymous manner, if only because it stops me ranting on about strawberries and a poor onion crop and how none of the bands at Glastonbury really float my boat this year.

We were playing at Midsomer Norton and I wasn't the only one fearing a murder. (Yawn) Still, if you've got to die, they're pretty nice surroundings. I was wittering on to anybody who'd listen about the cycle path along the old Whitchurch light railway that takes you out of the city, bypassing the Wells Road, towards the magical Mendips, Stanton Drew and Pensford. If you haven't swum in the river by the church at Publow, you haven't lived. Just don't do it when a herd of cows are coming for a paddle.

I should mention that there was another apparently more important match going on in South Africa that required ours to start ridiculously early and pause for a couple of hours while those who gave a damn could watch the inevitable. At least that murder was swift and didn't go to extra time or penalties

As the next batsman in, nothing focuses the mind more than the sound of the stumps clattering and the bails tinkling. The butterflies and dragonflies dart and leap inside and you find yourself on cruise control towards the wicket, to the very same spot where you've just witnessed your more able comrade executed.

The first ball comes down and you survive it, either patting it away or leaving it. Phew! Not a golden duck then. Some days you are unable to say this to yourself and it's all rather embarrassing. Some days you might be lucky enough to get an edge for a single or mistime a drive but still get a flukey two runs. Huzzah! I'm off the mark, I troubled the scorer (more later) and I'm up the other end now, looking at those hills from a different perspective. Oh! He's left arm around the what? Okey dokey.

A stupid shot at a good ball which you just survive, the ball whistling past the stumps or dropping short of the fielder, followed by a sensible shot at a bad ball. Crikey! A boundary. Then it all happens again, it's deja-vu all over again Brian. But this time you don't play the stupid shot at the good ball and you get two bad balls that you somehow guide past the fielders and they race over the dusty turf to the ropes.

Well now, this is quite pukkah, you allow yourself to think. I've got double figures now, I don't know exactly how many but I really don't need to count. You think you're settled and that you've got things reasonably sussed but then you get tied down for a bit and there aren't any runs coming. A new bowler comes on and you take a wholly inappropriate swipe at a ball for which your brain has yet to evaluate a tracking system. All the opposing team go, Ooooooh!

You take a little walk like what you see them do on the telly. You say to yourself ***************** Do you want to be here in sixty seconds or do you want to be walking back to the pavilion? Geoff Boycott's mother comes to mind. Then you take the same swipe at the next ball, but somehow it seems wholly appropriate this time. You discover what you hear other people call the meat of the bat and you have time to get your breath back while they look for the ball in the hedge.

Colleagues come and go at the other end and you wonder who's going to make the runs today. The next ball sits up short on the leg stump and you find the strength in your wrists to lift the bat and pull the ball down the hill for another four runs. You hit the ball hard along the ground straight towards a fielder and it goes through his hands for another boundary. Yup, it's all very hunky dory, playing shots and building an innings like a musical jam, an improvisation around a theme, until you try to drive a ball over the bowler's head but somehow get strangled and tucked up and end up spooning a rather tame dolly to the delighted bowler. As you walk off there is no applause. You don't deserve any

But what's this? What's somebody saying to me involving the words, got, you and sixty? Does not compute. Computer says no. Maximum parameter exceeded. Many years ago I scored forty-five a couple of times, but today? Just then? 60? My maiden half century? F@ck! If I could do that, we're in for a massacre, nevermind a Midsomer murder. Oh! and I'm going to have to buy a jug of beer. For my batting? But I'm a bowler!

I'm not, as it turns out. Not as good a bowler as I once was. Just for now I'll happily balance that against apparently proving myself as a batsman of sorts and for receiving the unanimous vote from my team mates for man of the match. Man, I'm having a little jig for that! It might never happen again. Ten years ago I didn't think I was able to play cricket anymore because of a back injury, so it's all the sweeter. Sure it was a downer that we didn't score enough runs or bowl tightly enough to win. At times it looked very messy. Very ordinary, as the Aussies would say. Lol - which is how their cricket is looking these days. The England football team too.

There was a little twist to the tale when I narcissistically visited the scorebox to check the scorebook and shake my head in disbelief at the number of boundaries I'd hit. Sure enough I shook my head in disbelief as I counted my score in one book and it totalled only forty-three and the other had it at fifty-three. Or was that forty-nine? Arrgh! That sinking feeling. I had to round up a steward's enquiry and assist with addition sums. Happily, they fell the right side of fifty. Fifty-three I think. I'll settle for that. I thought I might have been on about thirty something. Applause at fifty would have only fried my swelled, heat frazzled head into getting out at fifty=three anyway.

As I say, vanity. But probably better than turning it all outwards to include other innocent and not so innocent participants.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


OK class, pay attention. The Polish for blue is the same as the word for heavenly. Neat.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flower Show

I suppose lilies are a bit blousy really. It's the first year I've grown them. The bulbs appear to have come complete with lily beetle larvae which hatched and nibbled the emerging leaves.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Bun Dance

After spending a month picking strawberries near Shepparton, the Australian 'fruitbowl' town in the Victorian plains, I couldn't bear to smell, let alone eat another strawberry for several years. I still have the muscle memory of being hunched over, sitting awkwardly on an upturned bucket for up to ten hours a day, the heat in the open field almost unbearable. Apart from our poverty, the only thing that kept us going was the anticipation of a cooling swim in an irrigation canal at the end of the day - until somebody mentioned water snakes.

Later, we discovered that picking Packham's pears paid prettier. The shade of the trees was welcome too, but you had to be careful that the weight of the pears in the canvas sack around your shoulder didn't cause you to plummet from the top of a ladder.

I've yet to grow pears. Perhaps it's the heriditary worry about Codling moths. That and a lack of space. There's quite a bit of that in Victoria.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010