Cricket, Music and Local Elections

Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well. 

CRICKET

The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…

DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling. 

MUSIC

The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…

MUSICAL KEYS

A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…

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Kirsten, one of the two people from Musical Keys who run these sessions, at a very impressive looking keyboard.

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I shall be adding some mathematics to the mix in two weeks time.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subject I said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council website turned up the following information about who was standing:

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In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.

Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland. 

WALES

In Llanbadarn Fawr ward, Powys, the Labour Party candidate is none other than Mike Sivier of Vox Political, a fact which he announced in a post titled “Vote for Mike in the local elections!

– Vox Political’s Mike Sivier is standing as a Labour Party candidate for Powys County Council’s Llanbadarn Fawr ward – and there’s more to him than a nice smile [Image: Mike Sivier].

Today, Mike has put up another post about his candidacy under the title “Shadow cabinet minister is right – local elections are about CANDIDATES, not Corbyn“.

SCOTLAND

The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message

Towards Indyref2…

PHOTOGRAPHS

I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…

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ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED

During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled. 

An Important Petition

A link to petition that needs more signatures, plus links to the supporting information. Some pictures, a few thoughts about the recently concluded test match and a couple of extra links.

INTRODUCTION

I will be covering other stuff as well, but I am giving top billing to an autism related petition.

EDWARD TIMPSON MP MAKE BRIGHTON & HOVE DISTRICT COUNCIL CEASE ILLEGAL SECTION 47 SS INVESTIGATIONS

Here is the petition – main link is in the infographic:

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Here is the opening paragraph of the petition:

Too many LAs are conducting illegal S47 child protection investigations and traumatising families.  Brighton & Hove City Council is conducting at least one such an investigation right now against an innocent autism family (my own – autistic parent with autistic children), which indicates a pattern of behaviour is likely, as it wouldn’t be a one-off incident.  Brighton & Hove City Council is conducting this investigation on the basis of entire autism ignorance (towards parent and children) and illegal disability discrimination.  How can an autism parent perform their usual superhero job whilst being put through this trauma?  LAs behaving illegally must be stamped out.

Here are links to all the updates that have been posted on this petition:

You now have access to all the information I have seen about this case and should know what to do. If in signing this petition you mention me and this blog I will receive an email notification telling me that you have signed.

SOME PICTURES

After a large chunk of text it is time for some pictures. There are some from yesterday and some from today:

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The menu at the Rose & Crown in Harpley, where my parents took me for lunch yesterday (it was an excellent meal – thanks)
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The next five pics are also from the Rose & Crown, four showing decorative features and one the dessert menu.

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The redeveloped back of King’s Lynn Town Hall

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A TEST MATCH SETTLED BY A COIN TOSS AND A DISASTROUS 49 MINUTES

Test matches are scheduled to last for five days, and this one made it deep into the fifth of those of five days. India beat England by 246 runs and are to be congratulated, although as the title of this section suggests they were helped by good fortune. Winning the toss meant that they got to bat when the pitch was at its easiest. England’s disastrous 49 minutes occurred on the second evening, when they surrendered four wickets to end that day on 103-5 in reply to 455. Of the five wickets England lost that day only Cook got a really difficult delivery – the others assisted in their own downfall.

Facing 405 to win or 150 overs to survive on an increasingly difficult pitch England were never in the hunt, and the dismissal of Joe Root for 25 was the death knell, leaving the lower order to fight it out for as long as they could. Haseeb Hameed showed great concentration and determination at the top of the order before one shot along the ground to pin him LBW (a genuinely unplayable ball).

Virat Kohli demonstrated his skill with the bat, amending a decidedly dodgy previous record against England with scores in this match of 167 and 85. The latter was an innings that made it look like the match was taking place on two different pitches – at one end everyone else was struggling in the face of an excellent bowling performance from England, and at the other Kohli met every ball with the middle of his bat.

England showed enough to suggest that this series is not a lost cause, especially with three matches still to play.

A COUPLE OF LINKS TO FINISH

First, a petition on 38 Degrees calling for the scrapping of the ‘Sovereign Grant’ (I would prefer to scrap the Royal Family outright, but at least making them pay their own way would be a move in the right direction).

I end with a link to piece by DPAC, drawing attention to a disgraceful example of ableism at CEX.

 

England Take the Moral Victory in Rajkot

My account of the first test match between India and England at Rajkot.

INTRODUCTION

At just after 11AM GMT yesterday the first test match of the five match series between Inida and England was confirmed as a draw.

THE FIRST INNINGS

Alastair Cook made the first right move of the series when he won the toss and chose to bat (on a plumb pitch, with the only hope of interesting developments being if it deteriorated this was a clear cut decision). Gary Ballance’s wretched form had finally caught up with him, and 19 year old Haseeb Hameed whose family originated in these parts came in for his debut, with Ben Duckett dropping to number four so that Hameed could open. In the two match series in Bangladesh England’s top five had a combined record of three 50 plus scores in 20 innings with no one reaching three figures. Here Joe Root and Moeen Ali (nos 3 and 5 respectively) racked up centuries, and Ben Stokes, for once given a base from which he could build rather than attempt to rebuild added another as England totalled 537, effectively putting defeat out of the question right from the start.

Ravi Ashwin, the offspinner who was expected to prove far too good for England’s batting finished with the less than commanding innings figures of 2-167. Jadeja, on home turf (with that surname he is definitely connected to the old royal family of Nawanagar, who ruled here in the days of the princely states, and produced cricketing legends of earlier times Ranjitsinhji and Duleepsinhji) took three wickets.

THE SECOND INNINGS

Murali Vijay and Chesteshwar Pujara each reached three figures, while Ashwin somewhat redeemed his bowling figures with 70. India were all out for 488, giving England a lead of 49. These two huge first innings scores had been acquired comparatively slowly as both sides bowled tightly, and the fourth of five days was nearing its conclusion by the time India’s last wicket fell. Adil Rashid, given the opportunity to bowl with runs on the board, picked up 4-114, while the other spinners, Moeen Ali and Zafar Ansari each picked up two wickets. None of the faster bowlers were able to extract anything from this pitch, but Stuart Broad, playing in his 100th test, was economical, taking 1-78 from his 29 overs and Woakes who finished wicketless was positively Scrooge like in only conceding 57 from 31 overs.

THE THIRD INNINGS

While it would have been nice to see England go on the all-out attack and see if they could make a genuinely challenging declaration I can fully understand, especially given events in Dhaka not so long ago, why Cook took the safer option of batting the game into oblivion before declaring to see if his bowlers could take a few Indian wickets at the end.Cook himself made 130, his 30th test century, while the debutant Hameed made 82, and Ben Stokes, promoted to have a bash before the declaration made 29 not out in quick time. England called a halt at 260-3, leaving India a purely nominal target of 310 off 49 overs. Ashwin took 1-63 in this innings, giving him match figures of 3-230.

THE FOURTH INNINGS

Given that four and a half days of action had produced a combined 1295-23 it was most unlikely that any result other than a draw would eventuate, so the real question was whether England could nab some wickets and thereby claim a moral victory. In the event, India finished on 172-6, with only Virat Kohli, 49 not out, emerging from the innings with real credit. Rashid took 3-64, emerging with comfortably the best match bowling performance on either side, while Woakes, Ansari and Ali all picked up wickets.

THE FINAL VERDICT

A total match score over the five days of 1467-29 makes the truth about this game obvious. The pitch, which never offered serious assistance to any kind of bowler, won hands down. For England almost everyone emerged with some kind of credit, with most of the batsmen making runs and the bowlers sticking well to the Sisyphean task inflicted on them by the groundsman. India, although never in serious danger of losing this game have less to be happy about – although he is a spinner rather than a quick bowler Ashwin’s 3-230 in this match have a bit of a look of Gillespie ’05 about them. England have bounced back well from their disaster in Dhaka. Haseeb Hameed has made a splendid start to his career, and has probably settled the question of an opening partner for Cook – in a few years time England will probably be faced with finding someone to replace Cook as Hameed’s opening partner.

PICTURES

These pictures are from work…

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The first ten images here are of framed sets of cigarette cards, the first two bieing crickets from 1938 and 1934 respectively.

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These two images are of the last of the collector’s models

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Not an auction lot – this collection of brass taps and fitments are being sold on ebay!

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Musical Keys and Other Stuff

Musical Keys, Cricket, Photography and some links.

INTRODUCTION

The title of this post refers to Saturday’s Musical Keys session at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street (a place that by now is almost as familiar to me as my own humble abode such is the number of events I have attended there). I also have plenty of other stuff to share.

MUSICAL KEYS

Having missed the previous Musical Keys session because I was attending the “Marxism and Nature” Day School in London (well done to the International Socialism Journal team, you organised a great event) I was anticipating this session more eagerly than usual. Then came the news that the branch chair would probably not be able to attend as her son was playing up, which meant that I would be the sole NAS West Norfolk committee member present.

THE WALK THERE

I decided to go via Bawsey Drain (there was no decision to make as regards the mode of transport although it is a longish walk) and I was able to  take some pictures along the way.

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Another splendid tree (to see lots of tree pics visit Anna’s blog and look at some of the recent posts there)

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The outside of the scout hut.
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This section of path has recently been resurfaced.

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THE SESSION ITSELF

I was specifically requested to take pictures during this session by John and Kirsten, who run the sessions for Musical Keys. Therefore I have lots of pictures. The session began with the focus exclusively on a kind of wooden drum, shaped like a three dimensional capital T, which had been cunningly wired up to a computer.

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How this wooden instrument was wired up to a computer.

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Later in the session people were encouraged to try other instruments – two electronic keyboards were available and both were used, I sampled an acoustic guitar and also an electric bass guitar, and a single drum was available for most of the session, with the full set (which tends to drown out everything else) in action for the last few minutes.

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The keyboards being played.
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A stand alone drum

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The range of guitars.
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A couple of close-ups of the particular acoustic guitar that I played.

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The full drum set ready for action
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The drum set in use.
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Kirsten (one of the two people who run the sessions) playing an acoustic guitar.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BANGLADESH – ENGLAND SERIES

The result of the second match in this two match series, which I celebrated here, was splendid not just for Bangladesh, but also for cricket as a whole. England now head for a five match series in India, where they can confidently expect every pitch to be turning from minute one of every match (and can have no complaints given the number of times they have had sub-continental teams play on green seamers at places such as Durham and Leeds early in the English season). Frankly having seen how England have handled spin friendly conditions in Bangladesh, India should probably reckon that any series outcome other than 5-0 to them is a disappointment.

England this series have been exposed in several areas:

  • Top order batting – in four completed innings the top five contributed only three individual scores above 50 between them, one a piece for Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Duckett. Cook’s 39 in his final innings of the series was his best effort, while Ballance failed badly in all four innings, being out to a particularly gruesome shot in the final one.
  • Spin bowling – of the four front-line spinners played by England in this series (Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty) none produced a really convincing performance overall, although Moeen Ali took five wickets during Bangladesh’s collapse from 170-1 to 220 all out in the first innings at Dhaka and Rashid 4-52 in second innings of that same match. England, in a spin dominated series, were saved from complete embarrassment by Ben Stokes who captured 11 wickets at 10.09 to be their joint leading wicket taker, as well as being their leading run scorer.
  • Captaincy – Alastair Cook had an even poorer series in this respect than he did with the bat. Whenever the spinners were bowling they had right from the word go fielders at deep long off and at deep point – meaning that singles were always easily obtainable. These field setting seem horribly like covering the bad ball (of which it must be said there were far too many from all of England’s spinners).

I am going to finish this section with individual player ratings for all those used by England (the player of the series on either side was Mehedi of Bangladesh btw).

Alastair Cook (C): a poor series with the bat and a poorer one as captain. Rating 3/10.

Ben Duckett: looked unconvincing in his first three innings, but redeemed himself to an extent in the fourth – his approach in that innings got Bangladesh on the back foot. His dismissal straight after tea in that innings was the trigger for Bangladesh’s greatest ever session in the field in test cricket. Rating 5/10

Joe Root: a gritty 50 in the first innings at Dhaka when no one else offered serious resistance until the partnership between Rashid and Woakes was his only major contribution with the bat. Rating 5/10

Gary Ballance: after his first three innings of this series I commented that he was not batting long enough to know what sort of form he was in. His fourth innings was equally brief, but the shot with which it ended was truly dreadful. Rating 0/10

Moeen Ali: a useful 50 in Chittagong, and wickets in both games. However as an off-spinner he was comprehensively outclassed by 19 year old Mehedi on the other side. Rating 7/10

Ben Stokes: England’s player of the series, his 85 at Chittagong was England’s highest individual score of the series, he was the teams overall leading run scorer and joint leading wicket taker (this latter in a series were quick bowlers were mainly bystanders). Without his efforts this series would certainly have been 2-0 to Bangladesh. Rating 9/10

Jonny Bairstow (WK): A competent series with gloves in difficult conditions and a fifty in the first match. Rating 6/10

Zafar Ansari: his selection in place of fellow Surrey man Batty for the second match of the series gave England a more varied bowling attack, and he picked up a couple of wickets. He failed to contribute with the bat. Rating 4/10

Chris Woakes: significant contributions with the bat in both matches, though his bowling was not of much significance in this series. Rating 5/10

Adil Rashid: A useful batting effort in the first innings at Dhaka, when he and Woakes rescued their supposed betters and gave England a lead, his bowling in favourable conditions was disappointing. Rating 5/10

Stuart Broad: Bowled well at Chittagong, was rested for Dhaka. Rating 5/10

Gareth Batty: His selection for this tour at the age of 39 and after a 12 year hiatus in his international career was a major indictment of English spin bowling, and he contributed little in the one match he played, at Chittagong. Rating 2/10

Stephen Finn: Came in for Stuart Broad at Dhaka, and his only contribution of note was to become the answer to the quiz question “whose dismissal gave Bangladesh their first ever test victory against England?” Rating 1/10

FAWKES IN THE WALKS

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This has historically been a very successful event and I hope it will be so again. However, as an autistic person who reacts badly to sudden loud noises, I would also like to say that fireworks should be restricted to official displays of this sort.

LINKS

My first link in this section is to an online protest against the charity Mind, taking place between 3:30 and 5PM today.

The Climate Reality Project have produced this very accessible guide to climate change.

My next two links both relate to Debbie Abrahams’ announcement that they will replace the Work Capability Assessment:

My next and penultimate link is to Anna’s effort to get people to post about tree walks. To view her most recent post on the subject click on the screenshot below.

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My final link is to a book review on my London transport themed website – click the screenshot below to visit it.

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Drama in Dhaka and a Photographic Walk

A personal account of the opening day’s play in Dhaka, and a photographic walk concentrating on trees. Some interesting links at the end.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my view on the opening day’s play in Dhaka which I listened to earlier this morning this post contains details of a walk around King’s Lynn that I took after play had finished and some interesting links.

DRAMA IN DHAKA

A wonderful opening day in the second Test Match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka has finished with England 50-3 in response to Bangladesh’s first innings 220. When Tamim Iqbal and Monimul Haque were speeding along at four an over Bangladesh seemed to be headed for much for than 220, but Tamim’s dismissal shortly after completing a sparkling century triggered a collapse from the high water mark of 171-1 to 220 all out, Moeen Ali picking up five cheap wickets. The loss of Cook (captaining the England test team for record equalling 54th time), Duckett (just starting his international career) and Ballance (who has not been batting long enough lately for anyone to see what kind of form he is in) meant that by the close Moeen Ali was batting, and with some assistance from the weather he and Joe Root managed to hang on.

In some ways this match has similarities with Old Trafford 1902, when a lightning century from Victor Trumper (who reached the landmark before lunch on the first day) gave Australia a strong start which was then hauled back. Australia had a brief mid innings revival on that occasion and reached 299. England lost early wickets but then two middle order batsman, Len Braund and Stanley Jackson steadied the ship, the latter reaching one of his five test hundreds (all scored against Australia in England), and England were a mere 37 behind. A magnificent second innings bowling performance from England saw Australia all out for 86, and when England in pursuit of their target of 124 reached 92-3 the game appeared to be done and dusted, but then England panicked and started losing wickets, Clem Hill took a spectacular catch along the way, and suddenly debutant Fred Tate found himself going out to bat at 116-9 – he snicked one four, survived two further deliveries and was then comprehensively bowled to give Australia victory by three runs. If this match is as close I will be delighted, and as I stated in an earlier post, I will be particularly delighted if said close result goes against England because I believe that a victory against top table opposition for Bangladesh will be good for cricket as a whole.

To finish this section, although Bangladesh are pretty new to international cricket, Dhaka under its old name of Dacca has a much longer connection to the game, being one of the few cities to have hosted home games for two different countries. Going back further still, Bransby Beauchamp Cooper who played for Australia in the first ever test match in 1877 was born in Dacca.

A WALK FEATURING TREES

I got the idea for doing a walk in which I focussed mainly on trees at this transitional time of year from Anna, who put this post up recently (I recommend that you check the comments as well!). This then is my version of a tree walk…

SETTING OUT

As this first set of pictures, taken from my outside space show I don’t have far to go to be able to see trees:

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Heading across Baker Lane Car Park towards the Purfleet which I was then going to follow the Great Ouse provided these pictures:

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A SOUPCON OF HISTORY AND ALONG THE RIVER

Since I wanted to be in  that vicinity to photograph trees on the other side of the river anyway I took one non-tree related photograph before heading along the river, and this set of pictures actually features a second. This stretch ended with a brief diversion from the river front to skirt Bole Quay.

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The second non-tree related photo.
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The view along Millfleet

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SKIRTING BOLE QUAY AND LEAVING THE RIVER

After skirting Bole Quay I briefly rejoined the river front, before leaving it by way of a path through Harding’s Pits.

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HARDINGS PITS TO SEVEN SISTERS

From Hardings Pits I headed by way of the South Gate to Seven Sisters where I entered the parkland area.

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THE PARKLAND

I headed from Seven Sisters to the Band Stand, and the from the Band Stand to St John’s Walk, which I followed until I left the parkland heading in the direction of the train station:

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HOMEWARD BOUND

Even after leaving the parkland there were a few more photographs:

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Decorative brickwork above a pair of shops on Norfolk Street.
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The upstairs portion of the building that houses an imaging business – I have never used it, but you can get digital photos printed here among other things.

LINKS

My first is a little gem from travel vibes on twitter, introducing the word thalassophile (not all readers of this blog are on twitter, and this is a goodie).

First the definition: Thalassophile (n): Lover of the sea, ocean. Here are the real reasons for posting this, the accompanying pictures:

 

Next come two autism related links:

  • As NAS West Norfolk Branch Secretary I am delighted to publicise NAS’s latest campaign “Close the autism employment gap”.
  • My second concerns the Kevin Healey petition calling on Brentwood County High School to expel a gang of bullies who have been preying on an autistic student. Since I put up a link to this petition in a previous post details have emerged of a second shocking case of bullying at the same school. For more details, please click here. As a coda it is sadly abundantly clear from the comments that bullying has been a major problem at this establishment for a long time and that the head teacher in particular and other senior staff have been taking the ‘ostrich’ approach to the problem.

My next link is to a campaign to secure better working conditions for Uber drivers (and now is a particularly good time to pile on the pressure as Uber have just taken a hit in court). Click here for more details and to support the campaign.

I give the final word to Britain’s youngest MP, Mhairi Black, here hammering Concentrix – and managing to be very funny in the process:

 

 

 

 

 

Close Fought Contest in Chittagong

An account of the amazing Test Match which concluded earlier this morning in Chittagong.

INTRODUCTION

This is going to be a rarity – a blog post from me with no pictures. Please note that although I am a native of one of the countries involved in the Test Match that has just concluded and that is the basis for this post I am writing as a cricket fan first and foremost.

THE FINAL MORNING

At 4:45AM my time the alarm went off, and I tuned in to the coverage of the final day’s play in the first Test Match of the two match series between Bangladesh and England. The situation when darkness ended the fourth days play was that Bangladesh needed 33 to win with two wickets standing. Going into this match the two teams had met eight times in the test arena and England had won all eight, most by ridiculously large margins. The first question to be answered was who Cook would ask to bowl first up, and the fact that his choice fell on Broad and Stokes, the two fast men, and that no one seriously disagreed with said choice on a pitch that has offered serious turn for the entire duration of the match has to count as an indictment of England’s three front line spinners in this game, Batty, Rashid and Ali and by extension of the lack of decent spinners playing in English cricket at the moment.

Bangladesh added 10 runs to their overnight total before Ben Stokes had an LBW appeal against Taijul Islam turned down, sent it upstairs (the 25th time in this game that on on-field decision had been treated thus – easily a new record, the previous highest being a mere 19). For the 11th time umpire Ravi concluded from the evidence he studied that his on-field colleague had made the wrong decision (and for the eighth of those 11 times the on-field umpire involved was Kumar Dharmasena) and Bangladesh were nine down. Two balls later Shafiul Islam was struck on the pads, the finger was raised, the decision was inevitably reviewed, but on this occasion it was deemed to be correct and England had won, with Sabbir Rahman stranded on 64 not out.

If that match was to end in an England victory it was only appropriate that the final wickets should fall to Stokes whose match figures of 6-46 (4-26 and 2-20) were paired with a total match aggregate of over 100 runs, including the highest individual score of the game, 85 in England’s second innings, making the recipient of the man-of-the-match award clear cut. It was also in keeping with this match that it should finish with a decision being reviewed and therefore that it was the TV replay umpire who actually confirmed the final result.

BOWLER FRIENDLY PITCH PROVIDES A MAGNIFICENT MATCH

The pitch at Chittagong has been a curio in a more than one way. It has turned from the first, batting never being easy. It has also reversed the normal in that the spinners have been most dangerous with a new ball and the quicker bowlers more dangerous with an older one – to the extent that the reason England did not take the new ball this morning although they were entitled to was that they had decided to start with two quickies – had they trusted their spinners taking the new ball would have been obvious.

This match was fascinating throughout because it was not high scoring, and because the bowlers were always in the game.

CONGRATULATIONS AND COMMISERATIONS TO BANGLADESH

The heading for this section is not a contradiction – I congratulate Bangladesh for a spirited effort over the whole course of the game and for coming very close to recording their first ever victory over a major test nation (their seven test victories to date have been five against Zimbabwe and two against a West Indies riven by internal strife). It would possibly have been better for cricket as a whole if Bangladesh had actually won, but there is a single solitary counter-argument: this being a two match series if Bangladesh had won no one could then have blamed the groundsman at Dhaka where the second match will take place for preparing a pitch to make Adelaide Oval look like a terror track, whereas in the actual situation it is virtually obligatory to produce a pitch with some life in it.

THE REST OF ENGLAND’S WINTER

After the second and final match of this series (for the record I would make a rule that no series should contain fewer than three matches, my disapproval of ultra-short series being that strong) England head to India for a five match test-series. It is very likely that every pitch England encounter there will turn viciously from moment one, and England cannot rely on Stokes, magnificent cricketer though he is,  to dig them out of every hole they find themselves in. The spinners will need to earn their keep for these six matches.

WHITHER BANGLADESH?

Bangladesh came very close to making history in Chittagong. I hope for their and cricket’s sake that they succeed in scaling the summit of Mt Improbable in Dhaka, which match starts on Friday. This Test Match was Bangladesh’s first in a period of fourteen months – they need to be given more test matches. Another issue raised by the England schedule outlined above is that quite clearly Bangladesh were perceived as being a decent warm-up for the main event in India. They have done enough over four and a bit days in Chittagong to suggest that in the not too distant future a series against Bangladesh could and should be regarded as a serious event in its own right.I end with a couple of links to cricinfo:

The Ashes 2015: A Personal View

A last look at the 2015 Ashes.

INTRODUCTION

This is the first of a several posts I shall be producing today. I hope you will all enjoy it.

AUSTRALIA WIN THE BATTLE HAVING ALREADY LOST THE WAR

Australia won the Oval test match very comfortably to narrow the series score to 3-2 in England’s favour. Although it takes a little gloss of England’s overall victory this cannot really be considered significant – there have been many occasions when a side who have already won the series early have failed in the final match. Examples include England in 1928-9, 1986-7 and 2015, and Australia in 1902, 1924-25, 1968, 1993 and 1997. For the rest of this post I am going to look at England’s players through the series…

ENGLAND SUCCESSES AND FAILURES

So, who did what?

Alastair Cook: as captain he unequivocally did was required – his task was to win the Ashes and that objective was achieved with a match to spare. As a batsman he had an ordinary series, with no century and only two really significant scores, one of which was made with the match already lost (85 at the Oval).

Adam Lyth: he was an unequivocal failure at the top of the order. Nevertheless, while I would have no quarrel with him being dropped at this point, I maintain that the England selectors were right to give him the whole home season of tests in which to make his mark – and as a veteran of the second half of the 1980s and the whole of the 1990s, during which England were an international laughing stock I saw far too many occasions when selectors chopped and changed and changed and chopped so that no one ever knew whether they were coming or going I was delighted to see this example of consistency of approach.

Ian Bell: By his own standards a poor series – only three 50 plus scores and none of them a century.

Joe Root: Quite simply magnificent – his century at Trent Bridge on a pitch on which the Aussies had rolled over for 60 in 18.3 overs was a classic innings, made when runs had to be earned.

Gary Ballance: Only played the first couple of matches, but he will be back.

Jonny Bairstow: A fine innings at Trent Bridge, when he backed Joe Root splendidly, but not much else to show for his participation in the series.

Ben Stokes: Mr X Factor – runs, wickets and the moment of the series – that catch at Trent Bridge.

Jos Buttler: A shocking series with the bat, adequate behind the stumps.

Moeen Ali: A fine cricketer, but not in the way England used him in this series – he is not a front-line spinner. In the UAE where pitches are likely to take spin he could be useful as an opening batsman (a role he plays for his county) and back up spinner to Adil Rashid and possibly another.

Mark Wood: A good prospect, and Cook’s decision to give him the opportunity (which he took) to wrap up the Trent Bridge match was an excellent piece of captaincy.

James Anderson: The only England bowler to date to have taken 400 test wickets – it is a tribute to messrs Broad, Finn and Wood that he was not missed at Trent Bridge. The UAE would be a good tour for him to miss – there will be no assistance for him there, and he will be needed in South Africa.

Stuart Broad: Can one be player of the series almost entirely on the strength of one spell of bowling? Yes, if that one spell is 8-15 off 9.3 overs and makes the outcome of the series effectively certain.

Stephen Finn: After a couple of years in the wilderness he is back to some thing like his best, he achieved one of a run of four straight six plus wicket hauls by four different England bowlers (the others were Anderson, Stokes and Broad).