The Snap of Leather on Willow

Summer means the cricket season, and although my body can no longer stand up to the rigours of playing I do still love to watch the game. On Thursday I was lucky enough to watch a NatWest T20 Blast game from the pavilion at Lord’s – the home of cricket. Both Middlesex and Surrey brought big international or ex international names to the fray, and the game went down to the last ball.

Eoin Morgan being bowled off a nick (grateful to good fortune that I got the bails flying up)


Eoin Morgan

Azhar Mahmood bowling (very tidily as it happened)


Azhar Mahmood

Tillakaratne Dilshan who didn’t trouble the scorers with his batting, but also bowled a tidy spell

Tillekeratne Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan

I also caught the moment he nicked the ball behind:v2-9699

KP was there too, and with Alistair Cook’s woes who knows what KPs international future may be; here being bowled to by another ex International player – Stephen Finn


Australian Dan Christian is Middlesex’s overseas player this year:




Of course the star of the show was Lord’s itself:


Goodbye Blue Sky



Today there were no clouds, no buttersmears, no marble, just endless depth and breadth of blue. To die now would be to bypass the cold press of the grave, purgatory and St Peter’s lists and enter directly through the gates of heaven, and there to lonely wait upon the end of time and judgement, to be joined by those whose deeds warrant the passage.

Reviving Relics

London is a city that is continuously evolving, I love seeing old buildings being brought back into use, and also the glimpses of the past that remain painted on odd corners.


I used to look across the river everyday at Bankside Power Station while I was at school, it was a desolate sight. It is now the Tate Modern, and people throng the tree lined walkways around it.  IMAG0131

And if you wander round the slowly gentrifying back streets of Southwark, you can still see the signs of its previous lives. IMAG0117

The Harry, Hermione, Ron Triangle


In the light of the new JKR article on Pottermore, I thought this was worth a repost:

Originally posted on Ali Abbas:

JK Rowling has recently commented that she persisted with the romance between Hermione and Ron, despite this being less likely than Hermione and Harry, reported variously in the press, including here in the Guardian.


There is a third way, a path that mirrors the hard truths of modern life in the Harry, Hermione, Ron love triangle. It was rational for Hermione to choose Ron in the aftermath of madness, and the wizarding world needing reconstruction. He was safe, uncomplicated, undemanding.


But within a few years the mundanity of life with this very ordinary person would grate on someone with her extraordinary gifts. He would not “get” her, or understand her need to be challenged, intellectually, magically, perhaps sexually.


As for Harry, well Ginny was always the rebound girl. After crashing and burning with Cho, and being unable to match the martyr status of Cedric Diggory with his…

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2012 and all that

St David’s day tends to pass unremarked in England. Perhaps because England has had more vested in the concept of Union than the other constituents, the concept of Englishness has subordinated itself to Britishness, and there is no British holiday or date celebrating the United Kingdom entire.


I’ve looked on with curiosity at the energy that other people put into their national days. It does not sit well with a certain natural reserve, and the frequent tub thumping jingoism is actually distasteful. Here we celebrate the monarchy, and all the goes with it, as long as they sit quietly in their corner until called upon to open a hospital, and we celebrate our sporting successes, but those only because they are rare and we know not to be repeated within living memory.


All that changed in 2012 largely thanks to a man born on these shores of Irish parents. Until the opening ceremony of the Olympics most Britons, like me, were sceptical. There was no way we could put on a show like Beijing. It would be a limp, cucumber sandwich of an event. And then that show happened. Sometimes a little bonkers, sometimes a little macabre, but overwhelmingly just the right tone: warm but not effusive, celebratory but with dignity, honouring the strength that has been tempered through an inclusive and accepting culture. And the Queen parachuted in with Jame Bond. How fucking cool was that?


Suddenly we had a language with which to express pride, in our way, not with tickertape parades and fireworks, but with a modest opening of arms and remembrance of what it means to welcome.


We’re not the same since you hung up that mirror Danny Boyle.


We still don’t have a national day for the United Kingdom, because we don’t need one, the rich tapestry of colours and creeds get to do their own thing, in their own way, and frankly everybody is fine with that.



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