Thank Evans For Little Gullys, “MTWD Lost Masterpiece”, Middlesex v Gloucestershire at Lord’s Day 3, 24 August 2007

The background to the phenomenon of MTWD “lost masterpieces” is explained in this link – click here. In short, Sportnetwork permanently lost a swathe of published features from 2007.

But fear not; I tend to keep everything.

Readers will be delighted to learn that I didn’t really chair the judging of double-glazing awards, but I was chairing the National Payroll Giving Awards in those days.

Connoisseurs will notice Ged (that’s me) using the Vaughanian third person a great deal in this report.

Thank Evans For Little Gullys – Middlesex v Glos Day 3

Early Doors

Ged decided to do a day’s work at Lord’s today.  He has been asked to Chair a panel of the great and good judging for a prestigious awards event.  The UK Double Glazing Awards, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Double-Glaziers and Sealed Unitarians.  Goodness alone knows why Ged has been asked to fulfil this important and pivotal role in the wheels of UK commerce, but some senior figures from industry, the civil service and the charity world are set to have their casting vote cast by Ged.

So, Ged gathered 28 award applications, his trusty digital tranny, a small bag of rations and off he set to Lord’s to spend the day watching cricket and marking award applications.

He didn’t leave home until 10:30, which would still enable him to get to Lord’s on time for the start by use of public transport or a Hackney Carriage, but part of Ged’s pleasure on such days is the 35 minute walk, so, suitably comforted and watered  he got to a seat in the middle tier of the pavilion between 10 and quarter past.  Ed Smith had added half a dozen runs to the overnight score.

 

Down to Business

While Strauss and Smith got down to business trying to build a score worth having, Ged got down to the alternative business of reading through several applications for the “Best Excuse For Dodgy Double-Glazing Craftsmanship 2007” Award.  The repetitive nature of the applicants’ claims chimed nicely with the metronomic accuracy of Lewis’ and Kirby’s bowling.  Both were unlucky not to take wickets, as they bowled well, although Smith and Strauss were rarely troubled that much.  Ged felt that seeing off the new ball pair would be vital.

Around an hour into play, Ged moved on to the “Best Use of Attractive Daughter as Decoy on Double-Glazing Sales Visit 2007” award; the delightful young lady who had accompanied such a salesman on a visit to Daisy’s house earlier in the year strangely had not been nominated.  And around that time Hardinges (announced by Mr Perambulate the announcer in the singular; “Harding”) came on to replace Kirby at the Pavilion End to bowl pies that were suitably despatched square (ahh, “square pies” I hear you all sigh) and in front of wicket for four with delightful regularity.

Lewis seemed to want to bowl at the Nursery End all morning, but eventually made way for debutant Tom Stayt.  This seemed to be a suitable time to move on to the “Best Repair of Double Glazing Damaged by a Cricket Ball 2007” award.  Straussy, by now motoring, clearly thought similarly, but on 75, just before lunch, he holed out attempting a big one off debutant Stayt; 135/2 and that’s lunch.

 

Lunch

Ged was very much aware that he wanted to follow the England game on his radio as well as the Middlesex game before his eyes.  And while he can cope with two sets of stimulation (Middlesex and Glazing), three simultaneous sources might blow his mind.  So he swiftly moved on to the largest category, “Best Telesales Bullshit About Discounts Only Being Available If You Sign Up For Double-Glazing Today 2007” award.  Abstemiously, Ged merely munched an apple and a small bag of almonds while he marked.  Such can be the glories of a pavilion lunch.

 

Afternoon Delight, Glaws Style

In the 35 minutes between the resumption and the start of the England game, Ged marked the last two categories quickly; only two applicants for each which made it easy; “Most Ludicrous Freebie Thrown In With Double-Glazing Order 2007” and “Most Flagrant Extra Charge For Something That Wasn’t Included in the Original Price”.  Meanwhile Joyce and Smith were going great guns.  Ged read the proposed eulogy for the “Special Award for Carbon-Neutral-New-PVC of the Year Award”, plugged in his ears for the England game and then set to, summarising his scores and filling in forms.

At this point, unbeknown to Ged at that time (Ged remaining in the Pav until completing his work), Barmy Kev arrived at Lord’s and took his seat in the Upper Eddy.  The score was 197/2 and Middlesex seemed to be cruising.  Then, against the run of play (although Kirby had been brought back at the Pavilion End), Joyce got one that really flew across him and he was caught well at slip.  Two balls later, Rymps played on trying to leave one.  Next over,  Stayt got Smith caught at slip.  And only one scratchy extra was added before Scott was caught behind of Stayt for a blob.  197/2 had becomme 198/6 and everyone was wondering whether or not Middlesex would manage even one batting bonus point.

By all accounts, at this point the Turkeys in the Upper Eddy offered Barmy Kev considerable sums of money to go away and never ever come back.  And by those same accounts Barmy “Goes4cash” Kev seriously considered their offer.

But Middlesex rallied a bit, Vaas and Murtagh eventually getting that vital 1st batting point.  Ged finished his work and decided to wander round to the Upper Eddy for a change of view.  Despite (or perhaps because of) his abstemious lunch, he accidentally bumped into the ice cream van and felt obliged to help out on a chilly day by parting company with £1.70 for a small cone with flake.

As Ged emerged at the top of the Upper Eddy, cone already long gone, the light was offered and accepted in return for an early tea, with 44 overs still remaining.

 

We Had Joy, We Had Fun, We Had Evans and Some Evening Sun

The Upper Eddy was the place to be for that evening session.  Early tea was a wise move, as no overs were lost and the light improved considerably in those 20 minutes and there were even hints of possible sunshine – indeed the sun shone for a reasonable chunk of that session.

Middlesex pressed on to 300+, despite losing Murtagh soon after tea, Murali Kartik managed, with minimal footwork, to support Cha Cha Vaas to a respectable Middlesex score.  305/7 was enough to convince Ed Smith that we wanted 30 overs at them tonight, so declaration came and there was much debate about whether this was too soon, too late or about right.

At 50/0 it looked as though Middlesex had goofed, but Ed called on debutant Danny Evans from the Pavilion End, who looked quicker than the “medium-fast” tag on  his cricnfo sheet and who induced a hoik behind square from Spearman, caught well by Joyce, a big first wicket in 1st class cricket. 1-1-0-1 read Evans figures after his 1st 1st class over.

But then the clouds returned briefly and Ed entered into negotiations with the umpires.  On came Kartik at the Nursery End and Rymps at the Pavilion End.  Soon Kartik had induced stumpings off Hodnett and Ali; Ed almost shook hands with umpire Burgess to thank him for the enforced but inspired owling change.

And when the sunlight returned, Murtagh and Richardson managed to snare one each before the close.

Could Middlesex induce a follow-on even from here?  Can Middlesex dictate terms to some extent to agree a sensible declaration, joke bowl and chase.  Glaws are -5 on over rate at the moment – pitiful really even without a spinner – play finished about 19:15 – so they might see such a scenario as a way to bag 2.5 points.

It’s really hard to get a match done in 2 days, but Middlesex did all the right things Day 3 to try to make that happen.

An excellent day of cricket at Lord’s, given the dire weather-affected match situation at the start of Day 3.

If by any chance anyone is still reading and keen to know what happened in the match – here is a link to the scorecard.

Absurdia: A Resounding Tinkle and Gladly Otherwise by N.F. Simpson, The Crimson Hotel by Michael Frayn, Donmar Warehouse, 18 August 2007

I’m not sure we were quite in the mood for a triple-bill of British Absurdist comedies. I’m not sure we’d have been in the mood for these plays even if we had been in a more appropriate mood.

Billed as being a precursor to Pythonesque comedy, the only python-like thing in the 1960s N.F. Simpson material was talk about a neighbours snake. His plays were certainly more English whimsy than European absurdism.

The Michael Frayn was a modern piece, but lesser Frayn in my view.

Great cast; it would probably seem worthwhile watching Peter Capaldi paint the ceiling. Douglas Hodge directed this production – he seems to have a good eye and ear for this sort of stuff. It’s just not really out sort of stuff.

The critics weren’t too sure either:

 

 

 

 

 

Dad’s Funeral, South London Crematorium/Streatham Park Cemetery, 13 August 2007

In the orthodox Jewish tradition, the funeral takes place very rapidly after death. But mum and dad had opted out of the orthodox way and had planned to be cremated. Hence the week’s interval between dad’s demise and his funeral.

The funeral took place at South London Crematorium/Streatham Park Cemetery at 14:30 that day. The funeral was officiated by the Streatham Liberal Synagogue’s Rabbi. I wrote and read a eulogy which I shall upload here, with any other artefacts I think worthy of retention, when I go through the relevant papers.

We, family and friends retreated to the house in Woodfield Avenue after the funeral, for a simple reception. I think Janie and I (which means Janie, really) organised the catering. A nice young woman whose name escapes me, who had quite recently catered a celebratory event for us. Janie will remember her name…

…took a bit of research, but it was of course Jo Buckingham of TRUFFLEhound.

 

The Enchantment by Victoria Benedictsson, Cottesloe Theatre, 11 August 2007

My recollection of this one is extremely limited. We saw this on the Saturday evening between my father’s death and the funeral. The programme helps my memory, as does Janie’s recall (also dredged with the help of the programme) and the reviews.

Victoria Benedictsson was a Swedish writer who had a difficult time as a modern woman in the early days of women’s liberation. She killed herself relatively young, but not before writing this loosely autobiographical play in the late 1880s. The play is now seen as a precursor to Scandinavian works such as Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and A Doll’s House.

I note from the programme that Nancy Carroll played the lead; I subsequently discovered that she is an Alleyn’s alum; good for her. She is an excellent actress. I also spotted in the programme that Paul Miller (now taking the Orange Tree Richmond from strength to strength) directed this production. In the round too; good training for the Orange Tree.

It was clearly one of those slow build, late 19th century dramas. Probably just as well given my/our state of mind that weekend; a frantic, high octane play such as Cyprus Avenue – the piece we saw the other night as I write – would not have gone down well in the circumstances.

Clare Bayley, who wrote the version of the play which was performed in this production, has a good page on this project, including interviews and stuff, on her site – here.  She also includes some good quotes from the critics in her piece.

Indeed, it seems to have gone down well enough with the critics that matter:

England v India, 3rd Test, Day 2, Oval, 10 August 2007

I remember very little about this day. It was between dad’s passing away on the Monday and the funeral, all scheduled and arranged for the following Monday.

I considered not going, but mum and Janie both saw no sense in me moping around at home instead – there was nothing left to arrange. Also, with the Oval so close to mum and dad’s house, it would be an easy hop over to mum’s after stumps.

The guests that day were Harish Gohil (Charles was down to join us but ducked out, I think because he had needed to take so much time off for other reasons that summer), David Highton (formerly of Broadcasting Support Services), Shums Cassim (who was trying to get SpecialZm going), Stuart Caplin (a very charming gentleman from St James’s Place – Shums choice of guest).

Judging from the scorecard – here – India spent the day making England suffer having made England suffer the day before – gosh India were a strong test side at that time.

I think I made my excuses a little early to beat the crush and get to mum’s at a reasonable hour. I guess I travelled to the house from the Oval using the tube and then a minicab from Balham – not the pocket-money-preserving tuppence bus fare of my childhood.

Janie came to the house and I recall mum was in a very dark mood by that evening. We tried to distract her and lighten the mood a little (which I think is what you are supposed to do in these circumstances) and then got told off for inappropriate levity.

Dad’s Collapse and Death, 3 August to 6 August 2007

It is all a bit of a blur, really.

I know that Steve the window cleaner came that Friday morning, but I can’t remember whether I got the call from mum before, during or after his visit. Soon after Steve left, I think.

Dad had collapsed at the foot of the stairs trying to get up to bed the night before; mum had found him there in the morning and called an ambulance.

My recall is very patchy. Dad was unconscious when I got to St George’s Hospital. I remember hanging around for quite a long time with mum and seeing a specialist with her and Janie quite late in the day. I remember the specialist explaining that one of dad’s hips had broken when he collapsed, but that basically the scans revealed that dad was riddled with cancer and there was nothing they could do other than keep him comfortable and free from pain.

I think mum insisted that we just take her home on that Friday; I recall she was much calmer that first day than on the subsequent days.

On the Saturday, Janie and I had arranged to see Charlotte for the evening – I think she came to us for dinner and I think we went ahead with that at mum’s insistence. Dad had not really regained consciousness on the Saturday in any case, so there was little we could do. Mum was in “I can cope” mode.

I recall that dad was conscious when we visited him on the Sunday. He was positive and upbeat (the doctors had told him they were checking everything out and would do everything they could for him, which I suppose was true in a way) but he was high as a kite on painkillers and told us some rather strange stories about stuff that had happened in the night, which must have been dreams or hallucinations but clearly were very real memories to him in his drug-fuelled state.

Mum was not in a good way by the Sunday – really very anxious and distressed, I felt. Janie was with us that day. I think we took mum to some sort of a restaurant place on Garrett Lane (more Wandsworth than Tooting). Janie recalls that she perked up quite a lot during that meal/distraction.

I was going to go again on the Monday after gym anyway, but while at the gym got the call (via Janie) that dad had died peacefully overnight. Naturally I went straight to St George’s to join mum. Mum was strangely calmer that day; probably exhausted more than anything else. Probably also in shock. In any case, from that point on, the process of going through formalities takes over for a day or so and I was able mostly to lead on those. Numb still; my memories of the subsequent formalities are also a bit of a blur.

It Took Four Balls, “MTWD Lost Masterpiece”, Middlesex v Glamorgan Day 3, Lord’s, 2 August 2007

Having written up my recollection of this morning/lunch at Lord’s with Peter Cox, I realise that one of the Middlesex Till We Die (MTWD) “lost masterpieces” (click this link to read the background to those pieces) relates to that very same visit to Lord’s. Intriguing (at least for me) to read the differences and similarities. Very long match report for a short session of cricket – perhaps that was meant to be the joke. Another one for connoisseurs, this.

It Took Four Balls

Ged Ladd reports on the abridged Third Day of the Middlesex v Glamorgan match at Lord’s.  Ged meets up with Peter Granny-Hyphen-Smith to watch the denouement of this shortened match. And here, indeed is a “brief” match report, albeit almost as long as today’s session of play.

In early enough

Ged had arranged to meet up with his friend Peter Granny-Hyphen-Smith for an afternoon of business and cricket chat, so it needed a few phone calls and a very early start to enable Ged to switch to a morning/lunch meet instead.  But Ged has seen so little first class cricket this season, and Peter is about to go off on his travels, so appropriate action simply had to be taken.

Peter said he’d get to Lord’s early for a pre-match bacon sarny, but when Ged arrived at about 10:50 Peter was nowhere to be seen.  Ged did a tour of the Pavilion, exchanged pleasantries with several of the regulars and then, confident that Peter was not yet there, plonked himself in the Long Room – the place he knew to be Peter’s favoured view.

Vaastly Experienced

Ged was concerned that Peter might miss the whole thing if he had been delayed for too long, with Chaminda Vaas bowling well from the Nursery End straight away.  Silverwood looked even more threatening from the Pavilion End, but of course Croft and Wharf are no rabbits and looked determined to bat for a good while.

In any case, Peter arrived soon enough and the pitch seemed to be doing absolutely nothing.  As Ged expected, Peter was keen to watch from the Long Room high chairs – something Ged has only ever done for the odd few minutes before, so it was an interesting experience to watch a whole (albeit shortened) session of play from there.

Word from those who had been around the day before was that Glamorgan’s batting performance on Wednesday had been inexplicably awful – indeed some said that Middlesex’s 361 was woefully below par and that the Glamorgan response to being given a chance had been pathetic.

Brains

Silverwood had looked the more threatening of the opening bowlers and it was always going to be a simple matter of time.  Peter and I agreed that Murali “Special K” Kartik should be given the ball pretty quickly from the Nursery End and so he was.  But Silverwood struck first with an LBW shout against Croft that looked pretty handy and it was no surprise to see Vanburn Holder’s finger go up.

Croft marched through the Long Room looking pretty dejected and then out strode Dean Cosker.  Peter and I debated the relative merits of 9-10-Jack, Peter favouring Cosker and Ged favouring both of the others ahead of him.

Meanwhile Alex Wharf was not giving up without a bit of a fight, using his feet to good effect and clattering a couple of decent boundaries, including a well-struck six.

All too soon after his arrival, Dean Cosker decided that he knew how to handle “The Special One” and danced down the wicket to a flat, quicker one.  It was certainly missing leg and it was certainly missing off.  It was also certainly a quicker ball because it took middle peg right out of it slot.  Always good fun to witness that.

As Dean Cosker marched off, I noticed the promotional message on his chest, Brains Beer, and observed to Peter that Cosker’s shot was hardly a good advert for that product.  A more brainless shot while attempting to save a match I couldn’t imagine.

Salivating Thoughts of a Win

So, out comes Waters and Alex Wharf continues to bat well.  Another big six entertains the tiny crowd.  Wharf seemed particularly assured against Special K, but set against both.  Soon enough, Richardson replaces Silverwood at the Pavilion End and eventually Murtagh replaces Special K at the Nursery End.  I suppose, to be fair, Ed Smith was holding out on Kartik’s behalf in the hope he could get a tenfer.  Indeed, he probably deserved a tenfer given that he had taken 9 good ones on a track that was offering him the square root of naff-all.

Tim Murtagh was putting the ball in the right place straight away.  Peter and I discussed that dreadful clichéd expression “putting the ball in the right areas”.  We even discussed whether the plural was a reference to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.  I think a journalist should ask a player that question next time he uses the offending expression.  It would be good to hear the answer.

By now it was a little after 12:30.  Peter announced that he was mighty hungry and had a crazy craving for the bacon sarny he missed earlier by arriving later than intended.  He even got up and wandered into the Long Room Bar to see what was available and toyed with the idea of skiving off to eat before the end of the match and/or lunch.

Mercifully, such sentiments can induce a wicket or two.  So, it wasn’t long before Murtagh put his hand up, stepped up to the plate, came to the party and put the ball in enough of the right areas to induce a false shot from Waters.  Attempting to clip the ball off his legs, Waters mistimed it high into the air, indeed almost over Nick Compton’s head at square leg and it took a good leaping catch (perhaps milked a tad) to bring about the wicket.

And very soon after that, one from Richardson kept low to Alex Wharf.  When Ged says “that’s got to be out” for an LBW shout the finger rarely fails to go up.  Vanburn Holder duly raised his finger, the Middlesex boys did a little jig of delight to celebrate an emphatic win and the Ged/Peter combo dipped out of the Long Room sharpish to ensure that they were first in the queue for grubsy and beer.

Only Two Ducks Today

So there were only two ducks today – the two that appeared on Peter and Ged’s plates.  Washed down with a decent beer each, the conversation turned to matters of playing cricket as well as watching cricket.  Oh, and the occasional business matter, which had allegedly been the object of the exercise in the first place.

Had Glamorgan shown as much spirit for the first 16 wickets that they showed for the last four, they might have made a bit more of a fight of this match.  But they didn’t.  And Middlesex have a fine bowling attack this season, so we can exploit weakness when weakness is shown.

Peter Granny-Hyphen-Smith is still optimistic that Middlesex can go up; he thinks that we can beat Notts at Lord’s and that our games in hand, coming in (hopefully) better weather conditions, stand us in better stead than the league table looks at the moment.  Ged remains quietly hopeful but not quite so optimistic.  But for today, let’s enjoy the moment of a big win and hope for more such wins to come.

 

Lunch With Peter Cox/Middlesex v Glamorgan Day 3 at Lord’s, 2 August 2007

This was a slightly strange day. Peter Cox and I had agreed to meet for an informal catch-up at Lord’s this afternoon, during this Middlesex v Glamorgan match. The match was unfolding quickly, with Glamorgan following on and ending the second day six down, second time around. With the prospect of very little play, Peter and I re-jigged our plans to meet up at Lord’s in the morning and have a spot of lunch together for our catch up.

Meanwhile, I had visited mum and dad the evening before and realised that dad must be dying – he just looked so frail and spaced out. I said as much to Janie as I was driving home, indeed wondering how dad even had the strength to get upstairs to bed. (Answer – the following night; the early hours of Friday morning, he didn’t have the strength).

My diary says I had a training session at the gym with Becca at 6:30 that Thursday morning, so I guess I had time to go home and clear my morning e-mails before ambling over to Lord’s for 11:00.

The cricket didn’t take long to unfold – Wharf and Croft showed some resistance for a few minutes but then Croft fell and soon after the inevitable happened. I’m not sure that Peter and I even left the cosseted splendour of the Long Room that August morning. It was nice to witness a match win and the end of match formalities from the Long Room.

Peter and I then went to the Long Room Bar (a place where I rarely dine) for lunch and to continue our conversation, which naturally drifted into ageing parents territory as well as the cricket and bit of business we’d planned to discuss.