Three Days At The Lord’s Test, England v West Indies, 7 to 9 September 2017

Day One – Thursday 7 September 2017

One guest today, Escamillo Escapillo, our Lancastrian nephew-in-law.  A veteran of The Lord’s Throdkin, he appreciated  the slight variation to the recipe from last time and agreed with me that the flavour and texture were somewhat improved. Some conjecture on this point might well follow on Ogblog, King Cricket or both.

There was also some ingratitude in the matter of special cream cheese and its pairing with smoked salmon, about which I intend to publish at length elsewhere.

But other than those controversial culinary matters, the day progressed as only a relaxing day of test cricket at Lord’s could and should.

West Indies chose to bat and struggled through a difficult morning and early afternoon, only to collapse in a heap as the afternoon went on.

Jimmy Anderson bowling with only 499 wickets to his name.

Postscript: we encountered a superb arachnid upstaging us in our front row seats – that aspect of our day now published on King Cricket – click here.

If by chance anything ever happens to King Cricket, I have also scraped the spider piece to here.

Ben Stokes bowled beautifully and deserved the bulk of the wickets:

England found it no easier once they were asked to bat that day.

By that time, Escamillo Escapillo had left early to go to a function with his wife, our niece, Lavender. Daisy had spent the day with Lavender and took pains to bring the young couple together in Marylebone, while also swiping Escamillo Escapillo’s ticket and spending the last 90 minutes or so of play with me.

It got very dark and very cold towards the end of play – so much so that we escaped early, but only an over or two before bad light (even with floodlights) intervened.

Daisy and I spent the latter part of the evening at the Proms – click here.

Day Two – 8 September 2017

The weather forecast was distinctly iffy for Day 2. Brian sent me a “what’s happening if…?” e-mail and I sent my response to him and both of the others. There was general consensus that we go to the ground, hope for some cricket before the rain and see what happens.

Brian came round to my place just as I was finishing the picnic and getting ready to go; we travelled to the ground together. As we were nice and early, I showed Brian the real tennis which immediately grabbed his fascination.

Real tennis and baritone ukulele – photo from another day – click here for that day!

I went off to meet Ian and Graham, leaving Brian with the tennis (at his request), who then joined the rest of us when play started, around 11:15.

But soon after play started, the rain returned, so we all decided to wander round to the dedans to watch real tennis; Brian wanted to see more, Graham had never seen it before and wanted to, the other Ian had seen it before but was happy to see it again.

Brian observed that we had four very similar, uber-English names; Ian, Ian, Brian and Graham. As everyone traditionally has a pseudonym in my cricket pieces, I think we can improve and simplify.

As it happens the other Ian is already “Iain Spellright”; King Cricket has not yet published the outstanding piece about him from 2014, but it does exist. Brian should be known as “Ian Borne” and Graham should be “Iain Insteadman”.

That should make the rest of this piece really easy to follow.

It was clear from the TV screen in the dedans that the rain was getting harder and harder; I went to rescue our picnic around 12:30 in the sodden gloom and felt very little optimism for the prospects of play.

At least we had the picnic, so we tucked into The Lord’s Throdkin with Iain Spellright’s utterly delicious bottle of Barollo. Janie was envious when I told her.

By around 13:30, Ian Borne, being the most sensible of us, concluded that the prospects of play were very poor. Also, having told me excitedly about the interesting projects he’s working on at the moment, I suspect that the lure of those projects was greater than the lure of watching it rain at Lord’s.

However, soon after Ian Borne left, the announcer reported an expected start time of 14:15 and the weather forecast changed from “no hope after 15:00-16:00” to “no more rain expected until after stumps”.

So, we the remaining threesome resumed our seats and hunkered down with a super-sized picnic and several hours of cricket to watch.

Good cricket it was too, with England working hard in still difficult batting conditions to press ahead with a reasonable lead.

We had some interesting number-crunching business, trying to decide what a decent and realistic first innings target might be. Iain Spellright was looking to double the West Indies score, but soon backtracked a little. Iain Insteadman and I thought 50 to 60 would be a decent, admittedly not insurmountable lead. 71 lead was the outcome.

Then England started bowling and very, very soon, Jimmy Anderson took that historic 500th test wicket:

West Indies then batted in the fading light, but not gloom, so the floodlights could keep the show on the road and I don’t think I have ever seen Lord’s looking quite so special at dusk before – aided by the double-rainbow to the south-east as some heavy clouds threatened but passed us by.

First a single rainbow…
…then a double rainbow.
The pavilion end looking equally special.

Against all the odds, we got a more than decent day’s play; very relaxed, relaxing and enjoyable. I think this was the latest test match finish I have experienced live; 19:30. After saying goodbye to Iain and Iain, I (Ian) walked home.

Day Three – 9 September 2017

I stayed at the flat overnight and got my few bits and pieces together quickly and easily enough – Daisy was doing the main picnic.

I walked to Lord’s and secured some good seats. I ran into one of my real tennis pals so we chatted for a while. Then Daisy arrived. Then Alan and his pal Jonathan came over in search of some throdkin cookies, which I had promised Alan the last time I saw him at Lord’s.

England made reasonably light work of finishing off the West Indies; three more wickets before lunch, then the last four soon after. Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the bowlers.

Daisy didn’t think to photograph England bowling…
…but did photograph England batting

We continued to tuck in to Daisy’s enormous picnic while England tucked in to West Indies demoralised bowling and won the match.

Henry Bloefeld did a lap of honour to celebrate his final match as a commentator:

Henry, followed around by Aggers and Vic…
…Henry seule
Daisy and I

…contrary to rumours and cinematic evidence broadcast to all corners of the earth – click here,  Daisy and I were very happy; we just looked tired and emotional on the screen.

For sure we were ideally located, not only to be caught on camera but also to see the presentation ceremony, which took place right in front of us in the Warner Stand.

One of many presentation ceremony pictures

More photos can be found on my Flickr stack – here.

Full scorecard and Cricinfo resource on the match – here.

That’s three days at Lord’s for Janie this year – all three being days when England won the match at took the ceremonial plaudits. Daisy must be a lucky mascot for England when she’s in that new stand. She should visit more often.

Dinner In Noddyland With Caroline and Alan Curtis, 21 January 2017, Followed By A Lazy Sunday, 22 January 2017

Daisy’s Magical Garden In Noddyland, As It Looked On Saturday Evening

We’ve been in Noddyland for more than five years now, would you believe, but this weekend was the very first time we have been visited by a pair from this charming species…

A Charming Different Species Visiting Noddyland For The First Time

…but enough about the charming pair of blackbirds that turned up on Sunday morning, tweeting more vociferously than Trump. I’m getting ahead of myself.

As it happens, Saturday evening was also Caroline and Alan’s first visit to Noddyland. Let’s not talk about blame here for so many years passing without us getting together; at our age most of us are equally rubbish at keeping in touch.

Caroline and I have known each other since our youth; Janie met Caroline soon after Janie and I got together nearly 25 years ago. We’ve known Alan only since he and Caroline got together a mere 16-17 years ago. Yet strangely, in recent years, I have seen more of Alan (through cricket at Lord’s and slightly tangential business connections) than I have of Caroline. Janie had seen neither of them for years.

It was about time we put this matter right, so when Caroline got in touch a couple of months ago on matters unrelated to pleasant Saturday evenings, I responded by suggesting a pleasant Saturday evening in Noddyland instead.

So that’s what happened.

Janie pushed the boat out with:

  • mini open sandwiches based on Helga’s exceptional Irish smoked salmon from her local smokehouse in Kilcolman, West Cork – which we sampled with delight when we visited Helga a couple of years ago – click here . Subsequently, Helga has generously treated us to packages of same periodically – e.g. this Christmas. If you are reading this – thank you once again Helga – it was lovely to share some of your present with good friends;
  • additional nibbles of goose rillettes on black oat crackers, together with carrot sticks and tomatoes so we didn’t feel quite so indulgent;
  • Janie’s classic roast fillet of beef served with wasabi mayonnaise, roasted potato slices and salad;
  • apple strudel with cream and/or custard (most of us went for the latter).

Not ridiculously boozy, but we started with Prosecco (for three) and decent white wine (for me), followed by an Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon named cover drive (well we all like cricket) and then a rather special Argentinian Malbec once the Aussie wine had been lofted through the covers for six (glasses).

Caroline and Alan told us the story of how they got together…or were somewhat encouraged together…which made us think to recommend Through The Wall to them. I’m sure it also brought to Janie’s mind her recent Noddyland efforts in the matchmaking department.

We talked about cricket quite a bit and managed to keep Alan off the subject of Tottenham Hotspurs more effectively, I suspect, than he is used to. We also managed to keep Trump and Brexit out of the conversation for a surprisingly large proportion of the evening…which I think proves that the conversation was mostly of the right sort; interesting without being distressing. No “rush to the bathroom as a result of distressing Brexit talk misery” on this occasion – click here only if you want to read what can go wrong in such circumstances…and/or if you want to read about my most recent get together with Simon Jacobs.

One running theme of the evening was young Alex, Caroline and Alan’s teenage son. Alex was enjoying an early experience of going out with his friends on a Saturday evening while his parents were out seeing theirs. There was a bit of parent/child message exchanging towards the end of the evening. Caroline and Alan won hands down – i.e. they steadfastly remained at our place until after Alex reported that he had got home safely.

Soon after that, we all realised how late it was, so off went Caroline and Alan. We all swore we wouldn’t leave it so long again next time.

Dawn chorus tweeting more vociferously than Trump

The next morning we rose a bit later than usual – we knew that it would be futile to attempt tennis at our regular time as it was so cold and frosty. But we were treated to an especially magnificent dawn chorus, probably as a result of so many birds visiting that morning, including the new pair of blackbirds who were the bird equivalent of Simon and Garfunkle on tour, visiting Noddyland, perhaps only briefly.

All our regular visitors, including many parakeets, collared doves, blue jays, starlings and the woodpecker turned out to see the show, join in the chorus and eat from the feeders.

Before I was allowed my feed, we went off at lunchtime to the tennis courts where Janie continued teaching me a lesson on how to play slice and cut touch tennis properly. I worked hard at it and improved as the hour went on. That improvement doesn’t show from this picture, whereas the fact that it was still blooming cold does show:

Shadowy Character, Blooming Cold