Category Archives: England

You can do magic

I suppose the irony of doing this blog tonight is that it wont mean an awful lot to all my US readers, but apologies, just humour me for once. Yes, that strange sport you dont understand, Cricket.

The things it has in common are England, Australia, and a ground in Leeds, named Headingley, given thats the district of Leeds where the ground is.

Back in 1981, England seemed to be losing yet another test match to the old enemy. Well into their second innings they hadnt scored as many runs as Australia had in one. Then Ian Botham found a partner who would hang around with him, named Graham Dilley, and they managed to add a lot of runs, and at least make Australia bat again, even if they didnt need to score that many runs to win anyway.  Then Bob Willis bowled like a demon, the Australian batsmen  froze like rabbits in headlights, and the rest was history. Yes, from the pits of defeat, England actually won the game. I never saw those events, was working, and then at club cricket when this all happened.

So, to this week! Same venue, same teams, and… When Australia batted first, and only  made 179, it looked like England were set for glory…maybe? To cut a long story short, a few hours later, England were all out for 67! Pathetic! So out went Australia to bat again, and totalled 246 this time around, leaving England the seemingly impossible task of needing 359 runs to win, and keep the series alive.

Not long after that, England were 15-2, and 59 looked challenging, let alone 359. For a while from there, things improved, and it looked like maybe a miracle was possible. Then finally, they collapsed again, and the last batsman, Jack Leach walked to the wicket, with England still needing 73 runs to win. But there was another batsman there, named Ben Stokes who proceeded to put on a batting masterclass. So here we are, now 351-9 when the fun really begins.

Teams are allowed 2 appeals against Umpiring decisions, and at this point, Australia rashly used their second for a LBW decision not given by the umpire, that even a short sighted biddy like me could tell couldnt possibly be out. Without getting technical, where the ball had pitched, LBW cannot be given. A decision that came back to bite them.

6 runs later, when Australia would still win by 1 run, the bowler dropped the ball that was passed to him to run out the last batsman, so England survived. A matter of balls later, the ball hit Stokes on the pads, in front of the wickets, but the Umpire didnt give it out. If they hadnt made that pointless appeal 6 runs earlier, they could have appeal, the off pitch umpire would have given him out, and Australia would have won.

Then Leach went and faced the next over, managed to score a run (his first, and only one in his lengthy innings) to tie the scores. Stokes then scored the winning runs, and the series continues in a meaningful way. Yes, this time I saw the events play out, and would have done, even if not now disabled, as it happened on a Sunday. Seriously, if I hadnt seen it, I would never have believed it!

Oh, and something more my American friends, a piece of Baseball irony. Just got an email from Seattle Mariners (signed up for trip, never cancelled), and apparently, having just played my beloved Dodgers, thats where the Yankees have now gone. On Wednesday night, Justus Sheffield (ex Yankee) will pitch for the Mariners, and James Paxton (ex Mariner) will pitch for the Yankees. I think they actually changed teams in the same trade! In other circumstances, it could have been reversed!

OK, video time. If Clara Johnson had been around 40 years later, or if in my teens, I’d been a dancer, just like her (with her looks, and non intersex), well, this could have been me. Magic?

Cricket’s coming home

Well, the British among my readers at least might have noticed that England won the World Cup Cricket on Sunday, for the first time. But given the first cricket world cup was only in the 1970’s, its slightly fewer years of hurt, but more relevant to me, anyway.

To say it was a crazy game of cricket would be to put it mildly. A tie on the 50 over game, a tie on the 1 over play off, so England won it on the number of boundaries scored in the game! The irony being that the original game was only a tie because the umpires gave England 6 runs for an ‘overthrow’ in the last over, that should only have been 5, because the players hadnt crossed for the extra run at the time, and the fact it accidentally hit the bat of one of the batsmen, and flew to the boundary only made it more crazy.

But then the funny stuff started, all the ‘Little Englanders’ started saying how it proved that England produced all the greatest cricketers in the world. The thing was, as was quickly pointed out to them, one of the players (the captain) was from Ireland, one of the heroes of the team was born in New Zealand, a leading bowler was from the West Indies (and literally only qualified for England weeks before the event), and another was the son of a Muslim immigrant family, you know, the sort of people they generally hate. So more than a third of the team… oh dear! So playing for England, maybe, but of grand English stock, well… oops!

In truth, England’s next cricket match is special for me, its a test match at Lords, against Ireland! To my annoyance, Sky seem to be ignoring this historical moment, only talking about the Ashes series that follows! Ah well… Not that Ireland will win, but we can hope, for now!

OK, video time. I know, the song is about the football team, but could I do better? This seems to be a hastily put together version of the famous song when England started doing well last year, before finally adding to the years of hurt!

Where had all the people gone?

Oh fine, I thought I was going to be reminiscing about the previous time that England were in a World Cup Final, even more so when I got in last night, and saw the score was 1-0, but everything went downhill after that, so you’re getting this instead! 😛

To be honest, I guessed I’d see less people around last night than normal, but in truth, during the walk into Bradford from work, I hardly saw anyone at all. Well, apart from inside the bars, showing the football, lol…Little did I know that by the time I walked past, England was already winning. Even the Interchange was almost empty, and the bus had a fraction of the normal amount of passengers too. Despite a few ‘idiots’ (signalled the bus to stop, just as he was passing at speed, but he managed to stop, and wait for them to sort out their fares) for the first time in memory at that time of night, the bus actually had to wait for the clock to tick round at Brighouse before we could complete the trip to Huddersfield. Despite that, I got off at Huddersfield 4 minutes early, and got a bus towards home that should leave a minute before I get there, and thats with a couple of minutes walk. That bus was quiet too.

As for this end, well, I could have walked home in a swimsuit, and pretty much no one would have known! I saw a driver, and 2 passengers on a bus heading into town at a respectful distance, but I doubt they saw me. Other than that, no one!

For the first time this tournament, I switched on the football at home, and discovered the news, England were winning. By the time I’d gone downstairs, put my dinner in the microwave, and got back upstairs, they were drawing! Then I jinxed them, I left the football on, and the almost inevitable happened, they lost! At least it wasnt on penalties this time, lol. So sadly, it seems like we will have to put up with Baddiel and Skinner for 2 more years at least, singing about 3 lions on shirts, ah well…

For me, the more exciting potential news was another chance to dress up old fashioned style, and work in the Blackpool area (Lytham, to be precise) as an advertiser for the Film Festival next March, but its a weekend in August (18th and 19th), so not even worth asking in truth, as Saturday’s are short staffed enough as it is, without being in School Holidays (we have a number of term time only staff), and besides which, I suspect finding accommodation over there in mid August, no chance! Its not even like its just a Saturday anyway for me, I’d need to finish early on the Friday to get there, would need the Monday off to recover afterwards, so… No, I dont know what era, or look just yet! Probably better I dont know, might regret not doing it!

OK, video time, at least you’re saved from Keith Allen, aka Fat Les, due to last nights calamity with England. I had no idea how good Marlene Dietrich’s singing talents were by 1963, but they were bearable. And yes, its more than one glorious link to the past that I love, so…

So Lonely? Hope so!

Fine, I havent done any sport in a while, so lets do some tonight, of sorts at least.

For those who care about football/soccer (depending which side of the Atlantic you are), the World Cup is on, in Russia. Irony, given its in the country of Trump’s best buddy, the US arent there, so probably a lack of interest over there, maybe? Or maybe all those ‘immigrants’ he so hates, and I dont, are celebrating Mexico’s victory over Germany earlier today?

But yes, tomorrow, at 7 pm my time, just as I  come out of work, England start their campaign, against Tunisia. Yes, I know, I’ll miss it, what a shame, she facetiously says. No, I havent watched a minute of it yet, nor do I plan to. But what this does mean, with luck, is that most of the English male population will ensure they’re home, watching the game! Which hopefully means a few less people on the streets to the bus station, and on the buses tomorrow night. Of course, knowing the awful service provided by First Buses, I am assuming that their bus drivers will still be working, and not watching the games themselves, and therefore the bus doesnt turn up! Thankfully Northern Rail arent on strike again until Tuesday, so I have a back up at least!

But yes, with luck, a quieter journey home than normal, unless I pass a bar showing the game, I guess, then all bets are off!

The video, a Police oldie, one of their lesser hits, but a hopefully apt one.

I probably wont travel to Rio

And to be honest, I suspect the England football team wish they hadnt bothered too! But enough about football…

Thankfully I missed the first game, going to something far more delightful, the Postmodern Jukebox concert. And I wont have to put up with the last game either, as its on Tuesday, and I’m not working again until Wednesday, so…

But, Thursday night, for the second game against Uruguay, there was no getting away from it, I was at work. To be honest, I assumed I was probably the only person in the whole office, who didnt have it on TV, but seemingly I was just about wrong, as I discovered yesterday. A lovely guy named James told me that he didnt have it on either, so…

Alright, alright, I’ll get to the funny bit. I wasnt watching it, racing was over, so given I was on Escalated Desk, I set to doing some figure work, and not taking any notice of what was going in around the rest of the office. I’ve never yet heard the roar of a tornado, though I’ve heard a few jet engines revving up for take off. But the crescendo that roared down the office, when England scored was quite something. Me, I just had one of those ‘what the hell?’ moments, and looked up, in time to see what was probably the umpteenth replay of the goal. Of course, it goes without saying that the groan, when Uruguay scored again, the winning goal, was quite something too.

The next night, Costa Rica beat Italy, and that was it, England were out!

And equally, no, I have no plans to travel to Rio for 2016 Olympics either!

The video, one of those truly amazing ones from the 1970’s. Just remember, computer graphics were a lot more basic back then.

Oh, and an added delight.

Most people would assume that given the era they were made, there would be no colour film of Jean Harlow in a movie…wrong! There is this, from the horribly expensive Hells Angel movie, that Howard Hughes lavished a fortune on! By today’s standards, the colours are exceedingly basic, but this was 1930, so…

To be honest, its one of those matters that might be better in black and white, but seeing someone else found it…

Back home, I’ll be trying to avoid it

Totally the opposite to millions of football fans of course, who are already getting hopelessly over excited about the World Cup, which starts in Brazil on Thursday. Yes, I hate the sport, but lets face it, I can hardly ignore it, especially given the way its going to get pushed at work. Thankfully, most of the games will be late evening, or overnight, so avoiding them might be slightly easier than sometimes it is.

From all I gather, from the prices, and the comments, England arent expected to do well, judging by the prices on offer, it seems about 50/50 if they even make it out of the group. Unfortunately, in terms of annoying, and stupid phone calls, I doubt that will help much at work, but I can live in hope. And believe me, some of the price requests we’ve had already have been very stupid!

Who will win it? I could say, don’t know, don’t care, and it wouldnt be far from the truth. Stats, as I gather round the office would suggest that it will be a South American team, generally when its there, or in Europe, a team from the home continent generally wins. Probably explains why Brazil and Argentina top the betting!

To me, they are all a bunch of over-hyped, overpaid sportsman, generally intellectually challenged, and lets leave it at that. Fortunately for me, I’ll miss all the build up to the first England game on Saturday, as I’m not working, off to see Postmodern Jukebox in the evening. Match starts at 11.00, about the same time as I should be travelling back, so I should easily miss all the fuss, unless the train conductor insists on telling us all the score, I hope not! I doubt I will miss the build up to the other 2 games as easily, sadly.

The first full week of the tournament coincides with Royal Ascot, so that should cause staffing chaos at work, as we will need cover at both ends of the day, oh joy! And no, we dont have to dress up as they do for Ascot, that would be something…not! More thankfully, we dont have to dress as England football fans!

Oh fine, I’ll admit it, I have got a slight interest in the World Cup, even if I dont know (at present) what our selections are. We have got a pool running at work, and I have joined up with 2 of my workmates, to do a pair of entries. Beyond choosing the name of one of the teams (Double Whoopee, an early Harlow film) and picking Argentina to win it outright (to split a disagreement between the other 2), I’m leaving the picking entirely to the experts. Hopefully we can win something, but £7 wont break me either way, if we dont.

Right, unless a footballer comes out as gay, or trans, dont expect me to mention the whole thing again! 😛

The video, oh fine. Nearly half a century ago, England did the remarkable, and won the tournament. So 4 years later, someone had the bright idea of the squad, making a song before they left for the tournament in Mexico, and this was it!