Manchester, Day 3

Pakistan 119 & 222, England 461/9 declared. England win by an innings and 120 runs.

The bars at Old Trafford opened at 11am. This photo was taken at 11.05am, and neither of these beers was for me. The man has an enormous capacity for beer.

So, England wrapped up the 2nd Test today with a fine bowling performance, ending up winners by some distance. Great result. Mercifully, the sun only made brief appearances during the day, otherwise my arms would have been in severe pain. The rain also came, but didn’t stay for long, and not much play was lost.

My enjoyment of England’s success was tempered slightly by the presence of two young lads to my left, who meticulously tore up a newspaper into tiny pieces between wickets falling, and then threw them about a foot into the air when a wicket did go down, so that the vast majority of them landed on my head. I felt like I’d just got married.

Speaking of which, myself and Wiseman were reflecting on our friendship on the way back up the road (actually at our obligatory stop-off at Annandale Water services). Being sans girlfriends at the moment, it occurs to us that one of us ‘plays the woman’ from time to time. By that I mean, changing our mind frequently and without warning, avoiding making decisions and then complaining at the decision the other made, this type of thing. We’ve yet to adopt the classic “What do you mean you don’t know why I’m upset?” behaviour but I can feel it coming. It’s like having a relationship without the good bits… 😉

Today, 29 July 2006, is significant not only because England romped to victory against Pakistan in t’cricket, but also because it marks 10 years to the day since I started work at with my current (and, to date, only) employer. No doubt if I was working for a recently de-mutualised company I would gain an extra 3 weeks’ holiday and a large TV to mark this milestone, but I daresay I’ll just have to settle for the kudos… 🙂

Manchester, Day 2

Pakistan 119 & 12/0, England 461/9 declared

It’s been a long day in the sun. Top, top weather, and great cricket. England, revelling in the sunshine, batted very well today, and really should win the game from here. After Pietersen unfortunately got out in the first over of the day, we saw Ian Bell play an outstanding knock to finish on 106 not out, some great shots from Collingwood and Alastair Cook complete a fine century. On a more personal note, my arms and knees are on fire. Could have made more judicious use of the sun lotion.

Still, it’s been a great day, rounded off by a meal at a local establishment, as local as multinational chain restaurants get…

A word more about our hotel room. It’s got a disabled-access bathroom, which is fine except that there is no bath or shower cubicle to shower in. The shower head is simply fixed to the wall, and a very slight incline in the floor drains all the water away, provided you don’t turn the power up above 30% or so… Mark hadn’t worked this out last night, hence the flooded bathroom. Tonight we improvised some coastal defences with a couple of towels. He has just re-emerged after another visit tonight and reports that the defences have been breached, which is unfortunate… will have to check the tides before my next visit.

So, tomorrow beckons. Not sure how much cricket we’ll get tomorrow as the forecast is a little ropey. And I don’t have an umbrella or a raincoat. But that’s all for tomorrow. Meantime I’ll finish my cup of tea and settle down to watch the highlights of today’s play… night night

Manchester, Day 1

Well, after a longish drive down, Wiseman and I have arrived in Manchester, in anticipation of Days 2 and 3 of the 2nd Test against Pakistan. The trip was marginally longer than anticipated due to Mark’s insistence on having a large slice of cake after his meal at motorway services number ONE, and then further delayed by his demands to stop for a cup of coffee at motorway services number TWO. His strongly-worded coffee demands may have had something to do with the fact that I was nodding off at the wheel and he had to resort to conversing with me in order to keep us both alive.

Finally we arrived at the hotel, check in and make our way up to our room, only to be confronted by the immeasurably frightening vista of a room with a DOUBLE bed. Disaster. Nothing for it but to turn tail and head back down to reception, whereupon we engaged the intermittently helpful staff in a conversation which involved a lot of staring at the floor and mutterings that we didn’t want to share a bed. The upshot of it is that we’ve managed to score a TWIN room which someone hadn’t checked in to yet. Mark has just had a shower and flooded the bathroom. He is now typing on his laptop, and very helpfully sharing his internet connection to my Airport Express, which is broadcasting it to my laptop, (Jones are you impressed…?!) as for some reason I am unable to pick up the hotel’s wireless network anything like as strongly as him.

Wiseman has just noticed the tea and coffee making facilities and appears to be considering his second black coffee of the evening. There is no apparent limit to the man’s caffeine intake…

Mark gets a Mac

Well, it’s nothing to do with cricket, but today marks a momentous occurrence… my good friend Wiseman has taken the plunge and purchased a Macbook… it’s taken a good few years of hard evangelism but he’s finally seen the light 🙂

I was just lying on my mum’s sofa, concerned with nothing more than digesting another sumptuous lunch, when I asked Mark what he wanted to do this afternoon… to which he replied “I think I’ll buy a Mac”. About 20 seconds later I realised what he said and practically fell off the sofa. About 20 seconds after that we were on our way to John Lewis.

On Thursday we head down to Manchester to watch Days 2 and 3 of the Second Test v Pakistan. Now that Mark also has a laptop we will be able to stick to purely digital communication for the two days. We might never need to actually speak to each other again…

Here we go…

So, I thought I’d create a blog to document my adventures down under this winter. You will notice that it is not actually winter yet and I am a little ahead of myself, but might as well be prepared. The title of this blog reflects the fact that I keep finding myself explaining to incredulous friends that yes, I am going to Australia, the land of sunshine, beaches, world famous tourist attractions and the odd barbeque, purely to watch cricket.

However, in my defence, I imagine there will be a few barbeques involved along the way, and, in addition, the cricket will be awesome. That’s if England can avoid being 3-0 down in the series before I even get there…

Ok, on the subject of blogs. I’ve never been a big fan of the concept. Having the temerity to post one’s thoughts and musings online and expecting other people to read them has always struck me as outrageously presumptuous, possibly even delusional. However, I have one or two friends with blogs that I enjoy reading, and what’s more it occurred to me that it would be a good way to record my experiences, and perhaps even post a couple of photos, from my trip to Australia in December/January. I can always read them myself and chuckle at my own dry wit and keen sense of humour, even if no-one else wants to.

So here we go indeed. I imagine I will practise with a few more blog entries before the nights start drawing in properly. Until then…