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 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…