Gone to the cricket


… yesterday’s one day international at the Rose Bowl.

Our party made its rendezvous with surprisingly little fuss and we were soon marching into the ground with a steady torrent of spectators, eyes apprehensively on the sky.  You think the photos are dark?  The day was darker.

1 stream

We glimpsed the field of play as if through the low door in the wall

2 door

and claimed our seats early.  The sky loured upon us.

3 early

The Australians won the toss and chose to bat.  It was good to be reminded that cricket is played on a field, not in a box, when one usually sees a tightly foreshortened view on tv.  I had to concentrate, as I very seldom go to a real match, and enjoyed the occasional drama of a nearby catch and an embarrassing run out.  With poor eyesight it was a challenge to pick out what was happening in the middle. Especially as the louring continued. The flood lights soon came on.

4 floods

A September day needs sunshine if sitting still, and this we were denied.  I didn’t quite get cold enough for the ignominy of the blanket stowed at the bottom of my day bag.  The snippets of canned music seemed almost continuous, and is it just me, or did the loudspeakers’ shouting actually reduce one’s sense of being in that short-lived but occasionally powerful community, the audience?  Thank goodness for the big screen though, allowing this dim bulb spectator to catch up on events via the action replays.  What with the cold and a respectable Australian start the crowd was subdued, though we sat near a few dedicated Mexicans and and at one point I recoiled from a hairy horrible dressed in a giant size Snow White costume.  Aaargh!

5 parting

We watched the first few overs of the England innings but then had to go.  The beer and the blue-clad runners in the middle were enlivening the crowd, and we heard howls rising from the bowl as we walked away.  We got home just in time to see England lose.

I glowed gently; it didn’t rain, and my participation in a national ritual has been fulfilled.

The year turned


Feeling a bit alpackered


Spinning spinning spinning spinning

Pause to rejoin broken thread.

spinning spinning spinning

Pause to join in new ball of fluff.

spinning spinning spinning spinning spinning

Pause to look into the bag of alpaca fleece to see how I am getting on.  Look away quickly.  Better not to think about it.

spinning spinning

Pause to remove flake of alpaca dandruff from thread.

spinning spinning spinning

Pause to consider that skin,  fleece and hair are similar animal extrusions.  Pause to decide that I can’t be bothered to remove any more bits unless it is really big lumpy crunchy blackhead dandruff.



And the garden; oh, the garden


There has been produce this year, but is the game worth the candle?  Maybe, if it’s peas. Or sweetcorn, a tad under-ripe, flawless, five minutes from plant to plate.


Otherwise … I’ve found myself dropping into poetry:

I wish I liked the garden green
I wish I liked its strict routine
I wish I liked to dig and hoe
I wish the blasted plants would grow
And when hacking nettles in the sun
I wish I thought, “What jolly fun!”

With apologies to Sir Walter Raleigh (the other one).



Darkness fell at 6.30 this morning.  And again at 7.10.  And at five to eight.  Having providently cleaned the conservatory yesterday, I sat in it with successive cups of tea, and wedged up clay in small mountains, while torrents of Atlantic hammered on the glass.


It is extraordinarily difficult to throw a pot in multiple three-second episodes.  I found I was quite unable to focus on any specific type of vessel, and created some sort of mindless jar.  At that, it is perhaps the most difficult pot I’ve ever made.  And it gave me a deeper appreciation of film-makers who work in stop motion.  My guest counted the seconds and made the software work.

And upon the sun breaking through, time for the 5″ to wear its solar filter.  The intermittent cloud annoyed, but there is another huge collection of spots – AR2403 – and today the scope would tolerate the 10mm eyepiece with a Barlow, giving a superb view of the fine detail and patterning of the spots.  Only one snap really worked.



Standard warning:  never look directly at the sun, especially not through any optical equipment, e.g. binoculars or telescope – permanent blindness is the likely result.  The photographs were taken through a specialist astronomy solar filter.

Which end is up


The randomness seemed to persist through the week:  unnatural fogs, erroneous chamaeleon-grouting, a persistent inability to cook anything sensible.

I am temporarily one up on the garden, having got the grass cut in a dry interval, and having luckily failed to spread a dead rat all over the garden with the mower – I missed the camouflaged corpse by a whisker.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

But as I potted up some dwarf beans in hope of a late crop, I felt a certain affinity with the rejects:


sometimes it is difficult to know which end is up.

An element of randomness


seems to have crept into the weekend.

Yesterday part of next door flew over the roof:


The cables all stayed put.


He must have been a pro.

Then there was some real hard yakka, leaving me tired under a good clear sky.  I wandered Ophiuchus with the 5″, but hadn’t the staying power to hunt the globulars.

I did my homework though.

all Ophiuchus

Then there was wolgrouting


A visit to the greeny sea


down by the calcareous cliffs


the pools and lagoons


and by the gullied sandstone.


Delicate candy stripes of sand


were painted in by the inrush of the waves


and then painted out.

painted out

A pebble full of sparks:


its crevices lead into secret caverns


and crystal caves.

crystal cave

I hold them in my hand.

Tension mounts


After the turbulence of the night, the day quieted and quieted and the air thicked and thicked.  I had headlamps on at five.

This has become disturbing.  In the garden the trees are silent, the reeds in the pond entirely stationary. I watched the leaves not moving, and then I watched and watched the leaves not moving some more.  The air sat heavily upon us.

By the sea, there is only a continuing flat calm, with the last remnants of last night’s surf slopping glutinously onto the sand.  Along the cliff top, every tall head of grass stands paralysed.

nothing at all

Perhaps it is earthquake weather.  Perhaps the sky will fall.  Or in the SF scenario, perhaps alien forces have placed a dome over us and annihilated the rest of the planet.

Calling the world:  Is there anybody there?

Keeping the faith


Well: 12th/13th was to be the Perseid peak, and the absence of the moon a great help to see them … supposedly.  A fine afternoon gave way to a clearish evening.  As darkness fell the cloud built, the wind gusted ominously, sheet lightning played on the western horizon and grumbles of thunder gave warning.

Which I ignored.  You’ve got to have faith.  Wrapped in sufficient layers and focusing on the clear area of sky above, it was some time before I spotted one or two Perseids, and one random meteor travelling against the traffic.  I suspect only the brightest trails could be seen through the vapourous sky, with all the tiny ones being filtered out by the murk, as indeed only the higher-magnitude stars were visible.

Faith rewarded: one cracking fireball, long, bright, persistent, and leaving a visible smoke trail; maybe the best I have ever seen.  Lightning continued to flash briskly along the horizon, while I crossed fingers, legs and eyes to prevent it moving in.  The ISS made a bright pass, and a few more Perseids whipped by.

But by then the clearing in the sky was being encroached, and the stars of the Summer Triangle went out one by one, until a feeble sucker hole with Cassiopeia in the middle was all the sky that remained.  I did my Laurel and Hardy act in the dark with the reclining chair, and bundled it indoors, though reluctant to go in myself, standing about in the blusters and watching the distant lightning. At last the clouds closed like an ocean over my head; only Vega gimleted a few photons through at the zenith.  As for meteors, only Dragon Star Destroyer of Cities could have penetrated the murk.  And it wasn’t our turn to be destroyed tonight.