Mike Gatting image via cricketweb.net
Cricket aficionados might remember the day back in 1986 when Mike Gatting left bits of his skull on the crease at Sabina Park, Kingston Jamaica. Taking the full force of a ferocious Malcolm Marshall bouncer right between the eyes, insult was added to injury as the ball dropped gently onto the wicket and Gatting was out if not quite down. As the batsman was led away for urgent medical attention, the ball was tossed back to the bowler to continue the onslaught. In abject horror, Marshall dropped the ball as he discovered a piece of bone had embedded itself into the leather. At the time, those with more than a passing knowledge of cricket and neurological surgery suggested that Gatting was lucky not to have died.
He was flown back to the UK for treatment and after just three weeks was astonishingly back at the crease facing the ferocious West Indies pace attack in the third test. He was luckier in that innings; only a quick delivery hitting the handle resulted in a broken thumb and it is difficult to shift from the mind the image of Monty Python`s Black Knight shouting; “come back here and I`ll bite your legs off” . Even given his considerable ability with a bat, this derring-do confirmed Gatting as a national hero. Consider then, the return of Jonathan Trott from Australia. (more…)
Dia de muerto
As Hallowmas concludes for another year and with extorting candy with menaces completely replacing traditional apple bobbing, it is perhaps time to welcome another celebration imported from the Americas.
Anyone with even a passing understanding of the Aztec deity Mictecacihuatl and the synthesis of pre-Colombian ritual and Catholic worship will know that the day of the dead is not just about marigolds and sugar skulls. All soul`s day involves food and music and dancing and laughter to encourage the souls of the dearly departed to join us for a single day back on earth. Rather than trick or treat or tooth decay, obesity and encouraging children to demand sweets from strangers, perhaps we should sing and dance to encourage the return of entities that we once held dear. (more…)
They came for the foxes and I did nothing
At the end of a bad day of bad news and consequent bad press it is always best to put on a brave face and offer the world a smile and a joke; unless, of course, you happen to be Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson.
As a self-confessed climate change sceptic and advocate of fox hunting, Shropshire`s finest had to admit that he had been out-foxed by badgers. Having to announce what amounts to a failure in killing sufficient brocks and the necessity to extend the killing fields and the killing time must have been difficult in a week when it was confirmed that global warming is caused by humans and not flatulent cattle infected with Bovine TB. With evidence emerging of blood lust yokels exterminating wildlife beyond the pilot cull areas and dead and dying carcasses strewn across the fields of rural England, thank goodness Paterson is not easily taken in by actual scientific research. Turning a blind eye to some of his more thuggish chums in the farming industry who are gassing the sneaky blighters wherever they are found, the Syrian government might be asking Nobel laureate UN chemical weapons investigators to have a quiet word with Owen the Cull. Badgered by an unfriendly press, he informed the nation that the badgers had moved the goalposts.
It is difficult to know where to start with Paterson so I won`t even bother. His disconnection with reality and toe-curling attempts at humour speak for themselves. Instead, it might be more productive to focus on the forgotten victims of this complete shambles; the goalposts and on better comedians that Paterson the Badger Slayer. (more…)
This means war baby
In an increasingly complex and stressful world and with so many excellent products available, all of us can surely understand the difficulties in matching the correct cluster bomb with the most suitable weapons launch platform. If only there were some sort of showroom where we could compare and contrast the efficiency of kill ratios, burnt skin area projections and exactly which chemical nerve agent offers the best value for money. Fortunately, there is such a supermarket and the spirit of free enterprise that made the British Empire great is alive and well and residing in the very heart of old London town.
Faced with irrefutable proof from Youtube that a very, very nasty man used chemical weapons on civilians, western governments decided that Assad was not a “friend and reformer” as previously stated but a very, very, very nasty man and that “something must be done”. Citing a humanitarian refugee crisis as an urgent need to act, our leaders concluded that the best way to alleviate a humanitarian refugee crisis is to launch cruise missiles loaded with high explosives into civilian areas. It seems unlikely that the words “limited surgical strike” will give much comfort to the dispossessed, desperate, destitute and, sadly, the already dead. (more…)
Not going south of the river
Rather than order a taxi for Mr Duncan Smith and order another taxi for Mr Grayling, that nice Mr Cameron could ask the two gentlemen to share a cab in order for the government to save money and so further reduce the dreadful deficit. However, the days of cabinet ministers resigning or being sacked for being inept, stupid, corrupt or all three are in the filing cabinet drawer marked nostalgia, responsibility and honour.
As a Justice Secretary without any legal qualification, Chris Grayling decided that legal aid for poor people was a luxury that the nation could not afford. Judges told him he was wrong, QC`s told him he was wrong, Barristers told him he was wrong and a London taxi driver who once had that Clive Anderson in the back of the cab told him he was wrong. Assuming that poor people are obviously guilty, Chris pressed on regardless. Now a laughing stock within the justice system, he has been forced into a humiliating climb down. Taxi for Mr Grayling? No, he is still allowed to be inept. (more…)