Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive....

Ok, so that is a bit over the top (and Wordsworth wrote it about the French Revolution!). I don’t care all that much about sport and yet sat glued to the television all day on Sunday watching England thrash Australia at the Oval and bring the Ashes home. The tension was great and the excitement high. For me the highlight of the match was when Andrew Flintoff (in his last test match) ran out Ricky Ponting – Australia’s captain and leading batsman. Once Number One husband who is a sports fanatic explained to me exactly how far he had thrown the ball and knowing how narrow the target is – words fail me!

It is curious how something like this can lift the spirit – and the interviews with all the players after the match were a succession of gracious speeches with no-one wanting to take credit but dish it out across the team. Wish that other walks of life (or even sport!) were the same.

For those of you who know even less about cricket than me, Wiki says that: The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. It is one of international cricket's most celebrated rivalries and dates back to 1882. The series is named after a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, in 1882 after a match at The Oval in which Australia beat England on an English ground for the first time. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. The English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia (1882–83) as the quest to regain The Ashes.

During that tour a small terracotta urn was presented to England captain Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of an item of cricket equipment, possibly a bail, ball or stump. Some Aborigines hold that The Ashes are those of King Cole, a cricketer who toured England in 1868. The Dowager Countess of Darnley claimed in 1998 that her mother-in-law, Bligh's wife Florence Morphy, said that they were the remains of a lady's veil. So now you know more than most of the cricket fans.

Work is a bit strange at the moment – our offices are being refurbished after ten years so people are packing up stuff as we move to temporary desks as one section is done after the other. Quite a number of colleagues are on holiday but those that are here are working flat out as this is a crucial time of the year for us as we ramp up to October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is our major fundraising “season” of the year. I move on Friday to a temporary desk for a few weeks – be nice to sit with colleagues for a change.

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