Tuesday, 1st August, 2023 [Day 1233]

This proved to be a rather different Tuesday to our normal pattern. Meg was feeling very much off-colour this morning and perhaps the encounter with the occupational therapist (OT) yeserday afternoon proved to be too much. So after a delayed start to the morning, I eventually got Meg up and then we went off to collect our newspaper. We did make a visit to Waitrose coffee shop today and were glad that we did because we bumped into one of our crowd who we see regularly and who cares for her husband with Alzheimer’s as well as having significant health issues of her own. She had just taken possession yesterday of a brand new utility scooter which looked, when we admired it outside the store, as though it was going to give a much more comfortable ride and I think one that would last much longer between charges as battery technology has improved so much. We were glad to have spent some time with our friend becasue we think we offer some mutual support and friendship to each other as well as being useful sources of advice on occasions. With this combination of circumstances, I decided to give my Pilates session a miss this week and texted my teacher to inform her of my non-attendance. But although the day started off badly, we had quite a pleasant surprise in the middle of the day. The women’s football team were 3-0 up at half time in their World Cup match in the group stages against China. After we had our lunch, we joined the football pretty promptly and discovered that England had both conceded a penalty and also scored a goal to make the score 4-1. We watched to the end of the match which England won 6-1 with the Chinese actually conceding quite soft goals. The Chinese coaches were pictured with their heads in their hands and a picture of misery, all of which one could well understand. But progressing out of the group stage to the last 16 makes every game a ‘knockout’ game from now on. The English team meet with Nigeria next Monday and I fear they will prove to be much sterner opposition than China.

This afternoon I had set myself the task of applying some beeswax polish and generally refurbishing a Yamaha piano stool which arrived the other day. This piece goes perfectly, as it happens, with the Casio keyboard and the two form a natural unit. The beeswax did not a great deal for this piece of furniture, though, as I suspect that it is a stained modern piece of furniture without having a lot of character to display, unlike the antique piece I purchased the other day. However, I have improved its appearance somewhat and the beeswax polish should help to keep it looking in reasonable condition for some time. I think it is one of those pieces that from a distance looks fine but one can see several imperfections if you observe it vety closely and with a critical eye. But at the end of the day, it is meant to be a utilitarian piece of furniture which serves its function very well so I am not dissatisfied with it. I did go on the web to discover the best way to clean its vinyl top and the answer is extraordinarly simple which is a squirt of washing up liquid in a bucket of bowl of warm water.

Yesterday evening, Meg and I were glued to the television to follow the fifth day of the final test of the series between England and Australia. Australia needed to score 384 in what would have been a very high total for the 4th innings of a test match but their openers had made an impressive start. But then then the English bowlers, Woaks and Mohammed Ali made some impressive breakthroughs and although at one stage it looked as though the Australians could defy history and score the total required, a change in the weather conditions made the ball seam and turn off the pitch and batting became more problematic. But just to show that fairy stories happen, we witnessed the following. Stuart Broad had previously announced his retirement from Test cricket the day before and he had decided whilst he was at the top – and at the age of 36. When batting, his very last blow for England was to hit a 6 which is a fitting way to end one’s batting career. Now on the final day, there were two more Australian wickets to dislodge and Broad managed to capture both of them, the final one being evidently the moment at which England won the match and the series as a whole was a draw with 2 wins each and the Manchester test (abandoned because of rain) declared a draw, althougb in reality England were in an impregnable position. So Stuart Broad ended his career with both a 6 when batting and the capture of the wicket of the last Australian batsman. It is hard to think of an ending to one’s career that could be more of a fairy tale ending than this one. But it was the England bowling peformance (perhaps assisted with a strategic change of ball when the previous one went out of shape) that proved to be the decisive factor.

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