Posts Tagged ‘Cricket’

Eleanor Fuller Presents Sooo British


As part of the Strasbourg So British promotion, which I previously wrote about here and here, this evening I am going to see the film “Mrs Henderson Presents” at the Odysée cinema gratuit, free, nichts, for nothing. Not bad eh?

It is part of a retrospective season of Stephen Frears films which includes; ChériThe Queen, Mrs Henderson Presents, Mary ReillyPrick Up Your EarsDangerous LiaisonsThe Hit and Tamara Drewe. We are getting to see tonights showing free courtesy of the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Council of Europe. It is the first time in four and a half years living here  that I have had any contact with the local representatives of the British government.

Earlier this month there was a season of films by David Lean at the Star cinema and there will be a season of Ken Loach films at the  Odysée in April and May. I leave this post here in order to properly follow the events with the England cricket team in the desert.

UPSATE: Here is a photo from before the film started where the two hosts for the evening, the manager of the cinema and the UK Representative, are introducing the film. There was a good audience and the people I talked to enjoyed the film. It was good to sit in an old fashioned theatre style cinema, it has been in use as such since 1913.

Sports report


As I said here I missed the last match of Le Racing Club de Strasbourg’s season on Friday. They won 2-0 and stay in third place in the National. As has been the case for the previous three seasons their future waits upon the last day of the season. Contrary to the wishes of the President of the Club, and representative of the London-based owner of it, the doors were open and fans present. There were quite amazing scenes at the end of the last match with the players joining the Ultra Boys in their ‘tribune’ in the stands. See the video here.

When I moved to Strasbourg in 2007 they had just been promoted back to the First Division. It was great watching the best teams in France for 5 Euros. Lyon, Girondins de Bordeaux, l’Olympic de Marseille, Paris St Germain etc. I didn’t know at the time but the manager who had taken them back into the top flight, Jean-Pierre Papin, was replaced by Jean-Marc Furlan and the season started well with le Racing in the top half of the table. A poor second half of the season and they were left needing a win in their last match to stay up. They lost.

The following season, despite the departure of many of the players, they started the season well and led the division at the winter pause. A less than good second half of the season left the team requiring a win on the last day of the season and another team to not win for the boys of Jean-Marc Furlan to return to the top flight. It didn’t happen. Jean-Marc Furlan was sacked and in the following season there were five different owners in six months. Fewer but a number of different managers, and the team required a win on the last day of the season to stay in the Second Division. It didn’t happen and they were relegated to the National a semi-pro league. Le Racing were allowed to stay professional for their first season and, with the departure of all bar one of the previous first team, started the season very badly and were in the relegation positions in the first month of the season and spent the first half of the season in the bottom half of the table. A strong improvement in the second half of the season, despite a ham-fisted attempt to replace the manager, after it had become clear there was a chance they could make the promotion places after all, left the team requiring a win to be promoted. They won. Le Racing also need Guingamp to lose their match next week to keep hold of the third place.

Blue Moon

I can’t let the events of the past week go without saying how thrilled I was for Manchester City to win their first trophy since 1976 and the win the FA Cup for the first time since 1969. Like I had for every game I had my 1969 replica shirt on for the match and watched the second half of the match in the Dubliners in Strasbourg. I am now looking forward to the match this afternoon and the chance of finishing third and qualifying automatically for the Champions League. I am wearing my replica third shird and I hope it brings as much luck today as the replica of the ’69 Cup Final winning shirt did for the cup run. Whilst talking about football I will just say how pleased I was about the victory on Tuesday night for my former home-town team Reading, earning them a match at Wembley in the play-offs for the Premier League. I will be cheering them on against Swansea later this month.

I don’t like cricket..

I love it. Especially after yesterday when Lancashire beat Yorkshire in the Roses match. I was following the game via the BBC and was afraid the match was going the same way as the Sussex match earlier in the season, when the game was drawn because we couldn’t get the last two batsmen out. This time we did get them out but had 15 overs to score 121, which we did with four balls to spare.

Lancashire are now leading the County Championship despite having played a game less than their closest teams. I wonder, will this be the year Lancashire win the County Championship for the first time since 1934? It would be ironic that the season when we are away from our Manchester headquarters, at Old Trafford, and playing in Liverpool would turn out to be our most successful in the County Championship. It would help confirm my view that we can not win the County Championship playing in Manchester because of the rain. I know from living in Liverpool that the clouds pass over there before heading inland to dump the rain on Manchester, before going over the Pennines. I’m sure there is a study to be done about the failure of fantastic Lancashire teams, like those of the 50’s, 70’s and 80’s to win a County Championship whilst winning nearly everything else going, and the number of matches drawn because of the weather.



As I said in my last post on Sunday I went to Germany with the P1040601Strasbourg Strollers Cricket team to play what is pretty much a local derby against the Freiburg Nomads.  It was a gorgeous start to what became a gorgeous day as we drove the hour down to Southern Germany.  As you can see we played on a rolled out pitch place on an astro-turf pitch.  Bowling was from one end as a six at the other risked P1040619losing the ball in the boating lake.  It also had such a short boundary that it was worth only two runs for hitting the fence.  Frieburg batted first and made 222 for 4 in their 30 overs.  We batted second and were all out for less.  I bowled six overs and took half the Freiburg wickets to fall although I also gave away almost a quarter of the runs.  I consoled P1040625myself with the thought that it might have been a different story if the three catches put down off my bowling had been held.  Throughout the day we had quite a crowd watching as we played, though I wonder how many of them knew what they were watching.

PS 1 Oct 2009

The Parti Socialiste is voting tonight on who will be the head of the list for the regional elections in March and the line in our branch was very clearly put as being for M Bigot.  At the same time there is a referendum taking place on whether the same person should be able to be elected to all sorts of positions at the same time, over action for parity between men and women, and to introduce open primaries for the election of the presidential candidate in a couple of years.  I voted on my way home from work this evening.  Usually meetings and votes have been in the back room of a local restaurant.  When I went to vote tonight the restaurant was not open so voting was ‘al fresco’.  Here’s a picture of the Branch Secretary, substitute for our Depute, Councillor and Assistant to the Mayor, Eric, with the ballot box:


UPDATE: The free newspaper 20 minutes reports this morning, “Sauf surprise, Jacques Bigot represntera le PS” and that 70% of the PS had voted for primaries and against cumulative mandates.

Ode to Joy


One of the most amazing things for me in the last week was the dust cloud which enveloped Sydney.  I have family living there and, through the wonders of Facebook, they posted pictures of the impact in their neighbourhood.  It is one of the thing s that I welcome about technological developments like Facebook is that I am able to keep in touch with family I am interested in and care about, but previously would not have known about in the same way because the number of members of the family you keep in touch with by phone is so small.  It has already led to me finding out more about the lives and personalities of wider members of my family and has lead to members of the family at a distance to each other to be in communication in ways they hadn’t before.  When we meet up it will mean we are less strangers to each other, people are brought closer to each other.  Anyway for those who missed it, here is a photo gallery of the dust storm and here is a thorough report with some more amazing pictures from a British paper.

In less than an hour I will be off to join colleagues from the Strasbourg Strollers, the city’s premier cricket team, for the last match of the season against Freiburg Nomads Cricket team, apart from Strasbourg Combined, probably our closest neighbours and therefore something of a derby match.  We had not played each other for a couple of years because their team used to be ultra-competitive whereas we play to enjoy ourselves.  The weather has been a wonderful end to the Summer all week and it looks like being perfect weather for playing cricket.  Add in the fact that Freiburg, is one of my favourite cities and somewhere I would like to live at some point whilst here and it makes a day I have been looking forward to, as well as the fact that over the Summer I got my Strasbourg Strollers shirt and cap, I make no apologies for being excited about this afternoon’s game.  Here I am in February 2008, a day far to sunny and warm for February, people say the place has its own micro-climate:

DSCF4107The coming week is also a busy one with le Racing at home on Monday night.  They’ve made an awful start to the season.  They sacked the manager who had them relegated to Ligue 2 and then didn’t get them promoted back last season and his replacement lasted only a couple of games before he was sacked and they are now bottom of the table propping up the league.  Then on Tuesday it the English Speaking Community-Alsace Music Quiz at the Dubliners.  As reigning champions it is important that we fight to keep our crown.  Then on Wednesday and Thursday it is celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe which on the second night includes a visit from one of the great men, and a hero of mine, of the last century, Mihajil Gorbachov.  So, it will be welcome relief to get to the end of the week and stay in.  Here is the anthem of the Council of Europe and now seen as the one for Europe too:

An apology and a gloat.


I normally say to people whinging about a decision taken by our sporting representatives that they should shut up and get behind our team.  Over the last two posts I cast doubt upon the wisdon of not enforcing the follow-on against Australia.  I hold up my hands.  I was wrong.  The England captain was right and I should not have doubted him.  Sack-cloth and ashes have been worn all day.

Apology having been made I will now feast in the enjoyment of the England victory against Australia at Lords.  There’s nothing better than a victory over the old enemy.  Going 1-0 up in the Ashes series, and doing so at Lords.  As the advert says, priceless.  Now lets get back at them.

Pining for the pork……


…a line from a song on the Echo and the Bunnymen album Pocupine.  Used because Pork is something done very well in Alsace and I would normally have something of the Pork persuasion on a weekly basis at home and have only had it once in the month since I left.

It’s also a word play on the swine flu.  I woke on Friday with a sore throat which felt like I had been gargling razor-blades.  During the day I felt progressively worse so it was with relief I was able to get out after work and get some ‘Max Strength’ Lem-Sip.  So the weekend has been spent taking things easy and letting my body fight the infection.  I did ache a bit yesterday but I think it’s just a cold caught from one of the many nationals on our site.  My inactivity has also partly beec caused by St Swithin.  After it rained on his day, 15th July, we’ve been getting very wet with rain on a regular basis most days.  The students do not like it at all.  Do they not realise that summers are so much better than they were in the 70’s?

What lazing around the site has allowed me to do is keep up with the cricket and what a wonderful match this has been with things going one way and then the other.  My jury is still out on whether not enforcing the follow-on was the right idea.  I’m also following the Tour de France, something I have been progressively more interested in and frustrated that the last two years – despite living in France the rest of the time – I’ve been out of the country for it.  What a year for the British riders?  With Mark Cavendish in hot contention for the Green jersey until the bizarre decision yesterday but still with a chance of winning the most stages by a Brit if he wins the last race, and Bradley Wiggins in third position tonight and in with a good shout of the yellow jersey.  Here for no other reason than it was on the radio whilst writing this is Dave Edmunds, with Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, doing the sublime ‘Girls Talk’:

A season in Hull


On arrival in Hull I was asked if I would work on a special programme which meant working 40 hours a week rather than the 30 I had been contracted to do.  As I am away from home working anyway, so it didn’t matter how much I worked as it would not be keeping me from my home life, and there was an offer of overtime to cover the extra hours.  So the last three weeks its back to working as hard as I did more than five years ago.  All that is pretty much an explaination as to why posts have been few and far between.  After work, and preparing for the next days work, I just want to relax and go away from the site or sleep.

Following the Ashes I was pleased with Lancastrian James Anderson’s heroics which meant we didn’t lose the first test.  I was disappointed that England seemed to play without the intensity of 2005.  I am even more concerned now that, having got on top of the Aussies we have not turned the screw psychologically and made them follow-on.  I know England have not been great at getting the total needed in the fourth innings to win and that the pitch seemed quite benign, however I would have expected England to enforce to follow-on.  It is being said the ‘Freddie’ might not be up to bowling a second innings now and that’s why, but then why hamstring your side with  someone whose clearly not up to the game now?  I write as a big fan of Freddie.

I can’t let the incident of the interview on BBC Radio Berkshire with the newly selected Reading West candidate pass by without posting it here or anyone who might want to see the modern equivalent of ‘bair baiting’.  Anyone who read anything about ‘Naz Sarkar’ befrore the selection could see he would be a rubbish candidate.  Now he has confirmed it with this interview:

You really have to wonder why he was selected when there were many more applicants who would have been beter for the job.  Could it be that the outgoing MP, Martin Salter, didn’t want anyone selected who would show him up in a bad way and got his organisation in the seat behind the most hapless possible candidate?

Dress Down Saturday

As I’m in Hull it’s only appropriate that I pick for this weeks section of the memories of great bands from the 80’s the fab fivesome, the Housemartins.  They burst onto the scene in 1986 with the song ‘Happy Hour’:

and together with their other big hit, Caravan of Love, and their album, London 0 Hull 4 they were a part of the soundtrack to my post-graduation summer, where the sun shined, I fell in love but was spurned, and with a group of friends that I had a great time with.  I’m sure it wasn’t seen quite so golden at the time.  They split in 1998 and spawned a number of gropus and artists.  Here’s ‘Caravan of Love’:

Throwing my arms around Luxembourg


P1030407The first time I voted in France was in a student election.  I was given the various lists of candidates and an envelope and then told to go behind the curtain into the voting area and vote.  But none of the lists had a box on them.  Where was I to put my cross?  How did I show I wanted particular candidates?  It was only after I put one of P1030406the lists into the envelope, having randomly crossed off some names, of people I knew nothing more about than the others I did not cross off, that I was able to put it in the box and cast my vote.  I later found out that the way you vote in France is by putting the list into the envelope and then putting that in the box.  I don’t know what people scrutinising the vote would have thought when my vote came out with people crossed off.  I hope the people concerned did not see it as they could take it personally when it was a mistake by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.  Anyway.  The photo at the top is of my Carte Electorale which has to be shown to the polling officer to get your envelope and the one below is of the lists of candidate.  One of these is put into the envelope and you then have to sign before your name in the electoral register, the hole in the box is openned and you drop your vote in.

Anyway, enough of elections.  I’m off to Luxembourg to see Morrissey and then I am catching a train at 5 in the morning to play cricket in Burgundy.  I will vote on my return.  To mark the visit to the master and go some way to explain the title of this post here he is:

Back bollocking


Well that’s some absence, more than a month since the last post. Not good for building a readership I’m told. You have to post frequently so people know to come back. I know it true. But my response is a bit of cussed obstinacy , It’s my blog and I’ll write it when I want to. There’s also the ambivalence about claiming not to want an audience, but then my pleasure on getting comments shows that I do. Anyway I didn’t write for a month and now I am again.

In the last month work has gone crazy at the same time as there were visits to Andorra, Toulouse and Lyon and then another week in Madeira. We’ve had the Easter, Workers Day and Anniversary of the end of the Second Wold War holidays, which allowed a lot of the traveling to happen. I’ve seen Bob Dylan, Zaho and Gregoire in very good concerts, Manchester City are out of European competition and have two games to try and get back for next season. Le Racing are second and still on course for promotion back to League 1. The cricket season has started and has gone comparitvely well for Lancashire. We’ve had some wonderful weather. The last weekend saw a visit to Germany for the holiday to celebrate the end of WWII, Saturday afternoon spent with my cricket team teaching cricket to the Fench and then the film ‘the Rocking Boat’ on Sunday. Last night was the first semi-final of the Eurovision, tomorrow is the second before we have the joy of the final on Saturday. Before that there is a long walk in the Vosges on Saturday and afterwards is an early departure for the train to Stuttgart then a flight back to Belgrade. Not to repeat the visit from February in better weather but in order to catch the sleeper train to Skopje to get another capital and then to visit Pristina, although it isn’t really yet a European capital just tocover allour bases, in case anyone might want to say anything about our not having visited it in the future. That’ll do for my return.

On top down under


Sports Report

The Sports report usually comes at the back of newspapers or after the news on the radio or TV, not here.  It is important and comes first.  A second day on the trot with good news from ‘down under’.  England’s women cricketers won the World Cup.  Here are pictures of them doing it.  The team had won the World Cup twice before, but never away from home and not since 1993, so big congratulations to the team, well done, I hope you enjoy your victory and I hope I get to see you win the Twenty-Twenty in the summer.  In a good day for Brits Murray is now through to the final in Indian Wells after beating Roger Federer.  In football the collapse of Manchester United to lose 2-0 against Fulham and end with only nine players on the pitch will have gladdened impartial observers who would like to see the Premier League more of a competition while Chelsea lost the chance to catch up.  Now it’s just the wait for City vs Sunderland this afternoon and le Racing vs Angers tomorrow.

Food column

Last week, as I was walking into our building and up the stairs I smelt some cooking pork.  The smell strongly reminded me of gammon and how long it was since I had eaten gammon.  I mentioned it to JTO and yesterday evening we had the closest to gammon steak we could, the French slice the meat too thin, perhaps we can get them to do it thicker next time – and topped with a fried egg and a sliced pineapple it was wonderful.  So wonderful I just had to take a picture of it:


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