A Turning Point



Last autumn, Jackie bought a job lot of gladioli corms, having no idea what colours would emerge. She was so excited by these blue ones that she had to tie up as a protection from today’s steady rain descending from a granite sky, that I just had to brave the elements to photograph them.

The Ashes series of 2005 was one of the greatest cricketing contests between England and Australia. This iconic photograph from Getty Images of Andrew Flintoff comforting Brett Lee after a fighting innings which just failed to snatch the Edgebaston match from England is considered a picture of one of the most sporting moments ever.

That series was a turning point for cricket in England for three reasons. The first is that BBC lost the recording rights of International cricket to Mammon, in the form of Sky Sports, who outbid them. This means that those young children, whose resurgence of interest in the game formed the second point, could only watch live games via a subscription to the media giant.

My grandson Oliver was the third reason. In the Spring of that year, I had taught him the basics of batting and bowling in the garden at Newark. He watched the series, closely studying the batting techniques on screen. By the end of the Summer, although I still had something to offer as a  bowler, it was apparent that I had nothing more to teach the lad whose skills far exceeded mine.


By August 2007, when I made these colour slides scanned today, the eleven year old boy was an opening bat for the lower sides of Sanderstead Cricket Club.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect, spicy, pork paprika with splendid savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Eszterbauer Sogor Kadarka 2015.



  1. The flowers are beautiful (though they look violet to me). I’m sure Jackie was excited to see what emerged.
    I don’t follow sports at all, but I think here, too, some games of American football and baseball can only be seen on cable stations.

  2. We had that happen here too. Nowadays Sky still has the rights to all the big sporting events but have lost so many viewers there is a bit of a mad scramble going on to get more viewers before they lose the rights. I also have a story to share about boys and cricket. I had decided to teach some of my twelve year old girls how to be less girly about ball sports and took an after school class on throwing and catching skills. Away from the boys they did really well and became quite enthusiastic, eventually wanting to learn how to bat. I engaged the assistance of one of my students in that area, as my skills weren’t that great. He came along and in no time had those girls lined up , bat in hand and making good contact with the ball. He would show them how to stand and how to connect and the follow through in a series of moves that astounded me. Later I asked him how he had taught himself to do that and he bashfully admitted to watching and then practising in front of a mirror until his movements were right. Isn’t that wonderful!

    1. What a great follow up story, Pauline. Yes, wonderful, indeed. Followers are saying that the sport must be free to view in Australia, which, when you consider where subscription viewing began is a bit of a turn around. Thanks very much

  3. I am glad your grandson does well.
    I’ve actually never seen it played in America. We do play a lot of baseball, which I guess is the close to it.

  4. What a splendid post – from the gorgeous blue Glads to the sporting prowess of your Grandson, I was captivated. Fortunately my grandmother didn’t live to see the demise of live Cricket on the BBC. It would have broken her heart.

  5. We’ve had a similar thing happen here, but there was a ruling that international games would be free to air. I think that’s gradually being eroded, though. We can still watch the Ashes, although there are an awful lot of ads. Our son was a keen cricketer, and used to practise his shots against his bedroom wall. We were likely to cop one coming out the door on our way down the hall!

  6. One either loves cricket or is of the group who say it is far more exciting to watch the grass grow in the grounds. I do enjoy the game and once developed a some mean slow balls as a bowler. I never did try to interest the girls in it, though. Maybe should have. Not too late with the granddaughters!

  7. The Australian government passed legislation years ago when money started to take over the game that the Ashes & major cricket, must always be free to air, The commercial stations do show the game but there is no charge to watch it.
    It seems we always have what the like to call “Cricket tragic’s” as prime ministers here!
    It once was a gentlemanly game; but no more. It ain’t cricket!

  8. I too love gladioli, and I glad Jackie rescued it from the tears of the granite above. And I am so happy for your pupil’s progress! Regardless of my feelings for the two cricketers–never thought much of the either– they stand immortalised in that frame. I guess you are not giving a hoot to the current series in progress. Nor am I.

  9. Lovely colour of the gladioli. I’m really feeling happy for Oliver, His moves clearly showing that he is quite a talented cricketer.
    The Ashes series is like what we feel when we have a series with Pakistan 😀 Great tension and greater enthusiasm. The moment in the picture is truly priceless..sportsman’s spirit, as they say… 🙂

  10. I am afraid that I am ignorant of the sport of Cricket. Living across the pond from you sorta gets in the way of watching it or even hearing about it. That said, thank you for introducing young women to the sport. I really think if we had cricket here, I would play it! BTW, the glads are gorgeous!

  11. Your grandson definitely a stylish batsman, I was neither a good batsman, nor a good bowler, But I enjoyed playing the game.

  12. Oh! The glads are so beautiful! 🙂 What a soft, perfect color!

    Congratulations to Oliver! He looks like he is doing so well!

    HUGS for you and Jackie and Elizabeth!!! 🙂

  13. Such a shame that BBC lost the cricket, I would prefer it if they lost Wimbledon! As a boy I used to sit for hours watching the test matches, I used to keep a scorecard so I could show my dad when he came home for his lunch and at the end of the day.

    Great pictures of the cricket star! My grandson (only 5) likes to play cricket, last weekend his club were the guard of honour at the T20 blast game Derbyshire v Leicestershire. Always a difficult fixture in our family, I am a Leicester man but everyone else is Derby!

    1. Agreed entirely about the choice, but Wimbledon will never go. I, too, kept scorecards. Having been born there, I’d root for Leicester. Thanks a lot, Andrew

  14. Gorgeous glads! We are college basketball fans (Duke University!), and I have just today cancelled the cable service that allows us to watch those games. The price went up to $185.00/ monthly, and we cannot see paying that much just to watch basketball. We’ll keep streaming documentaries on Netflix and watching PBS by antennae.

  15. I love Jackie’s blue gladiolas, and congratulation to your grandson! Isn’t is wonderful when the students, no matter what the subject the subject, exceed their teachers in the end?

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