More than a soupcon of change in air

It was so dark this morning, I nearly slept in. Again. Such a difference in daylight now from even a month ago.

There's more than just a soupcon of change in the air. Leaves were blowing and rattling along the roads through the Town Belt this morning and a few trees are starting to turn.

I especially noticed the change at the weekend - the weather was sunny and benign but there was a slight thinness in the air and the sun was not as glary or hot as it has been. We'll be coming up to the equinox in another week and then we will really notice the slide down towards winter.

Notice that word ''soupcon'' above? I've had that written on a little yellow sticky note attached to my computer monitor for months, awaiting the right time to launch it on the unsuspecting public. There are two other words on that note that are ready for action - ''milquetoast'' and ''termagant''. I hope to use them soon.

John Cushen.
John Cushen.
Not-so-gentlemanly cricket

I felt the cricket ball whistle past my ears. It was bowled by former Otago and Auckland first-class cricketer John Cushen for my comments last week about the awfulness of sledging and bouncers.

John, an opening bowler, says nobody condones sexist, racist and personal insults, ''not even this writer, who was never short of a word on the field of play''.

''However, at the end of the day one always had a cool beer with the receiver of comments or short-pitched balls.

Former Otago first-class cricketer John Cushen reckons my approach to cricket is a bit soft. Well, it may be, but I never dressed like this. Here he demonstrates the proper attire to wear at the crease - that is, if you are W.G. Grace. Not sure what the h
Former Otago first-class cricketer John Cushen reckons my approach to cricket is a bit soft. Well, it may be, but I never dressed like this. Here he demonstrates the proper attire to wear at the crease - that is, if you are W.G. Grace. Not sure what the horse in the background thinks of your stance, John. Photo: ODT files
''Short-pitched bowling is generally used to gain a wicket. Reference to the score sheet of Auckland playing England in the 1970s will see that this writer managed to confuse one Geoffrey Boycott with a short ball.

''This world-class batsman was caught in two minds - 'do I hit this slow bouncer for four or six?'. He lobbed the ball to Martin Snedden to give me a wicket which has allowed me to bore many since that day with a repeat commentary of the delivery.

''Cricket at the top level is played hard. If comments can distract the player and short bowling lead to a wicket, then so be it. If one cannot cope with these, then play social cricket.

''Today, batsmen have more protection than Donald Trump or American football players and it is their choice to either duck or try and score runs. Also, the wickets are covered and are now much more true, adding to the batsman's favour.

''Does anyone consider the poor bowlers as the ball sails over the boundary? We become emotionally scarred for life, as no doubt the English bowlers were by Ross Taylor [last week], yet all the sympathy cards sent after the one-dayer this week went to Ross and not Chris Woakes and co.

''In this day and age, when we cotton-wool every activity, is there anything wrong with some real aggression in this lovely summer game?

''Talking of sledging, there have been some classics that would have the batsmen laughing so much they could easily get bowled with the next delivery.

''Humour is a very important weapon in the bowler's armoury. Merv Hughes to a batsman who played and missed a number of deliveries: 'turn the bat over mate. The instructions are on the other side.' And the great English bowler Freddie Trueman saying to the incoming batsman: 'Leave the boundary gate open - you will be going back through it very soon.'

''Come on Paul, toughen up. No matter what sport it is, at the top level it is legalised war. I bet you have received comments when playing darts and snooker that hindered your attempts to become a world-class player.''

Thanks John, I'm toughening up from today.

Chinese sister school delegates from Zhengzhou visited Tahuna Intermediate School on Monday. More than 30 pupils and teachers from the school in Henan province are on the school exchange. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Chinese sister school delegates from Zhengzhou visited Tahuna Intermediate School on Monday. More than 30 pupils and teachers from the school in Henan province are on the school exchange. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Zhengzhou exchange

It's great to be able to welcome this week a delegation of more than 30 staff and pupils from Zhengzhou No 2 Foreign Language Middle School, based in China's Henan province. They are already singing the praises of Dunedin.

In their home environment, they live among more than nine million people in a city filled with towering apartment buildings. But here they are revelling in the wide open spaces of Dunedin, its clear blue skies and lush greenery.

The delegation is visiting sister school Tahuna Intermediate and taking part in activities which, to us, may seem commonplace but to them amount to wonderful new experiences.

These include walking barefoot along St Clair Beach, learning to surf in the open sea and going on a school camp at Camp Waiora, where they are no doubt becoming acquainted with sandflies.

 

Add a Comment

1218b006_620x60_v2.jpg

1218b006_620x40_v2.jpg