Tag Archives: Field of Dreams

PW Crigglestone

Writing and Inspiration (Part 1)

I’m feeling like I’m in the middle of a desert at the moment. Inspiration for both blog and haibun is thin on the ground and just as I wrote some new haibun, I stopped thinking of subjects for blog posts. You may have noticed.

The old Field of Dreams approach to ideas (if you write it, they will come) has let me down recently. I know that ideas are supposed to flow more freely as you have them, and that there is an infinite supply of ideas out there, but every so often, it stops. My notebooks tell the story – dozens of two line entries, scribbled out. This is the internal editor in full swing.

It’s probably confidence. When you are being published on a regular basis you relax and write things knowing that you can go back to them. When you hit a slump you get less relaxed and start becoming more critical. That’s what happened with the haibun. In the case of the blog I merely sit here staring at a screen and think “2,000 posts, what can I possible write that’s new?” I can’r even add photos because the system tends to freeze when I try, and even when they load I can’t see them. I know that I’m loading the photos for others to see, but it’s still hard to stay motivated if I can’t see them myself.

Domestic life is not offering much of interest (at the back of my mind there’s a light flashing on and off warning me that the wedding anniversary is coming up and I have nothing planned, but that is, to be fair, not unusual). We have been married over 11,000 days and I’m not sure I make every one of them a joy for Julia. Corona virus is an old subject, work is just work and little is happening there which hasn’t happened before.

Two of those things may be linked – corona virus is stopping us doing a lot of things, and a trip to Derbyshire for tea, cake and jewellery would solve the wedding anniversary problem, it’s just that we shouldn’t really be travelling.

Deep down, I come to a question. What do I write for? I’d be interested in the answers of other people on that, just to see how many reasons there are.

I write because I’m addicted. Deep down, I just can’t stop. In my teens I wanted to write as a career, to earn money and to attend literary lunches. I’m still not clear what a literary lunch is, but I knew that writers went to them.

Nottingham U15s

Nottingham U15s

 

 

Writing come and goes in my life. At one time I had so much on with two kids participating in sports that I didn’t have time for much writing, apart from endless match reports. That started when I volunteered to do the match reports for the Under 12s. They went well. Nobody noticed my grip of rugby wasn’t all it could be, and everybody  liked seeing their kid get their name in print. Then the Under 10s asked if I would do their reports too, as the parent doing them was writing five line reports which mentioned his kid three times and his kids’s best mate twice and did little for team unity. My reports, even when I wasn’t there to watch, were regarded as more accurate than his.

Here, in case you ever need it, is my template for a junior match report.

  1. Start with “Fixtures between Nottingham and X are traditionally hard fought/one-sided/a waste of my Sunday morning” (you may want to gloss that one up a little).
  2. Move on to “Things started briskly/slowly, with both teams testing the opposition.”
  3. Add “from the set piece”, “turnover ball”, “against the head”, “blindside” and “effort” in varying proportions.
  4. Use the words “cynical” and “lucky” in relation to the opposition. Your team are “well-drilled” and “reap the rewards of hard work in training”.
  5. Mention every child by name. Yes, it’s difficult. Only five of them are any good, with ten average players making up the numbers. You will also have several players who are there because their dad insists, one or two who are there because this is the only sport for fat kids and one who is so uncoordinated he has trouble walking in a straight line. Two mentions if they were really good, three only if they score a hat-trick. You need a full squad, and it’s mainly about effort and being with your mates. They all turn up, they all freeze, they all deserve a mention.
  6. Do not criticise the referee, the opposition, the opposition parents, the parents of the referee, or anyone else. The report, amongst other things, is about building character and manners.
  7. Thank the referee whenever possible. If he has been so bad it might seem sarcastic to thank him, you may omit this step. Very few referees step onto the pitch intending to be bad, and they are giving up their free time so that junior sport can go ahead. I say “few” as several parents and coaches ref matches with the sole intention of cheating their way to victory. I saw three of these in ten years, so they are very rare. See Point 6.
  8. Stress team work, praise effort, point out the successful coaching points, thank the parents, thank the catering. 
  9. Feel free to quote sporting memoirs and poetry. This is particularly true when you want to add something uplifting after a heavy defeat in freezing mud. In general, Kipling and the Victorians did some good quotes. It’s best to avoid poems that feature words like Devizes and Nantucket as they encourage unfortunate rhymes. They are all very well in the clubhouse on a Saturday night, but not in a junior match report.
  10. Add a selection of stats at the bottom of the page, including the names again, and remind them about training times, the next match, subscriptions and anything else they like to ignore, like when it’s your turn to run the kitchen or the car parking. Parents have busy lives and tend to forget that sort of stuff.

That, I think, completes the post. It grew out of a random word and I am going to have to write a second part to finish it off. Sorry if it wandered off subject a bit.

Midlands RL at European Youth Festival

Midlands RL at European Youth Festival

 

A Very Annoying Woman

It’s tempting to say today was more of the same…more of the same…

Tedium echoes down the empty hallways of my life…

In fact there was slightly more pressure than a normal day because I have a leisurely breakfast with Julia on Saturdays and generally get to work with minutes to spare, rather than the normal hour I get when dropping her off at work and going to work from there.

We had more parcels than usual today, and quite a few phone calls, including one from a woman who said she had “done the research on the internet” because she “wasn’t stupid”.

The coin in question is the Sherlock Holmes 50p, which has just been released.We have 200 in stock and charge £3 each. She says they are very rare, and her implication was that I was lying to her in order to gain pecuniary advantage by deception (she didn’t actually use those words, but that was what her tone implied).

Unfortunately, when I checked after she put the phone down, the mintage figure of 210,000 she gave did not apply to this coin but to the famous Kew Garden 50p, the one they all want. We buy several of them every month, pay good money for them and sell them for around £100. That’s the only one that makes three figures. Most 50p coins, even in mint condition, only make £3.

The Royal Mint won’t even release the mintage figures for a year or two, so we won’t know what the figure is. Here are the figures up to 2017. They haven’t released the 2018 figures yet, and certainly not the 2019 figures.

I checked on the internet myself, and in an article comparing Kew Gardens and Sherlock Holmes they said the Kew mintage was 210,000. That’s what happens when greed and stupidity meet the Internet – false hopes, shoddy research and an outpouring of ignorance.

Just for the record, because I’m still annoyed about it, despite what she said, she didn’t really do any research worthy of the name, and she IS stupid.

After that I put some more School Attendance medals on eBay, went home, took some blurred photos of Painted Ladies in the garden and carried on with my nightly routine of napping, eating and blogging.

I did get a pointless answer on Pointless Celebrities (Burt Lancaster in Field of Dreams) then wondered why there has never been a decent film about cricket. To say it’s one of our national games, and it altered the course of one of our royal dynasties, it’s made little impact in books and films. Raffles was a cricket player, but that’s as close as we get.

If we could make a film like Field of Dreams about cricket I’m sure the nation would return to normal after all this Brexit nonsense and electing a clown as Prime Minister. Whether we stay or go, we need to return to a state of affairs where politicians at least put up some sort of pretence of being sensible and running things properly.

The Peacock is from our visit to Gigrin Farm as few years ago, as is the picture of kites. I feel a bit like that peacock, constantly attacking the mirror, though I’m constantly attacking life rather than a reflection.

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Red Kites at Gigrin Farm