A SONG FOR BEN GREEN

Ben Green in full voice?

Is this a picture of Ben Green singing?

Last night I had a dream, the contents of which may be an encouragement to any Somerset supporters who, after this year’s less than ideal start in the RLODC, may be a little anxious as to how the rest of the competition will play out. And perhaps it might also be an encouragement to Ben Green, a terrific captain of an undoubtedly wonderful team. So here, because all my dreams come true, is a song for Ben Green in which is detailed all that passed before my eyes during the hours of darkness!

WHAT A WONDERFUL TEAM

I saw tons for Green, Goldsworthy too,
And plenty more runs for Bartlett and Rew
And I thought to myself
What a wonderful team

I sat Matt Renshaw, his face bore a smile
Batting with flair and batting with style
And I thought to myself
What a wonderful team

The fielding it was faultless, not an overthrow or bye
All catches they were taken underneath a clear blue sky
The games they were all sell outs, the ground looked at it’s best
[The venues for ‘The Hundred’ though, were like the Marie Celeste]

Aldridge then excelled, he was on fire
Took 6 for 5, like Arul Suppiah
And I thought to myself
What a wonderful team

Pete Trego on the livestream declared Siddles’s spell ‘a beaut’
His secret I imagine is a certain yellow fruit
I saw young Sonny Baker, prove himself –
[And days of free admission for the national ‘elf!]

I saw Steve Davies, light up the place
Batting with poise and batting with grace
And I thought to myself,
What a wonderful team

Then Jack Brooks with his headband on, the one oft known as ferret,
He bowled with great distinction and he batted with great merit
I saw James ‘Hildy’ Hildreth, his technique sound,
Driving the ball to all four corners of the ground

Stumpy was there, and Brian the cat
Watching the game from their retirement flat
And I thought to myself
What a wonderful team
Uhh yeah.

With apologies to Louis Armstrong, George David Weiss and Robert Thiele.


Other Somerset cricket related blogs:

To read ‘A Song for Brian’, click here

To read ‘A Cricket Taunt’, click here

To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here

To read ‘Eve of the RLODC limericks’ click here

To read ‘It’s coming home…’, click here

To read ‘Enough Said…’, the last section of which is cricket related, click here

A Jack Leach Trilogy:

To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here

To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here

To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here

To read ‘Coping with Disappointment’, click here

To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here

To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here

A SONG FOR BRIAN

On the occasion of a disappointing Somerset performance at Taunton.

Late last night I was wandering the streets of Taunton when suddenly I heard the plaintive sound of a cat meowing. Looking around me I saw, Brian the club cat being consoled by the team mascot Stumpy. This is what I heard him singing!

Cheer up, Brian.
You know what they say;

Some times the batsmen fail
They can make you weep and wail
As you wonder how things ever got so bad
But after that collapse
Let’s still support the chaps
Remember all those times they made us glad

Always look on the bright cider life
Always look on the bright cider life

When you wish you weren’t alive
Cos it’s seventeen for five
And life, it feels, will never be the same
Though the wickets they keep tumbling
It ain’t the time for grumbling
Remember after all its just a game, and

Always look on the bright cider life
Always look on the bright cider life

When the target that was set
The opposition get
With overs needed being far too few
When the bowling wasn’t tidy
Don’t insist on an inquiry
The team will know just what they need to do, so

Always look on the bright cider life
Always look on the bright cider life

When your top players have been taken
By a format godforsaken
Unwelcomely imposed from those above
Though The Hundred’s on the telly
Will we watch? – ‘Not on your nelly!’
Cos Somerset is still the team we love, and

Always look on the bright cider life
Always look on the bright cider life
(C’mon Brian, cheer up)
Always look on the bright cider life
Always look on the bright cider life

[With apologies to Eric Idle and Ian Shepard, the title of whose excellent Somerset CCC Podcast, I pinched for the refrain of Stumpy’s song. That Podcast can be found on the Podbean app .]


Other Somerset cricket related blogs:

To read ‘A Song for Ben Green’, click here

To read ‘A Cricket Taunt’, click here

To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here

To read ‘Eve of the RLODC limericks’ click here

To read ‘It’s coming home…’, click here

To read ‘Enough Said…’, the last section of which is cricket related, click here

A Jack Leach Trilogy:

To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here

To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here

To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here

To read ‘Coping with Disappointment’, click here

To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here

To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here

IN JUST A LITTLE WHILE

‘In just a little while’ – Psalm 37:10

I love the honesty of the psalms, I love the way they reflect the reality of how we sometimes feel, the reality of what we sometimes see going on around us, especially when what we feel and see is not what we want to feel and see. Sometimes the wicked do prosper, sometimes the righteous are oppressed. Sometimes our sorrow is intense, sometimes the wickedness of our own hearts can not be denied.

But we are assured that the current unsatisfactory state of affairs is only temporary. And not only is it temporary, the pain and sadness will be short lived for, ‘in just a little while’ [Psalm 37:10], order will be restored – the wicked will be no more, the meek will inherit the land, our tears will be wiped away and death shall be no more. [Revelation 21:4]

In just a little while the former things will pass away.

But there will be those who might understandably say that they have already suffered for a long time. Their pain has not been ‘light and momentary’, rather it has been intense and prolonged. How then can the psalmist speak of all being well in just a little while, when some have had to endure hardship for decades.

The answer comes when we step back and consider the future and recognise that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. [Romans 8:18] Furthermore that glory will last for all eternity. [2 Corinthians 4:17]. And just as our future glory is immeasurably greater than our current suffering and our future joy immeasurably greater than our current sadness, so too is eternity immeasurably longer than the time we now spend in this vale of tears.

So yes, weeping may tarry for the night time, and though for some the night has already been long and the day may still seem a long way off, even so joy will come with the morning. [Psalm 30:5].

In just a little while, the sun will rise.

‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.’ [2 Corinthians 4:16-18]

Jesus himself says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ [Revelation 22:20] and when he returns we will see what currently we can not. And whether that be in our life time, not for another thousand years, or so far into the future that we can hardly imagine such a length of time, what we will see will be infinitely worth our ‘momentary’ wait. For the ‘little while’ we have waited will not be worth comparing with the time we have to enjoy being home at last in the presence of loving Heavenly Father.

In just a little while Jesus will come and all will be well.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.


Related blogs:

To read, ‘Weeping with those who weep’, click here

To read “Suffering- A Personal View”, click here.

To read ‘T.S.Eliot, Jesus and the Paradox of the Christian Life’, click here

To read “Why do bad things happen to good people – a tentative suggestion”, click here

To read “Luther and the global pandemic – on becoming a theologian of the cross”, click here

To read “Waiting patiently for the Lord”, click here

To read “Hope comes from believing the promises of God”, click here

To read, ‘But this I know’, click here

To read, ‘Real Love?’, click here

To read ‘Real Power’, click here

A CRICKET TAUNT

Recently I came into possession of the following, a transcript of the now legendary conversation that took place a couple of years ago at the CACG, the spiritual home of Somerset CCC that is known by some as ‘Fortress Taunton’. The shouted interchange was between the then Chair of the ECB [CE] and an unknown Somerset supporter [SS] positioned high above him in the upper tier of the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion.

As well as revealing the woefully inadequate consultation that took place between the ECB and the ordinary cricket supporter before the inception of ‘The Hundred’, it may also give some credence to the 3452 conspiracy theories that currently exist alleging that the ECB is making concerted efforts to bring about the demise of the county game in general and Somerset CCC in particular.

CE: Hello!…Hello!

SS: Alright me’luvver? Who be you?

CE: It is I, the chair of the ECB, and these are the members of my committee. We are on a sacred mission. Will you ask the chair of your club to join us in promoting a new short game format of the game we call cricket?

SS: Well, I’ll ask ‘ee, but I don’t think ee’ll loike it. Uh, ‘ee’s already got one, you see?

CE: What? You say you’ve already got one? Are you sure?

SS: Oh, yes, it’s gurt lush!

CE: Oh you mean T20. Well, um, will you join us in developing a meaningless second competition?

SS: Of course not! Coz we ain’t money grabbing city types with no interest in county cricket.

CE: Well, what are you then?

SS: Ooo Aah! We be grassroots Zummerset supporters. Why do think we have this outrageous West Country accent, you silly chair person!

CE: If you will not support this new one hundred ball franchise competition we will simply impose it on you. Then we will prevent all your best players from taking part in the much loved 50 over format of the game which we will downgrade to a development competition. And finally, in time, we will replace all county cricket clubs with city based franchised teams and Somerset CCC will be no more. (He gives an evil laugh)

SS: Ark at ‘ee! You don’t frighten us, you grockle you! G’woam and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I spill my Thatchers on you, so-called ECB chair, you and all your silly financial profit-teeeeers. Thppppt!

SURREY BASED ECB COMMITTEE MEMBER: (to Chair of ECB) What a peasant!

CE: Now look here, my good man!

SS: I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper!…… I toss my pitchfork in your general direction! Your mother was a Gloucestershire supporter and your father smelt of silage!

CE: Is there someone else up there we could talk to?

SS: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

CE: Now, this is your last chance. I’ve been more than reasonable.

SS: (to fellow supporter) Fetch the venerable Stumpy!

Stumpy is summoned to the pavilion and uncharacteristically throws himself down on the gathered ECB committee members who, though chastened, remain undaunted and return to London to continue to work out their nefarious plans for the dumbing down of the summer game.

[With apologies to life long Somerset supporter John Cleese and all the other members of Monty Python]


Other Somerset cricket related blogs:

To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here

To read ‘Eve of the RLODC limericks’ click here

To read ‘It’s coming home…’, click here

A Jack Leach Trilogy:

To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here

To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here

To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here

To read ‘Coping with Disappointment’, click here

To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here

To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here

A DREAM OF AN ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

I have a dream.

It’s some years into the future and I’m watching television and the continuity announcer is appropriately enough continuing to announce the evening’s schedules. ‘And now’ he says, ‘it’s the Antiques Roadshow which this week comes to us from Westminster Hall’.

Minutes later I watch as the current Secretary of State for Health as he carefully carries an item wrapped up in an old blanket and slowly places it on the table that stands in front of the show’s relics expert. After briefly looking at the mysterious object, she picks it up and proceeds to make her careful examination. Anxiously the one in whose care it has resided waits, eager to know just what it is that he has brought with him. And, of course, what it might be worth.

The expert turns the battered curiosity over and notices four numbers engraved into its base. These are instantly recognised as the year in which the artefact was crafted.

‘1948’, the expert begins, smiling to herself, confident now of what it is she’s looking act. ‘What we have here is a very fine example of what used to be a National Health Service. And what a unique example it is, perhaps the only one of its kind.’ After silently turning it over in her hands for a few minutes the expert eventually continues. ‘It really is a beautiful piece, or at least it was once. It’s clearly long since seen better days and has now lost much of the shine it once possessed’

Overcome by the tatty condition of the once elegant structure she is holding, the expert is temporarily lost for words but soon is able to regain her composure. She begins to point out the numerous places where damage has been sustained. A crack here, a missing piece there and an overall instability that renders the whole thing inherently unstable.

Her assessment complete she finally looks up at the one who had handed it over to her for inspection. ‘This is one of the most remarkable items that I’ve ever seen. In its day it was very highly prized and would have been greatly sought after by everyone. How did it come into your possession?’ she asks.

‘It was handed down to me by my predecessor who had himself received it from his predecessor. I don’t think any of us realised it was anything of any value and so none of us have really taken much care of it.’ The Secretary of State pauses for a moment before asking the only thing that he was ever really concerned about. ‘Not that I’d ever sell it you understand, but could you give me any indication of just how much it might be worth?’

‘Undoubtedly if it had been looked after rather better and was still in good condition what you have here would have been priceless. But now…’ The expert stops and looks sadly down at the item as she places it back down on the table. Then, looking up again, she fixes her eyes on its guardian before delivering her verdict. ‘Now, in its current state, I’m afraid it’s hardly worth anything at all. Having not bothered with it all these years its now not even worth getting it insured. It’s such a shame, If only you’d all taken better care of it in the past’.

And with that an elderly Fiona Bruce closes the programme and the end credits roll a little too fast such that im unable to make out the year the programme was produced.

And then I wake up to the state of the NHS. And I wonder if anyone else will too.


Related posts

To read ‘Mr McGregor’s Revenge – A Tale of Peter Rabbit’, click here

To read ‘A GP called Paddington’, click here

To read ‘Bagpuss and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here

To read ‘Jeepy Leepy and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘The Three Little GPs and the Big Bad Secretary of State for Health’, click here

To read ‘Dr Wordle and the Mystery Diagnosis’, click here

To read ‘The Happy Practice – A Cautionary Tale’, click here

To read ‘The Scrooge Chronicles’, click here

To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here

To read ‘General Practices are Go!’, click here

To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here

To read ‘A Grimm Tale’, click here

To read ‘The General Practitioner – Endangered’, click here

To read ‘The Repair Shop’, click here

To read ‘The State of Disrepair Shop’, click here

ENOUGH SAID…

‘I can’t help thinking that’s it’sreally rather easy to come up with wise sounding aphorisms’, said Piglet to Pooh one morning.

‘It is Piglet’, said Pooh, ‘But you’ll find it very much harder to actually live by them’.

#EasierSaidThanDone

‘Pooh,’ said Piglet one morning, ‘have you noticed a bear and rabbit repeatedly turning up on your newsfeed offering the same winsome advice for which we were once known?’

‘Yes I have,’ replied Pooh, ‘and frankly it’s doing my head in.’

#PoohAndPiglelaySecondFiddle

‘What’s the matter, Piglet?’ asked Pooh.

‘I feel anxious..overwhelmed by all that I’m asked to do working in the NHS’

‘What do you see around you?’, asked Pooh.

Piglet answered quickly. ‘I see a long,long list of those I need to see today, the anguish in the faces of people waiting for pain relieving surgery, the inevitability of ever longer waiting lists, the fear of those who can’t get an emergency ambulance in a timely fashion…and I see no hope of it ever getting better’.

‘What do you hear?’ asked Pooh.

‘Criticism in the press, demands for more from those in power, sadness in the voices of those with whom I consult and desperation in the voices of those with whom I work.’

‘What can you smell and taste?’ Asked Pooh.

‘I can smell something fishy going on and as for taste…well it’s the taste of things to come’, answered Piglet.

‘Now…what do you feel?’ asked Pooh.

‘Worse than ever’, said Piglet.

‘Well that went well’, thought Pooh.

#PoohAndPigketReflectOnTheNHS, #Mindlessness

‘What’s the matter Piglet?’, asked Pooh seeing his friend looking sad.

‘Oh Pooh’, replied Piglet, ‘it’s just that The Hundred starts this week and I’m so worried about what franchise cricket will do to the county game’.

‘I share your concern Piglet. That’s why I won’t be watching The Hundred and will be following the RLODC instead’.

‘Will that help?’

‘I don’t know Piglet – but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do’.

Piglet paused. ‘Who will you be supporting Pooh?’

‘Why Somerset of course!’

‘Will they win?’

‘Oh I should think so. Would you like to come with me to a game?’

‘Can I Pooh? That would be nice’.

‘It would’, agreed Pooh, taking Piglet’s hand. ‘it would be very nice indeed’.

Then Piglet wasn’t sad anymore.

#PoohAndPigletWatchCricketTogether


Other NHS and GP related tales:

To read ‘Mr McGregor’s Revenge – A Tale of Peter Rabbit’, click here

To read ‘A GP called Paddington’, click here

To read ‘Bagpuss and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here

To read ‘Jeepy Leepy and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘The Three Little GPs and the Big Bad Secretary of State for Health’, click here

To read ‘A Dream of an Antique Roadshow’, click here

To read ‘Dr Wordle and the Mystery Diagnosis’, click here

To read ‘The Happy Practice – A Cautionary Tale’, click here

To read ‘The Scrooge Chronicles’, click here

To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here

To read ‘General Practices are Go!’, click here

To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here

To read ‘A Grimm Tale’, click here

To read ‘The General Practitioner – Endangered’, click here

To read ‘The Repair Shop’, click here

To read ‘The State of Disrepair Shop’, click here


Other cricket, and especially Somerset cricket, related blogs:

To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here

To read ‘A Cricket Taunt’, click here

To read ‘Eve of the RLODC limericks’ click here

To read ‘It’s coming home…’, click here

A Jack Leach Trilogy:

To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here

To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here

To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here

To read ‘Coping with Disappointment’, click here

To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here

To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here

COPING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT

Tom Abell, the obviously disappointed Somerset captain, speaking after the teams performance in the T20 Final’s Day at Edgbaston.

‘Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.’

As Bill Shankly, the former manager of Liverpool F.C. quipped about football so I might about cricket and especially about that involving Somerset CCC. Even so, the morning after Somerset lost in the semifinal of the T20 Vitality Blast, a game I was pleased to be present at to support my team, I am beginning to get over my disappointment that, once again, cricket wasn’t coming home after all. And Despite Shankly’s assertion, we will all have come to realise that, whilst an enjoyable distraction, whether Somerset won or lost, it wasn’t really all that important at all. It is perhaps only those whose lives have nothing of greater value to worry about who will still be struggling with the heartbreak of yet another ‘oh so near’ and only those who are so insecure in who they are themselves that will feel the need to vilify those they see as responsible for the disappointment that they continue to feel.

Even so, we all know what it is to feel disappointment when things that we have looked forward to don’t materialise in the way we had hoped they would. Many of us, if we haven’t holidayed already, will be anticipating times away from work. Though it will be good to have that much needed break, it won’t be just a few of us who will experience some disappointment related to our holidays this year. For some of us it will be because our week or two away won’t turn out to be as enjoyable as we had hoped, others of us won’t quite be able to avoid taking with us some of the sadness that we would have liked to have left at home, and for others of us our disappointment will come simply because, however great our vacation experiences turn out to be, they will inevitably eventually come to an end and we will be forced to return to a normality that, for some of us at least, is far from how we would like it to be.

But if we can experience disappointment because our two weeks in the south of France is ruined by the lack of a decent local boulangerie, how much more must the disappointment be for those who don’t have the luxury of being able to look forward to any time away from the difficulties that they face. For some of them it is not merely disappointing individual incidents that they struggle with but rather an overall, all encompassing, disappointment with how their lives have turned out, be that on account of the social deprivation that they have to encounter daily, the poor physical health with which they suffer or the deep personal sadnesses from which there is never any prospect of any even temporary escape. And then there are too those currently living in Ukraine and other war torn areas of the world, and those who, even today, are facing the prospect of death which, after even the most satisfying of lives, is still unwelcome and a cause for disappointment that the good times are now forever over.

So how are we to help those with whom we interact and whose lives have such a sense of disappointment that it is hard for them to carry on. And how are we to cope with our own disappointments when they inevitably materialise in our own lives. Because unlike a lost game of cricket, not all disappointments can be dismissed by a realisation that the thing that brings us sorrow never mattered at all in the first place.

Whilst it is true that we are all sometimes more disappointed about things than we need be, to sing along in nihilistic agreement to the closing lines of Bohemian Rhapsody that ‘nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me’, makes fools of us all. Because some things really do matter. Our disappointment is a measure of how far things are from how we want them to be. Though unpleasant, it is not an unhelpful feeling, given how it speaks to us, not only of the difficulties that we are currently experiencing but also the better circumstances that we all so long for, testifying perhaps that things can and indeed should be better.

Last year I holidayed in Pembrokeshire and I remember sitting on Whitesands Beach not far from St David’s watching people enjoying themselves playing in the sea. For some reason, despite wanting to, I didn’t feel able to join them irrespective of how awesome I would undoubtedly have looked with my wetsuit on and ‘Atom’ emblazoned across my chest like some modern day comic strip superhero! My feelings were similar to those I almost always experience at discos, if indeed discos are what they are still called. On such occasions you will always find me on the edge of the dance floor, too self conscious to show off my highly original and frankly alarming dance moves and resorting instead to clutching a pint and simply wishing I could enjoy myself by joining in with those who are dancing and clearly having such fun in the process. I wonder if this somewhat melancholic experience is one that others of us sometimes have, one in which we are all too aware that genuine happiness really is to be found out there somewhere but that it somehow always remains elusively just out of reach.

It was C.S. Lewis that wrote ‘Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise…If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’

As I say then, our disappointment has real meaning, speaking to us of a better tomorrow that really is out there for us to enjoy. And, welcome though it would be, I am not referring here to a Somerset’s victory in next year’s T20 Final! On the contrary, regarding our desire for something better, Lewis continues that ‘Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.’

If Lewis is right then, for me as a doctor, I need to recognise that medicine can not bring about a utopia of perfect health, still less that which not even a fortnight on the Côte d’Azur can not secure, namely a world characterised by a perfect happiness that never ends. That is something that medicine simply cannot deliver, not with a pill, not with a procedure, not even with a course of therapy. On the contrary, even the happiest of lives come to an end and when death does eventually inevitably draw near, medicine has no answer save to ease an individuals passing. This is not to say that palliative medicine isn’t hugely important, only that we make a mistake if we believe that there is ever such a thing as a truly good death. Because there isn’t, not at least for those who believe that our lives matter and that death, however less bad it can be made, is never truly good given the loss it entails and the end of what might otherwise have been.

Rather then than imagining itself to be the answer to everyone’s problems and in so doing only serving to disappoint those who do come to rely on it too heavily, medicine needs instead to play its part in helping others to press on to that other country of which Lewis speaks.

And so, whilst not being it’s main role, I believe medicine needs to make room for other philosophies and, acknowledging it’s limitations, be honest enough to at least suggest to patients that the answers to their greatest needs may be better found somewhere other than in the treatments we sometimes all too readily offer, in something bigger and better than all that even medicine has to offer. The same is true for those whose walk takes them elsewhere but who nonetheless hear similarly exaggerated claims of the happiness that is on offer. Because, however great it might be, no earthy pleasure, will fully satisfy and however long last, it will, eventually, end. As for me, I am one of those peculiar people who listen to that ancient wisdom that encourages me to consider God, in whose presence, it says, can be found both fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore. [Psalm 16:11].

Recognise this and perhaps we all will be better able to cope when the bad times inevitably come, regardless of whether the associated disappointment is caused by circumstances, others, or ourselves. Furthermore we may be better able to enjoy more fully the good times without our requiring them to be more than they actually are, without our needing them to be perfect. Instead we can enjoy them, recognising them to be the echoes of those endless yet better times which so many of us continue to look forward to.

And when that hope is finally fully realised, as I believe it one day will be, when every tear is wiped away and death is no more [Revelation 21:4], we will discover that it will more than amply compensate, not only for those missed opportunities to go wild on the dance floor, the absence of fresh croissants on our holiday breakfast tables and the consequences following a couple of unfortunate run outs, but also for all the genuinely heartbreaking disappointments in our lives, even that of death itself.

For then it will not just be cricket that’s come home – it will be we ourselves. And having arrived there and found that we are home for good, I for one can’t imagine ever being disappointed again!


Postscript:

Later in the week I spent in Pembrokeshire last year I did finally manage to overcome my former reticence and adopted my altered ego of ‘Atom Man’ to brave the waves of Newgale. It was good to forget myself and to feel, not lost or insignificant, but nonetheless wonderfully small, happily caught up and enveloped in something immensely bigger and vastly more impressive than I will ever be.

But by golly it was cold!


The above is adapted from a piece written a year ago following England losing the football World Cup a year ago. That and related posts can be read by clicking here.

Other Somerset cricket related blogs:

To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here

To read ‘Eve of the RLIDC limericks’ click here

To read ‘It’s coming home…’, click here

A Jack Leach Trilogy:

To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here

To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here

To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here

To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here

To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here

IT’S COMING HOME…

After being runners up four times since they last lifted the trophy in 2005, will Somerset emerge victorious from this years T20 Final’s Day at Edgbaston. I do hope so!

It’s coming home
It’s coming home
It’s coming
Cricket’s coming home

Everyone seems to know the score
They’ve seen it all before
They just know
They’re so sure
Somerset’s gonna throw it away
Gonna blow it away
But I know they can play
Cos I remember

A [Mythical creature of disputed nomenclature]* on a shirt
Games on YouTube streaming
All those years of hurt
Never stopped me dreaming

So many jokes, so many sneers
But all those oh-so-nears
Wear you down
Through the years
But I still see:
Smeed and Banton unleashed
A Rilee Rossouw run feast
VDM on the charge
And Ben Green’s moustache

A [Mythical creature of disputed nomenclature]* on a shirt
Games on YouTube streaming
All those years of hurt
Never stopped me dreaming

I know that was then but it could be again

It’s coming home
It’s coming home
It’s coming
Cricket’s coming home

*For better scansion please insert ‘Dragon’ or ‘Wyvern’ depending on your position on this most contentious of issues!


Cricket related blogs:

To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here

To read ‘Eve of the RLIDC limericks’ click here

A Jack Leach Trilogy:

To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here

To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here

To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here

To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here

To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here


Addendum :

With it being forecast to be 27C at Egbaston today, it’s just as well that Stumpy is a real wyvern/dragon and not some poor soul who’s contracted to climb inside a hot costume and then run round an obstacle course. Wishing him all the best In the Mascot race!

BAGPUSS AND THE NHS

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a little girl and her name was Emily. And she had a shop. It was rather an unusual shop because it didn’t sell anything. You see, everything in that shop window was a thing that somebody had once lost and Emily had found and brought home to Bagpuss. Emily’s cat Bagpuss – the most important, the most beautiful, the most magical…saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world.

Well now, one day Emily found a thing and she brought it back to the shop and put it down in front of Bagpuss who was in the shop window, fast asleep as usual. But then Emily said some magic words:

‘Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss, old fat furry cat-puss
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light
Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing’

And Bagpuss was wide awake. And when Bagpuss wakes up all his friends wake up too. The mice on the mouse-organ woke up and stretched. Madeleine, the rag doll, Gabriel, the toad, and last of all, Professor Yaffle, who was a very distinguished old woodpecker. He climbed down off his bookend and went to see what it was that Emily had brought.

He inspected the object and then made that characteristic cackle of his, the one he always made prior to passing judgement on things about which he new little about. ‘That,’ he said, ‘is nothing more than a very heavy, very old, blanket. I’m not sure why Miss Emily brought it here. Don’t you agree Bagpuss?’

Bagpuss yawned as he gazed down on the item that lay before him. ‘It looks to me like something which has been pressed down by the weight of heavy expectation. Take the blanket off and let’s see what’s under it.’

‘Ridiculous, ridiculous, fiddlesticks and flapdoodle’ said Professor Yaffle. ‘There’s nothing under there which is of any value to anyone.’

But even as he said these words the mice set to work. Slowly they dragged the blanket to one side and revealed what lay beneath. What they saw was a tied and rather worn out organisation, one that had clearly been neglected for years, one that had been misused by many and taken for granted by a great number more.

‘What is it?’ the mice squealed excitedly.

‘I rather fancy it’s the National Health Service – or a least it was once,’ replied Bagpuss. ‘It looks as though it’s been overwhelmed by excessive demand and has long since seen better days. It really does appear to be terribly broken’.

The mice looked sad. ‘What should we do?’ they asked in unison.

‘Well, for a start, we all need to look after it better,’ Bagpuss replied.

The mice looked at each other and then one pulled out a role of music and loaded it into the marvellous mechanical mouse organ. Soon they were all singing.

‘We will mend it, we will tend it. We will treat it with care, care care.
We adore it, we’ll restore it, We it’s burdens will bear, bear, bear’

Eventually the song came to an end. ‘I know’, squeaked one of the mice. ‘Let’s train Charlie Mouse up as a GP and then make him work extra sessions over the bank holiday weekend’. The other mice cheered in excited agreement and started to haul the smallest of their number toward the door of the shop, forcing into his hand as they did so a discarded medical bag that Emily had brought back to the shop some months previously.

‘Stop that at once!’ shouted Madeline. ‘You can’t inflict being a GP on Charlie Mouse. He’s only little and without proper training he wouldn’t last five minutes working in primary care, not with current levels of demand. And besides it’ll take more than a few extra GPs to put things right.’

‘How about employing health care professionals from overseas?’, suggested Professor Yaffle. ‘Better still, let’s parachute in an oversized mouse like creature, one of a race of knitted individuals from a far off planet not dissimilar to the moon?’

‘That’, began Gabriel picking up his banjo, ‘would be to drop one enormous clanger! Sad to say some people would ignorantly question the creature’s ability to do the job simply because they sometimes found it difficult to understand what it was that it was saying. But that is neither here nor there. We can’t go round depriving others of the medical care that they need. Who would remain to look after the soup dragon! I’ll tell you what though. I know a song about the NHS. Several songs in fact. Would you like me to sing one for you?’

‘No, thank you’ growled Professor Yaffle a little more harshly than was strictly necessary. ‘We’ve heard far too many of your folksy tunes that bare such little resemblance to real life. What I want to know is what the NHS was really like.’

‘Madeline, do you know?’ asked Bagpuss turning to the rag doll who was gently rocking back and forth in her rocking chair.

‘When I was young my parents used to tell me stories of the NHS’, she said. ‘Of how when you called an emergency ambulance, one would come, when waiting times for hospital appointments were a matter of weeks rather than years, and of how pharmacies could always supply the drugs that patients needed. Back then, patients served by those working in hospitals and GP surgeries were invariably appreciative of the help they had received and recognised how fortunate they were that their care was free at the point of access. Back then it was even said that people actually used to enjoy working in the NHS.’

‘I find all that very hard to believe’, began Gabriel. ‘Some might complain that my songs portray a somewhat romanticised view of the world’, he continued, glaring at Professor Yaffle as he did so, ‘but surely Madeline, weren’t your parents looking at the NHS through rose tinted spectacles. Weren’t their stories actually just fairy tales?’

‘I don’t think so,’ said Madeline. ‘I believe things really were once as my parents described them. Or at least more so than they are now. But things have changed. The NHS isn’t like that anymore.’

Everyone fell silent, staring at the crumpled mess that lay on the floor before them. Nobody felt like singing now, not even Gabriel who laid his banjo down at his side. Some of the mice started to cry.

After a few minutes Madeline looked up. ‘Bagpuss,’ she asked, ‘Do you think the NHS could ever recover?’

‘Oh, I do hope so’, Bagpuss replied. ‘But it’ll take some careful thought’

And with that Bagpuss closed his eyes and began to think of all that would be required for the NHS to be restored. He imagined a government that funded the NHS adequately and enabled it to deliver the care that so many relied on, a government with policies that promoted both the physical and mental wellbeing of its population. He imagined a people who were realistic about what the NHS could do for them, a people who no longer expected it to solve their every problem and instead took more responsibility for their own health, a people who treated those working in the NHS with a degree of respect, recognising that everyone was trying to do their best in what was often an impossible job. He imagined a press which didn’t undermine staff morale with their constant criticism of what they didn’t understand. He imagined a world in which every aspect of everyone’s lives was no longer medicalised, a world no longer full of the worried well as a result of the well no longer being constantly told to worry about their perfectly healthy medical parameters. And he imagined those working in primary and secondary, rather than blaming each other for the problems in the health service, coming together and appreciating the difficulties each other faced.

Eventually Bagpuss opened his eyes again and looked once more on the NHS. And he saw how the mice had been working hard, each busily trying to implement all that he had been thinking about. As a result, the NHS was looking once again as it had done in its prime.

‘Isn’t it beautiful’, whispered Charlie Mouse seeing how it now shone so brightly.

Their work complete, the mice then pushed the NHS into the front window of Emily’s shop. And everyone hoped that those passing by would recognise it for what it was – the National Health Service, not the National Health Slave.

Bagpuss gave a big yawn, and settled down to sleep. And of course when Bagpuss goes to sleep, all his friends go to sleep too. The mice were ornaments on the mouse-organ, Gabriel and Madeleine were just dolls and Professor Yaffle was a carved wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker. Even Bagpuss himself, once he was asleep was just an old, saggy cloth cat – baggy, and a bit loose at the seams.

But Emily loved him.

[With apologies to Oliver Postgate, Peter Firmin and everyone at Smallfilms]


Other GP related stories:

To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here

To read ‘A Bear called Paddington’, click here

To read ‘Jeepy Leepy and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘Mr McGregor’s Revenge – a tale of Peter Rabbit’, click here

To read ‘General Practices Are Go!’, click here

To read ‘The Three Little GPs and the Big Bad Secretary of State for Health’, click here

To read ‘Dr Wordle and the Mystery Diagnosis’, click here

To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here

To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here

To read the whole of ‘The Scrooge Chronicles’, click here

To read ‘The Happy Practice – A Cautionary Tale’, click here

To read ‘A Grimm Tale’, click here

To read ‘The General Practitioner – Endangered’, click here


To sample Gabriel’s back catalogue of medically themed songs, follow the links below. Performances of cover versions are available for those marked with an asterisk.

A Hard Year For Us All*

What A Wonderful Job This Can Be*

Baggy White Coats*

The Wild GP*

GP Kicks*

The Very Model Of A General Practitioner*

I’ve Got A Little List*

Stuck In The Middle With You*

Three Lockdown Songs*

On Call Days and Mondays

GPs – Do You Remember?

Summertime

My Least Favourite Things

My Most Favourite Things


Other related blogs:

To read ‘The NHS – the ‘S’ is for Service not Slave’, click here

To read ‘On being Overwhelmed’, click here

To read ‘Health – it’ll be the death of us. Is there institutional arrogance in the NHS?’, click here

To read ‘The Repair Shop’, click here

To read ‘The State Of Disrepair Shop’, click here

To read ‘Something to reflect on – are we too narcissistic?’ click here

To read ‘General Practice – A Sweet Sorrow’, click here

To read ‘On being crazy busy – a ticklish problem’, click here

To read ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, click here

To read ‘When the Jokes on You’, click here

To read ‘Professor Ian Aird’ – A Time to Die?’, click here

To read ‘Blaming it on the Boogie’, click here

HOPING IN THE ONE WE FEAR

Not everything that’s scary has eight legs.

In my Bible notes this morning I was asked the question as to who can know God. This was in the context of my reading Psalm 33 and I was directed towards, what to me at least, is the somewhat curious verse 18. Here it is:

‘Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love.’

A similar verse is found in Psalm 147:11 which reads

‘but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.’

So the eye of the LORD is on those he takes pleasure in. So far so good. But they are those who, whilst fearing him, hope in his steadfast love. And therein is what for me is curious about these verses – we are to put our hope in the one we fear.

Generally speaking we run from things that we are afraid of. Well I do! If a lion came into the room that I’m now sat, I’d be afraid – I’d run from a lion. Likewise, as a result of my dislike of all things eight legged*, if a dirty great big spider dropped from the ceiling above me, I would be mightily unsettled. I’d run from a dirty great big spider. And if the building that I’m in began to collapse I again would be terrified and I would be out of my seat like a shot and making fir the door. I’d run from a collapsing building.

But if we fear God – if we fear the consequence of all the wrong things that we have done – then our only hope is to not to run away from God, but to run towards Him.

And most particularly we need to run to the cross – where a loving yet righteous God poured out his anger, not on us, but on his son Jesus who took there the punishment we deserve.

I live in Somerset, on the edge of the Blackdown Hills. If we were ever to have a long dry summer and some dreadful fire took hold and began to destroy the countryside near where I live, the safest place for me to be would be where the fire had already been, where it had already scorched the ground before moving on. That ground can’t be burnt again. So it is with God – the safest place from God’s wrath – is where it has already fallen and cannot fall again – that is – in Christ.

So I think there is no contradiction in hoping in the one we fear. At first glance it might seem crazy for sinners like me to run towards a holy, righteous God. But in truth the only sensible thing that those who have a reverent fear of God can do, rather than hiding from Him in terror, is to run to Him for mercy – putting their trust in his steadfast love, hoping in the one who is both their hope and shield, the one who will surely deliver them from death.

So may that be the response of us all. As the psalmist in the closing verses of Psalm 33 yearns, may the LORD’s unfailing love rest on us as we put our hope in him and may our hearts rejoice as we trust in his holy name.

* Please note that my aversion to all things eight legged does not extend to the rest of my family made up as it is by my wife and three children all of whom have their full compliment of lower limbs!


Related blogs:

To read ‘Good Friday 2022’, click here

To read “Easter Sunday – 2021”, click here

To read, ‘The Resurrection – is it Rhubarb?’, click here

To read, ‘Real Love?’, click here

To read ‘Real Power’, click here

To read, ‘But this I know’, click here

To read “Hope comes from believing the promises of God”, click here

To read “Waiting patiently for the Lord”, click here