Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 4, 2011

Monday, 3rd January 2010 – health problems overseas, and a new cricket Test match begins.

Well, I had been counting on a good night’s sleep, prior to my last day  before returning to the office –  today is another Public Holiday in lieu of New Year’s Day –  but it didn’t work out that way, although considering that it was beyond 8.30 when I eventually woke again, I suppose I did get a fair proportion of hours in total!.  The call of nature woke me just before 4am  –  a few minutes later, as I was hoping to settle back for a few more hours sleep, my phone buzzed  – a message from Adam, at the airport presumably in Paris. Last night, he had indicated that he was starting to ‘feel sick’ but still enjoying his  trip. This morning’s early message said bluntly that   ‘Feel crap, throat is killing me. Fly out to Scotland in 3 hours. Any ideas on getting rid of a sore throat?’  How helpless did I feel at that point – over the course of a couple of exchanged messages, I gave the normal advice re seeking medication, finding a chemist, asking the ‘tour’ people for guidance. I had visions, quite likely of his condition deteriorating over the next few days, felt really sorry for him at that moment. It was then that I learnt that the tour part of the trip was over – Brent and Adam were tripping on their own now, through Scotland and England for a few days. My next bit of advice was to try and find a doctor in Scotland – I knew that and any medication would cost a lot more than usual, but told him, I’d send any money to cover that.

Adam’s third message, at 3.45 am, was a little more comforting, at least it indicated he was thinking of other things – wanted to know the names of the places in Scotland that our ancestors came from – presumably, they would try and get there! I let him know Ancrum, near the English border for the Kennedys, and Dysart, Fife [closer to Edinburgh I thought] for the Kirk ancestors! I didn’t hear anymore, but certainly could not get back to sleep – made a cup of tea, and with a tub of yogurt, switched on the old TV in the bedroom for 40 minutes or so.ust have gone off to sleep soon after switching that off at 5.30, and woke 3 hours later!  Was tempting to go back to sleep if possible –  but, wanted to try and go for an early walk, and when I heard Susan up, preparing for another day at her casual department store job, got on the move myself. Later left a message on the family phone with news of Adam’s adventures and misadventures.

5th Cricket Test began in Sydney this morning. Just got back from an early walk [soon after I got up] – my justification for sitting watching six hours of cricket on the TV –  with Ricky Ponting out injured, the Captain for this match was Michael Clarke, and a couple of new team members, hoping to resurrect the Australian team performance. Interesting official opening – just before the two national anthems were played, an Aboriginal elder gave the ‘official Indigenous welcome to country’ – for some unknown reason, he began with ‘Good morning –  ohh bugger!!’ No idea what that was about, but his welcome was quite lengthy. Australia’s Anthem sung by Greta Bradman, granddaughter of Sir Donald Bradman, Australia’s most famous cricketer. Inspiring, special.  My thoughts went to Adam – would be close to midnight in Scotland, and if he was well enough and awake, I’m sure that he and Brent  would find as TV to watch the beginning of the game.  Must be some psychic connection there – a few minutes later, a new message from Adam –  “Just arrived at hotel in Scotland, by far the best room I’ve had :-)”  Well that was again, another positive bit of feedback. Sent him and Brent details of the cricket, which had just started here. Adam and Brent play together in one of the local Sunbury cricket teams, I think they usually open the respective innings for the teams they play for, so cricket is very much in the blood of both of them.

Meanwhile, to his joy, Michael Clarke won the Toss for Australia, and elected to bat. Roar of the crowd, full of optimistic expectations as Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes came out to open, at 10.30 am local time.  In Sydney [a bit like here I think], the weather conditions were overcast, humid, and with threats of rain. With this being the only day I could watch this match, I was hoping there would be no rain delays. I recall that is what happened on this 1st day last year. After the first hour of play, despite many  ‘tame’ appeals by the English fieldsmen, the Australian openers had survived the first 14 overs to be 0 wicket for 31 runs. Not rushing along but steady progress. Mind you, ten minutes before the lunch break, and Watson had only scored 19 runs  – if he goes out now, I would personally feel that his innings would have been a waste, 110 minutes for just 19 runs, all he will have achieved for Australia would have been to use up time with little to show for it. Aside from the cricket, I was planning to cook a pot roast of beef today, intending to let it cook throughout the afternoon. Hopefully, Susie won’t change her mind, and will be home for the evening meal tonight, after she finishes work!

Just before lunch, the ‘Barmy Army’ [English  team supporters] are really beginning to get warmed up in voice and support – not as much so far for them to cheer about today, perhaps they are getting restless and trying to inspire the English bowlers to grab a wicket before lunch.  Wondered if my brother, Robert & wife Evelyn were at the cricket – over recent years, they have made the first day of the Sydney Test a regular outing [no doubt in first class ‘members’ surroundings], and it would not surprise to learn that they are in the crowd again this year. At lunch, after 30 overs and 2 hours of play,  the Australian score had moved to 1 wicket for 55 runs  –  yes, Hughes fell with 3 balls to go before the break, out for 31 runs!!  Why couldn’t the restrained discipline of the previous 118 minutes held out for two more minutes!!  Watson remains on just 19 runs  – I still maintain that the slow scoring rate has proved little, with a poor score on the board at the first main break!! 

It’s not an especially hot day, but is now certainly a spell of brilliant sunshine, quite a contrast to the dull overcast conditions under which I was walking this morning. The pattern is repeated up in Sydney, where early in the afternoon session of the cricket, there was a lengthy delay of almost two hours because of rain [similar situation and time loss in the Melbourne test last weekend. Just before that break, we saw 24 year old New South Wales batsmen, Usman Khawaja came in for his first Test match innings. He was Australia’s first Muslim test cricketer, having come out to Australia as a 3 year old, from Islamabad in Pakistan. A good background in cricket at the state level, he was apparently in pretty good form  – starting off that way, scoring 15 runs off his first 10 balls faced.  Anyway, not long after the long break from rain, the captain, Michael Clarke, failed again, in his biggest test as captain, and continued with his poor form of this series. Personally, I would like to see someone like wicket keeper Brad Haddin as Australia’s next captain. That left new comer Khawaja and the in-form Michael Hussey to rescue the situation for Australia, with the team having slumped to 3 for 113! The new player was eventually out for a credible 37 runs, and before the next ball was bowled, the heavens opened, and down came the rain. As far as I’m aware there was no further play possible today, so by the official stumps time, Australia’s score was another miserly 4 wickets for just 134 runs.  Not a great deal of difference in the overall first innings top order scores than all of the previous test matches.

Putting aside the cricket for the time being, one of my favourite regular magazines is a publication called Limelight, which comes out each month. Published by the ABC broadcasters, it is the publication voice of the ABC’s national classical music radio station, and while I’ve never actually formally subscribed to it, I have been purchasing the monthly Limelight for many years now. The January edition includes an article about the 2010 Limelight Readers’ Choice awards for the twelve most popular classical musicians/singers etc over the past year. While I have at different stages probably heard most of them perform at different stages, there are only a couple whom I’m seen actually perform live. Never mind, as time goes on, I will gradually hopefully try and remedy that situation. Let’s have a look at the winners.

Readers’ Choice – Emma Matthews, soprano, currently aged 40, and one of the world’s most lyric songbirds.

Music Personality of the Year – Richard Tognetti, violinist and artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra [this combination, I have seen perform live].

Best orchestral concert – Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti, a concert in August of music by Schumann [Cello Concerto], Berethoven [5th Symphony] & Mozart [Symphony No. 41]. 

Best Chamber Music Concert – again, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, with violinist, Patricia Kopatchin, on the Barefoot Fiddler National Tour.

Best Solo Performance – Paul Lewis, pianist in the Musical Viva, National Tour.

Best Classical recording – Handel: Concerto Grossi, by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra/Paul Dyer.

Best Opera Production – Bliss by Opera Australia [this production was certainly raved over while it was in performance during 2010 – bit sorry I didn’t make the effort to see what all the fuss was about!]
Best New Composition – Bliss, the opera, by Brett Dean.

Best Jazz Recording – Jamie Oehlers [tenor saxophonist] and Paul Grabowsky [pianist] , part of a quartet with Sam Anning [bass] and  Ben Vanderwal [drums], their recording titled  ‘On A Clear Day’  includes such jazz standards as ‘I’ve Never Been In Love Before’, ‘Soul Eyes’, and ‘I Remember You’ – [I have seen Paul perform, with my favourite Australian singer, Katie Noonan].

Best event/festival – Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

Best World Music Recording –  Joseph Tawadros [of Egypt]  ‘The Prophet’, a recording which he does alone with the aid of an oud  –  the oud is a pear-shaped fretless Arabic stringed instrument – the artist describes this album as a body of work which hides none of his emotions and feelings as both a musician and a person.

Best Newcomer – Zubin Kanga., Australian pianist.

At present, I’m actually trying to make up my mind which concerts I would like to purchase tickets for during 2011. This is probably the last year that I will be able to afford to attend a number of concerts on a regular basis, so currently considering my options, and trying to decide which performances I would like to spend money on this year. These days, as readers have probably gathered, I tend to go to most of these events on my own – not always the preferred outcome, but at the prices of most tickets these days, it’s not a cheap form of entertainment if considering two or more tickets, most of which tend to be for music genres that are supported by a minority of music enthusiasts. A couple of the above mentioned orchestras are likely to be included, and I certainly like the opportunity to hear the couple of solo pianists referred to. At this stage, I do have my usual Series tickets for the Australian String Quartet but I think 2011 will be the last time I buy those, as I want to spread my concert going around a bit more widely.






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