June 23rd, 2010

Tea-drinker par excellence


I watched the Argentina - Greece game last night and really enjoyed it. Greece packed men behind the ball, man-marked Argentina and left Samaras up front on his own. Samaras did a good job and had he been a slightly better striker the result would have been so different, given at least two very good chances. However Argentina's slightly shaky defence held out and Greece's strong organisation didn't last the full 90 minutes. But it was as good a tussle as I've seen in this cup and so I was surprised when the punters, including defender Hanson, said it was a boring game. Had they been watching the same game?
Tea-drinker par excellence


On Saturday I went back to my roots. We had some business on the Holloway Rd but finished that early and had an afternoon to spare. I was reminded that the William Morris Gallery wasn't far away, less than an hour by bus via Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale. So we trolled on over. A misunderstanding put us on the route to Walthamstow Central so we hopped off and walked along the length of the High St, looking for lunch. Unfortunately we couldn't do any better than Burger King and then of course when we found plenty of interesting places on Hoe St, including, curses!, a little bakery selling apricot flan (as in the French sort, a set custard tart with glazed apricots).

I was born in Walthamstow, at Thorpe Combe Hospital which is now a psychiatric unit. My parents had planned to move there after I was born but didn't in the end. My Dad had been to school just round the corner on Shernhall Lane and knew the area well. But in the event, we went back to Epping and I never returned there until 1992, 27 years later.

I played cricket for a time for the Atmospheric Physics deparment at Imperial College. It was my first game for the team and my first ever real game of cricket. Being brought up in France is not a way to advance your skills. The ground is quite a good one, out on the prosaically named South Access Road, but surrounded by an industrial estate and a rubbish tip. I didn't get to bat or bowl because we beat our opponents so easily. But there was time enough left for a rematch so we reversed the batting order and everyone got two overs to bowl. I scored 6, including a four, before being stumped going for another boundary. That was my lowest score for the team, in fact, in each innings I played for them I always scored more than in the previous outing, my final innings being 32 n.o. I also got to bowl for the only time and returned figures of 2-6 (1 bowled, 1 lbw) and I dropped a return catch. I'm not quick, have no appreciable spin but I am accurate which is often enough at this level.

The WM Gallery is not large. It's housed in one of the four WM places to visit around London. The others are Merton Abbey Mills (where he had a factory), Kelmscott House in Hammersmith (site of his press) and the Red House in Bexleyheath. Only this last one remains unvisisted now for me. But back to the gallery. It gives a good overview of Morris' life, has plenty of wallpaper, stained glass, sketches, calligraphy and pieces from a suit of armour he designed. There are probably more WM pieces in the V&A collection but not always on show in one place. Lloyd Park behind the house is popular with the locals and although not as well kept as you might hope, is certainly worth a stroll.

So that was my second visit, a mere 18 years after the first. At this rate, my third visit should be in 9 years, presumably to live there (the sequence being 27, 18, 9, 0).