Friday, May 7, 2010
100 not out!
The number 100 has got something that other numbers just don't seem to have. If you live to the ripe old age of 100 years, it is reputed that, if you are British, the Queen of England will send you a telegram! Forget it, if you only live to 99!
Imagine...., You are visiting a second hand car dealer. The cars..., there they are, sleek, glittering in the sun, and smelling of polish and a whiff of deception! Greeting you with great bonhomie, the car salesman whisks you towards a low slung machine that looks like it is already approaching the speed of sound, whilst standing still. "This", he says in oily tones, "will do 99 miles per hour!"
Nah, it's just not the same as "doing the ton" is it!
In Cricket (and I refer to this game again, just because I know how incomprehensible it is to most of you!)..., in Cricket, 100 is a very significant number indeed. It is known as a century, and batsman, and probably batswomen, seem to be calibrated in centuries. Statistics are particularly important in a game that is played over the course of 5 days in moments of sunshine between showers of rain.
A batsman/woman..., person of the bat, will be remembered for how many centuries they amassed in their career, and to a much lesser extent, how many 50s they scored.
Dipak Patel, who was born the same year as me, 1958 bless him, played cricket for New Zealand from 1987, until 1997. I always liked to watch Patel, he was a spin bowler who was also a most elegant batsman. Spin bowlers are rather fun as a species, they don't have to run far or fast which means that they can have very long careers, but they do have to bowl accurately, and with great cunning. By clever technique, they are able to get the ball to spin as it leaves their hand, and it can bounce sideways as well as in the up and down sense when it hits the ground in front of the person with the bat.
As I have said, Patel was an elegant batsman, he always gave the appearance of a man who could score many runs, and probably had numerous centuries under his belt. Sadly, the magical 100, never came his way. I was listening to the cricket commentary in 1992 when he made his highest Test score, 99 against England. Patel batted well until his score got into the 90s, then he appeared to get bogged down. When he finally, nervously, got to 99, his runs dried up entirely. He was stuck without being able to score a run. Time dragged on, and he faced ball after ball, bowled at him by the bowler. Then he seemed to crack...., finally when a ball was bowled at him, he simply set off to try to get his run. It was suicide, and he was run out!
So Patel never reached 100 in Test Cricket, which was a shame. I always liked him as a player and as a personality.
At 99 blog posts, I too became stuck! The days that I would normally write the blog, became full with other things. Slowly, the magnitude of the 100th Post grew in my mind! I wanted it to be a special post, because the blog has been something special for me, and the people who follow the blog and comment on it have become special to me too.
The Saturday, after my exhibition of Crystal Glazed pots opened, Laura and I went for a ride on The Seasider, which is a train that runs twice weekly through the Summer months, from Dunedin to Palmerston and back.
This part of the railway, is one of the most beautiful in the country. Bill Campbell, who runs the East Otago Review, a Palmerston based newspaper, kindly arranged the trip for us, and we have taken a great many photos for him that he can use in the Review when writing about the railway. We will send him an article as well. Here are one or two of the photos I took from the train.
I hope it will encourage you to come over to New Zealand, and to have a ride on the Seasider train too!
A couple of Sundays later was ANZAC Day.
This is a special day in New Zealand, and a rather curious one too. It is a national day of remembrance in New Zealand, and in Australia, and honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey in World War 1. The Gallipoli campaign was one of those appalling military stalemates, where thousands and thousands of lives were lost on all sides of the conflict, and, in the end the troops, who had been sent to knock Turkey out of the war, had to be evacuated.
In New Zealand, the morning ANZAC parade and service is drawing larger crowds every year, and I actually went this year to take photos for The East Otago Review, as, even Bill Campbell couldn't be in three or four places at once!
We live in a very small town, but more than 150 people turned up to the parade. We still have some veterans from various wars here, so they lined up along with our fire brigade, and 4 representatives of the NZ army. An army Sargent barked out orders, and people stood to attention.
The army Sargent was a young woman, who I spoke to after the parade. She was an army Medic, who "dealt with anything from coughs and colds to medical trauma... Never a dull moment!" She had been overseas in East Timor a couple of years ago, and her husband, also a Sargent in the army, is there now.
A moving moment in the parade was when members of the public were invited to place poppies at the foot of the war memorial, and people slowly walked forward, two abreast. I counted just over 100 poppies that were left there.
I think of my grand parents on these occasions. War does not respect people, and inflicts suffering over everyone that its shadow passes over.
I have continued making some pots on the wheel and spent one week trying to make large ones, but mostly getting it wrong!
I did manage one of 19 inches high or so, which wasn't too bad.
but... believe it or not, I have almost taken some time off this week. I have been learning more about how to use my video editing software, and even did an experiment with stop motion animation, as can be seen in the video that accompanies this. The little modeling clay mouse on the video was attacked by the cat as I was trying to animate the clay mouse. The visit by the black cat was very funny, and totally unplanned! The cat was not too impressed that the mouse was not a real one, but did take several bites out of its tail, just in case!
Thank you to those of you who read, or follow this blog, and to those of you who leave comments. It has been a joy for me to hear from you and to be able to share with you some of our life and work here.
A respectful note to Her Majesty the Queen. Um..., I have another 48 years to go before I am 100, and mail delivery is not the most reliable or speedy these days, and it keeps on getting More expensive. With the threat of Global Warming, oil running out, and all the gloom and doom, I wondered if One would consider sending my 100th birthday telegram early, to beat rising prices, and to make sure I get it. I'll keep it safely until the great day! I remain Your most Humble and Devoted Servant, P. !