Oh, Bugger!

I really hate this getting older stuff, I really do! Well, not actually getting older, that’s alright. It’s the decrepitude. It’s the chickens of misspent youth, the years of abuse in the gym and playing at being a parachute soldier coming home to roost that are the pits.

you’d never guess we were categorised as fast moving light infantry

Carrying loads like this is what started the rot. Followed by years of macho denial as tears and sprains in the gym took their toll on knees and back. (I’m only showing this to remind myself that I was once a fine young specimen)

‘You’re stubborn and stupid,’ J used to say (and still does) ‘and I have no sympathy for you! You never know when to stop!’ Which is only her opinion and not exactly true. Anyway, J is from Yorkshire and everyone from Yorkshire is opinionated. I mean, look at Geoffrey Boycott for one. I don’t know why there hasn’t long ago been an independence campaign so that England can detach itself from that lot. At least then we wouldn’t have had to put up with his boring cricket commentaries and his even more boring batting!

Watching Boycott ‘chase’ runs was on a par with watching paint dry!

But enough of all that, I need to get back on topic. Where was I? Oh, yes! Decrepitude!

One knee in particular has been pretty troublesome for a long time. It has a history of falling apart, being operated on, generally fiddled about with and dishing out some eye-wateringly painful reminders of its existence in my life. About a year ago it also decided that a bit of gout would look good on its résumé. My excellent bone  surgeon sorted it out with medication and all seemed well. Then about couple of months ago it started to make a comeback and so I started back on the medication. It had no effect. Zilch! It was back to the bone doctor.

What he soon discovered was that along with the gouty crystals there were deposits as a side effect of one of the heart medications that decrepitude requires I consume on a daily basis. So, that prescription has been changed and there are even more pills and creams to add to the cocktail and for three weeks there will be ‘WD40‘ injections into the knee.

Oh, bugger! would seem a pretty appropriate response to all this except for one thing. In the space of just a few days the pain has been relieved and last night I got the first decent night’s sleep in quite some time. Living here in Turkey means instant treatment and being contributors to the social insurance scheme the bulk of the costs are defrayed by the state health-care system. Beats the hell out of the UK and most any place else in the world if your chickens are coming home to roost and crapping all over the place!

Roll on Spring, and let me get at that patch of stony ground up there in the mountains!

Alan Fenn, grinning like a Cheshire Cat here in Turkey.

Am I Making A Silly Point?

village cricketThe very English game of Cricket has had a profound influence on global events, particularly in the last couple of hundred years. Actually, coming from the county of Kent in the south east of England, I need to change that to ‘the very Kentish game . .’ because its origins go back to the Weald of Kent in Saxon times. That said, how has this Kentish creation influenced world events . . ?

br empire pink_1

Britannia Rules OK!

Well, to start with, there is the British Empire which was the largest the world has ever known – as long as you don’t count the present US Empire (which they deny exists) that is! As Britain built and expanded its empire we introduced cricket to the defeated and crestfallen natives. We taught them the rules of the game, both written and unwritten. We taught them about fair-play, being a team player, honesty and accepting the umpire’s decision even when you knew it was wrong! We played by the ‘same rules’ on a ‘level playing field’ where everyone was equal. We dressed them in white, the colour of integrity and the ruling elite. Above all, we treated them as equals on the playing field and applauded them when they played well. We even accepted defeat by them with grace and gave them trophies. We drank tea with them and shared our cucumber sandwiches!


All India Cricket Team 1932

With all this equality on the playing field the natives forgot that their country was being plundered and they were being subjected to humiliation at every turn. Instead of fighting the British to a stand-still, ‘Johnny Foreigner’ accepted the empire/umpire’s bad decision, acknowledged the applause of players and spectators alike, tucked his bat under his arm and walked docilely back to the pavilion for the duration.

Countries like India became masters of the game of cricket, meanwhile they allowed the British to rule their country for a couple of hundred years with a relatively tiny administration whilst it was being robbed of anything that wasn’t nailed down. Cricket was the weapon of empire –a ‘weapon of mass deception’.

a Sahib and his Memsahib lording it over the natives

Moving on, there are Crickets, as in Bush Crickets! I would argue that crickets are named after cricket. I’m not suggesting that cricket is older than crickets which, after all and as fossil records prove, go back more than 350 million years to the Carboniferous Period. But crickets were definitely named after cricket and the evidence is in the records, so to speak.

cricket-fossilCrickets were first described, recorded and named as such by Linnaeus in 1748. Cricket, on the other hand, has its first recorded reference in a court legal document of 1598. Proof that crickets were named after cricket – although, as I said, I’m not suggesting that cricket was around before crickets. Crickets pre-date human-kind by quite a few million years and the way things are going they’ll probably be around for a few million after we kill ourselves off!

katydid emerging

a beautiful picture of a Green Bush Cricket shedding its old suit of clothes

Homo idioticus has been treating Mother Earth in much the same way that Britain treated its empire. Talking the eco-talk behind a smoke-screen of initiatives about ‘responsibility’ and ‘sustainability’ whilst actually accelerating the primitive plundering of resources. The latest batch of climate change models say it all – we are past the ‘tipping-point’, and change is compounding at an unprecedented rate.

arctic methgasFIGURE2Vast volumes of methane, a far more dangerous greenhouse gas, are erupting from the defrosting tundra and ‘boiling’ from the floor of the Arctic Ocean. By 2040 vast areas of the planet will be unviable for humans due to extremes of drought, flooding, sea level rise. Such is the speed of change that many species, particularly mammals, will fail to adapt – others, mostly insects and micro-organisms will do so and will flourish.

goodwin sands

cricket on the treacherous Goodwin Sands mid-channel (something I once did) a curious English pastime doomed to extinction along with the species

Mother Earth is not dying as some claim. Mother Earth is changing – evolving and adapting to the unnatural pressures of one ‘unnatural’ species.The umpire’s finger is raised and there will be no place for those who were stupid enough to believe that some ‘God’ gave them dominion over her.

Our innings is over – the Age of Man is passing!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü (I also recognise that I need to get out more)

ps ‘Silly Point’ is a fielding position on the cricket field so called because it is just about the silliest place to be relative to a cricket ball coming off a bat at well over 100 mph! You need quick reactions – see below.

pps for those who don’t ‘get’ cricket here is a brief but famous explanation:

Cricket: As explained to a foreigner…
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man who’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!