My non- sporting readers must forgive me but most of the world’s newspapers are full of FIFAâ€™s decision to award the 2018 football World Cup to Russia and the following one, in 2022, to Qatar. England were humiliated by being eliminated in the first round and only attracting one vote additional to their own representative. This, after the humiliating picture of our Prime Minister, our future king Prince William and Beckham grovelling and humbling themselves before individual members of the committee in the hope of attracting their vote. My own view is that FIFA should have been much more honest when they invited bids, making it clear that they would favour a country which has never hosted the event before and one which would widen the interest of football beyond the current leading nations in the game. In other words, they were not interested in preaching to the converted. Had this been made clear I believe we could have gracefully declined submitting a bid andÂ saved the country the Â£15 million, which apparently, the bid has cost us.
The second cricket Ashes series started last night in Australia with England once more dominating the event. They bowled out Australia for 245 runs having dismissed three of the top batsmen, for two runs, including Ponting, their captain, for a golden duck (out first ball without scoring) very early on. England survived the one over Â remaining after the Australian innings and now has to go on tomorrow to score something in the order of 400 runs to ensure one their first victory.
One of my readers asked me about, Mouse, the donkey I mentioned a few days ago. She lives in the paddock at the side of our house and was originally one of a pair.
Her companion was called Henrietta but she unfortunately died a few years back. Both were rescue donkeys and came from the Wood Green Animal Shelter. We have no idea how old they are, all,’ my lovely’ was interested in is that they needed some TLC (tender loving care). In fact, at one stage we also had three sheep. One of them was blind and had suffered from meningitis as a lamb and as a result its head was stuck on one side and could only walk around in circles. This rather bizarre situation prompted me to write some children’s stories entitled Woody’s Tails! (Woody being my dear old black labrador, again, alas now long since dead).
Alice is what you might call the Bridget Bardot of Clavering. Certainly, in the past, she would’ve never turned an animal away that needed some love and attention. Indeed, some neighbours moved recently deserting their two cats and after attempting to get them to acknowledge their responsibility and failing, she has taken them on herself. On the other hand, she is not sentimental about. Animals. Henrietta, I recall, ended up being fed to the local foxhounds. No point in wasting good meat, she said. I remember a neighbour of ours keeling over in the garden, a few years ago, and being found by his wife dead, face down Â in the compost pit. I used to jokingly say just hope I don’t keel over in the garden!
‘ My lovely’ has always supported a number of animal charities and was frequently shocked when overseas by the way the locals treated their animals. I recall on one holiday in Greece being kept awake all night by a barking dog. The following morning, Alice insisted on finding out exactly where it was being kept and, having done so, she found it chained up in the yard, clearly neglected. As a result, when she returned to the UK, she contacted the appropriate animal protection organisation in Greece and had the dog removed to a safe and comfortable environment. None of this has much to do with anything in particular other than to demonstrate the loving caring creature she is. On the other hand I should perhaps mention that she is also a bit of an enigma, in that if we ever come across a pheasant or rabbit which has been knocked into my car and is still alive, she has no compunction about putting it out of its misery by ringing its neck or finishing it off with a hammer, which I certainly would not be capable of doing.
I promised my readers I would not go on about cricket – indeed I’ve already received one complaint -so I will not labour the fact that England had another fine day in the field with Cook batting all day for 136, not out, leaving our team with a score ofÂ 317 for the loss of only two wickets, one of which was, our captain, poor old Â Strauss who was out third ball. Â England have put themselves in a very strong position to win this second of the five Tests.