Thursday, 14 July 2022

As I was going to Strawberry Fair …

 

An English folk song from the west country dating back to the late 1800s …


As I was going to Strawberry Fair,
Singing, singing, Butter-cups and Daisies
I met a maiden taking her ware,
Fol-de-dee!
Her eyes were blue and golden her hair,
As she went on to Strawberry Fair,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.


I've been distracted and couldn't think how to start this post …


I thought life was meant to slow down … my life seems to speed up – my fault I like to be busy … now to catch my tail as 'our year' falls autumn to summer … so one or two groups and organisations take a break … as too the Committees …



Strawberry Fair, Cambridgeshire
I must catch those iMac, iPad, iPhone tails for my various positions I hold or 'work' I offer to do … and do some serious understanding, clearing/sorting out …


My brain is a mass of threads … and sometimes I've no idea where to stop or start …


Swifts thermalling

Last post I was talking about 'guano' – that marvellous poo … now I thought I'd mention balls – hope no-one minds …



the cricket's been on … and at that stage we were doing rather well … but I've enjoyed listening to the commentary … taking me back to early childhood days … when we'd spend the afternoon at the pub … a walk and play in the garden … Surrey (county) cricket was one of the best counties back then – and certainly it enjoyed my parents support.




The pub - the facade seems much the same

Now – they're making 'fun' of the state of the balls … as the stitching, or the leather, or the effects of Covid on staffing have 'given' the balls an issue …



The company had no idea there was an issue until people started complaining. When the balls are sent out they all look perfect. When they’re played with, if there’s anything at all wrong with them it shows up.



One of the last balls being produced
at Dukes in London

Unfortunately the production time is 9 months … with this recent batch appearing to have been a problem. The banter between the commentators is quite amusing …




The balls are no longer made in this country … so that could have something to do with the end result … something that's an endangered craft, made on a different continent, is always in the line of not being perfect …


Cricket ball and bat

Anyway onwards with this post … before this batch of heat … we've had some wonderful clouds with a healthy breeze … and as I've sat here watching the tennis, listening to the cricket, mulling life, and on occasions getting on with things …



the gulls have been coming inland on the thermals … lovely to watch them enjoying the freedom of effortless flight …



...then suddenly there were 'hordes of' tiny birds winging their way around … per the cricket commenters up north advising this southerner the Swifts had arrived … they winter in Southern Africa, and come up here to breed …


In the evening they 'have screaming parties' (believe it or not) … and it's wonderful hearing their calls – either on the wing, or as they nest … dancing around on the evening wind …


Game of serious cricket
Then just to make sure I'm totally distracted by life … an on-coming rush of politics is a-foot … we keep going … but it will be nice to have a change …


So life is interesting … it's lovely being able to get out and walk by the sea, look at the burgeoning plants – yet due to the hot hot weather … know that there will be other things to deal with …


I love the summer … beautiful evenings … happy days to you all – if you're in this half of the world …


Original company that developed cricket balls ...

This company appears to hold the history about the manufacturing of cricket bats, and then sportswear ... 


David Gascoigne has mentioned a book published by Shropshire's Wildlife Trust's Communication Officer : Sarah Gibson - here's a link to her blog ... 

David Gascoigne's post about Sarah's book ... "Swifts and Us": fabulous reading - enjoy ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

41 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not made there - that is a problem. Everything is so delayed now. And expensive.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I guess there's always discomfort when the balls aren't right... and I'm still waiting for summer to actually turn up for anything more than a day a week... and hey ho, there's autumn looming. YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

Enjoy your summer (and oodles of delicious strawberries).
I didn't know that the balls were made elsewhere - which is also true of the bats.

Sandra Cox said...

Walking by the sea sounds lovely, Hils.

Anabel Marsh said...

Didn’t think I’d find you talking balks, Hilary 😀😉!

Liz A. said...

It is an interesting time of the year. What a mess with the balls, though.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I do love your sense of humour. :)

Another reason to shop local not just for food but other stuff as well.

Have a wonderful summer.

Hels said...

I loved living in Britain, except that the beautiful summers were rather short. I still love watching the cricket but your childhood days sound better than tv or radio - the afternoon at the pub, following by a walk and game in the garden. In summer, cricket in the sunshine is perfect.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex – yes the manufacturing was moved to India just before the pandemic …

And as you say prices are going up … with a lack of supply …

@ Yam – it sounds as though your weather hasn't been very kind; the state of 'the cricket balls' has given the commentators much discussion and mirth … something different …

@ EC – lots of strawberries = yes!

I hadn't realised the bats were now also made overseas … I gather a South African/Indian company now manufactures them … while the UK organisation 'Surridges' holds distribution rights for bats and other sportswear …

@ Sandra – having the sea 'round the corner' is just wonderful …

@ Anabel – well no I didn't think I'd be talking about 'balls' … but sometimes needs must!

@ Liz – there's lots going on … but the string used in seaming the ball (sewing it together) appears to be the problem …

@ Nila – there's usually 'a tongue in cheek or two' somewhere when I'm around …

Fortunately I live in a reasonable sized town so there's a variety of general shops around … there may not be much available … but the shops aren't at least bare …

@ Hels – our summer to me is enhanced by our long summer evenings – blissful … but yes we were very lucky as kids – lots of outside interests and plenty of cricket – I'm pleased its back on tv ...

It's good you had the opportunity to live over here and experience life in the UK and be near Europe – which was so easy to travel to … I consider myself very fortunate to have lived in South Africa and on Vancouver Island and understand life overseas …

Thanks to you all for your comments and for expressing an interest in our British summer and its traits …

I've put up two new links re cricket bats and balls … happy Friday and weekend – cheers Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I could really have fun with this theme of misplaced and imperfect balls, Hilary, but I had better restrain myself! Let me say thank you for the picture of the swifts. I am reading a book on them (by a British author, a woman too) so this image was timely, and I thought that was your connection to balls since swifts are known to catch multiple insects and form a bolus ((or ball) so that they feed their young a substantial meal with every food delivery. As for my own acquaintance with balls these days, other than for returning an errant ball over the fence to the neighbour's children, let me say that everything is in good order and created locally. No chance of imperfection! Hugs - David

Deborah Barker said...

Ah, loved this post. It feels as though I am inside your head (just a little - don't want to get lost). Cricket was my Dad's sport. he played for Essex County Police and afore that, for a few other teams. I still have a cricket ball, in a far worse state than any here, that he was presented with on a plinth, that needs repairing, with a plaque that reads: 'on the occasion of his taking 10 runs for 16 wickets, whatever that may mean! (29/61955) which happens to be the year before I was born but a date on which my younger brother was born in 1961. I am told the achievement was very good. Essex Country Police presented the ball to him and I remember it well from my childhood. It is now mine. I should maybe learn the rules...hmm!

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Lovely piece, Hilary.
I'm shocked that - oh my goodness, I've forgotten what I was shocked about! Whatever, enjoyed your article,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - I definitely could have made more of this post - but trying to keep some semblance of my reputation in tact seemed a wise choice. So I understand your thought process of restraint is the better part of valour!

Is your Swift book by Sarah Gibson ... so I hope to see a review? I'd noted there are 'swift bricks' and swift homes available .. and was going to include them in my post - but decided there was way too much already. I didn't know about the 'Swift balls' or bolus of insects - so your review is eagerly awaited.

I try to keep to myself now-a-days and so don't see many balls around - other than beach ones! Delighted to know there's no imperfection in your neck of the woods - just keep looking after them!!

@ Deborah - lovely to see you ... how interesting about your Dad ... while interesting to see the date of 29 June 1955 - what fun to have those items around for posterity and the grandchildren. I must say ten runs for sixteen wickets befuddles me - but I'm sure it's simple - and those figures are of a very high standard.

While learning the positions on the field would be a start ... the rules with all the various types of games now-a-days would need a qualification ... I think! I vaguely understand ... thanks for your interesting back-story ...

@ Mike - oh oh ... you've forgotten?! Can't have that here?! Just happy you enjoyed the thoughts expressed here ...

Thanks to the three of you ... so pleased I didn't upset anyone's sensibilities - cheers Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hi Hilary: It is indeed the book by Sarah Gibson. i confess that I had not thought of reviewing it but now I will do so as soon as I finish reading it. I am enjoying it very much so the review will be positive. Maybe there's a way to send a link to the author. I always do so if I have the information.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - Oh good - thanks ... it'll be interesting ... she's got an Amazon page - but perhaps better, more personal - would be the Shropshire Wildlife Trust - their blog:

https://www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/blog/sarah-gibson/swifts-us

and I'll put a link up here on my post - but look forward to your review anon ...

Cheers Hilary

Jacqui Murray said...

So much interesting as usual about your post, Hilary. I try to buy American--to support my country--but as you found with the balls, so much is no longer made here. I begin to wonder what my countrymen do all day if not produce.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jacqui - I suspect much was out-sourced before the pandemic struck ... and now with the ramifications of a change in so many things eg lack of flights, cost of living aspects - which effect business as well ... the world of business (let alone personal life) has been changed dramatically in the past couple of years ... what the future holds is not so easy to discern.

We're also losing all our crafts industry ... the old crafts don't tempt people to learn them. We do need some encouragement for the crafts, as you've mooted - cheers Hilary

DMS said...

I like that little song/poem from way back when.

Interesting about the balls- sounds like a problem for sure!

I do love the summer and the longer hours of daylight and listening to all the critters outside at night. :)

Have a lovely weekend!

Dan said...

I always enjoy your posts, Hilary. I've watched documentaries over here on the manufacture of baseballs and bats. People can get spun up over that whole process. Walking on the beach is good in any weather.

D.G. Kaye said...

Sad the balls are no longer made in England. And do stay cool Hilary. I hear from my bestie in Kent, it's like an oven and the heat will continue at least through this coming week. Stay cool and hydrated. Hugs xx

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Not good about the balls but I like that old song

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - I must admit that I am jealous about your hot summer. Our entire Spring was MIA. Sadly, our summer hasn't been much better. Lots of rain and cool, cool days.
Very interesting about the balls being made elsewhere. I continue to learn a great deal from your posts.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

There is so much delay in receiving products today. I've never experienced this before. It is daunting.

We're in full fledged 100 degree summer days, where the grass is crunchy and everything begs for water.

Great post, by the way.

Teresa

Sandra Cox said...

A Strawberry Fair has such a romantic ring to it, doesn't it?
Thanks so much for stopping by C.K. where I was posting Friday. So very appreciated.

bazza said...

Also, I don't recall so much discussion about the ball unless it was knocked out of shape. These days there is much discussion about the parameters of 'white ball' cricket as opposed the the 'red ball' game. How things change. Come back John Arlott and Brian Johnson!

bazza said...

Brian Johnson's famous quote: "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey."

Carola Bartz said...

I must admit that I never gave a thought where cricket balls are made and that they can't be anything but perfect. Of course I had assumed they were made in Britain and wasn't aware at all that this is not the case anymore. Just like many of the American flags are made in China - how ironic. Oh those strawberries - I can taste their sweet juicyness (is that a word?) just looking at your photo.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Hilary!!!

I just love your free and spirited posts! You are the type of person who enjoys so many aspects of live, especially the simple ones like enjoying a cricket game or the "call" of bird's mating. Sorry to hear about your intense heat wave...take care. The summers here in NW IL are brutal, but even we are have higher than usual temps. SO MUCH SUN...

Enjoy the rest of your summer and take care!

Rhodesia said...

Love this post and it made me smile. So many things are made 'elsewhere' and they are seldom up to the standard we expect. After a 7 month battle with the distributors here, we have finally returned, and got out money back on two chairs that were supposed to be made of leather, so why did the leather peel? We have new chairs on order now that are made closer to home in Spain, should arrive 'anytime soon' they can only be better we hope.

I hope all is well and that you are enjoying the warmer weather but keeping cool.

Cheers Diane

Pradeep Nair said...

Hilary, you didn't know how to start the post, but you have put together such a lovely one!

You are so right about life, sometimes speeding up, when it should actually be slowing down. We all get caught up with the world around us that is moving at a fast pace.

I too am following the lovely cricket matches that are on in England. Well-contested matches between England and India. Yes, the quality of the ball is an issue.

I just hope that the heat is not too severe in your locality. My good friend Henry who is in New Castle tells me that most of the time the weather is not too harsh.

Take care.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jess – yes the folk songs are often appropriate and delightful to read/listen to.

Much 'baracking' is going on about the state of the cricket balls – light relief – or pain in the butt … depending!

I too love the summer but it is fast passing by – ah well … wonderful to enjoy while here …

@ Dan – thanks so much. Delighted to read you've looked at the manufacture of baseballs and bats – I expect in someways similar to our later cricket bats and balls … cricket bats regulated from 1624 … cricket balls from early 1700s …

@ Debby – yes their manufacture has been outsourced to India …

It is very hot, worse today … I'm managing – being by the coast helps … I hope your 'bestie' will be managing – I'm feeling for so many. Thanks for your thoughts …

@ Jo-Anne – thank you …

@ Donna – yes you mentioned your Spring being MiA – and how sad about the Summer … I'm glad it wasn't like that when I had my year there! I keep learning about so many subjects … as I post …

@ Teresa – so good to see you … yes Covid has changed 'the normal world' for ever … let alone Russia, and now the fires in Europe …

Theoretically you're more used to that sort of weather … it happens here occasionally – just today social media magnifies so much …

Glad you enjoyed the post …

@ Sandra – oh yes it'd be lovely … while fields of strawberries are delicious to explore – let alone be amongst: that scent …

@ Bazza – I know … the banter about the balls has been fun to listen to – in amongst the spray of runs England has been sprinkling around the grounds.

Brian Johnson and John Arlott were superb commentators … and I love how they came up with appropriate comments such as 'The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey' – I've noted Peter Willey's son David is now playing for England. I do vaguely keep up …

@ Carola – great to see you here and to have your comment. We've lost so many crafts … perhaps that's happened in Germany, though I know you now live in Northern California. Yes so much is/was made in China – I wonder about the future and those supply lines ...

The strawberries – British summer scents! Juiciness – spelt with an 'i' … but excellent description for a fully ripe, perfumed strawberry!

@ Michael – good to see you … I do enjoy life – you're so right and am glad that effect comes over in my writing …

Our weather is being a bit much, but far worse in Europe … the challenge here is our infrastructure was built in the 1800s – when the weather was distinctly different. However, as with all things life goes on … tomorrow it'll be a civilised 24 degree C … I know your continental weather is different to our temperate life here …

@ Diane – excellent to hear from you. Interesting about your chairs – well the Spanish leather ones should be beautiful when they arrive and very appropriate for this weather – I hope they come soon … so frustrating waiting for things, having first hassled with your earlier purchase.

Yes – all well here … just busy – not like you in the garden, but with many other things … taxing the brain a lot! I'm glad I live near the coast …

@ Pradeep – brilliant … so happy to know you enjoyed 'my story telling' as such!

It's funny isn't it – I can connect so easily with you re the cricket … and I've another friend (in Bombay) whose father and invalided brother love the cricket – feels like I know them so well. Always good to hear from them … You won the latest international – more to follow …

And yes the quality of the ball manufacture is a challenge - must be partly due to the conditions – India is not England!!

I think Newcastle probably has quite a lot of heat today – the 'wave' is reaching into the north … and it is hot – I am so glad I'm near the coast!

Thanks so much to you all – today is going to be very hot (for us) … tomorrow we drop ten degrees C … so it will be more comfortable. Cheers everyone … so cheers with water!! Hilary

Joanne said...

I think you can now blame any brain wanderings on your heat. I'm thinking of you folks and hope you can find some cool spots to hang out. I'm back in TX and we hit 108F, so we're with you but we do have air-conditioning.
I do think summer is a time for more skipping around on life and subjects. I like your variety.
(and thanks for commenting so much on my stuff while I was gone to PA)

Sandra Cox said...

I would love to visit the pub shown in the picture.

Keith's Ramblings said...

The balls may have bounced abroad, but some of the world's finest bats are still made here, and not far from us - Gray Niccolls in Robertsbridge. Oh, how I love Summer beside the seaside!

mail4rosey said...

I wonder why the production was sent off to another place? Resonating with your sentiments over summer evenings. I love them.

Sandra Cox said...

Hope things get slowed down a bit for you.
Cheers,

Sandra Cox said...

'My brain is a mass of threads'. Excellent description.
Have a great weekend, Hils.

Marja said...

Glad you are keeping busy Hillary Hope not to busy with the heatwave you've had. Love the sight of that pub. Not a cricket fan. We have a failrly new cricket field here in NZ but NZ is quite english especially Christchurch. In the Netherlands you hardly hear about cricket
Enjoy your summer and these strawberries yum

Inger said...

This was such a wonderful and very English post, indeed. I loved it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne – thank you … our heat here has gone, but it's still warm, and by the coast there's usually some breeze.

I do not envy you your 108 F … but you're more organised with it … air-conditioning and the pool.

Summer is a time for taking stock … but appreciate your sentiment for my 'variety' … and it was a pleasure to come on over to comment while you were with your Dad in PA …

@ Sandra – thanks for your 'call-ins' … the pub was fun and had a garden for us to play in … I don't think I change … threads, cobwebs and life always mixes things up …

@ Keith – oh great … thanks for the info on Gray Niccolls – they hadn't hit my radar … but good to know about a Sussex local company.

You are enjoying your summer – not all by the seaside I see … but I did love those Quacky Ducks along the coast … brilliant!

@ Rosey – the move I'm sure was to do with costs … Indian production will be cheaper, but climate affects production, as too different skins and tanning of them … but perhaps quality control couldn't be the same in the time of a pandemic …

@ Marja – yes … life is constantly busy here … but the heat has not helped my getting on with things.

Cricket is such an English game … I enjoy it on occasions … while pub cricket on the village green has always been fun! New Zealand does well in the tests …

Just looked and seen that cricket in the 1860s was considered a major sport in the Netherlands! Surprised me too …

@ Inger – yes … my English nostalgia seems to be coming to the fore as my life goes along … just very happy these type of posts take you back to your time here …

Thanks so much to you all for being here and supporting me and the blog – cheers Hilary

Jeff said...

I'm sure your hot weather isn't doing the strawberries any good. Our strawberries are done by mid-June. But here in the mountains, I'm waiting for the tomato harvest (I have harvested 3 so far, but in a week or two, I'll be harvesting them by the baskets.

Strawberry festivals used to be a big thing here in a lot of little towns and as church socials.