Midnight's Tour Diaries
Australia & New Zealand Tour 2017/18
Normal Service Resumed in Hamilton
25th February 2018 - It is 3.40 pm on Saturday and I am dodging the tumbleweed blowing along Hamilton's main street in the blazing heat. A huge Maori wearing wet-suit bottoms and an open dress shirt is slumped against a shop front as if sun bathing, but he is clearly stocious.
Derek & Clive do Gita
23rd February 2018 - This post needs to be contextualised. Tropical Cyclone Gita has just devastated areas of the South Island, some of which Lofty and Midnight were travelling through only last week. Due to good luck more than good planning, the pair escaped the South Island by ferry yesterday in torrential rain before the real fun and games started.
Take me out to ball game
19th February 2018 - Having been a long - term admirer of Ms Nicola Sturgeon and her plans for Scottish world conquest, the choice of Dunedin to celebrate my 60th birthday was a logical one. Here is the new Scotland, the Scotland of the South Pacific. The very name Dunedin is the Gaelic for 'Edinburgh'.
1st February 2018 - So, where are we up to? I must admit we have been away so long now, I am beginning to forget myself. Ah, yes. A journey to Christchurch to watch the Under-19 World Cup semifinals - whose line up unexpectedly does not include England, New Zealand or South Africa.
The Hazards of Wearing Shades when Parking Underground
23rd January 2018 - For those readers wishing to read about the Under 19 Cricket World Cup, I commend Lofty's upcoming Addis article on the subject for your perusal. As usual, my tour diary will contain bugger all about cricket, so cricket saddoes hit the cross now!
My Sympathies to Gary Ballance
15th January 2018 - Lofty and I find ourselves in Swansea, Glamorgan (Tasmania) awaiting a monster storm coming in from the Pacific. I have a beach front, upper level motel room and the patio doors are rattling like a scene from 'Key Largo'.
The Masque of the Pink Death
7th January 2018 - I stole this title from Edgar Allan Poe. His books never have a happy ending either. A few days left in Melbourne before we resume our travels. I have gone from hating this city on my first visit with Herbie, Mr Colvile and Jack in 2006 to admitting a grudging liking for it now.
Its like kissing ya sister
30th December 2017 - Trying to engage with grumpy Lofty in the morning is a dangerous business. As we had a 7.30am flight from Perth to Adelaide the day after the calamitous Third test, early alarm calls at 5am were the order of the day.
A Proper Shower
18th December 2017 - When Lofty is unwilling to get behind the wheel of a car, something must be truly amiss. So I was extremely surprised when he said he was unwell, and asked me to undertake the two hour drive into Adelaide to drop off the hire car in order to board our flight to Melbourne, and onward to Perth. Then, Five - O sent me a photo of the following road sign, and the penny dropped.
The Dumbest creatures on earth
12th December 2017 - After the depressing Adelaide debacle, Lofty and I set off on our six day road trip prior to travelling to Perth. Our destination - the outback, complete with searing heat, flies, Mick Taylor and other creepy crawlies. Like the early explorers the general plan was to head north and see what happens, with one specific exception.
The week we lost The Ashes
7th December 2017 - Adelaide has always been my favourite mainland Australian city. It is laid out perfectly with a small CBD consisting of parallel and easy to navigate streets. There are free buses and trams to ferry you around. The buildings ooze class, from the many old churches to the million dollar piles in North Adelaide.
Its A Thick Line......Between In and Out
1st December 2017 - G'day internet poms. The Addis Army started their Brisbane reunion on Tuesday evening in the Pig 'n' Whistle by the riverside, which is in fact a popular Barmy Army watering hole. Mr Blade, Freddie and Saint were there to meet Lofty and myself: Tremers was on his way together with his Wormsley acolyte Andy. Smithy and Wayne were expected tomorrow.
Hong Kong... Phooey
22nd November 2017 - After my nightmare experience earlier this year flying to Auckland with Qatar Airways in cattle class, the decision this time to go Business class with Cathay Pacific and break the journey to Australia in Hong Kong really paid dividends. Folks, Business class really is worth all the extra money.
Headingley 2017: Two Shai, Shaie
1st September 2017 - Well, what could possibly go wrong for England? A Test match at Headingley against the ‘second division’ West Indies: in the ‘saddest’ series ever played in history, according to the increasingly irritating Mr Vaughan?
25th August 2017 - So here we are for England’s first day nighter. This seems a rather pointless exercise but over 70,000 tickets have been sold for the first 3 days which is more than were sold for Trent Bridge or Old Trafford against South Africa, arguably more attractive opponents than a West Indies weakened by divisions between the senior players and the Board.
Old Trafford 2017: George Osborne’s Northern Curry House
14th August 2017 - Having already committed to one diary after the Trent Bridge Test, I was aghast when Freddie asked me to review Old Trafford as well. However, luckily one or two rather funny incidents made the job easier. Fasten your drinking belts...
The Oval 2017 (by Five0 & Wycombe)
7th August 2017 - Ah, how nice to be back at the Oval! It was the scene of my first Test in 1963, England v the West Indies. In those days kids could sit on the boundary rope and I remember sitting somewhere near third man looking up in awe at the hooked nose of my Surrey hero, Ken Barrington. This is my ninth Test at the Oval and my third against South Africa.
Trent Bridge 2017: The Emperor's Clothes
17th July 2017 - G’day everyone. Our Addis Army editor, Freddie, must be a nervous wreck. Filled with trepidation that his most negative correspondent has been watching events at Trent Bridge. Especially in view of the likely number of expletive deletions that might be required to this piece - after the truly woeful performance by our ‘Champagne’ England team.
Mumbai and Chennai Tests
8th January 2017 - It’s Saturday 10 December and I depart from Heathrow airport for Mumbai full of confidence that it is possible I could witness England win in India’s largest city. England have put 400 on the board just as they did in 2006’s win, though India have made a positive start to their first innings with Pujara and Vijay adding 107 runs to their second wicket partnership.Read more
The Vizag Test
4th December 2016 - There’s a new word in India: demonetisation. This is the cash crisis that has resulted from the sudden withdrawal of 500 and 1000 rupee notes announced last week by prime-minister Modi in order to deal with all the ‘black’ money floating around in the system. This is cash from tax avoidance, bribery, terrorism and general corruption.Read more
It's India so what could possibly go wrong?
1st December 2016 - Well should I write it in a list or just let the story unfold? It all started so well. Freddie and I met at Heathrow on Sunday the 6th November. Unfortunately our flights had been changed and brought forward by hours. So instead of a 2 hour stop over in Mumbai we had a 10 hour one.Read more
Bangladesh: To go or not to go
21st November 2016 - To Go or Not to Go there was the question, I probably made my mine up to do both Banglasdesh and India tours back to back when they where first announced, being a stubborn old man my resolve to go was further strengthened with the foreign office advice and two players refusing to travel.Read more
An Unworthy Reprieve
23rd September 2016 - The final day of the County Cricket season. Having already accepted and embraced the spectre of relegation for my beloved Lancashire, I gloomily watch the Middlesex v Yorkshire game on TV, having decided not to travel to Edgbaston for the current Lancashire fixture.
Pakistan - Old Trafford Test Review (by Five0)
26th July 2016 - It was a train journey from hell to get from Cornwall. My carriage was heaving. I had to move some poor woman out of my seat. They had not given me the table seat which I had requested. The conductress was grumpy because I hadn't put my luggage correctly and marched me down the train to a bigger luggage rack.
County Cricket - Lancashire v Durham Review
20th July 2016 - I have travelled to Southport the previous night by train and am enjoying a sumptuous breakfast at the Leicester Hotel prior to the game. The other breakfast guests appear to be wealthy widows and spinsters, and there is much flirting between these elderly ladies and the owner of the hotel, Cliff.
Sri Lanka - Durham Test Review (by Five0)
31st May 2016 - I’m up in Newcastle with my mate, Ray, yet to be inducted into the Addis, for the 2nd Test. Both sides have a lot to prove. Poor Sri Lanka - two May Tests! After the debacle at Old Trafford where they were beaten by an innings inside three days Ray and I are already making plans for Monday and Tuesday.
Sri Lanka - Headingley Test Review
21st May 2016 - Headingley in May. Whilst we were not expecting great weather, the word 'unsettled' so beloved of the forecasters did not do it justice. After an uneventful journey from Gods Country (Lancashire) to Injun Country (Yorkshire) Higgy and myself arrived at our seats to find that England had lost the toss.
South Africa tour 2015/16
ODI's Under African Skies
26th January 2016 - After such a heady Test Series win, a brief break from cricket was called for. Lofty, Five - O and myself headed east for four hours on the N4 to Graskop, a small town in Mpumulanga (Transvaal) at the southern end of the Blyde River Canyon.
26th January 2016 - A poor start by England in the fourth and final test. Some loose bowling, another nightmare from Bairstow behind the stumps with more dropped catches and a bit of form shown at last by the SA batsmen. The outfield was like green ice and everything that beat the field was hurtling to the boundary.
The Calm after the Storm
24th January 2016 - The morning after the victory in Johannesburg was an exceedingly groggy one. When Lofty, Simon and I had arrived back at our hotel we decided to test the bar opening hours, and it was still serving as we staggered up to bed at 1.45am.
Will Blade's Plan Cut It?
17th January 2016 - When the third day of the Johannesburg Test started, I was watching a crown green bowling tournament. Lofty was under the impression that he had left our match tickets in his hotel safe, and had gone scurrying back to the hotel to fetch them - while I looked after his rucksack.
15th January 2016 - Lofty and I got into Ladybrand just in time. The tropical storm that had been threatening all afternoon finally broke at about 6pm, meaning we were confined for the evening to our bed and breakfast, Cranberry Cottages. Our arrival had not been auspicious.
Ostriches at the Valley of Desolation
11th January 2016 - Lofty was not in a great mood today. After missing out in his ancestry quest we now faced a very long drive north to a small karoo town called Graaf-Reinet. For the last 200 km we motored through featureless Karoo desert terrain on the N9 motorway.
Lofty was a Voortrekker...but he never hurt nobody
10th January 2016 - Our final breakfast at the Brenwin in Capetown was taken with Pugger, one of Lofty's pals from Guernsey and our latest Addis recruit. Pugger and his mates also went AWOL from the cricket on day five and took a day trip to Robben Island.
Dropped Catches Don't Win Matches
6th January 2016 - Lofty was a Voortrekker...but he never hurt nobody. Our final breakfast at the Brenwin in Capetown was taken with Pugger, one of Lofty's pals from Guernsey and our latest Addis recruit. Pugger and his mates also went AWOL from the cricket on day five and took a day trip to Robben Island.
The Ginger Botham
4th January 2016 - Its grumpy old man time again! The New Years Honours Lists. Just before we fly to Cape Town, Sky News informs us of the elevation of actress Barbara Windsor to a Dame. With a surname like that, I'm sure Freddie would support this award.
A House Divided
30th December 2015 - Day three of the Test went almost exactly to plan, and we do not say that very often! From their overnight position, South Africa lost six wickets during the morning, with Moeen Ali picking up regular scalps without the run - plundering of yesterday.
The Barmy Army Go Missing
28th December 2015 - Why is it you always find the best places on your last night? Before we left Pietermaritzburg, Lofty and I risked a 65 rand, thirty minute taxi ride to the Keg And Hedgehog in Montrose. Sharp eyed readers will remember this is the pub recommended to us by Dylan Campbell at the warm-up game.
The Bells and Balls of Pietermaritzburg
23rd December 2015 - Sunday dawned somewhat cooler, thankfully, and after a hearty breakfast of chilli beef and chicken livers I made my way to the Maritzburg Oval in a taxi with Lofty and our latest Addis recruit West Ham Dave. Last night we had watched the football and dined with Howzat Bob.
The lunatics have taken over the asylum
19th December 2015 - Autumn has been rather a depressing season in Europe thus far for your writer. Atrocities in Paris. Air strikes in Syria. All manner of planes dropping from the sky at regular intervals. Terrible weather causing flooding in the North of England, in fact coming far too close to my house for comfort.
Back to South Africa
1st December 2015 - The highlight of the winter approaches and our Editor has misguidedly let me loose on a 'preview' of the upcoming South African cricket tour. In the company of Lofty for the whole tour and numerous other Addis Army pals, I will be attending all the Test matches.
Pakistan tour 2015
Sharjah Test Review (by Five0)
1st December 2015 - I arrived in Dubai on the day before the Test started, booking into the same hotel as Higgy & Robbo - Sharjah being a dry state, no-one could bear the thought of a whole week without grog so we're in Dubai. Sharjah, though, is only 30 minutes by taxi.
How to Lose a Test Match in Forty Five Minutes: Day 5
26th October 2015 - Day Five. Morning everyone. Mr Blade and I are checking out of the hotel this morning and have agreed to leave our bags in the room of Freddie and Tremers until we go to the airport at around midnight. But when we arrive at their room with our cases – Panic in the streets of Wormsley.
How to Lose a Test Match in Forty Five Minutes: Day 4
25th October 2015 - Day Four. Morning everyone. A decision had been made last night to miss the morning session, where Pakistan would be piling up even more runs, and go sight-seeing. So we boarded the Dubai Metro at a station close to our hotel, Burjuman.
How to Lose a Test Match in Forty Five Minutes: Day 3
24th October 2015 - Day Three. Morning everyone. Much anticipation this morning given the state of the match. For a change we purchase tickets in the cheap seats today, just £4 to get in, and we are surprisingly soon joined by PC Tintin, Tufty and Luke, who appear no worse for their 'brunch' experience yesterday.Read more
How to Lose a Test Match in Forty Five Minutes: Day 2
23rd October 2015 - Day Two. Morning everyone. The temptation to sleep in is compelling, but Mr Blade is up with the lark after a successful nights camel racing and he urges me down to breakfast, where we meet Freddie and Tremers.
How to Lose a Test Match in Forty Five Minutes: Day 1
22nd October 2015 - Morning everyone. Awake at 6am with my body clock all over the place. Breakfast in the chaotic dining area consists of chicken nuggets, boiled eggs and toast, while Mr Blade prefers the more sophisticated melange of curry, noodles and onion rings.
Arrival in Dubai
21st October 2015 - Arrival in Dubai. Morning everyone. With bated breath, heightened anticipation and not a little trepidation, I set off from Manchester Airport for Dubai and the second Test against Pakistan. On my arrival at Dubai Airport at 9am, Freddie, Tremers and Mr Blade were all waiting.
Ashes 2015 - Oval Test Review (by Rammy)
24th August 2015 - Half four. Half bloody four in the morning was when Rammy's (me!) alarm went off on Saturday morning, to give me enough time to get to Newcastle Central Station in time for the 0559 to King's Cross. Kikko was getting on at Darlington.
Ashes 2015 - Trent Bridge Test Review
10th August 2015 - Pomicide. A trip to Higgy's gaff in Long Eaton to watch the Nottingham Test match is never boring, and this game was certainly no exception! Arriving as I did on the Wednesday night, before the main meal, there was the aperitif - an evening T20 game.
Ashes 2015 - Edgbaston Test Review (by Five0)
3rd August 2015 - Day 1. My last visit here was for the 2009 Ashes and what a difference the big new stand has made! The ground looks very good. And the facilities are excellent: there were no queues like the ones at Cardiff for a piss and getting a drink was no problem.
Ashes 2015 - Cardiff Test Review (by Saint)
20th July 2015 - Days 3 and 4. Two years ago I went to Prague. Not a great place to see cricket, but a fine city of culture, good beer, and ladies of negotiable affection... it was a stag do. Baby Dave had become a good friend and was marrying another good friend of mine - the Lovely Lisa.
A Strictly Northern Affair - Headingley Test Review
6th June 2015 - Morning everyone. Normally I only compile a Tour Diary on overseas trips. However, to a Lancastrian, a five day slog travelling to Yorkshire on a journey involving three trains each way is akin to a foreign voyage, so I have compiled some notes on what was a very enjoyable and eventful Test match.Read more
West Indies tour 2015
Papering Over The Cracks - Grenada Test
26th April 2015 - Saturday. Direct flights are a thing of the past with Skip Tours. Thanks to the lack of availability imposed upon Skip by Herbie's earlier dithering in respect of this tour, our itinerary is as follows: Antigua to St Lucia then St Vincent then Barbados.Read more
Rum,Sodomy and the Lash - Antigua Test
18th April 2015 - Morning Everyone. Having returned from the Cricket World Cup with two kinds of baggage - and shag*ed out, jet lagged and despondent, no sooner had I unpacked my sweaty togs than it was time to set off again, this time to the West Indies.Read more
Cricket World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2015
1st April 2015 - Kia Ora all. Pleasing to note the reaction to England's abject performance from the Cricket Establishment has been so reassuring. From Doubter of Dobcross: "There's been nothing on the news about it here, the main headline is that a dog has been poisoned at Crufts."
Lets examine the data
17th March 2015 - Kia Ora all. I am reporting a little earlier than planned, I wonder if anyone is still reading this! I had a lovely dream last night. In my dream Mr Colin Costcutter, the new chief of the ECB with effect from May, had converted Lords into a poundshop.
10th March 2015 - Kia Ora all. Our final days in New Zealand flew by and on the 7th March Lofty & I watched the South Africa vs Pakistan game at Eden Park, Auckland. Despite being rain-affected, this match was probably the best we have seen so far, featuring great batting by De Villiers, great bowling by Pakistan.
A Missing Pensioner is Always Trouble
5th March 2015 - Kia Ora all. Lofty and I are now in Auckland, having left Wayne behind in Wellington in the capable hands of Ryan and Bin, the lads from the Sprig & Fern, who took our boy from the valleys on the town for his last night in New Zealand after they had finished work.
A Red Dragon at the Mardi Gras
2nd March 2015 - Kia Ora all. It has now been three days since the Wellington drubbing against New Zealand,and it is impossible to turn on the radio in the morning without listening to Kiwis basking in the glory of their fantastic win - this is how much it means over here.
Disgusted Down Under
22nd February 2015 - Kia Ora All. To think I declined an invitation to go to Sri Lanka with the Addis Army boys to watch England lose meaningless one-day cricket games. Now I find myself alone in rainy Wellington, New Zealand,having seen England lose two meaningful World Cup games-in fairly disastrous style.Read more
The men from snowy river
14th January 2014 - Morning everyone. We reached the Snowy Mountains at last on Saturday, after a fabulous drive from Merimbula on the Monaro and Snowy Mountain highways. Our half way stop this time was unusually at a famous bakery & pie shop in Bemboka.
Thundergoose are go
11th January 2014 - Morning everyone. The dawn chorus at the Nowra Motor Inn is loud enough to wake the dead - Wonga pigeons squawking to each other about the usurious APR, no doubt - and I check the football results early Thursday morning. My own team lost again yesterday - as is becoming usual.Read more
I need a vacation!
8th January 2014 - Morning everyone. According to my pal Doubter of Dobcross, statistics have just been shown on Sky that prove conclusively that this has been the worst Ashes cricket tour ever. Thanks for that useful piece of information Sky, I never would have suspected!Read more
In the name of God, go
5th January 2014 - Morning everyone. How to cope with a certain and imminent 5-0 Ashes thrashing? Well, a Saturday night out on Sydney's Rocks is a good start. Lofty and myself met Nigel and Helen for drinks, an excellent curry, and afterwards a drinking session at the Observer.Read more
Lost Property - 4th January 2014
Morning everyone. Sydney. The Fifth Test. Rankin, Borthwick and Ballance in. Bresnan, Root and Monty out. Yet another piece of flawed selection by the England staff. Rankin pulled up (or should it be classed as a refusal?) after just eight overs
3rd January 2014 - Morning everyone. New Years Eve was different in 2013. Certainly, I cannot remember watching a cricket match on this particular night before, although I'm sure that some of our dear departed commentators and players of the past would be turning in their graves.Read more
Messing about on a Riverboat
30th December 2013 - Morning everyone. The day after our Boxing Day session, we all set out to Mannum for our houseboat adventure, Mr Blade and myself nursing king-size hangovers. Fifteen minutes tuition was given to us, and the houseboat company employee took great pains to explain the driving rules on the river.Read more
Swann won't tear you apart again
27th December 2013 - Morning everyone. I had hoped to have a break from writing but bad news is occurring thick and fast, the latest unhappy event being the 'early retirement' of Graeme Swann. Whilst we will all miss Swanny, his departure leaves England even further out along the plank.Read more
No Escape From Kangaroo Island
22nd December 2013 - Morning everyone. Kangaroo Island. Beloved of Sir Ian Botham and Posh Margaret - not staying together, of course - and an obvious choice for a day out for Walt, Christine, Thomas and myself on our return to Adelaide. Disaster has never been far away on this tour.Read more
The Tottering Inferno
18th December 2013 - Morning everyone. The weather forecasters predicted temperatures of up to 38% for the opening day of Perth but they got it wrong. During the afternoon the gauge reached an astonishing 43% and sat as we were on the back row of a temporary stand full of Australian knob-heads at mid-wicket.Read more
Grapes and Wrath
13th December 2013 - Morning everyone. After the Adelaide debacle, what better way to chill out than a couple of days on the pop. On Monday afternoon, in the Ramsgate Hotel, where over eight pints Herbie's International Petanque :-) credentials were dissected, sliced and diced by an Addis Army kangaroo court.Read more
White Flag of Disgrace
9th December 2013 - Morning everyone. Herbie has now arrived, carrying a low pressure area in his suitcase. From the bright sun we have experienced for the last three weeks, the climate has turned cold and miserable, as if to match the demeanour of the new arrival. At least Herbie has managed to be polite to the locals thus far.Read more
The Foolish Pom of Belair
3rd December 2013 - Morning everyone. First a couple of important updates. The Addis Army team came second in the Ramsgate Hotel pub quiz, winning a packet of Tim Tams and a $30 beer voucher in the process - so whatever happens to the cricket team in Adelaide, I won't be coming home empty handed.Read more
The Lorry Vanishes
26th November 2013 - Morning everyone. The fallout from the Brisbane Test continues unabated. First, the infamous sledging comments by Michael Clarke to Jimmy Anderson during the final overs of our second car-crash innings.
No more excuses England
24th November 2013 - Morning everyone. I had a couple of days to explore Adelaide while the Blades were at work / school respectively, so I obtained an all day travel pass on Monday for the princely sum of nine dollars. This pass allows the bearer to use the train, bus and tram on an unlimited basis for the dayRead more
When an Old Cricketer leaves the crease
17th November 2013 - Hi everyone. My last day in the UK, the 14th November, coincided with the final Test match for Sachin Tendulkar, so instead of packing that morning I settled down on the sofa to watch the Little Master. What an occasion - he even had the scoreboard sponsored by RBS!Read more
20th October 2013 - Hi everyone. As the England squad fly to Australia next week I thought it was time for me to get busy blogging - and I hope the seats in the players aeroplane have plenty of leg room, looking at that fast bowling attack! What an exciting summer it has been.Read more
A Perfect Day
6th April 2013 - Morning everyone. I will never forget Auckland. Not the Test match, which I hope to forget as soon as possible. No – the arrival on New Zealand soil of the Addis Army Dark Lord, Herbie. After five years of slagging off my favourite tour, he was here at last to sample the delights of this wonderful country.Read more
The Great Jizz Gig In The Sky
18th March 2013 - Morning Everyone. After an enjoyable car journey north from Dunedin, Lofty and I arrived in Renwick, wine capital of the Marlborough Region. Unfortunately we were too late to enjoy the fruit of the vineyards on arrival, so I had to content myself with wine for breakfast the following day.Read more
The Two-Dollar Sausage Test
10th March 2013 - Morning everyone. We arrived in Dunedin after a four-hour coach journey from Queenstown, a mention here for our kind driver, who dropped us off almost outside the splendid motel I had booked. Day one of the Test coincided with a very important European cup-tie.Read more
Onions Make You Cry
6th March 2013 - Morning everyone. We are actually still in Queenstown, despite the comments on my last report. The four day warm up game between England and New Zealand Second XI has just finished. Day one of the game was largely uneventful. On Day two, I rose at 8.30am.Read more
27th February 2013 - Morning everyone. Picture the scene if you would. We are sat outside an Irish bar in Napier. It is 1.30am. Lofty is spangled, and gets a taxi home to the Mc Lean Park Motel where we are staying. I fancy another pint and wander inside the bar.
Welcome to the Chateau Tongariro?
19th February 2013 - Morning everyone. After the T20 defeat in Hamilton we travelled north to Rotorua and then to Whakatane, where friends of Lofty's, Berny and Trish, had kindly offered to put us up for a couple of days. Rotorua is a typical tourist-trap operated by Maoris and as usual I fell for it.Read more
Stupid, fat hobbits?
10th February 2013 - Morning everyone. We are now in Hamilton awaiting the first One Day International. Our brief stay in Auckland was not without a few highlights. Firstly, the motel booked by Lofty on the internet had the most appropriate name ever bestowed.
A Waitangi Day to Remember?
8th February 2013 - Morning everyone. We are now in Whangarei, some three hours drive north of Auckland. We have found a great motel called the Kensington, run by Mike and Elaine Sharrock, which contains everything we need including three bedrooms - enough to accommodate Herbie when he arrives.Read more
Driving in a Winter Wonderland
1st February 2013 - Morning everyone. I'd like to start this diary with a piece of negative comment about New Zealand especially to please Herbie, the Dark Lord of Addis - I had a horrible hangover last Friday morning. Our last day in Nelson had started badly. First, Lofty almost reversed our hire-car into a tree.Read more
Banks, Boats and Bees -
24th January 2013 - Morning everyone. Before we even left the UK there were a couple of dramas. First, on arrival in Manchester with 400 Duty Free cigarettes, Lofty promptly announced that he was going to quit smoking during our tour. Regular progress reports on this Lourdes-like transformation will of course feature.Read more
11th December 2012 - Morning Everyone. Today was the first day of the Calcutta Test and feeling very rough indeed we managed to make our rendezvous with Five-O at Gate 11, Eden Gardens, at 8.10am. This, despite a sudden onset of Delhi belly at 5 am earlier that morning.
In Between Tests
4th December 2012 - Morning Everyone. Most people departed for exotic Indian pastures such as Goa or the 'Golden Triangle' after the Mumbai victory, but no such frills or luxuries for the Addis Army crew. Once the game finished early on day four, we were sentenced to another three days of sightseeing in Mumbai.Read more
30th November 2012 - Morning everyone. Apologies in advance if you are easily offended.There may be passages below that some may consider to be in bad taste but I feel that I have to include in order to provide a true account of our tour. If concerned please press 'EXIT' now.Read more
Ahmadabad by TMS
16th November 2012 - Morning everyone. First of all, humble apologies. This diary isn't coming from Ahmadabad at all, rather from my home in Aldershot. I'm following this game on something called 'TMS'.
Wormsley weekend 2012
Addis Army Weekend - Wormsley
27th- 29th July 2012 - My journey started with the usual death-race down the M6, trying to avoid all the ignorant and arrogant Mercedes and BMW drivers - who hogged the outside lane and seemed to greatly resent being overtaken by my 20-year-old Nissan 200SX.Read more
Sri Lanka tour 2012
"Ripping Yarns from Colombo"
2nd - 8th April 2012 - Pre-Test: As we prepare to leave our Galle Hotel various reports reach us concerning a minor miracle involving Mr Blade on the night of Herbie's birthday party. Staggering drunkenly around the dark side streets of Unawatoona at 5 am, he had 'come a cropper'.Read more
Sri Lanka's "Making-a-killing" Fields?
23rd - 1st April 2012 - Hard to know where to begin with this one, so I'll simply describe without one word of a lie the events thus far at the Galle Test Match in Sri Lanka. Pre-Test: Arrive at Herbie's by train to find him exulting in some information he has dug up from the internet on the Surf City B & B.Read more
Sri Lanka Second Test 2012
2nd - 8th April 2012 - And so we leave the delights of Galle for the madness of Colombo but not before a final goodbye from our tuk tuk driver, Baba. He was supposed to pick us up the previous night but mysteriously did not appear. This, he explained, was due to the near fatal accident which had befallen him.Read more
Sri Lanka First Test 2012
23rd - 1st April 2012 - Getting work done before departure on tour is always a bit of a challenge for me, but this time it wasn't too bad. Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of a beer or two with Freddie at Victoria to collect the famous Addis flag, as it had been in the big man's care since the last tour.Read more
Ceylon Tour March April 2012
April 2012 - Sadly well behind the partially true (and very entertaining) diaries from the ever-productive Midnight and Herbie, I am here trying to get something down between work brain-aches. As mentioned this much anticipated tour had the rug pulled out from under it the day before leaving.Read more
Australia tour 2010/11
An Unexpected Finale Courtesy of Don Bradman & Saj Mahmood
14th January 2011 - Morning Everyone. You may be as surprised to be reading this as I am to be writing it, as I wasnt expecting any more cricket related topics to prompt a blog - just goes to show you never can tell! You may not know this, but here in Australia Ricky Ponting has been sentenced to a day in the stocks.Read more
A Series win at the Edge of the World
7th January 2011 - Morning Everyone. First of all I would like to start with a humble and grovelling apology to PC Tintin, who has taken umbrage at the comment on my last report about his pre-Melbourne suggestions re the omission of Finn from the England bowling attack.
If Carlsberg did Boxing Days in Melbourne
29th December 2010 - Morning Everyone. Our last few days in Perth were not without amusement. I found the local laundrette and did all my dirty washing for four dollars plus a two dollar bus fare (Gippo army I hope you have something nice to say about this for a change)
Perth - What we need is an Addis Army Wedding
19th December 2010 - Morning Everyone. What an incredible few days it has been. About ten days ago we heard that Warnie has been "seeing" Liz Hurley. And as I write this blog, today she has found out that he is a text pest and love rat etc etc and has dumped the rug haired spinner.
Nullarbor Vanophobia -
12th December 2010 - Morning Campers. Our 3,000 km trip across the Nullarbor didnt start smoothly. On arrival at the camper van hire shop, the six-berth vehicle we had ordered had mysteriously been hired out to others, leaving us with a four berth van, which proved rather cosy. Rather too cosy for me.
Adelaide Sunshine Before the Rain
7th December 2010 - Morning Everyone. First of all I would like to thank you all most sincerely for your outstanding response to my recent request for financial assistance with these blogs. My e-mail box has been blocked with offers as if a ton of fatty spam has just been dumped into it.
The Pit, The Pendulum and the Pride - Brisbane Test Match
29th November 2010 - Morning Everyone. First the bad news. My bank have been on the phone to tell me that my cards have been blocked and my overdraft has reached horrendous proportions. I have asked the web site owner, Mr Michael Scrooge, to publicise my plight.
Ten Days, and Ten Wickets, in Tasmania
23rd November 2010 - Morning Everyone. We arrived in Tasmania somewhat worse for wear after Tim and Kate's engagement party the night before in Adelaide at which a moderate amount of alcohol was consumed. My previous memories of Hobart were all good and as usual you always wonder will it be as good a second time round?Read more
England v South Australia
11th - 13th November 2010 - Morning Everyone. We are now in Adelaide after a lovely flight. We flew from Perth using Jetstar , the Ryanair of the South Pacific. Tremers in particular was voluable about the excellent experience provided by this airline.
England v Western Australia at the WACA.
5th - 7th November 2010 - Morning everyone. Must admit this week I felt like taking my bat & ball home. We have received a veritable torrent of abuse about our SKY SPORTS interview slot much of which I'd say is unwarranted. First of all, our comments were heavily cut and SKY SPORTS NEWS showed none of my analysis.Read more
The First Bite is the Deepest
4th November 2010 - Morning everyone. First - an update from backpacker central. Fred & Rose are having some remedial work on the patio done by a gang of lads in fluorescent jackets, and as my room was near the front of the house Ive been moved! I'm now upstairs in the Raymond Winstone wing.
If You Are Coming Here Bring Loadsamoney
2nd November 2010 - Morning everyone. I'm sorry to start this report on a bit of a downer, but I'm really struggling to get the hang of this backpacking game. Its an ordeal, not a holiday, to me. To begin with Fred & Rose, my hosts, have allocated me a cell er... sorry room.
Greensleeves to Pink Tights
31st October 2010 - Hi All. My journey starts with a 6 hour journey to Stokenchurch - the M6 is as wonderful as usual - and I arrive at Tremers gaff in time for his leaving do at the "Fox & Hounds". This involves a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including copious amounts of alcohol.
Escape to Victory
23rd to 25th March 2010 - It is day 4 of the Test and this morning, I wake up before the claxon from the Mosque with a sudden need to visit the toilet. Oh dear, knew I shouldn't have had that sizzling steak dinner last night! When we get to the cricket FiveO , who shared my meal last night, seems to be okay.Read more
Bangladesh make a game of it
21st and 22nd March 2010 - Day 2 of the Test starts in usual fashion with my 4.30am wake up call from the mosque, an uneasy hung-over lie in ,a skipped breakfast and cycle rickshaw trip to the ground. When we arrive we find the Barmy Army ( well those within the clique, anyway ) dressed as Australians for the day.Read more
A mis-guided tour
19th and 20th March 2010 - Woken up in our room at 4.30am – is that someone calling me? “ Allah , Allah , Allah “. No sorry, my mistake. Just the daily call to prayer from the local mosque 8 floors below. Just our luck to get an eastern facing room!
Arrival in Dhaka
17th and 18th March 2010 - Bangladesh. A country conceived in a war with Pakistan in 1971. Steeped in tragedy with no natural resources , regular earthquakes and floods, pollution on a large scale, 160 million people - most of whom live in abject poverty and squalor - and no tourist attractions whatsoever.Read more
South Africa tour 2009/10
The Somerset stalker
21st January 2010 - Hi everyone. First of all, I need to give an update on the humongous number of new AA associate members now signed up - mug shots to follow in due course: Will and Dave, the Geordie boys who stayed with us in Umhlanga. Will used to be a roadie with Ozzy Osbourne.
Romance at the White Boy Shebeen?
15th January 2010 - Hi all. On leaving Prince Albert, Tremers and myself traversed the Swartberg Pass in the hire car. This miracle of modern construction consists of 20km of gravel mountain pass over sheer and very high rock faces and was built in 1879 by a British engineer who had a budget for construction of 20,000 pounds.Read more
No miracles at the Montagu ghetto
14th January 2010 - Hi all. After the Capetown test finished we had a night out together and then went our separate ways. Saint was flying home in the evening and Wycombe accompanying Tremers and myself in the hire car along the Garden Route. Breakfast together in the Cape Town Lodge was a real treat.
Drunk & disorderly with damaged clothing
10th January 2010 - Hi everyone - Happy New Year. Hope you all had a good one. Tremers chose to spend his NYE in a spot of nude sunbathing on his own in Durban.He will be recommencing travels onward from Cape Town tomorrow. New Years Eve for the rest of the Addis Army proved a rather messy affair.
Victory in Durban!
31st December 2009 - Hi everyone. Day 5 in Durban started routinely enough. I awoke to a text message from Tractor " Midnight, please can I have your mossie cream to rub on my poor little Tommy - he has had some more bites during the night and is suffering so".
Zulu Dawn and other ladies
29th December 2009 - Hi all. The highlight of our trip thus far occurred in Dundee, when we were lucky enough to tour the battlefields of Rorkes Drift (Zulu) and Isandlwana ( Zulu Dawn ) with our guide , ex-Rhodesian Army officer Pat Rundgren.
Piet Retief the kind of Boer you never want to meet
22nd December 2009 - Hi everyone. The last day of the cricket at Centurion defies description. At tea , I was sending text messages to a couple of people along the lines we had a good chance of winning. Fifteen minutes after tea we were in disarray. What was Pietersen doing with that run.
19th December 2009 - A lot of reading required this time but please bear with me dear reader as I suspect you will find at least some of this entertaining. Firstly, congratulations to Mr & Mrs Streetfly on the arrival of their daughter just before Xmas.
Bedbugs and Bloemtics - 13th December 2009
Sed ut perspiciatis unde oise natus error sit voluptatem accusantium dolorem laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto be dnt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptam quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit.Read more
9th December 2009 - We have now left Durban followed by rainclouds wherever we go. During our time at Dave and Penny's we learned a little South African and I hope you will use this in practising the jokes appearing later in the blog.
Captain Krugers Hillcrest Shopping Centre Holidays?
3rd December 2009 - Drove down to Simons place on 29th November and after a quiet and uneventful night in his local - uneventful, that is ,apart from my car being written off by a drunken lunatic - we were ferried to Heathrow by Tremers's friend Neil who is a bookmaker.
"Dont mention the war" - Englands Pro-20 matches v South Africa
20th November 2009 - Having arranged to leave these shores for South Africa on the 29th November it has not been possible to report in person from these pro-20 games. However, conscious of the need to commence the tour and provide an overseas element to my blog, I am able to report exclusively from Guernsey.Read more
Modern crematoriums do not seem to be able to cope with popular people
23rd December 2009 - The Snow Queen had been hard at work for Big Al's funeral. In fact I reckon the frigid bitch had pulled in some helpers from somewhere to wreak havoc in Luton. Inches of snow and every living thing deep frozen, including the 200+ souls that had turned up to pay their last respects.
I was quite enjoying it until some sour-faced Saffer turned up
24th - 25th December 2009 - Airline scheduling is a mystery to me. You turn up in a major city after 6pm and you can't get a flight to another major city, necessitating an Internet search for an airport hotel. Apparently, Cape Town does not have a hotel near the airport according to cyberspace. Bo****ks of course.
Once I'm in, I'm there for the duration
25th December 2009 - At last, the end of the journey and a a trip from the airport to a rather comfy guest house called the Sandringham in Umhlanga Ridge, just outside Durban. Awaiting was the incomparable Midnight and you just knew that you were going to get at least an hour of detailed descriptions of various African insects.
Jubilant scenes on the terraces and barely a Saffer in sight
30th December 2009 - This was always going to be a good day, given that England's bowlers had ripped through the Saffer top order in a glorious couple of sessions at the Kingsmead ground the day before. Every day at the Sandringham B&B, a most splendid full English breakfast would emerge from the kitchen.
The highlight of any AA Xmas and New Year tour is of course New Year's Eve
31st December 2009 - Cape Town, undoubtedly one of the great cities of the world and the trip from the airport into town is immediately spectacular with its views of Table Mountain. This time, AA travel agent supreme Mrs B has set us up with a villa in Camps Bay, the posing district of Cape Town.
A 12 noon livener at Dizzy's Bar is in order
1st January 2010 - Following apologies from Midnight the following morning after it is concluded that Wycombe was not at fault – the sets of keys were crap - SP gets in touch to suggest that Saint should get his P45 as Head of Security. All very professional explaining how the alarm worked, but sh*t at getting us back.
Chilling out in a trendy beachside bar called 'Bungalow'
2nd January 2010 - There are two hopes at getting me up Table Mountain in that cable car - Bob Hope and no hope. I enjoyed it so much last time I went up there that I walked down with some mental woman from Nottingham. Hours later the merry mountain crew return looking absolutely spent having been fried by the sun.
Midnight nearly erupts like a volcano
3rd January 2010 - Day 1 of the Test arrives and Wycombe has managed finally to track down a hire car with his friends at Avis. I agree to go down to collect it with him and sign on as a second driver. Given Scoop's traffic disaster with his previous car, my jaw drops as he starts arguing about the cost.
My instinct is that it's also going to be a bad day for England
4th January 2010 - Day 2 of the Test and things start great for England as four wickets tumble quickly for a dozen runs with the Saffers concluding their innings on 291. Hopes are soon dashed with Strauss, Trott and the disappointing KP all going cheaply, leaving England floundering at 36-3.Read more
Today will be 'Herbie's WAG Tour'
5th January 2010 - The plan I have hatched seems to suit everybody. Today will be 'Herbie's WAG Tour' with Wycombe's car borrowed for the day and Mrs B, Tavare, Hyacinth and little Thomas on a magical mystery tour to the Cape. This was, of course, a recipe for disaster.
Joy of joys as Midnight, Saint and I dance a violent jig as Onions survives
7th January 2010 - The final day of the Test and the situation looks hopeless. The Blades decide against going to the cricket and PC Tango has made for the airport to get back for some more fun on the mean streets of South London.
West Indies tour 2009
Long distance runaround: Day 14
10th March 2009 - At last the final day of the Trinidad test and we arrive at the ground minus Herbie & Vimto. Wycombe has decided to hedge his bets and attend the morning session before his flight, leaving Herbie in charge of his pink suitcase. Today we have had to buy additional tickets and are sat in the Carib Beer stand.
The Breaking of the Fellowship: Day 13
9th March 2009 - Ooooooh my head. Wander out to the beach to see if last night really happened. All traces of our night time dip have disappeared and the beach looks as pristine as before. Through blurred vision I see vultures and a rubber tyre washed up overnight.
Let's put it all together: Day 12
8th March 2009 - The day begins with another delightful hangover at Maracas Bay. It is a beautiful sunny morning and today when Martin our taxi driver arrives to pick us up he seems to be in a slightly better mood than usual. He is probably thinking thank God.
Taxi!: Day 11
7th March 2009 - Day 2 of the Test. Martin and his son arrive as usual to ferry us to Port Of Spain but today turn up thirty minutes late. Martin is even more sullen than usual. I suspect the novelty of transporting a group of scruffy , hungover and/or inebriated Brits around is wearing a little thin.
Lifes just like a film I once saw: Day 10
6th March 2009 - Oooooh my head. Last nights drinking session is not conducive to the required early start to travel to Port Of Spain and I seem to have discovered an unhealthy appetite for cans of Mackeson - must be a childhood reversion.
Barbados Triangle: Day 9
5th March 2009 - Today is moving day and alas, we have to say goodbye to Simon - for you Simon ze tour is over. Simon will stay in Barbados for a few days then has to return home to tend his allotment. Until the next tour mate. It will be here I suspect sooner than any of us think.
You will always find him in the kitchen at parties: Day 8 - 4th March 2009
The day of Simons super tour. We wake up to the news of the outrage against the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan and Chris Broad is on BBC World news giving a vivid account of his issues with the security arrangements. Chris Broad talks a lot of sense.Read more
What do we do when we've got no cricket: Day 7
3rd March 2009 - The day of Simons super tour. We wake up to the news of the outrage against the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan and Chris Broad is on BBC World news giving a vivid account of his issues with the security arrangements. Chris Broad talks a lot of sense.
Love is in the air: Day 6
2nd March 2009 - The final day of a boring Test match and this cant come too soon for many. The main interest of the morning session is whether England can make up the 150 run deficit brought about by their inadequate total of only 600 in the first innings.
The Omen: Day 5
1st March 2009 - Oooooh my head. On the way to the cricket we learn that Simon , who has been remarkably sensible thus far , spent the day talking with Sir Viv Richards yesterday and escaped the carnage of the rum shack. Simon has other ideas today. Sod the cricket.
Cross-Dressing Pirates of the Caribbean: Day 4
28th February 2009 - The trouble with writing these diaries retrospectively is that if something remarkable happens later which may be unrelated to the diary its hard to resist throwing in a comment or two. In the 1970's of Old Trafford at approx 8pm in light that would not be playable today David Hughes hit 24 from one over.Read more
Mainly about fish: Day 3
27th February 2009 - Well every tour has its quiet days and for us this was probably it - - but don't delete the e-mail yet! One or two hangovers from Day 2 meant a relatively civilised start to the cricket on the second day of the Barbados test. England batted well until lunch.
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum: Day 2
26th Febuary 2009 - Excitement mounts on the first morning of the Barbados Test. All expected guests at Tara have now arrived. Except Vinny, who, like Herbie possesses superior flight arranging skills and whose plane will arrive during the afternoons play meaning he will miss the first day of the test.Read more
Arrival in Tara: Day 1
25th February 2009 - Leave home feeling very hung over after a quiet pint pre-tour with The Saint. On arrival at Manchester airport with Streetfly having escaped from Yorkshire we bump into Wycombe, Mr & Mrs Blade, Thomas Blade, Walt & Christine at the bar and the Guinness and lager starts to flow.
New Zealand tour 2008
We've won the series 2-1!
28th March 2008 - Kia Ora all. First of all you may notice a couple of new contacts have appeared - this will all become clear later. The final test in Napier was a memorable affair. We thought we had seen all there was to see in Napier.
Chance meeting at Taupo "Airport"
20th March 2008 - Kia Ora all. The day we left Taupo will long live in the memory. Simon had failed the weigh in for a sky-dive, coming in at 105kg as opposed to the legal maximum of 100kg despite a day off the beer and only having three large steaks for his dinner the night before.
Horrorshow in Hamilton
12th March 2008 - Kia Ora all. It's been some time before I could be bothered to try to rationalise that last performance. Some people have hinted (in not very subtle fashion) that I'm a Jonah and should come home, if that's so I'm not the only one.
How to speak Kiwi in an hour - arrival in Hamilton
8th March 2008 - Kia Ora to all. First a bit of news that has reached us on the grapevine which may interest some readers. Remember Stuart who came on the Prague trip - he was the one sharing a room with that funny vicar from Dobcross.Read more
Touring in South Island
2nd March 2008 - Kia Ora all. After the Christchurch debacle we travelled down to Dunedin to watch some friendly cricket between England and an Otago exhibition XI. Dunedin is a strange place. It was settled by the Scots about 200 years ago and they were originally going to call it EdinburghRead more
I love the sound of breaking glass
27th February 2008 - Kia Ora all. For a change I'd like this update to be illuminating so the subjects of ecology, politics and The Antarctic will be touched upon - as Fergie would say fasten your seat belts. First politics. Does anyone know the name of the Kiwi PM?
Another dull draw
22nd Febuary 2008 - Kia ora everybody. Imagine the scene. We are in Napier on our day off planning the next two weeks accommodation with Lonely Planets, mobile phones, credit cards and diaries spread all over the internet cafe.
Midnight in New Zealand -
19th February 2008 - Kia Ora to you all. First off, many thanks to all those who made my 50th birthday party in Prague go with a bang, so to speak. I hope your credit cards have recovered. After a journey from hell myself, Simon & George have arrived in Auckland safely.
Australia tour 2006/07
End of term report
14th February 2007 - G'day Poms. Last day in Oz today, on the way to Singapore this afternoon. It's very difficult to believe the transformation in our one day team over the last two weeks. From an all time low in Adelaide we have bounced back and thumped the Ozscum in their own backyard.Read more
The train ride from hell
25th January 2007 - G'day Poms - greetings from sunny Aldershot (Daily Planet readers only). Yes now in Adelaide for some more uplifting, quality cricket and I was ambushed by the Daily Planet journo at nets the day before the NZ game - a shame his geography wasn't up to scratchRead more
We have won a game of cricket
18th January 2007 - G'day Poms from lovely Tassie by far the best place I've visited so far. First of all apologies to the Aussie Cat Stevens I went to see in Melbourne last week. By far the best show in town that week.
Ashes to Ashes Perth Day 4
17th December 2006 - G'day Poms. The Samaritans UK line is constantly engaged so as I can't ring that I thought I'd cheer you all up instead. We started so well at Perth. Harmison must have been put in a padded cell showing "When the boat comes in"
Perth pre-match update
Hot off the press Ashley Giles has been seen rather worse for wear in a Cottesloe bar this afternoon in the company of Alec Stewart, who played in the Legends 20-20 last night. This leads to speculation that a certain other spinner will play at Perth.
We're Gonna Win 4-1
27th November 2006 - Morning Pommie B******s welcome to work this sunny Monday. A tropical storm is about to descend upon Brisbane and its only 6 hours too late. That little prat Ponting's decision to bat again could have left him with egg on his face.
1st Report from Brisbane
25th November 2006 - G'day pommie B******s! Weekend coming up and time to get out those barbies and cool boxes! Greetings from the land of Oz where hedonism, facial hair and boorish behaviour rule. Any form of wit or subtlety is a criminal offence here punishable by flogging.
Pakistan Tour 2005
Pakistan Tour 2005
27th November 2005 - After having a wonderful year of following England, first over the Year end 2004 to New year 2005 in South Africa (for a series win) and then the famous Ashes victory of the 2005 summer the winter tour for 2005/6 was upon us and first up was Pakistan.Read more