Sunday, September 27, 2015


No, not ice hockey- field hockey! We were trained at the naval college to be able to play a wide variety of sports, because when we were "showing the flag" around the world to expatriate Brits, we would often engage in an informal game. I can only actually remember one game of hockey, and I don't think I distinguished myself in anyway. However, I do remember that one would not need a playing field of grass: field hockey could be played on any reasonably level pitch. I don't remember that we ever brought our own hockey sticks with us, instead relying on borrowed equipment.


It has been many years since I last played croquet. A sport in which I performed quite well. Some croquet players indulge in a practice I deplore. When they succeed in striking their ball to touch an opponents, they pick up their ball, place it next to the one they have hit, and plant a foot on their own ball while striking it hard enough to send the other ball a long distance away. This eliminates the skillful tactic of sending the other ball far away, without picking up one's own ball. One advantage of croquet is that it can be successfully played on a small lawn, perhaps as small as a quarter of the space between the lines of the tennis court. We no longer have any of the equipment: mallets, balls, hoops, and the stick which is the final target in the classic form of the game. I miss it all.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Four Seasons?

It amuses me when someone writes that a certain day is the "official" first day of summer Who is the official who ordains this? I have never understood why (in the USA, at least) Midsummer Day is considered the first day of the summer season. In the northern hemisphere, for example, Spring arises earlier in Italy than in Norway To me, seasons are not governed by the calendar. "Spring will be a little late this year" shows the better usage. Tulips and daffodils, for instance, don't make their appearance on a given calendar day. I like that cheeky ribald rhyme, which goes like this: Hooray, Hooray, the First of May: Outdoor (bonking) begins today!