Wednesday, 2 September 2015

anger is an energy....

I'm sure that you've seen the terrible pictures from Turkey and from Greece as Syrian refugees desperately try to reach Europe.  I won't republish them here, but if you want to see them, then you can go and look at them over on the Guardian.

Shocking, isn't it?

There's been some debate on my feed on Facebook about how it's a step too far to publish and share these pictures; that we know that the death of a child is awful and we don't need to have those photos of a personal tragedy for one family shoved in our face.

I disagree.

Those pictures are hard to look at, and they should be shocking.  But it also serves an important purpose: it reconnects us with the fact that these people are human beings who are desperately fleeing a conflict zone.  In spite of what you may have read in your newspaper, they are not trying to come to Britain because they are seeking an easy life with free money and housing and healthcare.  They are fleeing their homes and leaving almost everything behind them as a last resort; they are risking their lives in a desperate attempt to get themselves and their families to somewhere safe.  From the other side of Europe, it seems to be easy for us to forget that.

As Herman Melville once wrote: 'Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed."

It's easy to feel helpless, but there are things that you can do to help.

Oxfam have a page where you can donate to their response to the Syrian crisis.

If those images of that little boy on the Turkish beach have moved you, then Save the Children have a page where you can make a donation.

If you want something a lot closer to home, then my friend Abigail met a man today who is trying to raise £2,500 to fill a van with essentials to help the refugees in the camps at Calais.  You can pledge to help him towards his target here.

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister David Cameron, recently re-elected by the Great British public with a full majority in the House of Commons, is busy telling everyone that Britain is full and couldn't possibly take in any more refugees.  Germany will take in 800,000 migrants this year, and apparently we're looking at a maximum of 1,000 Syrian refugees (280 so far!).  Nigel Farage doesn't even believe that these people are genuine refugees.

Not good enough.  Nowhere near good enough.  Embarrassing, in fact.  We should be FURIOUS about this... at the very least, we should share those images to shame our spineless government into action and we should reach into our own pockets to help where we can.

Labour have made a right mess of things recently, but Yvette Cooper had it about right when she said today, "“Hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing from a new totalitarianism and Europe has to help – just as we did in generations past. We cannot carry on like this. It’s immoral, it’s cowardly and it’s not the British way.”

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


I had my bladder scanned today. Well, I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

It was essentially an ultrasound to determine how much fluid remained in there after an evacuation.. If there’s more than about 150ml left in there immediately after you’ve had a pee, apparently that’s a sign that you’ve got a functional problem. I had 37ml, which I’m told was pretty good. Nothing to worry about, anyway.

Of course, my visit to the continence clinic this morning is yet another gift of my multiple sclerosis. MS has affected my muscle strength, and the worry is that some of the muscles that have been affected are the ones that control my bladder. It’s apparently relatively common for people with MS to experience a number of bladder-related issues, from leakage to full-blown incontinence. In my case, I’ve had a problem where my bladder doesn’t seem to empty properly, leaving me with an urge to pee almost immediately after I’ve just been. Under some circumstances, I also get a rush bladder, where I suddenly get a desperate urge to pee. As you can imagine, none of this is much fun. I mentioned it to my neurologist last time I attended the clinic, and I got referred to the continence clinic.

Before attending, I was asked to keep a diary for a week detailing my visits to the toilet. It was quite instructive. The very act of journaling each visit forces you to think about your visits. I’ve always been one of those people who goes to the toilet when it’s convenient, not necessarily when I have a desperate urge. After all, the wise man goes when he can and not when he has to, right? Well, perhaps not. As I charted each visit, I became much more aware of how often I go out of habit rather than out of necessity: I go before I eat my lunch and before I got to a meeting…. Whether I need to go or not. If you can squeeze out a bit, then it’s worthwhile isn’t it? Actually, maybe not.

The average person apparently pees between 5 and 8 times a day. According to my charts, I usually went 7 or 8 times, but occasionally went 10 or 11 times or more, with several visits in quick succession. My MS may indeed be affecting my bladder function, but the nurse in the clinic this morning suggested that I start trying to re-train my bladder (and my pelvic floor muscles) and to be much more aware of going when I need to go. I reckon I can work on that. Immediately after I got to work this morning after the clinic, I felt like I needed to pee at around 11:30. I said to myself that I would try and hold on until 12:00, and I actually made it all the way to 15:30. One possible explanation for this new found bladder resistance was that I didn’t have any coffee at all this morning. I would usually have a cup of fresh coffee from a cafetiere as soon as I get to my desk, but not today. The nurse at clinic suggested that, if my bladder function looked fine, then the problem was likely to be bladder irritation. Did I drink coffee, because caffeine is both a diuretic and a bladder irritant? Hmm.

Slightly reluctantly, I bought myself some decaffeinated tea on the way to work and didn’t make any coffee when I got in. One swallow does not a summer make, but it’s definitely given me food for thought and ample reason to think about what I drink. Actually, I’ll probably keep my morning coffee in my routine for now, but if I stop drinking caffeine after 10am, then I’ll see if it has any positive effect on my bladder later on in the day. Perhaps the clipper tea I bought isn’t very good, but the major drawback of decaffeinated tea that I’ve noticed so far is that it just doesn’t taste as malty as I’d like. But, if the alternative is to resort to medication (and maybe catheterisation), then it’s definitely worth giving it a shot,eh? I don’t actually find caffeine to be much of a stimulant: it doesn’t stop me sleeping if I have it after dinner and, although I drink proper coffee every morning, I don’t miss it when I don’t have it. Cutting it out of my life shouldn’t really be all that much of a wrench. I’ll give it a go, anyway. The nurse mentioned that probiotics might help too, so I’ve added them into my morning pill routine along with the fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, glucosamine sulphate and the magnesium & calcium that I take every day too. Why the hell not? Many more and I’ll be able to stop eating breakfast.

You guys are cool with this level of sharing, right? I’m pretty much set on full-disclosure when it comes to my MS, so...... I guess it's too bad if this is TMI.

**UPDATE**  There's a great fact sheet on Bladder issues and MS available from the ever-brilliant MS Trust.  Access it here.  I'm off to download a bladder diary app for my phone.  Oh, the glamour!

Friday, 28 August 2015

hold on to your kite...

I’ve been accused of many things in my time, but tact has rarely been one of them. Not very many people at work think of me as political either. I’m the kind of person who wears what I think openly on my face; who doesn’t have a professional poker face and who generally speaks openly and without guile when I’m asked for my opinion. I think of these as valuable traits in an individual, but I have to be perfectly honest about the fact that none of them have ever been particularly good for my career. It seems that many of the senior managers I’ve encountered over the years don’t take too kindly to some artless twonk questioning their decisions or asking them awkward questions. Go figure.

I’ve changed over the years. Initially I was na├»ve and spoke freely without fearing the consequences, then I was cynical, speaking up without caring about the consequences. These days, I find myself in a job I like, working with people I respect and where I feel my opinion is valued. All of this means that my less corporately acceptable tendencies are much less in evidence: I don’t feel the need to speak up because I’m no longer outside the tent pissing in; I’m consulted and involved and not just dictated to. I still bristle at corporate bullshit, and the awkward stick is never too far away…but I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not helpless, angry and bitter anymore. I know why I come to work.

But tactful? Political? That sound you can hear is my wife laughing at the very thought of it....but I’ve been called both of those things today. Apparently, I have a real gift for writing difficult emails and communicating with difficult stakeholders in such a way as to get my point across clearly without upsetting anybody.

Well fancy that.

After nearly 20 years in the corporate world, it seems that we've finally found something that I’m good at.

Good times.

Enjoy your long weekends, everyone.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

just call on me, brother...

Over the last few months, I've been doing a bit of guide running at Colwick parkrun.  I meet up with Terry, pull on a fluorescent bib saying "guide runner" and then talk him around parkrun.  It's pretty easy really: Terry knows the course so well that it's really just a question of letting him know where other people are and guiding him around corners and changes in terrain.  He's a lovely guy and great company, so it's barely any bother at all.

In fact, I've enjoyed it so much that, when the opportunity arose to do a session earlier this week with England Athletics on guide running, I jumped at the chance.  EA are naturally keen to get people more active, and are specifically interested in helping people with disabilities enjoy the benefits of regular exercise.  Clearly, one of the biggest barriers to visually impaired runners is finding someone willing and skilled enough to guide them.  The aim of the session was to introduce potential guides to the various types of visual impairment and to introduce us to guiding.  We got to try on various goggles that show the different types of impairment, we watched a video on guiding and had a good discussion on that with a blind runner and his guide who are working up towards the London Marathon next year.  Best of all, we had a practical session where we got to play the part of both visually impaired runner and guide.  Now, clearly I've guided before.... but I quickly discovered that pulling on a blindfold and putting yourself entirely into the hands of a guide runner is something quite different.

It's frankly terrifying until you learn to trust your guide and to understand how you like to be guided: how short a rope you like; what kind of feedback you need to feel comfortable... that kind of thing.  As a guide runner, experiencing being guided myself also taught me a huge amount about how I could give better guidance.

All in all, it was a fascinating, worthwhile experience and I've signed up to have my name put down into a database of guide runners maintained by British Blind Sport.  There's been a massive increase in people of all sorts taking up running recently, from C25K programmes and parkruns all the way up to participation in longer races.  Apparently, the visually impaired community is no different, but the barriers to getting started are much higher because people don't know how they go about finding a guide to work with them.  Hopefully, pulling together this database will help to change all that.

Running has made a massive difference to my life and the way I feel about myself.  Maybe there's a visually impaired person around here who is just looking for the right guide to get out and change their lives for the better.  Just maybe that person is me.

I'm available for all distances up to marathon at a variety of possible paces.  Also weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals....

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

warm wind carried on the sea...

It’s not very often that you go away for a holiday and come back to work feeling as though you’ve had a much longer break than you actually have… so as this is exactly what’s just happened to me, I’m trying to enjoy it whilst it lasts.

Our break consisted of six days in Gozo, and then back home to spend a few days with a good friend of ours from New York who was passing through on her way back from Africa. In Malta we dived and looked at beautiful churches and some somewhat underwhelming Neolithic dolmen.

"Can I raise a practical question at this point? Are we going to do 'Stonehenge' tomorrow?"

They like cats here too, and you can see them everywhere.  This one quickly identified us as suckers and claimed possession of a prime slot near our breakfast table every morning.

And angels.

"Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink.  Good luck."

Great views everywhere though.  Beautiful skies, magnificent cliffs and clear, blue seas.  Nice to spend some quality time with my wife for a change, too!  She's alright.

Back in Nottingham, we visited the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest (named after an actual major, would you believe?), stopped by the disappointing castle and visited the Trippe to Jerusalem (the last time we were in New York, our friend took us to McSorleys, the oldest bar in the city, established 1854. The Trippe was founded in 1196 and they started a crusade there, which must have seemed like a great idea in the bar the night before. Marissa was suitably impressed and then we quickly moved on to a better bar with fewer tourists for a drink).

It was fun and great to see her and spend some proper time together.

Although I was only off work for 7 days in total, breaking it into two like that really seemed to make it last. It’s been good news/bad news since then though: the good news was that I didn’t come into work until lunchtime today and that it’s a bank holiday weekend coming up. The bad news was that the reason I was late coming into the office was because I was attending a clinic at the hospital.

Swings and roundabouts. Ups and downs.  Still, good holibobs.

Friday, 14 August 2015

low down and travelling....

Earworms of the Week

It's been a while since we did this, hasn't it?  Well, why not?

The Intro and the Outro” – Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

And, looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler, on vibes. Nnnice!

My Sharona” – The Knack

Some songs are just irresistible, and this is one of them. All the way from 1979, and still sounding great. Mind you, the single cover is straight out of 1979 too….

Ah, well.  Different times.  Great song.

Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?” – Peter Sarstedt

Noteworthy, apart from being a brilliant song, for having a swedish man pretending to be a sophisticated Frenchman who somehow grew up in the backstreets of Naples. This is a real favourite car song for us, and we’re often to be found ad-libbing gleefully along in all the appropriate places. A habit, I think we started when we were driving through the Canadian Rockies in the summer of 2010.

You live in a fancy apartment
Off the Boulevard of St. Michel
Where you keep your Rolling Stones records
And a friend of Sacha Distel, yes you do.
In a box, by your bed.

Long car journeys just fly by.

Accordion solo!

Down By The Water” – PJ Harvey

Mental but talented. She sounds like a proper fury from hell during this song…. I can remember buying “Rid of Me” back in the day, and although I think it’s fair to say that PJ has become a lot more musically sophisticated since the fairly uncomplicated shrieking she adopted there, the anger is perhaps all the more frightening for being controlled. That whisper at the end is frankly terrifying.

Step Into My Office, Baby” – Belle & Sebastian

It took me a long time to succumb to their charms, and I’ve not really followed them much since the disappointment of “The Life Pursuit”… but at their best, they sound like nobody else and I love them. As Pitchfork once described them: “One of the most beloved, bewitching, misunderstood, and eventually disappointing bands in recent history”

My favourite album by far is “If You’re Feeling Sinister”, but “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” comes a very close second. It’s much less folksy, and embracing pop, but it’s surely none the worse for that. This song is just so… playful. A delight.

"She gave me some dictation
But my strength is in administration
I took down all she said
I even took down her little red dress"

Oh, you scamps!

Stayin’ Alive” – The Bee Gees

We have some particularly complex warm-up / stretching routines at our Wednesday intervals session that seem to take forever and involve a lot of coordination between hands and legs. One in particular involves stretching a leg out and throwing a hand in the air, and every time I did it, I was irresistibly reminded of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, and started to sing. There’s another one, a kind of skip with arms joyously windmilling, that had me singing “The Hills are alive….”. Perhaps it’s just me, but you have to pass the time and occupy the mind somehow when you’re about to flog yourself around a coned out track.

Fourth of July” – Sufjan Stevens

I find “The Age of Adz” unlistenable, but “Carrie and Lowell”, his most recent album, is stripped right back to basics as Stevens explores his grief at the death of his mother. It doesn’t sound very uplifting, but it’s a beautiful album, and there’s no more beautiful song on it than this one.

Shall we look at the moon, my little loon
Why do you cry?
Make the most of your life, while it is rife
While it is light

Well you do enough talk
My little hawk, why do you cry?
Tell me what did you learn from the Tillamook burn?
Or the Fourth of July?
We’re all gonna die

Heartbreakingly beautiful.

Bat Outta Hell” – Meatloaf

….and then, as if by magic, the intro from “Bat Out of Hell” sprang into my head and refused to leave.

Theme from Jurassic Park – John Williams

One of my team is off to the wedding of his sister this weekend. Apparently all of the tables are named after her favourite films (he’s sitting at “Wayne’s World”) and she wants to walk down the aisle to this. Well, I suppose that’s fine, as long as you understand that every single person in the room will think of wide-open vistas with dinosaurs sweeping across the verdant plains. Is that what you want? Because that’s what will happen.

Delia’s Gone” – Johnny Cash

"First time I shot her I shot her in the side
Hard to watch her suffer
But with the second shot she died
Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone"

How could you not love Johnny Cash when he delivers lines that that entirely dead –pan?

I’m off to Gozo (the destroyer? The traveller? The Gozerian? There is no Dana… only Zuul!). Have a great week, y’all.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

yin yang...

I’ve taken a dislike to the man who has the locker next to mine in the changing rooms at work (this is, by the way, the celebrity section of the locker room: Craig Davids and Richard Curtis are both located here). This might seem unreasonable, given that we haven’t exchanged a single word in the year since he moved in, but to my mind, it’s completely justified.

Let me put forward the case for the prosecution:

- He wears full lycra and cleats for his commute. To be fair to him, I have no idea how far he cycles every morning. Maybe it’s miles and miles and this is by far the most practical gear for his journey…. but this brings me to point 2

- He usually doesn’t shower. He comes in, wipes himself down and gets changed into his work gear… in spite of the fact that we have perfectly good showers in the changing rooms and he keeps a towel here. I put it to you that, if he doesn’t cycle hard enough to need a shower, then he definitely doesn’t need to wear full lycra and cleats. You can’t have it both ways

My locker, this evening.  His locker is behind the open door... but it's okay: he'd already gone.

- He’s very possessive of the space around his locker. If my locker door is open when he arrives, even if it isn’t open to the point where it’s over the front of his locker, he pushes it shut. If I have a towel or something hanging in the door of my locker on a hanger, he will move it so it’s hooked up and away from being anywhere near his locker. I wouldn’t mind this so much, except that he doesn’t mind hanging stuff over his own locker and apparently doesn’t see the contradiction

- I don’t like his face. Well, not his actual face as much as the picture on the ID card that’s on the front of every locker. Well, alright, I’m not a massive fan of his actual face either – he seems a bit humourless to me – but his picture is even worse, and I see it every single day even if he’s not actually in the locker room getting changed.

I know I sometimes come across here as excessively stoical and generally seem to possess an aura a little like a modern-day Buddha, but as you can see, I’m actually fairly petty and childish.

Yin and Yang, innit?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

seasons change with the scenery...

I’m sad to be the one to break it to you, but winter is coming.

We’re barely into August, and already the mornings have a distinctly autumnal feel as I get onto my bike to cycle to work: there’s a nip and dampness to the air that tells me that we’re only a short hop away from woolly jumpers and the smell of bonfires.

On the plus side, that also means that it’s nearly time to light the fire and soon I can start cooking big, heavy, slow-cooked stews.

Mmmmm. Stews.

Yeah, so summer has the sunshine and warmth and beautiful long, light evenings where you can sit outside with your friends….but salads? Is that really the best you can do?


Tuesday, 11 August 2015


On the whole, I reckon that I’ve been pretty lucky with my MS symptoms. Although I was officially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, apart from the moment I first woke up with a numb hand that morning in 2005, I couldn’t honestly tell you that I had ever experienced a definite relapse.

 MS is notoriously hard to pin down and every single person seems to experience it differently, but the way it normally works is that sufferers experience episodes where their symptoms get significantly worse (relapses) before then easing off a little – but not completely – over time (remission). Typically, sufferers experience cumulatively more disability over time as the symptoms that remain after each relapse become more and more significant.

For me, it hasn’t quite worked out like that.

 My initial symptoms were pinned down to a large lesion (or 'sclerosis') that had formed on the myelin sheath of the spinal cord in my neck, but my neurologist couldn’t find any other definite lesions (i.e. 'multiple sclerosis') and I was only diagnosed 4 years later after an analysis of my spinal fluid taken via lumbar puncture. My symptoms – mostly numbness, pins & needles and fatigue – have never got significantly worse or significantly better, but seem to have remained reasonably constant on a slight downward curve ever since. Slowly though, I’ve been noticing other issues: I’ve lost flexion in my left ankle and there’s been a general loss of muscle strength, particularly on my left hand side. I’m told that there is now a noticeable disparity in the size of the muscles in my legs, with my left leg now something with something like 10% less muscle mass than my right. None of this is anywhere near as dramatic as waking up unable to walk or to see or something like that (both of which are reasonably common amongst MS sufferers), but for all that it’s a waste of energy wondering where this might all end up, it is a bit of a worry.

My most recent symptom is muscle spasms in my legs. I’ve had cramping in my calf muscles at night for a while now, and if you look at those muscles in my leg, they seem to pulse of their own accord most of the time, as though something was crawling around underneath my skin. Now though, my thighs have started to spasm and twitch, sometimes causing an uncontrolled jerk in my legs. This most often happens when I’m sitting in front of the telly of an evening or when I’m lying in bed. I haven’t worked out if anything in particular is causing this, but my gut feel is that this happens less often if my legs are really tired after a run (although, it’s entirely possible that’s just wishful thinking).  Maybe I need to run more to make sure they're properly tired? (I'm kidding!)

Apparently, spasticity is a very common symptom of MS, for whatever that’s worth, given how my MS doesn’t seem to have been exactly text book up until now. Whatever.  What I do know is that it’s more than a little annoying.

On the plus side, one of the possible treatments is apparently cannabis……..

Monday, 10 August 2015

line and length...

As usual, I spent a few days last week watching the cricket. As a member at Trent Bridge, I had secured tickets for all of the scheduled five days of the Test match against Australia, and was very much looking forward to a few days watching the cricket unfold before me in one of my favourite places in the world with some of my closest friends (and my father-in-law, who loves cricket and with whom I am delighted to spend a couple of days at the match).

It didn’t quite work out like that: after a record-breaking first day on Thursday that saw the Australians bowled out for 60 well before lunch, the match was over after 40 minutes of play on Saturday morning and with nearly three full days left to play. The result meant that England regained the Ashes, and it was a truly extraordinary performance, so it’s pretty hard to complain, even if it meant that I watched significantly less cricket than I had expected.

I’ve watched a lot of cricket at Trent Bridge over the years, but this match was by some distance the most extraordinary, with Thursday’s play in particular being one for the record books. 5 wickets down in the first 25 balls… and the sight of Stuart Broad roaring in to bowl on the first morning of the match with six slips and a short leg.

It was a good day to be in your seat for the first over of the morning, anyway.  Ten years ago, in this same fixture, Andrew Strauss took one of the great slip catches.... and I was at the bar and have never been allowed to forget it, reminded each time the catch appears on the television - which is more often than you might think.  Ben Stokes took perhaps its equal when he flew impossibly through the air at fifth slip to catch Adam Voges.  I damn well saw that one.

I’ve seen Australia retain the Ashes at Trent Bridge no fewer than three times; I’ve seen Shane Warne dancing on the pavilion roof with a stump on two occasions. Although I’ve seen England win Ashes tests here twice (2005 and 2013, both times in dramatic circumstances), England have never before clinched the Ashes at Trent Bridge in the whole history of the game. I might have been robbed of a couple of days drinking in the sun with my friends, but I did watch history being made.

Here are a few of the records from the match (borrowed from here):


Chris Rogers’ maiden duck: Rogers fell for a duck, the first of his Test career, in the third ball of the Test.

Stuart Broad’s 300th Test wicket: The wicket of Rogers was Broad’s 300th wicket in his 83rd Test. He became the fifth Englishman and 29th player to take 300 Test wickets. He also became the second Englishman after Ian Botham (and the 13th cricketer) to the 2000 runs-300 double. Of Englishmen, Broad took most Test matches to reach the 300-wicket landmark. The others to have achieved this are Anderson, Botham, Bob Willis and Fred Trueman.

Both Aussie openers getting out for ducks: This was something rare for Australia. Having produced quality opening batsmen in recent years, it was the first such instance for Australia in this century. The last such occasion was in 1999 at Kandy against Sri Lanka when Michael Slater and Greg Blewett both scored ducks. The last in an Ashes Test was way back in 1950 at The Brisbane where the openers were Jack Moroney and Arthur Morris.

Steven Smith’s single-digit score run: Smith had scored 7 and 8 at Edgbaston, and was out for 6 in the first innings at Trent Bridge. This was the first time he got out in single digits in more than two consecutive innings in 32 Tests and 61 innings. To make matter worse, he was out for 5 in the second innings.

Stuart Broad’s five wickets in 19 balls: Broad dismissed Rogers, Smith, Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges and Michael Clarke in his first 19 balls (3.1 overs). This is the joint- fewest number of balls to take five wickets from the start of an innings. He equalled the record of Ernie Toshack who did the same against India at The Gabba in 1947.

111 balls and all out: Australia’s first innings lasted just 111 balls (18.3 overs). It is the shortest completed first innings of a Test. The previous shortest was also by Australia (113 balls) when they were all out for 53 against England at Lord’s in 1896.

All out before lunch on first day of a Test: Australian batsmen could aggregate just 60 and were all out about ten overs before lunch on Day One. This was the only the fourth instance of a team getting all out in the first session of a Test. The previous instances were Australia (53) against England at Lord’s in 1896; India (76) against South Africa at Motera in 2008; and New Zealand (45) against South Africa at Newlands in 2012-13.

Extras (14) being the highest score for Australia: Only two Australians could get to double digits in the first innings — Clarke (10) and Mitchell Johnson (13), but England conceded 14 extras. This was the first instance in The Ashes and 16th time overall in a completed innings. The last such instance was for England against West Indies at Sabina Park in 2004 where extras (60) beat the highest-scoring batsmen Mark Butcher and Nasser Hussain. Both scored 58.

Records related to Stuart Broad’s 8 for 15:

They the best figures by an Englishman in Tests since Jim Laker’s 10 for 53 and 9 for 37 at Old Trafford in Ashes 1956.

They are the best figures before lunch on Day One of a Test surpassing Graham McKenzie’s 6 for 34 against India at MCG in 1967-68.

These are the best figures at Trent Bridge in Tests eclipsing Muttiah Muralitharan’s 8 for 70 against England in 2006. The previous best by an English bowler at the venue was 8 for 107 by Bernard Bosanquet in Ashes 1905.

These are the third cheapest eight-wicket haul in Tests after George Lohmann’s 8 for 7 against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1896 and Johnny Briggs’ 8 for 11 against South Africa at Newlands in 1889.

This is the first instance of a bowler taken eight or more wickets and all wickets were caught at slips but none by the wicketkeeper. James White also took eight wicket all caught without involving a wicketkeeper, but one of his wickets was a caught and bowled at Adelaide Oval in Ashes 1929-30.

Ian Bell’s dismissal on 1: Bell was out for 1 for the 12th time in Tests. Among proper batsmen this is the most number of times a batsman has got out for 1. He went past Sachin Tendulkar and Rod Marsh, who had got out on one 11 times in their careers. Of all players Anderson (14 times) and Harbhajan Singh (13) are the only players who have got this more times than Bell.

Joe Root’s century batting in the second innings on Day One: By the end of Day One, Root had completed his century and was unbeaten on 124. He managed to score a century on the first day of a Test despite batting second. This is only the fifth instance of a batsman doing the same. Alviro Peterson (103*) for South Africa against New Zealand at Newlands in 2012-13 was the last to do so after New Zealand were bowled out for 45. Root’s 124* is also the second-highest score in the second innings of a Test on Day One. The highest is 151 by Marcus Trescothick against Bangaldesh at Chester-le-Street in 2005.

Lead of 214 by Day One: England scored 274 for 4 on Day One and led Australia by 214 runs. It is the third-highest lead for a team on the first day. The top two on the list are 286 by South Africa against Zimbabwe at Newlands in 2005 and 233 by England against Australia at Lord’s in 1893.

Both openers scoring ducks in first innings and 50 in the second: Rogers and David Warner were both out for ducks in the first innings and scored half-centuries in the second. Interestingly, it is only the third such instance in history. The last two were for India (Devang Gandhi and Sadagoppan Ramesh) against New Zealand at Mohali in 1999-00 and for New Zealand (Martin Guptill and Tom Latham) against England at Lord’s in 2015.

Four six-wicket hauls by different bowlers from the same team in four consecutive test innings: Anderson (6 for 47) and Steven Finn (6 for 79) took six-fors at Edgbaston. Broad (8 for 15) and Stokes (6 for 36) did the same at Trent Bridge. This is the first occasion for any team that four different bowlers took six or more wickets in consecutive innings.

Alastair Cook becomes first Englishman to appear in 50 Test wins: The win by an innings and 78 runs is the 50th win for England involving Cook. He became the first English player to reach this feat; 27 others have achieved this for other teams. The next best for England is Anderson with 49. If he hadn’t been absent, he also would have completed this milestone.

Alastair Cook wins two Ashes series at home as captain: Cook had earlier led England to an Ashes win in England in 2013, and did the same in 2015. In doing so he emulated WG Grace (who had done it 1888, 1893, 1896 and 1899) and Mike Brearley (1977 and 1981).

100th innings victory: England became the first team to win 100 Tests by an innings. This was England’s 961st Test. They have won 344, lost 278 and drawn 339 matches. Australia is next with 85 innings victories.

7th Test defeat for Michael Clarke as captain in The Ashes: Clarke became the Australian captain with most defeats in Ashes Tests. He surpassed Billy Murdoch, Bill Woodfull, Allan Border and Ricky Ponting, all of whom had six defeats in Ashes under their leadership.

32nd Ashes series win for England: With this win, England regained the urn. Now both Australia and England have won 32 Ashes apiece, while five series were drawn of the 69 played so far.

Stuart Broad’s 8th Man of the Match award: Broad was adjudged Man of the Match for his 8 for 15. This is his eighth Man of the Match award in Tests. Of the current English players no one has so many: Anderson is next with seven. It is to be noted that Broad’s awards have all come at home. Botham (12) leads the way for England.


Cricket's a fascinating sport, isn't it?

All this and we left the ground on Saturday with enough time to get up to Hillsborough to watch Sheffield Wednesday’s first game of the season against Bristol City. Good times! (£42 worth of good times, if you can believe that for game of Championship football.  That incredible first day at Trent Bridge cost me £85 and seems much the better value, to be honest).