Mourinho Gone, Australian Cricket’s Dawn?

I got in to work this morning, checked some news sites, and almost choked on my cereal, when I read what happened in Old Trafford overnight.

Mourinho has been sacked. Gone.

I’ve labored through United’s games of late. They have been hard to watch. The attacking bend has gone and it looked like a constipating raid every time we’re on the opposition half. As a result, I have found myself enjoying other teams’ games more. I blamed Jose for that.

With him gone, I hope United regain some of the attraction it used to have. Back when United was the main event and I’d watch them repeatedly without double guessing.

This hopefully is an inflexion point of sorts, as I hope it is for the Australian Cricket team. It beat India in Perth, in the second Test, yesterday. It was an absorbing match.

I was home sick on Monday from a very bad back, which I picked up on Sunday and missed St Alf’s. I stayed home on Monday, mostly lying flat on the couch and watching the wicket on Perth Stadium (a.k.a. Optus Stadium, particularly when the West Coast Eagles were playing in their flag winning season) do all sorts of tricks on batsmen. Bowlers who otherwise were ordinary (albeit good) seamers, were catching batsmen with awkward bounces, twists and turns. At the end of that absorbing day, Australia were 5 wickets away from victory, with India still over 170 runs in deficit. The victory came swiftly yesterday, and Alfie (J Langer) has lead Australia in this turning of the corner match (hopefully).

Man Utd and Australian Cricket on the mend. Better things to come, hopefully. Just as I am also looking for an even better 2019, which is a mere 12 days away now.


Tender Back and Bat

More than 30 years ago, I hurt my back which saw me go through a lengthy episode of hospital treatments. These culminated in a back surgery which thankfully, cleared up all my back problems and I went on to lead a pretty normal and healthy life. I even took on jobs that involved lifting loads. I worked weekends in the fish markets in Sydney, lifting crates of fish and/or ice on a regular basis. I also worked in my university, often carrying tables and chairs while arranging classrooms and halls for exams seating and moving lecturers’ books and bookshelves. The surgeon must have done a decent job to let me do all that. And, I also ran numerous half marathons and 10k races for many years.

Occasionally however, the back flares up. Doctors sometimes refer to these as chronic episodes. They recur on a regular basis and often goes away after a little while.

This past week or so saw one of those flare-up’s. All week last week, the back was sore. On Saturday morning, it was muggy and after going for a walk with Tress and the little guy, we came back and Tress started doing some weeding. I was dawdling around and being schizophrenic about whether to trim a remaining bit of the hedge. It was so muggy and I was lethargic to say the least. The other thing bugging me was Tress’ car. The intermittent rain and hot windy conditions the day before had made the car ugly filthy so I ended up giving the car a wash. The MX5, being the little thing that it is, was sitting there looking at me, when I had finished washing Tress’ car, so I decided to also give My Jedi a wash.

We got cleaned up around 1pm and decided to go see the new “Loft” of the FHC. We picked a Vietnamese place for lunch, which wasn’t the greatest choice for me. The food was ok but the chair was at such an awkward level. Towards the end of the lunch I started to get mini spasms on my back and for the rest of the day I became so twitchy as the back had slowly but surely, gotten worse.

Later that night, we settled down and I started watching a new Netflix series with some familiar faces. Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin are funny and very good in “The Kaminsky Method”, and that gave me and Tress a few laughs to take away the soreness on my part.

We had also had a few laughs the night before, when Jason and Mel and the Hipos and Jess’ mum all caught up for dinner. We went to place that served an ethnic Chinese minority group cuisine – Yunnan Cuisine– and the novelty of the meal was something to marvel at. It was always good to catch up with these old dear friends and Friday night was no different.

On Sunday, before heading out for St Alf’s, Tress made me pop an ibuprofen which lessened the misery of the sore back. The mugginess had also cleared up so after lunch and some grocery shopping, we got home and I went to work with the hedge and lawn. Tress did more weeding in the north west corner (the jungle central of our garden), did the ironing and also took the little guy for a walk. After finishing outside, I went it to do the week’s cook and the washing up all finished just after 6pm.

I was peaking at the cricket score all arvo and it was painful to watch. The post Smith/Warner/Banks sandpaper ball tampering saga has seen a change of coach and many new players. The batting order is as tender as my back and so I had decided to focus on the excitement that Virat Kohli brings instead. Kohli hasn’t ignited yet but the tender Aussies buckled time and again. The 4th day ended with the Aussies staring at defeat that will surely come. It is only a matter of time when play starts today, before India wins game 1 to clinch a series Down Under for the first time in donkey’s ears.

More than 30 years ago, when I suffered my first back trouble, Alan Border and Company were starting to lead the Australian cricket team out of the wilderness that followed the World Series drama. Today, how we need another Alan Border to doggedly dig in and stake our claim. Just as I need to doggedly fight this sore back to end the year on a brighter note.

Mate’s new home, Steer weekend…

Alex and Li Har have been building their new home for a while and on Saturday night, a bunch of us visited them there for a dinner party of sorts. Tress and I had been there a few weeks earlier, and a bit more work was still going on then. Things looked far more settled on Saturday night and the hosts appeared far happier too, although Alex confided with Jason and I, of his financial concerns. I guess we all have that same – albeit varying degrees of – concern and having completed the building of his very large and beautiful home, those concerns are not unreasonable.

Earlier that morning, I had been in a planning meeting at Steer. It was to do with the investment strategy/policy and I continued to soak up the wisdom of the collective. The day had been very warm and Tress had done a heap of work at home to clean and change sheets etc and when I got home, I felt the onset of a lethargic weekend. Tress and I walked down our street for an auction, which got passed in, confirming for us that the housing market in Melbourne really has gone off the boil. We then grabbed a quick lunch and bought some groceries for the night’s party at Alex and Li Har’s, which didn’t help with my lethargy, as there were copious wines swirling around.

So on Sunday, I struggled through St Alf’s and the cloudy, cooler conditions were more pleasant but didn’t help me much.
We got home early arvo and I got stuck into the garden – doing the hedges and lawns, quickly filling up the green wheelie bin with overdue clippings of our very tall side James Sterling’s. We then cooked the week’s lunches, before settling down to rest up, in readiness for the new working week.

A stream of emails had been ringing away on my mobile throughout the weekend so the ramping up of the busy pre-Christmas period continues unabated. It’s 3 weeks out to Christmas and I had been looking forward to spending time with my siblings and their families but another part of me – the part that dread or loath international travels- made me look forward to a different trip a little further down the track.

Tress and I had met up with Jason and Mel for dinner on Friday night and I had said to them, that somehow, I am looking forward to the Australia Day weekend more than the coming Christmas break, simply because the latter involves international travel. I had said the same thing to Tress the day before. Maybe I’m just becoming closer to a grumpy old man.

I hope the new year will see me better equipped to play a better role in Steer. Maybe also be a better friend to mates. Maybe I can be less grumpy that way.