21st July

Apologies for the size of this, I could not make it smaller. (Philip has just upgraded my laptop for me and some things do not seem to work the same.) I like the sign and it does mean summer is here, though the heat is enough to tell me that. It was on the pavement by the Sedbergh cricket ground. I am not sure what you do if one comes flying over the wall, duck I guess. When it comes to cricket I was always hopeless, but enjoyed scoring, and lying just off the boundary with a pint or a glass of wine on a nice day. At seminary in Rome there was an annual cricket game between the northern and southern dioceses on a very rough field with vipers at the villa outside Rome. I was asked to play to make up the numbers and then was told that everyone had to bowl. Mine was the longest over recorded and we would still be playing it I think if sense had not intervened. The north always won, but I nearly lost it for us single-handed. There is a story, probably apocryphal, exhibiting the perhaps disappearing English sang-froid, that a seminarian ran onto the pitch in 1939 shouting ‘It’s war.’ The old monseignor who was umpiring looked up briefly, placed one of his six pebbles into his other hand and said, ‘Two balls to go.’ There was a moment when I thought it was going to rain today. From the castle it looked as if the rain over Grayrigg was going to arrive, but it seems to have passed and it is still just hot and sticky. The wild fowl on the river seem to be loving it. Feasting on the weed and sunbathing on the exposed stones. Amongst all this we need to keep the prayers going for Ken, as you know, and for many others who are not well at this time.

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