Cricket and Wolf Blass
Cricket. Went to the first day of the test series against West Indies today at Lords. Woke up to drizzle. Oh dear. Got to the ground at about 10 am: drizzle. Hmmm. Delayed start. Overcast and dark. England were put in to bat; the West Indies bowled only averagely; England reached lunch at 80 odd for nothing. Cook (below) was batting well; Strauss was scratching around a bit. Straight after lunch England lost a couple of quick wickets and Pietersen came in. After a few choice shots he lost his way a bit and then the batsmen took the light and went off for an early tea. After the break Pietersen got out, but Collingwood and Cook carried on resolutely, went off again, came back again and then Cook completed his century. England added a couple more to reach 200-3, then they came off again for good as it got a bit dusky. Great fun to be at the test; the cricket could have been a little livlier. Given the conditions, England have made a solid start, and if they can reach 380-ish, then they'll be well placed, although their bowling line-up looks a bit short - and if Harmison doesn't click, he's just about unbowlable, in which case we'll struggle to dismiss anyone.
Aside: Wolf Blass, who sponsor the test series, have an interesting sample stand (above and below), where punters can rock up and get free wine. The stand is manned (is there a better term?) by well informed girls who introduce each wine. I turned up as an average, relatively uninformed consumer and got some really good answers and guidance. It's probably hard to assess the effectiveness of this sort of marketing, but intuitively you'd think that getting people to actually taste your wine is a very good idea, and this is one of the few fora where you can do this. All the better if this tasting is guided by the person pouring, and these girls seemed to know their stuff.