2011: Of county cricket and friends new and old.

Tweet: 8th April 2011

Good day at Neville Rd. One for the purists. Who ever thought I might complain about too much sun. Good to catch up with good friends.

Cricket at Nevil Road

Gloucestershire V Derbyshire

Gloucestershire 343 and 146 -3

Derbyshire157 ( L Norwell 6- 46) and 331 (D Payne 5 -76)

Gloucestershire won by 7 wkts


I always get a scorecard.


2010: A year of finding old friends and giving my soul to the internet.


Tuesday, 30 March 2010 at 20:04 UTC+01

Is looking forward to meeting long lost friends, then watching the Gas on Friday

Getting back in touch with people has become so much easier for people of my generation. For me it really started with Friends Reunited. It was addictive enough as an observer to draw me in to finding where old school and University friends were, but remote enough to ignore should I not be brave enough to contact the person. When reconnecting with Rose I had no idea how important that might be in the long term but I can only guess that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to find out more than just what one did as job and how many children we didn’t have. It is far more difficult finding and contacting those who you once thought of as significant friends. There is the whole issue of whether to drag out the past when thirty years of real life is far more important. I went all around the houses to find out what had happened to Helen “Brunning-Geog” and Tim in the past 30 years. Then came Facebook and a chance to search for friends of friends and a question rather crudely put to one such lost one


2002: St Albans, the worst Rovers team ever, all fur and no knickers

Thursday 31st January 2002

This diary is written a few days late because the day was so busy. We moved house and it was as easy as it could be. Home and Away arrived at 8 and had packed their van by 12. They were brilliant and packed all the glassware on the morning of the move. As usual we then had to sit around for an hour while we waited for notice that we could move in to 30 College Road. We dropped off the keys at 12.45 and arrived at St Albans at 2.They confirmed the move was all ready when we called in to the estate agents in town and they moved stuff in between 2.30 and 5. In the usual moving in style we found the chippy around the corner and cracked open the champagne in the living room at 7. Priority was then making sure the bed was made and the heating working properly.


2001:Rupert Brooke, Monet and PC 4328

Saturday 20th January 2001

One of the easier away trips today. We picked up the car from having its MOT and left at 11. We took our time getting to the Pink and Lily for 12 opening time. Sat in the Rupert Brooke room and had one of those grim puff pastry pies with mashed potato. The pub doesn’t do chips! The beer was good but overall the pub was a bit disappointing given its reputation. We were at the ground for 2 and parked up on their massive car park. We lost 1-0 and the game was a bit dull (2 out of 5). Worst of all was that Jamie Cureton scored for them. We were home to the Albert for 7.30 and we ordered a take away from the Chinese at Stantonbury before we walked home.

Fiona compiled her favourite top ten Rovers players. My top ten is obviously different because we only included players we have watched. Favourite doesn’t necessarily mean the best.


Fiona Rovers XI 4-4-2

 Brian Parkin

Trevor Challis Andy Tillson Steve Yates David Pritchard

Ian Holloway Vitalis Astajevs Justin Skinner Tony Pounder

Marcus Stewart Nathan Ellington


Billy Clark Gary Penrice John Taylor

My Rovers XI 4-4-2

 Nigel Martin

Ian Alexander Stuart Taylor Gary Mabbutt Vaughan Jones

Harold Jarman David Williams Wayne Jones Kenny Stephens

Alan Warboys Marcus Stewart


Steve Yates Ian Holloway Bruce Bannister

2001 was a year when we decided that we no longer needed a large house in Milton Keynes and we could follow the jobs to wherever and whenever. I had already gone to teach in Luton and Fiona was to apply for and get a job in St Albans. At first the move brought with it some complicated transport decisions. We started running two cars separately and on football days I would drive her to work and pick her up en route to the evening game. Then we did a commuter train split. I would drop her off at Harlington Station to get the train on to St Albans and walk the final half mile to work The problem with this was the pick-up in the dark, and frankly miserable, car park at the station on the way home when my time of leaving school was so unpredictable, Eventually there was only one sensible solution and that was to move to St Albans. It may have been sensible but ultimately it was a pretty bad decision to uproot and move to what was an alien and totally contrasting life style in that dreadful commuter town.

The summer holiday was at home and a return to Paris in August. One of the days we tried to recreate the Monet picnic on the Seine. Right location, different time of year, but this was the result.


Monet’s version




Our reconstruction


The Pink and Lily was one of many country pubs that we dropped in to on the way to or from the south of the county. It was a classic “one for your mother in law” pub because it had a good location, interesting history and a good garden. It was definitely not my type of pub, then or now. It had an unwelcome aroma of cooking food as you walked over the threshold. This was usually, no doubt well cooked, fish. We would end up in the garden because most tables would have reservations for Jessica and Oliver types to take their late lunch and talk loudly about the quality of their morning hack. The beers would be standard real ales, often something from Marston’s or the all too available Courage Directors (The Doom Bar of the 90s). It was later to become more of a regular pub for me as our local Bird in Hand Cribbage team would play there at least once a year, the game being given the privilege of free run of the back room. The Rupert Brooke connection is all very interesting and the pub did it well but most pubs in this part of the Chilterns has celebrity punters. I can’t see the Bird in Hand having a Jamiroquai room anytime soon or the Plough in nearby Cadsden having a Cameron child friendly play room.

The Reading experience was all very new and different. We had good experiences when it first opened with a 6-0 thrashing of the Royals being high on the list of memorable games. The old Elm Park ground had very different thoughts to recall. In 1994 we had a long drawn out conversation with the Police Complaints authority over a charge by the Met Police down the terrace that was totally out of control and dangerous.


This was our reply from the Superintendant Hanks Next up the command chain was a Chief Superintendent Howlett – Bolton. A quick look at his profile on the internet reveals his classic appointment as the Assistant Grand Master of Berkshire Freemasons. No real surprise then that we were fobbed off by this one then. PC 4328 has no doubt had a long career following orders with his camera and aggressive manner.

Overzealous policing of football matches is thankfully less common nowadays but there is still plenty of examples of visiting police units drawn from outside  the local area justifying their expenses claims by going native. In this case the result was a “no case to answer” apology and support for the valiant chaps in riot gear and their camera and baton wielding thugs. These events have, over the years eroded my initially unshakeable belief that the Police were basically good guys. Now I have an innate mistrust of their motives and tactics when Football matches are in their charge. I go to games armed with my list of questions for every policeman who might decide to give me a hard time.

The basic kit is:-

  1. Name and number of policeman I am talking with.
  2. Name of commanding officer of the day and his / her location at the time of conversation.
  3. Basis for conversation.
  4. Agreed notes of conversation to be made. Ask for permission for another to make notes.
  5. Agree whether photos are being taken. Offer copies to police for evidence should they be needed.
  6. If head camera being used ask for reference to gain access at a later date.
  7. Take notes / photos.

The compilation of top ten favourite teams are ones of nuance. Only last week we were doing something similar for Rovers best wingers this top 10 popped out

  • Harold Jarman
  • Muzzy Carayol
  • Kenny Stephens
  • Colin Dobson
  • Phil Purnell
  • Micky Barrett
  • Ray Graydon
  • Stewart Barrowclough
  • Mark Walters
  • Josh Low

My Best Rovers XI as of 7. 1 2017 (4-3-3) was:-

Nigel Martin

Phil Roberts Stuart Taylor Gary Mabbutt Vaughan Jones

Vitalis Astafjevs Frankie Prince David Williams

Nathan Ellington Rickie Lambert Marcus Stewart


Steve Yates Wayne Jones Bruce Bannister

 I might do the team again tomorrow and come up with a totally different eleven. This one was dependent on playing in a 4-3-3 system so Frankie Prince had to play to allow for David Williams and Vitalis to do their thing. Drop Frankie and play 4-4-2 and in comes Wayne Jones and a luxury wide player like Harold for Nathan Ellington.


1996       Carlisle H 1-1

2001       Reading A 0-1

2007       Chester H 0-0

1998: American holidays, walking and avoidance tactics

Monday 21st December 1998


It is the first day of our Christmas holidays and what do we do? Book up an MOT and service for the Primera for 8 o’clock. So it was a walk home from Stacey Bushes for me as Fiona had the deserved lie in.  Back by nine with bacon rolls from the bakers shop at Heelands. What was she doing when I got back? First day of the holiday and she is marking. Apparently she couldn’t sleep in, so decided to get some out of the way. So much for romantic gestures of breakfast in bed then. As she had started she wanted a clear run of a few hours or so. I might as well go in the Micra and get some Christmas shopping done. Bottles for family, Fiona stuff bought but not written here just in case. Fi has sorted out presents for MIL and her side of family. All done within two hours and back when phone call comes through with results of MOT. All ok, just service costs and two new tyres. Fiona dropped me off and I drove it back for 3.

We have a few days before we head off to Tunbridge Wells. Nipped down to Albert at 6 for an hour or so with Ray and Andy. University Challenge at 8.30. Finished writing out cards for people we forgot and for posting tomorrow.


1982: Denmark, Newcastle and Bristol within a year

Wednesday 4th August 1982

Arrived in Lubeck late last evening so we  had to get sorted with the youth hostel and didn’t see much of the town. The Jugendherberge is pretty good and in a good location, not far from the river. We walked through the centre, a mediaeval island with a fine central square and lots of small bars to sit and watch things go by. We had a breakfast from the local store in the central square and then went to the river and took a harbour trip. It wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be. I was expecting it to be a trip where they pointed out more buildings and distinctive architecture, much like you would get in Amsterdam’s canal trips. Our trip took us way downstream, in among the tankers and industrial dockyards of the Trave River. It was a bit like a brilliant trip on a much larger version of Avonmouth Docks. We caught the train out about 2, next stop Copenhagen. We had to get the train ferry at Puttgarden. The train goes straight on the ferry as a unit and straight off on rails on the other side at Rodby.. It was a good chance to catch up on some sleep.

We decided it would be best to stay a few nights at our next stop. The usual trip to the central tourist information centre said it would be best to go on to Helsingor. Copenhagen was very busy and we were a bit late for the best hostels so we arrived late afternoon to a brilliant hostel near the beach. Halsingor will be worth a day doing the Shakespeare bits. We are planning at least a day in Copenhagen so we have booked two nights before we head back south.



Harold Ravenscourt Stedman.

dad in garden

Dad Pottering

He was born in 1918 and was, in 1960, 42 years old. At this point he was a parent of 5 children and working at Purdown Hospital as a male nurse. Dad worked here after his time in the army. He specialised by working in what was then called a Mental Hospital. Purdown Hospital was a specialised Psychiatric Hospital with patients who often had residence from birth or were “committed” to the care of the N.H.S. Purdown became part of the Stoke Park Hospital group that specialised in Neurological research through the Burden Institute.