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Minor Counties Major Change

I read in the Cricket paper recently the minor counties are looking for sponsorship, all well and good but as everyone knows unless you look in the right places it is not very well advertised.

That got me thinking, the structure of county cricket is a much discussed subject so why not get the minor counties involved? I’m not suggesting integrating them into the four day game, I doubt for a second they have the funding or infrastructure to mix it with the major counties, so promotion/relegation from division two would probably kill the county going down and the minor county taking their place.

One day stuff is more on an even keel, anyone can beat anyone on their day, so there are two possibilities as I see it, an FA Cup style 40 (preferably 50) over competition involving everyone in one big draw, no seedings but perhaps bring the counties in at a later round depending on numbers.

The stumbling block with this, and the main reason it won’t happen is money. Pro40 is currently a league format so I doubt any county will want to give that up for the possibility of being knocked out of a one day cup by a minor county in round one or two. So this brings me onto the second suggestion and this works for either form of the one day game, and possibly even both.

Simply add the minor counties to the current set up. More groups would have to be formed, and it may involve and extra knock out round but I can’t see that adding much more onto the schedule, and with more sides taking part the groups could be more regionalised (perhaps in one format) to reduce travel time and costs for the sides involved.

Cheshire would love the chance to shock Lancashire, and as a Yorkshire fan I’d love to see that too (maniacal laugh), or Northumberland Vs Durham would surely have the locals flocking in?

By doing this and involving the minor counties would raise their profile and hopefully help with the advertising and investing issues they have, as well as being good for the game as a whole. The minor county players would have to raise their game, hopefully improving it and making themselves and their sides better. It will put them in the shop window for being picked up by the bigger sides and thus making a larger talent pool of English cricketers; which can only benefit the national side in the long run and hopefully help keep us number one.

Twitter Spam Bots

I’m a a regular user of Twitter, and enjoy the banter that goes with it.

The main use I have of it is around events, mainly sporting and TV.

A friend of mine wrote a wonderful blog called The Digital Stadium a couple of years ago and says far better than I can what I feel about using SM in conjunction with events. I highly recommend you check it out.

Anyway, I digress, the reason I took to my keyboard today (or should I say my wordpress app on my smartphone…) is the spamming on twitter. It is getting too much and will soon see me jack it all in.

Tweet about work and you get spam about earning ridiculous money in no time at all. Tweet about Apple and you get offered half a dozen iPads for free…

It is beyond a joke. I just wish I knew what I could do about it.

For now I will have to stick with the block and report for spam option!!!

Spoff’s Photography (The early days)

The blog is called SpofforthPhotography so I really should really have it live up to it’s name and do a photography blog!

One of my main regrets is not doing photography at A level, instead I drank and slept through eighteen months of a Business GNVQ before leaving without any qualifications and getting a job in… a camera shop!

I would like to say I was a superb camera salesman at BentleyFilms, who were based in the centre of Leeds at the time, but in reality I was little more than a tea boy and shelf duster! But for £7,777 a year what did they expect…

Although I was no good in the retail sector I did learn a fair bit about photography and bought my first SLR, A Yashica 108MP (second one down). Boy did that thing weigh a tonne but I loved to use it and took it all over the place. Including the South of France when I was seventeen. You’ll have to wait for them pictures though, that’s a blog post itself, and I’ve not scanned the pictures in yet!

These were taken around 1997/8 and I remember quickly discovering I much preferred photographing ‘things’ rather than people, one of my first trips out was to St Mary’s Church, at Whitkirk, where I played with the long lens and then to the grounds at Temple Newsham and finally some that were taken in the fields round the back of my parents house.

I should really take my camera round there again and see how it has changed in the years since. I could perhaps take my son and see how he fairs with an old compact camera I have given him.

Hmmm, he’s seven years old and will probably get better pictures than me. That would do nothing for my confidence so maybe not!!!

Honesty Is The Best Policy?

I am the ‘one’ in the statistic 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.

It took me a long time to seek help, and probably just as long to accept I needed to – which is weird as I have suffered back problems all my adult life and the first sign of that flaring up I go to the doctors or physio for treatment. And really there is no difference between the two. They’re both ailments that need treating to get better, just in very different ways.

The first signs of recovery for me were pretty much in the minutes after I broke down in the doctors and admitted I couldn’t cope, there were a number of questions I was asked to determine the severity of my illness and what treatment I would need. I was told I was suffering a moderate/severe depression and remember quipping “hey, I never get high scores in tests…” That was the moment I knew I could be OK, that was me, making jokes. I try not to take life too seriously and had forgotten that.

Being open and honest has helped me accept where I am today, as has getting active again. You’ve (hopefully) read my first blog on the garden and to keep myself active when I was signed off work and to stop me staying in bed feeling sorry for myself I did a lot of walking and just recently have started running again. (although that was an accident as when I was walking one evening some spotty oik decided they wanted my iPod. So I ran)!

Turns out I quite like running, I recall enjoying it before the injuries began, and I have even been daft enough to agree to do a 5K race with a mate of mine in a couple of months so now I have to be serious about the running. So far I have been out twice and run a couple of miles each time, which isn’t far from the 3.106855961185 miles I’ll have to be able to do. Both have taken me around 20/25 minutes to complete, and the second time was a lot more running than the first.

I’ve not got a proper training plan in place as yet, that will come. I’m using an iPhone app called iMapMyRun to track distances and routes, apparently if you’re online when I run you can tap into the live map to see how I’m doing – the app tweets on my behalf when I’m out so if you happen to see the tweet and fancy a laugh you’ll see a line on a map moving very slowly. Maybe even going backwards!!!

During the Cricket World Cup Michael Yardy came home after telling the world he was suffering depression and there is also a chapter in Matthew Hoggard’s autobiography, another cricketer, who tells of how depressions has affected him and his family. Reading what both of these two people have been or are going through helped me put my condition into context. And helped me be honest when telling friends and family.

I think it is harder to be told someone is suffering rather than doing the telling, for me I want to be treated the same as I was before; have a laugh with me, or at my expense, I just ask people to be aware I have my down days and if that is the case just put an arm round my shoulder and remind me every little thing gunna be alright.

This isn’t something I had intended writing about when I started to blog, I was going to tell you about the garden birds, but I guess that will have to wait for next time…

As well as your own GP, there are many people and places who can help, and in many different ways too. Here are a few links that I have found useful. Hopefully you won’t need them, but that chances are you know someone who is ill and maybe they can help you help them.

I hope so.

Mind: Mind is the leading mental health charity for England and Wales.

Mental Health Foundation: Charity improving the lives of those with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

Time To Change: Let’s end mental health discrimination.

So, I Guess I’m A Gardener Now…

Good evening, and welcome to my first ever blog. On any subject. Ever!!

Like most people throughout my life I have had many hobbies and interests. As I move now into my 30’s (although I’ll tell you I’m 23 if you ask…) I have found more tranquil ways to pass the time to my liking such as golf, which I took up in 2007, my love of photography returned last year and I have started to read more and more books of late.

And most recent of all I have found a love of spending time in the garden. This all started because of a violent Ceanothus… The top of the garden is full of plants, trees, bushes and shrubs planted in 2001 by my parents because I had no interest in doing it myself. (I’d have been happy for it to have been left as rectangle of mud). For a variety of reasons the the garden has got over grown and during a recent absence from work I decided to do something about it.

Now the ceanothus is an attractive bush that covers a decent amount of space yet the thing just kept on stabbing and scratching me as I was trying to clear the nearby weeds. I was in a bit of a mood anyway and getting attacked in such a way when I was working wasn’t improving matters. For reasons unknown to me there were some secateurs in the shed which once I figured out how to get the safety catch off I soon had the bush put in it’s place. Or so I thought… The next thing I knew the branch at the bottom took a huge swinging kick at me, well that was it. In the shed I found a saw and the branch was no more! The ceanothus bush became a tree, and I have to say I personally think it made the garden look better.

It created a lot of space on the floor which following a trip to a local garden centre was filled with Viola Sorbet, Begonias, Marigolds and some Lobelia Bush.

This stirred something in me, and I looked at the rest of the garden through a different pair of eyes. Rather than a mass of green and other colours I saw a garden! Not only that I decided the garden really needed doing.

Over the coming weeks, months and years I intend to create and look after a garden that I can be proud of. I’ve started tidying the back and also have designs on doing something in the front which is currently just a square of grass the builders laid when the house was built.

So, I guess I’m a gardener now…

There you go, my first blog, I wonder if you were the first to read it? I don’t intend for the blog to be just a gardening one, I plan on talking about my photography, golf and various other subjects too.

I hope you will enjoy reading my words as much as I hope to enjoy writing them.

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