Sunday, November 30, 2014

Phillip Hughes 1988-2014

When Phillip Hughes was suddenly drafted into the Australian cricket team, they must have got him to pop in to Channel 9 so they could film his little video portrait. When they mention a player or when he comes in to bat, they play this clip of them slowly turning around, lifting their head and giving you a look, you know, like you have just asked to dance with their girlfriend.

Phillip however jerked around as though someone had just dropped a fully laden tea tray.

I am joking around because his death is too sad and incomprehensible for me to address any other way. There have been many beautiful, thoughtful and heartfelt pieces written and I will not even try to match them.

It is a small mercy that of all the world's cricket grounds he was at the SCG. For his family and friends it meant they could be with him and all together over the next two days and hold a vigil for him. If he had been in Mohali or even Perth it would have felt quite different. Michael Clarke has been outstanding and is an ever more impressive leader, who has some more challenging times ahead, maybe the most difficult of his career.

I was fickle in my support for Phillip Hughes. After thrilling to his brilliant start and then despairing of his chances to ever lock down a spot in the team, I was too easily convinced by those who said he was a Shield run machine that just didn't have the technique to make the next level.

His innings that has been warming the cockles of my heart was not a spectacular one. It was full of maturity, and a sense that time was not against him, time was in fact ripening up and rounding out his talents. He batted with Ashton Agar on debut, in that extraordinary partnership at Trent Bridge that dragged Australia back into the match. He talked the young bloke through it and it was so impressive in a low-key way. There is a beautiful recap of it by Anthony Sharwood here.

Rest in peace Phillip Hughes, 1988-2014.

 Pic: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Meanwhile our other son...

... is back creating new alphabets. This one is heavily based on Gujarati (which I think is the most beautiful of the Indian alphabets).

Michael makes constant use of Google Translate - here he is translating colours into Gujarati for inspiration.

A big event in Brisbane - no, not that one

Last week Marcus and Elf spent a few days in Brisbane, so that Marcus could be presented with a gold medal from the Australian Mathematics Trust. From what we could establish, it was for his extremely high scores in the Australian Maths Competition this year. 34 medals were given out in Australia all together across grades 7 to 12, but Marcus was the only Tasmanian.

Taroona High were very proud, as this is their 3rd medallist in 4 years, but they had to admit that when a kid is part way through Grade 7 the credit really should go to their primary school.

Elf and Marcus flew up on Thursday, and stayed at a reasonably comfortable hotel in the city. There was a massive electrical storm in Brisbane when they arrived. They took the airport train to Central Station, and were staggered to see people walking through the Botanical Gardens with umbrellas despite the lightning. They had to wander about a little to find the hotel, but once there they settled in and had room service supply dinner, including a memorable bitter chocolate ganache tart thing.

They didn't sleep all that well, so they got up very early and walked around the Botanical Gardens, and were staggered (again) to see half-meter-long lizards just hanging around. They thought they had escaped from an enclosure, but no, this is just their place, man.

Later that morning they went to Government House where the Governor of Queensland, Paul de Jersey, presented the gongs. Then there was a bit of a reception with a lot of awkward standing around from the teenage maths genii, and then a buffet lunch at another hotel in the city about a block from where Elf and Marcus stayed. The Commonwealth Bank sponsor the maths competition and they put on the lunch.

That evening they went for a big walk along Southbank and saw the market, the man-made beach, beautiful gardens and the city buildings all lit up in colours for the impending G20 summit. They had a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane, and were generally very impressed. And of course it was lovely and warm.

On Saturday morning they had breakfast at the Pancake Parlour - a novelty for Hobartians as we have no good pancake outlets. Then they went back to the Botanical Gardens to say goodbye to the lizards, and caught the train back to the airport. Michael and I picked them up a few hours later and it was great to have them back.