Watching Paint Dry, Humidity & Learning to Play Cricket.
Posted on January 31, 2012
Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that two of my favorite hobbies are studying the weather along with watching and playing the wonderful game of cricket, these are two subjects that to many people are about as interesting as coating a wall with vinyl matt emulsion and spending the afternoon watching it dry. Funnily enough there is a link between all three of these subjects that led to the writing of this particular blog………….that’s right, cricket, weather, and watching paint dry have all had an impact on my weekend, teaching me that there is always something new to learn in this short life of ours.
“How did that happen Bob?” I hear you all cry with understandable excitement that is bordering on delirium. Well, for those of you still reading, I will tell you how, keep with it as it maybe something for you to impress your friends with. One of the subjects in question is humidity, and the relation with this to spending an afternoon watching paint dry as I did yesterday afternoon at our cricket club after I had put a coat of emulsion on the walls as part of our clubhouse refurbishment. Hands up everyone who has always associated high humidity with a sweltering afternoon in June or July. Well, just like me, you were wrong, humidity is not a major summer time thing at all really, well it is, but not compared to January it isn’t.
On a dry and mild day a few weeks ago, I put a coat of emulsion on the back wall of our club house and it was ready to be re-coated in about 45 minutes. Yesterday I had to abandon the latest part of the project as after two hours the surface was still tacky if not wet. When I studied this phenomenon on the internet later (who needs porn when you have humidity?) I was rather surprised to discover that the problem arose from high humidity, a problem that peaks in the UK during December and January at a rather staggering 92%. In the unusually mild dry weather a few weeks back it was more like 85% allowing a quicker drying time for the paint.
Being surrounded by sea, there is obviously a lot of moisture in the air in the UK, but a humid day is far more likely in winter than in summer. So why are high temperature days in summer described as hot and humid, whilst cold winter days described as cold and damp? I suppose it is the weather equivalent of an urban myth, a bit like when people say “It’s too cold to snow” a statement that for some reason, never ceases to annoy me, despite it being misguided rather than offensive. So, just to get things straight, May and June have the lowest average humidity in the UK and December and January the highest, so when you go to work tomorrow, say “Phew it’s humid out there today” and take note of the reaction especially as the temperature will be hovering around freezing point. If you need to justify yourself as your colleagues twirl their fingers at their temples as if though you are not mentally sound Click Here.
Cricket is where I learnt something else new at the week-end, something that delighted and infuriated me at the same time. George has recently been trying to get me to hit a cricket ball by swinging the bat like a pendulum with my elbow pointing towards the bowler, or if you can imagine, as if though I am rocking a baby from side to side or shoveling coal. Despite how uncomfortable this felt, I stuck with it stoically during a game on Friday and scored 39 not out, it was a complete revelation. I have attempted to play cricket for years and I have always wondered why I see the ball really well, but can’t hit the bloody thing straight. The simple truth is that I have been swinging the bat in a semi-circle rather than like a pendulum going back and forth. It all seems so obvious now.
In my 45th year I am far too old to gain anything significant from this belated discovery, but I am genuinely upset that no one had ever pointed this out to me in my younger years, I would have loved to have been able to play cricket properly. To reach the golden 10,000 hours of practice required to be regarded as an expert at batting I would have to spend every waking hour up to and beyond my 48th Birthday practicing. With creaking bones and fading eyes, even if I could afford, it would be a futile exercise, but it hasn’t stopped me having lessons with a professional coach as I bid to crown my captaincy of the Oakley Sunday 11 side with a maiden 50. To take my helmet off and point my bat to the pavilion in recognition of the applause from my six adoring fans (including a bemused dog) is something I want to experience just once. Surely that is not too much to ask is it?
The first of these full one hour lessons was last night and you may not believe this, but it was tougher going on the body than an hour in the gym and proof, if it were needed, that cricket is not a game that comes naturally to people like Alistair Cook at birth, it has to be taught. There is so much involved in the technique that is not natural human movement, so relating back to the gene/nature/nurture argument of a few weeks back, I will argue from dawn to dusk that no one has it in their genes to play cricket, they have just been lucky enough to have been born in to family that encourage it an early age and send their kids to a local club or a public school nearby that has a good tutor. After years of spending my time flailing around like a one armed man trying to kill a wasp, finally, I am now able hold a bat in my hand with a better than average chance of the ball heading roughly in the direction I intend it to go rather than in to the air, or even worse, in to my face, breaking my nose and removing my teeth in the process.
Somewhat Ironically, on the 10th June this year I am captaining our side against Whiteditch, captained by none other than……….Peter Madden, my old P.E teacher from the Hurst Secondary School! When I cream him through the covers for a majestic Goweresque four runs, I shall utter these words in his direction:
“Why didn’t you teach me how to do that when I was twelve sir?”
His reply will be:
“Because, Lethargy.…you were a gobby little shit who was beyond teaching.”
He will then clean bowl me with the next delivery.
10th June, 2.00pm at Oakley Park, Hampshire Oakley v Whiteditch, get it in your diaries.