I've been quiet of late, due to my wife's pregnancy, and latterly the arrival of a beautiful baby girl – Emily. And that also means my paternity leave coincides nicely with the World Cup finals.



We played Scrabble this evening and I beat my wife. I should hastily point out that those are not two unconnected statements! I mean to say I won. But it was a struggle since I had the Q right from the start and she was hoarding Us in the hope of finding that Q. It ended how you see it below with our two remaining tiles never to be united. Sob.


The missus had the brilliant idea of going to see England play at Wembley, so we did just that yesterday! It's quite a slick operation, as you'd hope, with the tube and the venue doing an impressive job of getting 90,000 fans to and from the game. In fact the Jubilee line tube we left on was only half-full as the old bridges at the station just can't deliver people to the platform fast enough. Still, it only took about 30 mins to get from our seat into a tube.

I was shocked and I suppose only mildly amazed that there was no beer for sale in the venue. I'd assumed that you wouldn't be allowed it in the bowl itself, but that it would be available in the concourses. And yes, there were the signs, proudly proclaiming "Pie and a pint", "Cold Beer here" etc. But when I asked I was laughed at. I did later spot a small sign saying that UEFA had decreed that this is the way it must be, but it's just harsh to advertise beer everywhere whilst not serving any. The tickets and FA website didn't make any mention of it either, that I could see. How very uncivilised.


That said, it was the least hostile atmosphere I've ever known at a football game, and the lack of beer is probably to thank for that. At no point did I even fear for my life! How very civilised.

The ticket made it VERY clear that cameras were strictly verboten, so with a heavy heart we didn't take any, which is shame because the new stadium is a fine photographic muse. That's why you have to do with a poor snap from my phone as we sat behind the goal. England scored all 5 into that goal in the second half, and the England Band (sponsored by Pukka Pies apparently) played about ten rows behind us. And in front of us sat a woman with a massive camera. In fact we appeared to be about the only people there without one. That's what you get for playing by the rules.

I loved this book. It’s a perfectly balanced mix of life story, comedy, irony and occasional sadness all held together with Simmo’s long love of cricket. You don’t need to be a cricket fanatic to enjoy the book, as that’s not what it’s really about – it’s just the unifying theme. That said it would be the perfect gift for the amateur cricketer in particular!

There are some truly laugh out loud moments and a couple of genuinely touching parts too. Overall the book is a warm and witty autobiography of a slightly awkward everyman that simply focuses on the diverse parts of his life that were cricket related, from infancy up to present day. His other book “What’s My Motivation” looks like it promises to do the same but from the point of view of his acting career. If it’s as delightful as this one then it should be a real treat, and I intend to pick it up soon!