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F is for Fosters. The word diet for me means: 'time to make some money for the so-called flab busters'. There is nothing worse than some upstart telling an adult what to eat. Worse still their shrilling tones vibrate in the memory bank while popping in a 'pain au chocolat' in the shopping trolley. Naturally I ignore their food dictatorship and enjoy the treat even more so, once the shrilling tones die off. My opinion is, I've managed up to now, so why do you feel it is alright to dictate my food intake? Surely this is gross prejudice against the 'apple shaped' human. Indeed this form of intrusion is enough to turn a man to drink - it is known as the liquid diet. Now this form of diet cannot with precision tell you the number of calories you've consumed, this is the wonderful observation about liquids. Unless of course, you've a dietitian as a spouse who measures all forms of intake to the book - I assume they've mastered measuring because I cannot imagine they'll meander about daily with measuring tools on their person measuring all forms of liquid ready for consumption. Obviously, a fair number of these types are single and find it difficult to sustain a meaningful relationship. The thought of a morning routine of having your spouse pinching more than an inch would grate on my conscious, too the point I'll be in the spare room or closet for peace and tranquility, as well as saving my spare tyre of finger-tip bruising. One of my favourite liquid diets consists of a six-pack and transparent pint glass vessel. Ingredients and Method It is getting rather serious when you've got to write the ingredients and method in bullet-point formatted lineage. The term 'method' has a nostalgic lab scent to it and automatically 'I' like 'all of us' refer to it as the 'science part'. So, for the science enthusiasts, and for the purpose of this review, see below. 1 > A can of Fosters - although you can use any sort of lager brand, the procedure is no different. 2 > A pint glass or tankard - again, a pint glass isn't necessary but to add authenticity of a public house experience, I find the mandatory pint glass suits the purpose and it adds to the flavour. Not because I'll be adding extra ingredients but because your brain will tell you it tastes better in a proper pint / tankard drinking vessel. Now we have the ingredients, here is the method I've adopted over the years for the best results. Firstly, firmly tap the top of the can of Fosters three times, you could do it four of five times, if you're too amorous with the can tapping, spillage could occur later on, and we don't want that. Secondly, pull at the ring at the top of the can until you hear a sudden burst of gas, or if you are opening a can of beer, listen for the sound of some-one going 'pssssssttttt!' at you from eight metres or so. Having got a can of Fosters you'll likely to have more gas than necessary, but for the 'method' and 'review' purposes, I've opted for gas orientated drama. 'Ohh, exciting', I hear you 'gass..p!' - Clip back the ring. Tilt the pint glass at a 18 - 22 degree angle, there is no need to get your spouse to get the angle tool out for this operation, most lager brands don't hold it against you, but it will if no glass tilt is made. Once you're satisfied with the pint glass angle of 18 - 22 degrees, pour the contents of the can of Fosters about an inch from the top of the pint glass / tankard; so it trickles down the inside of the glass at a steady velocity. This manoeuvre shouldn't take any longer than thirty seconds - continue until the tin can is empty of its contents - slow down if necessary if you're forming too much froth. If this has occurred, you've either not tilted the glass appropriately or you've poured in the lager too quickly in your haste to drink it. Hopefully, you will have a lovely ochre or deep yellow colour in your pint glass with a little white frothy head resting on the lip of the pint glass / tankard. Don't worry if the colour is different to mine, it usually depends on the brand of lager, or the environment you are in. Once consumed, repeat the same method. As a rule, I have about four and then I find my accuracy tends to suffer somewhat when it comes to the pouring, and after six I tend to have a problem in balance and seeing straight - by that time I don't care if I have a four inch deep frothy head. Taste It tastes like a pint of Fosters which is great if you like Fosters or lager, which I do. I paid 4.79 GBP for a can of four; Fosters is available in most supermarkets, except when it isn't. A pint glass can be purchased in supermarkets, British Home Stores, and other peoples' houses. Smuggling the glass out of a public house is the cheapest option. Because the pint glass originated from a pub the lager / beer from it tastes a little bit better, regardless of the brand of lager / beer. Alternatives Well without sounding like your elders, drinking to excess is not a healthy practice - ask your liver for a second opinion. Instead of a 568 ml can of Fosters, the same process can be applied for a can of Carlsburg, or an insipidly tasting can of Carling - there are alternatives. During my carefree days of asking my liver to work overtime at a liver-able wage, I used the pint glass as a drinking vessel for a robust Jacob's Creek - an alternative not to be repeated, I will add. Although it could be forgiven if you've accidentally married a nutritionist or one of those 'Slim-fast' franchisers who spend hours looking like David Dickinson and with a gob the size of a letterbox painted gold to corporately relate to their overall hue. For teetotalers, pour in a dash of cordial into the pint glass and dilute with cold water from the water mains. Again, measure strength by the amount of cordial you initially add - perhaps put in a couple of ice cubes to make the drink cold / refreshing. Personally, I like it with one solitude ice cube - I'm a big one in regards to saving water. 'Tip' to make the water freeze quicker, use boiled water; for some peculiar reason boiled water freezes quicker than water from the cold tap - this fact makes no sense at all, it has baffled (allegedly) world class scientists for years. I wonder who the donut was who originally put hot water in the freezer in the first place. Conclusion The scientists among you will marvel at the term 'conclusion' - it gives the impression I've completed the procedure, and I have many times, for more years than I care to remember. Yes, remembering. One of the down-points of pouring a perfect lager drink and they say that practice makes perfect too, well the so-called donuts that came up with this term obviously didn't do their homework. In real-terms you get worse at pouring Fosters into a pint glass, regardless the number of times you do it, there is always a head. I've never encountered perfection and it is a sobering thought. Nevertheless, I'm no quitter. Naturally, I do realise that by the time I may've perfected the act of Foster lager pouring, my liver who is on a liver-able wage at present could be a part-time worker due to the demands that comes with providing a perfect pour. Also, as time flows on, my hand, eye co-ordination will deteriorate, as well as having shaky hands - therefore I conclude the prospects of perfecting this process in later life greatly diminishes - remembering it is another story. Feel free to print off my drink recipe. Drink safely, so you can remember the process for next time.
The war is over between the West Indies and the Empire and the Fire and the Babylon well and true extinguished in this early soggy English summer, the West Indies cricket team a sorry sight these days, no motivation to stick it to the Queen anymore. At the England Lions game at Northampton v West Indies last month you could see this side were not going to be much opposition, the IPL and West Indies politics, not the heart, deciding how loyal the players are to the team. With the mighty Chris Gayle biffing an amazing century in the IPL on the opening day of the Lords Test you can see where international cricket is going. The West Indies have lost 16 out of their 18 tests in England since the turn of the millennium, atrocious numbers, considering the nightmares they used to dish out. The day their fast bowlers fizzed it past your ear or smacked it out of the ground with a vapor trail on are long gone. If their quickies have pace today they have little direction, but their batsmen able to guide the ball to the slips much more accurately. ----The Current Series--- The exciting Johnny Bairstow was added to the squad for the injured Ravi Bopara for the First Test at Lords for the current series, little James Taylor of Nottinghamshire overlooked again, his years at the less glamorous county of Leicestershire at the bottom of Division Two still counting against him. I saw young Bairstow in the pub on the Saturday night during the Lions at the Northampton match, he and Jade Dernbach deciding not to get their heads down to impress the selectors, their glamorous counties securing their selection so keep boozing. --------------------- 1st Test - Lords May 16- 20 -------------- Day one and England put the Windies in at Lords in very English conditions conducive to swing and seam, a lick of sunshine glinting off the new red ball, Chanderpaul yet again the star, the current umber one batsman in the world unbeaten on 87 in a poor total of 243. His score took him to 9th on the world of all-time test run scorers, three years short of his 40th birthday. His crab like side on batting style is hard to bowl at (think Peter Willey) and England simply couldn't get near him as he ground them out. Bowlers bowl at his pads chasing LBWs and he simply whips it to the boundary. Stuart Broad was the star for England with an impressive 7-72, one of only five men to go up on the separate Honors Boards at Lords for taking a five for and scoring a century. Jamie Anderson became the 4th highest wicket taker at Lords in tests for an Englishman with his 47th scalp. If you are an England batsman and you want to find form then there's no better place than Lords against a feeble West Indian bowling attack, especially when it's your home ground, Andrew Strauss's first hundred since 2010 earning a memorable standing ovation. The fans love this guy as captain and angry that the tabloid press have tried to usurp him and so the emotion still strong for our leader, his fifth England ton at HQ and now level second with twenty tons in the All-Time list for English Test players with that 122. Some of the critic was fair and there's no doubt that if neither Alistair Cook nor Strauss are firing England are wide open to spinners on the Sub Continent. But on our patch the England batsmen revel and Trott (58) set up Bell (61) to wag the tail for a healthy 398 all-out, 155 on. Trott has still to hit a six in a test match. ------Most Test hundreds by English batsmen-------- *22: Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, Geoff Boycott *20: Ken Barrington, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Graham Gooch *19: Alastair Cook, Len Hutton *18: Michael Vaughan, David Gower *17: Denis Compton The West Indies response was again built around Shivran Chanderpaul, his awkward style flummoxing the England pace attack, flicking, nurdling and cutting off his pads to great but ugly effect. His stoic effort made a game of it, 91 off 250 balls alongside some aggressive hitting by Darren Samuels (86) and the tail gave the 'Windies' a chance of a surprise victory, setting England 191 to win and wobbling at 10-2 at the close of day four. For Stuart Broad it would be a record breaking day, his 4-93 giving him match figures of 11-165, the first 10 wicket haul in a Lords test since 1978 and the fourth best bowling figures ever there, his numbers the best by an England fast bowler, the all-rounder even beating the mighty I.T. Botham. If England did get these it would be the fourth highest successful chase at Lords in a test. After an early scare or two with Trott and Pietersen removed, Bell (63*) and Cook (79) saw us home for the historic victory with a 132 partnership. It wasn't comprehensive by England but still proficient, the days when England collapse against the West Indies long since gone... ---Result--- West Indies 1st Innings 243 all out (89.5 over's) England 1st Innings 398 all out (113.3 over's) England 2nd Innings West Indies 2nd Innings 345 all out (130.5 over's) 193 for 5 (46.1 over's) England win by 5 wickets. ----------------------------- 2nd Test - Trent Bridge May 25th-29th ------------------- If the West Indies needed a way back into the series winning the toss at a baking hot Trent Bridge was the right way to go. But their first four are poor and soon blitzed by England's excellent new ball bowlers, Chanderpaul again the only one holding out. But at 136-6 the West Indies captain Darren Sammy (106) rallied alongside Samuels (117) with a record seventh wicket partnership of 204, the highest for any visiting team in England. But 370 all -out was below par for such a pitch, Tim Bresnan 4-104. England had much more solid start with Strauss's century (146) driving England to 267-7, Pietersen with a flashing 80. But a wobble to genuine fast bowling from the exciting Kumar Roach on day three saw England's tail left slog to 428 all-out, Bresnan again the man with 39*. When he plays England win, simple as, 12 out of 12 going into this series. Strauss's ton was number 21 in tests, just two behind the all-time high for England, an exciting battle between him, Cook and KP to set the new outright record of 23. The West Indies batsmen are brittle and a 58 deficit was too much, 61-6 at the close of day three. England's pace attack simply overrun all sides in English conditions by finding movement or swing, Trent Bridge is known for it due to their new stands that mess with the wind and air. The following morning there was more resistance from Samuels with an unbeaten 79* but the rest fell away for 165 all - out, Bresnan 4-37 and Andersen 4-43. England duly knocked the 111 off with little alarms to record a nine wicket win, Cook 43*. Incredibly, if you consider our history with the West Indies, for the chastened tourists it extends their series winless streak in this country to 24 years, and means they have won just one of their last 25 Tests against England. England has now won seven straight home test series against all comers. South Africa are next, the current world number two. Hang on to your hats folks! -----Most prolific Test opening partnerships------ * 6,482 runs: Gordon Greenidge & Desmond Haynes (WI), 148 innings * 5,655: Matthew Hayden & Justin Langer (Aus), 113 innings * 4,597: Alastair Cook & Andrew Strauss (Eng), 111 innings ------Result------ England wins by 9 wickets and so the three match series. West Indies 1st Innings: 370 all out (109.2 over's) England 1st Innings: 428 all out (123.4 over's) England 2nd Innings West Indies 2nd Innings: 165 all out (60.1 over's) England 2nd innings: 111 for 1 (30.4 over's) -----Conclusions----- England are fine but the West Indies are not, the Calypso cricketers once again. They have five decent players able in this side at this level but that's about it. Samuels can bat and top scorer so far here and there is no doubt they are too reliant on Chaderpaul still, why he is still world number one as he battles to rescue innings. Roach is quick and hits batsmen and certainly exposed Johnny Bairstow test career chances with the chin music. Captain Sammy can give it some licks and Rhampal looks sharp but bar that it does not look good. Would the IPL guys make much difference? Yes but England have more gears to go through and I still think they would win three nil this summer with Gayle and co in the games. The Windies need to make up with Sarwan and Gayle and the IPL needs to be shortened to March/April time so we can see stronger Test series around the world.