This is my first time writing for the Learning English blog and I'd like to write about three things: my little 5 year old boy, cricket and my biggest gripe - a chronic shortage of sleep!
My little boy, Charlie, doesn't like sleep much, in fact he doesn't like it at all! As a great many parents will know, children are absolutely exhausting, especially at night and Charlie is no exception. Since he was born, Charlie has fallen into the habit of sleeping for just 4 or 5 hours at night before waking up (often around midnight) with bundles of energy and a burning desire to play with some of his favourite toys.
There's not much upside to this night after night, year after year, however recently a surprise fringe benefit emerged.
Any cricket fans amongst you will probably know that some months ago the England cricket team embarked on a mammoth tour of firstly Australia and then Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka for the Cricket World Cup.
England and Australia is the oldest rivalry in cricket and the biennial series of test matches they play, known as The Ashes, is the ultimate sporting highlight for any cricket fan from either country. Although never officially recognised, there is a trophy also colloquially known as The Ashes - a small urn, which legend has it, holds the ashes of a wooden bail that was burned soon after England first lost to Australia back in 1882.
Australia is more or less at the opposite end of the world to England so their daytime is our night time and vice versa. This means that the matches (5 games each lasting up to 5 days) started at about midnight UK time - not generally a convenient time to sit and watch a few hours of cricket. However, thanks to Charlie's insomnia I was often rudely awoken close to the start of play and fortified with copious amounts of black coffee I could keep half an eye on the cricket whilst partially entertaining an overactive 5 year old. To my delight and great surprise, and for the first time in 24 years, England managed to win the Ashes in Australia.
There aren't that many things that I would be happy to get out of bed for in the wee small hours, but Charlie and winning The Ashes are definitely two of them!
How about you? What would you be happy to get out of bed for at midnight?
Gripe: A complaint or moan.
Chronic: Long lasting or continuing or recurring.
Burning Desire: Intense, passionate need or emotion e.g. a burning desire for justice.
Upside: Traditionally means the top or upper surface of something e.g. a desk or table, but can also mean the good or advantageous part of a situation or transaction or the potential for gain.
Fringe Benefit: An incidental or additional advantage.
Biennial: Happening once every two years.
Bail: A cricket term. Small wooden bar that forms part of the wicket.
Vice Versa: Actually Latin - meaning the other way round or relations being reversed.
Insomnia: Inability to fall asleep or remain asleep.
Fortified: Strengthened or secured.
Keep half an eye on. To watch or monitor something whilst primarily concentrating on something else.
The wee small hours: The very early hours of the morning, just after midnight.
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