The WACADecember 17, 2017 in Australia
It is Day 4 at the WACA and we are happily ensconced in a good viewing position watching the cricket. Well, let me clarify that, good viewing if you are an Aussie, rather tortuous if you are a Brit! Interestingly, it is nowhere near a capacity crowd, which considering the fact that it is a Sunday and Australia are in command we find surprising. Apparently, this is quite normal according to the locals. The ground holds 22,000 and is rarely at capacity, apart from the the first couple of days of The Ashes contest. There is a concern that the new stadium, which has a capacity of 65,000 and needs a 40,000 attendance to break even, is going to be a white elephant. Denis Lillee has been chairman of the WACA and resigned instantly on the decision to develop the new stadium. It will be interesting to watch from afar and see who is right! Whatever the outcome, the WACA is a proper cricket ground with tremendous atmosphere and we are thrilled to be here for the final test match to be played here. At the moment, Australia have scored 662 and English wickets are falling like the rain that is forecast. It may yet save us in true English tradition - if it's quick!
As ever, the Aussie supporters are fun, irreverent and friendly, not forgetting passionately determined to beat the Poms! One Tasmanian thought my scarf looked much better on him - wasn't bad actually. I had an interesting conversation with my neighbour, Julie, who is a councillor in Subiaco (just north of the CBD) and a very well informed lady. She told me that despite WA's vast mineral wealth (1trillion in goods exported in the last ten years, but 400 million in debt) the state is struggling to hold population and with a recent downturn in mining she can foresee all this amazing building and infrastructure becoming a millstone around its neck. It appears to be the usual situation of the federal government taking the money and for every dollar given into the public coffers less than thirty cents comes back. Add in the usual beaurocratic incompetence and things are not as rosy as they appear. Take this example - Perths new children's hospital is sitting there completed and unable to be opened, as some idiots agreed to Chinese roofing, which they now discover contains asbestos and the use of inferior cheaper water valves, means the water system is contaminated with lead! It's good to have an insight that one would normally not see as an admiring tourist. Incidentally, this vast state's population is just over 2 million, which is tiny for its landmass, but of course so much of it is uninhabitable. Did I hear anyone say cricket is boring?
Yesterday we took the hop on hop off bus around the city. We were slightly dubious, but it proved to be a good move, as we learned a lot and it was a quiet day and relatively low in numbers. Places of interest previously under the radar were noted and we 'hopped off' at King's Park and explored. This is a 4kilometre square park on the western edge of the CBD. There are marvellous views of the city and river; a great botanic gardens showcasing the 2500 species of Wild flora found in Western Australia. (Gt Britain totals approx 1600) and wonderful natural bush for the public to explore. It is a marvellous facility for a city and is bigger than Central Park in New York. The weather was warm and sunny and people were out in force, getting together and picnicking en mass and boy do they picnic. There is literally even the kitchen sink, eskis, tables, chairs, rugs, barbies of course and a party is had in the great outdoors.
I have finished this episode back at the flat. As predicted the weather closed in about 4pm and started to spit with rain. We decided to call it a day at 4.30, managing to grab a cab and arriving back before the heavens opened. Play was abandoned for the day -unbelievable - and this is Australia. It is now blowing a gale out there and pouring. Concerts and Christmas events have been cancelled and tomorrow doesn't look great. It could be that the weather has literally come to England's aid. Well someone needs to!Read more