Archive Month: April 2019
Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

Days after being unfit to roll his arm over at all Shane Watson is readying himself to take up the slack and contribute even more with the ball than he usually would in Perth to assist tired Australian pacemen Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.

An injury scratching for the first two Tests against South Africa the all-rounder and vice-captain all of sudden is a key bowling asset, particularly if Australia decide to enter Friday’s third and final Test at the WACA with only three fast bowlers.

Watson, missing with a calf strain in Brisbane and Adelaide, returned to bowling in the training nets during the second Test and sent down six overs in practice on Tuesday before flying to Perth. Given the physical ordeals Siddle in particular and Hilfenhaus put themselves through in the Adelaide draw Watson is prepared to be more than simply a support act for captain Michael Clarke if the recuperating pair of fast bowlers are retained.

“Absolutely, I understand that could be a possibility and at the moment that’s the biggest challenge for Ben and Peter for their mammoth effort in second innings to be able to freshen up as quick as they can,” Watson said.

“I do understand there will be a possibility of me bowling as many overs as I need to to be able to help the team hopefully win, but in the end my body is on the condition to be able to do it, so I’m certainly fresh over the past couple of weeks compared to some of the other guys that have been out there so my body should be right.

“I’m certainly going to be up to bowling as many overs as Michael wants and probably the normal sort of workload really that I bowl in a Test match, things have progressed really well over the past week so ready to go.”

Barring any last-minute mishaps the series decider – which doubles as a unofficial world championship play-off, with the winner to walk away as the world No.1 – will be Watson’s first Test at home since the forgettable Ashes of 2010/11.

A hamstring tear, then a more serious calf injury, put a line through him for the entire home calendar against New Zealand and India last summer. His latest setback has not proved as problematic, yet the 31-year-old has still be the subject of calls for him to give bowling away.

Watson, however, is not straying from his long-term stance on the subject. “Not unless something goes very horribly wrong, I wouldn’t want to give up on bowling,” he said. “[It’s] one part I love of the game – I know it puts more pressure on my body to be able to play consistently but it’s something I just love so much and have loved doing since I was an all-rounder since I was a young kid. That’s the ultimate enjoyment for me is to play as an all-rounder. Mentally, the injury setbacks are frustrating at times, but it doesn’t take away the love of being able to contribute with bat and ball.”

Watson insists there is no relationship between his bowling output and where he lines up in the batting order. The additional rest time since his move from opener has been beneficial, too, he argues. “The amount of overs compared to where I bat I don’t think they have an correlation at all,” he said. “In the end when I was opening the amount of overs I bowl was going to be similar to me batting at three anyway…more so batting at No.3 gives me a bit more opportunity to be able to freshen up mentally or physically.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

True or false? Irish whiskey is practically the same as Scottish whisky. Did you answer true? You lose. Their rich shades of amber are about the same, but in tradition and taste, the two couldn’t be more different.

And I have to admit, I didn’t know that either, until I embarked on a journey to Ireland, a country I’ve had a romantic fascination with since I was a child.

I didn’t visit just for the whiskey, of course, but for its legendary beauty, architecture and culture. Still, it was the whiskey that held the most intrigue.

This tiny island is surrounded by the cold waters and salty mist of the North Atlantic and the Irish Sea. Rain is often and plentiful. This pure, sweet water is the base of Irish whiskey. And while it may be true that the Irish like their Guinness, it’s even truer they like a drop of the hard stuff.

Irish whiskey, relatively speaking, hasn’t been around long.

The process of distilling dates back to about AD500, to the Arabs who extracted oil from plants to make perfume. Thus began the unique process of evaporation and condensation that is essential to whiskey-making today.

Later on, Celtic Christian monks, who travelled throughout Europe spreading the gospel, used those same principles to creatively distil local ingredients into alcohol.

In France, for example, grapes were distilled for eau de vie, the cognac and brandy of today. Scandinavian countries produced aqua vit, while in Ireland barley yielded uisce beatha. All of these romantic-sounding words simply translate to “water of life”.

In the late 1400s, the first accounts of grain distilling appeared in Scotland. To distinguish themselves from their Irish cousins, the Scots left the “e” out of whiskey.

The first official license for distilling was granted in 1608. And here begins our journey.

Our tour group began its whiskey education in Dublin, touring narrow flower-lined streets resplendent with statues, churches, shops and pubs. Lots of pubs, where the whiskey pairs well with local dishes like corned beef and fish pie.

The Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin was where we teamed up with Emer, our bubbly, happy guide.

“We take whiskey-making seriously here at Jameson,” she said, before missing a significant beat, then adding with a wink, “but we also take drinking it seriously”.

As we toured the distillery, which dates back to 1780 but closed as a working distillery in the 1970s when operations were moved to Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Emer explained that the biggest differences between Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky is that the Irish version is triple-distilled and doesn’t have the smoky, peaty taste that is the hallmark of scotch.

She then took us through the complicated process of making whiskey, which begins with barley that’s malted in a kiln – the Gaelic word for oven – before it is milled to a flour-like coarseness.

Next, it is mixed with pure Irish water in the mash-tun to produce wort – it sounds nasty but is actually sweet – which is then fermented to convert the sugar into alcohol. From there it is distilled to separate the water from the alcohol before being placed in handmade barrels for maturation.

With whiskey information overload, we finished our tour at the visitor’s centre, where a quarter of a million people come each year, before heading south to Cork to visit the Old Middleton Distillery at the Jameson Heritage Centre.

While you can’t tour the working distillery, you can take an educational and historical tour of the superbly preserved former distillery to learn more of Jameson’s time-honed craft, have lunch at the Malt House Restaurant and browse the gift shop.

“We hold on to the traditions of the past,” says master distiller Barry Crockett as he shows off the world’s largest pot still and a “ye-olden-days” waterwheel that once powered all of the machinery in the distillery.

Crockett confirms that Irish whiskey is triple distilled, declaring the final product is “cleaner, more pure, and sweeter in taste, like apples, pears, and peaches”.

Following an afternoon stop at the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, our group, heads filled with a cornucopia of fruity images, travelled to County Westmeath to Kilbeggan to visit another gorgeously restored working distillery.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Kilbeggan, which dates back to 1757 and draws about 45,000 visitors annually, was its amalgamation of unusual sounds, from the rhythmic ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom of mechanical gears grinding together to the flip-flipping of waterwheels and the gurgling of bubbling streams.

Andrina Fitzgerald, who at 24-years-old is one of the youngest whiskey distillers in Ireland, showed us a 185-year-old pot still. (Funny, it didn’t look a day over a hundred.)

Northern Ireland was next in our sights, and the village of Bushmills in County Antrim.

As we drove north, I sighed contentedly as the lush scenery of Ireland’s pastures and craggy cliffs sauntered past. It’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing, and the serene countryside is punctuated by the bones of ancient castles, pastoral stone fences, and masses of fat, happy sheep and cattle.

Finally arriving in Bushmills after a stop at the mythical Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we found a quiet village crammed with taverns, shops, and restaurants. From our accommodations at Bushmills Inn, the distillery, was less than a half-mile walk.

“Bushmills is the heart of the Irish whiskey industry,” said Robert Galbraith, our guide and Bushmills ambassador, before explaining that its distilling process really hasn’t changed in the more than 400 years since King James granted the first license to distil in 1608.

We had booked a premium tour, so Galbraith took us to a comfortable tasting room. Before us sat glasses of whiskey, shimmering like gold in the light pouring in through the windows.

The whiskey went down smoothly as we sipped our way through several centuries of whiskey-making traditions. Quietly I raised a glass and cheered “slainte” silently to King James.


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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

Hilarious, chaotic, sunburnt bliss is what writer Kathy Lette looks forward to each summer with family when they make their annual pilgrimage to Gerringong on the NSW south coast.

Gerringong, NSW, is my favourite place. The joy of living in London is its proximity to everywhere else. I’ve been lucky enough to explore the world from Moscow to the Maldives (place-dropping, a new art form!). But my happiest holidays are at my grandma’s beachside shack in that little town south of Sydney.

Every school holiday my family would snake our way down the coast in our overladen Chevy. My sisters and I would explode from the car like champagne from a shaken bottle, squealing with delight as we raced for that golden beach.

As toddlers, we lolled about in the lagoon, attempting to bridge the yawning chasm between us and buoyancy. Later, Dad taught us to bodysurf. The first time I followed my father into the swell the waves slapped my face repeatedly. As a sheer cliff of green water reared up (what my sisters and I called a “vomit comet”), I realised that “bodysurfer” is just a euphemism for “organ donor”.

But my father simply picked me up and hurled me shoreward like a human javelin. Before I had time to have a heart attack, I realised I was actually aloft on the crest. It would have been a total triumph, if only my bikini bottoms hadn’t caught a different wave.

Now I have children, every December we emerge into the searing sunshine at Sydney Airport, blinking like field mice, then head straight down the coast. My sisters and I ride boogie boards, holding hands as we surf to shore like deranged Gidgets. We go rockpooling and bushwalking with the kids and eat mangoes so succulent you have to be hosed down afterwards, then play charades all night. It’s hilarious, chaotic, sunburnt bliss and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Kathy Lette’s new best-seller is The Boy Who Fell To Earth.

This series of articles produced with support from Tourism Australia.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Apr 29 , 2019 / By :

The first major overhaul of controversial NSW bail laws in 34 years will abolish all presumptions against awarding and denying bail.

The NSW government has rejected the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission to introduce a universal presumption in favour of bail, and additional applications for bail for adults.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, flanked by Attorney General Greg Smith and Police Minister Mike Gallacher, said the government would introduce a “simpler” Bail Act by removing complexities such as the presumptions scheme, which has confounded the community.

“We have all been left scratching our heads from time to time about the inconsistency in which the current bail law is applied,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Accused criminals who pose a serious risk to community safety or are likely to commit further crimes will not get bail under this model.

“Under the current law, decisions about bail are made based on the offence a person has been charged with – not the risk they pose to the community. Our reforms will ensure the risk to the community is the first thing taken into account.”

Mr O’Farrell said under the new laws, the police and courts would consider whether a person posed an unacceptable risk of endangering community safety, committing a serious offence, interfering with witnesses, or absconding.

Mr Smith said the Bail Act had been amended 85 times since its introduction 34 years ago, making it inconsistent and overly complex.

“The current system of presumptions is inconsistent, resulting in bail decisions which sometimes don’t seem to make sense.”

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione also welcomed the changes.

However, bail reform advocates were concerned that the removal of a presumption in favour of bail would undermine the legal principle of a presumption of innocence.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.