Saturday April 4th 2009. Launch -?? days.


A quiet, relaxing, quite normal day… for a change. Yesterday took a lot out of me and so some recovery was needed. Today has been the first day that I have eaten normally since Monday and my stomach is not entirely delighted that I have done so but, if I want to get my strength back sometime I have to eat properly. A large dose of bicarbonate of soda has just started a pitched battle with my dinner: we will see who the winner is in the next hour or so.


Today I have not worked at all. Some shopping in the morning (dropping various pairs of trousers off at the dry cleaner, buying fruit and vegetables. It was only a couple of kilometres walk all told, but the return trip with a heavily laden bag left me extremely weak and meant a two hour nap after lunch and also meant that there was no chance of the trip that I had planned to IKEA to get new bookshelves and a new set of DVD shelves amongst other things as this requires an hour and a half each way on public transport, plus the time that I need in the shop.


There were various interesting items yesterday that have nothing to do with the launch of Herschel. First, I found a message advising me that a very important delivery was awaiting me in stores. Yes, the Herschel wine has arrived. This was an idea borrowed from Planck. They contacted the Ontañaon vineyard in the Spanish Rioja region and got an agreement to prepare bottles of a special souvenir wine. I ended up coordinating our own order for the Herschel variety. I am not a wine drinker and, in fact, am almost teetotal, drinking only three or four times each year, but I am assured that the vineyard has an excellent reputation. It has selected a 2001 Reserve and designed a special label with the image of Herschel on it. Many people have requested cases of six bottles either to drink themselves, or to give as very exclusive presents or, simply, as a very special souvenir. That is part of the reason for the planned trip to IKEA: by buying some new bookshelves, I can free a display cabinet and place some bottles of Herschel wine there along with other souvenirs and keepsakes. We are justifiably proud to work for Herschel and don’t mind showing it. I would guess that probably half of all the bottles of wine ordered will be given away as presents to friends and family by the Herschel team.


Another one was the arrival of a package that contained a copy of “The Physics of Rugby”. It is a slim, but very impressive volume by my old friend and editor, Trevor Lipscomb who has published three of my books so far. The volume has given me a good idea of the style, level and extension that is needed for “The Physics of Cricket”. A BBC commentator is willing to act as one of the two expert backers for the book. And, as the book came one step closer to becoming a reality, I was able to follow England’s much-ridiculed players as they fought their way bravely to a win in the final match of their tour of the Caribbean over the West Indies side that had been deservedly ahead 2-1 in the series. England’s 2-3 victory is their first ever in the Caribbean and gives some hope for the summer when we play our arch-rivals from Australia.


Tonight, as I write, I am watching the latest instalment of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on DVD. It is wonderfully entertaining science fantasy, cleverly done and enlivened even more by the occasional appearances of characters from the original Star Trek series in their original roles (McCoy, Sarek and now Spock – everybody’s favourite from the original series).