Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday 30 th June 2019...where did this month go????

Enjoyed my morning relaxing and getting things finally into place and I love the way the casita looks now!!!

The Community Church where I used to take Linda when she was here were holding a special service, The Blessings of the Animals, and I thought it would be nice to I was really interesting to see all these dogs in church and they were all very well behaved......this is a friend of Linda’s and the great organist....a different kind of service for sure.

Then went and picked up some plants and spent a lot of the afternoon potting them.....the end results!!!

Time for a rest so I made tea and watched the live final of the Under 21 soccer tournament from was a good game with Spain coming out as the worthy winners!!

Just a quiet time watching the sunset....

And now to eat some of the chicken breast concoction I have in the crock pot!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Saturday 29th June 2019..Saturday musings!!!

My first sleep in the new casita was a good one and I woke up at 7.30am to the sounds of the hot air balloons......

Pretty cool to sit in bed with a cuppa and see the mountains...the down town and the sun shining in!!!

The views from the roof top terrace are 360 degrees and vey beautiful...

Down town

My roof terrace..

From the door to the roof..

I think I shall be very happy here....

Tennis was really good this morning..enjoyed the two hours on court..

Whilst we were playing a micro plane came over and I just had to smile as the last time, and in fact the only time, I had been on one of those was in Zimbabwe when I took a flight over the amazing Victoria falls, what memories!!!

Afterwards a quick stop at the market and home for lunch and to watch a live men’s soccer game from Italy....the Tv is wall mounted and a Smart Tv and the reception very clear.....

Spent the afternoon just getting things bit away changing things a bit and I think 8 have it the way I like it...

All I need is to get a couple of ferns for two pots that I have and some plants for the roof top planters!!

I do not pay any extra no utilities and to have  Internet, cable tv , washer and gas or water bill and there is a reverse osmosis system so no more buying the big bottles of water..all of this for 11000 pesos a month..and to top it off I found out this morning the landlady has a street dog that she rescued called, Freda, and I can take her for a walk when ever I want!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday 28th June 2019....the weary traveller returns!!

This morning was a chore morning will not bore you with the details...then took the dogs for a great walk, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon.....I then left at 5.30pm to drive the 45 miles to the huge city of Queretaro where I picked up Gracie from the bus station...she was so happy to be in back in Mexico after being away for so long........we got caught up on all the news on the way home and Scout and Einstein were thrilled to see her come through the door......

Tonight is my first night in my new apartment are a few photos...just have a little bit of sorting to do..

Roof top photos mañana!!

Have a great weekend !!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thursday 27th June 2019...back on the courts!!

Well you may not recognize the photos below..

Yes the rain stayed away and I was back on the courts this morning..first time in nearly a is amazing how much I miss the playing time.

The weather was perfect and we all had a lot of fun!!!

I then went to my new casita and did a bit of work getting my stuff sorted I reckon my Saturday bit will be complete and I shall have photos to show..right now it looks, to me anyway, amazing!!!

Came home and took the dogs around the neighbourhood before settling down to watch this live Women’s World Cup soccer game from France....

Way to go 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England!!!

The housekeeper, Lilly, was here today so the house is looking spotless for Gracie’s return tomorrow late afternoon....the dogs look great with their new hair cuts and the garden is fine!!!

Tonight a soak in the tub and more West Wing, I sure enjoy this show!!

Yashi Kochi

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wednesday 26th June we go again!!!

Well here we are Wednesday again and almost the end of a month I do find they go by so very fast!!

Carolyn met me and we drove to my new apartment as she had some small pieces of furniture for me and a lovely relaxing chair and of the finished place on Saturday!!

Came home and took the dogs for a walk around the neighbourhood and then went off to poker......another thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I added to my bank account by 120 pesos....

I went straight to the gym for another hard session with Aaron watching over me and then finally home by 5.45pm.

This is the forecast for the next several days and as you can see storms are ahead but so far no rain and I hope it stay that way so I can play tennis  in  the morning as the last two sessions have been cancelled!!!

Time for tea and West Wing!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tuesday 25th June 2019.....mmmmmm

I had copious amounts of these in Portugal!!!!

The Unlikely Rise of the Pastel de Nata, and Why It’s Suddenly Everywhere

The centuries-old Portuguese treat has become a global brand, and a very modern marketing machine is pushing it.

An unlikely dessert is on its way to becoming as ubiquitous as the croissant.

Not long ago an authentic pastel de nata—the diminutive egg-custard tart with a crispy crust—required a trip to Portugal. But now they’re popping up in supermarkets, coffee shops and bakeries from Manhattan to Singapore. The pastry even earned its own episode on the Great British Bake Off, the global hit that conquered the world with bunting and scones.

The pastel de nata, which just means cream pastry in Portuguese, has similarly become an international hit, centuries after it was said to have been invented in a Belem monastery by monks. In Portugal, the simple treat often costs about a euro ($1.14) at the more famous shops, but they fetch up to 3 pounds ($4) in trendy London cafes. One grocer, Lidl, boasted of selling 2,000 nata an hour in the U.K. in 2018, competing with doughnuts for popularity.

Pasteis de nata are taken out of the trays after coming out of the oven at the Pasteis de Belem cafe in Lisbon.

Photographer: Patricia de Melo Monteira/Bloomberg

In Manhattan, chef George Mendes introduced the dessert a year and a half ago at his Michelin-starred, Portuguese-inspired Aldea. Not everyone’s familiar with it—yet. For anyone new to the nata: Don’t use a knife and fork. “You’re supposed to eat it with your hands,” Mendes said. “Preferably with a cup of coffee.” Even Mendes says he’s stunned by the dessert’s meteoric rise.

Less than a decade ago, pasteis de nata—the plural—were languishing in obscurity. Sure, they flourished in pockets of the Portuguese diaspora in places like Newark, New Jersey. Mendes discovered them growing up in Danbury, Connecticut, which has a significant Portuguese community. His mom would bring them home after church from a nearby Portuguese bakery. But as recently as 2012, Portugal’s then-economy minister lamented that they weren’t an internationally known export.

It’s unclear what exactly sparked the boom, but the pastry ticks a few boxes. Culturally, Portugal is a must-try on an international travelers’ bucket list, and budget Lisbon rents are creating a tech hub for millennials priced out of London and New York. The famous, blue-and-white-tiled Pasteis de Belem was made for Instagram bragging, despite being founded in 1837.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the nata’s rise is fueled in part by promotion from the government, which sponsors events like the 2018 Nata Festival in London and funds local businesses. Exports of Portuguese specialties, meat and livestock to other European countries topped 1 billion euros in 2016, more than doubling in seven years. In the last three years, the Portuguese government has spent €50 million per year overseas promoting the country and the nata....

But there’s also a more unlikely source of promotion: a tiny business called Nata Pura that sought to do for natas what Dunkin Donuts did for doughnuts. Started in 2013, the company has rapidly expanded, helped by a six-figure investment from Portugal Ventures, an investment firm backed by government agencies.

Founder Mabilio de Albuquerque took a page from international brands like McDonald’s and adapted the pastries to local tastes: matcha green tea and passion fruit for Japan; Brie, Camembert and blue cheese for Paris. 

He knew his Portuguese friends would be furious. The original nata made with eggs, flour, milk and butter was sold for centuries without an alteration, and its recipe was feverishly guarded. But de Albuquerque wasn’t trying to please a Portuguese audience. He was creating a brand of nata he could export to the world with his startup Nata Pura from Asia to Europe, to Latin America and eventually the U.S.

The custard filling is made with eggs, flour, milk and butter.

Nata Pura wasn’t the first to try to export the pastry, but it was the first to do it in such a methodical way, says Susana Costa e Silva, who teaches the company’s strategy as a case study at Portugal’s Catholic University. The small company—it only had five employees in 2017—hired marketing and branding professionals, something others hadn’t done, and found foreign partners to help fuel expansion.

Nata Pura received enthusiastic reactions at a food fair in London, where de Albuquerque sold it as a luxury but affordable product with a special history. It held pastry tastings and sponsored events like the London Coffee Festival and BBC Good Food.

The company now sells about 500,000 natas a month in 5,000 stores around the world. De Albuquerque says sales are between 1.5 million and 2 million euros a year, and he expects that to double this year. More than a third of their business comes from South Korea, where one of their customers, the CVS chain, will offer them in 12,500 stores.

For now, Mendes thinks he’s the only high-end chef offering it in Manhattan. He says he won’t be surprised if it becomes more common.

Origin of the pastel de nata

The recipe for this country favorite dates back over 300 years to Belém, a civil parish located west of Lisbon. Pastéis de nata were created by monks in the Jerónimos Monastery, a major tourist attraction today and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At that time, the nuns and monks used egg whites to starch their clothes, and the left over egg yolks became a major ingredient in desserts.

Pastéis de nata © Jpatokal / Wikimedia Commons

The monks began selling pastéis de nata when the need erupted for income to support the monastery. When the monastery eventually closed in 1834, the recipe was sold to the eventual owners of the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, which opened in 1837 and is still the most popular place to buy them around Lisbon. Otherwise known simply as Pastéis de Belém, the shop is located a short three-minute walk from the Jerónimos Monastery, and offers both take out and sit in services. Either way, expect a bit of a wait because there is always a line going out the door.

Yashi Kochi!!!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Monday 24th June 2019....before the rain comes!!!

Took the dogs for their spa treatment today...baths shampoo and hair cut.....picked them up four hours later...they look so different but they must feel a lot cooler!!

Went to the gym for my session with Aaron and now relaxing.

Most of you know I served I. The Bermuda Police force from 1970 to 1980 and here are a few photos from those days...

Everyone gets to conduct traffic in the bird cage..

Then I was moved to Special Branch...where I wore civilian clothes and grew my hair..

See I was a tennis champion back in those days..

Can you find me on this on this one??

So this article brought back some different memories for me as I was also involved in the hangings that took place in is a long read..hope you enjoy!!

The Skeeters Murder.   The Bermudian magazine.

March 15, 2013

Many Bermuda place names evoke beauty spots with stunning vistas of sea, sand and sky; one has only to think of Fairylands, Paynter’s Vale or Horseshoe Bay, for example.

However, a few Bermuda place names have sinister overtones. So it is with Skeeters’ Corner, in Somerset near Daniel’s Head, site of a notorious nineteenth-century murder that haunts the island psyche to this day.

The particulars of the crime encompass dark midnight doings, doomed women, decaying corpses, eerie spectres, tricks of fate, lonely cottages and gruesome deaths; short, a scenario reminiscent of a Gothic tale by Anthony Trollope, Monk Lewis or Mary Shelley. Indeed, a century after the crime, the Skeeters murder was the subject of an historical novel, and an unsettling one at that. Perhaps even more unsettling is that the crime is suggestive of some of the dark forces operative in Bermuda history, notably the tragic legacy of slavery, formally abolished not long before the murderer was born.

In short, the case haunts Bermudian memory because it illuminates the darker side of some of the island’s sunny illusions about itself. The details of the case touch on the social and psychological legacy of slavery on emotionally overindulged yet underemployed black males, the violent complications that can follow on the heels of adultery and illegitimacy, the domestic vulnerability of women and the role of mob anger in the uncertain progress of justice in old Bermuda, a society grounded in white privilege versus black economic and social subordination. Murder, alas, can be an instructive crime. Certainly, the tragic death of Anna Skeeters has much to tell us even yet.

Anna Skeeters looked crisp and lovely at St. James Church that hot day in October 1878 as she looked on from the churchyard at a wedding held before the evening service. Anna was dressed in white. Her creamy, green-lined parasol cast a cool shadow over her face and her blue-dotted muslin gown. The 41-year-old black woman, dainty and hard working and known to all as a true and loyal wife, was also pitied by some in the Somerset congregation. In fact, neighbours usually avoided visiting her little cottage on the shore near Daniel’s Head, despite their fondness for her. Her husband of some eight years, Edward James Skeeters, was known as a chronically unfaithful husband, one who reacted violently on the occasions when his long-suffering wife was driven to protest his philandering ways.

That Sunday was certainly such a day. Skeeters had been involved for some time with the strong-willed Elizabeth Morris and her two daughters, Ann and Hannah, who lived nearby; he planted crops on shares for them. Gossips whispered that Edward sowed seed in other ways with one or more of the trio. Now Hannah Morris was expecting a child in November, a child Skeeters later asserted was his.

That evening, Ann Morris mocked Anna in the churchyard about her husband’s infidelity as some onlookers gasped and others snickered. Given that Anna’s two children by Skeeters had both died in infancy, such taunts were particularly hurtful. As usual, Skeeters himself was nowhere to be seen, though he had bumped into his wife earlier as each made a visit to his aunt’s home. After service, a tearful Anna hurried to the couple’s cottage on the shore of Somerset Long Bay, arriving at her door around nine o’clock. Elizabeth and Ann Morris would later reluctantly testify that Skeeters had briefly dropped by their house that evening, though they steadfastly denied any knowledge of subsequent events.

Exactly what happened at the Skeeters cottage late that night was initially a matter of conjecture. One thing is certain: on Monday evening, Edward Skeeters made the rounds of his neighbours in search of his wife. He declared to all that he had found the cottage deserted late on Sunday evening when he had finally returned home. Had the long-suffering Anna left him at last? She had left home several times before, only to return after a night or two. Now Skeeters went so far as to report his wife missing. He even placed an ad in The Royal Gazette, offering a small reward to any person who will give such information as will lead to the whereabouts of a woman named Anna Skaters who left her home on Sunday last and has not been seen since. Skeeters claimed that in the silent cottage on Sunday night he had found a trunk emptied of his savings (just over six pounds) and some of Anna’s clothes gone. He feared she had left him at last.

For their part, the neighbours were not convinced that he knew nothing about her disappearance. After all, hadn’t Skeeters showed up for a coaling job at the nearby Naval Dockyard early on Monday morning, seemingly in response to a message given to his wife only the evening before? How could he have known to go to Dockyard if he had not, in fact, talked to Anna late Sunday night?

A delegation of suspicious neighbours, many of them her female friends, appealed to the justice of the peace for Sandys, John Fowle of Bushy Park. Fowle was initially skeptical that the seemingly disconcerted Skeeters, a restless jack-of-all-trades known as “the handiest man in the parish” (fisherman, tailor and casual labourer at the Naval Dockyard), could be guilty of such a crime. But when no trace of Anna could be found, a mob converged on and searched Skeeters’s cottage, convinced that he knew more than he claimed. The police were directed to lock him up temporarily in the Mangrove Bay jail, for his own protection if nothing else, a claustrophobic ordeal for a man long known to have a terror of confined spaces.

Violent death was rare in 1870s Bermuda. The island would not even have a formally constituted police service until a year later. Soon, however, a second, more careful search was made of the cottage, the surrounding shoreline and Skeeters’s little wooden fishing boat. A seemingly telling piece of evidence was finally noticed: rummaging by Constable Siggins produced some stained white garments, but in an era before forensics, there was no way to tell if the clumsily rinsed clothes were stained with blood or rust.

For his part, Skeeters continued to claim innocence and to insist that his wife must have sailed off to a new life in New York or Boston, perhaps on the famous Bermudian sailing ship Eliza Barrs, which had just left port. Few believed him. The hot-tempered philanderer certainly had a motive for murder, and he was capable of domestic violence, but without a body or witnesses, there was not enough evidence to charge, much less convict him.

All that changed in a macabre twist of fate. One afternoon, exactly a week after the disappearance on a blowy Sunday, a small group of men, including Anna’s brother, John Evans, a seaman on the Spitfire, gathered on the heights above the windswept bay near the cottage and noticed a curious phenomenon. White-tipped waves were racing across the bay, unsettling its surface, except in one spot on the reef, which was much calmer than the surrounding froth. The onlookers, seasoned sailors and fishermen, knew that something unusual in the depths of the Blue Channel was responsible for the eerie sight.

On Wednesday, when the high winds finally subsided, a small group of men rowed out to the site of the slick. They brought nets and homemade grappling lines made of rope and fishhooks in order to drag the six-fathom-deep waters. After several laborious passes, they finally snagged and brought up a gruesome bundle: a skeleton to which still clung some slimy shards of stinking flesh, but that lacked the bones of head, arms and feet. The grisly remains had been anchored to the bottom with rope and an 80-pound stone, whose lack of barnacles indicated it came from land. Similar stones from an old wharf littered the nearby shore close to Edward Skeeters’s mooring spot, and there had been a moon starting abo

ut 3:00 a.m. on the night of Anna’s disappearance. There had been sufficient light for someone to row out and dump a body without a telltale lantern.

Next, the authorities asked Captain Moresby, the British naval officer commanding the Dockyard, to send divers from HMS Terror to the site. One brought up underclothing, including a petticoat (later identified by its distinctive seaming as Anna’s), as well as a large hank of her grey-sprinkled hair, still twisted into the knot she had worn that evening at church. Edward Skeeters was speedily charged with his wife’s murder. By now, he was already in the Hamilton Gaol near Court and Church streets, shut up there for his protection after a mob, made up largely of indignant women, had besieged the Somerset lockup, threatening to lynch him.

The trial, held in Hamilton the following spring, was both dramatic and depressing. Skeeters, through his court-appointed attorney, Solicitor General R. D. (Richard) Darrell, who was aided by prominent young local lawyer Reginald Gray, pleaded not guilty. The sorry story of Anna Skeeters’s married life soon emerged in testimony for the Crown, with Samuel Brownlow Gray, the colony’s Attorney General, as prosecutor. Anna, who worked as a washerwoman for a Somerset family, had been married to Skeeters for eight years and had a mentally challenged daughter by a much earlier relationship. The girl did not live with the couple despite Anna’s affection for and frequent visits to her, and she seldom visited the Skeeters house. On several occasions, especially in the year before her death, an agitated Anna had fled the house for the night, telling her sheltering friends little about why she had left, though marks on her person told the tale in at least one instance.

Friends and even in-laws testified that Anna Evans Skeeters was above all a nice quiet woman; too quiet…not quarrelsome at all. Yet even the pacific Anna had been driven to appeal to Magistrate Fowle for help on one occasion, when Skeeters had allegedly blackened her eye. However, in a day when a man’s home was considered his castle and domestic violence was considered a private affair, Magistrate Fowle felt he could do little. For his part, Skeeters’s own father testified that Edward had once knocked his wife to the ground in front of him. When the elder Skeeters remonstrated with his son, Edward replied that Anna was “his wife and he could treat her as he liked.”

Earlier, when a neighbour had asked Edward about the marks on his wife’s body from a whipping “licks” as the term has it, Skeeters replied with a laugh that “it was not the hardness of the licks but that her skin was thin and cut quick.” His comment brings to mind the days when slaves, both male and female, were often remorselessly beaten. Bermudian slave Mary Prince, writing of early nineteenth-century Bermuda, put it this way: “Lick‚Äîick‚Äî[slaves] were never secure one moment from a blow, and [our] lives were passed in continual fear.” To be a Bermudian wife in such a plight was, it seems, to be little better than a slave. Moreover, slaves had been emancipated in 1834; women were still subordinated, especially poor black women.

As for the murder case, it seemed fate had conspired to “out” the murderer, given the grisly discovery of Anna’s sunken corpse, which was brought, ironically, to the Skeeters cottage after being fished out. The evidence was circumstantial but damning nonetheless; the court called it ‘innumerable cloud of circumstances.” The all-white jury (as was usual in this era) took just 25 minutes to bring in a guilty verdict. The judge, donning the traditional black head covering, sentenced Edward Skeeters to death by hanging, declaring that he could only hope for mercy in heaven as there could be none for him on earth. The condemned man protested his innocence and was led away.

Shortly thereafter, at 7:00 a.m. on July 2, 1879, Edward Skeeters was hanged in the Hamilton Gaol yard, the area of the gallows blanketed with canvas to conceal it from the large crowd gathered in the streets around the jail. The Royal Gazette deplored the many women in the curious crowd as unnatural females, but is it surprising that they would be uncharacteristically angry at a crime that highlighted the worst of women’s lot? For his part, Skeeters went to the gallows calmly, even reciting a poem on the scaffold about his fate, which ended with a mawkish invocation of his heartbroken mother: “Tell her that her prayer is granted/God has pardoned her darling boy.”

Divine pardon was in order. A few days before his execution, Skeeters made a complete confession to the editor of a Bermuda paper, The Colonist, having spent his months in prison writing…what? His account of events. He claimed the murder had been precipitated by the fact that he had thrown a lit oil lamp at Anna when she reproached him for the Morris imbroglio, and he was afraid that she would once again go the magistrate to show the burns on her forehead and scalp. Accordingly, he choked her to death. Skeeters chillingly added that he had reluctantly completed the murder some 10 minutes after the initial strangulation when he discovered Anna still breathing as he prepared to rid himself of her body. He admitted that he was astounded when her submerged remains were recovered; he “never thought that the sea would give up her dead till the great day of judgement.”

In a Gothic twist of justice, when Edward Skeeters’s body was buried on Burt’s Island in Hamilton Harbour (where several other executed criminals also lie), the stone that he had used to sink Anna’s body was used as his headstone. The case had other Gothic overtones. During the search for Anna, neighbours had consulted a local witch for clues as the police investigation faltered. Fatefully, both Skeeters’s sexual partner, Hannah Morris, and her infant died in childbirth the month after he was arrested. The night Edward was hanged, a group of arsonists torched the Skeeters cottage, burning it to the ground.

Moreover, stories about the ghost of Skeeters persisted for years. In his wonderful 1946 guidebook Bermuda Journey, Will Zuill told of one terrified fisherman who, during a storm, encountered the wraith of Skeeters dancing up and down in a sort of grand guignol on the rocks off Burt’s Island. More tangibly, a piece of the rope that hung Skeeters was preserved as a grim souvenir and somehow made its way from the Bermuda Police to the Bermuda Archives. The Civic Ballet performed a work about the crime at City Hall in 1984. Bermudians seemingly cannot forget this story.

To a historian, there are other reasons that make the case significant. Skeeters’s doting mother, Pleasant Fubler, long suspected of reluctantly aiding Skeeters by furtively laundering some of Anna’s bloodstained clothes, had begun life as a slave. Skeeters was intelligent and literate but claustrophobic, aimless and periodically violent. Did he exhibit a personality-disordered response to the economic and social instability of the immediate post-slavery era, particularly for black males? There is no question that gender and marital mores in the period were a sort of parody of slavery; husbands resorting to the switch or fist to discipline their wives was not unusual, even if the law theoretically frowned on it. The laws against domestic violence were no better enforced that the laws against whipping slaves had been.

No wonder Terry Tucker used the case to write her haunting 1972 historical novel What’s Become of Anna, still on sale today. Sadly, Tucker felt that she had to transform the middle-aged Anna into a more marketable twenty-something young wife, as if only young and pretty women were abused. Moreover, Tucker’s dramatic account is disfigured with racial condescension toward blacks, especially black men. Nonetheless, Tucker penned a powerful tale.

The real case is more haunting still with the recovery of the skeleton from six fathoms down. As Shakespeare put it in Macbeth, murder will out. The crime is further italicized by troubling racial and social realities

just as hard to forget. Skeeters haunts us still.

Yashi Kochi

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday 23 rd June 2019...just not true!!!!

Ok there is a rumour going around that I spent all day in front of the Tv watching sports!!!!

I categorically deny this because I did do a load of laundry, sweep the yard and take the dogs around the block!!!!

But yes most of the other time spent watching live soccer and tennis!!

Roger Federer wins 10th Halle title with victory over David Goffin

Roger Federer won his first Halle title in 2003

Roger Federer got his Wimbledon preparations off to the perfect start by claiming a record-extending 10th title at the Halle grass-court event.

The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion beat Belgium's David Goffin 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 to win a 102nd career title.

Federer, chasing a ninth Wimbledon title next month, was made to work in earlier rounds but dominated the final.

"It's unbelievable. I never thought when I first played here that I would win 10 titles," the 37-year-old said.

It is the first time Federer has reached double figures at one tournament, with eight at the Dubai Open and Wimbledon and nine at his home event in Basel.

Federer had been taken to three sets by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last 16 and Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals.

But after a tight first set, he was handed a break in the first game of the second set when Goffin double-faulted on break point.

 Murray Murray & Feliciano Lopez win 'fairytale' Queen's doubles title

Andy Murray's dream comeback from potentially career-ending hip surgery ended with a fairytale triumph with playing partner Feliciano Lopez in the doubles at Queen's.

Briton Murray and Spain's Lopez beat Briton Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 10-5.

The Scot, 32, thought he might not play again before having his hip resurfaced in January but is now "pain free".

Lopez, 37, added the doubles to the singles title he won earlier on Sunday.

Left-hander Lopez, who beat France's Gilles Simon in three sets, is the first man since Australia's Mark Philippoussis in 1997 to win both the singles and doubles titles at Queen's in the same year.

Murray, who had not won a doubles title since 2011, described ending his comeback tournament with victory as "brilliant".

"I've enjoyed it, I felt very relaxed at the beginning of the week, then I started getting more nervous as the week continued and my competitive instincts were kicking in," he said.

To loud cheers from he crowd, he added: "My hip felt great, there was no pain."

Lopez said he never expected to win both the singles and doubles titles.

"It happens maybe once in a lifetime, with how difficult it is to win the singles, I cannot believe I won both," he told BBC Sport.

Tears to grins in five months - Murray's dream return

Former world number one Murray could not have dreamed for a smoother return to the sport which he thought he might have to quit this summer because of chronic hip pain that had not been cured by previous surgery.

Five months ago he broke into tears during a news conference at the Australian Open when he laid bare the extent of his fears about an injury that had left him unable to put on his shoes and socks without pain.

That was a stark contrast to the beaming grin stretched across his face at Queen's, when he and Lopez sealed victory with their second of five match points.

When a return from Salisbury sailed wide, Murray leapt into the air in celebration as almost all of the centre court crowd also rose to their feet to mark a victory many probably thought they would not see.

During his return to action this week, Murray has shown a sharpness which has surprised many.

The three-time Grand Slam champion's shot-making, less surprisingly, has not diminished and neither has the fierce will-to-win.

This was exemplified in the first set tie-break, which came after Murray and Lopez had saved a set point at 5-4 down.

A brutal first serve down the middle from the Scot was hit long and followed up by a sharp, trademark cry of "Let's go!" for a set point of their own.

That was claimed when Ram guided a volley wide - putting Murray and Lopez, who had not played together before this week, halfway to an extraordinary triumph.

Murray returned after almost a year out with a hip injury at Queen's in 2018. His comeback ended in a narrow defeat by Nick Kyrgios in the singles, but the Scot was visibly struggling with back pain

Lopez spends eight hours on court in 24 hours

Murray and Lopez's success was made even more extraordinary by the exertions of the 37-year-old Spaniard.

After needing two hours and 49 minutes to see off Simon in the singles final, it meant he had spent almost eight hours on court over the previous 24 hours by the time they faced Salisbury and Ram.

Lopez put in a five-hour stint on Saturday when his singles semi-final win over Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime, which he only started shortly after 16:00 BST, was followed by two doubles matches with Murray.

The pair only needed 13 minutes to wrap up victory over Dan Evans and Ken Skupski in the conclusion of their quarter-final and then beat third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers, with the Spaniard finally finishing for the day at nearly 21:00 BST.

The left-hander returned to court with Murray little over an hour after lifting the singles trophy.

During two changeovers in the first set, Lopez stayed on his feet as he seemingly looked to manage a back problem.

Yet it was the Spaniard who somehow mustered the energy to turn the final-set champions tie-break in their favour.

He whacked a clean forehand winner for 5-4, followed that up with an ace, another forehand winner and a net volley.

Another inside forehand winner left Murray serving for the match.

The first of their five match points was saved when Ram finally beat Murray with a forehand winner down the line.

But a wide forehand from Salisbury handed them a victory that meant Lopez became the first player since Australian Mark Philippoussis in 1997 to win the singles and doubles titles here.

"I'm so happy to have this man playing with me," Lopez said. "We're so happy that you're back on a tennis court."


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Lopez frequently stayed on his feet at the change of ends: wary of the pounding his 37-year-old legs had taken over 15 hours on court.

Having won a third-set tie-break to beat Gilles Simon in the singles final, he hit five winners in a row to turn the deciding 10-point tie-break out of Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram's reach.

Murray has looked in terrific shape all week, and his desire to win as strong as ever: he says he got more nervous as the week progressed, and the prize loomed larger.

He now heads to Eastbourne in search of more success with a different partner - the Brazilian Marcelo Melo

Saw two great women’s World Cup soccer games as well!!

It was a lovely sunny warm day but as I write just like the last three days..the heavens have opened and there is a downpour outside!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday 5 th January 2023…it was a great run!!!

 This was my first ever blog post back in November of 2006!!! With just a couple of days off I have written a blog every day since and I hav...