Up and away

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The Independent Online

High summer in Britain. Everywhere, familiar sounds, rituals. Baying Tories turn from burying Michael Portillo to burying Jeffrey Archer. At Lord's, the Queen presented the Test Match Special commentary team with a Dundee cake. It is not baked personally, and, according to Jonathan Agnew, is "a bit crumbly", which is in keeping with the steady rattle of English wickets.

Elsewhere, sporting dilettantes join their annual struggle of comprehension amid the flurry of eagles and bogies and birdies emanating from Royal Lytham and the Open, where a Briton has made the customary expectation-raising run to the front. In Birmingham, Aston Villa's Intertoto Cup adventure raises the hearts of all those for whom football has been absent far too long.

There is the promise of rain. And distant rumbles from Genoa, where the President of the United States is heading after visiting London and confiding that "people need to learn to laugh". Scientists warn that the Black Death could reoccur. There are worries that cream crackers could be carcinogenic. That vital Big Brother vote is known. And across large parts of the country, footpaths are open again. Let's go.