FOLLOWING last Tuesday’s NatWest Pro40 win over Surrey, we had a few days off for virtually the first time this season.

I took advantage by having a camping and fishing holiday with my family at Swanage in Dorset. It was very nice.

It was a break that I and the other guys needed as I think some of us were starting to feel a little bit jaded.

Personally, it was nice for me to get away and spend a bit of time with my family.

I also managed to do plenty of fishing, which I love, and do a bit of camping and get back to basics.

I did very well with my fishing and caught plenty of mackerel, pollock and garfish.

I was sea fishing off the rocks near Swanage. It was very relaxing.

Thankfully, despite our success in the Twenty20 Cup and Friends Provident Trophy, I’ve not become an instantly recognisable face yet.

I’m not sure how far cricket has penetrated that part of the world, but it’s a pretty sleepy place to be honest.

I was able to stand on the end of a rock for the day in my fishing clothes and nobody gave me a hard-time!

It’s a beautiful part of the world down there – I like it a lot.

Anywhere by the sea is fine by me. The weather wasn’t too bad either, so that was nice.

The only downside of the week was that I turned 25 last Thursday and am starting to feel very old.

I feel like I’ve turned a corner and am now in the wrong part of my 20s.

I’m starting to worry about whether I should start being a bit more responsible.

I’ve never been one to worry about birthdays and getting older, but this one did make me stop and think!

We had a nice family meal and a few drinks to celebrate. It was very low-key.

I got some nice presents from the family, but my housemate Alastair Cook forgot altogether.

He’s usually brilliant at buying me presents, but this time round I didn’t even get a card.

I was a bit upset, but I’ve had some nice ones in the past and hopefully he’ll bring something nice home from England’s Test win at the Oval!

We can still secure promotion

WE began our LV County Championship Division Two game against Warwickshire at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

They’ve had an incredible amount of drawn games this year.

Whether that’s because of the wickets they play on or they think they can win the championship by drawing and picking up as many bonus points as possible, I’m not sure.

One thing for sure is that we’ll be trying to force a positive result and get a win out of the game.

It’s paid off for them to some extent because they’re up near the top of the table.

People could level criticism at us that we should have got more bonus points this year and not lost as many games as we have.

It’s just about having a different approach – you can be promoted by winning lots of games or by drawing loads.

If we can win this week we’ll be up towards the top-two again.

Unfortunately, we’re not clear at the top like we hoped we would be, but if we can string a few results together we can still go up.

We’re confident. We’ve played great cricket all year and the guys are certainly up for a big push to the end.

First Lord's final is nearly here

THE big day is nearly here – and of course I mean Saturday’s Friends Provident Trophy final against Kent at Lord’s.

I had a good think about the final while I was away on holiday – thinking about selection issues and some plans for when I’m batting and some bowling changes.

It’ll be fantastic day, whatever happens.

I always thought we could have some success this year, but the guys have really exceeded my expectations in terms of results.

To get results like this with such a young team has been superb.

I’ve been thinking about the team we’re going to send out and I’ve got a rough idea.

It’ll come down to conditions on the morning, so it’s not set in stone yet.

I’m probably going to open the batting with Jason Gallian with Cookie at three and Ravi Bopara at four.

Other than that, I’m not going to say any more just yet!

It’s not ideal that we’ve got a four-day game at Warwickshire this week leading up to the final.

It would have probably been better to have had a couple of one-dayers this week, but it seems to be the nature of the way English cricket goes that you don’t get much time off.

We started the Twenty20 Cup two days after a County Championship game and had Finals Day the day after a four-day game against Gloucester-shire.

We’ve got to travel from Birmingham to Lord’s on Friday, but everyone’s in the same situation so you just have to get on with it.

>OUR young seamer Jahid Ahmed was 12th man for England during the fourth Test against South Africa at the Oval at the weekend.

It’s a good gig – myself and James Middlebrook did it when South Africa were last here at Headingly in 2004.

It’s nice to spend a few days with the Test team, plus you get well-paid for it and you get some good food too!