Month: June 2014

Eggs and Sausage and a Side of Toast…

…coffee and a roll, hash browns over easy.

 

I will be spending the day with junior 2 at a cricket festival tomorrow.  Shortly I will be having the same argument with herself that I have every time I go out for a day.

It can be anything; rugby, cricket, kids athletics, Olympics, etc.  Whatever it is I WILL NOT take a packed lunch.

All of these places have food outlets, even school district sports at the David Weir Arena.  And I simply have to try whatever they offer.  It would be rude not to. (The cafe at the David Weir, run by a very nice Frenchman, does an excellent full English breakfast by the way).

Even short visits require a pocket full of coin of the realm.  (A universal truth is that these places NEVER have any change).  So  whenever I make one of my regular journeys to a football/cricket/insert game here match I judge the venue solely on the quality of (Or existence of) the bacon buttie. (vegetarian options not always available).  If it doesn’t have a lone parent sweating over a frying pan to give me my buttie fix (which is NOT a euphemism by the way), I will not even give it a mention.  However those who do provide will be respected for the effort, even if, like some, the quality is lacking.  for the record the best bacon buttie award goes to Oxshott sports club.  The worst, I am sad to report, is at the home of Thomas’s football club, Corinthian-Casuals.  Even I pass up on the offer of their food.

Back to packed lunches.  There is always a cafe, or a burger van, or occasionally (like the school fete) sweaty dads manning a burning barbeque.  Therefore I have to avail myself of its wares.  Even if those wares are not too good, or even potential carriers of something contageous, it has to be done.

As I said, the Casuals are poor, but they are not alone.  Kempton cricket club deserves a mention for its small, tasteless and over-priced butties.  On the plus side the food outlest at Olympic Park were OK, if a little expensive.

Ultimately, as herself will point out to me shortly, the other universal truth is that I simply don’t want to carry anything.  Yup, true.  But what’s wrong with that?

 

 

Eggs & Sausage by Tom Waits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPH189gsVFg

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Heart for Hearts Sake…

itchyscratchyblog

…money for mine

I have an aneurysm. (look it up, I had to).  Or, in the interests of accuracy, an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  Known, imaginatively, as a “triple A”. (which is what I need to quote if I call an ambulance because apparently it’ll make them drive faster)!

It will eventually need an operation but in the meantime it isn’t really a problem.  Except of course for the constant round of scans, tests, consultant visits (A very nice man is Mr Ali) and medical acronyms. (I had an EchoCardiograph and got told off when I referred to it as an ECG).  I should say now that the operation, when it happens, is a very common one and is unlikely to go wrong but as this blog is not supposed to be too depressing I promise not to bore you with the details if it does kills me.  To…

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Can I Introduce you please…

…to a lump of cheddar cheese   (Name that tune)

September 2016

It’s only 2 years since Englands disasterous Brazillian adventure and little hope was held for Englands new guard in the recently ended European champonships, held in France.

At the start of the qualifing campaign in September 2014 new player manager Wayne Rooney has decided the team needs to accomodate him in his new preferred position.  This was much to the annoyance of Joe Hart who thought the goalkeepers shirt should have been his.  However the important people, notably the fat bloke who has never kicked a ball in anger (AKA Daily Mail football writer), were happy.

Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia and San Marino awaited Rooneys new lions in what, if we had had a decent team, would be an easy group.  Additionally, as the country had lost interest in favour of full contact chess,  it had been decided to take the home games “on the road”.

The first game, at home to San Marino, was played at Goldsands Stadium, home of Bournmouth FC.  This pleased new San Marino manager Harry Redknapp as it’s just up the road from his house and he could get home for tea.  Harry clearly had a positive influence as his charges lead 3-0 within 20 minutes.  Thankfully 4 penalties by Casey Stoney, fresh from lifting the Womens World Cup last year, saved Englands blushes.

Away games followed against  Estonia, led by Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampards Slovenia.  Both ending in 0-0 draws with the only “highlight” being Wayne Rooneys sending off in the latter game for slapping the centre forward with his toupee.

Then a crunch double header against group favourites, led by newly restored manager Roy “of the Rovers” Hodgson.  The home fixture, played at St Georges field, home of Ryman League side Corinthian-Casuals, stuttered to a 0-0 in front of 715 sleeping fans.  Englands man of the match was Englands reserve goalkeeper Raheem Stirling who, for the first time in 19 England games, actually managed to avoid giving ball away to an opponent every time he got it.  The away game two weeks later, featuring a returning Rooney in goal,  ended in a 2-0 win fo the Swiss with both goals scored by Stirling.

The rest of the England games in this group ended in 0-0 draws with the exception of the home fixture against Lithuania, managed by ace pundit and former international Phil Neville.  Heading for a draw Neville brought himself on with 5 minutes left and, with an astute dive in Englands 6 yard box, earned and ultimately scored a winning penalty.

Despite a lack of goals throughout qualification caused, according to fat bloke at The Mail, by Rooney being out of position, other results in the group meant we finished  in second place and made the finals.  10’s of England fans were expected to make the arduous journey by ferry to the beaches of Normandy in an invasion the like of which has not been seen for 60 years.

While qualification matches were going on there had been some major changes in the European Union.  New EU President, HRH Sepp Blatter, had brought  new countries into the union (and the Euro) and 2 of these were to end up in Englands group.  Following a poor showing in all group matches England failed to qualify with the group, including its new Europena countries, finishing as follows:

table

Following the tournament Rooney resigned as player manager and went to work with deprived former England footballers playing in the USA for the Miami Heat franchise.  New manager Raheem Stirling was appointed immediately.  However equally immediately he resigned after stories appeared in the Daily Mail, (fat bloke again) suggesting he had taken extra coaching rather that playing golf with his teammates.

 

And finally:  Back in March Jeremy the giraffe, famed predictor of football match results, has eaten the brown leaf followed by 2 green leaves, clearly predicting an England failure.  Well done Jeremy, recently appointed as England manager.

Heart for Hearts Sake…

…money for mine

I have an aneurysm. (look it up, I had to).  Or, in the interests of accuracy, an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  Known, imaginatively, as a “triple A”. (which is what I need to quote if I call an ambulance because apparently it’ll make them drive faster)!

It will eventually need an operation but in the meantime it isn’t really a problem.  Except of course for the constant round of scans, tests, consultant visits (A very nice man is Mr Ali) and medical acronyms. (I had an EchoCardiograph and got told off when I referred to it as an ECG).  I should say now that the operation, when it happens, is a very common one and is unlikely to go wrong but as this blog is not supposed to be too depressing I promise not to bore you with the details if it does kills me.  To help avoid that I positively rattle every morning with various Statins, ARB’s, Aspirin and whatever.  Boots Pharmacy phoned me the other day to see if I had any to spare…  Back to the electrocardiogram:  It showed that there are no other problems (apart from the aneurysm).  At least I think that’s the case based on the following, taken verbatim from a consultants letter.

“…his ECG showed that he is in sinus rhythm and that his electrocardiogram showed preserved left ventricular systolic function at rest with normal valvular function…”

That’s all right then.  Isn’t it?

One thing I must do (so I am told) is to take abdominal pain seriously.  I am instructed to go to A and E immediately because if the aneurysm bursts I coud bleed to death in minutes.  The problem is that I am told I should not go to Epsom A and E even though it is only 5 minutes away.  They have been downgraded and can’t deal with me.  Instead I have to go to St Helier which, even with the undoubted skills of the ambulance service, is at least 20 minutes away.  I had better be careful or NHS cutbacks will be the death of me.

Thankfully I don’t, for now at least, need new hips or knees.  However if I did Epsom Hospital could cope with that and have them supplied and fitted in no time. I would be back on my feet in days. (unless they were replaced as well, obviously).  This is all, of course, subject to the size of my bank balance.

I think there may be a moral there…

MRA – magnetic resonance angiography – been there, done that.
MI – myocardial infarction – Heart attack to you and me.  Umlikely, given the medication.
STENT – Not an acronym but should be.  It is apparently what I will have inserted!
ARB – angiotensin receptor blocker – reduces risk of heart attack in surgery.  Apparently.  Hopefully!
ECG – Electrocardiogram

And finally.  A couple of weeks ago my most recent scan, an ultrasound, showed that I am not pregnant.  Guess I’d better cancel the Daily Mail interview then.

I…

…I just took a ride.  (Ok it probably doesn’t refer to a bike but it’s a classic song)

From BBC News dated Monday 7th July 2014

Le Tour horrible – By Your BBC Yorkshire Correspondent

After being beset with problems on days 1 and 2 The Tour De France finally decended into complete chaos following the 3rd stage, between Cambridge and London.  I kept a brief diary of the events of those 3 days which are summarised below.

Day 1 – Leeds to Harrogate

Not the most auspicious beginning for the English legs of the famed Tour De France.  Early favourite for the yellow jersey, Chris Froome, had an accident when he crashed into the 36 bus as he left a drive thru Starbucks.  Thankfully Chris was OK but his Latté suffered irreparable spillage.  Chris was bailed to appear in court as he couldn’t produce insurance.  On a more positive note Starbucks will be allowed to reclaim the tax paid on the Latté, Oh hang on…

Three riders from USA team “Garmin Sharp” got hopelessly lost after entering the wrong details into their sat nav.  one was rescued on the M1 but the other 2 arrived some time later at the council offices in the London Borough of Harrow.  They are on their way back as I write this.  All of the riders stayed at the Harrogate Premier Inn prior to travelling to York the next day and had plenty of good Yorkshire hospitality and black pudding at the Beefeater pub.

Day 2 – York to Sheffield

The race failed to start on time this morning as nearly 3/4 of the riders we late arriving at the start.  Apparently they All set out early to get the train from Harrogate to York but Northern Rail stafff refused to allow them to travel.  Clearly someone should have told them that cycles are not allowed on commuter trains.  A further delay ensued as the starter had to wait for riders from Russia’s Katusha Team who had tried to defect to East Riding.  The latest series of BBC’s “Traffic Cops” was filming just outside York today.  Over zealous Officers tried to arrest members of Team Sky for using mobile phones while riding.  The police accepted their excuse that they were only listening to their opponents voicemails but warned them as to their future conduct.  The Omega Pharma-QuickStep Cycling Team, from Belgium, were cautioned for the excessive length of their team name.

Day 3 – Cambridge to London

Having learned from their day one problems the riders all travelled to Cambridge last night and they were ready on time this morning.  Also, given that day 4 of the Tour was starting in France many riders had decided not to stop at the London finish.  Instead they would continue straight on to Dover to catch the Ferry. The welcoming sight of Cambridges Eurpoean championship winning maypole dancers greeted them as the hit the road, heading for the metropolis.  As the peloton left Cambridge both Italian teams were controversially disqualified for having their V neck sweaters incorrectly slung over their shoulders.  After a fairly mundane ride to London we witnessed a most incredible sight.  Never before had so many Barclays hire bikes crossed Westminster Bridge at such a speed.  Mr John Williams, a solicitor from Surrbiton, was both pleased and surprised to receive the Yellow Jersey. “I was just doing my usual journey to work”, he said, “and I did wonder why there were more Boris bikes than usual on the bridge”. As promised, the riders passed up on a drink with Boris and headed straight for the picturesque (according to the Kent tourist office) Port of Dover.  However they didn’t allow for the vagaries of the French unions who had decided to strike in a dispute over lunchtime snail allowances.  So the Police instigated Operation Stack and the entire peloton were held in a queue on the hard shoulder of the M2.  Two hours later, for the first time in its history, Le Tour became a biathlon. Bored of waiting, every rider carried their bike to the coast and swam the channel.  Pausing only to offer David Walliams a lift as they swam past.  Not since the 1940’s has the french coast seen such activity.

And finally:  French organisers, already conscious of objections to having a French Tour outside of France, promised radical changes.  From 2015 the race will be entirely in France.  It will be sponsored by Sanofi S.A. a Paris based pharmaceutical company who have appointed Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis in “joint” charge of promoting the event.

I Don’t Like Cricket…

…I love it

Sitting at Epsom CC last night watching well over 100 kids doing their cricket training got me thinking…

Cricket has played a massive part in my life for more years than I care to remember. It has taught me much and given me some often unlikely but long lasting friendships.  Too many to mention here!

In a world where race and religion are often blamed for, or used to create conflict, my experience of cricket has never shown that.  I have played with and against all colours and creeds and never failed to enjoy it. I also rarely failed to consume food and beer with them afterwards either, even those who weren’t supposed to be drinking (Good man Asif).  Back in the day there was something about this noble game that insisted on good competition on the field and good bonhomie off of it.

It began with watching with Dad in the early 1970’s when, and my kids don’t believe this, you could watch sport on TV withour paying.  I would sit quite happily through an entire days play – only stirring when the lunch or tea interval arrived.  I could still do that now.

From the parks to the villages

My keenness, nay desperation, to play the noble game was only tempered by my complete lack of ability.  Moving to Leicester changed that in an unexpected way.  Ann Woods was Australian and a lecturer in Archaeology at Leicester University.  She had two other loves in her life, cricket and alcohol.  The latter I think did for her in the end but in the intervening years the former worked for me.  Ann was a qualified coach and decent stumper in her own right. She combined the patience of a saint and access to the University bowling machine to turn me from a rabbit into a moderately decent and successful player.  Given the alcohol thing it probably isn’t ideal to raise a glass to Ann but I do and I like to think she wouldn’t mind.

The game today

“The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey” *

I rarely watch live professional cricket now as it only ever on pay tv. Radio however keeps it alive and I can still imagine, thanks to the skill of the commentator, that I am there. Blowers, Aggers, Johnners and Others made (and make) me feel like I am there with them.  Then there was the incomparable John Arlott whose gentle tones over the pre digital long wave removed all cares and worries.

Thankfully my boys are showing a liking for the game so summer evenings and sunday mornings are often spent Umpiring or scoring for one of their teams. I admit to some surreptitious coaching and a serious longing to dust off the long retired bat and pads.  (please don’t tell the skipper though – he’ll never leave me alone).

There are examples of a lack of the old fashioned sportsmanship (nobody walks now) but I guess the necessity of cash has helps create that attitude.  That and the behaviour and attitude of pampered and overpaid footballers which has such a negative influence on our children and is carried into most popular sports in the 21st century.  However, unlike many (but not all) modern professional sports cricket is still mainly played in “the right way”.  Junior cricketers will still applaud the opposition, junior footballers will get within 2 yards of them and fall over dramatically.

Please let’s keep it like that.  If My generation influences our children and they theirs, there may be hope for this great game of ours.

* One of the many from the incomparable Brian Johnson, a man who produced more “Colemanballs” the the legendary David himself.
And finally and very funnily:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13693904

Goodbyeee, Goodbyee…

…wipe a tear…

Ok so there may have been some very minor inaccuracies in my earlier World Cup blog.  You know, spelling, typos and the like.  Obviously my reader in Cambodia will allow me the opportunity to redeem myself.  By the way who the hell are you? I don’t know anyone in Cambodia.

Each group was won by the country finishing top followed, I can confidentally predict, but the country finishing second. At no time do England or Spain feature in this equation.

After some tightly fought games between various countries in the last 16 some of those countries reached the quarter finals.  England and Spain still failed to feature.

After some excellent performances by some countries the semi finalists were decided and again, no England or Spain.

Finally the final and, not unsurprisingly, the World Cup was won by a country. This country beat another country by scoring more goals than they did.

Goalline technology again showed that Sepp Blatter clearly crossed the line, as did his bank balance.

The lifetime achievement BAFTA still went to Neymar.

Did I mention that England and Spain were not involved?

The End – and on with the cricket

That’s Me In The Corner…

…losing my religion.

(To be fair, I never really had a “religion” to lose.   My parents, in their infinate wisdom, did what many did in those days and had me christened.  but given that I was still in nappies I had little choice and would certainly refuse if given the choice now.  “I’m a Believer” is nothing more than a line imortalised by the original and now legendary boy band The Monkees).

When my boys were young I would make the most outrageous promises to every Deity out there. *  I would do anything she wanted if only she would make my children sleep past 5am.  Those boys are now 12 and 9 and God(s) have finally listened as every morning I have to crowbar them out of bed.  Really God(s), if you want to arrest the decline in the number of believers out there you MUST learn to deliver faster.  After all you’re not Royal Mail are you?

I also assume, God(s),  that despite your tardiness you now expect me to promptly keep my side of the bargain or suffer the consequences of being struck by lightning, or a plague of diving footballers or something?  As you say in your biography:  “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay”. **   Well it’s too damned late – I broke all those promises years ago.  Although, in the case of at least two of them, not for a while sadly…

Incidentally what’s with this promise lark?  I could have a life of purity and chastity etc. and upon death find my rightful place in Heaven.  fair enough.  Equally I could have a life of drunken debauchery and after one good death bed confession end up in the same Heaven.  Doesn’t really encourage one to behave does it?

And “omnipresence”?  God is supposed to be omnipresent so where the hell (sic) was she when I was choosing the lottery numbers?  And where was she when Audi were failing to put working indicators on their Q7 ULV?  And indeed, why has nobody asked me what a ULV actually  is?

Someone once stopped me in the street and tried to sell me the concept of God.  Unusually for me I gave him a couple of minutes and that has stayed with me, and still annoys me, to this day.  His theme was the power of prayer which, to be fair, puts him on a very sticky wicket with me.  The following is from Matthew:
Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
So what shall I “ask” God to do first?  Protect Children from harm?  Cure cancer?  Get England to win the World Cup?  (OK, I accept that’s going a bit too far.  Some things are beyond a simple miracle).  Realistically a prayer is just something offered up by Hypocritical footballers when their latest attempt at cheating goes unnoticed and unpunished.

Wherever I go I frequently hear people talking about God.  My first thought was that with an unusual surname like Dammit she would be easy to find.  I tried 118118 but all I got from them was David Bedford.  He was quick in his day but he was no Deity.

I personally find it difficult to believe in someone or something not tangible ( that is negotiable if the winning of the 2015 Rugby World Cup can be arranged).  However if someone knocks on my door and gives me Gods phone number I may reconsider.

And finally:  “I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t”. ~Jules Renard

* As an aside here, this in itself confuses me as the two truly religious people I know would say there is only one god.  Yet they practice different religions, One is Catholic and one is Muslim and both will quote contradictory scripture at each other all day.  I am pleased to say that they are very good friends.

**  It’s in the Bible – look it up!

STOP PRESS:  Just been struck by a house brick from The Heavens.  Attached message reads: “I do exist. I am on Twitter.  Love, light and Peace. God”.   @TheTweetOfGod
God Dammit – The Deity for the 21st century

Final question:  Is this poster an argument that God exists or that God doesn’t?  Answers on a postcard to you local Church or Temple.

Other places of worship are available.

F1cjg

For  more Jules Renard pearls of wisdom try: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jules_renard.html

When i was young my Father said…

… Actually I don’t know what he said.

I have been on this earth for 52 years and 35 of those have been without him.  As my sister so simply puts it he is “always on my mind”

I don’t remember a lot of what he said because i was a typical teenager when he died and like a typical teenager I never listened to dinosaurs. On February 10th 1979, a saturday, I couldn’t babysit my sister so he could go out with Mum (for, I suspect, a pint and a brown ale at the Railway).  I can’t remember what was so earth shatteringly important that I couldn’t do this but I do remember promising to babysit the following weekend.  Four days later he was gone, 35 years later I still regret that.  With my two at 12 and 9 ithe boot is now firmly on the other foot and boy do see what a plonker I was!

My Dad was a long way from perfect but he was my Dad.  I know he loved us and I know he wanted the best for us even if, like his son now, he often found it hard to show it.  He was strict, probably too strict at times, something that he also passed on to his son.  However I think he was looking forward to sharing a beer with his son on a sunday lunchtime while keeping out of Mums way as she cooked the lunch.  That’s how it was done in those days.

I regret his passing for many reasons, too many to list here.   He would have loved his grandchildren and he might even have been fond of their father again once the years of Teenage angst had passed. Since mum joined him a few years ago I guess she’s filled him in on what he missed so hopefully he will, in some way, be proud.  Hopefully too his son can last a little longer so his grandchildren can enjoy that pint with the old man.

Sorry I didn’t listen Dad

“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” —Anne Geddes