Thursday, 24 December 2009

I'm driving 200 odd miles tomorrow

...and this is what it's like round here today.

Pretty but deadly. A bit like my girl.

Little things...

It was my brithday recently. Allegedly a grown up, I can often be found sulking on my birthday because it's so close to Christmas and people forget or someone buys me something rubbish. This is despite the fact that I always say I hate fuss and don't want anything; you really can't win with me. My boy turned that on its head by excelling on the present front this year. He bought me the bendy guys pictured below. As you may gather, these things have been the source of much mirth and the tame shots below don't give a real flavour of the true flexibility of these guys (intentional pun). This success was tempered with his "joke" card which featured an Arsenal logo and inside had a song. What upset me was that this 2 or 3 quid may be the difference between Les Arses buying another player or something and, mostly, that i couldn't display it but had to tear it up into tiny pieces and then burn them (there's a limit to offspring related sentimentality, there really is).

I love the way each picture suggests a mini narrative. Nothing seems to wipe the smile of these guys faces though. Wish I was like that.

Dave the Moose

Says: " Happy Christmas and come on your Spurs!"

Thursday, 17 December 2009

yo yo

Spurs never fail to surprise. They lift you up then drop you from 100ft, still with a faint hint of a smile on your lips on to hard concrete at the feet of a grinning plastic gooner. I really can't think of another team that do a better roller coaster impression. Others are either 'top four' consistent or 'relegation contenders' consistent or 'comfortably mid table' consistent. As the old saying goes, the only thing we're consistent with is inconsistency. You never know which team will turn up.

My poor girl is blaming herself. She came to the Lane on Saturday and saw a dreadful performance. She refused to watch last night and we turned on a blinder against a very limp Man City. They sing 'we've got Robinho'. I'd sing 'you keep Robinho'. He was rubbish and should have been subbed earlier. Lennon, Defoe, Krancjar, Assou-Ekotto and Dawson get special mention as the combined men of the match. 3-0! COYS!

Going to Ewood Park on Saturday. What's the betting we'll drop 2 or 3 points after a lacklustre showing. 'Spurs fans braved the cold northern air only to see their heroes bullied off the pitch. The team that cut through the stodgy christmas puddings from the Middle Eastlands looked like frozen turkeys themselves as Blackburn enjoyed this early gift and the festive cheers of all 7 of their fans'

see if I'm wrong...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

{insert balls joke here}

Went to Everton with the boy and a mate on Sunday. I'd have taken 2-2 before the game but after being 2-0 up and missing a hatful of chances it felt like a defeat in the end. Defoe's penalty miss just rubbed salt into the wound.

Much more interesting was what we saw as we walked into the ground and found our really uncomfortable terracing/ seats. (both me and the boy came out with rotten back ache from standing on narrow tilted terraces the whole game- it was like going back 30 years; the whole ground is like that though- charming and nostalgic but ultimatley pretty crap). We saw what we took to be the Everton mascot doing the rounds along our side of the pitch."Dad....what does their mascot look like to you?" There was no context, no explanation, just a giant pair of bollocks with big eyes, a smiley face and pretty grotesque hairs poking out the top dancing around behind three women who (again inexplicably) were wearing Gazza-esque plastic arses. Of course it transpired that it had something to do with testicular cancer awareness which is no laughing matter but they could have flagged that up a little. I'd have loved to have made jokes about the appropriateness of this as a mascot but they came back well and made mugs of us even though it was only 12 mins of the game. Before their first goal you could hear Spurs fans suggesting Moyes bring on Mr Testicles to give them a bit more up front (damn I knew I couldn't get through this without a crap joke) in place of the rubbish Jo. Instead he opted for Saha and Yakubu and they (Saha especially) made all the difference.

The mascot is actually called Mr testicles. We didn't catch his first name but the boy thinks it's probably Dave.

Their fans were pretty poor I have to say. I can recall them beating us at the Lane and coming away feeling pretty crap about our noise levels but it wasn't half as quiet as it was at Everton for the first 80 mins. 'Just like the library' echoed round the ground along with 'We've got Jermain Defoe; you've got our stereos'. You could see the players buck their ideas upwhen the crowd got going. prior to that it seemed to be one 12 year old girls squeeking 'USA, USA, USA' .

The other thing that amazed me was how close Anfield and Goodison are. I've only ever been on a coach before to either ground and had no idea they were spitting distance away from each other. Makes the whole ground sharing thing seem to make sense. To be honest Everyon could play in Stanley Park (which sits between the two grounds) and the ice cream stand there and the public toilets would mean the faciliies were better.

apparently Mr Testicles has his own blog (thanks to best mate for flagging that up- it's in his favourites list)

Monday, 30 November 2009

bananas, my oven and spurs at villa

Three quick unrelated topics:

1. This is what the internet should be for:

2. I'm waiting for a bloke to come to fit a new (flexible) pipe to my cooker so that another bloke can come and fix the bloody cooker itself. I've been a month without an oven and hoped that a morning off work would be enough to get stage 1 of the repair out of the way. I was told he'd be here between 8am and 12 noon. It's 12.05 and he's not here. I phoned at 10 and they said he'd be here within the hour. I have to go to work soon so I'm not happy.

3. Good result on sat (1-1 at Villa Park) even though we perhaps should have won it. Chelski helped us out by stuffing Les Arses too. In lots of ways the result was more reassuring than the Wigan result. The Observer said that we were unlucky to the same degree we were lucky against Wigan. All in all a good weekend though.

Monday, 23 November 2009

we woz there!

  • Equals most goals scored in prem league
  • most goals scored by a team in one half
  • Defoe equals most goals scored by one player in prem
  • Spurs biggest victory in top flight
  • Most goals scored since 1977 (9-0 v Bristol Rovers- I was there too)

To say the half dozen Wigan fans that were there looked dejected after the game is something of an understatement. I felt sorry for them as their mini bus collected them, ready for the long drive back to Lancashire. We waved to them but for some reason they didn't wave back. To their credit some actually applauded. I was grateful as my involvement in the victory was at least as signigficant as Defoe's, but who gets all the glory?

I hear that Scharner (who scored after controlling the ball with his hand, having taken lessons from Theirry Henry in midweek) has magnanomously come out and said he's happy for the game to be replayed.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

taste sinks to new depths

Why not get this for your child's next birthday? Can you believe it? On this evidence, bad taste has reached a new level. How long will it be before they have the Twin Towers exploding roller coaster ride or Tsunami wave experience at your local swimming pool?

Friday, 13 November 2009


I've never really been one for animals but getting up close to these lions was excellent. The one biting that bloke's knee is about 4 months old. Suffice to say I wouldn't like a 4 year old one doing the same to me.

reading signs

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a country- its values, people and way of life- just by looking carefully at its signage. These three say different things- one is about language, one reflects the link between the 'cradle of humankind' to the hope of the new democracy and the other hints at the fear that still exists in places like Joburg.

I guess that whatever the connotation, positive or negative, none could ever be as bad those that pushed blacks one way and invited whites another under apartheid.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Joburg days 8 and 9

The weekend kicked off with a family visit. I met an aunt I had never met before which was something I hadn’t expected to be doing when I came here.

In the afternoon we navigated our way through the road works to Gold Reef City to visit the Apartheid museum. This is an impressive place. It rightly lauds the most influential figures where credit is due but it doesn’t shy from criticism either. It deals, for example, with the ANC’s change of policy on violence; with the impact of the struggle for pre-eminence between ANC supporters and Inkatha and even with mistakes Mandela himself made between 1990 and 1994 and in the early stages of his presidency. Probably the biggest of those with failure to address the HIV/AIDS issue until after the death of his son from AIDS. The proportion of HIV + people in South Africa is somewhere around 20-25%.

The museum paints a grim picture of life under Apartheid and develops the evolution of it from the late 19th Century right until its demise. The heroism of some of the people that fought the regime is contrasted by the vile arrogance of those that instigated and maintained it. It really is brilliantly done. It is a little odd that it is next door to a theme park. It is also a little sad that the theme park car park was packed and the museum’s was almost empty. Perhaps, though, people still recall it only too well and would rather enjoy themselves. It is disturbing to think that a lot of the police officers seen brutally attacking blacks in townships are still here and could easily be around my age. The Nazi AWB doesn’t seem to have much of a presence any more but it doesn’t mean their members/ former members have changed their views.

Today we drove north with our new Aussie mate to a lake, dam, biker meeting place and monkey sanctuary. These were all interesting in their own way. Because you have to drive past miles of shanties to get anywhere though, having a good time feels hollow.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Joburg day 7

A half day (well 8-1.30) at work left us time to take a drive out to Walter Sisulu botanical gardens. If you like plants and stuff, as my mum does, you’d love it. It was pristine and impressively kept with all sorts of types and varieties all carefully labelled as were the rocks and anything else that might prove interesting to the budding botanist, geologist or paleontologist. Eagles and other birds were everywhere. The thing that I liked best were the tortoises that were wandering around not giving a crap about anybody or anything. Those guys have real personality. It’s a tortoise equivalent of misanthropy. I had tortoises as a kid. I think we buried one once then found out it was most likely to have been hibernating. Somewhere there’s a picture of me on a swing in out back yard and behind me there’s wooden cross marking its grave.

The waterfalls there are beautiful though more impressive are the rock that look like they were made from fibre glass to bedeck the set of an episode of Star Trek. They’re all cumbersome and misshaped and russet coloured and would have got the prop boy the sack if he’d presented those as landscape for anything of a higher budget than Doctor Who or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

We visited a local supermarket and I nearly bought a 5 bed villa with pool, maid’s quarters and a football pitch garden for R2million (about £180,000). Instead I bought some ostrich biltong to tune my palette for dinner at The Carnivore.

Although no vegetarian should ever set foot in the place, the Carnivore is impressive for a number of reasons. They have the atmosphere right and the smells and dynamic of the place give it real buzz. Copper statues of great men and women of SA history line the corridor and each has an informative plaque. Queen Modjajdi (I think that’s right) is there as is the Zulu leader of Rourke’s Drift fame and, of course, Mandela. He’s taller than I remember .

Dinner was skewer after skewer of at least 10 meats until we’ surrendered’ the flag on the table to say we couldn’t eat any more. I limited myself but my companions had just about everything. I still managed, amongst other things Zebra and Crocodile. I’d happily have zebra sarnies everyday (it’s a little like beef but lighter) but I won’t be ordering croc if I see it on a menu again. Maybe it’s something to do with eating a predatory animal.

Post match analysis

In some ways going to a football (soccer to South Africans) match here is like going to a game in the UK; in others it is a world apart. Traffic seems perpetually heavy in Joburg but the approach to the stadium is extra slow. Shepherd and Becki found a way to get to within a half mile of the stadium and the parking guys tried to turn them back. I suspect that they pointed to us in the back of the car because suddenly a traffic cone was moved and we were ushered into a spot a short walk away. The Orlando ground itself is surrounded by tin shacks and is in the heart of Soweto. It seems crude to make comparisons to the UK but White Hart Lane's situation amongst some of the shoddiest housing in London resonated a little. One thing that is different is the ticket price. Whereas most of those in Tottenham living in the council houses that surround the Lane would be unlikely to afford the 40 odd quid for a ticket the 20 Rand we paid (about £1.80) is reachable by a lot of people who live in what we would consider abject poverty.

The ground was impressive. Pretty much an all-seater stadium, the capacity is about 35-40,000. It was less than half full but most of the chiefs fans were bunched into our side of the ground along with a few hundred Swallows supporters so the atmosphere was still outstanding. Fufuzellas were being blown on the approach, while we were searched and throughout the match. Chiefs supporters continued to blow them even in defeat after the game. I saw one fight in the ground. It was pretty brutal and, as is often the case in the UK, the police sauntered up after it had dissipated.

Our mate at the hotel was right when he said we'd be the only 2 white faces in the crowd. There were (literally) more white people on the pitch than on the terraces. One of them was a German centre back for the swallows; he must have been a good 3-4 stone overweight. It was like watching one of those celebrity matches where Johnny Vegas or Peter Kaye dons a tight fitting shirt and huffs and puffs around for half an hour. We did get some odd looks but the unifying power of football meant that all my conversations with people around me were about the match. When I leaped up from my seat after a dodgy referring decision shouting 'he got the ball!' a bloke behind me slapped my shoulder and did the three stage hand shake thing that I still haven't fully mastered.

Constant dancing behind each goal added colour to a game that was in part skillful and fast and in part naive and unsophisticated. The close control and passing was at times first rate but the defending (especially from the Chiefs who I am told sacked their entire back line recently and now have 4 players who don't know what the others are doing) was appalling. The first goal for Swallows looked offside from where I was and I was told the following morning that TV replays from a hundred angles confirmed this. The Chiefs goal was a 25 yard effort from outside the 'D' and would have graced any Match of the Day montage. After Swallows second goal the Chief tried to pile on the pressure and at one point the owners son (named Kaiser) missed an absolute sitter in front of goal. The crowd was brutal. To a person (apart from the many babies swaddled and strapped to their mothers) the Chiefs fans did the 'get him off' signal (hands circling backwards around each other) until the coach relented.

Half time food was a slab of beef on 'Pap' which is like stodgy rice or porridge with veg and a tomato and chilli salad. I'd eat that every time over a White Hart Lane pie.

At the Lane you stand in queues behind a chosen urinal if you need to pee and basically wait your turn. the system at the Orlando stadium is similar though the blokes there squeeze two to a urinal which was a little disconcerting.

We were warned to be careful but I have to say that I never felt in the slightest bit threatened. It was exciting and perhaps a little edgy but you get that in a crowd anywhere. Few white people in SA are interested in the league soccer here. They focus on La Liga, The EPL or the Italian league. They can't helped themselves when it comes to 'Bafana Bafana' (the national team) but by and large there is an anxiety about being part of something that is so essentially a part of black South Africa. It too a long time for black and Asian people to feel comfortable attending English games though they, of course, had good reason to feel intimidated. I hope that white South Africans can start to get involved to an extent though not to the point where they take over.

The journey home enabled us to talk about the game, slag off the players and agree on men of the match. The guys stopped for a coke at the hotel and we carried on the footy themed conversation. It doesn't matter if you're talking Zulu or English; when it comes to football a dive is still a dive, offside is still offside and a crappy ref is still a crappy ref. Football is a language that people understand all over the world.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Joburg day 6 chiefs v swallows

We've had a hard day today. Adapting our materials to the reality of SA education has been a challenge to say the least- we're having to do constant updates and do a lot of thinking on our feet. I am (and the boss of course) becoming pretty expert in the complexities of SA education. Our reward for this graft is a match in Soweto between The Kaiser Chiefs and another Sowetan team: the Swallows. I was told that the people at our work place had sorted a driver and a 'chaperone' by one of the guys there who is built like a tank. I asked them if these guys were like him and he laughed. Moments later I saw why- two nervous guys about a foot shorter than me; one with a very dinky tie that only reached the second button. I think in fact we are the chaperones.

The barman here is a big Chiefs fan. I asked him what proportion of the crowd tonight would be white. He said "about 2".
"2 %?" I said.
"No, 2..just you two"

Monday, 19 October 2009

Joburg day 4

Suited and booted we set off for work at 7.55am today. The office is literally 1 mile away. Walking is not an option apparently. We were due to set up at 8 so we were worried we'd be 5 mins late. The talk of rush hour joburg traffic only really resonated when at 9.45 we managed to get to the offices. I could have hopped there backwards quicker. Every 'robot' was blocked and this was a normal day. 'You should see it when there's an accident' the locals said.

Day 3 Sun City

If Montecasino was extravagent then Sun City is the very definition of opulence. Sol Kerzner has a gift for going over the top. I've never seen anything like it. Much of what I said about Montecasino applies here but moreso. The two golf courses are incredible. I liked the idea that at one hole you hit the ball over a lake full of crocodiles. My boy's driving would soon get better if he played here I'm sure.

We also visited the Pilanesberg game reserve and did a safari thing. We saw zebras, giraffes, rhinos and other assorted fauna. I found it hard to get as excited as my colleagues for some reason. The reserve itself is massive but driving over rough terrain, squinting through glass while the sun beats down and occasionally spotting a sleeping rhino would have left me cold if I wasn't so bloody hot. Lsst year two tourists were mauled and partially eaten by lions when they got out to get a better photo. If I'd seen that I probably wouldn't be so negative.

The trip was also an opportunity to get to know colleagues and iron out problems and issues. We managed that in the 2 hours drive down. Most of the rest of the day we spent talking about the nature of post aparthied South Africa. I'm still trying to get to grips with some of the ideas and attitudes but, by and large, the white people we're talking to at least seem to be liberal and fair minded though the way they express their views would sit very uncomfortably in a lot of the UK (maybe not Dagenham). One thing that seems to unify them is a willingness to say what they think. The blacks, malays/indians and coloureds that we have met can be very open or very cagey. It's surprising how much consensus there is when it comes to government failings and the reasons for it.

Joburg day 2

[can't shift the pics into the text from here- sorry]

One of the consequences of being ‘guests’ of an institution in a foreign country is that your hosts feel obligated to keep you occupied. The obvious thing to do is to take you to the famous places, notably tourist spots. This is happening a little here. We could have done with a bit of down time on Saturday or a little local colour and some local food but instead we ‘did’ the visit to the cradle of mankind. Don’t get me wrong, I’d definitely go to any World Heritage site given enough time and on my own timeframe. It’s an amazing place with an interesting take on the whole evolution debate. On the one hand they have the oldest human remains and pride of identifying this as the ‘cradle’ while on the other they do not dismiss other interpretations and belief systems. Instead they try to present evidence as something a visitor can consider and draw conclusions on and alongside it give excellent summaries of relevant sections from sacred texts. There’s none of the Dawkinsesque dismissiveness though of course the weighting isn’t exactly 50-50 and this is understandable given the site and its focus. The site includes caves that were mined for lime and have produced countless fossils though the biggest excitement on the day was the appearance of a poisonous snake (it was one of the 10 most dangerous but I didn’t get the name). The museum in Maropang nearby has tried to bring a thrill to science and a ‘message’ about environmental catastrophe and humanity. It achieves this in part though it is no different from going to the Science museum and, as a consequence, much more interesting to me were the visitors rather than the exhibitions. There were at least 5 school parties there. Each group was kitted out in immaculate uniforms and distinct as a pristine football kit. They looked like private school kids but were regular state school kids and seemed to be enjoying themselves and engaging. There didn’t seem to be too many behaviour issues that you might expect taking a group of kids in the UK on a trip- it wasn’t as if they were being watched over closely; they just behaved and appreciated and worked. Like most of the people I have met here they liked to chat so a potentially dull part of the day was redeemed by them, their teachers and other visitors to the site.

Somewhere I’d have definitely baulked at visiting was Monte Casino. For me this was Cradle of mankind to cradle of profligacy in just two hours. It’s a giant casino, village, bunch of restaurants that is modelled to look like an Italian village. It is actually quite impressive but, like a lot of South Africa, a little distasteful when juxtaposed with very evident poverty. Inevitably it does provide jobs but, as I have seen in several places already, there is a part of SA that likes to go for it big time when it comes to comfort, food, entertainment, hotels and the like. I have to say that I gawped like a kid at the roof. It’s painted like a cloudy sky and looks bloody realistic. I know it’s not the Sistene chapel but it impressed me nonetheless. Apparently it’s designed to persuade people to stay and spend money longer when they might otherwise worry about travelling back to Joburg in the dark. Service and food, unlike the real Italy, are excellent and people seem genuinely friendly.

Saturday finished nicely with some premier league footy on TV and a Spurs win and Chelkski and West Sham losing. I’m writing this while watching Fulham v Hull. Most of the black and coloured South Africans I have met have an English team as well as a South African one. Most know more about the EPL than I do. The Afrikaaners tend to follow rugby. It’s the cup final this weekend coming. This may well be our opportunity to do something for ourselves because the hosts all have ‘other commitments’ on cup final day. I was having an excellent chat with one of the trainees here this evening until he told me he liked Les Arses. Bang goes his chance of passing the course. That's not true of course: I beat him to within an inch of his life with his fufuzella.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Joburg day 1

We left at around 3pm on Thursday and arrived, doomed to be forever fixed in the awkward Swiss Air seated position, at around 10am on Friday. The last couple of hours of the flight were rendered at least tolerable by the film I watched and the humbling landscape below. Hundreds of miles of what I guess were Central African Republic and Botswana revealed nothing more than a dry, flat terrain with the odd settlements connected by miles of roads that would have had any Roman nodding in appreciation. We also flew over the nearly finished 'soccer city' that will host the World Cup final. It looks pretty spectacular although there is more than a hint of the inflatible rubber ring about it.

We were looking forward to freshening up and using toilet facilities where you didn't have to roll up your trousers. A navigation problem (no map) meant that our host took a wrong turn just as she was saying there some areas in Joburg that should be avoided at all costs because of the number of car jackings. 'Oh no, Jeppestown, it looks like I will get to show you. But don't worry it should be OK at this time of day...' and then in a quiet voice to herself 'Please God let us get through here...' In fact it looked OK to me. I'd sooner be there than some parts of Bradford, Manchester or East London (the one in London not the one in South Africa).

The rest of the day was spent fighting through Joburg's horrendous traffic to the north. We went to the lion park. Me and my girl went to London zoo recently and spent the day looking at empty cages and forlorn looking animals in small enclosures. This was nothing like that. The project is about rearing cubs who would otherwise die in the wild. I admit to being a little unappreciative of this side of creation; preferring man made structures or spectacular land forms. I went along for the ride and resisted grumbling about how tired and hungry I was but, to be honest, I find it hard to get excited about birds and things like my work colleagues do. We go to Newcastle once a year and they all look at the birds in the bridges and talk animatedly about them while I shuffle about awkwardly with a puzzled look on my face. This was different though. It was so good I'd even sit in that traffic again to go for longer. We went in with the cubs- 4 months is a lot more developed than their human equivalent I can tell you. Boss got bitten on the arm and one tried to chew into my knee. The drive round the park also gave us a stern reminder about why there are signs everywhere saying 'keep windows closed'.

[The picture took about 10 mins to upload on this connection so the rest may have to wait. Love to my family in UK. ]

Sunday, 4 October 2009

staple in nail

I was hoovering. I swept my hand under some stuff on the floor. I whipped it out as I felt a sharp pain. I'd managed to get this staple under my nail. Instead of taking it straight out I took a photo though so that I could send it to people and get sympathy.

The most unusual thing about this isn't how far down the staple went or that I bothered taking a picture. It was the fact that I was hoovering.

That's life 2009

There is a type of nostalgia TV that assemples a few c-list celebs and gets them to say vaguely amusing things about tv shows, adverts and films from the past. The attraction is obvious: it's cheap to make and we like to see how easily pleased we were in the 70s. Often referred to in disparaging tones is 'That's life'. The celebs mock it because the programme pretty much depended on dogs that could say 'sausages' and vegetables sent in by a relative of Mrs Trellis (of I'm sorry...fame) that were shaped a bit like a knob. As a kid I'm pretty sure i found that funny like everyone else diod at the time and, to prove the point, here's evidence that I still do. We found this ice cream in France. Of course we took a photo but the product itself didn't appeal enough for us to actually buy it. Ice cream sellers must get sick of English speakers doing that. Going back to That's Life: it wasn't the dogs, the creepy bloke or the veg that I didn't like; it was the time it was on. I knew that when it finished at 9pm on a Sunday that the weekend was over and I had to go to school the next day and explain why I hadn't done my homework. No amount of phallic carrots can assuage that gut churning sickness.

Fully comp

I can often be heard moaning about people with too much money and too little sense (and little other things they're compensating for) who drive like they own the road, never learnt how to use a roundabout, think the disabled sign means 'parking for arrogant toffs' and specialise in sitting in the middle or outside lane at just under the speed limit until you try to overtake.

Whenever I see one of that type pulled over I suddenly throw away all my anarchistic tendencies and actually give a small cheer for the old bill. This sort of divine justice is, for me, the perfect definition of schadenfreude (along with sneering, gloating Gooners, Hammers, Chavs or ManYoos who see their lead overturned in the last minute by a lucky goal off someone's arse and another that didn't actually cross the line- a too rare event I know).

I just happened across this site. This is someone I see eye to eye with. 6000 expensive cars, all totalled. Of course I wouldn't wish anyone any physical harm and I guess some of these accidents must have resulted in injuries but, as the public safety cliche says, if it makes just one person drive more carefully...

I ran some one over once. He ran between two parked cars, straight in front of me. It was the worst feeling and slowed me right down for weeks. Not that I was speeding, it's just that- like when you fire a gun for the first time- you suddenly realise the power of the thing you are controlling.

Bolt-on entertainment

The match was definitely entertaining yesterday: 4 goals shared, monsoon conditions followed by sunshine followed by gale force winds, a comedy of errors in defence and a novelty linesman who seemed to have forgotten his glasses and rule book. The best thing though was this poor bloke they sent on at half time. The tannoy is so bad at the Reebok that I didn't catch his name but you had to feel for him. He ambled around in the centre circle singing his head off while the bulk of the Bolton fans and all the Spurs fans laughed. Between songs a chorus of "shall we sing a song for you?" rang out between playful boos which, to his credit, he had a laugh about. It was the little, jiggy dance that he did that made me wince most. I bet, unless he's really skint, he won't accept that invitation again.

Monday, 28 September 2009


I thought I'd recovered from my swine flu lite. I had all the symptoms except the temperature. It seems that heat is the key. It didn't mean that I wasn't feeling as ropey as I had in a long time; it just meant that the state and most people didn't really give a stuff (not that I didn't get any sympathy, though a little more proper nursing and fuss would have been welcome). I've come into work today and feel crappy again. I think I may have a desk allergy. My mate phoned the swine flu helpline last week when he was feeling similarly cruddy.

'Are you phoning for yourself or on behalf of someone else?'
'For me.' he said.
'OK, I will go through some questions. Question 1. Are you conscious?'

How much confidence does that inspire?

They say that a person's state of mind has a significant impact on their physical health so one thing that did make me feel better was the football at the weekend. Despite playing well below par Spurs still managed a 5-0 win. I could hardly believe it when Keane slotted in his fourth of the game. And Chelsea lost at Wigan. The 5-1 win at Preston in the week also flattered Spurs a bit I think but, I'll tell you what, I am not complaining.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The new 20

A certain person I know turns 30 this weekend. What I'd give to be turning 30. Instead all I hear is all the 'I'm so old; I don't want to celebrate' nonsense. All this in front of people who are older by a lot or an incredible amount. Speaking as a crotchety old bastard I can, hand on heart, state that 30 is at least the new 20 if not the new 10 (judging by the way a lot of people that age behave). One thing though: she's not alone.

This question
and many of the ensuing responses made me laugh, wince and sneer in equal measure. My response would have been ' act your age and get a life- there are a lot of things you should no doubt be grateful for and a lot of things we'd be better off being depressed about'. Since the question was posed 3 years ago, my response now would be 'Ha! you're 33'.
Of course I'd not say that to the certain person because value my life too. some 30 something stories

G B Shaw said "If at age 20 you are not a Communist then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are not a Capitalist then you have no brains." Depressing thought unless, like me, you're happy being brainless.

So, whether it's welcome or not, Happy Birthday Sweet Heart!

Crested Tabard

Harry Redknapp and Ledley did a promo thing at Spurs new training facility and were pictured, as is typical in these situations, in High Viz vests. I nearly missed the fact that they have the club crest on them. I really hope all the workers on the site are given these to wear. It may stop Chavs or Arses or Irons from working on the site. I know there's a credit crunch on but I could imagine plenty of people refusing to go that far for work. It'd also stop the practice of burying shirts of opposing clubs in the foundations as Spurs construction workers did when they built the new library.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I still don't get this

Obviously I couldn't be bothered to read the actual article to find out what this is all about but it is a bit odd. I thought it may be a misprint or someone doing a deliberate 'mistake' but, from what I know about these two (especially Ant), it may actually be a genuine headline. Wish I'd read it now.

life inbalance

Found myself fiddling around with work stuff while I watched the footy this eve. This behaviour has to stop! I copied something off another of my blogs (work one) and realised that for quite some time I hadn't used North and South for catharsis, bragging, feeble jokes, apologies, congratulations, incredulity or any of the other things it has helped me with over the last 2 and a half years. I suddenly felt guilty; like I'd forgotten to go to work or like I'd left my kid on a traffic island while crossing the road and not realised.

This neglect may also account for my resurgent insomnia. The brain emptying function of writing something must, I guess, help with a little mental filing. Once I get into bed and make the decision to sleep the filing starts. Except it's being done by partially sighted, illiterate klutzes who don't know their alphabet. Or I may just need to change the sheets.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Frank Whipple

Walking back from the footy yesterday (4 wins out of 4!) I saw this in a small park near Bethnal Green station (not far from where my girl lives!). My first thougth was that it was put together by a gardner who, on the point of retirement, decided to leave his mark in bloom. I looked up the name when I got back and the only famous Frank Whipple (to be honest I was surprised there was even one) is an artist who specialises in painting nuns with big whimples. Seems as though the subject inspiration came from his name. The pictures remind me Beryl Cook stuff: vaguely amusing but pretty simplistic when you get down to the detail. Maybe, I thought, the shape beneath the name in the plants is supposed to be a whimple. Then I cam across this article and it shows that the Frank Whipple is in fact much more worthy of note. He's a 101 year old who still cares for his disabled daughter.
I used to get my students to collect oral histories (based on the premise that 'with every old man that dies a library burns') as a way of acknowledging the importance of ordinary people in history. This is an even better way of celebrating the contributions of real people.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Spurs V Doncaster

Spurs prove this whole 'strength in depth' thing everyone is talking about.

Find more videos like this on yidbook

Sunday, 23 August 2009

start of a conspiracy

I don't know if you saw West Sham V Spurs today. The Irons went one-nil up thanks to a very good goal from Carlton Cole. Seems that he immediately regretted it as he put the ball (the wrong way) through to Jermain Defoe who scored Spurs' equalizer. Everyone makes mistakes you might say but look at this:

Carlton Cole is keen to be given the opportunity to forge a successful strike partnership with Jermain Defoe for England. The West Ham striker produced an outstanding 45-minute display when he stepped off the bench in the recent friendly against Holland as the Three Lions hit back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. Defoe bagged both goals for England, but it was Cole's excellent all-round contribution and his link-up play with the Spurs striker which caught the eye.
(Original article from yesterday here:,19528,11685_5508488,00.html)

It was truly defense splitting pass, the like of which we rarely manage. Maybe Cole thinks he won't get back in the England squad unless he shows how well he can play with Defoe. A watching Fabio Capello must have been impressed. I think.

Camping in Wales

Spent a few days in Wales with the boy. Highlight for me was the mini 'survival' afternoon. Weird, beardy bloke made us eat mushrooms and grass then got us to build a shelter. I was very proud of this even though the building was done mostly by the boy as I found myself collecting and foraging. Photo doesn't really do it justice- I reckon it would have kept most of the rain off us.

The problem was the midges. This is my arms. That wasn't the worst place they bit me either.Another highlight was the slate slag heaps and the slate mine. Seeing how those blokes worked was salutary to say the least. We are top of the league!

we are top of the league!

Warning: overuse of exclamation marks may follow!!

Leapfrogging Arsenal!
Beating Hammers on their patch in their cup final!
3 wins out of 3!
Come from behind!
Defoe and Lennon on fire!
5 goals away from home on Wednesday!
Beat Liverpool first game!

So it won't last but I needed to get my gloating off my chest. This is literally the best start Spurs have had in my life! Last time we won three on the trot at start of season was 1960!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


This is the sort of thing you can do with a bit of time on your hands and a Traveler DV5000 camera- 6o quid from Aldi. When I think that I spent 600 quid on a breezeblock camera that needed loads of pricey tapes not so long ago it amazes me (and makes me want to cry). This is done with the two in one option- no photoshop, just line it up and click. Working out positions and keeping camera still are simultaneously biggest problem and half the fun. On the one hand I am pleased with the creativity and effect. On the other I am concerned that this sort of thing makes me a real nerd.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

summer holiday

Despite promising myself a relaxing time I seem to have spent about 3 minutes actually relaxing since last week of July when I finished work. So far I/we have:

  • Helped best mate move house
  • camped in Essex for 3 days (I know, don't ask)
  • Been to Wembley twice and seen four footy matches. One was OKish.
  • decorated bathroom
  • cleaned out cellar
  • decorated bedroom
  • moved stuff around a lot
  • not hoovered
  • thought about hoovering a lot
  • been to London 3 times
  • driving to Europe tomorrow
  • done loads of other stuff too but my brain

Anyway, have a good summer. I'm so tired, work may actually come as a reflief.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

head in the clouds

The jury is still out on Crouch but it looks like it'll come back with something a lot less than a unanimous decision even as we plough through another season. At least the Wembley Cup experience means that even the most optimistic Spurs fan will not be blithering on about a top 4 spot this season. The purchase of Peter the Great (big lumbering gangly lummox- just to make it clear where I stand on the debate) just adds to that sense of anti-climax. £10m sounds a lot but, unlike most footballers, Crouch has a special contract which stipulates he must be paid for by the inch. Too often we have been disappointed after big name signings up front: Rebrov, Pav et al. Now we just have the big. Don't get me wrong: I'm as thrilled as the next bloke that we'll be watching football at the highest level this season (pun intended) and entertained up to 8 times with robot dancing and hilarious mimes. People are talking about re-igniting the partnership with Defoe but how much of a partnership was that really? They got something like 15 goals between them at Pompey. Not exactly world beating is it. Is he better than what we have already? Hardly. Does he give us an alternative? Probably. Maybe 'arry is considering playing 3 up front and putting Keano in the hole ( a tiny one with a pot of gold coins in it). That's about as far as it goes for me. I so hope I'm wrong. If I am and he's a new legend and scores 20+ goals I hereby declare that I will put his name on my shirt next season (even though I'm only 3' 2" tall. )
Here he is when he was last at Spurs. No doubt he'll be the next WHL pin up. At least he has a sense of humour; when asked what he'd be if he wasn't a footballer he said: " a virgin".

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

never tell anyone your address

I'm sure a lot of people on this membership list will attest to that. Some of them, bless 'em, are only on it because they made a sneaky £5 donation. It must be worrying to have your e mail address and phone number published like this so close to your stated affiliation. What would worry me if I was a BNP member is that there were people who saw themselves as anti Nazi but were actually a bit deranged themselves. It is possible you know. Who knows what they would do. Or what if someone in the US or Australia happened upon this list and saw how many members of the Griffin family were members (it's about 10% of the entire membership by the look of things) or they got hold of sell out "half wog" (BNP description not mine) Lawrence Rustem's details and gave him a taste of his own odious medicine. People from those countries might feel they were outside UK law and bombard them with mail, phone calls or worse.

I searched the list using Ctrl+f then typing part post codes and specific names to see how many of them live near me. I seem to have an old couple and a married woman near me. Always nice to know who your enemies are I think. In this case, as in a lot of things BNP related, it's a bit embarrassing really. Instead of fighting them I may just go round and criticise their curtains or something appropriate to their age and level of danger.

Lancaster Unity

This is a great blog. Full of passion and controlled rage. The overriding impression left when reading some of their many reports on just how crap the BNP members are is one of disdain. Look at the 'Crap Councillors' link on the right hand side if you get a chance. If these people had any redeeming qualities you might actually feel sorry for them.


Stories can be told in all sorts of ways. Sometimes, though, all the elements come together so powerfully you find you have a best seller on your hands. If there was a Booker prize for stories told in three pictures then this would win it: Such emotion and so layered. Provide your own back story; provide your own denouement.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Black and white wedding

Typically I wear my one suit to all funerals, interviews and weddings. This weekend I had a wedding to go to and decided beforehand that I needed to do something different. I toyed with the idea of a chicken suit or my regular unironed and decrepit look but instead went out and did something that usually makes me very irritable: I bought new clothes. My girl had said she'd buy me something but scared the crap out of me when she said she'd seen a 'really nice brown suit'. Images of my geography teacher in his beige, elbow-patched, corduroy suit loomed large and the panic that ensued was enough to get my backside to the shed shops. Of course I did get irritable and I apologise unreservedly for asking one shop assistant "Do I look like a tosser?" when she suggested some shoes with lime green soles. (I think I know what her answer would have been). I came away with what I figured was adequately smart: a white collar-less shirt, black waistcoat, black cotton trousers and a belt to hold things in and up. I dutifully reported this to my lifestyle guru and she was even less than non-committal: "hmmm, sounds like it'll crease" I think were her exact words.

I lost all confidence in these clothes on the morning of the wedding and spent a good 2 hours trying to iron all of them (except the belt). I got so hot and bothered by this I had to re-shower. 1 point to the funeral suit. When I turned up at the pre-wedding rendezvous I was surprised when I wasn't greeted with howls of derisive laughter and some of my confidence returned. New clothes claw it back to 1-1.

We arrived at the wedding with a massive bunch of flowers and I sought out someone who looked like they were in charge. I approached a woman who was obviously the bride's sister (they looked similar- there wasn't a badge system or anything) "Where shall I put these?"
"Come with me..." We ran up the stairs and into some private back room. "Where's the other bunch?" she demanded.
"I only bought one,sorry. They're a present."
"Oh, I thought you were the flower delivery guy."
2-1 to the funeral suit I think.

We sat down and it wasn't long before I understood why so many people had seemed to be saying 'excuse me' in Turkish (it was a Turkish wedding) as I walked past: I was dressed exactly the same as the waiters. 3-1 to the funeral suit.

Apart from that everything was brilliant: Great people, plentiful food and drink, good company at our table, loads of comedy dancing and excellent music. May H and F be very happy for many many years inşallah (this is Turkish spelling I understand). If they need flowers delivering or tables serving I have just the outfit.

Hope not Hate

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Owen in the Dragon's Den

Lovely bit of editing. Of course I'll be laughing on the other side of my face when he puts 3 past us early on next season.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

welsh sea

Just some pictures from Wales trip.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 29 June 2009

more from PC Brutality

A colleague told me he looks too camp to be the very epitome of police corruption but maybe that's the point. A wolf in sheep's clothing and all that...

yeah right, very funny

My son was flicking through a 'phobias' website the other day and laughing at some of the daft things people are scared of: buttons, toes, beards, fear itself etc. but I didn't believe him when he told me what this one meant:


Apparently it is the fear of long words. Other sources (online at least) confirm that it does indeed have some currency.

As stupid as it may be I'd sooner be hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic than xenophobic any day. People say that xenophobia is a misnomer because it's about hatred and not fear as such. I beg to differ though- I think it is fear: it's a cowardly fear of difference by shallow, small minded, ill educated people so is exactly the right word really.

ps. I just spell checked this and hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia isn't in the Blogger dictionary for some reason. I think the dictionary compiler is a bit hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic.

Monday, 22 June 2009

London Uked

On Saturday my girl and I went to see this. We didn't actually participate unfortunatley because we were lacking two things: ability to play and actual ukuleles. The first may not have precluded us from being part of it had we managed to secure the second. If you look carefully you can see my mum, her partner, me, my girl and 800+ totally bonkers people. It's stuff like this that gives me hope for the world. Brilliant stuff. The video title claims 'world record' but I think that remains (perhaps rightly) with Hawaii or Honolulu.

Friday, 19 June 2009


I've been playing with this online comic creation tool. What a great time stealer this is. I can also see a lot of applications to teaching though so I can kinda justify it. Justifying the bad jokes is harder mind you. As a medium for making 'a statement' I can see a lot of potential though I suspect if I looked hard enough I'd find some seriously dodgy stuff on there already. My character is called PC Brutality. A true case of nominative determinism.

PC Brutality

CAVEAT LECTOR: the above comic strip does not necessarily represent anyone's views nor is it meant as a specific allegation. it's a kind of satire, ok?

shear joy

from the 606 message boards:

This is just unbelievable!!!!!!!!!
It has just hit the news that Hull have been charged with fielding an unregistered player at the end of January '09. Apparently when they signed Kamil Zayatte from Young Boys for £2.5M on 23 January this year, there had been some irregularities with the transfer and he was not formerly registered when Hull drew 2-2 with West Brom. West Brom have been awarded 3 points for that game instead of 1 but it has made no difference to them, they are still relegated.

However Hull have been stripped of their point, which puts them on the same points as Newcastle but with a poorer goal difference.
Newcastle have complained immediately and if the claim is upheld, Hull will be relegated retrospectively and the Toon will stay up!

Carlsberg don't do 606 posts for delusional Geordies but if they did this would probably be the best 606 post in the world!

Monday, 8 June 2009

On a lighter note...

I posted the US 'Shift happens' video earlier but this version reflects our location.

It's already a bit out of date which, in its own way, kind of proves the essential argument.

Now this really is embarrassing...

It would also be funny if it wasn't quite so sad and pathetic however insiduous the intent. Read Mirror article here

Before I tore the leaflet up myself I did wonder who these people were. I wish they'd found a random picture of me looking all white and happy and reasonable cos I wouldn't have let it lie with a mild protestation. What a bunch of stupid arses.

is my glass half full...

...or is it emptily reflecting the malevolent sneer of Griffin and the rest of his doing-their-best-to-not-mention-the-thinly-veiled-racist-antidemocratic-thuggery cronies. What do I see when I go out? Do I see one in every ten as a Nazi? Do I see them as ill educated fools, easily taken in by (what I think are) blatantly unconvincing lies? Or do I see 9 in every ten as decent people who may be daft/ young/ memory inhibited enough to vote Tory but know that the BNP = Fascism and are in fact more than bright enough to realise that a vote for the BNP is a vote for tyranny, violence and discrimination; that it spits in the face of all those that fought against it in Spain and during World War 2.

As today has worn on I have got over my initial response: "everyone is a self serving, deluded racist" and have been much more generous: "some people are just plain stupid". Griffin and Brons are vile liars. Their NF credentials and their on (and much more off) the record statements are clear but they are forced to present themselves as something they are not. It's like me saying I support A*****l in order to get a cup final ticket: Embarrassing betrayal. But they do it in the full knowledge that it may get them votes. It's an acknowledgement that their true feelings are unpalatable and make them unelectable. It's an admission of how out of touch they are.

By the way, if this sounds vitriolic it's lucky I'm writing now and not this morning or late last night.

It's a damn shame that I feel like there has been enough of a change to re-ignite my anger. It's a long time since I was involved in things like CND and the Anti-Nazi League and thought that those days were gone but I will join Unite Against Fascism (even though they seem to have a thing about capital letters) and I will protest the extensive and often apparently sypmathetic coverage the BNP get in the national media. Suddenly the ridiculuousness of 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' headline (Daily Mail in 1934) looks like it could be emulated.

Having said all that, and without getting at all complacent: they only won two seats. Factor in the voting patterns of extremist parties and the current crisis in confidence in mainstream politicians and it actuall seems pretty crap. You also have to remember that the BNP was top on most voting cards and, let's face it, we all have better things to do than read to the bottom of a long boring list and, anyway, what difference does it make? they said they're for our boys so why should I not believe them? etc. etc.

Articles like Hundal's in today's Guardian actually give me a lot of hope It's clearly set out and compelling. Amongst the points he raises is this:

"The BNP is not increasing its votes. In both Yorkshire and the north-west, its total number of votes fell from 2004. This absolutely does not mean that more people are being seduced by the BNP's propaganda. It means that Labour's share of the vote collapsed and went to other parties, thereby helping the BNP under a proportional system. If the party makes a comeback then there's no reason why the BNP will continue to get its MEPs elected."

(by the way Garry Aronsson, Griffin's running mate in these elections lists as a hobby "devising slow and terrible ways of paying back the Guardian-reading c****s who have betrayed the British people into poverty and slavery. I AM NOT JOKING." see here: - dodgy foreign sounding name that I think-it's in my little black book).

Another point raised elsewhere is the impact of so many people writing panicky articles about the BNP when they're still so bloody peripheral and pathetic so I'll shut up now.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

White Hart Lane

This week I have been to Wales, London and places near to me in the grim north.

Here are a few photos from our visit to the Lane on Friday. I know the adulation only perpetuates the prima donna arrogance of the players but I can't help myself. I loved the tour. The snippets of info from the guides and the ability to sit in Harry's chair, on Ledley's bench seat in the changing room and at the mike in the press conference room made it 11 quid well worth spending. Typically, my girl tried to get more than she paid for and was told off twice. Once for going on to the pitch (mercifully NOT in the style of Erica Roe) and secondly for sneaking into the toilets in the changing rooms. Her verdict on that was 'urrggghhh, it smells really bad.' This may be because the only toiletry products in sight were on the wall, squirty Head and Shoulders containers. If we do ever make the stupidly named Champions' league maybe they'll up the quality and take a leaf out of Chelski's book and install lockers in the changing rooms. Apparently in these they have a system where aftershave is sprayed in a mist on the players as they open their locker doors.

Interesting facts:

  • Spurs have the only 11 man plunge bath left in the League
  • We had Champions' league standard lights fitted last summer at a cost of 12 million quid
  • The original brass cockerel has dents in it where Gazza shot at it the week before scoring against Les Arses without a boot on
  • The away dressing room has a low ceiling, poor lighting, no board, not tables and rubbish showers. All of this is deliberately unsporting
  • Arse Wenger once complained that his match side seat wasn't heated

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Babel fish

I found the 'Google translate' widget earlier (see the sidebar on the right) and have been fiddling with it. I tried translating everything into Japanese but was disappointed to discover that I must be lacking the appropriate scripts on my PC as it came up non- japanesey gobbledygook. Next I tried French which read pretty well as far as my own French skills could tell. I then went to the Google translation language tools and translated part of it back into English. Most amusing. It instantly reminded me of 'Everything is illuminated' which features the prose of a very earnest Ukrainian who is writing in English with a little too much help from a thesaurus.

I used the post below for my experiment. This is how the last two paragraphs came out in French:

Je viens de recevoir un appel. Je me suis arrêté et le sifflement agaçant bourdonnement dans un mode assez longtemps pour aller "uh huh" un peu de temps et d'interpréter les grandes Yorkshire du mécanicien qui a dit quelque chose dans le sens de: «tout vérifié, rien de vraiment mauvais, à tous, la direction et les freins sont fins, il a juste besoin de suivi adapté, nous avons fait en un rien de temps et vous pouvez payer quand vous venez en service pour votre prochain, c'est la transformation de cette peine une heure "

Je suis un peu peur que si je cesse d'être positif à tout moment avant que je prends la voiture que je vais être sur le point de route lorsque l'un des mécaniciens de crier "s'accrocher mate, je ne vois vraiment important et cher chose pendaison de l'arrière de votre voiture ... "

Looks cool huh?

Then this is how it translated back:

I just received a call. I stopped annoying hiss and buzz in a way long enough to go "uh huh" a few times and to interpret the broad Yorkshire engineer who said something along the lines of: "all checked, nothing really bad at all, the direction and the brakes are fine, it just needs to be appropriate follow-up, we have no time and you can pay when you come for your next service is the transformation of this penalty one hour "

I am a little afraid that if I cease to be positive at any time before I take the car I'll be on the road when one of the mechanics shouting "hang mate, I do really important and expensive thing hanging from the rear of your car ... "

I can see many many wasted hours ahead of me doing this!

The power of positive thinking

Normally when I identify a problem with my car it is with dread that I take it to the garage. I know that it's going to be costly and that even if I get an estimate of the cost it'll be a 50 quid or more than I was expecting. This morning though I took my car in and as I was driving(through genuinely torrential rain that only seems to fall round where I live) I found myself whistling and smiling rather than dreading. I have no idea what had put me in such a positive frame of mind but it continued into the greasy garage office, through the rain to the station, on the train to work and up the hill through the light rain that falls everywhere else.

I just got a call. I stopped whistling and humming in an irritating fashion long enough to go 'uh huh' a few times and interpret the broad Yorkshire of the mechanic who said something along the lines of:"all checked, nothing really wrong at all, the steering and brakes are fine, it just needs tracking adjusted, we'll have it done in no time and you can pay us when you come in for your next service- it's hardly worth processing this one"

I'm a bit worried that if I stop being positive at any time before I pick the car up that I'll just be about to drive away when one of the mechanics will shout "hang on mate, I can see a really important and expensive thing hanging off the back of your car..."

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Carpe Diem Innit

This is the best version.

Did you know?

A little US in bias but fascinating all the same.

Monday, 18 May 2009

champagne superwa***r

I still haven't worked out whether I want us to get the Europa League spot. On the one hand it'd be an amazing way to mark then end of Harry Redknapp's first season, especially after the first 8 games under Ramos. On the other, it'd be good not to get embroiled in the mess that is the poor cousin to the notoriously misnamed Champions' League. Either way it's probably academic as Fulham are on a roll and play the toffees who'll no doubt have one (collective) eye on the FA Cup and we play Liverpool who have nothing but frustration to keep them occupied after losing out to Man United.

The blue half of Manchester was at White Hart Lane on Saturday and I was glad it wasn't a decent team. The 2-1 scoreline was about right and, although Keane and Pav were like those uncoordinated people you get at half time who have won a competition that allows them to try to score but they can't because they're pants, a few players put in a decent shift.

From the back of the Paxton we couldn't work out who was on the end of some barracking from Park Lane and Shelf but this (from the Mirror) explained all:

Oasis' Liam Gallagher laid into Tottenham Hotspur supporters at White Hart Lane on Saturday (May 16), as the team played his beloved Manchester City.Spurs fans infuriated the Oasis singer by chanting "You're just a shit Chas & Dave" at him early on in the match. In response Gallagher, who was watching the game from an executive box alongside his elder brother Paul, taunted the home supporters by flicking his middle finger and V-signs at them, forcing the club's security step in and force him back to his seat.The Spurs fans had the last laugh though, beating Man City 2-1 on the day

Thursday, 14 May 2009

As a woman of the etiquette

Whatever you do, don't look at the picture below if you're easily offended or grossed out. It's another first rate effort from . To be honest I'm surprised it hasn't featured on Dragon's Den. When I was kid I was helping my mum clean out some old stuff in our loft. I came across an old metal tin and inside it was a pipe with pump attachment. It actually looked quite expensive and there were detailed, though yellowed and largely unreadable, instructions inside the lid. I picked it up and started doing all the obvious things a 10 year old boy would do: I stuck it in my ear, pretended it was a snorkle and other types of breathing apparatus, squeezed the ball thing so that air went in my face. 'What is it?' I asked, unaware that the picture of angelic innocence would forever and from that moment forward be wiped from my face.

'It was your great grandmother's. ' said my mum, 'It's called a saline douche. They used them in the old days to clean out their private areas after they had been intimate with their husbands.'

This isn't much more than a fancy version of that as far as I can make out

I looked up Leukorrhoea. I wish I hadn't. That certainly stopped my chuckling I can tell you.
I notice the 'AGENT WANTED' at the bottom. I don't think I'll apply.


I'm watching the Leeds v Millwall play off semi final second leg. As I type 77 mins have gone and it's 1-1 on the night with Millwall leading 2-1 overall. Sorry if that's dull but context is everything. The TV people are delighting in frequent shots of gutted looking Leeds fans, the pain of another year in league division three (in old money) looming large. I just noticed that my neck is hurting and I realise that it's because I saw what I thought was a really nasty injury to a Millwall player. He got clattered and as the camera zoomed in all you could see was his motionless body and his wide open eyes staring blankly towards the screen. I honestly thought he was dead. It really did send both a metaphorical , and it would seem actual, chill down my spine and it's had a physical impact on my neck. He eventually got up and seemed fine but it hasn't made my neck any better. I'm beginning to see how Munchhausen's syndrome might work.

On another note, it's odd watching a game where you'd love both teams to lose.

A better class of vandal

I went for a walk up Stoodley Pike the other day. As I huffed and puffed my way up the hill that just got higher and steeper, trudging through the boggy, sheep-shite laden heather and peat I realised why it had been 2 years since I'd been there. I mentioned its history before (see here)and how impressed I was with the graffiti. I didn't notice this bit last time though so the second weekend stroll/ death march was worth it I guess. If you can't read it in the photo it says: Miss B Cowan July 1930. I just love the primness of it. There's even a full stop carved into the rock after Miss Cowan's initial. There's evidence that education standards were higher in those days. I wonder if she's still alive.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


I often read what this guy has to say about teaching. This one made me laugh out loud. a) because it's inherently funny and enough to make you squirm for him and b) it reminds me of similar experiences teaching 15 year olds at an all girls school even before I was fully qualified (and still looked quite young). They would deliberately drop pencils and rubbers on the floor and try to get my attention while they made a big deal about bending over and picking it up, all eye lashes and thrust out breasts (at least that what I figured as I was doing my best to make sure I looked at the ceiling or out the window). They would ask me to do things like sing a song or come round for dinner or take them out just to see how I would react (answer: bright red face, sweaty palms and a pathetic bumbling 'don't be so stupid').

I have to say that was pretty much the worst teaching experience I ever had (apart form the Mexican lad with the exploding face and no short term memory but I try not to think about that).

"Brilliant Tits"
studentteacher83 @ Tuesday, 21. Apr, 2009 – 19:48:34
Working with teenage girls is all too frequently a terrifying experience. I find a policy of don't-go-within-three-yards-of-them works quite well most of the time.
As a teacher you have to use praise alot, though it takes a time to get it down to a fine art as when I praised one of my pupils for working so well they called me a suck-up, but that's another story. I have several stampers for giving my pupils messages of praise, one of which is personalised and reads 'Mr **** says Brilliant' with some stars in the middle. I'm quite pleased with it and my pupils love getting it stamped in their books, even great big year eleven boys.
I was going round stamping some books during my year ten lesson and one of the girls asked if she could stamp her own book. That's fine by me but after I turned my back for a second to check another pupil's work I soon regretted it. When I look at the girl again she's only gone and stamped her nipples, as in on her school shirt, not her actual nipples. At least I assume not, I wasn't about to check. To say I was horrified is an understatement on a par with standing at the South Pole and saying it's a bit chilly.
Imagine now - but not too much - how that must have looked, a girl walking around with 'Mr **** says Brilliant' on her tits.
My own, slightly paranoid, view is that it made it look like I was giving her breasts a seal of approval, kind of like a highly perverted version of a Quality Standard for meat. It wasn't like it was late in the day, there were still three lessons to go, plus break and lunchtimes. She didn't even have a jumper to put on over the top. So numerous other teachers would have seen it, and that's before she gets home. That'll give her mum a fright when she does the laundry. I wouldn't imagine stamper ink comes out too well either.
I'm sticking to using my smiley face stamper from now on.

Monday, 11 May 2009

bag lady

Normally I don't like the "funny" stuff I get emailed from colleagues, especially the ones that say 'forward this to 10 people or you will die". However, I could watch stuff like this all day. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Wilson Palacios

Just read this. Redknapp's comment at the end says it all really. Things like this are always very sad but the thing about him waiting with his suitcase because he didn't want to wake the manager hits such a poignant note it makes me want to cry.

Tottenham's goalless draw at Everton was overshadowed by the tragedy that has hit their midfielder Wilson Palacios, following the discovery of a body believed to be that of his kidnapped younger brother.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp confirmed Palacios had flown home to Honduras following the apparent death of his teenage brother Edwin, who had been kidnapped in 2007 and held to ransom.
Palacios, a £14million signing from Wigan in January, left the Spurs team hotel in Liverpool at 7am ahead of their 0-0 draw with Everton, when news filtered through from his homeland that his brother's body had been found.
Redknapp said: "The lad had heard from his family at about one in the morning what had happened, and his brothers I believe have identified the body.
"But he sat around the hotel lobby with his case packed until 7am because he didn't want to wake me.
"I'm amazed with him. But we organised for him to be driven back to London so he could get a flight home.
"Things like that bring everything into focus. I believe the boy had been kidnapped and a ransom had been paid but he had not been released."
Spurs' point keeps them in the hunt for seventh place in the Premier League, but Redknapp was more concerned with Palacios.
He said: "You couldn't wish for a more calm and likeable lad, football is not really that important after this."