Friday, May 26, 2006

Choc Ice

This week’s picture is of Choc Ice, probably the greatest cabaret band in the world. They are a four (occasionally five) piece band, featuring Duggie Deuxdrop, Joe Ely, Jim, brother of Joe, Ely, and Tony Porc. Elvis Shapiro sometimes can be bothered to turn up. You can read much more about their particular brand of mayhem on their website at Pictured is Joe Ely, brother of Jim. Or is it the other way round?

Saturday, May 20, 2006


There’s a distinct pecking order (if you pardon the pun) at the bird table. The small birds, dunnocks and tits, are told to clear off by the finches. The finches in turn lose out to the blackbirds and magpies. These get scared off by the squirrels.

Now the next in the food chain ought to be Marv barking at the squirrels and the squirrels scurrying away. But Marv is in the living room and the squirrels just pause to look at the commotion through the window before continuing to devour everything on the bird table.

Here’s a photo taken this morning. Wanted for crimes against bird tables throughout the greater Pontypridd area.

Movie Notes

So there’s going to be another Carry On movie, eh? It will be the 32nd in the series. No prizes but lots of kudos for knowing the names of the other 31. The first was Carry On Sergeant. Carry On London will star Shane Ritchie (in the Sid James role), Vinnie Jones (Bernard Bresslaw) and Victoria Silvstedt (Barbara Windsor of course).

In honour of this new movie, here are a few of my favourite Carry On lines:

Carry On Up The Khyber
“I’ve never been in a cart pulled by oxen before”
“No, honestly I haven’t”

To get a snake charmer to go away – “Fakir off!”

Carry On Cleo
“Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got in infamy”

Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head
“I’m Camembert! I’m the big cheese!”

If you have any favourites, email them in and I’ll use the best next week.

TV Notes

Just about coping without my weekly dose of The Apprentice. Just have to make do with spotting all the same dysfunctional work types at the office. We definitely have a Syed, a couple of Badgers, and a Tuan.

For those with an interest in American sports I have to recommend NASN, the North American Sports Network ( It’s available by subscription on Sky and shows extensive coverage of baseball, basketball and hockey (ice not field). Occasionally it broadcasts some of its shows free to air (freeview). Well worth keeping an eye out for.

The best programme for a general cath-up on American sports is Pardon The Interruption, which features the genius that is Tony Kornheiser.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Morning everyone! Yep, test cricket is back, even earlier than ever. Whilst Sky’s wall to wall coverage continues, my viewing is usually confined to the highlights package.

five (not Channel Five or even Five or 5, but five) is now showing highlights of the test cricket. Is it me or is it the same coverage as Channel 4’s last year, minus Richie Benaud? Its good, but its hard to watch cricket without Richie.

England made a pig’s ear of a great batting display and a reasonable bowling effort by fielding like drunken giraffes. I lost count of the number of catches that were put down, enabling Sri Lanka to have 30 wickets instead of the usual 20 and so enabling them to bat on for the draw. Andrew Strauss in particular had a ‘mare, including several drops which bring to mind Boycott’s comment that “my mum could have caught that in her pinnie!”

Travel Notes

Aggravating – the announcements on London underground trains such as “This train is for Paddington.”

No its not. It’s not for (or against) anything. It’s a train. What you mean is “This train is going to…” or “This train’s destination is…” Sorry, this is the pedant in me having a rant.

Also, they have taken to announcing that there is a “good service” in operation. Let me be the judge of whether its any good or not!

TV Notes

The Apprentice – there was disaster in the Veale/Janes household when a thunderstorm caused a power cut and the final of The Apprentice failed to record. Got to see the show on the interweb instead though. In the end I’m not sure if any of this was open and honest, since there didn’t seem to be a lot of questioning before the final pick. Michelle did exactly as Sir Alan suggested, showed no imagination and struggled to run her team, yet seemed to win comfortably. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want the badger to be working for me!

Rugby Notes

The season’s over for Ebbw. Safe in mid-table mediocrity, our best result for years.

As predicted here, Craig Cleaver duly won player of the year, whilst Simon Hunt had to get in on the act somewhere and was named clubman of the year. Jack Lydiate, Ebbw and Dragon’s U21 flanker got most promising player. Roll on September for the new season. We’ve already signed an outside half, Sam Mills from relegated neighbours Pontypool.

Elsewhere, the season carries on though. Saturday sees the playoff between Maesteg (third from bottom in the Premiership) and Bonymaen (champions in Division 1) to see who goes up or stays up, if you get my drift.

There’s also the small matter of the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium. Biarritz versus Munster. Should be a cracker, with The Fields of Athenry echoing around Cardiff.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Frank's 60th

Sunday saw the big surprise birthday bash for Frank, my soon-to-be father-in-law. The pic shows the in-laws Irene and Frank with Father Michael (in the middle), whose friendship with Frank dates back to 1959. Yikes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Spent the weekend chilling out in London. Did a bunch of the usual tourist things. Went to Harrods and the Science Museum on Saturday. Greenwich on Sunday was wonderfully relaxing seemed miles away from the bustle of London.

New cricket season about to start, quite possibly my last. I turn out for the Haddocks ( in the Cardiff midweek cricket league. It’s a 16 overs-a-side competition, where the aim is to be OK, but not good enough to be promoted so that you have to play good sides. We languish in the 3rd division of the League. There isn’t a 4th division.

Rugby Notes

We’re safe! After soundly beating Llandovery on Friday night Ebbw are guaranteed Premiership rugby again next season. And deservedly so too. We were by far the better side. Llandovery survived too. Carmarthen, Maesteg and Pontypool ended as the bottom 3.

After the lord mayor’s show tonight. Ebbw went down to Pontypridd 14-36 in a game that could have been a lot closer. Good job it didn’t matter.

A minute’s silence was observed for Clive Burgess before each of the last two games. There are lots of obituaries and comments on the Ebbw Vale RFC supporters’ forum (

Cricket Notes

Watched Glamorgan during a couple of lunch breaks last week. The new import Mark Cosgrove looked good, getting a century in his first at-bat. But he’s likely to have to go back to Oz for an “A” tournament for the next couple of months. Their other overseas player James Franklin is due to be joining soon though. Glamorgan are allowed to replace Cosgrove & will need to.

Simon (sicknote) Jones, Harrison & Wharf all injured at the mo.

Travel Notes

Aggravating – Yikes. Where to start?

I – What is it about people on the underground that makes me want to pull a gun? Is it because everyone is in such a hurry to catch his or her train, even though the next Bakerloo service is in 3 minutes? Is it that as the train door opens people barge on regardless of people trying to de-train?

II – The train to London on Saturday morning had a selection of Swansea City football fans. It was 9:30 and they had clearly been on the beer for a while by the time we boarded in Cardiff. Yes, the preconceptions that people have about soccer fans all came true.

TV Notes

The Apprentice – In a shock, Paul and Ansell went, leaving Ruth the Badger and Michelle to battle in the finale next week. Paul had not been to the boardroom at all, but didn’t interview well, to put it mildly. “There’s four like him down the local Peugeot showroom, and three of them will have nicer suits.”

Revelations in the Sunday papers were that both Michelle and Ruth already work for Sir Alan Sugar’s companies, and questions about whether its all fixed have been raised.

Running Notes

Lunchtime runs in Bute Park in the spring are really enjoyable. There’s always lots of other runners, dog-walkers & cyclists. There’s also a new addition – a woodland sculpture of what appears to be Shrek. Bizarre.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Happy birthday Emma. Six years old on Thursday. Hope you get lots of pink presents!

Another bank holiday eh? This one was a pretty lazy affair. Ventured out on Sunday though. Went to the Primate Sanctuary near Abercrave ( It used to be an extended farm with rare breeds, but has taken over the monkeys from Penscynor Wildlife Park when it closed down something like 10 years ago. As a result the place is a hotch-potch of ducks and chimps, pigs and lemurs.

There’s lots of development work going on, and they are doing sterling work in rescuing abandoned chimps and other primates from closed-down circuses and zoos. A good cause and well worth £5 for a visit.

Picnicked at Craig-y-nos Country Park ( A great place for walking and picnicking in 40 acres of national park, all of it seemingly on the riverbank. Some beautiful scenery too. See pic.

Rugby Notes

Just heard that Clive Burgess passed away this week, aged just 55. One of the best players I ever saw and truly a local hero. He won just 9 caps for Wales (4 in 1977, 2 in 1981 and 3 in 1982) and scored his only international try on his debut against Ireland in 1977. Not one to ingratiate himself with the establishment, he spent three years in the international wilderness before being called back to the Welsh team and promptly being named man of the series in the 1981.

Ebbw performed well on Saturday and saw off a useful but ultimately less determined Cross Keys side at Pandy Park. After going 5-0 down “early doors” & Ebbw trying to score tries from 100 yards metres out, we settled down & climbed back into the game. Four tries in all in a 35-10 win. Cleaver & Bowd in the back row were immense. The backs ran Keys ragged, and both wings bagged tries.

If Player of the Year is even close I’ll want an official enquiry. Craig Cleaver has been man of the match so many times this year that nobody else should even be close in the voting.

Two games left – this Friday at home to Llandovery and then next Tuesday home (or in my case away) to Pontypridd.

The final placings may turn out to be academic as the WRU have said that the ground criteria will be taken into consideration when deciding who is related. Apparently we pass these criteria. But let’s assume everybody else does as well. In that case it’s 2 down & the 3rd from bottom gets a play-off game with the top of division 1, Bonymaen.

OK, bear with me here as I go through the permutations. With just one win we get up to 31 points, which is higher than Pontypool can get to with their last two games. If the win is over Llandovery then we will also leapfrog over them since that’s their last game. 31 points is the maximum that Carmarthen and Maesteg can get with their two games left, but only one of them can since they have yet to play each other. We also hold a try count advantage over Carmarthen and Maesteg of 14 and 5 respectively.

We should be safe if we win on Friday, but I wouldn’t put it past Maesteg to somehow come up with 20 tries in their last game at home to Aberavon and pip us at the post. The message is this – win them both!

Cricket Notes

Watched Glamorgan during a couple of lunch breaks last week. Not off to a great start. As Eye-Jay said, it’s either block it or smash it. There were very few attempts to work the ball around and rotate the strike, even when they had lefty and righty batting together.

They won their first C&G Trophy outing against Ireland yesterday in front of a god natured bank holiday crowd – I couldn’t be tempted. The new Aussie import Mark Cosgrove seems a bit handy: 75 off 57 balls just 24 hours after getting off the plane.

TV Notes

Syed is gone. Hurrah! How did that egotistic salesman survive into the last 5 on The Apprentice? It doesn’t really say a lot for the ones who fell before him, does it? Badger looked shaky for the first time though.

Season Two of Lost starts tonight on Channel 4 and E4. Id love to tell you the plot, but it would take forever. Suffice to say there are more red herrings than you can shake a stick at.