Friday, June 30, 2006


C’mon Timmy – we know you can do it. Ah, too late. Oh well, there’s always next year. And so the hopes of middle England are passed on – the fans now congregate to cheer on Murray Field rather than Timmy’s Tip.

Pet hate of the week: the dumbing down of the news. ITV’s lead “news” story one day this week was an interview with Michael Owen. Apparently he’s an injured soccer player. Middle-east meltdown made it to the “in other news” section.

Rugby Notes

A lull this week before the Tri-Nations kicks off on 8 July.

The new season looms closer with the announcement of Ebbw Vale’s pre-season “friendlies”. They’re in Cornwall on 12 August and play Bristol at Clifton on 21 August. I can almost smell the liniment already.

Good news in yesterday's SW Andrex is that the Premier Division will remain at 14 for the next 3 seasons. There was talk of a further reduction in the number of team down to 12, but thankfully that has passed and we will have a full fixture list.

Cricket Notes

Quite unbelievably, on the hottest week of the year, our cricket was rained off. Yes, the fish got washed out. The game was Monday this week, and it rained all day.

Glammy have got a taste for cricket at last. 2 for 2 in 20/20 thus far (Worcester home & Warwicks away), but this evening they take on Somerset. Could be trickey as in their first game Justin Langer got 90 off 46 balls and Cameron White (another Aussie) 116 for 53 balls. They knocked up 250-3 in 20 overs.

In my time I’ve been known to hit one off the square in the first 20 overs myself.

England’s woes continue. The are dropping like flies. The ones that aren’t injured are just playing very badly. 4-0 down now. And it looks like Michael Vaughan will be out for the winter Ashes tour too.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Yep, went to see the Eagles last night at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. They were outstanding. They were all there: Don Henley, Glen Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmit. And they played all the songs. Hotel California is their iconic song, and it so lived up to the hype.

They formed in 1971 and all the band are now in their late 50s. But they can still play. They played for over 2½ hours, and the crowd (mostly of that age too) went home very happy. (

Saturday night was a lads’ night out in Cardiff. And very civilised it was too. Happy hour at the Hard Rock CafĂ© got things off to a good start, Flares 70’s nightclub (or should that be nite spot?) was lively but not packed to the rafters, and the chicken curry and chips on Caroline Street at 1:30 was very welcome. We’ll have to do that again, but not for a few weeks until my liver has had chance to recover.

Travel Notes

Enjoyable – seeing a guy drop his tray of chips as he tried to answer his mobile phone while walking to the concert. He needs to get his priorities in order!

Aggravating – there’s no other traffic on the roads of Cardiff except the 30,000 or so coming out of the Eagles show. Nevertheless, we all have to queue at red lights to allow non-existent traffic to join from every junction. So much for traffic management.

Cricket Notes

England still poor (3-0 down, can bowl straight to save their lives), Glamorgan more so (lost 7 of 8 in the C&G Trophy, beating only Ireland). Moving on…

Rugby Notes

OK, I was wrong. But Ireland battled hard before going down 37-15 to Australia on Saturday. A couple of kicks missed touch & a few lineout steals was the difference. It looks like the teams to beat in the World Cup will be NZ, Australia and France (who beat South Africa on Saturday).

TV Notes

The West Wing is building to a big election finish. Don’t know what will replace this hour of intelligent TV when the season finishes in a couple of weeks. I’ll have to wait for the last series of The Sopranos I suppose.

Gordon Ramsey’s F Word lives up to its name. As you can probably guess, the F doesn’t just stand for “food”.

Dark desert highway

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim; I had to stop for the night

There she stood in the doorway; I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself, 'This could be Heaven or this could be Hell'
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor, I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year, you can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain, 'Please bring me my wine'
He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine'
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night, just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis

Friday, June 23, 2006


Stayed at the Celtic Manor Resort the other night. Not the Celtic Manor Hotel mind you, but “resort” which translates as “hotel with golf courses”. Janesey’s doing a newspaper review so we had to go and sample its delights.

Fairs fair, it’s a tidy place. To call it vast wouldn’t be too extreme. It’s got 2 golf courses, a pool, a huge Jacuzzi, umpteen saunas and steam rooms, an enormous gym and a beauty salon thingie.

One quirk: while following the room numbers trying to find ours I noticed that there appeared to be a gap in the numbering. And sure enough, they decided that there shouldn’t be a room number 666. So the nearest you can get is 668, the neighbour of the beast.

Back on the home front, a new garden fence is in the process of being built. It’s a good 10 yards long & 6 feet high, but the snag is the perilous drop on the far side of the fence down to the street below. I almost came a-cropper on several occasions, clinging on the bramble-covered hillside whilst Janesey hoots with laughter.

Been back in Ebbw a few times lately. My old house, #22, is between lettings & means time to check it cover & generally give it a tidy-up. Should be let again tomorrow, so fingers crossed.

Rugby Notes

All the home nations lost last weekend. England were drubbed by the Aussies 43-18 (Mike Catt conceded: “We were hammered”) and Wales by the Pumas 45-27. Take off the 2 tries by Wales in the last 2 minutes and you get a better picture of the game. I couldn’t get excited enough to watch the Scots go down to the Boks 29-15.

The best performance of the weekend was Ireland’s battle against New Zealand. The Kiwis were given a real fright before eventually winning out 27-17. O’Driscoll was outstanding and led from the front as always, and the pack followed up Munster’s heroics last month with a massive performance. They should turn over Australia this coming weekend.

Cricket Notes

Oh dear. Glamorgan 56 all out v Northants. Not 20/20 knockabout, but proper County Championship stuff. Crofty top scored with 10. Hope that Brendan McCullum, the New Zealand keeper signed as cover for Mark Cosgrove, has packed his bat – it’ll be needed.

England are struggling against Sri Lanka in the 1-day series. They are 2-0 down in the series. I was lucky enough to be in front of a TV when Kevin Pietersen started crashing the ball about on Tuesday afternoon. 73 off 76 balls. Don’t know where England would be without him right now.

Their bowling has been pretty abysmal – Mahmood and Plunkett played well below average, whilst for Sri Lanka Vaas, Malinga and of course Murali bowled well.

Srinath Jayasuriya knows hoe to play this game. 122 and 3 wickets on Tuesday.

One bright spot – Jamie Dalrymple looks a useful all-rounder for the future.

The Haddocks won big yesterday. Helped by some of the worst fielding known to man we rattled up 147-4 of 18 overs. Coxy looked good for a 50 but holed out on the boundary for 44 to the one guy who could actually catch. The 404s never really challenged and despite some generous bowling they were never in it. We ran out 30 run winners. Yours truly didn’t play – are you starting to see a pattern developing?

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Clive Burgess in action. What a player. I wouldn't want to be in Gareth Edwards' boots at that moment. Yikes. 1978. I was there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Fresh back from my hols in Lanzarote. OK, I know its not the Maldives, but it was just the ticket for a week of rest and relaxation. I was a little sceptical of the travel agent’s claims for the Coronas Playa in Costa Teguisa but it comfortably surpassed all expectations. The hotel was well worthy of its 4 stars; 2 swimming pools, excellent food, attentive and happy staff, and best of all the place was entirely kid-free. Wonderful.

The week was taken up with a mix of lazing in the sun, lazing in the shade, squash, running, and eating too much.

Travel Notes

Enjoyable – I know it shouldn’t be hard to organise a package holiday, but its still a nice surprise when everything goes off without a hitch. Thomsons did a good job.

Aggravating – First day back in the real world was a meeting in London. The train journey up to Paddington was 25 minutes late. Left home at 6:45 and got to my 10:30 meeting in London with 2 minutes to spare. The return journey was even worse. The scheduled 2 hour journey turned into 3¼ hours. Wrong sort of sunshine, I expect. I’ll keep you posted on my attempts to extract some sort of compensation from First Great Western (their words, not mine).

Cricket Notes

While I was away, England succumbed to Murali, the king of spin. England’s batting looked very frail on that 4th day, with the top lacking application and the tail very long (Geraint Jones and 4 rabbits). If KP and Flintoff don’t get runs, they struggle. Hope Vaughan gets back to match fitness soon; Collngwood is keeping his place in the side warm for him.

Glammy actually won a county championship game, but are still mired at the bottom of division 2. Only Ireland are below them in the C&G one-day league table too.

Better news for the Haddocks though. In spite of m absence (or more likely because of it) they won last week. Dan (the Godfather) crashed it about late in the game to save the day and see the Haddocks through to victory with one over to spare.

Normal service was resumed last night though. Well beaten by a useful Pakistani team who took full advantage of some cafeteria bowling (help yourself), including a new record for Andy McMahon with 1-0-32-0 (12 wides). Set 166, we started slowly (just 1 for your correspondent), but Tim Musgrave with 30 and Gnasher Raja with 31no pushed us to 97. We were never really in with a shout. And Andy went home with a shiner after he top edged a ball into his face.

Rugby Notes

Wales went down to Argentina, and went down in the first test to Argentina. The young team didn’t seem to trouble the Pumas too much. The pack struggled, and too often when they had possession they died with the ball (Mark Jones was the biggest culprit). Good debut from Ian Evans though. Great indictment on regional rugby when a cap is given to James Hook from premier side Neath but who can’t get a game in the regional structure.

England got trounced by the Aussies, so not all bad news.

Soccer Notes

If you want to read about the World Cup, look almost anywhere except here. En-ger-land fans doing well though, with swastikas and german helmets much in evidence. They even fought amongst themselves in London on the weekend. Good job they won, eh?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

GI Veale

Latest project at chez Janes/Veale is the construction of a porch. Work is well underway, and of course scheduling it for the summer has meant that there have been no rain interruptions. Ha! Work goes on apace now though, with all of the walls complete and the roof on. The window and door went in on the weekend – no glass yet though. Should be finished in a couple of weeks (fingers and everything else crossed).

I’ve been on the GI diet for the past couple of weeks. I wish they wouldn’t use the “diet” word, ‘cos really it’s about just eating sensibly, with lots of fresh fruit and veg. They reckon that on the GI plan you eat more fruit and veg in 10 days than the average Briton does in 10 weeks. Its not all lentils and quinoa though; the recipes are really varied and interesting. Get the book. Its just £5.99 on Amazon right now. (

Anyway, the results are pretty good so far. Down over half a stone in three weeks. Plenty more to go though. (Don’t know the number in kilograms and don’t really care – when I start going metric then the terrorists will have won).

The toughest test of willpower so far was the trip to the fortnightly Cwm quiz. There were chips and scrumps for all, and the temptation for huge. But resist we did. Just.

Random Thoughts

1. Had a meeting down on the SA1 development in Swansea last Monday. Wow, that area has really changed. I remember the docks area being rundown, but now there is building work aplenty and two superb Technium buildings providing start-up facilities for hi-tech companies.

2. Pete Doherty – how come he isn’t in jail? Yet again he’s been in court again and yet again he’s been given unconditional bail to be a complete arse rock star until arrested again.

3. How is it that people are being stabbed just for being on a train or for going to school nowadays? It’s not knife amnesties we need, but the locking up of loonies who are carrying around weapons on the inter-city or taking them to school. Geez.

4. Big Brother. Who cares?

Rugby Notes

After the dust has settled from the Battle of TAG (Talbot Athletic Ground) its just 2 down from the Premiership – Carmarthen Quins & Pontypool. Maesteg saw off the challenge of Bonymaen on Saturday in a game which saw 3 red and 3 yellow cards. A bit like the Wild West, said a friend who was there. Bonymaen needed leadership from their captain, who proceeded to head butt one of the Boobyers in front of the ref and be sent off in the 3rd minute.

As predicted here, Munster saw off the challenge of Biarritz to claim the European Cup in their 3rd final, running out 23-19 winners. The pack and particularly the line-out was awesome, Paul O’Connell and Donnacha O’Callaghan were immense.

Fogbowl has come and gone too. Or to give it its proper title, the Super 14 final between the Hurricanes of Wellington and the Crusaders of Canterbury. As far as I could make out, the foggy blurs of Canterbury won. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a game with two commentators, one for each side of the field. How they played at all was beyond me. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly a spectacle.

Now it’s on to the summer tours by Wales and the rest of the home nations to various quarters down under. Wales have two games against Argentina on 10 and 17 June. You will recognise the red shirts but not the faces, Wales taking a very inexperienced squad to Patagonia.

That takes us to the end of June, and then it’s the turn of the Tri-Nations, which goes through to next season. There’s no let up. Thankfully.

Cricket Notes

Comfortable win for England in the second test against Sri Lanka. Kevin Pietersen’s century was something to behold. Three centuries in his last three tests in England. The comparisons with Denis Compton and Viv Richards have started already. If England get Michael Vaughan and Steve Harminson or Simon Jones back and Monty Panesar learns to field then it looks like England have a good team on their hands.

Glamorgan got washed out last Friday in a potentially lucrative floodlit game against Middlesex. They snatched a draw from the mouth of victory at Worcester too. Looks like its going to be that kind of season for Glammy.

Two more defeats over the bank holiday. The faint glimmer of hope in yesterday’s poor performance was that Mark Cosgrove and James Franklin, the two imports scored half of Glamorgan’s runs. But losing Cosgrove for a big chunk of the summer is going to be a difficult hole to fill.

My cricket season has just started. After two games rained off last week (the wettest drought I can remember), the Haddocks took to the field this evening. The problem was that this was the first round of the cup, and we (division 3, remember?) were playing Khyber from division 1 (league champions for the past two seasons). We were duly dispatched. They scored 170-1 off their 18 overs. In amongst this a new club record for the worst bowling analysis 1-0-25-0. I managed to put down a catch on the long on boundary – a “frozen rope” line drive out of the setting sun. I have a lovely bruise on my hand to show where it hit.

In reply, we managed 52-9. That included 21 off one over! I opened and managed 5 (third top score). When I got out we were 12-5 off 10 overs. Saw off the opening attack though. We knew we weren’t going to win & it was good just to actually pick up a bat for the first time this season. Nets? What nets?

TV Notes

I know it’s a week late but the Eurovision Song Contest must get a mention. There’s many a drinking game played whilst watching it, one of which Terry Wogan clearly indulges in. It was won by Rock and Roll Hallelujah, performed by Finns dressed like extras from the Lord of the Rings. Wonderful stuff.

The voting is a perfect example of political correctness. All the former USSR countries voted for each other, as did the Balkan countries. Very few people voted for the UK and unsurprisingly only one voted for France. The songs that were sung were completely irrelevant. For my money the Swedish entry sounded best.

The West Wing (on More4) and House (five) continue to be the best programmes on TV right now, although just once I want to see House fail to save the patient.

Used part of the bank holiday to catch up with the new series of Lost (thank goodness for Sky+). There’s more holes in the plot (plot, what plot I here you say) than a Swiss cheese, and I don’t pretend to understand any of it, but it’s certainly different.

Squirrel Notes

Another bird feeder bites the dust. Reduced to pieces by a roving team of squirrel demolition experts. I reckon there are working in cahoots with the bird feeder manufacturers to boost repeat sales. Perhaps there’s a tips section on a website somewhere. We need to know.