Tuesday, February 27, 2007

St Fagans

We had friends Karen and ray visit from Liverpool over the weekend. So we did the good host thing and took them to a few local tourist spots. It’s a shame that it takes visitors from away to make me go to some of the great places in the area. Staurday was St Fagans and Sunday was Big Pit.

They are both part of the National Museum of Wales, both free and both wonderful days out.

St Fagans is a natural history museum, and used to be called the museum of Welsh life. It has recreated houses and other buildings from all geographical and chronological parts of Wales. The row of Rhydycar cottages show life through the ages, and I recognised many items from visits to my grandparents when I was growing up.

Big Pit

The trip underground at Big Pit is an excellent experience. Our tour guide Peter was an ex-miner, and had an endless supply of anecdotes. He was the kind of guy you’d like to share a pint with.

We all turned out lamps off and the picture shows how dark it was. It’s the darkest dark you will ever see. Or not see, as it were.

The above ground exhibitions are a great addition since my last trip 15 years or so ago.

Doctor Who

The last trip was to the Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff Bay. It’s a really good exhibition, but only covers the most recent series of Doctor Who; the ones featuring Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant. It figures really. These are the ones made by BBC Wales in and around Cardiff.

Word is the BBC is currently filming a new series of Doctor Who, and in March they will be filming a new series of Torchwood. Then at the end of the year they film a new children’s’ TV spin-off called The Sarah Jane Adventures. Phew. No rest for the aliens.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Random stuff I like

Instead of just ranting about all the things I hate, I thought for a change I’d tell you about stuff I like. Here’s a list. It’s far from comprehensive, and in no particular order.

Cath (of course)
Ebbw Vale rugby
Sunny Sunday afternoons at the cricket
A crisp autumn day in New England
Snowy days spent under the duvet
Jaffa Cakes
Warm slippers
Cold lager
A Jack Daniels and coke (or two)
Being spoiled for choice at the ice cream shop in St Pete Beach
A nice sit down with a newspaper and a cup of coffee
Watching the Red Sox
Snorkeling in the Maldives
Eggnog lattes at Starbucks
Frank Lloyd Wright architecture
Norman Rockwell paintings
Being by the sea
NFL Sundays
Old steam trains
Pictures form the Hubble telescope
John Wayne war movies and westerns
An atlas
Croissants or bagels for breakfast
Star Trek, The Sopranos and The West Wing
Doctor Who and Torchwood
Killer sudoku
My 4x4
Bill Bryson
Italian, Indian and Mexican food

Rugby Thoughts

Ten things I think I think following the weekend’s Six Nations games:

1. I think that Wales made an improvement over the Scotland game. They played well against Ireland, and shockingly poorly at Murrayfield. This was a big improvement, but the stats don’t lie. Wales had a lot of defending to do. They made 98 tackles, but crucially missed 13 tackles. That’s 13 too many against France.

2. I think that Wales gave away too many stupid penalties again. Everybody knows that in the lineout you can’t grab the opposition jumper in the air. Everyone that is, except Wales who twice gave away penalties that everyone in the stadium could spot.

3. I think that they should run a golden injury competition. Yes, Mark Jones went down in the 7th minute, and finally went off injured in the 46th. He seems to be the Darren Anderton of rugby. When is the last time he actually played a whole game?

4. I think that Shane Williams was trying too hard. He had a poor game as he tried to be everywhere and be a maverick. Running around like a headless chicken, often being caught miles out of position, doesn’t make you exciting. It makes you a liability.

5. I think Stephen Jones improved, but still has a long wasy to go to catch up the best outside halves in the Six Nations. David Skrela had a far better game than Jones, and was deservedly man of the match (hold the front page – I just agreed with Jonathan Davies).

6. I think that Garteh Jenkins’ record as national coach isn’t good. After nine games, the only wins come against the Pacific Islands and Canada. The pressure will really be on if they go down in Rome in two weeks time.

7. I think that the delay to get the ref’s microphone sorted out was needed by Ireland. There were tears in the eyes of John Hayes and many other players following the national anthems, and they needed a bit of time to get their game faces on.

8. I think that Paul O’Connell was a tower of strength in the Irish pack. He could play for Ebbw Vale any time. Dennis Leamy and David Wallace were awesome too – they could get on Ebbw’s bench.

9. I think England were out-played and bullied out of their game in Ireland. David Strettle looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights when Shane Horgan barged past him.

10. I think that it was a matter of time before Italy won away from home. Thye caught Scotland cold, and would have held on to a 21 point lead against any team in the Six Nations.

Ebbw Vale’s Dai Langdon put up a good show in the Wales U19 game the other week against Ireland U19. He scored a try and kicked well, including a bizarre touchline drop goal conversion when the support team failed to get the kicking tee onto the pitch in time.

Things that make you go “hmm”

Why do supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the shop to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Why do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters?

Why do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and lock our junk and cheap lawn mower in the garage?

Cricket Notes

In searching the web for any signs of the now-defunct Beaufort Cricket Club (nothing to be found), I found this link to another ex-player Neil Price.

Definition of the week

Urban tumbleweed: Plastic shopping bags, discarded newspapers or other debris that blow haphazardly through the streets - just before getting stuck to the front grille of your car. (Courtesy of Buzzwhack)

Link of the week

This week’s link is to another blog. Its run by PC Magazine, but covers all sorts of flotsam and jetsam of the world. No trivia is too small for Dvorak.

Guinness Marmite

What more is there to say?

Its sounds like the perfect combination: Marmite and Guinness. They’ve teamed up, in time for St Patrick’s Day, to create a special limited edition Guinness Marmite.

In shops now. In fact, Tesco was sold out when I went to get mine last week. Doh!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No clash on 28 April

Ebbw Vale crashed out of the cup last Saturday, going down 16 – 18 to Swansea. I had very mixed feelings about the game.

As table-toppers with just six league games left, I felt that a cup run could get in the way of the serious business of winning the Premiership. It also neatly did away with any concerns about a possible clash – the Konica Minolta cup final is scheduled for Saturday 28 April; which also just happens to be my wedding day. I would have received huge amounts of grief if the guests had to choose between the wedding and a possible second cup final appearance for Ebbw.

As for the game itself, both sides seemed intent on trying to lose the game. Swansea’s place kicking was woeful, but Ebbw refused to put together any sort of consistent play to put the game away. As soon as Ebbw got a try through Ian George, some sloppy play let Swansea back in. That said, Swansea flanker Ben Lewis was the best player on the field.

The South Wales Argus had some sensible things to say, including: “Next up is a crucial game at Pontypridd, but Vale haven't become a poor side overnight and if they can focus on the basics that propelled them to the top of the Premiership table then they will be fine.”

Picture is of Nelly and John Bowd modelling the new away kit at home on Saturday (I know, I don’t understand either). There’s lots more on Graham’s site.

Scorers: Try for Ian George, conversion and three penalties for Sam Mills.

Highlight: Andrew McLaughlan is growing into a top class attacking full back, and Neil Edwards is always worth the admission money for his craft in the line out.

Lowlight: Referee Keri Evans’ penalty for collapsing a tackle was a clear turning point. That said, we didn’t put the Jacks away and so didn’t deserve the win.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Spent Valentine's evening at astronomy class. We used the University's telescope to look at Saturn. Saw some amazing things, but the view wasn't quite as good as ths though.

This image of Saturn's rings crossing the globe was captured by the space launch Cassini during its approach to Saturn on May 21, 2004.


Here's a picture of Marvin. No particular reason, it's just a nice picture.

Glamorgan to return to Ebbw

Glamorgan have confirmed that they will be playing a Pro40 game (John Player League in old money) at Ebbw Vale’s Eugene Cross Park this coming summer. It’ll be on Sunday 29 July against Middlesex. I’ll be there.

It follows on from a four-day game at Abergavenny against Leicestershire. It’ll be just like the old days, especially since Glamorgan aren’t going to be any good this season.

Hotel Notes

Spent a wonderfully snowy pre-Valentine’s weekend at Llangoed Hall. Just like last year it was a great retreat into the countryside, where luxury is the watchword. Our room usually goes for around £300 a night, but in the winter (thankfully) it’s a lot cheaper.

Driving up to Brecon I was amazed to see the number of sledders and snowballers enjoying a day at Storey Arms. Saw the usual selection of snowmen, but a full-size igloo was the top piece of ephemeral art.

Restaurant Notes

Ate at the Griffin in Llyswen on Saturday evening. The food was good hearty fare, with winter-warming stews and casseroles dominating. As they proclaim, it’s “slow food” and it’s very good too. The restaurant was very quiet but bar meals and arguments on where Wales went wrong were prominent in the bar.

Book Notes

Spent part of Sunday at Hay-on-Wye. There’s more books than you can shake a stick at.

Bizarrely, it has this past week been twinned with Timbuktu. No, I’m not making this up, here’s the story.

Rugby Thoughts

Ten things I think I think following the weekend’s Six Nations games:

1. I think that Wales looked desperately one-dimensional. It seems that Gareth Jenkins isn’t the new Great Redeemer after all. Just goes to show what can happen when you let The Western Mail pick the national coach.

2. I think that Rhys Thomas gave away any chance of a win with his stupidity. His trip to the sin bin couldn’t have come at a worse time.

3. I think that Wales need to improve its discipline: they can’t afford to give away that many kickable penalties.

4. I think that I would have been worried if Ebbw Vale had played that badly. Thankfully it was only Wales.

5. I think that BBC Wales’ claim to provide comprehensive coverage of the 6 Nations is misguided. Exhibit A: Last week they provided live coverage of the U20 game between Wales and Ireland at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. This week, Wales U20 played in Scotland on Friday night. BBC coverage? Nothing on Friday and just two minutes of highlights on Sunday.

6. I think that David Wallace looks like the best openside flanker in the 6 Nations. Martin Williams is a close second.

7. I think that when Geordan Murphy missed that tackle on Raphael Ibanez for France’s first try, it was the first hint of things to come that day.

8. I think that they must have invented rainproof paint to use to mark out the sponsors logos. It must be embarrassing for RBS to see the players daubed in blue paint.

9. I think that the atmosphere at Croke Park in Dublin was electric. So they finally allowed “foreign sports” at Croke Park and other gaelic sports arenas. Reminds me of the time when I was in Galway to watch Connacht and Ebbw Vale. When we asked a local where the rugby ground was he replied “I don’t follow foreign sports”.

10. I think that when I was at Lansdowne Road a few years the atmosphere was amazing, with Fields of Athenry ringing out, but a ticket for an Ireland game at Croke Park this season may be the toughest ticket in all of rugby.

Valentine’s Note

I love you, Cath.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Snowy Pontypridd

It's the first snow of winter, so we can't complain really.

3 inches of snow conspire to get the BBC into "travel chaos" mode. 700 schools got closed for the day. Temperatures "plummeted" to -4C (25F in real money).

The pic is of the new bird table, constructed by Cath with me acting as foreman whilst laid up. That's the proper order of things.

There's a few more Pontypridd in the snow pictures on my Flickr site.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Why it's great to be a man…

Parallel parking - Bosh, straight in. first time.

Opening jars - She's struggling. You take it from her hands, open it effortlessly and pretend she loosened it for you. She didn't. Jars are men's work.

Sharpening a pencil with a stanley knife - Blunt, is it? Hand it here love. No, I don't need a sharpener, you think I can't whittle?

Going to the tip - A manly act which combines driving, lifting and - as you thrillingly drop your rubbish into another huge pile of other rubbish - noisy destruction.

Drinking up - Specifically, rising from the table, slinging your coat on and downing two thirds of a pint in one fluid movement. Then nodding towards the door, saying, "Let's go" and striding out while everyone else struggles to catch up with you. God, you're hard. (OK, not my strong suit, this one.)

Having a thin bit of wood - In the shed, solely to stir paint with.

Using power tools - Slightly more powerful than you need or can safely handle. One Handed with a pencil on the ear? Superb.

Carving the roast - And saying "are you a leg or breast man" to the blokes and "do you want stuffing" to the women. Congratulations, you are now your dad.

Phone calls that last less than a minute - Unlike women, we get straight to the point: "Alright? Yep. Drink? Rugby Club? Seven it is then. See ya."

Having earned that pint - Since the dawn of time, men have toiled in the fields in blistering heat. Why? So, when it's over we can stand there in silence, surveying our work with one hand resting on the beer gut while the other nurses a foaming jug of ale. Aaaah.

Knowing which screwdriver is which - "A Phillips? For that? Are you mad, woman?"

Taking a newspaper into the loo - A visual code that says that's right, I'm going in there for a huge, long man-sized movement.

Old Joke Notes

Q: Why should you never replace your sandwich toaster?
A: Better the Breville you know.

Book of the Week

Here’s a link to a book that’s been written by an old Brynmawr cricket club colleague, Michael Cole. It’s called The Sigma Code, and available from a select band of good book shops. My local rag, the Gwent Gazette has the whole story.

Link of the Week

http://www.spatial-literacy.org/ is a great website which shows where your surname comes from. This map of Veale seems to come from the south west of England, which ties in with existing family links – there are a few distant Veales down Minehead way.

Garden Notes

The RSPB is carrying out its annual birdwatch. Have a look in your garden and report your findings on this website.

The top 10 for Rhondda Cynon Taff area in 2006 were:

1 house sparrow
2 chaffinch
3 blue tit
4 blackbird
5 starling
6 greenfinch
7 jackdaw
8 robin
9 great tit
10 magpie

During an unscientific and occasional study of my bird table in the garden today I spotted: blue tit, willow tit, dunnock, collared dove, greenfinch, robin, blackbird and magpie.

Rugby Notes

Another win for Ebbw Vale on Saturday, this time a 25-19 victory at home to Bedwas. It was a game we should have put away early on, but we failed to put enough points on the board to give ourselves a safety margin. As with the Swansea game a couple of weeks ago, the final whistle came as we were pinned back on our own goal line battling to save the game.

Someone on the terrace said that the best team lost. Bedwas were probably the best team for the last ten minutes when they played with some belief: if they had shown the same endeavour earlier in the game they could easily have come away with the win.

Young hooker Ben Roberts showed well and the pack was again a force to be reckoned with. Bedwas’ pack fronted up well though, and played up to and beyond the laws. The referee did little to restrain them and the game ended up being very frustrating and a pretty poor spectacle.

Scorers: Two tries for Andrew McLaughlan and one each for wings Simon Hunt and Gareth Miles. One long range penalty for Dai Langdon and one conversion for Bryan Shelbourne.

Highlight: Ebbw’s first try was a cracker. From the first line-out in Ebbw territory a rolling maul rumbled for 20 yards before the ball was released across the back line for Macca to score wide out. Magnificent.

Lowlight: That score should have opened the floodgates, but a succession of missed kicks at goal and handling errors kept the score close. Teams need to be put away early and not given endless chances to come back into the game.

Bizarre moment: Referee Neil Ballard had a few strange moments. He awarded a mark to the Bedwas fullback despite the ball bouncing straight out of his hands. Apparently its enough nowadays to simply get a hand on the ball to get the mark. Just one of the strange/unusual/shocking decisions – but worryingly nothing worse than was expected.

Title chase: There are just 6 leagues left for Ebbw, and we currently hold a 6 point lead. The next game is a month away, and the injury-plagued squad could use the rest. Next up on Saturday 17 February when we host Swansea in the last 16 of the Konica Minolta Cup.

Rugby Thoughts

Ten things I think I think following the weekend’s Six Nations games:

1. I think the Wales and Ireland was a magnificent game. Shame about the other two games over the weekend.

2. I think Matthew Rees and Aled Brew were serious downgrades when they came on as replacements for Rhys Thomas and Hal Luscombe. And Chris Czekaj needs to be stronger. He got stopped and turned far too easily.

3. I think that we’re still waiting for James Hook’s moment of magic. The magic belonged to O’Driscoll and D’Arcy yesterday.

4. I think that the bright spots for Wales were the play of Dwayne Peel and Kevin Morgan, and the energy of the pack.

5. I think referee Kelvin Deaker was way too lenient on Ireland. Four examples:
- He let Ireland delay their line out on numerous occasions when they couldn’t get the calls heard.
- Ireland got away with slowing down the ball at ruck and maul way too often
- Easterby’s kicking the ball out of Peel’s hands while lying in a ruck should have been a yellow card
- Easterby’s tackle on Czekaj when he didn’t have the ball was worthy of at least a penalty. He ref gave nothing.

6. I think Dennis Hickie looked like Terry Butcher with all that claret running down his face.

7. I think Jonathan Davies is an idiot. The most insightful he got through the whole match was to shout “numbers” or “there’s no full back”. Genius. Well worth the TV licence fee.

8. I think Jonny’s back. So are England. They’ve got a great half back pairing – Harry Ellis looks like a very useful scrum half.

9. I think that the TV match official should be sacked for allowing Jonny Wilkinson’s try when his foot was clearly in touch. It was a great effort, but it wasn’t a try.

10. I think that the ref’s decision at the Wales and Ireland U20 game was even worse. He should have used the TV review instead of making one of the worst calls in recent years when denying Wales’ Tom James a try. Replays showed that James was nowhere near the touchline yet the ref awarded a lineout.

Superbowl Notes

Hated watching the whining Peyton Manning win the Superbowl. Every mistake was blamed on someone else on his team. And to challenge a call because you tried to be sneaky and catch the Bears changing their formation was low.

In the end there was a certain inevitability about their 29-17 win. Devin Hester’s TD run from the kickoff only served to give the game a little balance. Rex Grossman was as bad as the previews suggested. Peyton won the MVP award simply because nobody stood out on this particular rain-soaked Miami evening.

As for the TV coverage, as least Sky had the sense to use the official CBS commentators of Jim Nance and Phil Simms, infinitely better than any UK dumbed-down crew.

Friday, February 02, 2007

View from under the shawl

This blog has (for one posting only) been hi-jacked by Klizzie, in order to bring you his "View from under the shawl". Normal service will be resumed soon.

Do They Really Have Leprechauns in Honolulu then butt?
Of Monarchs, Jackson Pollock, Aloha! and early starts….

Ebbw Vale RFC is one of the so called unfashionable clubs of Welsh Rugby. Not the city slickers of Cardiff or Swansea not the rich history of Neath or Newport not the fame of Llanelli. Ebbw Vale is an honest club which has honest, hard working players. A dedicated coaching and backroom staff, who work tirelessly. And of course they have absolutely mental supporters.

These supporters decided to prove that they too are unfashionable by declaring that the Boxing Day ‘derby’ at Llandovery was to have a dress code -- Hawaiian! Oh and don’t forget the Santa Hats. A ‘derby’ match created by the relegation of both Pontypool and Carmarthen Quins meaning that Llandovery and Ebbw found themselves as odd men out when the other twelve clubs had close encounters with the neighbours. Still never mind, the extra hour travelling time meant a valuable hour away from the in-laws and the turkey and the festive TV.

Alex Codling Ebbw’s head coach left his London home at 6:30 on Boxing morning to get to the match in time, true commitment indeed from a man who has done more than anyone to return Ebbw to its rightful place in the upper echelons of Welsh rugby. True commitment maybe but paling into insignificance when put against the dozens of Ebbw fans who started weaving grass skirts from left over wrapping paper as soon as the Christmas lunch had gone down and the Queen had delivered her wise words.

Llandovery are known as the Drovers and so it was that Ebbw fans went in their droves to rural Carmarthenshire, it was a bit like Marilyn Manson going to the knitting circle of the Women’s Institute but still rugby is rugby and surely Ebbw would be welcome.

The migration of the Monarch butterflies from Mexico to the United States is said to be one of the greatest spectacles in the animal kingdom, along with the journey of the wildebeest and a mate of mine doing breakfast, but even this must have been rivalled by the sight of hundreds of brightly coloured shirts speeding westward along the A40 on Boxing Day afternoon. The wearers of the shirts were well lubricated to help the journey west flow by more pleasantly and not to worry if some of the bumps on the road cause a festive chunder no-one will notice with those shirts on, boys. Some things never change though and Mike wore his best brown Parka.

One of the best shirts was deported by Geezer the erstwhile head of the “English by Birth” (EBB) Ebbw fan club. I’ve seen clothes horses with better dress sense. He’d borrowed his shirt from a fellow EBB Ebbw fan who happens to be a vet. ‘The Vet’ himself failed to make the trip west fearing that he be called upon to deliver a calf or put down a horse in the heartland of agricultural Wales instead of watching the game. Another eight of ‘The Vet’s shirts did make the trip however Hawaiian being normal social attire for him and sometimes normal business attire too, isn’t it lucky most animals are colour blind? There was even a Leprechaun, supremely attired in all green with a check waistcoat and top hat. Do they really have leprechauns in Honolulu then butt? The Vet’s shirts were finally returned but not to The Vet’s satisfaction, Geezer had ironed his! Oh dear, oh dear. Crumpled not creased next time, me old china.

And so it was that Llandovery was breached. It’s a quiet market town as different to Ebbw as a pig to a coil of tinplate. Church Bank, home of Llandovery RFC has fine facilities though and a well appointed Club House. On Boxing Day the Club House looked as if Jackson Pollock on speed had attacked it. When I arrived Jackson had covered half with his splashes and spots of colour and ten minutes later he’s done the rest too. In the middle of this high definition screen saver sat five Llandovery fans clad in traditional Barbour green and tweed with flat caps, a sober contrast to the carnage of colour plastered all around them. They clearly had never seen anything quite like it before. ‘My God that last pint of Bishop’s Armpit was strong’ one was heard to mutter.

The grandfather, grandmother, father and mother of one of Ebbw’s players walked in. Grandma’s face said it all, so many familiar people dressed like, well, Hawaiians she looked to her husband for solace, he shrugged and said ‘well I don’t know where the brightness control is, love’. I could tell she was worried about the sort of people her beloved grandson would be mixing with after his on field duties were done.

And so to the game. Well it was never going to be a Hawaii 5 0 for Ebbw. It was a cold misty day not unlike Honolulu except that it was two o’clock in the morning there. Llandovery are a tough uncompromising side on their on patch but Ebbw did scrape in 9 – 13 and scored the only try, a glorious break in the centre by the hooker. Really. The terraces looked nice though as if wallpapered by a gang of decorators who never talked to each other and who overdone the Christmas spirit. The atmosphere was nice though, hardly any beer split never mind blood. Even the backroom boys joined in with the rest. At the final whistle Ron the baggage and water man sprinted onto the pitch in a spectacular red affair rather than his traditional and rather more subdued navy blue track suit top.

Spent shredded wrapping paper drifted like tumble weed across Church Bank as the floodlights were extinguished, the fog blew in and the gloom descended. Shiny tinsel in red, silver and yellow glistered in the surreal light as it flew over exiting fans heads, who said that Banks don’t have real gold in them any more? Church Bank did on that day. This was an afternoon of many golden moments.

The Monarchs returned that evening in celebration and inebriation, retracing their steps, if they could. It is rumoured one met a farm girl and will never return. She said his shirt reminded her of a cow’s afterbirth and was smitten. Romance still lives on in Carmarthenshire. The rest returned home or like translucent breasted starlings roosted together at the Welfare, the newly named for Christmas, Ebbw Vale Rugby Club until they fell off their perches.

Some of the shirts may never see the light of day again. Many will exhale a sigh of relief at that news, for others the memory of that idyllic day at Llandovery will be invoked every time they don their sunglasses and look at their shirt.

Ah, what a day but days don’t last and thoughts soon turn to new challenges in the future. For the supporters’ club what a challenge they will be. For surely this must be the start of a Boxing Day tradition, please it must! What will it be on Boxing Day 2007, Vicars and Tarts? Bride and Groom? Freddie Mercury? Super Heroes? Whatever. Will it, can it, match the day when the Monarch butterflies migrated to Llandovery, December 26th 2006?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Post Op

I’m back home recuperating from my operation to sort out my shoulder. The op was yesterday afternoon at the Sancta Maria Hospital in Swansea. It’s a private hospital, which the NHS is using to help reduce waiting lists. And very nice too.

The staff all had time to talk through the procedure – I saw five or six different nurses and doctors in the first hour I was there. I had a room with views over Swansea Bay; the hospital has even won awards for its food. Consultant Mark Pritchard and anaesthetist Dr King were very thorough, and the op seemed to go OK.

My arm is in a sling today and I’m dosed up on painkillers, but the fact that I’m writing this must be a good sign. Definitely off work the rest of this week, and then I’ll have to see how quick the recovery is.

Music Notes

There are some brilliantly tongue-in-cheek customer reviews on Amazon for A Whole New World by Katie Price and Peter Andre. Check it out before Amazon takes down the reviews page. Here’s just a taster:

“When I first put this CD on I dropped to my knees and wept. They were strange tears, full of both the sublime melancholy of the knowledge that I would never hear music better than this again.”

“After listening to this, I feel different. A different person, a better person. Colours are sharper, sounds are clearer. It's like this album has opened window to my soul and exposed it to the world!”

“If a half plastic model with below average looks/talent and a greasy Aussie with severe nasal problems can come up with a gem of a CD like this then there is hope for all of us!”

Proud to be British

Only in Britain can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in Britain do supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the shop to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in Britain do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Britain do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and lock our junk and cheap lawn mower in the garage.

Being British is about driving in a German car (in my case either Japanese or French) to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Chinese on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American and Australian shows on a Japanese TV.

And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of all things foreign!

Rugby Notes

Alex Codling sums it up rather well as reported in the Western Mail report of Ebbw Vale’s 28-17 win at Llangennech in the Cup. The players seemed to be distinctly lacking in motivation and played the first half like they would rather be anywhere else than there.

Ebbw struggled to control the game, had some poor control in the tight and some optimistic passes amongst the backs, and consequently spent most of the game trailing. It was only in the last half hour that strength and pace started to show through, and an 11 point win flattered us somewhat.

Scorers: Three tries for the wingers (two for Matt Jess and one fro Simon Hunt), a penalty and a conversion for Sam Mills and two penalties and a conversion for replacement stand-off Dai Langdon.

Highlights: Solid first game for permit player Dafydd Owen and reasonable debut for newly signed hooker Rhys Williams from Glamorgan Wanderers. Nice to see a couple of players coming back from long term injuries – Jon Hawker had a good game, although looked lacking in match fitness, and Matt Griffin played well after coming on to replace Neil Edwards,

Lowlights: It is pretty obvious that the club doesn’t have a great deal of strength in depth, the pack was nothing like as dominant as usual. The death of hooker Darryl Williams’ young son during the week clearly had an effect as well.