Thursday, April 26, 2007

Prenuptial blog

Last blog as a bachelor. Because of a certain wedding and honeymoon there will be a break in transmission for a few weeks.

Rugby News

After leading the table for several weeks, it’s finally beyond us. Ebbw Vale are not going to win the Principality Premiership this season. The best we can hope for is second place, even if we win our last game of the season. On Saturday (after a three week layoff) we are at home to Llanelli. I’ll be at my own match at the Peterstone Court Hotel

Cricket Notes

The fixtures for the Haddocks have been published as we start our campaign to avoid relegation. We fortunately sneaked promotion into Division 2 in 2006, and this year I’m sure will be more in line with the club’s motto of “aspire to mediocrity”.

The fixtures can be found on the Cardiff Midweek Cricket League website.

Useless Link of the Week

If you’ve ever wanted your own gangland nickname, then here’s the website for you. Enter your name and it selects a gangster nickname for you.

Worst Lyrics?

The Times had an article about some of the worst pop lyrics even written. Here’s just a taster:

“I know that I must do what’s right/ Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.”
Toto’s Africa

“Slowly walking down the hall/ Faster than a cannonball.”
Oasis’s Champagne Supernova

“What a drag it is/ The shape I’m in/ Well I go out somewhere/ Then I come home again.”
Razorlight’s America

“He starts to shake and cough/ Just like the old man in/ That book by Nabokov”
Police’s Don’t Stand so Close to Me

“Gonna write a classic/ Gonna write it in an attic/ Boy I'm an addict/ An addict for your love.”
Adrian Gurvitz’s Classic

"He caught a plane and he got on it".
Mink DeVille's Spanish Stroll

“And fiery demons all dance when you walk through that door/ Don't say you're easy on me, you're about as easy as a nuclear war."
Duran Duran’s Is There Something I Should Know?

"I don't want to see a ghost/ It's the sight that I fear most/ I'd rather have a piece of toast."
Des'ree’s Life

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ponty Crime Wave

OK, now I’m pissed off. It’s the third time in the last six weeks that our cars have been damaged.

First, three tyres were slashed. Thanks for that yob. Called the police, a copper came up, wrote a few notes and left.

Then a few weeks ago someone put a rock through the back window of Cath’s car. Thanks again, citizens of Ponty. Called police: on hold for an eternity and then the line goes dead. So I report it at police station. Uninterested admin person writes a note on a piece of paper. Nothing further until we get a call from the police to say that they were going to call up to take a look but…are you ready for this… they “couldn’t find the house”. It’s a good job it wasn’t a 999 call, eh?

Now last night, someone drove into my car while it was parked on the side of the road. Broken back light, broken wing mirror and scratched paintwork down the side. The driver of the other car must have been seriously drunk, because it’s a well-lit and wide road. He (I assume it’s a he) left his wing mirror at the scene of the crime. Except according to the police (another wasted afternoon at the police station) it’s not a crime, it’s a “failure to stop after a road traffic accident”. I thought that was a crime too, but obviously not. When reporting the incident I was told that Merthyr Road was “off their rounds” and “yeah, they drive like idiots around there” and “there’s nothing we can do”. Ta, PC 1987.

So there we are. Crimes: three. Culprits caught: zero. Effort to catch criminals by South Wales Police: zero. Pissed off victims: two (me and Cath).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wedding stuff

Yes, its nearly here. The social event of the year, or as its know around here, the Vealey/Janesey wedding. I know that you’re all queuing up to buy lots of toasters and tea towels, but if you are stop it right now.

About gift lists. The thing is, there isn’t one. We’ve asked people either to contribute to our photography fund, via Mark Cleghorn Photography, or alternatively to make a charitable donation. We’ve selected Mind and Hospice of the Valleys, as both are close to our hearts. Your donations would make such a difference.

Sunny Tresaith

Spent a wonderful Easter holiday break down at the caravan in Tresaith. The weather was superb for early April, with temperatures hitting almost 70 degrees (21 in new money). Marvin enjoyed frolicking on Tresaith beach and snoozing in the sun. Which is pretty much what Cath and I did too.

The only hiccup was Good Friday, which for a large part of the day was shrouded in sea fog. The photo is of nearby Llangrannog in the fog. Bizarrely it only reached 100 yards inland, and we basked in sunshine on a trip to Meurig’s cottage a little way inland. His site has got some nice pictures of the area.

Free Prescriptions

As of 2 April, Wales has become the first country in the UK to make all prescriptions free of charge. Of course, the large majority of people in Wales have always had exemption from prescriptions charges (80% or so) – those under 16 or still in fulltime education, over 60s, benefit claimants and those with certain medical conditions.

Dental and optical charges continue though, so we haven’t quite got back to Aneurin Bevan’s stated aim of medical care free at the point of service.

Smoking Ban

A huge step forward in healthcare in Wales. As of 2 April smoking in all public places is banned. It will be a pleasure to have a night out in a smoke-free restaurant or pub. Here’s the website with all the guidance.

Old Jokes Home

Q: What do you get if you cross a robot with a pirate?
A: Arrrrrrgh 2D2.

Link of the Week

Oh dear, what I have I done. Some people have realised that if I can write a blog then so can they. It’s all my fault that the Roberts boys have entered cyberspace. There’s Neil Roberts’ blog and there’s Dai Roberts’ blog. I’m sorry. I really am.

Rugby Notes

Missed Saturday’s game against Llandovery. Ebbw Vale ran out winners 28-21 in a nail-biter, recovering from being 21-7 down early in the second half. There’s a full report on the Ebbw Vale RFC website.

Scorers: Tries for lock Will Jones (on his debut), Kristian Owen, Simon Hunt and Matthew Williams, all converted by Sam Mills.

There’s just one game left for Ebbw Vale at home to Llanelli. Originally scheduled for next Saturday (which would have meant the earliest finish to a rugby season for many a year), its been postponed because of Llanelli’s involvement in the cup. No date for the game has been announced yet.

Running Notes

It’s time to register for the Swansea 10k run again. Its scheduled for Sunday 23 September, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be there again. Here’s the link to register.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Vertical horizon

Cath and I went rock climbing for the first time last night at the Welsh International Climbing Centre in Bedlinog. It has the biggest indoor climbing wall in Europe and must be one of the undiscovered gems in South Wales.

It was fantastic fun, once you get over the terror of being at the mercy of a piece of rope. Old hands Jon & B gave us all the right pointers and encouragement, and before long we had each scampered up to the top of one of the climbing walls. OK, it was the easiest grade of all, but it was still over 50 feet up to the top. After a couple of climbs I was completely knackered and my arms were (and still are) aching. Yes, that's me looking likely to plummet at any moment.

Birthday Notes

Happy birthday to our Brother over the pond. 47 today.

Squash Notes

A tightly fought 4-0 win over Dave this week, 9-3, 9-6, 10-8, 10-8. Turning point came on a contentious let at 3-8 down in the third set.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale managed a 26-26 draw at Glamorgan Wanderers on Saturday. It was a game where the Ebbw pack absolutely dominated in the set piece, demolishing the Wanderers scrum, yet squandered a lot of chances in the face of some enthusiastic defence. In the end it was a late Sam Mills penalty which earned us the draw. Good game for the neutral, but I think that both sets of fans left thinking that they could have won.

Highights: The magnificent try started from a counter attack deep in Ebbw territory. McLaughlan, Hunt and Bevan all had a hand in the break. Hywel Jenkins held off the tacklers long enough to give Nelly the easy run in.

Lowlights: Failure to capitalise when Wanderers had a prop in the sin bin. As seems to always be the case, we ship points when we have a man advantage.

Scorers: Tries for Neil Edwards and Sam Mills (great solo effort), and two conversions and four penalties for Mills.

Travel Notes

The development of the new train service is underway, but to nobodies surprise is behind schedule. This report says that passenger trains are now likely to start in October 2007. However, the Assembly is committed to paying the wages of Arriva Trains Wales from July. Oops.


Another blow to civilisation has been struck in the past couple of weeks with the decision of Starbucks in Llantrisant to close an hour earlier, at 8pm. This has been forced upon them by the Borders store in which are located now closing at 9pm instead of 10pm.

TV Notes

This past week has seen the return of The Apprentice. On BBC on Wednesday nights it’s essential viewing. OK, so Sir Alan Sugar isn’t Donald Trump, but it’s a pretty good impersonation.

In a completely different vain, the new cartoon from the makers of Wall is BBC’s children’s show Shaun the Sheep. Brilliant five minute shows. Check BBC daytime listings and set your video/tivo/Sky+.

Baseball Notes

The boys of summer are back. The new baseball season started on Sunday. There’s extensive coverage on five (two live games a week) and NASN (umpteen live and delayed games, subscription needed). Go Sox!