Friday, October 30, 2009

Shopping Notes

Finally got a chance to spend a little time at the new St Davids 2 shopping centre in Cardiff. Its an enormous extension to the existing shopping centre covering the area that used to be home to Toys R Us, the Library and the Ice Rink. Its now a development to rival Birmingham’s Bullring or Liverpool One.

Whilst not all of the shops and eateries are not open yet, it was very busy. Recession, what recession?

Cricket Notes

Sad to read in yesterday’s Times of the death of former test umpire David Shepherd. He seems to have been a part of cricket for my whole life, as a player with Gloucestershire and then as a test umpire.

The advent of neutral test umpires means that he didn’t appear in the UK in later years, but I remember watching him in action in an England v Australia game, and Ian Botham giving him grief over his superstitious habit of standing on one leg when the score got to 111. A great character and a really good umpire.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale were dismal last weekend against a very average Bedwas team, and duly lost 3-21. Eye Jay’s blog sums it up, “Shapeless, leaderless dross”.

Not expecting much different tomorrow when Ebbw host in-form Llandovery. I’d like to be proved wrong.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Concert Notes

Went to Pontypridd’s Muni Arts Centre on Thursday night to see Slaid Cleaves. I’d heard some of his songs on BBC Radio 2 (usually Bob Harris), so I thought, why not? His strapline on his website is

Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good.

His music is somewhere in the folk rock, roots, country area. Songs featured came from his new album Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away and his 2000 breakout album Broke Down. Brilliant songs about the working class guy in the vein of Springsteen, a stripped-down set of just two guitars, a laid-back feel and a quality show. A top night out. Come back soon Slaid.

He was supported by Dan Raza, a young English guy who sung some really good songs, but took an eternity to retune between each song. It took the momentum away and tested the patience of the audience. Get a second guitar, dude.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale lost 7-46 at Aberavon this afternoon. I wasn’t there to see it, as I’m currently down at our caravan in Tresaith (isn’t the interweb wonderful, eh?)

So harking back to last Saturday, Ebbw had a great win over heavily-favoured Llanelli, 25-19. A last minute try by fullback Andrew Williams stole it at the death, though we played just about well enough throughout to deserve the win.

Standouts: 20 points from the boot of Gareth Bowen (although he lost composure in the dying minutes with a couple of kicks charged down and he failed to get a key penalty clearance to touch) and back rowers Rhys Williams (pictured bossing a maul, thanks for the pic Gra) and Simon Pengelly.

Good workrate and an improving lineout, but the team seems to be lacking in confidence. Anyway, match report is here.