Monday, October 25, 2010

Weather Notes

Top pic from my mate and fellow ex-Haddock Matt.

Couldn't every day be as glorious as this?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Rugby Notes

A pretty convincing win this afternoon for Ebbw Vale, 35-3 over Bedlinog. Thats 5 wins out of 6 so far this season and a first bonus point.

The tries and bonus points are going to be important this season, and some teams have already accumulated a head start over Ebbw in that area already.

My pic shows Ashley Sweet dominating the lineout, as he did all day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rugby Notes

Wow. This clip from New Zealand is probably the worst head-high tackle I've ever seen. How the victim, Luke Hamilton, got up from this is a mystery.

Wales Notes

Fair play, a top promo from Visit Wales extolling the virtues of Wales. Nice change not to have a male voice choir singing too!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Golf Notes

Its Wales' turn to host the Ryder Cup, at the Celtic Manor resort in Newport.

But its October, its outdoors, its Wales. As they say, you do the math.

Rain stopped play this morning. A terrible shame, but frankly something even Nick Faldo had the foresight to spot a couple of years ago when he counselled visitors to bring their waterproofs.

I'm sure the rain looks good in HD and even 3D on Sky.

I'm not the biggest golf fan, but went to the last day of a Ryder Cup at the Belfry a few years ago (actually it was 1989 when the Cup was halved and retained by Europe) and the atmosphere was terrific.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

University Notes

On Monday I was at the University of Glamorgan for the official opening of the new, shiny Students Union building. Well, actually Olympian Darren Campbell did the opening, I just stood around and watched.

Darren manfully launched the champagne bottle at the new building, but the bottle failed to break and instead left a dent in the wall. I see a gap in the market for structurally unsound champagne bottles for such occassions. Dragons' Den?

There are more photos at http://www.glamsu.com/news/index.php?page=article&news_id=175193

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale saw off league leaders Blackwood 20-16 on Saturday, despite the best endevours of Ebbw coaches (bad decisions) and the ref (13 mnutes of injury time - his watch stopped! - in which time we got a red and a yellow card).

After a storming 14-0 start Ebbw failed to capitalise and turned down a string of kickable penalties for territory which was then lost through handling errors. What should have been a very comfortable win turned into yet another nail-biter at the death.

Shouldn't complain though. That's three wins from four, against what on paper are the four strongest teams in the division.

(Ed: But as SirAlan [LordAlan?] says 'you lok good on paper, but then again so does fish and chips')

Lots more stuff on twitter (twitter.com/evrfc), photos on Graham's excellent website (ebbwplayers.com) and EyeJay's blog (steeldaffodil.blogspot.com).

St Fagan's Notes

Spent a top Sunday at St Fagans natural history museum.

We had a nice surprise when the cafe had a display of classic cafe photos which included a set by our friend Mo Wilson who died recently. It was a lovely reminder. This is one of hers.

The afternoon was taken up with watching the ducks, chickens and turkeys on the farm (the turkeys are starting to look nervous!), a ride around the site on a train (OK, tractor actually but Ava didn't seem to mind) and a wander around the old houses and shops. Ava then enjoyed playing at the playground before having a well deserved snooze on the way home.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Cricket Notes

Didn't have a ticket for today's Twenty20 game between England and Pakistan in Cardiff. A bit expensive, and anyway, its rugby season now.

But Matt Greenough, a mate of mine has written a top article on the match fixing and the subsequent fallout here:

waleshome.org

Rugby Notes

As good a start as possible to the new season for Ebbw Vale with a win over Llanharen, 23-13. Given that they were runners-up in this division last year, it’s a really encouraging start to the year.

Good crowd, good pitch, undoubtedly the best facilities in the division, all was set for a good day. And Ebbw didn’t disappoint. The pack didn’t look big, but ‘fronted up’ well and made up in attitude what they lacked in size. Damien Hudd led from the front, and was in the thick of everything that Ebbw did. The halfbacks looked lively, and Gary Wilkes and Wes Cunliffe looked sharp. Even the ref had a good game.

Lots of pics (including the one I’ve borrowed here) on Graham’s website www.ebbwplayers.com and another report and more pics on The Steel Daffodil.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Joke Notes

Tim Vine won the best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe this year with this inspired one-liner:

“I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again.”

I saw Time Vine at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff a couple of years ago, and missed half the jokes because I was still laughing at the last one.

Inspired. And fabulously silly.

The rest of the Top 10:

2. David Gibson (as Ray Green): ''I'm currently dating a couple of anorexics. Two birds, one stone.''

3. Emo Philips: ''I picked up a hitchhiker. You gotta when you hit them.''

4. Jack Whitehall: ''I bought one of those anti-bullying wristbands when they first came out. I say 'bought' - I actually stole it off a short, fat ginger kid.''

5. Gary Delaney: ''As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn't afford a dog.''

6. John Bishop: ''Being an England supporter is like being the over-optimistic parents of the fat kid on sports day.''

7. Bo Burnham: ''What do you call a kid with no arms and an eyepatch? Names.''

8. Gary Delaney: ''Dave drowned. So at the funeral we got him a wreath in the shape of a lifebelt. Well, it's what he would have wanted.''

9. Robert White: ''For Vanessa Feltz, life is like a box of chocolates - empty.''

10. Gareth Richards: ''Wooden spoons are great. You can either use them to prepare food, or if you can't be bothered with that, just write a number on one and walk into a pub.''

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nature Notes

A big story this past few days is that of Rhondda Cynon Taff Council (and/or the Assembly) spending £190,000 to construct a dormouse bridge over the new bypass being built between Church Village and Llantrisant, just down the road from me.

Whilst most of the debate is about whether this is a waste (Daily Mail style) or a good thing (Wildlife News), the big issue from my point of view is simply whether a cheaper solution existed. Oh, sad accountant that I am.

A widely quoted, but anonymous (not anonymous) local expressed it well: "They may have good intentions but this bill is unjustifiably large and in these straitened times they should have explored less expensive ways of protecting these creatures."

MP Paul Flynn points out that a similar solution for developments around the Ryder Cup cost £20,000 – ten times less.

Rugby Notes

The nights are a bit cooler. Its not light so early. Autumn is in the air. Rugby season.

Ebbw Vale are in Division 1 East this year, following a dismal second half of last season. It looks as though the team recruited this year could well have kept Ebbw Vale from relegation last season - which shows a rather strange management thought process.

Never mind, as I'll be there supporting my home team club whatever the league or division - after all in my schooldays when I first watched Ebbw it was strictly friendly only and the unofficial Western Mail Merit Table.

First game is 4 September when we (I invest so much emotional capital that I think I'm entitled to say we) host Llanharen. I'll be there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fantasy Football Notes

NFL of course, not soccer.

The season is almost upon us, and so it’s time for Ava’s Army to take on the might of a collection of complete strangers, all of whom will probably know more about Yahoo! Fantasy Football than me.

Whilst acutely aware that there general rule is that there is nothing more interesting than your own fantasy team and nothing more dull than somebody else’s, for anyone interested the team has been drafted and looks like this:

  • QB Philip Rivers (Chargers)
  • RB Ray Rice (Ravens)
  • RB Ryan Matthews (Chargers)
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)
  • WR Terrell Owens (Bengals)
  • WR Dez Bryant (Cowboys)
  • TE Tony Gonzalez (Falcons)

First setback was to lose Sidney Rice for half the season, so waivers and trades will be looked at to bolster my wide receiver depth.

The season starts Thursday 9 September and coverage is spread across Sky Sports (Sundays) and ESPN (Mondays).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Maths Notes

A slightly scarey piece of maths from a newsletter I came across recently - no names, no pack drill (but you know who you are)...

"I would like to thank everyone who has completed the online training. We had a fantastic uptake with 91% of you successfully passing the course. However, that still means that 1 in 9 of us haven’t completed the training."

As most schoolkids know, 1 in 9 is around 11%, not 9%. Arghhhhhh!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blogging Notes

Test post from my BlackBerry.

YouTube Notes

Ain't Seen Ruthin Yet - a video repsonse by David Garland Jones to the GLC's Newport State of Mind. What's next? Last Boat to Caerau?


Cricket Notes

This series between England and Pakistan is the first in England to feature the Umpire Decision Review System, so it’s the first time I’ve really seen it in action, albeit through the Channel Five TV highlights.

As a bit of a traditionalist (read old f**t) I was in principle against the system as it challenges the authority of the umpire. But having seen it in action it really adds another dimension to the game – the issue of whether to seek a referral is an important one for fielding captain and batsmen. The good thing is that the decision on whether to review needs to be made on the field, and without any signal from the balcony based on TV replays.

Both sides get two referrals opportunities per innings, but lose one of them if they incorrectly challenge an umpiring decision. It very much matches the challenge system in place in the NFL.

Currently the technology available to the third umpire is instant replay, Hawk-Eye and Hot Spot, but ‘snicko’ isn’t used because, strangely, it isn’t deemed to be instant.

But so far so good. A few incorrect decisions have gone unchallenged, and a few obviously correct ones have been challenged. But as time goes on the teams will get more skilled in knowing when to seek a referral. But for it to become accepted it needs to in place for all international matches – firstly test matches but rolling out to one-day games too.

Caravan Notes


Sunset at Tresaith, Ceredigion.
Originally uploaded by SARK S-W

Here's a picture of sunset at Tresaith, not one of mine though. There's plenty more on www.flickr.com/photos/sarkphoto

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flickr Notes


big grin
Originally uploaded by Martin Veale

Finally got around to bringing my Flickr page up to date. A whole bunch of new pics have gone up, including our trip to Brittany back in May.

www.flickr.com/photos/mjv

YouTube Notes

Goldie Looking Chain's "Newport State of Mind (You're not from Newport)". Genius video

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Motoring Notes

Saw a DVLA van cruising Treforest train station car park the other morning. A bit of investigation revealed that the vans patrol the streets and are equipped with automatic number plate reader technology. The roof-mounted cameras read the number plates of vehicles parked at the roadside or even in a private car park. The number plates are checked against a list of untaxed vehicles and the untaxed vehicle is then clamped.

Nice to see that some other motoring ‘crimes’ are being pursued as well as the easy-money speed (sorry, safety) cameras.

Outdoor Theatre Notes

On Thursday evening Cath and I went to Duffryn Gardens to watch an outdoor production of Romeo and Juliet put on by the Illyria theatre company. Very entertaining, and they somehow managed to get both Tommy Cooper and the Beatles into the show.

The weather played ball, a nice picnic was had, and Ava had a nice evening too with babysitter Charlene.