Monday, November 14, 2011


It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so not a lot of chance to blog. So let’s get to it.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale have moved to the top of Division 1 East, having notched up a string of convincing wins. 27-10 in the pouring rain at Merthyr, 34-5 at home to Rumney (which I missed), and 39-17 at Mountain Ash. All bonus-point wins to boot.

Reviews on the EVRFC website at

The fallout from England’s dismal showing at RWC continues. Simon Barnes administers a spectacular shoeing to (ex-)England captain and tenth in line to the throne Mike Tindall. As The Times now charges for access to its website I can’t put a link on here, but in summary he says:

“Tindall is a stupid lecherous drunken mendacious untrustworthy disloyal loser. He's let down his team-mates and his in-laws and half the country beside. He is the Arsehole of the Year.”

Ava’s Diary

Back in nursery after the half term holidays. There are lots of things planned for this term including a trip to Green Meadow community farm, but mostly it’s the headlong race into Christmas. My Jingle Bells is coming along nicely.

Been busy. Went to Cardiff to see Chris and Pui off the telly (BBC’s Show Me, Show Me) in the theatre last weekend. Lots of kids sang and danced, but I was far more circumspect. Had a nice time though.

Then it was Pontypridd’s fireworks display. The best view in town is to be had by sitting on the windowsill in Mam and Dad’s bedroom. I stayed up past my bedtime as the show started at 7:30 but by the end I was so tired that I asked to go to bed.

Firework Notes

This terrific video of when fireworks go bad has been doing the rounds. This is what you get when Oban’s entire fireworks display goes off at once.

Travel Notes

It’s been nuts. The last couple of weeks have included two days in Edinburgh, and trips to Aberystwyth, Llandovery and the ancient forests of the Trellech Ridge in Monmouthshire.

Edinburgh, I hear you say. Lovely this time of year. Well, all I saw was an airplane, a bus, a hotel and an office.

A day in the forest? Autumn colours, nice day out? Picture torrential rain. Then picture lots more.

Sick Notes

Got struck down with the gout the other week. I thought I’d broken my foot. Across the top of the foot isn’t where it traditionally shows itself – it’s usually the big toe.

Typically, it struck during half term when I had booked a few days off work. So instead of paying one last visit to Tresaith and the caravan I was restricted to hobbling and generally feeling sorry for myself.

Baseball Notes

Didn’t see much baseball on TV this season. But right at the end I happned upon two games that seem to define the 2011 season.

First was the final game of the 162 game season: Boston Red Sox lost to Baltimore to complete the biggest collapse in baseball history and miss the playoffs. Later revelations about clubhouse camaraderie, or lack of, seem to make this end of season disaster more explainable. The Boston Globe’s coverage of the meltdown is an excellent read.

The second memorable game of the season was Game 6 of the World Series, already regarded as one of the best World Series games ever played. With the Texas Rangers 3 games to 2 up in the best of 7 series, the St Louis Cardinals had their backs against the wall. Twice the Rangers were one strike away from winning the title, and twice the Cards dug themselves out. The Cards won in the 11th inning, and almost inevitably went on to win Game 7 and the Series.

Chip and Pin Notes

I seem to have an endless series of passwords and PIN numbers to remember. So some of the ways to remember them are unusual, but no clues here.

Alexei Sayle was on the radio last week telling the story of when he realised that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wasn’t for him. On job experience from university, he was being led around a government office, and the civil servant escorting him tapped in a code to access a room, and said “Don’t worry if you forget the code, it’s the year of the Treaty of Utrecht.”

TV Notes

After Wallander (Swedish), The Killing (Danish) and Spiral (French) my subtitle reading is coming on leaps and bounds. Thank goodness for BBC4. At last there is some intelligent TV that takes time to tell a story and build some plotlines.

Now there’s Braquo on FX. Another French cop show, but this time it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. And from now on I’ll look at Paris in a whole new light.

The new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm on More 4 is as good as ever. Last night’s episode, featuring Bill Buckner and a Mr Softee ice cream van was as good as it gets.

So why is the good TV buried in the schedules and mindless guff served up on the main channels?

Honourable mention has to go to BBC1 for making Frozen Planet. Natural history isn’t always my bag, but this series is magnificent. Dedicated doesn’t start to describe the filmmakers that spent months at the Poles. Neither does “a bit parky”.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stuff You See

Spotted in Home Bargains. A classy joint if ever there was one, but this is a new low even for them.

Oh, I'm being told its short for Assorted...