Friday, June 30, 2006


Well that's it we're going to meet Germany in the final and they're going to beat us 4-2 in extra time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Morphine - err no not today thanks

I've always been a bit of a sucker for drugs and lots of them, if I could get my hands on them. I'd always have one more of anything that was on offer, rarely said no. Having said all that I haven't taken a thing for a few years now.

So when the nurse offered me morphine I said yes. To be fair I was in quite a bit of pain. 'I'll just give you 10mls and then if you need more give me a shout' said the nurse. Looking around the recovery room it looked like a few people might need a hell of a lot more than 10mls.

The guy opposite me had stitches criss crossing his head and a white plate had been inserted at the side and stitched in. He then had what looked like a salt cellar sticking out from under the skin at the back. If I wasn't so fubared after the anaesthetic and the morphine I think it would have really freaked me out, but it just looked interesting. I must have been looking for quite a while because the nurse came back round and said 'Do you need more pain relief?', 'Errr yes please'.

He gave me another shot and I thought my heart rate had gone through the roof. I turned to have a look at the monitor, but as usual none of it meant anything to me. I must have seen dozens of those obs machines in my time, but I've never been inclined to actually find out what they're saying. Is 138 over 72 decent blood pressure? I will probably never know, because I can't be bothered.

Anyway over the next 30 minutes or so I really start to get it together. The second shot of morphine really seemed to mong me out for a bit, but gradually I get to take in the whole freak show. Right next to me there's a guy who's had his appendix done in emergency surgery like me. Only reason I know that is he had the same registrar and she was backing up the general surgery team. Diagonally opposite me there's a guy who's been in for a skin graft on his hand and is apparently a patient of the local care hospital under the mental health act. He is having a very scary re-entry in to conciousness. Opposite, well it's criss ross man and the more lucid I get the more he's really scaring me. Diagonally right there's a woman who's moaning, it sounds like she HAD her knee done, but she's in a lot of pain. Helpfully the ward staff and recovery room staff are right on hand to have a real ding-dong argument about whether she's ready to go up to the ward. Then a bit further round there's a very elderly woman called Joyce, who doesn't know where the fuck she is and all the efforts of the nursing team ar... ''Would you like some more pain killers Mr Heath?''.

I haD a think. I look across it's the last syringe, I'm feeling fine and I'm certainly in the best possible state of anyone on the ward, everything feels normal and not in the slightest surreal anymore 'Err, yes please' - weeeelll you've gotta give these things a crack. My thinking was, the first two shots were all mixed in with the anaesthetic so I had no idea what they were all about, but the third, well with a clear head I could give it a real clear run. So in to the canular it went and boy was it horrible, it completely numbed everything, I kept catching myself thinking, 'God I bet I look like a complete veggie lying here'and no doubt I did. I smoked opium at uni once, by mistake, thinking it was hash pipe and it was exactly the same feeling completely toasted, incapable of any real movement just rooted sunk in to the pillow, a feeling captured perfectly in trainspotting when Ewan McGregor disappears into the ground with the carpet.

So lesson learned. Next time, if I'm offered a dose of morphine and I'm not in considerable pain. Refuse.

Except, I know I won't. As I said, I'm a sucker for drugs

The Galacticoldies

I've enjoyed watching the Galacticos this world cup, it's like watching a vets game. The brilliant touches are still there but you only see them once or twice a game.

1. Thank God Ronaldo was threaded that ball on 5 minutes, do you think he'd have done the same on 85?
2. Zidane could have spun for France's 3rd against Spain in his sleep. Frankly they could play him when he's 95 and if he hobbled into that position on the field and got the ball threaded that's what he'd do
3. David Beckham, thank God he can still hit a ball that isn't moving, becuase if he couldn't then we'd all have to stop having the should we shouldn't we drop him discussion (we should)
4. Figo had the sense to butt his opponent in the face when he knew that alL the officials were caught up with other things - only 126 years experience allowed him to stay on the field
5. Raul - well what can we say - I think probably thank goodness spain have Villa and Torres coming through their ranks
6. And finally. when are Brazil going to tell Carlos to stop taking free kicks. I'm sick of listening to commentators reminisce and then having to watch a ball boy run to the corner flag or climb into the 48th row to pick a ball out of the crowd.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Oh the pain

Well at least Hargreaves had a good game. However, no one will notice that.

Rediscovering old mates

I've been reading a lot of the mainstream media blogs covering the World Cup. I'm finding them far more inciteful than the (supposed) analysis of the modelled country press conferences that are being given.

In pursuit of this I logged on to the Telegraph website the other day, one I rarely if never venture to and blow me down there's David Bond on the front page. Dave who I used to pick up on Figges Marsh every morning on the way to school. I knew he was doing well, but I hadn't realised how well, I'm really pleased for him he was an absolutely top bloke.

I lost touch with pretty much all my school mates after school, things were complicated due to a rather annoying relationship with one boy, that no one really liked and I couldn't get rid of. However, I thought sod it I'll give him a shout, emailed him through the blog and we're going out for a beer with a couple of old mates also from school. I'm really stoked, I really regrte not having kept in touch with many of them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I've been really ill

Well not really ill, nothing lasting. I've had a bacterial infection of my tonsils and a really high fever and flu since Saturday.

It's a funny thing illness though, it takes you so much by surprise. I've had flu like it before but you forget how completely incapacitating it is. I was in bed for 4 days straight without really getting up and I've got up this morning to catch up on a few work things and I'm now completely exhausted.

Things aren't really helped by the fact that it's 30 degrees in the house and my sister in law came down on Saturday with her two kids, meaning four under 2 1/2 year olds running around or lying screaming. Mind you I don't think my wallowing around upstairs has engendered an awful lot of sympathy, they're on the brink of chaos on a permanent basis from what I can work out.

On the plus side I have listened or watched every single game of the World Cup so far, kinda. Some are a bit of a hazy blur. We won 5-0 against Paraguay right? Owen got a hattrick yeah. And I've lost over a stone in weight hoorah.

I hadn't realised

Owen Hargreaves has his own blog.

I think it's Owen Hargreaves anyway.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Anyone know what happened to Star Wars Kid?

The thought was prompted by this superb cut together that I stumbled across.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Jermaine Jenas

This from Rob Smyth's Guardian World Cup blog on the 'why are we taking Hargreaves' debate.

''It is Jenas, football's first ever jack of no trades and master of none, who is the real duffer in Eriksson's squad. Studies show that, of the 124,561,892,756 paths any given football match can take, not one will prompt a manager to think: "I need Jermaine Jenas here." Yet nobody criticises him.''

Just in case you didn't see it I got taken to pieces on the 606 boards (messages 31 and 38) for backing Hargreaves if Gerrard isn't fit for Paraguay. I do protest a little as my comment was taken slightly out of context and put on the 606 homepage so the thread got massive traffic. Doesn't pay to annoy hosts

The most beautiful baby in the world

Aw innit cute.

Of course if they'd done a little digging they would have found out that 'Shiloh Pitt' in Swedish translates as 'two pounds of cock'

Sorry Baldinio but...

...this blokes the best player in the world. Just click on the picture.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Awesome posting

I'e been clicking the random button on my blog to look through oter blogs and found myself boiling over with anger. The reason. The use of the word awesome. For example here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

None of these things are awesome. They are at the most a bit exciting. Awesome would be if God plopped his daughter down her next week. Awesome would be if the Sun turned in to a white dwarf over night. Awesome would be if the ice caps all melted simultaneously this weekend. A new fucking blogging text bundle is not awesome. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....

Woeful cricket

I've just spent my lunch watching the Emmanuel under 11s on Wandsworth Common. It struck me how much these matches are driven by convention. The kid's see their heroes on the telly in position and copy them.

The fielder's were positioned in a very decent circle around the bat in conventional positions. In reality actually you could completely dispense with the mid on, mid off, mid wicket and probably extra covers. Everything is bowled so wide that almost everything gets cross bat cut, pulled or hooked round the corner so in reality you need a bunch of points and covers, fine legs a square leg and a couple of slips. Anything that gets hit back down the ground has so little power that the bowler could deal with anything that came anywhere near him.

I say it's woeful, but actually it's struck me it's probably a sport you simply can't start playing, very well until you get the other side of puberty. The kids may have a good mind for the game but they simply haven't got the physical strength to pull it off and deftness and wile isn't something that they can draw upon either unless they can perform the absolute basics physically. A 22 yard pitch is difficult for a pre-pubescent kid to bowl down, as he simply can't get the power behind his arm to propel it down the pitch without chucking, so everything is loopy and dribbles past on the second bounce and reaches the keeper along the ground (spin is completely out of the question). Batsmen can only get the ball to the boundary consistently by wheeling their arms and cutting it. A hook, or a pull might get it there, but because there's so little pace in the ball to start with it's unlikely.

Football and rugby, are a completely different prospect altogether, watching kids as young as 8 you can spot real talent, an awareness for the game, feints, sidesteps, ball control are all skills that can be picked up and when the strength comes it's a case of honing it.

Anyone agree, or think of a sport that you can't start excelling at until you are much older?

24 things that make you a man

I unashamedly nicked this. Found it on the Dad's board in the deep recesses of the BBC message boards. Seemed a shame for it not to have a wider audience.

Credit goes to 'Walking in a Klinsmann Wonderland'

1. 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.

2. CALLING SOMEONE 'SON' - Especially policeman but even saying it to kids makes you the man.

3. DOING A PROPER SLIDE TACKLE - Beckham free kicks - camp. A Stuart Pearce tackle is the pinnacle of the game, simultaneously winning the ball and crippling the man. Magic.

4. 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?

5. 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.

6. 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. You're hard.

7. HAVING A THIN BIT OF WOOD - in the shed, solely to stir paint with.

8. HAVING A SCAR - Ideally it'll be a facial knife wound, but even an iron burn on the wrist is good. "Ooh, did it hurt". "Nah".

9. HAVING A HANGOVER AND THICK STUBBLE - When birds have been partying they just whinge. You on the other hand have physical evidence of your hardness, sprouting from your face. "Big night?" Grr, what does it look like.

10. NODDING AT COPPERS - A moment's eye contact is all it takes for you to share the unspoken bond. "We've not seen eye to eye in the past", it says, "but someone's got to keep the little scrotes in line".

11. USING POWER TOOLS - Slightly more powerful than you need or can safely handle. Pneumatic drilling while smoking a fag? Superb.

12. KICKING A FOOTY AGAINST A GARAGE DOOR - Clang-g-g-g-g-g-! Stitch that becks, I kick so hard I set off car alarms.

13. ARRIVING IN A PUB LATE - And everyone cheers you. It doesn't mean you're popular, it just means your mates are pissed. However, the rest of the pub doesn't know that.

14. NOT WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT - Fat is a feminist issue, apparently. Brilliant. Pass the pork scratchings.

15. 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.

16. WINKING - Turns women to putty. Doesn't it?

17. TEST SWINGING HAMMERS - Ideally, B&Q would have little changing rooms with mirrors so you could see how rugged you look with any DIY item. Until then, we'll make do with the aisles.

18. TAKING OUT £200 FROM A CASHPOINT - Okay, so its for paying the plumber later but with that much cash you feel like a mafia don. The only thing better is peeling notes off the roll later.

19. PHONE CALLS THAT LAST LESS THAN A MINUTE - Unlike birds, we get straight to the point. "Alright? Yep. Drink? Red lion? George, it is then. Seven. See ya."

20. PARALLEL PARKING - Bosh, straight in. First time. Can Schumacher do that? No, because his cars got no reverse gear which, technically, makes you the world's best driver.

21. 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.

22. HAVING SOMETHING PROPERLY WRONG WITH YOU - Especially if you didn't make a fuss. "Why was I off, nothing much, just a brain haemorrhage".

23. KNOWING WHICH SCREWDRIVER IS WHICH - "A Phillips? For that? Are you mad, bint?"

24. 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 poo.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The perfect age?

The probable starting 11 on Saturday will be as follows:

Robinson Age 26
Neville Age 31
Ferdinand Age 27
Terry Age 25
Cole Age 25
Beckham Age 31
Lampard Age 27
Gerrard Age 26
Cole Age 24
Rooney Age 20 (OK, I know he's not starting but bear with me)
Owen Age 26

Anyway before I start. It's a bloody good team on paper isn't it? I keep stopping myself getting too excited about any of this. After all, a couple of injuries; a setback in Rooney's recovery and we're a shadow of what we could be.

The reason I've added ages, is I was wondering whether this is the perfect age for the team as a whole, or whether 2 years at the Euros would be better for the whole lot, or possibly the World Cup in 4 years time.

Now given that we have a lot of bright talent to fill the boots of those in danger of getting over the hill in the next four years - think Walcott, Defoe, Lennon, Downing, Carrick, King - the only real issue we really have is Right Back, where I don't yet see a natural successor to Gary Neville. However, with his fitness levels it could be argued that at 35 he may still be well able to hold his own, certainly I think he'll play longer than Beckham. Our other issue is if Beckham and Neville both go, we lose the structure on the right hand side that has been there for 8 or 9 years and that will be difficult to recreate.

It all really comes down to whether you think experience is all important, or maturity or raw talent. Could Rooney at 24 raise the team to such a level, (more than possibly he could at this World Cup) that actually 4 years time will be the true vintage, as his increased experience and maturity is more important than those that are just past their true best years.

Personally, I think if we don't at least get to a final in the next 3 tournaments we've wasted a huge opportunity. I'm plumping for our best chance actually being Euro 2008, but I'm not turning my nose up at this World Cup. I apologise I get over-excited about these things.

Your opinions please.

P.S. Ideally your opinions should be ventured after 5 or 6 pints, when your true thoughts can be put forward. I'd like to give this discussion a real pub feel. I think the absurdity posted so far is a good start point.

I found Baldinio hoorah!!

I found Baldinio about a week ago and was waiting for his permission to put up the link to his blog which he generously did a couple of days ago and I only read this morning. It's really very good.

However, he's been a busy chap and he's started a World Cup Blog as well which is also storming.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Church attendance update

So, you'll remember we're going to church to get Eben in to the local school. Well we hadn't actually managed to make it there until yesterday. Too much going on frankly, family stuff, Louis etc. etc. What we didn't want to do was to sporadically turn up, so we waited for a clear run of Sunday's so that we could get there regulary and get our faces known.

Jesus what a chore. I was in a foul mood all morning, having, theological, sociologic, ethical and personal dillemmas, which turned me into a complete bastard to be with. On the 10 minute walk there, we discussed that if need be Nicky would go on her own, as she didn't have the same issues. This made me feel like crap and I said no, no, it's something we really should do as a family, but if something needed doing in the house then that would take precedence.

And then we got there.

I've been to loads of churches in my time and on most occassions, I quite enjoy it when I'm there. Good sing-song, bit of a sermon, that if delivered by a decent orator is worth a think about, even if it's totally cynical and a few other bits and bobs that you can put up with.

Few things about our new church.

1. It's a modern building. Pine beams and arches, boring as sin. No feeling of grandure, more a feeling of Youth Club.

2. The standard weekly service is 2 hours long - yes 2 hours. 12 hymns, countless frippery and rubbish.

3. There is a distinct feeling that the good folk don't like kids. Within 15 minutes of the start I was in the back room with Eben watching Storykeepers, which is dull as dish water.

4. Extortion. The opening 10 minutes of the service was all about how big a part of being a christian is about your commitment to giving. This was sporadically sprinkled with more requests for money throughout the ceremony by all accounts. During the interval - yes interval - we are asked to donate money for biscuits and tea which is when I put my pound in. Straight after the interval they hand round the felt bag and I've used all my money, so I look really stingey.

5. The peace comes at about 11.15 just as Louis needed feeding, which meant a processionof awkward looking parishoners shaking hands with a woman with her tit out. Nice.

6. The least spiritual ceremony i've had the displeasure of attending.

7. The most uninspirational and boring deacon, I've been unfortunate enugh to listen to.

8. Boring hymns. Nothing written before 1988. Need I say more.

We left in disarray frankly. Our only hope is that half term meant a lot of absence from all the nice people. I'm certainly not willing to go every week. Nicky's comment was she sat there thinking 'do you lot really believe all this'. That's a very bad sign she can normally suspend her natural instinct.

Christ knows what we're going to do now.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Hoggster - the Legend.

This isn't the photo I wanted, I was looking for one that captured that slope shouldered, ogre type lollop that the Hoggster has. Unfortunately, nothing quite captures it in a still.

Why a photo of the lollop though?

Well, it's the Hoggster's secret weapon.

Here's a man who looks about as unsportsmanlike as a world class sportsman can look. A man who given a little bit of cloud and a bit of a muggy day, can destroy world class batting in a few balls. A man who lives in the shadow of his team mates but despite that is currently by far it's most consistent bowler.

It's often forgotten that while Flintoff took 5-78 in the final Ashes Test last year, that bowling at the other end, the Hoggster took 4-97. He's not a man for the limelight, there's no side to him and for that reason non-cricket fans will probably forget him after 5 years of retirement. For those that love the game though he's up there with Trueman, Underwood, Statham and Snow. Uncomplicated men with the ability to reduce the other side to rubble.

What sets him apart from all the above though is that everything he does, he does with a smile. Nothing ruffles him, he never loses heart when he bowls. He doesn't remonstarate with his daft slip cordon, as they put down catch after catch. He doesn't chunter, as he goes past the edge, it's just a grimace, a swivel, a grin and the lollop.

I think the following taken from his Times column this morning sums up his approach to cricket and life. It addresses his batting, rather than his bowling, but it's the simplicity of approach that he carries to both disciplines, that is his charm.

''WHENEVER we play Sri Lanka, there is always a lot of fuss about the difficulties of trying to pick Muttiah Muralitharan.

Understandably so, because it’s bloody impossible. My solution is that I don’t really bother trying to pick him at all. I can’t really tell his off spinner from his leg spinner from his whatever-else-he-bowls, so I just try to spot which way the ball is spinning in the air and work it out from there. If I was to worry too much about watching his wrist, I think the ball would probably have reached me and bowled me before I had decided what to do.''

Here's to you Hoggy. Us cricket fans will always love you and when you retire I wish you many a long year, walking the dogs on the moors.

God I hate Simon Barnes

Simon Barnes is chief sports writer for The Times. He has an emotive, honey drip style of sentiment and sick making pastiche that makes me want to tear the paper to shreds most mornings.

Problem is though, on occasion he writes pieces that feel like they’ve been spinning round my head for a couple of weeks, before suddenly being laid out in front of my eyes. So completely spot on, that you spend the entire article nodding sagely and emitting small ‘uhu’ type noises. He wrote a front page piece on July 7th last year - the day after we won the Olympics - which had my heart in my mouth with excitement.

This morning’s offering was just such an occasion.

I’ve been quietly thinking, but hardly daring to breathe it that I think Beckham’s gonna be ‘the man’ in Germany. There has been so little attention focussed on this one time national obsession that he’s shed the shackles entirely. Away from prying English eyes, he’s arguably been Madrid’s best player for the past 2 seasons, all be it in a side of faded glory, but nonetheless IT'S REAL MADRID. Then on Tuesday he produced his best performance in an England shirt for years. It’s something that Barnes summed up perfectly.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Four boys

I thought I'd post this as it's my favourite view in the world. It's basically the view from our family place all be it about about 300 yards further back from the beach, plus it's cgot the four boys in it.

Don't believe me.

Well Louis's in the back lying down looking at me. It's not meant to take three but our friend's eldest had a wail of a time sat on the front.