Wednesday, 13 June 2018

World Cup Russia 2018



It's been some time since a England won the World Cup.

Can they do it this time? No. Or even next time? No. Or the time after? Maybe!

The 2026 World Cup in USA-Mexico-Canada would be a good opportunity if Great Britain got its footballing act together.

By that I mean, the four home countries binding together as one nation.

That is to say Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland playing as one team called Great Britain.

Imagine if we'd done that in previous World Cups what successes we might have had.

What now for example (but it's too late) in this World Cup in Russia, would the happen if the speed and skills of Welshman  Gareth Bale combined with the predatory power of England's Harry Kane?

 Surely that would be a winning combination.

But, but, but . . .  it'll be the same old show for evermore.

The old school tie mentality.

No doubt about it.

We have truly flunked.




Opening game tomorrow:  Russia v Saudi Arabia


I'm soaking up the atmosphere on Russia's RT television.

It's going to be  a night of classical music in Red Square.

Peter Schmeichel is reporting on the sacking of the Spanish coach Lopetegui and the appointment of Hierro.

Jose Mourhinio is standing by with his 'insider' tips.

I can tell you who will be Jose's top three:

Brazil, Portugal, Argentina.

There you have it.

But it might all change with a penalty here and a penalty there.

The beautiful game.

The great game.

The greatest game.










Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Italy: Political turmoil | Al Ja...



Oh it's gone!

That blue and yellow flag again!
An unsure sign
Of something in the wind . . .




It was Al Jazeera's report on the unelected 'rabbit out of the hat': an  unelected ex-IMF director being dropped into the Italian Prime Minister's chair.

What kind of trick is this?

Will he last longer than a flute of Prosecco at a garden party?


I wouldn't bank on it.




Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Doctored? Mum's the word.



A good many years ago a doctor told my mother that her cholesterol level was too high.

Mum said: It's only too high because you people have changed the numbers.

It was clear to mum that the numbers had been doctored.

What mum knew was that her cholesterol had been in the 'normal' range before the lower levels were 'invented'.

Mum refused the doctor's advice and tablets.

Next week she will be 98.


One time I went to a doctor who measured my heartbeat.

He said: It's too low.

I said: What do you mean by too low?

He said: It seems to be less than 40 beats per minute.

I said: What should it be?

He said: For your age, about 70 beats per minute would be good.

I don't really know why but I immediately said: Miguel Indurain's resting pulse is 28 bpm.

I'd read it in a cycling magazine once. Perhaps that was the reason.

Doc said: Uh?

I could see the Doc was puzzled so I said: A friend of mine has a higher pulse rate. It's 34. But he's he's only a runner. He doesn't cycle up the Pyrenees.

Doc then showed me another machine. It looked a like a vacuum cleaner. In fact it was just like the drawing of the vacuum cleaner-WMD in Graham Greene's 'Our Man in Havana'.

Doc said: Blow into the mouthpiece. I'll measure your lung capacity.

When I'd finished blowing he said: You have the highest reading we've ever measured.

I said: Is there anything else?

He said: No. You can go now.

That was 30 years ago.  Shortly after mum's cholesterol 'problem'.


Since that time I can only recall my heartbeat being measured once.

My friend Jon, a believer in gadgets,  once put a heart monitor on my chest and said: Run up and down that hill over there.

When I got back five minutes later he showed me the result.

The screen on his device said:  00 bpm

Jon said: I don't understand it.

I said: I must be dead.

Jon laughed.


As for my pulse, I no longer measure it.

When I want my pulse to go faster I drink coffee.

If I want it to go slower I drink beer.


That's all there is to it.





*Note: If you're feeling unwell consult a doctor.  The above story is for amusement only.




Monday, 28 May 2018

Green grows the Irish garden


A small contribution to Northsider Dave's appeal for garden pictures.

My green corners.

Dave is a poly-tunnel expert, a writer of humorous anecdotes, and something of a rambler.  He grows his own vegetables somewhere in Ireland.

I don't have a poly-tunnel (yet!) but I know whom to consult should the need arise.


On the bare patch of earth there were sword lilies but I removed them after they'd finished flowering and planted a green bushy thing which I was told the name of but neglected to memorize. It ought to flower, I'm told. It seems to be thriving and has doubled in size in the space of 3 weeks or so.



Forecasting the weather for the gardeners needn't be a hit and miss affair. In the garden we have a green frog who sometimes carries a red and white umbrella.

The cat in a garden is a sign of fine weather.  It's 28 C at the moment.  There is thunder in the east but it shouldn't arrive here before nightfall, if it arrives at all.