Wednesday, October 07, 2015

What would Henry Newbolt say?

Ye that with me have fought and failed and fought
To the last desperate trench of battle's crest,
Not yet to sleep, not yet; our work is nought;
On that last trench the fate of all may rest,
Draw near, my friends; and let your thoughts be high;
Great hearts are glad when it is time to give;
Life is no life to him that dares not die,
And death no death to him that dares to live.

Draw near together; none be last or first;
We are no longer names, but one desire;
With the same burning of the soul we thirst,
And the same wine to-night shall quench our fire.
Drink! to our fathers who begot us men,
To the dead voices that are never dumb;
Then to the land of all our loves, and then
To the long parting, and the age to come.

Attention English press and English people. All this bitching and moaning about your rugby side when you still have a game to play is embarrassing and unseemly. You should all get together to offer full-throated support to England in their last World Cup game against Uruguay. You owe them at least that before moving on to the inevitable time-honoured tradition of ritual human sacrifice that accompanies the passing of the torch in any of your national teams.

Prodnose: So there!

Myself: That'll learn 'em.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

When memory disappears

Life with dementia — misery, anger, sadness, dark comedy — is an awkward teeter between despair and hope ... more »

Monday, October 05, 2015

Football Echo

Yesterday afternoon, I managed to secure the only spot in the Royal Standard (and perhaps in Colliers Wood) from which I could follow the first half of Ireland sneaking past Italy on a TV in the bar at the same time as the second half of Arsenal 3 - Manchester Utd 0 on a telly in the lounge.

I am still top of the Ruts SuperBru fantasy rugby contest after round 2, but with less of a lead.

I was thinking this morning that I would have to transfer my England players before the start of round three, forgetting - such is their humiliation - that they still have a pool game against Uruguay.

I am off to see Brian Moore and Michael Lynagh at Bookfest tonight. That should be interesting in light of last weekend's England Australia game. The ex-England hooker calls for calm in the Telegraph this morning.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

twixt cup and lip

Australia have put England out of the World Cup, which means Wales are definitely through to the quarter finals. I am delighted but find myself curiously flat about the English disappointment and in no mood to crow.

Ben turned out for the Club U16s (the year above his age group) today. They beat Rosslyn Park away very convincingly (43-12 as I recall) on their 3G pitch and under (though they were off, of course) floodlights that were paid for by Oliver Reed.

The school has drawn Dulwich College in the next round of the NatWest Cup. A school with such resources that they are the official team base of the Australian World Cup squad. The odds will be stacked against them, but I am sure they will do us proud.

Saturday, October 03, 2015


Wimbledon Bookfest is back for 2008.

Having read it earlier this year I went to see Catherine Mayer on Charles: The Heart of a King at quarter past four.

Remarkable woman; she talks off the cuff in complete sentences and paragraphs. Not many people can do that these days.

While we are on the subject of books, let me recommend Denis Healey's autobiography The Time of My Life, as a tribute on his passing at the age of 98. It is a wonderfully wide-ranging tome and - as I recall - introduced me to the works of Elmore Leonard in a passing reference. it is difficult to image a contemporary politician's reminisces doing anything similar.

Friday, October 02, 2015

My brain hurts

Wales and the school won yesterday, both rather faded in the second half though.

Rutlish U15 put away Richard Challoner School to progress to round 3 of the NatWest Cup. Ben got three tries at outside half. It was 45-5 at half time but 59-33 at the end of the game which means the boys conceded five tries in the second half. Taking your foot off the accelerater doesn't begin to cover it.

As regards Wales and the group of death, Saturday night's England Australia game is crucial.

If England lose to Australia they are out and Wales are through with the Wallabies.

If England draw with Australia but don't pick up an attacking bonus point, Wales will be through to the quarter-finals but the hosts could still catch the Wallabies.

If England draw with Australia and pick up an attacking bonus point they can still catch Wales or the Wallabies so all three sides will be in the equation on the final weekend.

If England defeat the Wallabies, regardless of bonus points, all three sides will be in the equation going into the final weekend with Pool leaders Wales needing AT LEAST one bonus point to secure qualification. The hosts would be in pole position with Wales and Australia facing a potential boom or bust showdown.

Thus Australia have to beat England, as otherwise things will get so knotty my head will explode.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Lime and Thyme on my dime

We went to a place called Lime and Thyme in Raynes Park for Ben's birthday yesterday. I would say it is more at the bistro than fine-dining end of the scale, but none the worse for that. It is a favourite of his - Jane takes him for breakfast there from time to time on the weekend - and now of mine as well.

While we are on the subject of scran, I noticed this Schwartz Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork mix in Sainsburys last week. I don't imagine it will live up to a butt out of my smoker but it may be worth trying out.

The recipe calls for 1 sachet Schwartz Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe Mix, 1.4kg (3lbs) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat, 125ml (5oz) tomato ketchup, 2 tbs brown sugar and 3 tbs cider or white wine vinegar.

The ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar lift may be worth remembering even when I am working with my more usual Dunn's River seasoning of choice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

directly, quickly, awake, looking at it

I have finished reading Elia Kazan: A Biography, and started The Gun: The Story of the AK-47. I can't see any theme or pattern either.

Both titles, as ever, were purchased from Amazon for my Kindle. Kazan's story is interesting despite author Richard Schickel's best efforts.

It is amazing to think that, if I was of a mind, there are nine Kazan movies on Amazon Instant Video that I could queue up and watch without delay.

Gentleman's Agreement 1947
A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
Viva Zapata 1952
On The Waterfront 1954
East Of Eden 1955
Wild River 1960
Splendor in the Grass 1961
America America 1963
The Arrangement 1969

That would have seemed miraculous a few years ago, and I might even do it if I didn't have to work for a living.

There is also a connection to Anton Corbijn's new movie about James Dean which is set just after he had made East of Eden.

Monday, September 28, 2015

You're Darn Tootin'

Ben's grandparents have given me money to pay for his monthly mobile phone charges for six months or so as a birthday present. We lucked out when I was in Cardiff this weekend trying to convert this to vouchers that could be presented to him, but this morning I have discovered "you can top-up by a voucher between £10-£50 from any Three store, or from any shop in the UK where you see the green Top-up logo".

There is a Three shop in Tooting High Street that is open until 8pm on Mondays so I can pick up vouchers on the way to the Antelope quiz tonight. The cash may yet be weaponised into a genuine gift as opposed to rascal counters!

Prodnose (curled of lip, turned up of nose): Fascinating.

Myself: That is the quotidian reality of my life mate.

Ian Faith: For one thing that goes wrong... one... one single thing that goes wrong, a hundred things go right. Do you know what I spend my time doing? I sleep two or three hours a night. There's no sex and drugs for Ian, David. Do you know what I do? I find lost luggage. I locate mandolin strings in the middle of Austin!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Veni, vidi, vici

England 25 Wales 28.

Later today Spike's beloved Chicago Bears visit my beloved (though rather neglected of late due to the Rugby World Cup) Seattle Seahawks.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Trimmo's Pulled Pork

I am back in Cardiff - and off the grid - on one of my regular visits to see how mum and dad are getting on so this post has been scheduled on Friday.

I will be watching the England Wales game in Bronwydd Avenue, but if you are in the smoke and don't have a ticket for Twickenham you could do a lot worse than the Old Ruts Rugby Club, The Clubhouse, Poplar Road, Merton Park. London SW19 3JS.

Friday, September 25, 2015


The school U15s beat Rodborough School 69-10 yesterday in the first round of the County Cup with Ben apearing at outside half and scoring three tries.

This means that they will face either Howard of Effingham or Gordon's School in the next round early in November.

Howard of Effingham beat Rutlish 15-12 in the U14 County Cup Final in 2014 (the Bomber played for Rutlish a year above his age in that) so there may be a chance of revenge.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

Last night, the BBC iPlayer recommended I watch this series following the race for the crown every curry house in the principality wants to win - Welsh Curry House of the Year.

It's good stuff, presenting me with a few new places to check out in Cardiff, making me sentimental about Newcastle Emlyn, and reminding us all (in a time when the media doesn't give us much positive about Muslims) what big hearted British Bangladeshi restaurateurs have contributed to our lives since the 70s.