Monday, June 27, 2016

Ain't nobody messing with the gang

Dom's report on the match against Bromley that I missed when I was in Cardiff:
With some of our more powerful players missing, it was good to welcome Bill back from injury and he had a great game as did the rest of the boys in the second half when we came from 26 - 0 behind to lose narrowly 46 - 36. Even by our usual slow starting standards, we had a poor start defensively and we were starved of the ball for good elements of the first half, however the second half was a different story as we started firing, running better lines in attack and offloading well to claw our way back into it. Unfortunately overall our defensive line was not functioning as well as it normally does but that is relatively easy to fix, so it was an encouraging performance against a good Bengals side.
The Rutlish U15s comprise the under fourteen cohort as well as the under fifteens. Ben says that Wesley, Saadiq and him where the only U15s on the pitch, so it is a good result in the circumstances. (Update: It has just struck me that Bill is an U15 as well, so Ben may have forgotten others in the text he sent me. I hope this revelation doesn't deliver even more downward pressure on the pound and the FTSE what with Brexit 'n'all.)

You can hear the voices of Rutlish and Bromley supporters on the sound track. They often disagree about what they are seeing but there is never any petulance in anyone's tone. I think it reflects well on all of them.

Also I realised as I was listening to the radio this morning that Marc's voice sounds exactly like the uncredited rapper that appears two minutes and twenty odd seconds into Tinie Tempah's Girls Like ft. Zara Larsson. Follow the link and tell me I'm not right -

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hell Sucks

“We took space back quickly, expensively, with total panic and close to maximum brutality. Our machine was devastating. And versatile. It could do everything but stop.”
Michael Herr has died. His Vietnam War book Dispatches was among the most amazing things I read when I was a kid.

Here are an obituary, and Hell Sucks which is the Esquire story that started the whole thing off.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Juxtaposed controls

One of the key issues driving the debate about Britain’s place in Europe was migration, and a key physical reminder of that is the “jungle” at Calais.

The jungle is a collection of makeshift huts and tents housing as many as 5,000 migrants who are using the camp as a base while they attempt to reach the UK.

The jungle is in France because of agreements struck between the UK and France in 1991 and 2003 that Britain’s border should effectively be in France.

This means that British border officials can carry out checks at French customs, including searching for hidden migrants.

The agreement is between the UK and France, and not strictly EU related but article 19 says:
The present Agreement may be terminated by the competent authorities of either of the Parties by giving a period of notice of six months.
This week it seems more likely to me that our government will get that notice from our friends across the Channel than it did last week. That would put the cat among the pigeons.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Smile and grin at the change all around

Merton’s turnout for the referendum was 73.5%, that’s 100,207 people. The borough’s postal vote turnout was 87%. The results for Merton are as follows: Remain: 63,003 votes; Leave: 37,097 votes.
This means that Merton voted to remain in the EU.

I was in the minority who voted to leave, because although I accept that the EU initially fulfilled its mission to neutralise the ancient bellicosity of rival nations, I think that it then lost its way so badly that it has become, instead, an incubator hatching the beast it wanted to slay. I believe, for example, that the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement directly led to the Ukrainian revolution of February 2014, and hence to Russia's annexation of Crimea and further that the ECB's position over the terms for a Greek bailout made it a proxy for a German extortion racket.

KFC India is selling chicken in a box with a built-in phone charger. They're calling it "Watt-A-Box".The phone charger comes at no extra cost to customers when they buy the popular 5-in-1 meal. The meal costs 150 rupees (£1.50). The 6,100mA power bank is detachable, reusable and is reportedly big enough to fully charge two phones.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I'll take that

There was an atavistic part of me that was relishing England playing Portugal until Iceland's last minute goal though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Games I have missed and will miss

Rutlish Raiders U15s came from behind for an ultimately comfortable 28-14 win against North Herts Crusaders on Saturday securing second place in the London West league table and a home quarter final on 9 July v Brentwood Eels.

We weren't there as I was taking Ben to the dentist to have new braces fitted on his teeth, but he is back this weekend for a home match against Bromley; probably no mugs as they came second themselves in the London East league, and beat Elmbridge who topped the West league in the cup. (I won't be at the game myself as I will be back in Cardiff seeing how mum and dad are getting on.)

I am pleased to see that Charlie, who has been out for a long time with problems with tendons and a broken finger should be back on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Together. Stronger

As you know, Wales beat Russia 3-0 last night to top Euro2016 Group B (while England's draw with Slovakia leaves them second). It means that next time out (5pm on Saturday) we will be up against the highest-ranked third-placed team from one of groups A, C or D in what will surely be a wonderful opportunity to get to the quarter finals.

What more can I say? Why not something gracious?

The media bombards us day after day with the message that every Russian is a gangster and every Russian institution aloof and manipulative.

Yesterday before the game though, I read this:
Wales will wear their red home kit against Russia tonight despite being the designated "away team" for the Euro 2016 Group B decider.
Chris Coleman's side had been expected to wear the charcoal and lime green away strip they wore in the defeat against England, with Russia's red home kit clashing.
But FAW officials were so keen for the players to be in their favoured red shirts for the biggest Welsh football match in a generation they approached Uefa to ask for the designated kits to be changed.
And that request has been granted after Russian officials said they did not have a problem with wearing their white away kit.
A generous and sporting gesture from the Russian FA don't you think? Perhaps the caricatures aren't all accurate.

Monday, June 20, 2016

MUNCHIES Guide to Wales

For all her other merits, Charlet Duboc isn't much of a rugby player. Not that I will let that come between us.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How to be British

Hat tip: Simon B

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The day today

Despite a late surge, Wales lost the game and the series in New Zealand this morning.

On the other side of the ledger, my car's dashboard instrument cluster has magically started working again after just over a fortnight on the blink.

I would have preferred to have won the rugby and still be using a speedometer on my mobile phone, but at least life's not all dark.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Why don't you let me worry about that?

A late goal from Daniel Sturridge was enough to help England beat Wales 2-1 in Lens on Thursday and break Welsh hearts.
Wales now lie in second place in the group, one point behind England and ahead of Slovakia thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
So, what does that mean for Wales' chances of qualification from the group?
It means a win against Russia would be enough to see Wales safely through to the next stage of the competition, without worrying about third-place scenarios.
On top of that, if England were to fail to beat Slovakia in their final fixture, then a win for Chris Coleman's side on Monday would see them qualify as group winners.
But, what about the other scenarios?
Remember, if teams are tied on the same number of points in the group, the head-to-head result between the two sides is the first criteria to see who finishes ahead of who.
If Wales draw with Russia
In this scenario, if England were to win against Slovakia, that would see Wales qualify in second place, two points ahead of Jan Kozak's side.
However, if the Slovaks were to beat the Three Lions on Monday, that would leave Wales in third place and in the hands of UEFA's new system for this year's tournament.
Remember, the four best third-placed teams qualify for the last 16, with the first criteria points gained, followed by goal difference.
If there was a draw between Slovakia and England - then Wales go through as runners-up as they would be level on points with Slovakia but won the head-to-head between the two sides.
If Wales lose to Russia
Let's hope it doesn't come to this.
In the event of a Wales loss, any result for Slovakia against England would see Wales knocked out of the competition.
However, if England were to beat Slovakia, then Wales could still have a reprieve - if they ended up as one of the four best third-placed teams out of all the Euro 2016 groups.
Again, to reiterate, the best third-placed teams will be decided on points gained followed by goal difference.
In conclusion, we need to win at eight o'clock on Monday evening. I imagine I will be watching it at home (ITV 4: Freeview channel 24). It's not likely to get much of a look in in South London's honky tonks and dive bars with an equally vital England game on at the same time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Roll on 2pm

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
― George Orwell, 1984

But then again: No Welsh fans arrested after violent scenes in Lille ahead of England v Wales.
The Football Association of Wales said on Thursday morning they had had confirmation from French police there were no issues or arrests of any Welsh supporters in Lille last night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Europe's kookiest nation about football"

I was delighted to see Iceland get a draw with Portugal last night.

Soccernomics, a book I read a couple of years ago (Icons passim), crunched the numbers to crown them "Europe's kookiest nation about football."

Chapter 12 The Country That Loves Football Most ends prophetically musing about the Icelanders that "if these people ever make it to a tournament they might really start to like football." Iceland has a population of 340,000 people (less than Leicester), of which one in ten are thought to in France for Euro 2016.

In a perfect world they would meet Wales in the final.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Today I settled all Family business"

I've been using Uber for the odd journey since May 1st, and have found it quicker, more reliable and cheaper than conventional cabs.

When Andy H was configuring it on his iPhone at my recommendation he asked me what Family Profiles were. I didn't know, and wondered if perhaps the feature wasn't live when I went through installation and set up on my Android.

Herewith the skinny on this shiny new extension:
One feature passengers have frequently requested is an easy way to pay for family and friends. That’s why we are excited to announce Family Profiles, a new feature we’re launching that lets up to 10 riders safely and easily share one payment method.
Here’s how it works:

For the Family Profile organizer:

  • Make sure you have the latest version of the Uber app.
  • Go to Menu and choose Settings.
  • Scroll down to “Add a Family Profile” and select the contacts you would like to add.
  • As soon as the Family Profile rider accepts the invitation, they can begin requesting rides from their own phone using the Family Profile as their payment method.
  • The cost of the trip will automatically be billed to the Family Profile and the organizer will receive a receipt for every ride.
I've set it up for Ben today. It will come in handy as soon as Thursday, when - as I will have watched the England Wales footie on licensed premises - I won't be able to drive and pick him up myself in the evening. We can give it a dry run then. I like the fact that I will know the name of the driver and license plate of the car that picks him up as well as being able to follow the journey online.

Actually I had to ferry him around this morning which meant that I missed the Chiefs beating Wales in a 40-7 rout. That was a lucky break. Thank goodness I hadn't set it up yesterday.

I have also noticed (brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces) that Uber operates in Cardiff (, though at the moment when I have tested it there it seems a little hit and miss compared to its ubiquity here in the smoke.