Friday, February 28, 2014

Local Knowledge

Extracts from the Floods Debate in the Commons yesterday

Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): If we are able to answer one question, it will give us the key to what I believe are the long-term practical solutions to the problems of Somerset and elsewhere. Why did the Somerset levels flood and the Gwent levels not flood?
Having represented part of the Gwent levels continuously as an elected person since 1972, I know them well, and members of my family live in Somerset. The areas are almost identical. They share 2,000 years of history, and their topographies and geographies are identical. The Gwent levels were drained by the Romans, and the sea wall was built by the 20th Augustan legion 2,000 years ago. During that long period, the levels have been treated very much the same. Drainage has been put into both. They have recently shared exactly the same weather—they are only a short distance apart—and exactly the same tides. There is no dredging on either side. So why on earth was there flooding on one side of the Severn estuary and not on the other? I believe that the answer lies in farming techniques.
As has been said, dredging is not a panacea. In 1928 there was a flood here, on this spot. The terraced houses opposite, in Page street and Millbank, were flooded, and people died. That flood was caused by dredging, which was carried out in the lower reaches of the Thames to increase access for ships. Yes, water did flow out more quickly as a result, but it also flowed in more quickly. It was easy for the tide to come in. In the dredged areas, the tide came in and met the water coming down from the hills. If dredging is seen as the answer in Somerset and is proceeded with, the lower reaches of the Parrett will be exposed to the extraordinary characteristics of the Severn, which holds more sediment in suspension than almost any other river in the country.
Mr David Heath (Somerton and Frome) (LD): I am sorry, but I think that the hon. Gentleman is completely mistaken. The River Parrett is tidal for 18.3 miles of its length from the Severn estuary. It is precisely because of the tidal surge from the Parrett that we cannot move the water away from the Mendips, the Quantocks and the other hills. That is not comparable to the situation in the Gwent levels, where the topography is different.
Paul Flynn: If the hon. Gentleman will bear with me, on the characteristics of the Severn we know that on both sides of the river we have the second highest rising and falling tides in the world, but the issue is the amount of sediment because of the length of the river. In the Severn estuary and on the beaches, sometimes the rocks are clean and nothing has been deposited, but on another tide 1 foot of mud may be deposited there. Given the 18 tidal miles of the Parrett, it will be easy for the sediment to come in.
However, the sediment is not just coming in from the tidal reaches of the river; it is also coming down from the hills. That is key. Dredging would create an open door to allow the sediment to move in from the Severn in greater quantities, as it did with the Thames in 1928.
What is the difference between the two areas? The difference lies in the Quantocks, the Mendips, around the Welsh hills and the Wentwood. There is a difference in farming in the two areas. That is made clear in a report in Soil Use and Management. It contained a warning, six weeks before the floods moved into Somerset, that a disaster was brewing. It said that surface water run-off in the south-west of England, where the Somerset levels are, was reaching a critical point—it said that six weeks beforehand. It added that on 30% of the land that researchers investigated, instead of percolating into the ground the water was pouring off the fields.
One of the main reasons was the increase in the growth of maize. There are other reasons, but when I was first elected the maize grown in this country occupied 1,400 acres. It now occupies 160,000 acres. What are the characteristics of that? It breaks up the soil and allows the water to run off. Maize is being grown in Britain not for food for humans but for animal food and biodiesel. One could ask whether, in trying to solve the climate change problem in that direction, we are creating a bigger problem in the other.
There was another warning—a clear warning—in 2005, when a Government report published a devastating catalogue of the impact of the changes in land use. As well as warning of the loss of fertility from the land and the poisoning of water courses, it said that
“increased run-off and sediment deposition can also increase flood hazard in rivers”.
That point was made in 2005. That Government paper urged:
“Wherever possible, avoid growing forage maize on high and very high erosion risk areas.”
The Government of the time—this is crucial—made it a condition of receiving some £3 billion in subsidies that farmers took action against that. The Government argued that ground cover crops should be sown, as a condition of receiving the subsidies, under maize and the land should be ploughed, then resown with winter cover plants within 10 days of harvesting to prevent water from sheeting off. Why is that not happening in Somerset? The reason is that the current Government have dropped that condition. That is one of the main causes of the extent of the floods. They issued a specific exemption for maize cultivation from soil conservation measures. We are now in the position of looking for instant solutions. Dredging is the cry. It has some effect but it can be deleterious as well.
We have thrown money at the problem, which most people are asking for. That will help, but in the town that I represent, there were regular floods 20 or 30 years ago. Now there are areas where fields are designed to flood and to take the excess water, and they have not been flooded for decades. There are plans. If we go ahead with some of the instant solutions being suggested in Somerset, we will decrease the flood threat to farmlands but we will greatly increase the threat to urban areas. One field flooded is far less damaging than having 100 houses flooded. We have to look realistically at the changes that are taking place. Of course the weather was thoroughly exceptional, but there are whole areas of Somerset that have been flooding for centuries. The “ey” suffix on the names of many of the villages there means “island”, and historically they were islands—little mounds standing up among the flat areas.
I welcome the reasonable way in which the Secretary of State has put his case today. We are now looking for long-term solutions. We are not looking for solutions that merely address the immediate political problems; we need solutions that will last for decades and that will take into account the changes in farming on our hillsides. The land there is no longer retaining the water and allowing it to percolate through slowly; the water is now rushing rapidly down and causing these freak flooding incidents.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Paul Flynn is a long time straight bat and already a Welsh Born Icon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

And the nominations are ......



This Sunday, the awards for actors who take forty attempts to get a scene right come round again ...... of course the theatre remains the first love of each and every one of them.

Prodnose: That's your take on it.

Myself: It's another take.

Prodnose: Ho ho, very satirical. That's a wrap.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

a game of inches

TeamPWDLFADiffB PtsPtsAdjust
Old Rutlishians U13540116770974250
Reeds Weybridge U13s4400136361004240
Effingham & Leatherhead U13s430111467473190
Guildfordians U1332019532632130
Old Reigatian U13410363125-6218-1
Sutton & Epsom U13 A510459186-12718-2
Camberley U132101412219170
Haslemere U13500545182-137160

The Bomber was too tired to play on the weekend after a twenty odd hour coach trip but the boys came through scoring eight tries to beat Old Reigatians 46-15 in a remarkable come back from being ten nil down in the first five minutes. The other try conceded came when Saadiq had been sin binned (for persistent off-side rather than skulduggery) so it was quite a comfortable win in the end.

The Ruts are now one point clear of Reeds Weybridge (who have a game in hand) the team they are due to meet on Sunday in a match that may ultimately decide the league. We are unlikely to see a nil-nil draw between two side who have both scored an average of thirty odd points per game in this season's fixtures.

(The Bomber has a home game for the school in round two of the County Cup at quarter past four today, so I am going to try and sneak off from work an hour early to catch it.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Legend Continues Continued



We fell down to third in the quiz last week after four wins in a row, so shoulders back to the wheel and noses once more to the grindstone tonight, and on our own dollar with no prize money to fund brain cell lubricants.

If we have to learn all 763 new jokes from the limited edition of Anchorman 2 for the film round, we may never win it again.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

You sir, are a Glass Hole

I went to see the Spike Jonze movie 'her' yesterday. Scarlet Johansson's performance as Samantha, the lively operating system that so enchants Joaquin Phoenix's character, is delightful. When you consider that she doesn't appear and seduces us with her voice alone it is amazing to think that she also has a career sideline murdering Tom Waits' songs in a dreary monotone.

As the remorseless encroachment of technology into every nook and cranny of our lives continues (how far away can the Samantha singularity be?) Google have issued some guidance on how to use their upcoming Glass product with effortless panache and impeccable good manners:
If you’re worried about someone interrupting that romantic dinner at a nice restaurant with a question about Glass, just take it off and put it around the back of your neck or in your bag.
Put it around the back of your neck? Where no one will notice it! At a romantic dinner, you river boat gambler. I don't think we need to update Cary Grant on Style just yet.

Frank and Cary's Google Glasses are hidden round the back of their necks

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
"The other is Good – It is courage, joy, trust, love, hope, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed."
Ever since I woke up this morning I have been hearing Eddie Butler's voice inside my head telling the story above as if it explains Wales' stunning victory over France last night after the nightmare in Dublin. My subconscious is as wise as an old Cherokee.

It is difficult to argue with Gethin Jenkins' man of the match award, though in my heart I think the honour should have gone not so much to Jake Ball, though he did have a stormer, as to his magnificent beard.

I'm off to pick the Bomber up shortly as he should be arriving back from skiing in Austria. He's picked for the Reigatians' game tomorrow.

I think I might have to change before the England Ireland game at four this afternoon. I put my Kitty O'Shea half Welsh/ half Irish jersey on this morning before I realised that the best result for Wales will be a narrow England win in an ill tempered boring game in which they get a couple of injuries and perhaps a player sent off.

Kirk out.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Mighty WWA

He is long and neat, about 6ft 2in, and is wearing a bespoke two–piece suit in brown-and– tan herringbone tweed, and his initials, WWA (the second W stands for Wales), are stitched on his shirt pocket. When he talks, he takes a few runs at each sentence, improving it in his mind. The room, the clothes, the anecdotes – the entire scene, in fact – is beautiful in such a perfectly Andersonian way that I feel I have to tell him so.
I read in a Torygraph interview yesterday, that Wes Anderson (may his tribe increase) glories in the middle name Wales.

I am taking it as a good omen for the French game tonight.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Decay Of Lying

The diagram which accompanied Google's patent for the throat tattoo
Motorola has filed a patent for a throat tattoo which not only blocks out background noise in a bid to make telephone conversations in crowded restaurants easier, but also flashes when it thinks you are lying.
According to the patent filed in the US by Motorola, who were owned by Google at the time, the tattoo could solve the problem of strained telephone conversations in “large stadiums, busy streets, restaurants and emergency situations”.
“Communication can reasonably be improved and even enhanced with a method and system for reducing the acoustic noise in such environments and contexts”, the patent reads.
The unnamed device would serve as an “auxiliary voice input to a mobile communication device”; essentially a noise-cancelling microphone for your mobile phone which you stick on your neck.
But the tattoo’s creators also envisage it could have lie-detecting capabilities.
Equipped with a display that lights up under certain conditions, “the electronic skin tattoo can further include a galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user.”
The patent continues: “It is contemplated that a user may be nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a more confident, truth telling individual.”
Although the device has merely been filed as a patent, meaning it may never be tested or produced, its designers imagine its use would extend beyond humans.
“Here it is contemplated that the electronic tattoo can also be applied to an animal as well”, the patent says.
“Audio circuitry can also include a microphone for emitting sound corresponding to fluctuations of muscle or tissue in the throat.”
Dr. Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht is carrying out research work with a view to crossing salmon with mosquitoes. He says it will mean a bite every time for fishermen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Team News

1. Here’s the Wales team to play France on Friday at the Millennium Stadium.
Starting lineup:
Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Rhys Priestland, Rhys Webb,Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton(C), Taulupe Faletau

Replacements:
Ken Owens, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric, Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar, James Hook
Rhys Webb starts with Mike Phillips on the bench, and George North moved to the centre.

2. Here’s the Old Ruts U13A squad to play Old Reigatians on Sunday at Poplar Road.
Zac Rabanal, Daniel Binks, Saadiq Theophilus, Pablo Santiago-Davies, Joseph Muldoon, Bill Eustace, Joe Bennett, Tom Dolan, Wes Poku, Billy Abbott, Charlie Julian, Daniel Young-McHugh, Sid Daniels, Jonnie Hendrie, Silas Bobb, Jonah Harrison, Ben Browne, Sam Barker
The Ruts haven't played a league game since before Christmas due to the terrible weather and, in that time, Reeds Weybridge have usurped them at the top of the table. A win on Sunday will bring the Ruts level on points with Reeds, and a win with a bonus point will put them one clear though Reeds will have a game in hand. Then, on Sunday March 2, the Ruts travel to Reeds for what could well be a season defining showdown. No pressure then #squeakybottomtime.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Yoga


X-ray Body in Motion - Yoga from hybrid medical animation on Vimeo.

Myself: You like this?
Prodnose: It's very nice. It looks like hollow wood.
Myself: This is my exact inner structure, done in a tee shirt. Exactly medically accurate. See?
Prodnose: So in other words if we were to take all your flesh and blood...
Myself: Take them off. This is what you'd see.
Prodnose: It wouldn't be green though.
Myself: It is green. You see how your blood looks blue.
Prodnose: Yeah, well that's just the vein. That's the color of the vein. The blood is actually red.
I went to yoga twice last weekend. I generally just go Saturday morning, but there aren't all that many days in February and I have to use the five sessions a month for which I am signed up. That's four and a half years I've been knocking out the asanas now. If you are still reading here you have a remarkably high tolerance for tedious drivel.

Monday, February 17, 2014

head in the clouds

I'm on record (see BuyCons passim) as thinking that Amazon Web Services was a great idea from the moment I heard of its release as a limited beta.

Shares in Amazon on 25 August 2006, when I first picked up on Web Services were trading at 28.03. Today they are 357.35.

I know you can do the maths as well as anyone else, but if I had followed my nose with a punt of a grand back then, I would have twelve thousand seven hundred and fifty quid today.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Knees Up Territory

I am back in London after a successful trip to Wales and back, so I am celebrating with John Coltrane's version of Chim Chim Cheree. It was the follow up to A Love Supreme apparently, which seems very odd, but wonderfully so.



What do we think? Is it more evocative of a Sunday evening in SW19 than the Dick Van Dyke version?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!


I am going to head off down the M4 to Cardiff later this afternoon. The photo above is from the BBC and of the street where my sister lives.

You can see the current Severn Bridge status at http://www.severnbridge.co.uk/bridge_status.shtml. Fingers crossed it stays open.

I don't really get many chances to get to the home town in the rugby season as I am generally involved (at least in theory so far in 2014) with the Bomber playing or training on Sunday mornings and the logistics of that tend to  rule a weekend trip to Wales out. He left for skiing with the school yesterday and will be in Austria tomorrow though, so I have to strike while the iron is hot.

I wonder how his party got on on the ferry last night? Chiggers and Over You by Seasick Steve may well have been on the soundtrack.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

the 'nonce no more

Asbestos-hit Provenance pub in Colliers Wood closes down after less than a year in business
3:00pm Tuesday 11th February 2014 in News By Louisa Clarence-Smith
The Provenance pub in Colliers Wood is closing less than a year after it opened. 
Antic Pubs took over the High Street pub last May but said owner, Punch Taverns, is selling the property after asbestos, broken glass, fencing and detergents were found in the garden.
Damian McFadden, a fund manager who lives close to the pub, said: "The local community is just starting to gather a bit of steam so it is sad to see the pub closing."
Peter Lord, Colliers Wood resident and Conservative candidate for the ward, said: "I'm a bit shocked at what's happening. I think residents should have a say on it. I would absolutely support a campaign to keep our local pub."
Antic would not say when the pub was closing or how many staff will lose their jobs.
That is a pity. See Icons Passim for a more optimistic time .....

It isn't by chance I happen to be,
A Collierdier, a Wood for the tree-er.
For over the noise, the talk and the smoke,
I'm good for a laugh, a drink or a joke
I walk in a room, a party or ball,
"Come sit over here" somebody will call.
"A drink for M'sieur, a drink for us all!
But how many times I stop and recall.

Ah, the apple trees,
Blossoms in the breeze,
That we walked among,
Lying in the hay,
Games we used to play,
While the rounds were sung,
Only yesterday, when the world was young.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Modeste Strenue Sancte


As if to rebuke yesterday's pessimism, year 8 managed to get a game in yesterday, beating The Harrodian School 43-0, with a rampant Bomber getting three tries.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The weekend the wheels came off

Last weekend Ireland beat Wales 26-3, Swansea City beat Cardiff City 3-0, and Liverpool beat Arsenal 5-1.

The Bomber's league game was cancelled yet again, but Reeds Weybridge's wasn't and they have now gone top of the table, displacing the Ruts who had been there since the beginning of the season. The Ruts/Reeds showdown is scheduled for March 2.

Of their rearranged games one is Sunday week, which will be dubious for the Bomber as he gets back from skiing Saturday after a twenty hour coach trip, and the other is set for early April when he will be playing in Italy with the school. Rugby inconvenience, but not such a bad lifestyle when you put it like that eh?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Badass in socks and sandals



I watched Rurouni Kenshin last night. It's a live action movie based on a famous manga. Think Shane set in the Japan of the Meiji restoration.

Wielding a sakabatō (a sword that has the cutting edge on the side that curves in, rendering it incapable of inflicting a slashing wound) Kenshin wanders the countryside offering protection and aid to those in need, as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin.

Could anything be more up my street? I missed it if it got a theatrical release over here, but it must have set the tills ringing somewhere as they filmed two sequels (now in post-production) at the same time à la 'Back to the Future'.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The LGBTQIA+ Monologues

Sat 5 April
7.45pm
St Joseph's Hall
Ever wondered what all of those letters [and symbol] mean?? The LGBTQIA+ Monologues is a celebration and explanation of each letter and symbol] which make up the identities LGBTQIA+. Featuring monologues from 12 acclaimed writers including National Theatre of Wales's Kelly Jones (Dating George Orwell, The Drowned Girl) and Royal Shakespeare Company and Central School alumni Rohan MacCallum. The show of 5 cast members will be funny, unexpected, informative, entertaining and empowering. Entry is by donation, suggested £5, at the door.
To be honest I had never found myself wondering what all those letters and symbol mean. Umm Lettuce-GSomething-Bacon-Tomato........?

A Google internet search doesn't explain the plus but does give me:
L - lesbian
G - gay
B - bisexual
T - trans*
Q - queer and/or questioning (sometimes written as QQ)
I - intersex (people born with genitals and/or chromosomes that do not conform to societal standards of male or female)
A - asexual/ace
At St Joseph's in Colliers Wood? Pope Francis must be moving faster than anyone ever imagined.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

pigging out

The World's Best Hog Roast
05 February 2014: Tim Lewis
The perfect barbeque requires sweat, sleepless nights and a lot of love. In the Deep South of the US, pit legend Rodney Scott hosts a masterclass. And the world's top chefs take note
Standing at a grill, wearing sawn-off denim shorts and wraparound shades, Albert Adrià peers intently at a row of sizzling avocados.
For his day job, Adrià is a chef and, by popular consensus, a genius: he’s the co-creator of elBulli in Spain, which is the most influential restaurant of the last two decades. But this afternoon, in a car park on Bowens Island in South Carolina, deep in the American South ......... read the whole thing.
There is very little that I wouldn't have given to have gone to Cook It Raw in 2013.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Harness the power of Swansea Bay

PRESS RELEASE 7 February 2014
TIDAL LAGOON POWER ANNOUNCES FIRST STEP TO SUPPLYING 10% OF THE UK’S DOMESTIC ELECTRICITY BY 2023
Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd (TLP) today took a major step towards realising one of the UK’s most game-changing infrastructure projects: the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant.
After three years of feasibility work and impact assessments, TLP submitted its application1– which runs to 5000 pages – for a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008.
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would be the largest tidal power plant in the world. As a project of national significance, the application, which has been developed through extensive consultation in Swansea Bay, will now be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate before public examination, and then determination by the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.
The project would see a 9.5 km long sea wall built to capture enough renewable energy from incoming and outgoing tides to power over 120,000 homes for 120 years. It aims to source at least 65% of content in the UK, kick-starting a new manufacturing industry and future export market.
Well I never, that's ambitious. To think I spent three years just around the corner in Uni. I wonder what the local reaction is?

 ...... the kilowatts we need are everywhere all around us.......

Thursday, February 06, 2014

monstre sacré

His work had been called “peculiar,” his thoughts “tiresome,” and his writing “turgid” and “ambiguous.” Nothing could have pleased him more.
This was not the last time that this bilious, foul-mouthed, poker-playing English historian and fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, would publicly give thanks for a negative review. Cowling delighted in academic brawling. He was a proponent of what he called “reactionary bloodiness” who encouraged his students to be “vile” towards their intellectual opponents and his intellectual allies to employ “irony, geniality, and malice as solvents of enthusiasm, virtue, and elevation.”
He insisted that the only people who understood his work were those who not only disagreed with but were offended by it, and he was always disappointed when criticism, whether of himself or his confederates, fell short of this bizarre standard.
And again:
Here, in his filthy rooms, amid empty whiskey bottles and yesterday’s plates, Mills & Boon erotica, and pages torn from obscure volumes of ecclesiastical history, he would meet his students for tutorials, often while wearing an ancient green dressing gown over his suit. Although it has been said that if he found an essay particularly unsatisfactory he would throw it off the roof with a shout of “BALLS!”, he appears to have been a kind, sympathetic teacher more interested in spurring on minds than cloning young-fogey Francoists. In fact, the only thing he really seems to have discouraged tutees from doing was joining the Cambridge University Conservative Association.
I'd never heard of Maurice Cowling before I read this. "Now when the Reverend Mr. Playfair, good man that he is, comes down, I want ya's all to cheer like Protestants," pretty much covers my reaction.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

vandalism, drug-taking and drunkenness

Abbeyfest sheds jazz nights in Merton Abbey Mills following anti-social behaviour

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

See icons passim.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

touch wood

We won the quiz at the Antelope last night for the third consecutive time, and also with half an eye on the telly watching Chelsea beat Man City to leave Arsenal top of the table.

It's not winning it five times in a row (Icons passim) but still a fine free night out; last week's winnings covering the bar bill.

Time for a new Quiz label here.

Monday, February 03, 2014

The 12th Man


I don't, as a rule, pay a great deal of attention to the Super Bowl, but when I heard on the radio this morning that the Seattle Seahawks had won it a memory stirred.

See Icons Passim, as I always say. All the yoga, meditation and organic vegetables, I read about last September seem to have paid off.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Code of Conduct

Rutlish School policies aim to provide staff, pupils, parents and guardians with clear information with regards to the standards of behaviour. These policies enable us to work together safely and efficiently. We aim to promote a peaceful and productive environment. Consequently, certain rules are required to in order to perpetuate this environment, which can be broadly summarised under two headings: respect for others and respect for property. Anti-social, unpleasant and selfish behaviour are, naturally, unacceptable in all societies, as they are at Rutlish School. Furthermore, destructive behaviour such as bullying, stealing, or drug abuse are unacceptable and therefore never tolerated.Our policies are detailed in the Handbook for Parents, which are also sent to the parents of all new students. The most recent version can always be found here on the School's website. If you would like a replacement printed copy of the Handbook for Parents, please contact the Main Office.
This is my journal as well as a blog.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Rugby Round Up

The six nations kicks off again today with Wales playing Italy at 2:30 and the English away to France after that.

Training for the Bomber is cancelled tomorrow due to waterlogged pitches, and he hasn't played at all so far this year. The couple of games I previewed on these pages in January were called off.

In a rare game that did go ahead, Reeds Weybridge U13s edged out Effingham & Leatherhead U13s 24 to 12. That is good news for the Ruts, who got beaten by Effingham and L, as it means their fate is back in their own hands, and they can still win the league if they don't slip up again. The Effingham Letherhead Ruts show down is due the first weekend in March.

While we are on the subject of the Ruts, have a look at this Telegraph article about Stacia Long's coaching miracles. She looks after the U15s.