Sunday, November 30, 2014

this means Warlingham

The boys went down 36-22 to Warlingham today. It was a terrific game though, and the score flatters the oppositions who got two converted tries at the death; one from an interception of a pass from Charlie at scrum half, and then another opportunistic effort when our heads went down realising that the game was probably beyond us.

Up until then it had been nick and tuck. We got four tries - including one for the Bomber - so we'll get a bonus point and the team  will learn more from this than they did from spanking Camberley a fortnight ago.

I can't resent Warlingham. They seem like decent folk. One of their players came and put an arm around Charlie's shoulders when he was disconsolate about giving away the penultimate try. I thought that was a noble gesture.

Chris Robshaw started out at Warlingham by the way, trivia fans.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

'nuff said

Wales 12 South Africa 6: Warren Gatland's men beat southern hemisphere team for first time in 23 games

Friday, November 28, 2014

There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?

If you look at the Telegraph online today you will see a report on the fifth round of the NatWest Cup nestled between Stuart Lancaster's thoughts on Sam Burgess's potential debut for Bath tonight and Warren Gatland's musings ahead of Wales' game against South Africa tomorrow.

The last two paragraphs on the NatWest cup are as follows:

At under-15 level the story of the round involved Rutlish, a comprehensive in south-west London which only started playing rugby four years ago. They managed to defeat a school with a mighty rugby pedigree in Hampton. They won 21-17, with scores from hooker Sonny-Bryant-Winning, lock Diell Zejunhlla and wing Khush Akhtar.
Liam Shanaham, head of rugby, said: "We are due to play RGS Guildford or Brighton College away in the next round, and with regards to expectations the boys have overachieved getting this far. As a state school who only train once a week with no compulsory games afternoons, so they have performed outstanding."
Regular readers will know that the Bomber played in the Rutlish game even though he is a year below in school.

Looking at the tea leaves on the Schools ruby website, Hampton School - who the boys beat in round 5 - beat RGS, Guildford 29-5 away earlier in the season, and Brighton beat Reeds School 35-21 in September but Rutlish put Reeds out of the Cup in round 2 by 42-17. There's not a lot of difference in the latter but we may dare to dream.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How we live now: part the umpteenth

The Bomber left his jacket behind in training last night, so he cooked our dinner as I drove back to the Hub to pick it up. How remarkable to think he could fry a couple of gammon steaks using a pan that didn't transmit feed back to his iPhone.

I should get him a present as a reward. How about this training gear?
Athos's new EMG shorts ($99, plus $199 for a plastic core that transmits to a free iPhone app). EMG stands for electromyography, a method of measuring the electrical signal that motor nerves send to muscle fibers to make them contract. The stronger the signal, the more muscle fibers are being recruited, and the harder the muscle is working. EMG is normally available only to elite athletes, but Athos has worked it into a pair of shorts for regular humans. Once the shorts are on and calibrated, a tiny, light-up version of your body appears on the app. As your muscles work harder, the inner and outer quads, hamstrings, and glutes on the screen change color, from blue to red.

The app can show you, in real time, how tiny imbalances in form and strength can wreak havoc across your entire muscular system—as well as how to fix them.

File under: Dr Strabismus (whom God preserve) of Utrecht.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hugh Jampton

Rutlish Year 10 (including year 9's Ben) beat Hampton School 21-17 yesterday, making it to the last four in the region in the NatWest Cup.

They will face whoever wins when RGS, Guildford play Brighton College next. I am not sure exactly when that game is, but all the fixtures in this round should be played by the end of the week.

There is a friendly against RGS, Guildford this Saturday morning that will be very interesting if Guildford manage to turn Brighton over, though I imagine Ben will be playing in the U14 rather than U15 version of the fixture.

While we are on the subject of rugby Jack Walsh, the England 7s scrum half, is due to be taking the U14s club training session tonight having started off at the Old Ruts himself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the pink

I went to Virgin Active with the Bomber yesterday for the first time since he was a toddler learning to swim. He has rejoined and done his induction so he can use the gym unaccompanied now as long as I am on the premises.

They weighed and measured him as part of the assessment so at 1.83m he is now officially just over six feet tall.

He has got three rugby games again this week; the next round of the NatWest Cup today with year 10, a year 9 game on Saturday and a league game on Sunday.

I went to yoga for the 300th time this morning. A Bikram class being ninety minutes long, that is four hundred and fifty hours I have done in hot room. I shudder to think how much sweat that represents.

Monday, November 24, 2014


I blew up my juicer a little while ago, so I replaced it with a NutriBullet from Argos yesterday.

The promise is that "unlike everyday juicers and blenders, the NutriBullet completely breaks down ingredients in to their most nutritious, most absorptive state!"

That is as may be, but it certainly makes it a lot easier to clean, you just rinse the cup and the blade attachment.

A pear, some blueberries and a handful of nuts went into it this morning with pleasing results.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wales 16 New Zealand 34

A run that now stretches back 26 matches and 61 years and continues to lengthen; the psychosis runs ever deeper. Therapists in the south Wales region will be licking their lips at the prospect of some new clients after 72,000 wandered, stunned, out into the Cardiff night.

I dared to dream when we were winning with thirteen minutes left on the clock but it wasn't to be.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I am also reading Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb who ought to know if anyone does.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rod in the Ukraine

Britain is to send 10 armoured vehicles to bolster the international monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine amid renewed tensions between the pro-Russia separatist rebels in the government in Kiev.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the vehicles would enable the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to operate safely in the more volatile parts of the country.
At the same time, Britain is expanding its contribution to the OSCE mission staff, with eight additional monitors arriving last week, and three more due to join them at the end of the month.
Rod sent me this link to the Indescribablyboring yesterday, so I guess he is one of the OSCE monitors.

I googled the OSCE. Here's its website.

Under Google's news tab I found Ukraine Crisis: Soldiers Open Fire on OSCE Convoy in 'Rebel Provocation'. Either the Ukrainian army or rebels pretending to be them are shooting at the monitors.

Out of the frying pan and into the line of fire goes MacKenna once again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jimmy Ruffin RIP

One of the greatest ever Motown singles without a doubt.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A solid start

The Old Ruts U14s are sitting pretty at the top of the league after they absolutely slaughtered Camberley on Sunday.

The result has gone down as 40-0, but the competition has a wise rule that games are stopped before they turn into an embarrassment for the losing side.

This is very encouraging as we only beat them 15-5 last year (Icons passim) and just nudged above them in the final league table as we had one more bonus point.

There was a scare early on when a boy the Bomber tackled didn't get up from the resulting ruck or maul. An ambulance was called but luckily we heard from the Camberley coach later.
" He has had x-Rays and a CT scan which have just come back as ok. The X-ray showed an area of concern hence the CT but the scanning centre and Dr were happy he is ok, if not a little sore."
Ben was a lot more worried than he let on. When we got back to watch the B team in league 5 (we didn't know what the hospital verdict was then) he just walked home lost in his thoughts. Jane told me how anxious he was in a text message.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Random local news

Coffee in the Wood was anointed as one of the top local cafés and coffee shops in London at the Time Out Love London Awards 2014 last night.

This, and Andy S having to go an see his offspring in a school play, reduced the pub quiz team to me, Raph and Spike. They are both in their twenties and don't drink  (or perhaps drink so little and rarely that there's little or no difference). This bizarrely made me start to feel like something of a lemon as the evening wore on and I got more lubricated.  Perhaps, and after the lost weekend, a dry spell is in order? Tricky during the autumn internationals though.

I have also discovered that Raph's brother Carl is in the the critically acclaimed The Scottsboro Boys which has transferred to the West End following a sold out run at the Young Vic. I should try and catch it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This one will run and run

Daily Mail faces £3m bill after libel battle with businessman Andy Miller
• Friend of former Met chief pursued claim over six years
• Newspaper could face Ipso after supreme court defeat
See Icons passim.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Should my kid lift?

The Year 9 Bomber played the whole of the Year 10's NatWest cup tie yesterday. They came away with a very handy 43-0 win that puts them into the last eight of the 75 teams that started in their London & SE region.

This is call good, and probably doing wonders for him socially and psychologically. As I noted yesterday however three games in four days is a lot, and he wants to start going to the gym as well.

Here are a couple of articles I picked up to help me make sure everything stays on the straight and narrow.

Should my kid lift? Part 1: The science says yes

Should my kid lift? Part 2: Principles for developing fitness in children for sport and life

Advice for fourteen and fifteen year olds is "progress to more advanced resistance exercise programs, add sport-specific components, emphasize exercise techniques, increase volume," but the money quote is:
Notes: Any kind of CNs training should NOT come close to leaving a child exhausted, beat up or excessively tired and drained. If this is a regular occurrence, check in. Especially if your kid also plays a sport.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"ὁ τὸ μὲν σῶμα ὑγιής, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν εὔπορος, τὴν δὲ φύσιν εὐπαίδευτος"

Reading a poster in Virgin Active, I have noticed that, now he is 14, the Bomber - once he has done an induction course - can go onto the gym floor unaccompanied and use everything bar the free weights. I think that last restriction is valid. There are barbell exercises that appear to consist of throwing the heaviest weight you can overhead and jumping underneath to catch it; I can imagine safer things. We have agreed I will join him up again. He used to be a member when he was learning to swim years ago.

Given that he has three rugby games in the next four days however (U15 NatWest Cup today, U14 school game Saturday and U14 Club League match Sunday) I think it can wait until later next week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

For all your key ring needs

As a rule when I bring my ever more selective audience's attention to the innovations of the Strabismuses (Strabismi?) of the world there is often (whisper it) an unworthy satirical intent.

Let's be entirely clear though, when it comes to hot sauce on my key ring (, ‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. I could have done with it trying to work my way through the radicchio I insinuated into yesterday's lunchtime wrap, I can assure you of that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The TV remote control is still missing. I have had to order a new one.

My iPad fell out of the locker in the gym and the screen is cracked.

My Microsoft Surface Pro froze on the log in screen last night.

There is something wrong with the battery in my iPhone and it completely discharges over night.

My brother can't connect his laptop to the internet over the new WiFi network in his house.

The lock on the office front door keeps sticking.

I got some radicchio in my vegetable box this week. It tastes absolutely disgusting.

Apart from that everything is fine. I wonder what surprises today has in store for me.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Keep Tooting Bec Athletics Track running

Papers belonging to the Wandsworth Conservatives were recently leaked, revealing secret discussions to close Tooting Bec Athletics Track.
Now it looks like our worst fears have been realised. Just as the leaked document suggested, Wandsworth Council have announced plans to cut funding for the Athletics Track and hand over management to an outside organisation.

The track has been, and continues to be used by people of all generations; schools, running groups, other exercise groups and many more. There are serious concerns that proposals to hand over the running of the track could see it fall into the hands of a private company, and many local people and organisations priced out of using the facilities.
Therefore, we the undersigned call on Wandsworth Council to protect the current level of services at Tooting Bec Athletics Track and ensure it remains open and affordable to all local residents.
I have signed this petition on the website of Sadiq Khan is the Member of Parliament for Tooting. I know the track well from the Bomber's adventures with the Herne Hill Harriers. It would be a calamity for the area to lose it.

Remind me again about the Legacy of the 2012 Summer Olympics. "Continuing elite success, development of more sports facilities and encouraging participation in schools sports and wider." Yes, that was it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Luxor Smart TV Remote application can be used to control your Smart TV over your mobile devices. By using the properties of your mobile devices such as touch screen and motion sensors, Luxor SmartRemote application offers a more comfortable, convenient and improved way to control your Smart TV.
My TV remote control has disappeared. The Bomber is in the frame as far as I am concerned. There aren't any buttons on the device itself so I hope the iPhone app above can take the strain until the original reappears from the anomaly in the space and time continuum that swallowed it up. Failing that will have to take the strain.

Saturday, November 08, 2014


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
That is if you are Welsh, or English for that matter. If you're Irish feel free to dance a jig after a famous win over South Africa.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Thirty Years' War

I was down in Cardiff yesterday to see my new nephew Oliver "Wyatt" West.

The Bomber and I will be sitting down to watch the Wales v Australia game tomorrow.

The combination of these events has given me the inspiration to dig up David Bishop's try for Wales against Australia thirty years ago.

David Bishop having been been in school with me in Cardiff in the 70s, I have mentioned this to Ben before. Here is evidence that it is not a fairy story. We will watch it before the latest kick off for luck.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

At last - A Wormery that will grace your kitchen work top

Hello Nick Browne,
Stainless Steel Indoor Wormery
When we developed the very first domestic Wormery way back in the 1980's we described it as suitable for indoor or outdoor use. This was and is strictly true and as such the description has been copied by virtually all of our subsequent copiers and competitors. Whilst what we and they said and meant is technically correct, in practical terms inside was in all probability, a shed, garage, outhouse, utility room or at best a kitchen cupboard. Nothing wrong with this at all, but now we have finally moved to the next stage. This hygienically designed Wormery, will work well, fit into and above all look somewhere between good and stunning in your kitchen!
Large enough to deal with the typical kitchen generated organic waste of a family of two or three (get two if in doubt) this new and unique Wormery is only available from Original Organics and represents the functional and aesthetic leading edge in the world or indoor Worm Composting.
Made of Stainless Steel our Indoor Wormery boasts;
  • A generous 30 litre capacity with single chamber composting
  • Integral drainage platform and sump
  • A built in stand
  • An ergonomic stainless steel tap
  • A close fitting lid with long life clear rubberised plastic gasket seal
  • Triple pressure clip points and side handles for easy mobility
  • And a central fine mesh brass aeration vent
This Deluxe Wormery proves that style and substance can be achieved!
Starting at only £64.95, our Indoor Wormery includes everything you need to start it off and keep it going;
  • 1 pack of Tiger Worms
  • Coir Worm Bedding
  • 1.5kg Lime Mix
  • And Detailed Instructions
For only £10 more you can upgrade to the Deluxe Kit and get all of the above plus the following extras;
  • 1.5kg Worm Treats
  • 1 Moisture Mat
  • And a Composting with Worms Book by George Pilkington
With Christmas only seven weeks away, this Indoor Wormery would make the perfect gift. It's unique, new on the Market and exclusive to Original Organics.
We expect this Wormery to be one of our Best Sellers this Christmas Season, to avoid any disappointment come the big day, order early and avoid any potential stock outs.

Christmas or (see Icons Passim) Valentine's Day, I can always rely on Original Organics pinging my inbox with gift idea upon gift idea that I am unlikely to find anywhere else.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

In which pigeons come home to roost

When I regaled the quiz team last night with my story of sitting next to Melvyn Bragg in the theatre I was instantly shot down in flames as Andy H had trumped me by sitting behind David Beckham at the Emirates over the weekend.

Later I lost the tie breaker by being beaten to the punch on a Batman question after putting the boot in to Raph for the same failure a fortnight ago.

At least I didn't have to take the long way back to avoid ebola at St George's.

Small mercies.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Here's some stupid for lunch

While it is unquestionably true that we live in a golden age of idiotic inventions (see many, many Icons passim) it is important not to underestimate the sterling work done by our forefathers.
Inventions that Didn't Change the World is a fascinating visual tour through some of the most bizarre inventions registered with the British authorities in the nineteenth century. In an era when Britain was the workshop of the world, registration of designs was quicker and cheaper than the convoluted patenting process, and all manner of bizarre curiosities were painstakingly recorded in beautiful color illustrations and well-penned explanatory text, alongside the genuinely great inventions of the period. 
This book introduces such gems as a ventilating top hat; an artificial leech; a design for an aerial machine adapted for the arctic regions; an anti-explosive alarm whistle; a tennis racket with ball-picker; and a currant-cleaning machine. Here is everything the end user could possibly require for a problem he never knew he had. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Then, happy low, lie down.

MacKenna being between West Africa and Eastern Europe we went along to the Whyndam's theatre yesterday to plug him back into the UK's Zeitgeist with Charles III.

Guess who sat down next to me in row H of the stalls, only Melvyn Bragg, Baron Braggadocio, the Melvster, the South Bank Showstopper, for it is his time not ours he just lets us in it.

Rod was suitably impressed. Apparently they only get the lame like of Ben Affleck and Angelina Jolie at the UN in Kinshasa.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Though much is taken, much abides

I got a call from MacKenna last night met him around Leicester Square. He is in town back from the Congo with the UN, and shortly to depart for the Ukraine* with the Foreign Office.

There is more than a whiff of Universal-Exports-Pay-Attention-007-Ah-Mr-Bond-I-have-been-expecting-you about all of  this.

There is a plan to lay waste to more of Central London today. It may not be like thirty years ago for:
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
But it'll be close.

*Six years ago, when he was staying with me, we couldn't get into a Ukrainian restaurant as the was closed for a private function. (See the WBI time machine.) Perhaps we can try it again today?
Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: 'Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action'.