Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One for the scrapbook

England's Marcus Watson is tackled by Dan Fish of Wales, Cathay Pacific-HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong, March 27, 2015
Not such a good tournament though, England beat us and we eventually went out 34-0 to Scotland in the semi-final of the Bowl.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The gadget show

As an Amazon Prime member, I got the chance - which I took - to pre-order - an Amazon Fire TV stick for £19 last week. As someone who has has installed Windows 3.0 from a stack of floppy disks about a foot high back in the day I still find even the idea of a streaming media stick close to miraculous.

Back in the work-a-day world, both my slow cooker and my Actifry broke over the weekend. I don't imagine I will be able to replace either at a tenth of the original cost or size.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another Thousand Clowns

That is this afternoon's entertainment sorted out then (see Icons passim).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Worth waiting for

Wales have taken a step closer to Euro 2016 with a brilliant away win over Israel thanks to an Aaron Ramsey header and brace from Gareth Bale on a famous night in Haifa took Chris Coleman's side to the top of Group B.

Victory has given Wales 11 points from their opening five qualification matches, and Coleman feels a further nine points from their remaining five games will be enough to take them to the Euro 2016 finals in France.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
12 June: Belgium (h)
3 Sep: Cyprus (a)
10 Oct: Bosnia (a)
6 Sep: Israel (h)
13 Oct: Andorra (h)

Friday, March 27, 2015


Mid week rugby training at the Ruts having finished as the season starts to run down, the Bomber has returned to Herne Hill Harriers and the javelin (see Icons passim) for the first time in more than eighteen months.

The Harriers now have a regular javelin coach, Nick, who trains a small squad of juniors from 7-8.15 on Thursdays.

Ben went last night and enjoyed it, so I guess that is where we will be most weeks from now until the end of August.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

the black spider

The UK's highest court has refused to overturn a ruling which paved the way for publication of letters written by the Prince of Wales to government ministers.

Supreme Court justices in London rejected a challenge by the Attorney General, the Government's principal legal adviser, against a decision by Court of Appeal judges that he has unlawfully prevented the public seeing the letters.

From the BBC's coverage:
The prince is heir to the throne and, as the royal family's own website explains, it is central to the British constitution that the reigning monarch should remain politically neutral.
"Brothers, what we do in life, echoes in eternity."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

With exactness grinds He all

I got in last night and decided that a chicken lasagne was the best match with the contents of my fridge and kitchen cupboards, only to be blown off course when I discovered that I didn't have any flour to make a bechamel sauce.

As I pondered this disaster, a vague memory that the Nutribullet I bought four months ago had come with a "milling blade" interrupted my reverie.

And so it came to pass that I ground then made a roux from my own rice flour; very good it was too as well, though I would probably sift it before cooking next time.

A new era of home made powders and pastes dawns. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

put a stop to all this fxxxking élan acquis

We were pipped at the post into second place at the quiz last night so we have failed to match June 2013's five on the bounce and have to live with ourselves after four wins in a row and then a silver medal. As runners up we only get a £25 bar tab for next week.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Monday, March 23, 2015

And is there honey still for tea?

Send to Kindle for Google Chrome is a great little tool.

If I come across a long article, like Save the Honeybee, Sterilize the Earth by Josh Dzieza, that I want to add to my reading list I just click a button to reformat is and send it to my Paperwhite.

Josh Dzieza's piece is worth reading by the way.
In the US the bee keeping industry makes more money from migratory pollination than from honey sales.
Today, to pollinate California’s almond crop alone requires the services of up to three-quarters of all the managed honeybees in the United States. And they don’t get to the valley on their own; the bees are trucked in by the billion from as far away as Florida each January, just before the trees begin their brief fortnight in bloom.
This has happened because when farmers began planting larger plots with one crop, the natural balance of pollination was distorted. A monoculture, as it’s called, can’t sustain all the wild insects it needs to pollinate it, because there’s nothing for the insects to eat when the main crop isn’t in bloom.
Bumblebees have been disappearing since at least the 1990s. In 2009 and 2010, researchers visited locations near Carlinville, Illinois, where 120 years ago a naturalist studiously recorded which bugs visited what flowers. They found that almost half the bee species were gone, and only saw one American bumblebee after 447 hours of observation. Many of these native bees also pollinate crops, and do so more efficiently than honeybees. As these native bees die, managed honeybees pick up the slack, and we become more reliant on a single species. “Bees aren’t a canary,” Marla Spivak told me. “They’re a mirror, telling us our agricultural system is out of whack.” She added, “We just need to let up the throttle a bit.”
But honey bees can also become malnourished from foraging in monocultural conditions, as opposed to natural habitats or even cities, where parks and gardens provide diverse sources of pollen. At the Beekeeping Federation conference last winter in Baton Rouge, Pettis explained that even pollinating a crop like almonds, which provide abundant and nutritious pollen, is “like living on nothing but broccoli”—in other words, not a balanced diet. And that’s during the two weeks the crop is in bloom; before and after, the bees must rely heavily on artificial supplements, usually mixtures of brewer’s yeast, sugar, and vitamins. The feeds provide protein when natural pollen is scarce, but they aren’t yet as good as the real thing, and bees can’t live on them alone.
This is barking mad. They are going to end up with no pollinators at all apart from a single sickly species of clinically selected and industrially reared honey bee that will be intensely vulnerable to a new disease because of the lack of genetic diversity in the breed. Load up on almonds now. You may not be able to get any in the 2020s.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The greatest day?

Italy 20-61 Wales
Wales entered the game with a points difference of +12, 25 behind England. Warren Gatland’s side scored 47 unanswered second-half points and George North scored three tries to boost their points difference to +53.
Scotland 10-40 Ireland
Ireland, on +33, were the closest to England in terms of points difference and this romp ended Wales’ hopes. Jonny Sexton kicked 16 points, putting them on +63 at the summit. Over to you England. You need a 26-point win over France.
England 55-35 France
England knew what they had to do: win by 26 points and the title was theirs. But each time they crossed the line, France did the same. At the end they needed just six points for glory, but their inability to stop conceding was their downfall.
If only I could remember any of it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chorus kids with bad knees

Rod is back on a break from policing the Ukraine. We met up last night in the Marquis of Angelsey, and ended up eating at Joe Allen's, a theatre hangout I've never been before.

There is much I could pass on of Mackenna's wisdom born of decades in the firing line, and of my conversation with the restaurant's lady piano player, but I have only just roused myself from the sleep of the just and Wales kick off against Italy in half an hour; needs must.

Joe Allen being Americana (I had ribs, slaw and fries), here are some Route 55 place markers.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Only last week

Time flies eh? Hat tip, Karen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The writer and commentator Brooke Magnanti – better known as the former high class call girl Belle de Jour – is reportedly suing her former boyfriend for libel on the grounds that he has suggested she was not a prostitute at the time of their relationship.
Dr Magnanti’s legal team is expected to argue that such a claim would be instead damaging to the reputation of a woman who made her name writing a blog about her time working as an escort, which went on to become two bestselling books and the successful TV series starring Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
The claim appears to have been lodged in response to her ex-boyfriend Owen Morris, a former RAF officer identified only as The Boy in the book, who in 2013 began proceedings against her for defamation and breach of privacy, claiming the publicity surrounding the book destroyed his air force career and damaged his reputation.
The news website Vice has reported that papers lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Session show Dr Magnanti has decided to counter-sue, claiming her reputation was damaged by doubt being cast over whether she had been a call girl.
Should it go ahead, Dr Magnanti’s libel claim could well be the first in the UK from a woman claiming she was defamed by suggestions she was not a prostitute.
One for Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, methinks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Super Sunday

TeamPWDLFADiffB PtsPtsAdjust
Warlingham U14s76012801151656370
Old Rutlishians U1476012721191536370
Chipstead U148404167142254290
Effingham & Leatherhead U14s7403212202104270
Old Caterhamians U14s7214153186-335220
Rosslyn Park U14A7304126175-493210
Chobham U14s7214111164-534210
Battersea Ironsides U14720586160-743180
Camberley U14720593237-1441160
Last Updated: Mar 16 2015 12:25PM

The Ruts ground out a 22-19 win away against Chipstead on Sunday, finally prevailing with a last minute penalty from Sid. It was an ugly but ultimately creditable performance with five first team players out; sevens and rugby league seem to take a toll on the squad at this time of year.

At the same time, Rosslyn Park were beating Warlingham (the only side to prevail over our boys this year) by 34-21.

Old Rutlishians and "the mighty Warl" are both already promoted for next season, but Rosslyn Park's sterling efforts leave us (as you can see from the table above) with at least a chance of ending up on top when the dust settles on April 19 after the last league games of the year.

Warlingham will be playing Effingham & Leatherhead then. E&L have been on a four game winning streak since we thumped them in January and taken the scalp of Rosslyn Park along the way.

Old Ruts will be playing Battersea Ironsides who we beat as I recall rather handily in an informal pre season friendly.

I can dare to dream. If we can thump the Ironsides and get a bonus point while Effingham hold Warlingham to less than four tries the fact that they have scored eight more points than us and conceded four less will be irrelevant.

Further, and regardless of the outcome come April, for the first time ever next season Old Ruts will feature in Division 1 at U14, 15, 16 and 17 which is absolutely remarkable.
Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!

Back in the office for the first time, after a week on the slopes, I am pondering my lifestyle.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wales 23-16 Ireland

I got back from Austria yesterday just in time to see Wales beat Ireland. I had it in my diary for today so, what with being "off the grid" for a week I nearly missed it. A text from Andy asking me if I was going to be watching it down at the Standard was saved me from my own stupidity,

Saturday, March 07, 2015

John Graham Chambers

John Graham Chambers (12 February 1843 – 4 March 1883) was a Welsh sportsman. He rowed for Cambridge, founded inter-varsity sports, became English Champion walker, coached four winning Boat-Race crews, devised the Queensberry Rules, staged the FA Cup Final and the Thames Regatta, instituted championships for billiards, boxing, cycling, wrestling and athletics, rowed beside Matthew Webb as he swam the English Channel and edited a national newspaper.
As I am travelling and semi-detached from the interwebs, you may have a Welsh Born Icon nominated by my brother John. They certainly crammed a lot into whatever little time they had on the planet, those Victorians.

Friday, March 06, 2015

I'm off to Saalbach, bach

The Bomber is back from skiing with the school and I am off without him on my annual trip. Here we all are together from five years ago. It is strange to think that he is now at least as tall as anyone else in this picture, and that I have borrowed his jacket this year.

We are meeting at the White Hart in Whitton at midnight and then getting a coach to the airport in the early hours of the morning. Thence to Saalbach in Austria where we will be staying at the Berger's Sporthotel.

As a rule I maintain radio silence when I am away on the piste, but this year I will have a Surface Pro with me and wi-fi in the rooms so it is possible I may tug on your sleeve about something even though I am out of the country.

For what it is worth, I have also got the Saalbach Hinterglemm Mobile App and the 79p Ski Tracks on my iPhone.
Just put your iPhone in your pocket and Ski Tracks will record all your mountain movements and analyse your performance and even provide Run-by-Run analysis of your whole day.
Add photographs to complete you day.
Maybe triathblog will be updated from Austria as well.

I will be back in Gatwick South at 11:10am Saturday week.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Hang Fire

Look what I found. In Cardiff of all places! We've missed Feb (Texas John C will be gutted) but could March or April be possibilities? Thursdays are school nights and I am in London but I am sorely tempted.

Also, as I am going skiing on Saturday I will miss the finale episode of Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South.
In the final part of his road trip, Reginald D Hunter takes a leaf out of Huckleberry Finn with a trip down the Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans through the Delta to learn about the birth of blues and how it manifests itself today.
In Louisiana Reg takes a detour to a bayou to learn about Creole culture and zydeco before winding up in New Orleans to meet the city's musical triumvirate of Dr John, Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas.
Also featuring Stax musicians Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd.
Catching up with that on the iPlayer should be the first thing on my list when I get back. If I was ever to set out somewhere from Memphis after flying in to Chicago I would probably take a riverboat cruise from St Louis to Memphis first.

And by the way, googling "Songs of the South" for the TV details above I came up with Rolling Stone's Southern Comforts: 25 Best Songs About the South which was only published three days ago. I need to run that past my Spotify playlist.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

You can only go down from here

It has struck me (if being told by someone else counts as striking) that the Ruts U14s are already promoted to Surrey League 1 for rugby next year. Surrey's rules give you one point for losing a game. I think the idea behind this is to make not turning up (zero points) a worse option for a struggling team than getting beaten.

Thus even if we lose the next two games (a highly unlikely scenario) we will still have get two more points and a total of 34 so we can't be caught.

Congratulations to the Bomber et al. Now that they are good I can finally get off my chest that in their first game at U11 (the age group at which kicking is allowed) KCS Old Boys scored against them from what seemed like every restart and I thought we would never amount to anything at all.

Also I was out at the tour committee meeting for Cardiff at the end of April last night, so I will just link 'blog the state of play for that.

24 April: Coach from the club to the Nos Da Studio Hotel and Hostel.
25 April: Game at Cowbridge RFC, Judgement Day III at the Millennium Stadium (maybe just the second match), dinner  at Fed.
26 April: Game against Llandaff at the Arms Park.

(I wonder if www.thesmokehaus.co.uk/location/cardiff can be fitted in too? It is in the same street as Fed.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Your Eyes Are Full of Hate, Forty-One

We won the Antelope quiz last night for the second time in a row after a barren few weeks.

Four down at the interval but sterling work on the music and film rounds made up for it after the break.

 I won't be able to share the £50 bar tab prize next week as I am away skiing.

Monday, March 02, 2015

top of the league

U14 League 2
TeamPWDLFADiffB PtsPtsAdjust
Old Rutlishians U1465012481001486320
Warlingham U14s5500212691435300
Chipstead U14640213273593260
Effingham & Leatherhead U14s630318118013210
Old Caterhamians U14s6213148157-95210
Chobham U14s621389131-423190
Camberley U14720593233-1401160
Rosslyn Park U14A620492154-622150
Battersea Ironsides U14610557155-982120
Last Updated: Mar 2 2015 12:43PM

I have just taken a gander at the Surrey Rugby website and noticed that the Old Ruts are top of the league. It might not last because Warlingham were due to play Chipstead yesterday and that result isn't in yet but it is worth recording.

Ireland's defeat of England yesterday means that Wales have still got a chance of winning the Six Nations.

March 15th is set up nicely. The Old Ruts away at Chipstead in the morning with a victory essentially assuring promotion, then Wales versus Ireland in the Millenium Stadium in the afternoon.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

'nuff said

The weekend so far:
France 13 Wales 20
Old Ruts U14A 52 Chobham 8
Old Ruts U14B 41 Battersea Ironsides 0
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'