Saturday, October 31, 2015

My verdict is final

Ahead of today's showdown with Australia, World Rugby has ruled, as a tribute in light of his likely retirement, that as throughout his career Ritchie McCaw has spent so much time during test matches in areas of the pitch where the other countries are supposed to be trying to play, he is to be officially eligible to be included in the all time best 15 of every other international side as well as New Zealand.

Ho ho, very satirical. I'll be watching the game in the Charles Holden later if any of my showbiz pals fancy it.

The most intriguing rugby news this weekend though is that the Bomber is scheduled to start at outside half tomorrow against Brighton after years in the back three at full back or on the wing,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Go, get the butter

Listen to Me Marlon, of which more perhaps another day, was released on fewer screens than Spectre this week but it is showing in the Clapham Picturehouse so that is where I took myself off last night.

Remembering that Bodean's is round the corner, I had a look at and found I could get a free movie ticket thrown in if I ate their baby back ribs and pulled pork combo first for a total of £15.

When you consider that the price on the menu for the combo alone is £15.45 and it meant I could get half a bar off my dinner before I went to the movies for free. So that is what I did.

It only takes me ten minutes to get to Clapham Common on the tube. Why don't I get along there more? I haven't been to Bodean's since I took the Bomber there in July last year, and - according to the WBI time machine - the last time I rocked up at the Picturehouse was 2007.

Time is a funny thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


What is the name of your least favorite child?
In what year did you abandon your dreams?
What is the maiden name of your father’s mistress?
At what age did your childhood pet run away?
What was the name of your favorite unpaid internship?
In what city did you first experience ennui?
What is your ex-wife’s newest last name?
What sports team do you fetishize to avoid meaningful discussion with others?
What is the name of your favorite canceled TV show?
What was the middle name of your first rebound?
On what street did you lose your childlike sense of wonder?
When did you stop trying?
I have just stopped trying now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Rules of Mr Robot

I watched the first four episodes of Mr Robot last night. Talk about wearing your influences on your sleeve.
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about AMERICAN PSYCHO.
3rd RULE: If someone says "stop" or goes limp, You do not talk about TRAINSPOTTING.
I'll still watch the rest of the series though. Or at least that is the plan. I haven't really got a boxed-set level attention span. I've only ever watched the first episode of The Wire, and I bought that over six years ago.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


You have missed Spoonfest 2015, which ran from July 28th to the 30th, but you couldn't have gone anyway as it was a sell out.

Myself: Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

Richard Benson: Gentlemen, I have seen the future, and it is spoon-shaped.

Monday, October 26, 2015

“How could you have had such a wonderful life as me if there wasn't a God directing?”

I read this morning that Maureen O'Hara died on Saturday. I wonder if that is why The Quiet Man turned up on TV that afternoon. I'm glad I watched it again.

I must schedule How Green Was My Valley and Miracle On 34th Street as well.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

If you knew your country's history as well as you claim to know it

The Quiet Man is just starting on More 4. I am unavailable until half past two, then I will be off to watch the World Cup semi.

Unless its only a mirage brought on by my terrible thirst.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Segue Swegway

His hover board has arrived. All we need now is for someone to invent a belt and he will be able to tuck his bleedin' shirt in.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Strike Price

We are living through a week in which our government is allowing the British steel industry to go to the wall because it has to pay twice  as much for energy as competitors in, say, France and can't match the prices at which China is dumping excess capacity on us, while simultaneously agreeing to pay the French majority publicly owned EDF and the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) twice the going rate for electricity from a nuclear power plant they will build at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

This is strategically and economically insane; practically treason to put it bluntly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spotted on the tube

Shoes for bees, edible hats, suede binbags, pasta tent, the Hover Kettle and waterproof jam. I've said it before but it's Dr Strabismus's world, we just live in it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Fields of Athenry

About an hour into the New Zealand France quarter final at the World Cup I was astounded to find the stadium ringing to the sound of thousands of Irish fans singing a song that I have now discovered is called The Fields of Anthenry. This came as something of a surprise to me as Ireland weren't due to play until the next day.

"The Fields of Athenry" is an Irish folk ballad set during the Great Irish Famine (1845–1850) about a fictional man named Michael from near Athenry in County Galway who has been sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food for his starving family. It is a widely known and popular anthem for Irish sports supporters.
It was actually written as late as the 1970s,and the most successful version was released by Paddy Reilly in 1982. So now we know. All together now.......

Monday, October 19, 2015

My regular shows

"Cyber-conspiracy thriller Mr Robot (Amazon Prime) has been US TV’s most talked-about new drama of 2015. Bafflingly, it took months for a UK broadcaster to snap up the rights. When someone eventually did, it was Amazon’s streaming service, where it’s likely to attract only a niche audience. A shame, as this is edgily exciting stuff." says the Telegraph, so I cued it up when I got in yesterday.

Having watched the Ireland Agentina quarter final at the Ruts and Australia versus Scotland in the Charles Holden though, I promptly fell asleep so I can't report on it.

My niece, Jazz, having hipped me to the Regular Show over the weekend, I was also pleased to see I can get the first two series of that free at the point of delivery on Prime.
The series revolves around the lives of two friends, a blue jay named Mordecai and a raccoon named Rigby—both employed as groundskeepers at a local park. Their regular attempts to slack off usually lead to surreal, extreme, and often supernatural misadventures. During these misadventures, they interact with the show's other main characters: Benson, Pops, Muscle Man, Hi-Five Ghost, Skips, Thomas, Margaret, Eileen and CJ.
Hi-Five Ghost: What's not to like?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

away from the numbers

  • Old Rutlishians U15A 0-43 KCS Boys U15A
  • Ireland 20-43 Argentina
  • Australia 35- 34 Scotland
  • Carolina Panthers 27-23 Seattle Seahawks 23
You may safely say that the Ruts, the entire Northern hemisphere and my fledgling North American interests have had better days than today. Don't even get me started on Wales even though I was lucky enough to be at the Millennium on Saturday evening for the All Black master class.

Brian More says:
The joke started with an Englishman walking into a bar to find no Welsh, Irish, Scottish or French counterparts – they were all out watching their teams in the Rugby World Cup 2015. Well now they are all there but cannot get served because the Aussie barmen are watching all the semi-finals.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

This is a low, but it won't hurt you

On 27 June 1998 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria South Africa beat Wales 96–13 at rugby. Almost exactly a year late, on 26 June 1999, we beat them 29–19 at the Millennium Stadium.

A fallow period followed but we beat them there again last November and, with a bit of luck will prevail again at Twickenham in the World Cup Quarter final in Twickenham this afternoon.

That ought to give us some perspective on the school losing 90-7 to Dulwich College yesterday. (I note that 'Diq was out, and Bill came off injured. You can't really afford to lose your only two Surrey squad forwards.)

As I watched Invictus on Amazon Prime lately I offer:
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Prodnose: Thought you were smart when you took them on,
But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room
All that rugby puts hairs on your chest
What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

Friday, October 16, 2015

fried chicken vs. coffee shops

From the Strabismus Research Institute:
With the assumption that the ratio of coffee shops to chicken shops is an indication of future prosperity (with a resultant uplift in house prices), then the following characteristics make an area “legitimately” up and coming:
High density of coffee shops
Low density of chicken shops
Low house prices
And the results say…
Move to Peckham!
As well as Peckham, other areas of interest for property buyers on the hunt for the next best thing are: Southwark, Woolwich, Isle of Dogs, Colliers Wood, and Willesden Junction.
With the first report into how to predict London house prices complete, further investigation into other factors can duly follow.
Currently in the pipeline, are studies of the ratio of £1 stores: bicycle repair shops, fluctuations in the street price of coriander, and the density of shops selling quinoa…
Coffee in the Wood is putting pounds in my pocket it seems.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Viv S Section

I've been on Amazon Prime for a while now and it is starting to recommend music to me. Over the last couple of weeks it has brought two Viv Stanshall albums to my attention: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead and Sir Henry at Ndidi's Kraal.

I am old enough to remember when theses where hard to obtain rarities - they were certainly too hard for me to obtain - yet now I can add them to my library at no marginal cost at all. The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray!

Note to self: I must also listen to

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

some are innies and some are outies

← Geoff Parling (England)
→ Kane Douglas (Australia)

← Jonathan Joseph (England)
→ Matt Giteau (Australia)

← Konstantin Mikautadze (Georgia)
→ Lood De Jager (South Africa)

← Vereniki Goneva (Fiji)
→ Keith Earls (Ireland)

I have made the swaps above to rid my squad of players whose teams haven't made it to the quarter finals, and I am still hanging on at the top of the leader board in our Ruts fantasy rugby world cup competition on SuperBru.

I've still got another couple of transfers left but I don't have to finalise my squad and starting line-up for another four and a bit days so I will wait for team announcements before my last tweaks.

I still have not the faintest idea how points are awarded though.

Prodnose: Take a look at

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Charles III" II

I read in Vanity Fair that the Charles III, a play that imagines what might happen when the Prince of Wales ascends to the throne is to open on Broadway.

I saw it twice last year in the West End. The first time Melvyn Bragg was sitting next to me, and the second time I took a member of the Royal Household. I must have been an insider 2014. Now it's 2015 I am outside looking in again.

You know the Welsh football and rugby results from the weekend: two defeats but we are still through in both competitions. As I store memories here I will also record that the school lost 19-10 to the London Oratory and the club beat Bromley 19-7. Ben is off school sick today. I hope he is better in time for the Dulwich College game on Thursday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

She' s so modern

Peerage authorities have been called upon to determine if genetic material could be used to determine who should inherit the Pringle of Stichill baronetcy.
The Queen herself referred the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. 
The little-known court of top judges will rule on whether DNA evidence can lawfully be used to settle the issue of the hereditary title.
If approved, the use of DNA evidence in cases relating to hereditary titles could have far reaching consequences if 'pretenders' with genetic evidence of their birth right begin to emerge.
And to imagine Jeremy Corbin wasn't thrilled with the opportunity to join the Privy Council.

The Glidd of Glood, quite frankly, sounds less ridiculous, than the Pringle of Stichill.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fixture Pile Up

This weekend I will be anxiously watching the following:

Sat 10:30 Rutlish School U15A v London Oratory School U15A: Friendly
Tony Blair and Nick Clegg sent their boys there. Will Rutlish send them packing?

Sat 16:45 Wales v Australia Rugby World Cup Group A
Both are already through to the quarter finals, but bragging rights and a potentially smoother path the final are at stake.

Sat 19:45 Bosnia-Herzegovina v Wales European Championship Qualifying Group B
Chris Coleman's side are unbeaten at the top of Group B as they bid to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1958 World Cup. Wales need but a single point to reach next summer's European Championship finals in France.

Sun 11:00 Old Rutlishians U15 v Bromley RFC: Friendly
I am unfamiliar with Bromley but they beat Westcombe Park 38-10 in the first round of their cup competition so they are very likely no mugs.

I won't be able to watch the England Uraguay game as it clashes with Wales' football.

England Prepare For Quarter finals

Friday, October 09, 2015

Pacific Warriors

I am going to be watching the New Zealand v Tonga game in the Charles Holden this evening with the Colliers Wood Kiwi contingent, so Ben and I rented Pacific Warriors last night (you can get it on iTunes or Amazon Instant video) as part of my "we can be Tongan, just for one day" revision.

There is an interview with a guy called Jed Thian interspersed through the documentary which seems to have been filmed in the Old Ruts changing rooms as they were before the club was renovated. Another clue is the badge on the hoodie that is hanging behind him. Ben noticed it. I was oblivious as usual.

I knew there was a Ruts connection to the producer but I had no idea it went this far. I can't help but wonder if some of the other interviews were filmed in the bar now I replay it in my mind.

It is a great film by the way, and well worth a look.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

today's selection news

In no particular order of significance.

1. The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 is awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich, "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." I've never heard of her either.

2. Warren Gatland has ripped his Wales side apart to face Australia in the World Cup pool of death decider, making six changes from the XV that started against Fiji. In a series of shock selections, Gareth Anscombe starts at full-back, George North moves from wing to outside-centre, Justin Tipuric comes in to the back row at openside flanker - with captain Sam Warburton moving to blindside - and Paul James is preferred to Gethin Jenkins at loosehead prop. There is also a return for Liam Williams, with the Scarlets man coming on to the left wing to accommodate Anscombe in the No.15 jersey. Samson Lee also starts at tighthead and there's a change in the second row with Luke Charteris partnering Alun Wyn Jones instead of broken nose victim Bradley Davies.

Wales: G Anscombe; A Cuthbert, G North, J Roberts, L Williams; D Biggar, G Davies; P James, S Baldwin, S Lee; L Charteris, AW Jones; S Warburton, J Tipuric, T Faletau.

Reps: K Owens, A Jarvis, T Francis, J Ball, R Moriarty, Ll Williams, R Priestland, J Hook.

Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (captain), Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Scott Fardy, Sean McMahon, David Pocock.

Reps: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale.

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.