31 October 2009
28 October 2009
23 October 2009
It´s a bit chilly in Chile this evening...Time for bed.
22 October 2009
20 October 2009
I have been a regular internet user for fifteen years. I embraced the idea of the personal computer as soon as I could and looking through some old invoices, I recently discovered that back in 1996 we paid over £1600 for our "Tiny" computer package. That's a lot of money in comparison with today's computer prices and back then computer memories were small while speed of operation was frustratingly slow...So I swear I am not instinctively a technophobe.
Mobile phones or what our American cousins call cellphones are a different kettle of fish. I have an antipathy towards them and I don't possess one. But what is it that turns me away from these must-have modern day accessories? Lying here on the psychiatrist's couch, various points spring to mind....
18 October 2009
In the heart of Sheffield, between our beautiful City Hall and the John Lewis department store is a paved area known as Barker's Pool. It is dominated by the city's main war memorial with its huge flagpole. At the base of the monument there is a beautiful bronze casting of four soldiers with their heads permanently hanging down in silent respect for the fallen of two world wars. It is here where every Remembrance Sunday, the glorious dead are remembered with wreaths of poppies, prayers and private memories.
In a more sober state this is what Philip said : "I am deeply ashamed of this photograph and sincerely sorry for my behaviour. I didn't realise how much alcohol I had consumed that night and I also hadn't eaten since lunchtime, which worsened the effect. I have no recollection of the events in the photograph, although I recognise this does not excuse my actions."
We shouldn't excuse Philip's crime but it ought to be viewed in reasonable proportion. His apology sounded sincere. I would hate to think of him being booted out of university over this matter. In some ways, he is himself a victim of the boozy bacchanalian culture that is prevalent in most university cities. Philip didn't create that culture and he didn't invent Carnage UK so give the lad a break.
16 October 2009
Nowadays, packaging can be seen in two ways. Firstly, it's very ingenious - so many different methods have been devised to shift, seal and present a multitude of products. Secondly, it can be seen as an environmental crime - so much unnecessary waste. People produced much less packaging detritus when I was a lad.
This week I have bought a padlock and an electrical extension lead from the great cathedral of DIY known as B&Q. Both products hung from display hooks and both were encased in hard, clear plastic. You must know the sort of packaging I mean. It's very tough and there's no way you could break into it with your teeth. To get inside these lethal plastic shells, you need a strong pair of scissors or a sharp Stanley knife. Nowhere in the inner display writing does it ever say how you are meant to break into these plastic carapaces.
12 October 2009
The heavy grey clouds of morningtime have given way to blue skies and intermittent sunshine. Sheffield is a great place to inhabit - especially if you are fortunate enough to live in the affluent south west of the city. There are so many trees and the countryside is literally on your doorstep.
Sheffield from the south west.
Ringinglow - The Round House & "The Norfolk Arms"
Over the stile and on to an ill-defined meadow path that finally leads into the Limb Valley. Tall trees - mainly lime and beech soar above me, as shafts of honeycoloured sunlight pierce the canopy of autumn leaves. I pass a swimming lake where signs have been put up - "No Swimming" - and I wish I had my trunks with me.
Soon I am at Whirlowdale and marching by the side of Ecclesall Road South. I notice huge, wealthy homes behind electronically controlled gates. This isn't Beverly Hills but incredibly plenty of these houses would not look out of place there. One house has the wrought iron initials - "S.C." and in the distant driveway an array of luxury cars are parked up.
The old sign on entering The Limb Valley.
11 October 2009
I'll sing you this October song,
Oh, there is no song before it.
The words and tune are none of my own,
for my joys and sorrows bore it.
Beside the sea
The brambly briars in the still of evening,
Birds fly out behind the sun,
and with them I'll leavng.
The fallen leaves that jewel the ground,
They know the art of dying,
And leave with joy their glad gold hearts,
In the scarlet shadows lying.
When hunger calls my footsteps home,
The morning follows after,
I swim the seas within my mind,
And the pine-trees laugh green laughter.
I used to search for happiness,
And I used to follow pleasure,
But I found a door behind my mind,
And that's the greatest treasure.
For rulers like to lay down laws,
And rebels like to break them,
And the poor priests like to walk in chains,
And God likes to forsake them.
I met a man whose name was Time,
And he said, "I must be goin,"
But just how long that was,
I have no way of knowing.
Sometimes I want to murder time,
Sometimes when my heart's aching,
But mostly I just stroll along,
9 October 2009
This brings me to the title of this post - "Huddles" - and sorry for my odd mental linkage - I'm not thinking about huddles of Jews in the streets of Warsaw or Prague but about Britain's remaining smokers. You must have seen them - outside offices, shops, bars and even hospitals - huddles of smokers looking, well, like modern-day outcasts, the rejected ones. They have furtive body language and seem self-conscious as you pass by. One arm will often be crossed over the chest as they suck on the evil weed, billows of acrid blue-grey smoke rising above their pasty heads. I want to go over and yell - "Stop this stupidity and get inside! Give the horrible things up!"
I hate it when I have to enter a building that is being guarded by a smokers' huddle. It's best to take a deep breath of unpolluted air and then dash through, taking care not to catch the smokers' eyes. You never know how these odorous outcasts might react. In fact, returning to those WWII armbands, I think new dayglo orange armbands should be mandatory for all smokers complete with the embroidered label "Smoker" and a suitable symbol - maybe a little chimney belching smoke or a cigarette being stubbed in an ashtray or perhaps, to keep it simpler, the cutesy swastika and cancer stick design shown above. Absolutely no apology to any smoker who may be coughing over this post. Give em up!
6 October 2009
WOMAN much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever consigned to existlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward
And the woman calling.
3 October 2009
We have lunch at Tony and Fiona's house. Today it was sausage sandwiches and a slice of the prize-winning Victoria sponge that Fiona had prepared specially. It's easy to talk to them. It's so nice to have people in your life that you don't have to prove anything to, people with whom you can really relax and of course it helps that we have history together that goes back over thirty years - to the time when Tony was a long-haired student nurse in Sheffield.
Around two o'clock we're back in the car, down to North Ferriby and on to the "Park and Ride" facility at Hessle. We park up and make for the first bus we can get on. It's £2 return for each of us but it avoids parking near the ground and you enjoy a quick getaway if you can get in the queue soon after the final whistle. The bus drops us at the gates of West Park through which we wander along the path of enlightenment to our temple - The Kingston Communications Stadium. Other followers dressed in the black and amber shozoku walk alongside us as reverentially we approach our turnstiles, stopping only to purchase programmes and halftime draw tickets.
Up the concrete steps - flight after flight until we are on the concourse at the top of the West Stand. Worshippers huddle and share matchday observations before we emerge into the light, making our way to Row R ready to see the drama unfold before us.... "We are Ull! We are Ull! We are Ull!....Silverware? We don't care! We follow The City everywhere!...Geo! Geo! Geo!" And oh the joy when we score...twenty thousand people feel it at exactly the same time. For a brief but wonderful moment the troubles of everyday life are completely forgotten.
Vennegoor of Hesselink is mobbed after scoring against Wigan this afternoon.