28 February 2008
24 February 2008
Like African explorers, we study the A to Z and weave our way past weird and unfamiliar urban zones like Bearswood, Smethwick and Winson Green till we arrive at the wasteland known as West Bromwich. We park up on Paddington Road, crossing our fingers that the car will still be in one piece when we return. Failing to find a "greasy spoon" for some lunchtime nosh we pass through the Jeff Astle gates and purchase burgers and chips and styrofoam cups of tea at extortionate prices from the fairground caravette.
In The Hawthorns for the very first time. The cops and stewards search us without explanation or apology in this free country. We find our cramped seats in the packed away end. The match kicks off and half way through the first half we score - a wonder goal from Fraizer Campbell, looped in from thirty yards out. The Baggies start to come back at us and they equalise five minutes before half time. We await the second half with trepidation but after the break our lads are on top again. We create more chances and we have got the mighty West Brom under the cosh. We're taunting their fans - "You're supposed to be at home!" and "Just like a library!" till in the eighty second minute Caleb Folan ghosts in from the left wing and despite the attention of three defenders, drives past the faliling West Brom goalie into the corner of his net.
The Hull City end explodes with unbridled joy. We haven't won at West Brom since 1974! The fourth official signals four extra minutes! Four? Where the hell did they get them from? No trainers on the field, nothing! Is the ref a closet Baggies fan? But the whistle eventually goes and we have won! Oh wonder! Oh beauty! "Oh what joy it is to see Hull City win away!" (To the tune of "Jingle Bells").
Later we pick up Frances from the student residence and get ripped off by a greedy taxi driver who takes us into the heart of the Balti triangle. He tries to deposit us at the wrong restaurant but I have done my homework and we are definitely going to the Al Frash on Ladypool Road. £15? You tosser! On the first floor, who is sitting there - none other than the Brummie MP, Clare Short. Rudely, she doesn't even ask for my autograph!
The curry is superb and authentic and it is easy to see why this little curry house recently figured in The Guardian's top ten of British curry restaurants. We swill the delightful grub down with Cobra beer from the nearby off-licence. Then we get an £8 (!) taxi ride back the way we came and guzzle a couple more drinks in The Garden House near our hotel.
Oh Lord! Good company, great food and a fine Hull City victory. Could heaven possibly be better than this? There's even a curtain up in our room as we collapse into bed.
20 February 2008
17 February 2008
I think I am liberated enough to be beyond this instinctive game of oneupmanship so whenever I hear a sniff, I immediately sniff back. It has got me some very funny looks. I have never seen any academic writing about this habit but I swear it does exist. To all you men out there, I urge you to listen out to the sniffers - though it is very possible that you yourself have been signalling your status through sniffing for years without ever noticing you were doing it!
13 February 2008
Beech wood and rocks beneath Stanage Edge
View along the northern part of the edge.
Rock climber wondering where his mate has gone. Aaaaaaaargh! SPLAT!
Abandoned millstone near an ancient quarry.
9 February 2008
7 February 2008
Sir Rob Clack relaxing on the patio behind his mansion in Hertfordshire. Photo taken by Professor Dolly Clack of the University of Cambridge Canine Studies Department. Click on him to access his blog.
3 February 2008
After the performance we sped back up the M42 and M1 to Sheffield - making home ten minutes before midnight. More proud of her than Hull City's victory over Plymouth. A different Saturday night...
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