Thursday, May 19, 2016

I NEED CHEERING UP....

The last couple of posts have perhaps gone against my new found philosophy of being nice all the time but things happen to put happiness on temporary hold for a while.   In a desperate effort to cheer myself up a bit, I`ve found solace and comfort in my garden - my lovesome plot, Got wot.   It`s looking OK at the moment - here`s a photo of some of my stuff coming into bloom.   It`ll be fine unless the travellers take a shine to it.   Or a Portsmuff fan.  In the meantime, my computer needs another detox, so I`ll be keeping my head down for a wee while.   Back soon, I hope.


HERE WE GO AGAIN !!


This was the scene last summer when our village green was invaded by a group of `travellers,` who curiously seemed to be reluctant to do any travelling.   They broke into the fenced and gated green and made life seriously unpleasant for local residents. Problems involving illegal trespass, criminal damage, insanitary use of the stream flowing under the trees and dubious legality of vehicles all seemed to go unpunished.   No wonder the `travellers` feel that they can do this kind of thing with impunity, knowing that the powers that be are reluctant to use what powers they may have.

A few days ago, another group arrived, lifting a gate off its hinges and parking in the same community area and whilst there may not be quite so many as last year, there are still more than enough to see a repeat of all the problems we encountered then.   The Council have issued `notices,` which apparently required these malcontents to vacate the area by this morning.  They`re still here and word has it that the `notice` has simply been ignored and the Council has to go through yet another legal loophole which will mean that our visitors will remain where they are - unless a sudden urge to travel overtakes them - whilst the law grinds its pitiful course.

Seems to me there`s one rule for us law abiding taxpayers and quite another one for those who behave appallingly and simply ignore the requirements of the law.   Now, I was interested to hear the other day that David Cameron reliably informed us that if we vote Brexit in the upcoming EU Referendum, then we will be beset by a plague of killer bees, which we duly have been.   However, Cameron didn`t say anything about our village green being beset by a plague of dishevelled lawbreakers.  So I guess it`s OK to vote Brexit anyway.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Some time ago I promised myself not to post any more stuff about football but last weekend`s events made it impossible for me not to mention a couple of things.  And it`s good news for some and bad news for others.

First the good news.   Having now achieved four successive promotions, my local club, Maidstone United, now find themselves in the National League as a result of a penalty shoot out victory over near neighbours Ebbsfleet.  Well, I guess it is good news for Maidstone although they will have to do a lot of expensive work to their ground to meet the standards required of clubs in the highest league outside the Football League.  And as for their die-hard supporters, they now face away trips to places such as Barrow, Gateshead, Lincoln, Torquay, Tranmere and all points in between.   Good luck with that.

My beloved Southampton ended their season with a thumping 4-1 win over Crystal Palace to end up in 5th place in the Premier League and guaranteed qualification for the Europa League next season.   They might drop down to 6th if ManUre beat the Cherries of Bournemouth in tonight`s rearranged game but even so it has been the Saints best ever season in the Premier League so I`m over the moon about that with only the onset of arthritis preventing me from dancing in the streets.

But what made Sunday a perfect day for Saints fans was witnessing Portsmuff being denied a place in the Wembley final of the League Two play-off thanks to an injury time header from Plymouth`s Peter Hartley.  Oh dear, what a shame, never mind.

I`ll shut up about football now and go back to being born again Mr. Nice Guy.  Honest.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC....

.......is, of course, one of the many ABBA classics.  And those songs still run through my head from all those years ago.   But what`s interesting is to listen to Agnetha singing nowadays and you quickly realise that the songs of yesteryear, for all their passion, emotion and stories of love and loss, may not have had quite the degree of maturity and experience which. after all these years, she brought to an album recorded just three years ago in 2013.   Either that or maybe I just prefer the older, more mature woman?     Anyway here`s the haunting, lilting `When You Really Loved Someone.` proving, if proof were needed, that the lady has still got it and that class is permanent ...........





Thursday, May 12, 2016

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS....


It seems a shame that as the football season reaches its querulous climax, the cricket season has begun in its now accustomed minor key.   No Super Sundays, no Magic Mondays, no sound and fury, no blazing headlines, just the quiet beginning of the summer game.   And it is particularly unfortunate that the passing of one of cricket`s true gentlemen has largely been confined to inner pages and sparse comment.

Tony Cozier, the voice of West Indies cricket, has left us at the age of 75 after half a century of writing and commentating on summer`s beautiful game.  Whilst admired and revered in his native Barbados, his mellifluous, almost exotic voice brought wisdom, knowledge and insight to cricket listeners the world over.

He was fiercely proud of Caribbean cricket, so much so that when things did not go as well as perhaps they should, he was quick to voice his opinion to those in control of the West Indies game, to tell it like it was and to tell it how he saw it.   And he was invariably right.

I`ve noticed today`s obituaries have without exception been fulsome in their appreciation of him, not only as the hugely authoritative commentator he so clearly was, but also as a man.   Not long ago, we cricket buffs mourned the loss of Richie Benaud and now we see the passing of Tony Cozier.   We are much the poorer for having lost them both. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN...

Here`s a photo I took on a recent pilgrimage to the North Cornwall Coast Path.  It`s the stretch between Lundy Bay and Pentire Point and the promontory at the top of the photo is known as The Rumps, with the island, known as The Mouls or Puffin Island, just out to sea.   Apart from the majestic scenery, this bit of the coast path is memorable for a more poignant reason.

Just around the corner from Pentire Point at the top left of the picture, there`s a rather small and obscure plaque which marks the spot where Robert Lawrence Binyon (1869-1943) is alleged to have written his immortal poem, `For the Fallen.`   I say `alleged` because there`s another spot on the coast path, further down near Portreath which also claims the distinction.

Having come across the Pentire plaque and spent a few quiet moments of contemplation, I would merely suggest that the grandeur of Pentire Point must surely have been the greater and more dramatic influence for Binyon`s poem which, of course, includes the stanza that we all know and revere so well:-


They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.



Saturday, May 07, 2016

CLOSE TO HOME....

It`s a curious thing but sometimes the spectacular can happen close to home.  The other afternoon I took Barney for his walkies in the wood next to our village and it wasn`t just the fact that Spring seems finally to have arrived here in deepest Kent that made it special.   It was the sight, the scent and the sheer beauty of the bluebells that encouraged me to take these photos.   Just a pity I can`t post the smell as well as the sight.......



Please click on photos for better images)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

MUCH MISSED....

I`ve mentioned before that sometimes a piece of music or a song comes into my head and stays there until I`ve heard it for real.  This time it wasn`t just the music but the whole output and personality of the much missed and hugely talented Kirsty MacColl.   It`s over 16 years now since she was tragically killed in a speedboat `incident` off the coast of Mexico whilst diving in a restricted area where boats were banned. 

Her two sons were with her at the time - one was thankfully out of the line of the approaching speedboat but Kirsty managed to push her other son out of the way before succumbing herself to the oncoming boat.

She left behind an impressive body of work and it`s difficult to pick out just one example of her talent.  I`ve steered clear of the more `popular` ones and instead found this one which, `rising` only to No. 80 in the UK charts, nevertheless sums up her writing and musical talent, her vibrancy and her quirky take on things.   Here`s `Innocence`.......