Sunday, December 24, 2006

It`s reported that one Paul Hewson, aka Bono - a citizen of the Irish Republic - is to be given an honorary knighthood in the New Year Honours.
Now, apart from not being a citizen of this country and a purveyor of dubious music along with his buddies in the U2 combo, Hewson is perhaps best known for his endless rantings about relieving poverty in Africa and world debt generally. These protestations are usually accompanied by a barage of shrill demands that the rest of us should give all our money away to these deserving causes....whilst Hewson & Co spirit their own fortunes away into the Rotterdam tax haven. A classic case of `do as I say` rather than `do as I do.`
Of course, Mr. Hewson is merely following the example of his Irish forerunner, Bob Geldof, who was similarly knighted some years ago in recognition of his own hectoring after our cash. But at least Geldof had the excuse that, since he was a failed warbler himself, he could be forgiven for manufacturing a second career as a saviour of humanity.
Being charitable (as it`s Christmas) I don`t suppose either of these gentlemen actively sought the honours being bestowed on them, so I will direct my rant in the direction of Tony Blair who, in nominating friend Hewson, may be doing so in the misguided belief that it`s `cool` to honour such right on figures in much the same way as he did for Sir Mick Jagger and that shining example of restraint and erudition, Sir Alex Ferguson. Sadly for Blair, it doesn`t work.
Just before the last election, a labour party canvasser knocked on my door, demanding to know for whom I might cast my (allegedly) secret vote. My response was simply to state that, quite apart from all of Blair`s other failings, I would never forgive any Government that made Ferguson a knight of the realm.
So, sorry Tone - it`s no good you thinking of tempting me with a Baronetcy or any other `honourable` bauble - I`m finding it more honourable to be just plain Mister. Thanks anyway.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

from our Medical Correspondent

Further medical investigation into Snopper`s aliment has finally diagnosed the problem as shingles. A visit to the local GP Surgery on Thursday saw a more experienced medic finally identify the problem. Shingles normally attacks either one side of the head or the upper body and so Snopper`s unusual lower leg outbreak threw the medical profession off the scent.

Unfortunately, the time taken to correctly come up with the diagnosis has meant that the time had passed whereby any anti-viral medication (the usual remedy) would be effective and so Snopper has to just live with the condition until it decides it`s had enough and goes away - which could be a few weeks....or a few months...or even years. A gloomy prospect for one so full of vitality, energy and love of life.

Snopper`s world-wide weblog audience which has grown now to almost double figures will not be receiving any further medical bulletins but instead can look forward to the usual cutting-edge articles appearing on this site.

In the meantime, a downstairs loo door crisis has been resolved at Snopper Towers. For four days, the door was closed and unable to be opened. Fortunately, no-one was inside the loo at the time it became stuck. Despite dismantling part of the door `furniture`, trying to prize it open with a mole wrench and thumping the handle with a claw hammer, the door would not open and so a local locksmith was eventually summoned to drill it open. All is now well, but it`s hard to escape the notion that that event, coupled with the ailment referred to above, may be heavenly reprisals for the damning article published here a while back concerning the value of Christmas? Ding dong.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

from our Medical Correspondent

Thanks to Beverley the Osteopath, we can confidently report a significant improvement in Snopper`s mobility. However, there remains a mystery condition in the form of a nasty rash, which has broken out on his left leg, accompanied by tenderness and pain from waist to foot.

Snopper paid another visit to Nicole Kidman lookalike lady GP on Monday, as he was concerned that this unsightly and debilitating problem might have an adverse effect on his modelling career. The Doc was unsure of the diagnosis, having trawled the pages of Google in a vain attempt to track down the cause (I kid you not!) In the end, steroid cream and antihystemine was prescribed, which has been slavishly applied to the affected area, despite the temptation to bring the benefits of steroids to other parts of the anatomy.
If no improvement comes about in the next day or so, Snopper will take up NK lookalike`s suggestion of consulting with a more experienced GP in the same practice......always providing that an appointment can be made through the immigration control-type appointments system.
With a hectic diary of events in the festive season, including a planned visit to St. Mary`s Stadium, a crucial door repair job to undertake, car cleaning, painting, gardening and dispensing festive cheer to anyone within earshot, it is to be hoped that Snopper will be up to the task shortly.
Further bulletins may be issued in due course; then again, they may not be.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

TOLD YOU SO.......the cringingly awful BBC Sports Personality of the Year resulted in the Queen`s Grandaughter, Zara Phillips, being named as this years`s winner. Now, I wonder what`s going on when results as bizarre as this can happen?
Before we get on to Zara (if you`ll forgive the phrase) there are a couple of other `intersting` things which have come to light. For instance, how is it that St. Helen`s Rugby League team can lift the Team of the Year award? Now, this is a game played almost exclusively `oop north` and is of no real interest to the rest of the country. However, the BBC do have the exclusive rights to televise Rugby League matches (big deal) whereas they did not televise the Ryder Cup, won in spectacular style by the European Team. Curious.
Similarly, the fact that the two champion boxer nominees (Messrs. Hatton and Calzaghe) failed to reach even the final three surely has nothing to do with the huge investment made by ITV in televising the noble art.
The BBC seem reluctant to explain the details of the voting procedure, merely announcing the percentages of votes cast for nominees which casts as much doubt over the outcome as their reluctance to come clean over how the nominations were arrived at to begin with.
As to Zara, well I`m sure she`s a nice lady and I have no wish to chastise anyone unfortunate enough to be born to her position, but it`s odd that the `equestrian press` ran a campaign among their readership to encourage votes to be cast in her direction - as illustrated.
But let`s spare a thought for the horse - surely, if anyone deserved to share in this award it was the equine champion which took Zara to her triumphs....and quite possibly had as much `personality.` Amazing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

On Sunday evening, the BBC will broadcast the SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR live and direct from the NEC in Birmingham. That in itself is a departure from tradition, which has hitherto seen the programme staged at the BBC Television Centre in London. More innovations this year include the fact that the 10 nominees for the award have been drawn up by a secretive group meeting behind closed doors and allegedly containing representatives of sports writers, sports people and the ubiquitous `general public.` Shame they remain anonymous.
So its hardly surprising that this year`s nominations contain no-one from leading sports such as football, rugby or athletics. Not enough pc representation, I imagine. Instead we are being invited to phone in with our votes on Sunday evening and choose between the following list of sports `personalities`:-
- Darren Clarke (Ryder Cup Golfer) : Joe Calzaghe and/or Ricky Hatton (Pugilism) : Jensen Button (F1 winner after 100 attempts) : Nicole Cooke (Winner of Women`s Tour de France) : Monty Panesar (Cricketer currently failing to get into England Test team) : Zara Phillips (Horse person - born to it) : Phil "The Power" Taylor (known in the world of darts for being marginally slimmer than Fat Belly who, in turn, was marginally slimmer than Even Fatter Belly) : Beth Tweddle (Gymnastics) and Andy Murray (Tennis adolescent.)
Now, I have no doubt that they are all worthy representatives of their particular sport or pastime, but as I have yet to be exposed to the `personality` of most of them, I feel at a disadvantage when asked to cast my vote (at premium rates, no doubt.) So I don`t think I`ll bother. In fact, the programme these days is a bit like that two-week long snooker event...or the Eurovision Song Contest, when all you really need to do to find out the winner is to watch the last five minutes. That way, I can avoid the cringing embarrassment of sitting through a singularly uninspiring retrospect of our sporting year all lovingly presented by BBC `presenters` who have come straight off the shelves of Ikea.
The BBC test card could well be more entertaining.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

until 21st December - the shortest day.
Henry our retriever has been sad just lately - the days are very short, the evenings long; not much sun around even though it`s not been cold. Each time he goes for a walk - across the fields, through the woods and the orchards of mid-Kent - we both get mud-splattered, wet, bedraggled, so he doesn`t like this time of year any more than I do.
I`m convinced I suffer from a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but being the sad old git I have now become, maybe it`s just the way I am. I do find the dark days of winter to be difficult to handle - I long for the summers, the long, sunny days drifting into langourous evenings and so I count the days until the shortest day of the year.....only 19 days away now, after which the days once more begin to lengthen.
I have discovered that there is a S.A.D Society, who give advice to sufferers about the symptoms, the causes and possible treatment for the condition. I admire their devotion to helping others, but they must literally be the sadest society going. I`ve trawled their website in the vain hope that they might advise me to get a life, fly off to Australia, chat up Rachel Hunter now she`s `free` or even ask my son to arrange an evening with Kylie....but all they suggest is that I buy a lightbox and join in with others at meetings where they stand around being miserable. I don`t think so somehow.
Dylan Thomas wrote a stirring poem for his dying father, which included the advice to `rage, rage at the fading of the light.` Well, I`ve done my share of raging these past few weeks and - another sign of ` age-related SADness` - it seems that there is more and more to rage against these days. In material terms, I can complain of nothing...and I don`t. But I look around the world from my perspective of a comfortable chair in a disintegrating `society` and find very little to lift the spirits.
However, reports from the antipodes (where I have my own correspondent) suggest that there is every hope for a bright future both within the gentle suburbs of Adelaide and the cricket ground, where England have regained their cricketing pride. I have long suspected that God might well be Australian - who else would arrange to have the date for celebrating his only begotten son in the middle of summer, whilst we over here are condemned to trudge through our own yuletide festivities in the midwinter gloom? Good on ya` mate!