23 days ago
We can talk of awful fouls and the penalty curse but should not deny that Italy played better football and deserved to win the European Championship. No doubt many of us are still in denial on that matter today but the statistics do not lie. I say this as someone who came into the tournament not supporting England for a range of reasons but who was won over by the charm of the young squad and of the manager and by the way it seemed to unite and give joy to the whole country. All of those involved in England did their country proud. I shall now go back to supporting Northern Ireland, but in this tournament the match against the Hun was the key turning point for me.
39 days ago
The reasons Matt Hancock should be fired are not that he is useless and incompetent, although he is both, or that he has betrayed his wife and kids, though he has. One suspects if those criteria were applied across Government then there would have to be a monumental reshuffle, starting at the very top.
59 days ago
Who to support in the Euros? There is no team from the island of Ireland and so it will be Wales which gets my backing as well as my normal second team, that is to say anyone playing against England. When Wales gets knocked out, maybe mother Russia is the team to back.
103 days ago
It may have escaped your attention if you are not a member of the GAWA or do not know what it is, but for the first time ever, the Northern Ireland Women’s Team has qualified for a major tournament. And thus. this St George’s Day I celebrate by starting down the path to get tickets for Euro 2022 to introduce my daughter to Northern Irish football. As is the norm I don’t pay any great attention to the English National day but I certainly take no offence from its celebration. My wife, on the other hand, may have parents born in India but identifies, on the census, as do most folks born in Nottingham, as English. For our kids growing up in Wales this will all be rather confusing.
125 days ago
The data below is from the ONS and covers England and Wales. 2020 data is provisional so maybe tweaked a bit but with that caveat you will note a couple of things. Or if you are Boris Johnson and everyone else in the political and media class GroupThink you will ignore a couple of things which show how we citizens, we Winston Smiths, have all been taken for fools. Clearly more folks died in 2020 than in the years immediately before that. Suicides were up, untreated cancer deaths were up but Covid is responsible for most of the uptick. But for those who talk of the new plague, it is not that much of an uptick is it? More critically…
130 days ago
Because of the lockdown rules and because so many of its campers have immune deficiency issues, Woodlarks cannot open this year and so it has no income. So if the Rogue Bloggers do not do another walk and do not raise £48,000, Woodlarks may not reopen at all next year so please do donate now HERE. As such, we band of seven have pledged to go the extra mile. This year it is 34 not 33 miles from Winchester to Woodlarks on May 29. And I am not in great shape.
159 days ago
I have had Covid so everything tells me that I am already as immune as someone who has had the jab. I believe that jabbing me is therefore utterly pointless. But I can see that if I want to make it to Greece this summer, I will almost certainly need a Covid passport so on that basis I jumped at the chance to get the jab. The NHS showed its usual efficiency by contacting me five times by mail, text (twice) and email about the whole matter.
193 days ago
As you know, we have had a spot of flooding here at the Welsh Hovel. In fact so much that we are on page 33 of today’s Mail. I stress that I do not read that frightful rag but my neighbour did and, so that you do not need to hold your nose, I bring you the dramatic picture below.
205 days ago
So says daughter Olaf who has repudiated her father’s DNA and is now identifying wholly as Welsh. She is perplexed that I laugh at the Welsh and its certifiable political class, predict that Independence in the short term would be an economic disaster for Wales as well as Scotland yet support the cause, as a Welsh resident, most strongly. Our starting point here is that my daughter is a teenager, lives in Islington and is a bit of a lefty. As such, she, by definition, does not really believe in jokes and many of my comments about cottage burners are said in jest and, thus, she does not understand them.
212 days ago
The last time I posted on the Facebook page of the last village in Wales was to say that if folks wanted to walk across our fields then they would be more than welcome to do so. At the height of lockdown, it seemed a decent offer and I had even cut back the grass so folks could do so in a socially distanced manner. That was met with overt hostility from some who saw this as an act of wicked selfishness.
219 days ago
There may be ice on the road and pavements today or even snow as Bella sweeps the country. You may slip. You might hurt yourself. Your car may skid. You may be injured. It is vital that we all protect the NHS by agreeing to 24 hours of house arrest. Surely, even though ICU bed usage across the country is at lower levels than it was this time last year, such a National clampdown ahead of a dose of global warming, is the logical extension of the policies of bonkers Boris, the little twit Matt Hancock and Mad Mark Drakeford since March.
230 days ago
Thanks to the certifiably insane First Minister here in Wales, Mr Mark Drakeford, boozers shut at 6 PM and can’t serve booze anyway. I can’t remember whether it is illegal to cross the border with England yet or whether the North Wales Police start arresting folks for this heinous crime on the 24th, 25th or 28th. Anyhow, we set off from the Welsh Hovel last night, four of us in the car, dashing the few hundred yards to the bridge to free England and what we found was heartbreaking.
246 days ago
To great fanfare, Scotland’s first poisoned dwarf, Ms Nicola Sturgeon, has announced a £500 bonus to valiant healthcare workers across Scotland. And, notwithstanding the grotesque subsidies paid by England and Wales to the feckless heathens, she demands that Boris Johnson makes this a tax free bonus.
247 days ago
I have noted before that the former babysitter to ex-wife Big Nose, that is to say Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, is insane. He has now announced new measures here in Wales to destroy what is left of our hospitality sector and I urge the men in white coats to drag this wretched man away before he cancels Christmas. You may remember that we suffered a “firebreak” lockdown here in Wales between 23 October and 9 November to stop the spread of the virus…
282 days ago
Clinically insane sufferer from little man syndrome, Mark Drakeford, rules a land now into its third day of house arrest. Its third day when shops are not able to sell what are deemed non-essential items such as clothes for my four year old and also for another baby due shortly, or a card to send to someone suffering a bereavement, or a computer. Today my laptop broke down…
283 days ago
In today’s podcast I recount three crossings of the border out of house arrest Wales into free England and on a visit to a local store. I discuss Carolyn Harris MP on kettles, a woman who makes Matt Hancock seem like Einstein. I discuss what a dead cat bounce actually is with reference to Malcolm’s article of earlier and also why I’m glad fund managers are telling MP’s where to stick it when it comes to who should run Boohoo.com (BOO)
283 days ago
Tomorrow, notwithstanding the house arrest fire break that starts at 6PM tonight, I head over the border to England. I do so perfectly legally, because I am doing so to get my annual flu jab. There is no surgery in our village here in Wales so almost all of us are registered with an English infidel GP a few hundred yards away on the other side of the river. Once in England I may wish to go shopping or head out for lunch at a restaurant or to go for a snifter at a boozer.
286 days ago
Three days ago, I asked who was going to certify Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford as insane after he announced that he was putting the nation under a fire breaker house arrest as of 6PM on Friday. This was needed, we are told, to protect the NHS in Wales. After his latest pronouncement, which marks him out as a true intellectual lightweight in the world of political pygmies, I wonder if there is anyone left in Wales who does not want Drakeford dragged off by the men in white coats?
289 days ago
I flagged up last week that Mark Drakeford’s plan to keep the English infidels out of our beloved Wales was insane. I sit here, 30 yards from the border, ever alert to the danger of a plague-ridden scouser trying to swim across the River Dee and will be out shortly to plant anti personnel devices across my fields in line with Mr Drakeford’s diktat of last week. But now the wretched little man, suffering from a severe case of little man syndrome, has gone further.
308 days ago
Joshua’s nursery is in England which is a blessing as it re-opened well ahead of institutions back here in the second world on this side of the border. And it means that although we go into Welsh lockdown on Thursday, I am going to be allowed to sneak over the bridge to take him to the nursery in free England.
315 days ago
There is no empirical evidence for the raft of civil liberties crushing and economy wrecking measures Boris Johnson announced yesterday but yet folks still want more. A YouGov poll showed 13% of us thought Boris had gone too far, 32% thought he had it about right but 45% wanted more restrictions, saying that the most illiberal Government in modern British Government had not gone far enough. Cripes, as Boris might say. Why am I not surprised?
338 days ago
A month ago I recorded my first podcast recounting a breakout from Wales and a trek through England HERE. The route this time is different and the insanity ratchets up as we are ordered to don masks. I recall a weekend spent in Nottinghamshire and the folly of thinking that we are all better people.
449 days ago
When, in a post Covid 19 world, our political leaders look for a new way to squander taxpayers cash, one inevitable option will be a public enquiry into what happened. Since the entire political & media class agreed on almost everything and will never admit they were blundering idiots in thrall to Prof Pantsdown it seems a pointless way of burning my hard earned cash but then when did that stop our leaders? If there is an enquiry I do hope it looks at the cretinous buffoons who are meant to be in charge of the rain sodden second world nation where I live, that is to say Wales.
534 days ago
I discussed the flooding of the River Dee at the Welsh Hovel earlier with photos HERE. I drive Joshua to his nursery in England ver a 700 year old bridge about three quarters of a mile downstream from our farm. The photos below are from the English side of the bridge. The first two look upstream towards the hovel and, yes, those are our fields underwater. The final three are from the other side of the Bridge.
751 days ago
For some reason, my wife’s family seem to be the only Indians on this planet who do not give two hoots about cricket. After seven years with the Mrs, I still found myself yesterday trying to explain what is a four, a six and an overthrow. None the less, as yesterday afternoon went on we had two TVs going at my mother-in-law’s house: one for tennis and one for cricket. Gradually even the Tennis goggle box became a cricket one as my mother and father in law became engrossed by the World Cup Final, without doubt the most exciting ODI ever.
781 days ago
I have not reported for a couple of days and I am glad to say that the waters are now receeding here at the Welsh Hovel. They have left our garden and the levels in the Orchard are down by a good foot and a half. The photos below are from Thursday and are from the area around the bridge I cross each nursery day walking Joshua off to “borstal” in England.
1118 days ago
For reasons explained in the podcast my walk up into the mountains is postponed until Saturday. So the suffering is delayed. Don't delay with a donation to Woodlarks HERE. In the bearcast itself I look at Evil Knievil's World Cup gambles and who he is backing in the final, at a potentially horrid spat at Bacanora (BCN) which looks set to get very nasty indeed, into murky share deals at Cabot Energy (CAB) - a massive scandal in the making and in real detail at the Telit (TCM) disposal announced today. The numbers just do not stack up.
1126 days ago
Maybe if you write for the Guardian you don't despise England in a fashionable North London sort of way you just hate folks being happy. After all this is the newspaper that, year in year out, laments the arrival of Christmas. But now it is the World Cup and the progress of England which as seen a nation party and show joy in a way we have not seen for years.
1142 days ago
Hell's teeth: I do not even support England, but the sneering elitism of the metropolitan elite, as exemplified by the little read Independent newspaper (below), almost makes me want to. For the avoidance of doubt, with no Irish team in Russia, I am hoping that England triumph. I would not go as far as some of my neighbours in flying the cross of St George but I understand their pride in their country and why they do so.
1227 days ago
The lead opinion piece in today's Times newspaper explains how academic success is not down to the choice of school but is genetic. The lead sports story is about how a nation where most folks are descended from convicted criminals has been caught cheating on an industrial scale at its national sport. Discuss.
1242 days ago
It was 2009 and the Ireland team of Brian O'Driscoll had just won the grand slam. For my father it was the second triumph for the Old Country in his lifetime. The first was in 1948 when Jackie Kyle from Belfast lead the men in green to the first ever clean sweep in what, was then, the five nations.
1257 days ago
My father has been watching the rugby like a hawk. Here in Greece I have been unable to watch but have kept in touch via the internet and calling my father after each game. Now this may not go down well with England supporters but in an Irish supporting family it was a perfect team as both our favourite teams won.
1630 days ago
I do not normally pay much attention to what folks on neighbouring tables say when watching the world go by in the Kourounis taverna in Kambos, the village closest to the Greek Hovel where I hope to spend most of the rest of my life. I just tap away at my keyboard or think about olives. But today I exploded as a fat and smug German explained to a couple of timorous Brits why hard Brexit would screw England and thus why we should "obey orders" and fall into line with what Germany, sorry the EU, wanted. I exploded.
1805 days ago
I remember my daughter remarking how wonderful the poisonous midget Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP was a couple of years ago, for there was a time when on both sides of the border this silly woman appeared to be the darling of the left, of the liberal media and the metropolitan bien pensants. Since my daughter lives in Islington, I expect midget worshipping was almost compulsory for her. But how the Sturgeon devotees must be recanting for as every day goes by the Scottish leader seems sillier and more disingeneous.
1831 days ago
The poisonous midget and Jimmy Krankie lookalike Nicola Sturgeon is, this morning, spitting out her porridge as a poll shows that post Brexit most Scots want to stay part of the UK. Bugger. I was so much looking forward to the midget leading her nation of whinging welfare junkies to glorious independence. I am, perhaps, even more gutted than Jimmy Krankie by this news.
Like all humourless lefties,
1844 days ago
Nicola Sturgeon seems amazed that EU leaders are not lining up begging Scotland to join the Evil Empire as soon as possible. It has not dawned on her that, set to lose a major benefactor in form of the United Kingdom (in reality England plus the Celtic scroungers), the last thing it wants is to take back the welfare addicted nation of idlers that is Scotland. Heck the EU alread has the basket case that is the Real Greece why would it want the wannabee Greece of the North as well?
1850 days ago
It has emerged that Welsh first Minister, socialist Carwyn Jones, spent £9,500 of taxpayers dosh flying on a private plane so that he could see Wales play England at the European Championships on June 16. Ordinary Welsh fans flew Easyjet or went Eurostar but, as is always the way with socialists, some are more equal than others. Carwyn has offered a snivelling excuse but even that is a piss poor one which just does not stand up.
2129 days ago
Big Nose, the mother of my Welsh speaking daughter, has obtained this exclusive photo of the English rugby squad to show that they are all ready for the Rugby World Cup quarter finals. The Celtic party continues.
2131 days ago
My Welsh speaking daughter and her mother Big Nose were over the moon. Not only had England been caned by the convicts but there was the delight still to come of seeing Clive Woodward being interviewed. He was unlikely to show much grace. My father is in Spain but had called in earlier to say that he’d be cheering on the Aussies with a pint of Guinness.
Natch in this little outpost of Ireland here in Bristol I was lining up the drinks and shouting loudly as the Aussie walloped a lamentable English side. My England supporting wife had wisely opted to head off out with a Syrian friend. I am not sure who the Syrian was supporting but the Mrs arrived back home to find a couple of empty bottles and the Scottish gin disappearing fast. She does not understand my pleasure. I tried to explain about Clive Woodward and
2147 days ago
I am not sure that I could place Fiji on a map of the world. I know sweet FA about the Country. But that does not really matter. Fiji is playing England at rugby tonight.
And thus like folks across Wales, Scotland and God’s chosen country of Ireland for tonight “I am a Fijian”. There are only two teams I support in this World Cup.
2278 days ago
Nicola Surgeon thinks David Cameron has a problem. He does. Does he in Canute like fashion try to save the Union or does he listen to the welfare addicted people of Scotland but also of England and accept the end game now. He might start down that road by giving Scotland and England full fiscal autonomy. As an English taxpayer that would be a mammoth bonus.
2295 days ago
St George’s day used to be an almost forgotten festival on the days when at England soccer matches, folks waved the Union Flag. But for various reasons the past two decades have seen the rise of English nationalism. And in a sense I understand that.
Wales and, more especially, Scotland are grotesquely over-subsidized welfare safaris and it is the English taxpayer who picks up the tab. Of course societies based on welfare dependency rather than freedom and enterprise will not prosper and so the more the Celts mainline the subsidies the more they moan and bleat about the evil English. It is the English who are to blame for the relative poverty of the Celts, for addicts can never accept that their destiny lies in their own hands and so must blame others for failure.
Slowly the United Kingdom is being torn apart. As an economic Englishman I look forward to the day when Scotland and Wales are truly independent and would welcome them being towed off into the Atlantic
2348 days ago
I could not bring myself to find somewhere to watch the match even online but it seems that it is a happy St David’s day for the Celtic world as the Old Enemy have been put to the sword in Dublin 19-9. And it is clear that the result was not unfair. It gets better….
Before the game the English press was full of talk of how if England win they will go onto win the Grand Slam and now the World Cup. It is that conceit and swagger of English Rugby that binds the Celtic nations together in supporting anyone who plays England.
So once again the Wheels have come off the Chariots as the men in green march on. Come on lads, my father waited 66 years to see his second Irish grand slam, let’s make it just 12 months for his third. Sadly my phone is dead so I cannot enjoy what is becoming an almost annual ritual of calling my Ulster born Aunt Valerie Booker to share in the joy. She will no doubt be having an extra Bushmills and teasing Uncle Chris as I write. Have fun!
2371 days ago
My rugby thoughts this weekend are naturally focussed on matters in Dublin but the Six Nations kicks off tonight in Cardiff with a battle of two of the minor teams and there are four very good reason why I shall support the sheep shaggers as they do battle with the English.
1. My daughter, though only half Welsh. is turning into a card carrying cottage burner and it will give her great pleasure if Wales win. And that will make me happy.
2. One should always support our Celtic brethren against the old Enemy.
3. In fact one should always support absolutely anyone against the old Enemy.
4. Wales supporters are unbearable in victory but so too are English rugby supporters. Since I live in England I shall only have to suffer a modicum of online Welsh triumphalism should Wales win but will enjoy the mass displeasure of England supporters first hand. An English triumph reverses that equation and would thus be far less pleasurable for me.
2425 days ago
The Mrs and I have put up our Christmas tree. It is a bit small but it is part of some environmentally friendly scheme here in Bristol which I cannot quite get my head around. But to humour the little woman I have played along with the green nonsense.
Anyhow here is the prize competition. To win a bottle of olive oil, made by my own fair hand, from the Greek Hovel all youhave to do is look at the decorations and name which countries they come from. For the avoidance of doubt I count England and Wales as seperate and the angel at the top was made by my daughter many years ago and she counts herself as Welsh. Your clues include that contributions come from four continents and I have bought all the decorations personally.
Post your guesses below with a deadline of Friday
2511 days ago
At an emotional level I am sorry to see that my Celtic Cousins in the Greece of the North have not voted for a Scottish Free State. But this prediction of disaster both sides of the border is based on economics and not emotion. I suggest that those Unionists celebrating ponder life in Quebec and think again. Like Proud Edward’s Army.
I start with England. The Barnett formula established by Joel, now Lord, Barnett means that each year every English family gets c£1500 less spent on it by the State than a Scottish family. Given that England generates more in taxes per family (yes including the bloody oil) this is a bad deal for England.
In order to bribe the Sweaties into voting NO, our Westminster masters have now promised them even more of our cash. Barnett Max. Heck it is taxpayer’s cash and politicians always like spending that, but it is English taxpayers money and it is being spent in Scotland.
Given the profound anti English sentiment which is now firmly in the Scottish DNA, in a way that it is not in the Republic of Ireland - as it has moved on - and which is openly expressed in an ever nastier fashion, this patently unfair transfer of wealth will – I predict - cause ever greater resentment in England.
So why is NO! bad news for Scotland? Look at Quebec.
2516 days ago
Scotland is the Greece of the North. 89% of its population are net takers from the State. Its share of the National debt is £108 billion which will be hard to support. It has a bloated Government sector and with oil revenues set to decline its financial position can only get worse. The only answer is independence. It must vote YES.
Yes some companies will redomicile to England. But as they have made clear very few actual jobs will be affected. This and threats from Cameron that the ISIS peril will be increased by a YES vote are all red herrings.
2608 days ago
So Ireland did not make it to Brazil. That leaves me with a dilemma – who to support? If this was Rugby and Ireland were not playing it would be simple: anyone playing England. The swagger, pomposity and arrogance of English rugby drives me to supporting anyone up against the Old Enemy. But I just don’t feel that way about soccer.
The selection of Neanderthal half-wits who wear the England shirt and whichever hapless sap is in charge do not rile me in the slightest. I feel a general sense of contempt for all the Premiership prima donnas but there is no great hostility towards England as a national side. And so on balance I wish England well and will naturally cheer them on for their entire campaign. All three matches.
But I’d rather like to be rooting for a side with a good chance of making it through to the second phases. And also I really find it hard to root for any team that has as its talisman Wayne Rooney. And every time I see Joe hart on TV earning yet more money promoting shampoo I find myself wishing the mercenary pig nothing but ill. As such my mind had wandered to Greece. I was told that the Greek team – who collectively earn less than Mr Rooney does on his own – are not that bad. Having now seen them play I accept that they are quite bad.
Having completed a fiendishly complex sweepstake created on an Excel spreadsheet by a friend of the Mrs which forced the Mrs and I to predict every result and how many goals Messi scores, I now reckon that the last four will be Holland, Portugal, Brazil and the Argies. And I’d go for an all South American final with the hosts winning.
So I cheer for Greece and England. And as neither will make it past the group stages there is unlikely to be a time when I have to choose between the two. After that – how about Holland. As they play in Orange the Ulsterman in me sees the links and they were superb against Spain.
2614 days ago
The lies told in the Scottish Independence campaign are almost laughable and I start with a total whopper told by the SNP.
But having said that I regard Independence as great news for Scotland and Wales should go the same way. Only by being independent and learning to stand on their own two feet rather than mainlining subsidies and whinging will these nations thrive.
It would be good news for England too as I explain in this video.
My financial postcard covers bubbles emerging in residential housing and popping in IPOs. You can watch that video HERE
2635 days ago
The head of the Premier League will probably be sacked this week for sending sexist emails. This matter was debated on Newsnight on Friday with two England soccer players (women) taking part.
The England goalie Rachel Brown-Finnis kicked off but the main player was Eniola Aluko who also plays for Chelsea. I shall not hold that against her. Ms Aluko is, as you can seem a bit of a looker. If she fancies playing away in Bristol….
I digress, what really struck me was just how well spoken and articulate the two women were. Ms Aluko in particular struck me as thoughtful and intelligent. Am I being utterly sexist in observing that Women’s soccer players seem to be a far brighter lot than their Neanderthal male counterparts?
2639 days ago
I shall miss this country when I finally leave. That is something that I am sure that I will do and I think you all know where I shall head. But as I look out of the train window this morning I am struck by the beauty of the English Countryside.
It is 5.15 AM and I am somewhere between Bristol and Swindon. There is a mist rising gently from the fields which are a lush green. It is just at the point where morning has broken but it it is still dark enough for cars on the roads to be shining their lights.
The temptation to stare at the fields and hedgerows, the little villages with a Chruch spire poking up through the mist is almost irresistible. Luckily train manager Caroline demands my ticket, the spell is broken and it is back to work.
2698 days ago
I told God that I did not mind West Ham losing as long as Ireland won in Paris yesterday and so won the Six Nations Championship. And God played ball. West Ham were stuffed at Stoke and Ireland scraped home. My stomach was in knots for the whole game, it was agony but in the end Brian O’Driscoll went out as he deserved with a win.
My thoughts as the match dragged on were of a game in Rome a few years ago. Ireland thumped Italy but knowing that the Championship would be decided on points tried for that extra score and Italy got a freak try. We then sat down to watch France vs. Scotland and with last gasp points France did enough to deprive Ireland of the Championship. It was agony. No doubt as the England team and supporters watched events unfold yesterday they felt the same agony.
2698 days ago
Inevitably I start this weekend’s video postcard with the Rugby. I am sure that most of my English based readers were cheering for France yesterday. To my Celtic brethren who were rooting for Ireland – I am sure that you can share my joy. Gosh it was nerve wracking.
I then move onto the mysteries of my dead Great Uncles. If there is anyone out there who can track down Diana Norman, born 1915 who married (after the death of my Great Uncle Francis) a Mr Caulfield Stoker in 1947 (he then popped his clogs in Guernsey in 1954) I would be grateful. I can find no death certificate for Diana who would be 99 now but for reasons explained in the video and this article I am keen to track her down.
I then move onto Bob Crow. I celebrate no death. Equally I do not mince my words and Crow screwed the poor working classes and that should be noted rather than simply eulogising Saint Bob.
This is a wider issue: how and why the left systematically keep the working classes poor and that this the main theme of this video.
My weekly financial video covers shareholder activism a major theme of UK Investor Show which is now a day less than three weeks away. Tickets start to go out tomorrow. If you have not booked please do so at once HERE
You can watch my financial video postcard HERE
2705 days ago
My new Welsh friend Paul emails me before the Ireland match to say that he is rooting for Italy as part of some diabolical calculation allowing his beloved sheep-shaggers to win the Six nations Championship. Hmmmmm.
Despite a catalogue of errors Ireland utterly routed Italy yesterday. It was an emotional Dublin send off for Brian O’Driscoll, the greatest ever Ireland player. My father and I watched and as BOD was interviewed post match, the emotion poured over in Shipston-on-Stour as I am sure it did in every outpost of the diaspora. The way the points stack up, barring some utter freak, if Ireland can manage to defeat the hit or miss Froggies in Paris, the Championship is ours. Surely God wishes to reward his loyal servant BOD thus?
And now to Wales vs. England. For me there are no diabolical calculations. Indeed shame on you Paul for thinking that way. Paul says that he is so excited about today’s game that he cannot sleep. I would suggest that he tries counting sheep. But I guess that might make him even more excited. I digress.
I can put aside the fact that the mother of my daughter (Big Nose) will be sitting at home munching nuts nervously as she roots for Wales. I am beyond that for I also know that my daughter will be dressed in a Welsh jersey or National dress, belting out the National Anthem, passionately roaring on the men in red.
This is a simple matter. The Old Enemy are playing. Thus naturally my mind is wired to support the other side. I do not feel this way about soccer – in Ireland’s absence I will cheer for England in the World Cup for as long as its campaign lasts which will not be very long. I gather that England are 33-1 to win the World Cup. For those who do not understand betting that means that if you wager £10 on England you will lose £10.
No, this is just a rugby thing. I think of the swagger
2706 days ago
My poor cats, they must be getting culturally confused. Tara & Oakley were born in the Isle of Man although like 99% of Manx Cats they have full tails. Rescued by me from the MSPCA they then came over to England with me but having to watch me heaping abuse on England whenever the rugby is on. So are we Irish daddy?
Of course on Sunday they will suffer extra confusion as this household stands shoulder to shoulder with our Celtic brothers in Wales. Come on the sheep shaggers please put the old enemy to the sword. Humiliate them!
But the confusion gets worse for in taking them to a new vet for their booster jabs the Mrs made the appointment. Being a deluded lefty, the Mrs is not Mrs Winnifrith but has retained her own (Indian) surname. What say you? Political correctness gone mad?
As such the cats have come back with a form showing that they too now have an Indian surname. Born Manx, naturalised English, adopted Anglo Irish and now finally Indian. Such is the melting pot that is Britain today but it is understandable if Tara and Oakley are this morning feeling a little culturally confused.
Incidentally the vet said both cats were in great nick although Oakley (the one with three legs) was a little on the plump side and could do with a bit more exercise. Plus ca change on that front.
2719 days ago
Whatever one things about the sheep shaggers, and as I explained on Friday I have mixed feelings, an evening match at the Millennium Stadium has a world beating atmosphere. It was a wonderful night. Wales played well, France were abject. I returned to Bristol rather worse for wear on the last train.
Worse was to come with Ireland against the Old Enemy. I really do loathe the swagger of English rugby with a passion. I loathed it when I wore the green jersey of London Irish
2722 days ago
Naturally my sporting thoughts this weekend will be in London. Can West Ham, in our last game before the return of Horseface, defeat Southampton at Upton Park to go into the top half of the table? More importantly can Ireland defeat the Old Enemy at Twickenham to lift the Triple Crown. Oh Lord, as I prepare for sleep tinight I pray of you that you may give your faithful servant BOD this one last triumph. As a merciful, fair and kind Lord I know that you cannot be an England supporter, so how about it?
But a nice man from North Wales has just offered me a ticket to see the Sheep Shaggers take on the Froggies in Cardiff on Friday night. It is but a short trip over from Bristol and so I have accepted. But who to support?
If I think of Big Nose, the Welsh speaking mother of my daughter Olivia and how insufferable she and her countrymen are when Wales win I am naturally inclined to support the Froggies. But then I chatted to Olivia tonight. For some reason she was not keen to discuss the Ireland game ( I cannot think why) but she says that she hopes Wales defeat the French and …it gets better…that what really matters is that Wales go on to beat England. That’s my girl!
And so for Olivia’s sake I am decided. I shall show solidarity with our Celtic Cousins. C’mon the sheep shaggers.
2733 days ago
Last week I expressed my shock that Ireland and West Ham had both won on the same day and wondered when this happened last? You see, I am used to supporting sporting sides that are just not very good. Well blow me down Ireland and West Ham have now both put in back to back wins on the same day – when did that happen last?
For Ireland it was a home game against Wales. Such occasions usually prompt a post-match call between my father and myself “At least Olivia will be happy.” My daughter is like her mother (Big Nose) a proud Welshie. But not this time.
Ireland were ruthlessly efficient and made Wales (who are not hopeless) look just ordinary. The pack lead by Paul O’Connell was magnificent at the lineout, with the rolling maul and in all aspects of secondary play. The scrums were a bit of a mess but overall it was a powerful display. Throw in the kicking of Sexton and the tackling of the backs – and their strength under the high ball and Ireland looked really good.
Next up is the Old Enemy at Twickenham
2759 days ago
The Scots it would appear have negotiated the deal of the Century with England for post-independence financial Armageddon. They get the freedom. The English get to pick up the tab.
The Scots would be able to set their own budgets, their own tax rates and spend as much as they want yet the English taxpayer c/o the Britsh ( or post independence English) Treasury has agreed to underwrite its debt. This is sheer insanity.
87% of Scots take from the State (in terms of services, welfare, etc.) more than they give. And thus Scotland has found itself with an electorate which things that austerity means deep fried mars bars all round on the State being cut back to only 6 days a week. Or only giving free cigarettes to Primary School Children only on alternate days.
Given that you have more chance of finding a heterosexual non child molester presenting a Top of the Pops edition from 1977 than you have of finding a Tory voter in Scotland, its three political parties that matter ( Labour, The Nationalist loons and the Lib Dems) are all committed to more spending and more tax but the ultimate funder is always seen as the great Money Tree.
Scottish economic policy and the prevailing ethos of a land that once gave us Adam Smith is akin only to Greece. Edinburgh is the Athens of the North.
And so post-independence
2770 days ago
An old friend from my Investors Chronicle days will be joining ShareProphets next week – an expert writer on property, insurance and (oddly) biotech, He is also a bit of a sports nut. We have spent long hours discussing cricket and soccer. Sadly he supports Spurs but nobody is perfect.
In his New Year greeting to me he wishes the best of luck to England’s Cricketers and the footballers at West Ham United. An apt if cruel pairing.
I wonder if any other side could be added to that list of the biggest flops of Autumn/Winter 2013? I really am struggling to think of one that entered its current campaign with such high hopes and has proved such an abject failure at every single level. The Nigella Lawson PR machine? The Ship of Fools global warming nutters trapped by record Antarctic ice?
Any other suggestions?
2915 days ago
I am sure that this will get me into trouble in some quarters but can someone explain why there are so many fat and stupid people in Scotland? I start with its leader Alex Salmond. Faced with the fact that Scotland is the third fattest nation in the world ( after the US & Mexico) and getting fatter the Scots Government says
“We are investing more than £7.5 million between 2012 and 2015 on projects to encourage healthy eating.”
a) How much has been spent on such projects between 2009 and 2012 and did Scotland get fatter or thinner? So why spend more money?
b) You are not investing. Scotland is a heavy net taker from the Union in fiscal terms. So you are taking money from English taxpayers and not investing it (that implies you get a return) but pissing it away creating yet more non jobs.
Okay, so we have established the Scottish Government is thick and as it happens its leader Mr. Salmond is a real lardbucket. So what about the folks he claims to lead?
3063 days ago
My formative rugby years were in the 1970s watching on a black and white TV screen with my Dad. Why do we support the Men in Green is asked my Dad: they always lose? Well my father and I still support the men in green. He taught me to do so as his mother had taught him and we have had a great couple of decades. But it is over. The good times have officially ended and we return to what I consider normality. That is to say a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
This season has been terrible. For the first 45 minutes against Wales we looked like world beaters. Since then it has been just dreadful. Frankly the Irish ladies team (who, I think, won their grand slam) have played with more passion and discipline and – at times – skill.
It is the end of an era. Not once have I had a chance to call Aunt Valerie (an Ulster woman) to share joy in a way that she cannot with her husband Uncle Chris, as Ireland have triumphed. Calls to my father have been sad as we wonder if those glory years – a twenty year period when Ireland were not good but great as opposed to the normal fare of brave also rans – are just over.
I am not even sure that I would describe Ireland as brave these days. Back in the 70s we would pray for the rain to poor down on Landsdowne Road. Keep it tight in the forwards and fight with passion, pray and hope. The late Moss Keane, Fergus Slattery, those were the days. In defeat those Ireland teams were brave.
3097 days ago
The white bear in Shipston seems to be populated by folk who support Aston Villa and England. Given that we are on South Warwickshire that should be no great surprise but as a West Ham and Ireland support I have had enough. And it is going to get worse.
West Ham lost 2.1 and were useless. This is the third time this season that we have given hope of a kickstart to useless sides (Reading, Wigan and now Villa). I hope that we stay up although that is by no means guaranteed. But surely no-one can want another season of this nonsense. At the end of May Fat Sam’s contract is up and he has got to go. West Ham will finish this season between 12th and 18th and with two early cup exits to our name. Enough is enough.
At half time Ireland are trailing and our captain could not catch a cold at the North Pole. So much for the Lions Jamie. My father is earnestly praying for divine intervention at Church right now but I fear the worst and if we are to be vanquished by the Old Enemy I’d rather watch in misery alone than surrounded by cheering England supporters. What next?
Oh, my sister Tabby and her family (England, Man United and deluded on all matters) arrive for supper. I have a long list of restricted subjects which I am not allowed to mention but she has none, I am under orders not to respond on any matter.
Postscript: No rows with Tabby. I bit my lip once but all very amicable. Her husband opined that only aristocrats read the Daily Telegraph ( theirs is a Guardian reading household, natch) and I was unable to hold back then generally all peace and brotherly love.
3098 days ago
Lo and behold a resurgent Wales beat the Froggies (who are now 0 from 2 but were pre tournament favourites), Scotland thrash Italy in what was meant to be the wooden spoon game and today’s match in Dublin could be the Championship decider. Although I would not rule the sheep shaggers (Welsh department) out yet.
England are, of course, the old enemy and when they arrive in Dublin full of swagger and arrogance as they do now, the desire for victory is greater than ever. And there is also the romance: in Brian O’Driscoll’s last season of six nations rugby might the men in green pull off a famous victory? If they play as they did in the first half against Wales they might win. Play as they did in the second half and there will be misery in Sheep Street, Shipston.
For I am back with my deluded lefty father and step mother. It is the former who brought me up to support “the Old Country.” For me tomorrow afternoon is a simple matter. Lunch. Then the White Bear to watch West Ham away at Villa. And shortly before 3 my father will arrive. I shall remove my West Ham hoodie to reveal an Irish shirt, we will switch bars and off we go.
My father has a dilemma. At 4 PM my step mum is preaching in Shipston Church. If Ireland are behind he will not want to watch and will head off to Church to pray for a BOD inspired comeback. If it is even Stevens he has assured my step mum that he will go to Church where he will pray earnestly for an Irish victory. So, I asked him: what if Ireland are 50 points ahead with 30 minutes to go: God vs. Pub, a chance to watch a famous victory with your son, the landlord ( also wearing green) and a bunch of miserable England supporters, or your second church service of the day? Hmmm. He admitted that would be a tough call. But it is – sadly – also an unlikely scenario.
3104 days ago
The past few encounters between Ireland and Wales have not made my father and I terribly happy. Our parting words after each recent let down have been “at least Olivia will be happy”. The mother of my daughter Olivia is a Welsh speaker, a dyed in the wool cottage burner and I am sorry to say that she has led Olivia astray in that she also supports Wales with a passion. She kindly says that Ireland is her second team but in post match calls in recent years she has not been able to contain her glee. Ha!
Ireland were magnificent in the first half, er…less good in the second. Brian O’Driscoll was inspirational. The Old Country were deserved winners and I will be calling Olivia ( and her mother) later to discuss. I shall try not to crow with Olivia. With her mother there will be no such restraint.
I did note one English reporter on the news commenting that after England defeated the poor Scottish team that the English should have no worries about beating France to win the six nations. He seemed to assume that next week in Dublin was a given. Such is the arrogance and swagger of English rugby right now. A home win in Dublin next week would be all the sweeter for that.
3189 days ago
West Ham ( or Vest Hem for my Albanian readers – a fact my father picked up last week while visiting Europe’s second fastest growing economy) travel to Newcastle for a 3PM Sunday kick off at whatever St James’ Park is called these days. We have not won in the league against Newcastle since 31st October 1998 (3-0 at Upton Park, Wright 2, Sinclair) and frankly I cannot see that changing this weekend.
Newcastle has a couple of players out thanks to suspension and Alan Pardew also has a couple of late fitness tests to concern him. But West Ham
3194 days ago
Hell’s teeth I wave the Irish Tricolour at a sporting event and so I am not sure why it upsets me when folks say that the Union Flag has only recently become acceptable. I think it is a matter of who says it but also that it is so patently wrong. Saturday saw another encounter with folks who are without doubt good people. Nice people. But also, utterly deluded academic lefties. And I lost my temper. The Union Flag has always been “acceptable” to most people in this country. Indeed for most folks it has been – quite rightly – a source of pride.
The thesis of the Guardian reading classes is that somewhere along the line the red, white and blue was high jacked by extreme right wingers of the National Front and BNP and thus became a flag that could not be flown with pride. It was only somewhere between Austin Powers and Cool Britannia (1997) and Mo Farah, the Queen’s Jubilee (2012) that it once again became universally acceptable.
On Saturday, the thesis of the left was pushed even further
3314 days ago
When I was a boy the British Number 1 tennis player (male) was CB Mottram, known as “Buster”. With the look of a thick 1930s aristocrat Buster was as well known for his open support of the National Front as for his tennis. Each year at Wimbledon his appearances would be marked by anti-fascist protesters in the crowd. The protesters had no need to book tickets for week two of Wimbledon because, despite having a semi-fierce serve, Buster was not actually that good and never made it past the early rounds. And so from one unlikeable British tennis player with unpleasant Nationalist views we turn to another….Andy Murray.
3320 days ago
I suggested here in an earlier piece that Spain were a boring side. To be fair they had shown real Arsenal-ish tendencies in earlier Euro 2012 games. But last night they were magnificent. Even before Italy gave up with 20 minutes to go Spain were just masterful. After 20 minutes I had given up on an Italian victory as Spain mentally destroyed their opponents in that opening spell. That they were only 1 nil up at that point was irrelevant – the game was won.
3327 days ago
At the start of the game I was supporting England. After 120 minutes I felt that it would have been a monstrous injustice had Italy not gone through. Over 90 minutes and 120 minutes they were by far the better side and deserved to win. They showed flair and were a pleasure to watch. Italian playmaker Andre Pirto was just a delight – his ultra-cool penalty kick completed a game which he dominated with a cool brilliance which was just inspiring. The commentators reaction was that England are only “average” – hmmm.
Italy are not a great side, not even a great Italian side. But they are very good. As are the other 3 semi-finalists. My heart wants Italy to defeat Germany and then Spain in the final. My head expects a Spain v Germany final and in that game I think Spain should win and I pray it does win as a) they are the best side in the tournament and b) they are not Germany.
3336 days ago
If I was Scottish I would no doubt have been cheering for Sweden last night. Most polls suggest that most Scots support whoever England is playing even were it to be Germany, Argentina or an all star Rwandan war crimes XI. As an Ireland supporter I hope that I can take a more grown up approach to the former Imperial masters. When it comes to Rugby, I am afraid that my second team is pretty much certain to be whoever is playing the old enemy. With football it is more complex.
3342 days ago
Now that I am set to establish residency in the City of Lost Causes the mind turns naturally to the football teams that I support as well as to the affairs of the European Union. And tonight whatever anyone else in this house wishes to do I shall be watching TV. Ireland versus Croatia kicks off at 7 PM.
3350 days ago
Historically England prepares for a big tournament thus: Appoint a new national saviour as manager on a multi year telephone number contract. Talk up the Premiership prima donnas as being the heirs to Hurst, Peters and Moore. The nation expects. Go to the tournament and play atrociously but scrape through to a knock out stage and lose on penalties as soon as possible.