Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Another gem courtesy of BBC Sport (see links)

GB cyclists earn World Cup glory

Britain claimed the World Cup team pursuit crown and Chris Hoy won the overall men's Kierin title in the final event of the season in Copenhagen.
Ed Clancy, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas and Steven Burke beat Denmark to win gold and wrap up the title, while Hoy also ended the season with a gold.
Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade also triumphed in the women's sprint.
Chris Newton won the World Cup points title, while Rebecca Romero won the women's 3,000m pursuit in Denmark.
Newton's third place in the men's points race behind Pim Ligthart and Rafal Ratajczyk was enough to earn him overall World Cup victory.
Pendleton claimed silver in the women's 200m sprint, but Great Britain's men missed out on a team sprint medal, finishing fourth.
Hoy also picked a silver in the men's sprint event when the Scot finished second behind France's Kevin Sireau.

I'd love to see sports that receive less press coverage secure more support, so if
anyone out there knows of any British sportsperson winning an international title, leave a comment and I'll try to find more info.

Then the thaw came ....

...and so we move onto Water Sports!

Canoeist Brabants wins World Gold.
British canoeist Tim Brabants just missed out on an historic double at the World Championships in Duisburg. The 30-year-old was hoping to become the first Briton to complete the K1 500m-1000m double since 1987. But after winning the 1000m on Saturday, the Surrey paddler was pipped by Canada's Adam Koeverden in the 500m.
Brabants, who will compete in both events at next year's Beijing Olympics, said Saturday's win marked "the best race of my life so far". In the Hungary round of the Flatwater World Cup, Tim paddled to K1 1000m bronze. It was his second third-place finish in this year's World Cup series. Tim won GB's first ever Olympic canoeing medal at the 2000 Sydney Games and was European champion in 2006.
The European Flatwater Championships take place from 28 June-1 July in Spain.

Triple success for GB canoeists

Britain's Jon Schofield won K1 kayak 500m sprint gold at the European Wild Water Championships in Bosnia.
The Lancashire 22-year-old, who posted the two fastest times of the event, said: "I have been working towards this moment since I started paddling."
First-year senior Jessica Oughton from Leicester won women's K1 sprint bronze, missing out on silver by 0.01 seconds.

'Tis the Winter Sport season to be jolly ...

...another major success, following on from Kristan B's ...

Zoe Gillings claims Britain's first World Cup snowboard event podium finish for nearly four years with second place in Japan.

Congratulations Zoe, let's hope it's the first of many.

Monday, 25 February 2008


… and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it, Oh Yeah!

You know the Charity Ball that myself and other GG’s are attending, the one with Gethin hosting - turns out he’ll now be DANCING. YAY! Who needs the live tour? Front row seats for us! Oh, happy, happy days!

(Did I forget to say: Geth also mentioned us in a Sunday paper interview yesterday. Apparently, we're hilarious. We're taking this as a compliment.)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Sports Personality of the Year 2008?

I took this off the BBC Sport website - wouldn’t it be great, if, just for once, the sporting headlines of the British press could celebrate a true sporting achievement, instead of which current or has-been footballer has screwed up this week? Let’s hope he makes the shortlist in December.

Bromley Achieves Landmark Triple

Britain's Kristan Bromley has become the first bob skeleton slider to win the European, World Cup and World Championship crowns in the same season.
The Sheffield athlete wrapped up the achievement by winning the world championship in Germany on Friday.
"This has been a remarkable season," said Bromley, 35. "To become the first person in history to win the triple crown of titles is as good as it gets."
Bromley is now one of the favourites to win gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Friday, 22 February 2008

A Druidic Poem (heavily influenced by Terry Pratchett at time of writing)

Idaris and Panatya

‘I am the Lord!’ came the scream from Idaris
‘I am the Master!’ screeched Panatya’s reply
The leathery wings beat a rhythm of war
On broiling air currents, fiery orange
Flashes flew at Idaris, soaring higher.

Flaming death cascaded over Panatya
The iridescent magenta scales blackened, scorched
Raging Panatya thought of Slayers banished
‘I am the Elder; I am the Wonder
The Breath of Fire in the Mines of Shanayisa.’

Sword sharp tail swished and whipped Idaris the Young
Slicing jade hide a new searing sensation.
Desire to burn the Elder rose unbidden
‘I am the Chosen; I am the Marvel
The Soul of Blaze on the Crown of Shanayisa.’

They circled, wounded; black dragon blood glistening
Falling to blister the portals of Shanayisa
A golden-tinged silhouette rose amid the swirl
Of red-singed clouds cresting the summit.

‘I am the Mother; I am the Lady;
The Mistress of Power in the Realm of Shanayisa;
And if you don’t get in right now you’re both grounded!’

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Half term terrors? Take the little angels out.

We had a great day out yesterday at the Natural History Museum. It could have been relatively cheap too, seeing as it’s free to get in. £30 rail fares and £30 worth of snacks later and we figured we really ought to have brought a picnic - there’s a designated picnic area on the ground floor, empty at 11.30, jam-packed an hour later. But at least it was there - credit to the responsible party and it thinned out after 2pm. There’s a nice restaurant in the green zone too, no more expensive than you'd pay anywhere else.
Our seven year old was probably just a touch young to really appreciate it - all he wanted to see were the dinosaurs. Note: Hit the dinosaur section a)early, if you’re there at or just after opening time or b) later - 4pm-ish - as in between 12-4 they had a queuing system in operation. It didn’t take long but did involve much shuffling. And there’s nothing guaranteed to give you achy feet more than shuffling.
The gem section in the red zone was amazing if you like pretty, sparkly things and the mammals section in the blue zone houses a life size blue whale which is gob-smackingly huge - I’d no idea they were that big, it’s difficult to gauge in the middle of the ocean. Could do with a dust though! Not that I’m volunteering, not just because I’m scared of heights and it’s suspended from the ceiling; I’m also allergic to dusting.
Would I go back? Yes, definitely, when the lad is a couple of years older. My other criteria for a return visit anywhere is: Do they have soft toilet paper or shiny tissue? I’m pleased to report it’s the soft stuff and plenty of it. Although, like everywhere, a couple more ladies cubicles wouldn’t go amiss! You know it makes sense, ladies.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Why Gethin? by Scattyjan

My report for is now on the afore-mentioned website - feel free to pop across and have a read of why Gethin rules the GG's world. (see links below and check 'Fun' then 'GG Reports')

Friday, 15 February 2008

Ashes to Ashes, building dust and then some ...

I used to live on the Isle of Dogs - it cracked me up, all the opposition to development. The place was a dump! It was closed! Nothing there - to socialise you had to get the bus - that's right, THE bus, off the Island to Mile End or Bethnal Green. Then the Medina opened up, and Drummonds Cafe Bar. And by the time the City Arms became the City Pride, I'd moved away. Now, of course, my friend needs a bloomin' permit to park outside her mum's!

Tina Turner, Queen of Soul?

I think not! Whoever wrote that intro for Beyonce - what were you thinking? I mean, anyone who's anyone in the music industry knows who that is! Although, boycotting the Grammy's does seem a bit of an over-reaction on Aretha's part - unless you heard Beyonce introducing Peter Andre as the Godfather of Funk ...

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I remember sending some really embarrassing cards back in the day - one asking: "Do you remember when I rolled my eyes at you ...and you picked them up and rolled them right back?" Another showed a big yellow duck on the cover and on the inside proclaimed: "I'm quackers about you!"

Feel free to groan, I'm sure the recipients did. They never asked me out anyway.

Which reminds me of my favourite joke: How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?

Put him in the microwave until his bill withers (he's Bill Withers, d'you see?). Thanks to Tony Blackburn for that one! (Radio London, circa 1984)

And No.2 liked a little ditty we re-discovered when we were clearing out his old nursery rhyme cd's for the Blue Peter appeal -

Hey diddle diddle
the cat had a piddle
all over the dining room floor
The little dog?
He didn't find it funny at all
He got a smack on the paw

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Urban Wildlife

My irregular ‘Urban Wildlife’ section today sees my much put-upon but always enthusiastic reporter, Diana Grey, staking out a local area that has become the main province for nocturnal wildlife labelled ‘Hoodies’ by the community.

The Hooded Wolf (Cucullus Canis Lupus)

I followed the pack as closely as I dared, praying they wouldn’t catch my scent. (Although I doubted they’d recognise ‘Gardenia‘). They’re creatures of habit, usually found assaulting trolleys in supermarket car parks or shortening the chains of swings in near-abandoned playgrounds. Attempts have been made to curb the growth of this predatory pest, with the introduction of ASBO’s to their territories. However, monitoring of the dens show that adult Cuculli release their offspring early in life, with little or no supervision. They are closely related to, but not to be confused with, the Chav (Conluvies Chavus), who prowl mainly in town centres.
Due to a limited diet (fags, beer, e-numbers), behaviour patterns can be erratic. They aimed abuse at potential prey; he merely gazed back, pityingly, as the alpha male tripped up the pavement and head-butted the lamp-post. The alpha female, often the more savage of the breed, lurked mainly at the back of the pack, emitting occasional mating calls, such as: “Oi! Ya bleedin’ tosser!” or “Fancy a shag, granddad!“
Once this breeding pattern emerged, the pack separated, their hunt over for the night. In nine months time, a new litter will enter the vicious circle of metropolitan life.

Next time: From the flooded plains of the red lion to the sodden foothills of the white hart, Diana tracks the frequently spotted Plastered Teen (Iuventae Bingeus Drincus).


Saturday, 9 February 2008

Match of the Day

What a gorgeous day - I took no.2 sproglet to football wearing multiple layers, hat and gloves but ended up stuffing them all into bags. With hubby out all night on a works jolly, I’d changed shifts, it’s not often I’m able to watch no.2 play - what a pleasure it was. I felt a running commentary was in order…

Ok, now one of the kids is just staring at me. It’s called “writing” - they’ll teach you it at school, trust me! *crosses fingers*
No.1, (not a sproglet any longer) reckons the offie sells tea and bacon butties - and he didn’t ask me for money! Woohoo! We’ll see.
0-1 - good goal though. 1-1! Penalty to us! Yay. Great tenacity by our striker, they had no choice but to foul.
No.1’s taking his time with the tea and butties. And the staring boy and mine are subs, playing their own game next to me - I just felt the ball whistle past my head.
Now, that was a shove and a half, free kick to us, Good one, so close.
Here comes No.1. ‘Bout time, with games only 25 minutes long, this one’s almost finished. No bacon butty but a Ripple instead. He knows me so well! (And he let me have half his tuna baguette). So I’ll keep the Ripple for a special occasion, how long d’you reckon it will last in my fridge before I can no longer resist? (Dress fitting Tuesday).
Oh, dear, we’ve just missed a sitter - two forwards letting each other go for it, bless. 1-2 to them. We’d been on the attack too! And I’ve started to shout. *Kids cover their eyes and move away*. Can’t help myself, sorry. Final whistle.
Game two and littlun’s playing left side midfield. They thought I was shouting before, ha, that was gentle encouragement. *More tea required for vocal chord lubrication* Go on my son, get stuck in! He looks so small compared to the rest. Actually, our keeper is even smaller! 0-0 at half time. He’s sub again now so I can relax, especially after his blatant hand ball which I missed - selective viewing! No.1 just phoned from running the line to ask why No.2 is drinking his hot chocolate. How sad is that? No.2’s lost his drinks bottle. I mean, it’s pink (mine originally) and we’re in the middle of a pretty empty field. How hard can it be? Found it - exactly where I thought it’d be. The other team just scored while I was looking. But no.2 is now in a ‘I don’t care’ mood cos he can’t have Lucozade. Don’t you just love ‘em? Visitors on the attack again, way over the bar. And again, almost same spot. Come on boys! We’re all back behind the ball - good clearance, working our way up. But it’s not to be. Final score, 0-1 to them.
They were playing the leaders who had previously beaten them 3-0 and 5-0 at their place. So losing 1-2 and 0-1 is an improvement, they’ll consolidate their respectable mid-table position, not bad for their first season.

The Ripple? Never even made it home to the fridge. *Hangs head in shame*

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Blast From the Past

I was an avid listener of the pirate stations Horizon/SolarFM and JFM and then 'official' station JazzFM when I lived in London, all of whom fed my passion for everything jazzy, funky and soulful. Then JazzFM became SmoothFM, which was fine, just a few more commercial soul sounds thrown in. I finally invested in a DAB radio so I could listen indoors as opposed to just in the car, which was the only place I could get it. That's reception, people - honestly, get your minds out of the gutter! *Tuts* BUT, then SmoothFM became Smooth Radio and started playing stuff like 'Hello, MaryLou' *shudders at memory*. Thankfully, I have now discovered 'the Jazz' - Helen Mayhew is there, as is Chris Phillips, which brings me back to Drivetime on JazzFM all those years ago! I'm still wondering if he's the same Chris Phillips who DJ'd the Norfolk Village pub, Shoreditch, on a Friday night. So I've emailed. It's only taken me 20 odd years to try to find out! If it is him, the last time I saw him would have been at a Boscombe Alldayer I think! Memories jostling for space now: Caister - the Swan and Sugarloaf - the Goldmine. Happy Days!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Theatre Review - One Man Star Wars Trilogy

This is the first thing I ever had published - Grapevine Magazine last year.

One Man Star Wars Trilogy, written and performed by Charles Ross

It sounded impossible: How could one man play all the characters, sing the music, fight the battles and fly all those space ships? Somehow though, Canadian Charles Ross did it. He squeezed the original trilogy into little over an hour, bringing hilarity to an iconic series not previously thought of as comedy.

The show is endorsed by LucasFilm; apparently, they were so impressed, they hired Mr Ross to travel around promoting ‘Revenge of the Sith’. I had a good feeling about it the moment a stand-up comic came on stage to warm us up. He baulked when he saw how many children were in the audience (methinks he had to change a lot of his act quite quickly!) It was only 7.30pm but it must have surprised them to see how the next generation have taken the whole saga to heart, not just the latest trilogy.

You need to know the films in order to follow the action unfolding on stage, it simply wouldn’t make sense otherwise. My six-year loved it and we older ones appreciated the gentle send-ups of Luke’s whiny teenage attitude, and how a man cupping his hands over his ears could so effortlessly become Princess Leia!

I can’t begin to describe how he impersonated many characters, you really did have to be there. Suffice to say, I shan’t be able to watch the films again without chuckling at Admiral Akbar (cover your eyes with your palms outward and yell “It’s a trap!”) or Jabba’s death scene, where two arms perfectly captured that huge mouth and foul, slimy tongue!



Ok, I know, I was just testing you, see if you're awake. Of course I haven't deleted it, it's just under a different day. I really have got it sussed now, honest.
*drums knuckles on head: Helloooooo???*

Still tweaking, badly!

I've gone and deleted the short story!!! Well, what d'you expect from a technophobe? Still, maybe I can line the picture up better next time. Can't attempt it now, the school run beckons and I've got those pesky parkers and wally walkers to fight past.

Still tweaking... the moment, so you may have already read these last two at the bottom of the page! I'm getting there. S-l-o-w-l-y...

The Magician

Mslexia magazine offered the theme of gloves, I thought: Creepy white ones!

With the applause dying away, he dragged himself to the dressing room, where he sank into his chair, drained. Literally. He reverentially removed the white gloves. They sat threateningly on top of the dressing table.
He’d found his favourite dove, neck broken, lifeless, in his top hat. There were no fingerprints. The bunny’s tail, shredded. No fingerprints. He couldn’t find an assistant, not since the original one …well, at least she withdrew the allegations.
He wanted to be rid of them, he truly did. Tried washing them. Oh, as if! And they knew. He knew they knew. He chose freedom, so closed his eyes. And they tightened around his throat, squeezing gently. But firmly enough.
At a charity shop in some town they passed through a few days later, a new master magician was created.


The Chocoholic

The chocoholic is
A wondrous creature
It licks its lips
It savours its prey
It wants it more
And more each day
It knows it should…
Can’t help itself
Just has to take it
off the shelf
Pays the money
Rips the wrapper
Oh, dear God; Yes!
Come to mama!


Saturday, 2 February 2008

The things they say...

Sproglet 2, that is. He's chattering away in the back of the car, on our way home from swimming - I'm listening to the radio, choreographing a Cha Cha to Luther and Janet's 'Best Things In Life Are Free' - a symptom of StrictlyComeDancingitis (I can't hear Mika's 'Grace Kelly' without unleashing a full blown Paso Doble in the kitchen) when I hear him say:
"I'd be flippin' cacking meself!"
Turns out he's listened to the news report about the 390 million year old scorpion claw - and was concerned about paddling in the olden days...

Funniest ‘Angel’ ever?

Being spared the delights of Channel 5 (due to my location) and being too mean to pay for extra TV channels, I’m only just working my way through the Series 5 DVD. ‘Smile Time’ had us all laughing out loud at Angel being turned into a puppet. Best moment: The fight with Spike - hilarious - even when thrown, Angel managed to execute a perfect landing - the camera lingering on the most threatening pair of felt puppet legs ever! And then he punches Spike out in the lift and walks away like a Thunderbird with attitude!

Update: I've just seen the final ever episode and I can't believe the TV execs pulled the plug on this fantastic show. Yes, I cried when Wesley died and yes, I felt so sorry for Lorne. As for the final battle, I started wondering: How the hell would they have got out of that one? The cast and crew were hoping for a reprieve so...

a)Buffy turns up with The Immortal and Willow and an army of slayers and they win through with magic and strength in numbers or b)Illyria resumes her former shape and the demons cower before her; she orders them back to their own dimension or c) Angel wakes up and it's all been a dream. I can just imagine Joss Whedon's face if someone on his production team seriously suggested that one! Any other ideas? Feel free to share, I'm curious!