The Clarkson Affair: a reflection on the current British struggle?

I’m surprised there hasn’t been anything posted about this so I’ll kick things off. Sometimes you need an outsiders point of view to see things clearly and I was most impressed by this article written by Kenen Malik in the NY Times. I think he summarised the whole incident very well so I’ll leave it at that.

However, he does raise the question raised by Nige some time ago about controlling free speech. How perceptive is that?

A great Sporting weekend

A full weekend of sport the like of which I haven’t since last summer or really remember in the pre-Sky TV days saw me off to the pub on Friday night for an old boys reunion to watch Wolves beat Derby 2-0. Good game, too much beer and heaving cleavages on show in the pub all made it a bit hazy really.

Onto Saturday and the climax of the Six Nations. Despite all the chores I had to do such as getting the nearside tyre fixed and get some food in, I did manage to watch all three games and thoroughly enjoyed them. I did believe for a minute that England were going to do it but it was just a mad game against the French, but at least we beat them. Ireland always looked the better to me over the whole tournament, but we were close. We may be on a good position now in regard of the World Cup.

So onto the climax of the weekend and the trip to Wembley with Walsall. An early start, a drive to Uxbridge and a pleasant breakfast with the Bristol City fans saw seven of the family see Walsall go down 2-0. Having never been to the new stadium, I have to say it is a reflection on how much things have moved on in terms of events and stadia: Wembley is much more like the O2 and other arenas now and focusses on the peripheral of the “customer experience”, not just the event itself. The only difference is grass and it was cold! Outside of the seating “bowl” it is pretty much like the O2 or Manchester Airport. And very little Bovril! However, the Brother – in –  Law did make the BBC website after being interviewed!

The game was worthy of a final and Walsall did themselves no harm despite the inability to finish. They played the more attractive football but all the passing around and neat forward play is of no use if you can’t put the ball in the back of the net. And why Romaine Sawyers is on the pitch is beyond me as he has little discipline even in a free role he seems to adopt. He’s never in the same place twice and if I was on his side I would be infuriated as there is no consistency in his play despite an admirable work rate.

Bristol City had a powerful team that took their chances very well so deserved to win. Walsall could have had an equaliser had Cook’s cross gone the other off the post. Well – that’s the vagaries of football for you and why it’s such a draw.

A very packed train back to Uxbridge and a stop at Oxford services saw us late back from a great day out – and I’m very tired today!

Policy has changed

bhf-logoLast night I hosted a party for the family who have their Birthdays in February and also for my mother who will be 77 on Monday. With the co-operation of my Sister and Brother-in Law, we decided to hold a type of “Ascot Night” as well to raise some funds for one of my supported charities – The British Heart Foundation. IN the end we raised amongst us a creditable £65. Not bad considering The Nephew made £21 in winnings!

One of the reasons I bought my current house was to accommodate such an event as this, as back at Pinewood, I used to have a lot of parties such as this. The layout of the house made it difficult to join up people and you ended up with two separate parties going on which was a bit of a nightmare.

So on the advice of my Sister and Cousin, I ended up in The Principality and by and large, this has worked very well for me for a number of reasons. However, a relationship with someone with a different agenda has meant that it was difficult to stage such gatherings.

Policy has changed.

Pub #8: The Railway Inn, Pelsall

This is the “upmarket” pub left in Pelsall and I hadn’t been in it since 1984 – with a former girlfriend. It hasn’t changed.

Good pint of Wainwright’s and Banks’s Mild and a man who changed his dog every half hour. Curious.

4/5 as there was something that made it a bit false that I couldn’t put my finger on. But I’ve always felt that about the Railway.

Pub #7: The Queens, Pelsall

“Vibrant” is a word Stymaster used to describe this “lively” atmosphere and the only drinkers pub left in Pelsall and where most of the youth, although not exclusively, gather to sing the dreaded karaoke. Who knew that Roy Orbison wrote “Penny Arcade“? I didn’t.

Anyway, I was relieved to get out as the beer was average and the locals as threatening as back in 1982.

3/5 for “vibrant”.

Pub #6: Pelsall Social Club (The Scratter)

There was a small debate about this qualifying but as this is the very essence of Pelsall,and it’s legendary status in the area from Pelsallites,  it’s hard not to include it.

I’ve been going with JC here for about 35 years and so it was strange to go in again after an absence of 20 years. It is very smart and the beer was good too although no real ale gave it a 4/5.

Glad to me back to me honest and felt very comfortable.

Return to Hillsborough

Over the weekend, I went to see the erstwhile Duke of Sheffield in his castle which was rather splendid. The highlight of the visit was a trip to Hillsborough to see Wednesday play Boro. Wednesday won 2 – 0.

It’s been twelve years since I’ve been to Hillsborough and I had forgotten what a big place it is. Quite depressing too with the Mallard blue painted everywhere.

One thing about Sheffield I really like is how vibrant the city is. After tea, we decamped to the Hallamshire House and met up with Duffers karate gang. The pub was packed and a band was in full swing but it wasn’t the noise of the band that struck me – it was the noise from the people! How uplifting it was to hear such joyfulness compared to the misery of Wolverhampton.

All helped to a hangover though…..

100%

Last week was half term for a lot of the country but for one of the few occasions during my time as being self employed I was running at full capacity doing actual paid-for work. Usually, your week is interspersed with lulls you have to occupy with two chores – admin and Sales and Marketing.

So it was great to get back to the technology and do some practical things and leave the nasty side of business to one side for a change.

On the social side I was well occupied as well and I was especially delighted in helping my mate Jim win the pub quiz over at the Kings Arms in Sutton Coldfield on Tuesday night. Given my usual activities in the week, and work being full, it was a full 100% week.

Valentines Day

This year has been one of the best Valentine’s Day – ever. Not because it was romantic but because I ended up down the pub with my mates!

Yes, JC, having fallen foul of June (again) and his neighbour met up with me and Greenpeace Gav for a turn around Wednesfield.

Excellent!