The Great Sporting Weekend

You have to admit, FA Cup semi-final weekend is one of the great Sporting weekends of the year and this 2014 was one of the best. Arsenal made the Final -v- Hull City after a lacklustre display but Hull deserved their place after League 1 Sheffield United gave them a real fright having twice led. One of the best games I have seen in years and Sheffield only undone by Hull having more power at the right time through better fitness. The romance of the FA Cup can only be enhanced by this game.

And now for the Final; will it be Wengers last game?

The other great sporting event over the weekend was The Masters won by “Blubber” Watson. Well deserved though as he played some great scrambling golf to in by 3 shots. I can’t say anything about the London marathon as I find athletes such a pretentious bunch it does my head in. Its the same with cycling. I really enjoy Le Tour and La Vuelta but lately I’ve seen quite a number of ridiculously dressed middle aged blokes poncing about on expensive bikes thinking they are the next Bradley Wiggins. I was really refreshing yesterday to see a chap in normal attire bombing up our local hill on a cheap bike. Same exercise but without all the unnecessary paraphernalia that you don’t need to enjoy the sport. And get some great exercise.

These Sporting moments are a run up to the summer – in years past the Boat Race and the Grand National have all been in on the act as well, but sunnier weather, lighter nights all point towards easier living and no hiding in the house! Time to get in the garden, take a walk and get on the bike!

Goal 7000

I was present at a little bit of history on Saturday as I witnessed Jamie Murphy score Sheffield United’s 7000th League goal in the 1-1 draw with Leyton orient in an entertaining game, especially the second half.

The United fans are quite good compared to some others I could mention. They also have this tradition of singing a version of “Annie’s Song” to their own twisted verses relating to a Saturday night in the City ending up with a chip butty. You can here it here:

That was one of the highlights of a good weekend to see Mr Five pints in his Sheffield castle, the match followed of course by 5 pint of beer and a good curry. We did a few pubs but I particularly liked the Broomhill Tavern.

Not helped by the traffic, I have spent a lot of time driving this weekend but it’s been well worth it and many thanks to The Frenchman for his hospitality.

Target Tirpitz

This is a good book about the efforts to sink Bismarck‘s sister ship. The battleship posed a real danger to Britain in WWII and this book is well researched and covers the subject in just enough depth. It is also well written and easy to read – I managed it in two weeks unlike Gladstone which the first half has taken me three months and requiring the Oxford English Dictionary to be nearby.

This ship is the basis for many “what-if” wargames and as such demands to be read as there are so many games that could be played based on handling it differently. As it was, Hitler kept it cooped up in Norway threatening but little else. The Royal Navy really had to keep two large capital ships to tackle it and usually a fleet carrier as well – assets that could have been better deployed elsewhere. For the Germans, it sucked up large resources but its arguable if it did help their war effort by tying up enemy assets.

It shows what a threat the Tirpitz was, especially in the mind of Winston Churchill – you could argue he was obsessed by it. Serving on the ship was something of a doddle in the early part of the war, but in the latter days, it was like the Bismarck, a steel tomb waiting to consume it’s crew. Over 900 died when 617 squadron bombed it to destruction with Tallboys delivered by Lancasters.

 

 

Ark Royal

This is a book about the most famous Aircraft Carrier in WWII. It’s well written and draws from many sources, most notably from some of the remaining survivors left who served on the ship at that time.

One of the things I enjoyed about it was the journey Rossiter undertook to find the wreck, with the help of some of the biggest underwater survey companies and also the philanthropists from the computer industry. So hats off to them.

The Ark Royal was one of Britain’s biggest naval assets and was heavily utilised in the war although only for three years. Considering it’s main armament was a “Stringbag”, it’s impact on the naval war was enormous.  It was also a very big ship in size and was the Nazi’s Number One target.

A fascinating read and well worth getting out of the library.

A Mess

Well that was the state of my clothes this morning after an afternoon with The Stymaster and Mistress and Sublime Product in the Great Western with a couple of our friends.

Good time though.

The Ides of March

Always an important point in the year  as it’s my Mom’s Birthday the day after and as a result, it’s been very busy this weekend.

For a start off, we had to arrange the Birthday treats which involved a trip to B & Q driven by my Neice (!!) who did very well. That safely negotiated, Saturday involved an early start as my Window man turned up to change the rather awful Bathroom window which has been blowing a gale through it all winter. Whilst he was messing about with that, I painted the fence so that’s the bad job in the garden out of the way.

In the evening I turned roadie for Duffer’s band, but as the rhythm section gave me a lift, I could enjoy The Dogs of Doom to a nice pint of Doombar, which went down well.

Sunday gave the family to enjoy a bit of the exotic as we went for dinner at The Fox at Shipley - Zebra burgers all round. A strange meat is Zebra, not quite tasted anything like it before but as there is the whole range of African animals up for sampling, there is time to find out the most interesting, should I find myself in Africa anytime. The pub does suffer from the “Black Country-mon” syndrome, maybe because it is a big Wolves pub, despite its attempts to go up-market. It is very busy and very popular though. A good end to Mrs. Buckets 76th though.

 

Essington Old Contemptibles Cricket Club

Recruitment Poster

A Night at the Quiz

Friends of Essington quiz + beer festival. Willenhall Rugby Club.3rd Place. Lots of beer. Home at 1.30 am. Great night. Enough said.

Trust. The BBC Trust.

Sirs,

I’m responding to a number of your appeals on various programmes for feedback about the BBC and how it’s run so here’s my comments:

Governance

I have to say that I find the BBC isn’t as transparent as I think it should be. For example, myself and my MP have found it difficult to find out the costs of how much was spent on sending news teams to the United States to cover the last Obama election. Considering this is public money I find this rebuff out of order and smacks of arrogance.

Equally dissatisfactory is the complaints procedure which is more setup to deflect criticism rather than take the comments on board. There seems to be a certain smugness about this procedure that attempts to treat the license fee payer with disdain. I have tried this route a number of times and I find it reflects a rather monolithic experience. This isn’t good enough and the complaints staff should show due respect to the customer. This aspect of the BBC should be reviewed immediatley.

Pushing the BBC’s Viewpoint

The BBC appears, to those receiving the broadcasts, that it pushes its own agenda. Whilst it may want to be apolitical, it does not always come over as this and its attempts at neutrality seem to have a bias towards a certain political viewpoint. The Jeremy Vine show is a case in point. It’s so “Liberal” it only attracts a certain type of listener.  We have to respect that not everybody has a mainstream viewpoint and I believe by ignoring some of the more radical elements in British society today, the BBC is failing to engage with those who need challenging, and if they are right, should we not discuss this as a nation by the nations broadcaster?

Communication, culture and social media

The BBC seems to have abandoned the idea of celebrating Britain and British culture. It is awash with creeping Americanisms and seems unable to stand up for British values and culture. For example, if you listen to the news, the only attention being paid is by people who use “Twitter”. This is singularly wrong as not everybody uses this or other “Social media”, it’s just a journalists tool for broadcasting. You have to remember that some people do  work and aren’t in front of a phone or computer all day or simply choose not to use social media. Thus the BBC is deliberately choosing not to engage with a large part of the population – what kind of biased picture are your trendy news people getting as a result? This is simply unacceptable. The Steve Wright Show on Radio 2 and all your news output is so affected by this that I feel as if I live in a digitally divided society – and I’m an IT Consultant!

Another dimension to this is that the British opinion doesn’t count unless it agrees with American policy – your news teams are biased towards American opinion rather than recognising we are an independent nation with a longer tradition and history than the USA and we have as much if not more to offer the planet, especially in terms of education, creative thinking and leadership. We should not be cowed by the Americans and we should be proud of what we do and how we do it – and that includes the premier broadcasting institution, The BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation.

I would be interested in your comments but it is a point of regret that whilst I may have wasted 30 minutes of my life writing this for the greater good of the nation, I strongly suspect it will fall on stony ground, but at least I have had my say. And the power of the Internet means at least it can be read by more than the BBC management as the Internet is the greatest liberating social tool since Caxton’s printing press.

I remain respectfully yours,