Thursday, 30 January 2014

Reasons To Be Cheerful

The last forty-eight hours have conspired to be kind to me. An initial piece of ill luck set in train a sequence of pleasant events.

The ill luck first. Wet road, huge pothole, flat tyre. I was able to limp the car home and did what any sensible bloke in my situation would do - called the AA - why bark if you own a dog? They were as good as, nay better than, their advertising promises - with me in half an hour and the spare fitted with a minimum of fuss. Very reassuring.

As is the modern way the spare tyre is a weedy little thing which you are advised to get swapped off the vehicle pronto. So yesterday morning I went down to National Tyres at Mere Green whose praises some of you may recall I have sung before. Once again, good as gold, sound advice and swift fitting. Tidy.

All of which left me well disposed towards the tawdry business of earning a living, so much so that I worked until after eight to make up the time lost to fixing the car. I ate well but not too lavishly, took early to my bed and read Waugh's A Handful of Dust. Cracking.

I slept well and was up in good time to dress for my pre-exercise health check at the gym. I passed with surprisingly flying colours, in particular excelling in my lung capacity. Buoyed by this news I swam twenty-five lengths rather splashily and then took to the sauna. The only casualty of all this was my watch which has steamed up. Waterproof my arse.

Feeling on a bit of a roll and ignoring the snow now falling I headed to the Belfry where I thrashed not entirely unconvincingly at ninety golf balls. Perhaps this is the year when The Overgraduate finally masters golf. Is it bollocks.

So all in all I'm feeling rather chipper. Which is nice

This is that time of year when I usually inflict upon you my predictions for the Six Nations rugby but, you know what, I'm uncommonly light on opinions this time. It would be nice to think that England will excel but in the absence of the injured Corbisiero I harbour doubts about the front row. I still cling to the notion that France should be better and that Wales aren't as good as their more blinkered fans would have us believe. Yes I know they provided the nucleus of last summer's victorious Lions but one has to remember that the Australia they beat were, in technical terms, absolute pants. Ireland have a very sound new coach and would be my idea of a decent outside bet, but what do I know.

Back to the gym tomorrow morning to be given my personal workout programme. Viva Iron Dave.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Iron Dave Joins The Gym

As patronised by the
It's what we middle aged, middle class blokes do in January. We join the gym. Fairlawns in my case. The main attraction is the pool (18m long and 1.40m deep all over so a proper swimming pool) but I have to admit the other toys and facilities looked nice when we toured this afternoon. Three types of sauna - who'd have thunk it. I go for my mandatory health check on Thursday - "Oi fatso get off the machines before you break them!" As our Tone used to put it - fings can only get better.

Vaguely on the fitness front I should have been running around after the good burghers of Bishop's Castle and Cleobury Mortimer yesterday afternoon and we very nearly got to start the game, having first been delayed by the most vicious hail storm I've ever witnessed in my shorts. However as I put the whistle to my lips to get proceedings under way there was a massive flash of thunder and an almost coincident clap of thunder. You know that thing you were taught to do as a child, counting from the lightning to the thunder to estimate how far away the lightning is, well you'd have had to go bloody fast to even get to one on this occasion. At which point thirty odd of Shropshire's finest plus referee and a few hardy spectators legged it for cover. There ensued a storm of biblical proportions. Game over. So I had made the longest journey of my refereeing career to be beaten by the elements. The jocular reaction of the thwarted participants reminded me once again just why I love rugby players. Raving good sorts as a former player of my acquaintance used so aptly to put it.

good flick
We've watched two films this week. One was epic in conception and worthy in execution but, in truth, a tad boring - Lincoln. The other was short, taut and in its small way rather brilliant - Hitchcock. I am not a particular devotee of Hitchcock but I am an admirer of Anthony Hopkins' acting. Whisper it if you must but I thought his turn rather better than Daniel Day-Lewis' in Lincoln. Why doesn't The Overgraduate get a vote in the Oscars? Please feel free to start an internet campaign - modesty forbids me from getting involved.

The only sour note this weekend? The utterly unlovely Ed Balls and his cynical promise to reintroduce a 50% tax rate. The showerest of shits.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

T+ 20 And Feeling Very Virtuous

I've twice run for in excess of half an hour this week. This gives me a feeling of exceeding good health and a moderate sense of mental well-being even though work has conspired to be a bit of a pig lately. So all well on the Dave front and a man's mind turns to doing a triathlon in the late Spring. Good to have targets, even daft ones.

Aren't our politicians a squalid lot? I've just heard a Labour politico making a defence of the work of the Public Accounts Committee, work which comprises a lot of showing off by politicians (of all hues) whom you wouldn't trust to run a whelk stall. Perhaps the only thing less enchanting is that prize git Russell Brand spouting bollocks about why we shouldn't vote. Who to admire in public life? Search me.

So what's next? Get the bike serviced and sort out somewhere to do my famous slow swimming. I think  the time may have come to join a fitness club where I can be sure of pool time. The great unwashed do so get in a chap's way.

Another good thing about running again is that I can wear the Oakleys which of course make me go that much faster, well at least slowly with attitude.

Friday, 17 January 2014

God Is Not Mocked

T + 22 by the way.

I had my God and Mammon moment this morning. At 9.30 I was at the accountants about my tax return. On the way home something moved me to check out the time of masses at our local church. I arrived just as mass was starting so stayed. The mystery of faith retains its power to move. The reading was the camel and the eye of a needle. Sometimes you have to wonder.

This was the second time this week that I had felt enlightened - the first had come courtesy of some wise words from my little brother. I won't share the context but suffice to say that God is not mocked.

Peace be with you.  

Thursday, 9 January 2014

T + 23. Free Trade. Related Stuff.

One week in and five pounds down. Which is pretty good because I haven't been notably disciplined in my diet. I have however been out running three times including a laboured effort here in Anglesey when I arrived at lunchtime today. I'm simply here to check for storm damage or at least that is my excuse - truth is I love it here and I need a change of scenery after a fraught start to the year at work. No more of that.

I was listening to Nigel Farage on Today yesterday morning and he was as ever interesting and perhaps dangerously plausible . I say dangerously not so much because of Farage himself but on account of the assorted loons his party attracts as members. He was commenting on the perceived problem of Romanian/Bulgarian immigration consequent upon the EU's ordinance of free movement of labour and this leads one to ponder the relationship between free movement and free trade. Why do open trade borders not go hand in philosophical hand with open borders to all and sundry? The answer is our old friend the social contract because as soon as you have a welfare state of any sort you run up against the cult of entitlement being tied to contribution. This realisation engenders sympathy for anarcho-capitalism. And I bet you didn't see that one coming. I am not rebranding The Overgraduate as an anarchist  site but I am saying it makes you wonder. No?

Saturday, 4 January 2014

T + 26

Two pounds shed already and another twenty-two minutes of that running. At this rate I can expect to hit target in a fortnight. Fat bloody chance but nevertheless a nice little start. I've come off the midweek booze but can still go wild at weekends. Christmas is almost officially over and we are down to the last member of the case of Undurraga we use instead of tap water - very acceptable Chilean fizz.

No refereeing today courtesy of the wild, wet weather and consequent waterlogged pitch but the shuffling run made up for that. There's that last bottle to be seen off- its penultimate cousin went this afternoon. It's a serious business this diet malarkey. Trees down tomorrow hopefully or at the very least lights dimmed. Time to move forward and other meaningless bollocks.

It's a sport honest
Time for the official Overgraduate review of the PDC World Darts at Alexandra Palace. It is certifiably OBB (officially bloody brilliant). Bloke Central. The tone can be judged from the gratuitous picture of one of the Ladbroke's 'walk-on girls' whose job it is to lead the chubby warriors onto the stage. I shouldn't approve but for much the same reason that I like Titus Andronicus I like the darts. It's raw and electrifying. Thanks to BH who got the tickets and organised the trip and to TW and CC who made it such unqualified fun. Earlier in the day we had watched Saracens demolish Leicester at Allianz Park. Sarries work very hard at generating an atmosphere. I suspect that the Tigers fans look a little askance at all this but I rather admire Saracens' effortful professionalism and they can certainly play - more evidence of which in their easy defeat of Gloucester this afternoon. I watched the latter on BT Sport. The jury is out on their coverage. They try a little too hard for this old codger's liking. And yes I do know that sits inconsistently with my attitude to the Sarries commercial experiment. Rugby, unlike television, does just about have a soul.  

Thursday, 2 January 2014

More Beginnings

A happy New Year to all our readers. Intoxication has been on my mind. I like a drink but sometimes it gets me into trouble so I shall try to be more careful in future. I like a nice dry white, a ruddy Barolo or a sound Claret. I should not however kid myself about the quality of my palate - I am often quite content to drink any old shit.

By one of those little accidents I have watched two dramas in the past week which are about intoxication and addiction. Both well made pieces of entertainment. The first was Flight, with the reliably brilliant Denzel Washington as a piss/coke-head airline pilot. A good piece of modern Hollywood product.

The other was the last series of Prime Suspect watched via LoveFilm. Proof that British television can be good.

I'll do Old Dave's Almanac another day but today I will share my most intimate new year thoughts with you. I'm resolving not to let the bastards get me down this year. It's the advice I always give others but I've never been too hot at taking it myself. In any event , who are these bastards of whom I speak? Well I'm not daft enough to name names even to my limited public. Actually I will make an exception of Vince Cable, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, all three of whom get right up my nose. But then you knew that already I suspect.

Twenty-eight pounds of avoir dupois. That's how much I think I need to lose. This sounds unachievable but I'm giving myself the whole year and I'm going to keep you informed. If I am to suffer then you must come along for the journey. In which spirit you should know that I ran for twenty minutes and forty-seven seconds of your English time today. I also got my hair cut today so maybe I'll have lost my first pound by weigh-in tomorrow. Oh brave new world.