Sunday, 26 April 2015

More Good News

The coast of Ireland is in sight. And more good news … the wretched experiment of playing the European Rugby Champions Cup final when I am away in Ireland is to be abandoned next year. So the Boy Roberts will have to keep the Secret Squirrel account well stocked and be extra nice to Mrs Roberts so that he can rejoin the boys on the trip. How they will miss me next weekend what with me being the life and soul of the party.

Life is good. The sun is shining. Bring it on.

Collapse Of Stout Party

I'm a Taurean but you'd
never guess
So you're standing on the eighteenth tee at Bull Bay, you've been playing (by your own limited standards) moderately well  and you hold a one shot lead in the defence of the Bull Bay Classic. What do you do? Well, what BFP did was to start out with a vicious duck hook into the gorse leading to three off the tee. He the compounded the misery with a couple of tops and for the grand finale threw in a full-on shank. Meanwhile Big Wiily Mac calmly holed out to take the trophy out of the grasp of your correspondent. All in all not my finest hour.

But I'll get over it. We are now on the ferry and this bulletin is brought to you as we pass the sea wall at Holyhead into a moderate swell.We have already breakfasted. We should be in the bar at the Strand by mid afternoon. Life is good. Willy has learned (via the miracle that is the internet) that Belper Town won 2-0 yesterday and John is vexing himself by reading the property page of the Sunday Times. He will perturb himself yet more when he comes to read the Rich List.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Weather Is Turning

Which can mean only one thing - it's time for the annual pilgrimage to Dunmore East. April has been largely sunny but today we have glowering cloud and I've double and triple checked that the waterproofs are packed. Do I care about the weather? Do I bollocks. As long as the ferry crossing isn't cancelled the climate can do whatever the hell it likes. BFP is locked and loaded with two dozen lake balls and he's ready to rumble.

I am free of work and my future can wait till I get back.  The only pressing decision is what to listen to in the car on the drive up to Anglesey. Viperjohn will be in the passenger seat and I'm not succumbing to his dubious taste. This is going to be fun.

As an aside I saw some cracking rugby last night - Bath's second half domination of London Irish was a thing of raw beauty.

Friday, 24 April 2015

… Are Brilliant Mark XVIII

Pol Roger. Sharon and I enjoyed a bottle to mark my departure from Healthcare at Home. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

Blue cheese. Isn't mankind fantastic that it has cultivated mold to such good effect.

Matthew McConaughey - particularly in Dallas Buyers Club which we saw last week.

Black Books - which I've seen umpteen times but it still makes me laugh

Saturday, 18 April 2015

I've Just Mowed The Lawn Again

Which was nice. And I took particular care to perfect the stripe that Viperjohn claims was askew. Don't worry John, that bottle of Barolo is still safe in the cellar awaiting us when the time is right.

Wank legislation? Try s144(5) of Transport Act 2000. Fine of £60 for being in a bus lane I didn't even know was a sodding bus lane. And can somebody tell me how else you actually get to drop anyone off at Moor Street station?

A good film for you - Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio is really rather fine. Scorsese is a giant.

Now for that good news I promised you months ago (admit it, you'd forgotten hadn't you - I'm hurt). The Overgraduate and his employers are parting company by mutual consent on Wednesday 22 April. Any more than that I am forbidden by law to tell you. Suffice it to say that I am happy and I rather suspect so are they. Probably my fault. If nothing else it's been interesting. If any of my readership wants my not inconsiderable commercial experience on their side, just drop me a line. I promise to behave myself.

I've made a surprisingly satisfactory return to road running. Touch wood no leg injuries and I'm up to five miles now. Go BFP!

home of the monster haddock
Do you know what else is good? the Mere Green Chippy - you should have seen the size and quality of the piece of haddock I had for my tea last night. Even BFP couldn't finish it at the first sitting but he did come back for a late supper.

Not so good is the wretched Indian Premier League - a travesty of cricket. If you want to watch something that's over in three and a half hours and involves bat and ball then please watch baseball,  a game I love, a game designed for such brevity and void of the artificiality of Duckworth/Lewis. I also love proper cricket, can see enough of the game's proper skills in fifty over cricket to make it palatable, but Twenty20 is the bastard child that is going to murder its parents. Next you'll be telling me that Sevens is proper rugby rather than an end of season diversion.

Next I'm going to do the weeding. This time next week I'll be in the bar at Bull Bay Golf Club preparing in the traditional manner for the Bull Bay Classic (in which dear reader I must remind you I shall be defending champion) - I can't remember looking forward to it quite so much. I have had my usual thorough built-up, not having graced a golf course since my hung-over appearance at Chesterfield on QMT tour last July. Bring it on.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

So That Went Well

Sorry folks, the burden of carrying the OG's money was too much for the McManus pair, but at least they both finished - in fifth and eighth. I will now gracefully abandon my role as internet tipster.

boy's toy
Brilliant article in this week's Spectator by the estimable Rod Liddle - Jihadi Bride. Unpleasant truths are better aired.

We are starting to feel the benefit of our remodelled garden (paid labour did it not I) and yesterday I cut the newly laid lawn for the very first time. I've probably eulogised petrol mowers before but it has to be conceded that cutting a weed free sward is yet more rewarding. Get a load of those stripes.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

500th Post - My Gift To You

Because you deserve it I am going to give you the first two in the National. It will be a bitter-sweet one two for the colours of J.P. McManus with Cause of Causes touching off Shutthefrontdoor. That's right, I am predicting that the incomparable Tony McCoy will have chosen the wrong McManus horse.

The received wisdom seems to be that should McCoy win he will call it a day there and then. That would be a pity because I rather like the notion of the remainder of this month being occupied with a grand farewell tour of the tracks he has graced for two decades. One has to be careful about saying such things but, we will never see his like again.

Friday, 10 April 2015

At The Risk Of Repeating Myself

The voice of cricket
You've probably got the message by now - I am suspicious of interventionism. As ought to be proper Tories. So wtf is going on today - Eric Pickles (with the full backing of the Boy Cameron) bribing the volunteers among us with our employers' money - Pathetic Tory Bribe. I approve of this absolutely as much as I do the bien pensant urgings within my own profession for mandated pro bono work. Can you spot the tongue in my cheek?

However, some ostensibly sad news brought with it some good. The completely brilliant Richie Benaud died at a good age (that is the sad bit) and his demise led the BBC news when I switched on this morning - that editorial judgement was the good news. It has slipped down the running order as the day's political blather has escalated but the early sensibility was a good one.

For my next trick I will divulge in advance the winner of the Grand National, but you will have to wait until tomorrow morning for that treat in what will be blog number 499. Number 500 will presumably have to be made up of excuses for why I got it wrong. But then again stranger things have happened. See you.

PS. Just realised that I can't count. This is number 499 so the Grand National Preview will be 500. See you tomorrow.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Uses Of Film

Not all films need to have ambitions to be great art, any more than all novels, plays or music need do so. I've watched a handful of movies over the past few weeks which I've enjoyed and the range of which reinforced this point to me. We'll start with the 'best' of these films.

I've written about Fargo before so will say no more than that this is great art. 8.5/10. Next in critical stature would come Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. I am a fan of Anderson's idiosyncratic methods - not all agree, Sharon being among them. Nevertheless 7.5/10. 

My final three are all good fun and expert filmic product. The Heat is foul-mouthed but not gratuitously so - the profanity feels apposite. This is that relative rarity an all girl buddie movie, a sort of crack-fuelled comedy Cagney and Lacey. Melissa McCarthy is plain and simple very funny and Sandra Bullock (who IMDb informs me made four times the fee that McCarthy commanded) a reliable foil. 6.5/10.

Similarly funny and, I suppose, similarly daft is A Knight's Tale. This is a film I recall being released but which I had always managed never to see until the other night. Didn't Heath Ledger look like Johnny Wilkinson? I particularly liked the presence of a writer with a gambling problem - Geoff Chaucer. 7/10.

Finally, an old fashioned father/son bonding story set in the modish surroundings of the food trade - Chef. Nothing stunningly original but well made and charming. 6/10.

All worth watching

Friday, 3 April 2015

Damned Fine Coffee

A mug of steaming hot Joe, a view of the sea and the company of my soul mate. It doesn't get much better than this. We walked at Newborough this afternoon, ate sausage baps at Caban Llanddwyn and drove back through the interior of the island. Happy Easter.

On a clear day you can see forever
My good mood offsets the shadow cast by what little of the Leaders' Debate I could stomach watching last night. What an array of shysters. But hold hard on the cynicism boy, you've got to vote for someone. I've come to the view that the only way to vote is that which makes a Miliband premiership the least likely. The man's gurning features and soft-headed interventionist leanings drive me bonkers. Have we really reached the stage when a berk like this can be PM? A man who thinks that it is moral for the state to confiscate half of a man's earnings; a man who thinks it practical to legislate caps on profitability of individual commercial contracts. Whoever wins, we deserve better. 'Twas ever thus?

Reasons to abhor Cameron, well try these four words for starters - Fixed Term Parliament Act. Nothing more or less than self-indulgent Blairite political vandalism.

Hey ho, the view is wonderful.