Monthly Archives: April 2009

Champions League semis and more on the Wembley Pitch

These first leg semis have been stressful affairs frankly.  That Chelsea could visit Camp Nou and there be no goals at all frankly beggars belief (mine anyway).  I suppose all credit must go to Hiddinck’s side for getting the tactics right.  I did notice the pitch looked quite roomy and a brief investigation of the facts reveal that Barcelona’s stadium measures 105 metres x 72 metres – 3 metres wider than the benighted Wembley.

I have had a look round to see if I can come up with the equivalent sizes of some of the Premiership pitches but a lot of the data “out there” seems to be imperially measured in yards!  I’ve never known what a yard is – feet would work for me – yards are gobbledegook.

Here, football fans, post your measurements (in metres please) below 😉

Whilst I was thinking about all this before 8 this morning, I happened upon this amazing fact: the new Wembley pitch (that spongy, dead one) is a full 4 metres lower than the last one.  Now, I’m no geologist but I reckon going 4m down is going to be excavating beyond your general topsoil and leaving your pretty turf sat straight on the London clay (shudder).  I am beginnning to wonder if the new sandy soil surface is going to be much help, unless it is a few metres deep!

On the Arsenal, still in it to win it, on the best turf in the business next week – just get some cannon and cavalry to bolster up the back four please (hands folded in silent supplication)…

Almunia has kept the dream alive (just)

Almunia has kept the dream alive (just)

N.B. I don’t support Arsenal but it is in my interest to at least favour their fortunes (and they do play some pretty football).

free counters

I saw this cool thing on calvinjax’s blog.  I can’t get in the right spot yet, so this is an experiment.  It only starts counting from now (I think).  Experienced users’ advice apppreciated 🙂

Vanity is so boring

So why do most of us suffer with it?  I want to write about either of the Guineas, the first of the Classics in the racing calendar this weekend but I am too jaded to do them justice, so I’ll put that on the back-burner and talk about…


How boring is that?  Well I’m bored already actually, but I will press on with the point.  The problem is when you are young and fresh-faced (apart from those of us who were afflicted with spots!) you are pretty much good to go with minimum adornment.  So why did I spend hours in front of the mirror, plastering myself with make-up.  These are rhetorical questions BTW, so no need for question marks.  Back in the day I spent hours in front of the mirror smothering from my lid to brow in a rainbow of colours because:-

a) I could  b) I had the time to spare  c) It was the 80s

Now, when I could do with a good slathering before leaving the house, I have neither the time, the inclination or the interest.  The jaded contents of my make-up bag would probably go on strike for better conditions if they could, such is the interest paid to them.  I can make an eyeliner last for years.  In fact I consider it a failure in the maquillage department if one does not do me, more or less day-in-day out, for about 4 years.  That’s disgusting isn’t it?

In my mind I prowl about untouched by time.  In the mirror I can see the truth.  The badger head is having a good go and getting me again (what you mean I have to buy more Nice’n’Easy – groan), the wrinkles despite what Bootses (we would have said that in the days before apostrophes y’know) researchers say, do not entirely respond (vanish in my book) to their much lauded “Protect & Perfect” serum, my eyeliner still bleeding smudges and, although you can’t see them, I have sodding floaters in my eye.

Ah yes, you know middle age is swiftly encroaching when you are looking forward with avengeance to another trip to the optician.  Where you are fully prepared to fling yourself at the opticians feet and beg them to overturn the decision of the last eye-test and grant you that holy grail – a prescription for glasses.

Be gone squinting at the television, get behind me evil headaches, let me see little Arshavin in all his technicoloured glory at the match and banish to the outer edges of darkness my slightly but still ok to drive blurry vision.  I don’t even care if the damn things suit me.  I favour function in this case.

I was actually going to say the reason for the burning vanity question, before my optical ramble distracted me, is because I have to attend a film premiere tomorrow.  It is not my first, I went to a low-key one years ago for Waterlands starring Jeremy Irons (who once came into my shop dressed like a Cossack, but I digress).  This premiere is the inaugural event of the first ever Southend-on-Sea film festival.  Do you think it will catch on (non-rhetorical)? 

It’s black-tie, some effort will have to be made (I even had to RSVP for goodness sake!).  The list of can-I-be-bothered before-then looks like this:

  • Try on clothes
  • Change blue toe-nail varnish to more conventional film premiere colour (red???)
  • Buy shoes
  • Borrow shoes
  • Fade the grey to my natural auburn (ha ha)
  • Buy a new eyeliner (momentous decision may not be possible in less than 24 hours)


The film’s called “Shifty” by the way – about Essexes (sorry I’m enjoying that thing) finest.  I’ll let you know.  And about the Guineas.

Attraction, my favourite 1000 Guineas winner, no eyeliner required!

Attraction, my favourite 1000 Guineas winner, no eyeliner required!

My lurcher takes his repose

The dude Rudi (spookily after Rembrandt)

The dude Rudi (spookily after Rembrandt)


This week I will have to go to work, but I am going to be thinking greyhounds for Friday night and classic horses for the weekend on the Rowley Mile.

The burning questions of the moment are:-

  • Will Delegator take his chance – or are the Craven backbiters taking effect
  • Will I show up on Sunday and is the “bizarre” betting a bad sign for Rainbow View
  • Does Rip van Winkle have flat feet (hence the propensity for stone bruises)
  • Will my friend be ante-post quids in (relying on the Mastercraftsman there)
  • Will I be able to maintain my record in picking the 1000 Guineas winner!

Patience my friends, all will become clear 😉

For reference purposes - a Rembrandt

For reference purposes - a Rembrandt

Blue Square Greyhound Derby

I couldn’t leave the blog crying over the laptop, so to cheer myself up I shall be looking forward to this Guineas weekend at Newmarket and the heats of the Blue Square Derby @ Wimbledon that start this Friday night.

Without even looking I know I am going to be supporting the son of Westmead Hawk, Westmead Osprey, although this dog will be up against it as he is quite a youth. Mistley Colonel is a 250/1 outsider but as a son of the great Hawk himself a couple of speculative quid is going to be going his way.

This year looks like a great field of dogs. Some come into this with great records but things having not quite gone right for them recently. To be honest I have still not got over the sale and closure of the Stow and do not attend as closely to the form as I used to but I can see stand out dogs like the fav Fear Zafonic, Ninja Jamie, Ballymac Ruso, Barnfield on Air, Ballymac Under and Blonde Dino (who is probably a bit old now but it didn’t stop Loyal Honcho last year!)

I know Barnfield on Air is coming back after a long lay-off and he has question marks especially during such a gruelling contest but there is just so much to look forward to here that I would urge everyone to think about taking a trip to Plough Lane over the next few weeks 🙂

The legendary I know where the line is! Westmead Hawk

The legendary "I know where the line is!" Westmead Hawk

Racing @ Sha Tin 26th April ’09

This is tomorrow’s racing post today. Just call me the Doctor.

I am taking an extremely parochial interest in the two following races – the Champions Mile and the QEII Cup. The former features the local star Good Ba Ba and his main threat may apparently be the rhyming Egyptian Ra who is a “powerful front runner” who may have enough guns to stave off Good Ba Ba’s late kick as they might say in the US, here we tend to favour the turn of foot. However, I have a loyalty to Alexandros who I liked at Epsom in June last year, where he duly ran second, but did look in splendid form this year in Dubai. He has age on his side and whilst he will still be learning about the Group race globetrotting game I fancy him to give the two market leaders a little company in the home straight.

In the QEII I am siding with Presvis over Archipenko. The local favourite Viva Pataca (or as I still think of him Sir Mark Prescott’s Comic Strip) will be all the rage but I am going to be eating something akin to a hat if Presvis is not in the first three although I fancy him to win, he definitely has the profile of a horse with more to come.

After a day of deckchairs, football and snooker, not to mention missing my much admired Paco Boy it is nice to end on a note of quality racing over in Hong Kong.

Presvis in Dubai, plotting for next time out

Presvis in Dubai, plotting for "next time out"

The Offending Deckchair

The dog was innocent, unusually, on this occasion

The dog was innocent, unusually, on this occasion

These contraptions are lovely for dogs to sun themselves on. Unfortunately their functionality is compromised when introduced to a four year old’s fingers. Shame really as I rather like sitting in them myself, although I own that you are slightly marooned once in situ.

Stephen Hendry’s 1000th frame and footie results in a hermetically sealed room

One minute I was taking snaps of the dog relaxing on a deckchair in the garden, the next my youngest was fracturing her thumb in same.

We were therefore condemned to 4 hours in the children’s waiting room of the local A&E, no natural light but some sobbing kids and stressed parents. The little lifesaver on the wall was the portable tv tuned to BBC2 and the refugee from racing, Rishi Persaud (snooker suits you Rishi), that other fella who was a footballer but looks more like a rugby player whose name completely escapes me and then Martin “Sea Monster” forgotten his surname too (see what effect an injured child has on the brain). Anyway, Martin is better looking in civvies and is a knowledgeable addition to the sofa – he can stay – it’s Keown isn’t it?

So whilst being a concerned mum I also managed to follow a couple of snooker frames (think they were live?) and caught the Stephen Hendry century on his 1000th frame. Because the acoustics in children’s waiting rooms ain’t all that, I thought the commentator said that it was his 1000th at the Crucible. I am not sure if he meant he has played thousands of other frames elsewhere or if the 1000th competitive frame happened to be right here, right now at the Crucible. Answers on a comments postcard from snooker lurkers most welcome.

I am also intimately acquainted with blow-by-blow verbal accounts of today’s football matches, in the nonsense that is the BBC football reporting without pictures and Garth Crooks excited reportage. Someone was sent off at Fulham (Stoke player I am guessing), Everton’s exertions in the FA Cup must have taken their toll, or Man City have drunk of the elixir of life because last I heard it was 2-0 to Man City (can’t remember home team!). I was hoping (but not really expecting) that Hull might rediscover something against the mighty (yet held at home by Arsenal who should have won!) Liverpool and last I left it was 1 -2. Phil Brown is an interesting character to my mind but I wonder if his thought processes need a little refining, I don’t know, just wondering. Thankfully my phone kept me in touch with Sandown and Paco Boy (hurray he stays the mile and some) and also let me know that Toyota are dominating the grid in Bahrain tomorrow with Lewis Hamilton 5th. So all in all, if you must be stuck in a room with a giant “Connect” game that clatters on the floor all afternoon, with the sun in full swing outside with the panoply of Saturday sports I could have had at least one wager on, there are ways and means of keeping abreast of events!

My sympathies went out to the Dad waiting with the girl who had a cut on her head – he was clearly a West Ham fan and the nurse was an awful long time coming with the painkillers (for his daughter). We also saw quite a few footballers in the adult A&E waiting room – all in stockinged feet. Where do all those boots go?

I have more to say about Wembley and London clay but as I have lost 4 hours today I need to catch up with some shopping (guests tomorrow in double figures) and buy some bandages for the fracture clinic in the front room. Looks like the toe-nail painting and de-hairing of goat legs will have to wait until another day.

Horses and Football

Seem to be popular on the blog, again I use the word loosely. I prefer racing but the football season provides a great backdrop to the brief bursts of velocity on the racetracks and lately I have found myself wondering about more things Premiership. Like:

what is the problem with the Wembley turf
how good can Arshavin be
why can refs only referee the FA Cup once
what is it about Sir Alex Ferguson
why do people leave the match before the final whistle

I have a partial answer to my first pondering today – the pitch will be returfed immediately with a different composition of grass from the existing rye-grass and the new surface will be a sand-soil pitch. Arsene has blamed the pop concerts, Alex has said it looked dead to him and David Moyes (I can’t just say David can I, sorry David) thinks it played spongy. Great minds of football clearly don’t think alike. Well that’s solved that one then?

I know its rugby but its Wembley rugby

I know it's rugby but it's Wembley rugby

The Tooth Fairy has proved popular on the blog

This tooth fairy dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

This tooth fairy was dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

When I say popular I mean in the makemeadiva blog’s own limited way. The search engines provide hits at least once a week on the tooth fairy post, she who comes with a bag to carry the teeth and the dough, this idea being my eldest’s the time before last she lost a tooth. She lost another last week and in an awe-inspiring display of 6 year old logic she has decided that no bag would be suffciently capacious and no fairy strong enough to fly with bags of teeth and money. Her new theory is that the fairy carries a wand and turns gnashers into coinage of the realm. Amazing stuff, let’s hope she goes far.

This tooth fairy was dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

This tooth fairy dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

This tooth fairy was dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

This tooth fairy was dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

This tooth fairy was dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

This tooth fairy dismissed by my ageist, fattist kids

A more concerning footnote. My youngest daughter, soon to be 5 but still only 4 had to be sedated today and suffer a tooth extraction. Aside from the guilt a mother feels when her own child’s gnashers turn out not be entirely perfect pearly whites I am now burdened with the sin of tooth fairy fraud. The clinic did not return the tooth to us, and so relieved was I that my daughter was ok I never even thought to ask about it. Fortunately I have presented her with a tooth that belonged to her older sister (tooth fairy forgot to turn it into money and I had to step in!). She is none the wiser, I am just worried that when the wand comes to turn the enamel into gold coinage the magic won’t work. You see the imposter is a canine and the real one was a molar. Let’s hope the tooth fairy can’t see in the dark. That’s why I picked this tooth fairy to illustrate my point – I find it a comfort…