Monthly Archives: February 2010

Wet, Wet, Wet

I am so fed up with it and the inevitable lashings of mud on the side.

I don’t actually have an umbrella, never having got my Brolly Licence. I bought this useful one from the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice for my mother, but now it is spending its final days with us before going in the bin, having been deemed as malfunctioning by its owner. She has high standards.

It costs a lagoonful of money to keep old umbrellas in bed, board and arthritis medication, so if you would like to sponsor this battered brolly that has fallen on hard times please contact me below.

My only tip this weekend is to take one with you if you venture out.

Cheryl We Love U

There doesn’t seem to be a man alive (or woman, to be frank) who doesn’t love this poppet from the Tyne. I’ve been told I might need to move over soon…

There’s going to be stiff competition for her affections, but something leaves a bad taste in the mouth about this whole business other than the pictures of broken-hearted, yet brave, Cheryl. Along with the Terry/Bridge debacle the bitterness seems to be around the well-worn tabloid theme of footballers behaving badly. Why should we expect them all to always behave well though? Because they can kick a ball? That skill does not a moral compass make. I must be getting old because I can nearly boil the malaise of the English football squad down to one thing: gratification. And they are not alone in that. Society as a whole has run rampant down the route of see it, want it, get it.

If we win the World Cup this year on the back of all this bad behaviour I will eat my hat, sunglasses and Racing Post. If there is no discipline in the man then how can there be any in the team, even with Mr Bossy from the Land of Boot itself in charge?

I’m not a moralising old bag either (not yet anyway). I think love is something that cannot be legislated for, but persistently refusing to keep your pants on, or your card in your wallet is just slack. Will I fit into the Daily Mail *spit* yet and where is Ironsides when you need him?

Why do I care? Well I don’t think I do really. I am just irked at the thought of going into the World Cup in this shoddy manner. I don’t care what Capello says; leaving the door open a crack for Bridge this morning seems to misunderstand the intentions of the only man who has come out of this latest tale of woe with any credit. Honour is more important to some people than even the World Cup Fabio.

Anyway back to the beautiful and wronged Cheryl, not that her chasing a glittering pop career will have affected poor Ashley’s ego any…

Like mother…

The eldest (7) reported back in detail yesterday about her day at school, which was a nice change and a distinctly different mood from the morning when she had stomped into school without a backward glance. My crime had been to point out – when she was refusing to get dressed whilst yelling at me to “Get out!” – that this was in fact my room and I needed to get dressed.

At school there was written work to be done, Romans and “The Selfish Crocodile”. Elodie cannot concentrate in ruckus and ruckus there was, given that the teacher was away and the teaching assistant was left in charge (temporarily). My daughter got upset/stressed/angst-ridden and was invited to the Deputy Head’s office to complete her work. There she found peace and some classical music to soothe her soul. I (being an inquisitive mother that’s more like the Spanish mob more than a feeble parliamentary one) asked if she recognised the tune. I was told it was “probably Beethoven”.

Then I enquired as to how the other children coped with working in a noisy classroom and she said

“Well, technically, they were the ones making the noise”.

What I gleaned @ Goldman Sachs

The Wall Street firm is in the news (though not enough in the news for my liking) for possibly helping Greece cook the books and raise money via a clandestine currency swap and then a $15 billion dollar bond sale in 2002. The allegations are that the secret currency swap allowed the bonds to be sold for more, helping to conceal the state of Greece’s deficit and smoothed their entry to the Eurozone.

The word on the Street is that it was legal at the time. Word also has it that Angela Merkel is hopping mad. I just shake my head. I worked for the firm a short time in the 90s and I had also worked for two other US Investment banks so I like to think I have something to compare them to. In the hierarchy of investment banking in London the aggressive and chippy Morgan Stanley bankers like to trumpet they are the best of the best. Goldman’s employees do no such thing; they merely graciously accept that they are. Whilst CSFB et al live in shiny skyscrapers at Canary Wharf, Goldman Sachs have a secret banking building set back off Fleet Street, which I managed to snap on the No. 26 bus last week.

I have no insights to offer into the firm. They remain a mystery even if you have worked there and suffered their most intense induction for one whole week before you are let loose on the floors of Peterborough Court. I would suggest that secretive is just their bag. Why no-one seems to care that they have allegedly contributed to the concealment of a whole nation’s bottom line is beyond me.

Two Things I learned in American Investment Banks:

No-one likes Leipzig
Continental bankers favour highly-coloured trousers

That’s it.

The Mongolian Derby

I have always fancied riding about a bit in Mongolia, I like big skies and I imagine they don’t get much bigger, so this ride sounded interesting.

It’s a 1000km charity ride in Mongolia, riding thirty different horses and it takes between a week and ten days to complete. When I want to convert kms to miles I divide by 8 and times by 5 so that gives me 625 miles and to do it in a week you’d be averaging just under 90 miles riding a day. Sore bum? I should cocoa (Cockney Sparra ref for those etymologists out there)!

Then I read the Warning bit about dying or being paralysed and the Cost bit about £6000 pounds (plus flights to Mongolia) and thought I’d give it a swerve this time. Maybe next year.

Blinkers for Denman?


Blinkers for Denman


BLINKERS for Denman



No sorry I can’t hear you.

No. 26 Bus Part 1

Last week I (for complicated logistical reasons) had to drive unto the big smoke and then journey onwards to Devon from Waterloo. I left the car in Hackney and decided to catch the bus directly to Waterloo, despite the TfL Journey Planner’s insistence that the bus & tube was the modern 21st Century way to go.

Time was when you wanted to get on a bus, you got on it and paid with money. Now you run the risk of being chucked off if you try that trick. They have new-fangled Oyster cards and ticket machines at some stops but those machines aren’t evident in Hackney – I didn’t wonder why. So rather than face humiliation by the bus driver for having the temerity to wave a pound at him (I was informed by control HQ it was “at least £3 to go on the bus these days”) I ripped myself off at a shop buying a highly expensive travel card. To salve that annoyance I left it in the ladies at Waterloo (I hope someone found it and used it to travel round Zones 1&2 until midnight, otherwise I have paid over a fiver for one bus trip). On the upside, the 30p wee at Waterloo was a free wee, due to a broken turnstile. Little things etc.

I used to take the No. 26 Bus when I worked in the City so it was a bit of a memory lane trip. It was also a practical solution to needing a semi to urgent wee – far better to sit still and clench (if necessary) than get involved in bus/tube/tube interchanges whilst lugging luggage. Plus you get a window, so I made the most of it and sat on the top deck. Then at the risk of behaving much like Japanese tourist I snapped away. I also wondered if having had two children in Homerton hospital I could still be considered an honorary Londoner (I was thinking forever if anyone reading has this kind of thing in their gift)? How terrible if I have to take on visitor status when I am not a visitor at all.

Anyway, they’ve been busy since I last took a seat on the No. 26 – building enormous buildings that I don’t recognise, knocking things down and excavating great muddy holes out of which I’ll warrant more enormous buildings will rise. What I want to know is: who the hell is paying for all this and what the hell is this one called?

This meets with my approval (even if they built it behind my back)

Special Mentions in Despatches from the Wild, Wild West

I’ve made it back from the West Coast where we we witnessed the CP in the Badlands of Newton Armpit, up the road from Ye Olde Cider Bar, but even they weren’t open when the Wray Barton Wrecking Crew wanted their second drink.

So it was that the Cleave Inn in Lustleigh played host to some prodigious drinking and Wray Barton hosted the after party.

Special mention in despatches go to Uncle P who made no less than four trips decanting drinkers in his starry-sun-roofed limo (and he’d only popped in for a coke). Also to those veterans still standing by tea-time – you know who you are. And not forgetting the Brides. Bride 1 who drove us so expertly on the OctobertoMarch Golden Highway and swore so eloquently at any vehicle in her way and Bride 2 who can impersonate Elvis to within in a inch of a hip swivel and a mm of an authentic lip curl.

I have never much liked this Mad Max type video, but I love the song – watch it to the end if you have a date in Corfe Castle to meet!

The Knows How To Party medals go to: The Brides
We Keep It Rocking stripes: The Vets
Shake It, Shake It Baby mention: That Beautiful Blonde Bird (who took her Maths GCSE at 6)

To be continued…

…next weekend, god help us 🙂

The Weekender

Sometimes, well truthfully often times, I find myself conflicted about what I am doing and what I should be doing. Am tends to be fiddling on the computer or thinking deep thoughts, should tends to look like standing in the kitchen.

This weekend I will be travelling home from previously mentioned nuptials (more of that later) so although I should be sufficiently organised to travel with a laptop, or blog from a phone what I am doing is reading a book on a train.

What I am also doing (as I have anticipated this difficulty in providing a regular flow of posts whilst elsewhere) is writing about Saturday’s racing the Wednesday before. Sounds tough? Well they manage it, after a fashion, in the Weekender racing paper.

What I would prefer to do would be to live in gentler times, like Dorothy Paget. She was a prolific racehorse owner, most notably Golden Miller, and there is a story about her I like. Apparently she was not an early riser, in fact she stayed in bed well past lunchtime. She would then be brought breakfast and the “morning” papers whereupon she would study the cards and telephone her bookmaker to place her bets for the day. This might be at 5 p.m. well after the races had been run. The bookmaker would nonetheless accept the bets, some of which were mighty in sum and pay out or otherwise depending on the result.

Marvellous. So in a back to front version of Dorothy’s life I have looked at the card for the Ascot Betfair Chase at Wednesday tea time and my view is this:

I was taken with The Sawyer at Cheltenham, but he is weighted right up to his very best here and surely has some work to do?

Monet’s Garden is one of my very favourite horses in training. His last race was at Ascot where he finished well adrift of Alberta’s Run. It was over 2f shorter though and one could say the pace just told in the end. Will the extra make the difference. At 12 it’s hard to say. He is a class act but he is just below his prime now.

I can never figure Alberta’s Run out, so there’s not much point trying three days in advance. His profile never really pulls me in.

Herecomesthetruth has been backed by me before but he is a tricky customer. Probably has the talent, but would not be one to put unguarded faith in!

I think Planet of Sound will win actually. He’s the improver and was giving 6lb and a blunder to Albertas last time. The Hobbs team are doing ok at the moment and I think he has the profile of a winner. Now he just has to jump round…

Golden Miller

I’m a bit worried because Herecomesthetruth is going to carry the No 2 saddlecloth I think. Is it a sign? I bet they didn’t say that in the Weekender!

Dishing the dirt – Freecycling again

A more self-aware offering than those oatmeal sandals earlier this week, but I still thought it amusing. Apologies to Canvey (or maybe not!).


Who would have thought 3 ton was quite large amount of sieved top soil? I have about a ton left sitting on the roadside(waiting for a downpour to wash it away to that hole waiting to be filled, Canvey) should anyone want it. I have purchased too much(I still toss and turn at night about the fact I bought dirt! It’s just the priciple of it that erks me, it’s dirt!)

I need it collected asap. You’ll have to either collect with a trailor, truck or rubble bags. Or you could fill your pockets, it worked in Shawshank Redemption! I will give you a hand should you want it and it doesn’t have to go all in one. I don’t mind divying(sp?) up between punters. Just like Christ with the fish and bread I guess. Will make sure I wear a white robe.


Thanks for all the interest in my interesting dirt, but it has all gone. So much for feeding the thousands! It went to a good home where it will be pampered and looked after. There was a tear in my eye as it disappeared into the distance. We had built such a strong bond.

I may be getting rid of some more for a friend who ordered 10 ton but only needed 8. Ha ha, sucker! That won’t be for a while yet so keep an eye out for when I advertise it.

Oh yes, and I’m pleased I gave a few people a chuckle. Keep smiling.

You did indeed 🙂