Monthly Archives: June 2010

Miracle Bob

For once, I had little to say this morning and I had to take the cat to the vet for her jabs first thing, so that’s where I’ve been.  For once, I was early.  How an earth that happened I cannot say.  Anyway it gave me plenty of time to soak up the waiting room atmosphere.

I looked at the animals on the noticeboard needing a home and wished I could take on the 3 yo German Shepherd called Sheba, but was definitely not tempted to lay out £250 for a Jack Russell pup.  I studied the animals in the Waiting Room.  There was a black Cocker Spaniel that seemed rather nervous about his date with the vet.  I smiled at the Jack Russell with pointed ears that begged to go back in the Consulting Room when he had just been set free and I made friends with a gorgeous golden Cavalier that stared deep into my eyes and cleverly distracted me from her terrible homemade haircut (not that I can talk).

Then a couple came in, without a pet.  The woman looked a bit fragile.  They had come to collect their dog they said.  Ah Miracle Bob the Receptionist said.  The woman’s eye watered a bit and she had to lift up her glasses to wipe it away.  The man, being stoic, poked himself in the eye putting on his glasses.  Clearly Miracle Bob had been through something pretty major.

Then Bibi was called and, unprofessional Owner that I am, I said to the Vet: Oh I was really hoping to see Miracle Bob.  The Vet was not familiar with this beast so he kindly sated my curiosity and looked him up on his computer.

Bob the Border Collie has been in the hospital here.  He came in after a total and unexpected collapse.  It turned out he had ruptured his spleen due to a massive growth in it.  He’s one lucky dog as it was touch and go.

Well, by now I nearly wanted to leave my poor Bibi to get on with it and go back out to the waiting room to catch sight of this Bob, but of course I stayed.  Bibi was really good.  She is a good little cat, healthy if somewhat greedy.  Then we were released.  The Vet said, perhaps Miracle Bob is still out there.

Well he wasn’t.  It was even better than that: they were still waiting as the Vet finished delivering her medical update – Bob needed to come back tomorrow and he looked a bit tatty and dirty.  I only caught the tail end (haha!)

Then came Miracle Bob, in his Elizabethan plastic collar.  He was not a regular sort of Border Collie in black and white.  He was a tricoloured with more brown than white.  He was quite shaggy too and not at all wiry in build.  His lady Owner crouched down to greet him and then, then Bob started to tell us all about it.

He didn’t howl, he didn’t bark or whine, he made this rather strange noise somewhere between them all, but he was definitely saying:

“God it’s been awful Mum, but look I’m alive!  Alive!  Oh but it was awful.  Can we go home?  I’m alive!”

Then he noticed his rapt audience, hanging on his every word and turned to greet us too.  I don’t mind saying I would have loved to stroke Bob, tatty as he was, but it would have been an imposition.  So I just smiled at him and wiped away my own tear.  I didn’t have to lift my glasses to do that as my dog Rudi chewed them up months ago.  Did I mention that?

A Photographic Response (to my fancy swishy-tailed fish)

The Devon Home Cook went fishing yesterday, on a boat, to catch mackerel for her tea.

She caught mackerel. She also caught this: a Garfish.

It was 53cm long and very slimy, reportedly.

The eldest daughter felt that this was indeed “a monster”.

Apparently you can eat them too – I wonder whose dishy that fishy is going to land up on?

A Confession

In extremis (are you reading Chris Waddle) it’s calming to look at fish. In anticipation of a sticky afternoon I yesterday whizzed up to Fishy Business and explained my position:

Please Sir, we want a community tank filled with colourful little fish but someone, who shall remain nameless, came home with two angelfish in a bag and now the big silver one is running tings in the tank and will probably eat anything small and pretty out of greed, jealousy and sheer badness.

So Mr Fishy Business said hmmm. And I hung my novice fish-keeping head in shame and pleaded that I had planned the whole thing rigorously for maximum harmony purposes and I really needed some swishy-tailed guppies to calm my nerves. So he bagged a couple up for me and agreed that he would take in Bully Boy/Girl Amazon Angelfish if it put a fin out of line.

Here they are. I like them.

They are nameless so far. I am thinking Lionel and Diego.

This is the hitherto no photos please Bully. It knows it’s on a yellow card.

Things I’ve found to enjoy in this World Cup (against all odds)

Japan: I’ve loved watching their games.  Attacking endurance football which makes for an entertaining spectacle.  Hope they continue their onward scurry.

Diego: Oh how I hated Maradona back in the day, but 1 tonne of Colombian marching powder down the line I am feeling the little man’s power.  As an insightful caller to Talksport said (they have the odd one you know) he might be as mad as a fish (that’s my cliche) but he knows how to get the extra 10% out of the players and fosters team spirit.

Adams: Tony was on Desert Island Discs and said he had not heard the vuvuzelas.  When asked by Kirsty how he could have missed them he said he watches with the sound down so better to see the game.  Quite right Tony, got a spare seat on your sofa?

Truss:  Lynne, from “Get her off the pitch”.  She writes little vignettes for the Radio 4 Today programme and I  find her most amusing, not least about the commentators (see Adams above).

Claude: Makelele was completely transformed from stuffed shirt studio pundit when pitchside for Ghana’s win over the USA.  The whole of Africa was dancing with you Claude.

South Africa: the host nation looks fantastic, acts fantastic, is fantastic.  Only the early bath teams can be letting the experience down for those who have travelled.

France: their unravelling was most gratifying, entertaining and not just a bit existentialist.

Messi: was there ever a better player in such understated turtleneckedness?

Reasons to be cheerful?

edited to add:

Tevez: the little pit pony’s strike would have had Fergie weeping into his Scotch

“The Big Fight”

I saw this collage a few months back and it has stayed with me. The artist was a German, forced into exile by the Nazis before the Second World War. He made his home latterly in England and died in Ambleside in the Lake District.

I would like to see more of his work.

Kurt Schwitters 1947


Today’s Irish Derby has the potential to be hugely dull, especially happening as it does at 5.10. I am sure it’s not that late normally. Have the Irish moved it back on account of a certain football match? Surely not. Anyway that will work well enough if we are not in extra time by then.

The potential dullness is due to 5 of the 11 runners being from Ballydoyle and 5 of the 11 being by the Ballydoyle pre-potent sire Galileo. I always used to sit up and take notice of a Galileo, but the ubiquity of his offspring is a negative for me in this race. So, looking for a better story, I would like to back the outsider Puncher Clynch who is by Azamour and the more fancied and supplemented Monterosso for Dubawi.

As for the football, our oldest ever team faces Germany’s youngest ever. Youth over experience didn’t stop Ghana yesterday, but Germany have managed to chuck in the odd pants performance of their own. One suspects neither team are going to go down that road today: it’s going to be nail-biting.


And for those of you who notice such things, I am disgusted by the text’s close hugging of the image and have tried many formatting changes to fix it.  But I can’t and I am off for a coffee.

The Pitmen’s Derby

Known as the Northumberland Plate, or indeed the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate in these days of sponsorship and branding. I was watching this: THE PITMEN’S DERBY ‘SHOWGIRL’ WINS 1930 – British Pathe. old film and thinking, apart from the clothing and health and safety requirements, the more things change the more they stay the same. Working men out on a Saturday afternoon, enjoying the horses, the fresh air and the fiendish puzzle of a huge handicap.

One of the broadsheet journo’s has written this week that it is condescending to call the Plate the Pitmen’s Derby, if you are a Southerner. I wonder why. Would he rather we called it the Call Centre Worker’s Derby? And lose all the tradition and connection with our past.

I can’t claim a connection with Gosforth Park where the race is run today, but we do have at least one miner in the family, although it means going back to the 1800s. Peter Worsley was my Great, Great Grandfather and lived and worked as a miner, but a stone’s throw from Haydock Park. It’s nice to think that he might have gone racing on high days and holidays too.

I will be thinking about backing Bernie the Bolt and Rajik this afternoon and I can’t forget about Mamlook either (Mam, look!). The Easterby pair that might battle for favouritism are clearly right up there chance wise, but I doubt I’d be getting a working man’s price about them now.


I am in the middle of a bitter (ish), unspoken domestic war at the moment. The field is the kitchen, the territory the spent light bulb that blew about a week ago whilst I was home alone with the girls.

As these things do, the malfunction tripped out loads of other things leaving me to puzzle out why the hot water still wasn’t working on Sunday. This I did, the time lag from Friday to Sunday making it a harder task than it sounds, but then that was as far as I wanted to go with electrical problems. In short, I had done My Bit.

Those of you who lead precise lives will wonder how the hell I can let things slide in this lacksadaisacal mannner, the answer is: I have no idea. Sometimes things just don’t bother me enough to work them out. For example, for a long while in my car I was getting my CDs interrupted by some random traffic announcer. I had pressed the button I held responsible a couple of times, no joy. I resigned myself to my folk music or hard rap suffering constant interjections from some bloke talking about the M2. Then a friend had a lift, asked me what the hell was going on, pressed a button and fixed it. I need to get her back in the car actually, because it would nice not to have the CDs on total random play the year round.

Anyway, back to the light bulb. I don’t want to change it, I have no desire to see the kitchen closely in any case, and I don’t even know if we have any light bulbs anyway, although I can’t say I’ve actually looked.

Who wants to see in the dark anyway?

I might see what the other side of the story has to say for himself to even it up on here. Either way, the bulb stays blown and I’m not going to crack…

Ale: full of antioxidants

Which are, by all accounts, jolly good for you.  This is just as well because the 5%+ alcohol content is less so – especially when consumed in some quantity.  The jolly goodness of an odd beer has been amply demonstrated by England against Slovenia yesterday: reportedly Cappello relaxed his regime to allow the Lions a beer the night before the match.  Evidently a little kicking back can do the power of good, I may have mentioned this before… 

Of course, I am far too classy to get slaughtered over a mere England Group Stage Crunch Football Match; in the absence of Fabio to keep me I line, I got properly mashed up well in advance last week when the Devon Home Cook came to stay.  We did around the South of England in Ale.  Very nice it was too.  I can recommend the Admiral’s (a Cornish Supreme Champion Ale) and the Doom Bar (also Cornwall), although if  I can get Adnams (Suffolk) of any kind on draught I am in heaven and I can never pass up a Fuller’s (London Darling) Honeydew.  I am not too fussy.  The Devon Home Cook is pretty fussy, it goes with the cheffing territory I think. 

On the football front yesterday it was what Desailly on ITV said.  One swallow does not a summer make, but a few good English ales, laden with healthy antioxidants, will certainly fill the void in the meantime.

P.S. Although the football continues to hog the headlines the amazing longest set ever (longest match ever, most aces served etc.) continues at Wimbledon later.  I believe they are 59 games apiece.  Truly mind-boggling endurance from the two athletes, Mahut and Isner, both mental and physical. They’ll definitely need a recovery beer after all that.

And one of my top two favourite fillies in training, Seta, runs today at Warwick.  Today is a sporting day to be enjoyed with no anxiety, until the next time.  Sunday will come too soon.

Gogos GoneGone (I hope it’s not an omen)

We had a bit of a England Football Team Gogo purchasing frenzy at the weekend.  Something to do with my minor obsession with getting a Theo Walcott Gogo.  We still haven’t found Walcott, or Cappello, which might be just as well in the case of the latter.

Anyway, I lined them up to see if we had enough to start today against Slovenia, and this was what we had.

So I drafted in a few extra to make up the numbers and inject some footballing grey matter and searing pace down the left wing.  The Angel With The Chipped Wing just angled into shot on its own account.

The turqoise one for a hat trick

It’s as well I took the shot at the weekend.  CJ the Gogo manager, despite sleeping with them and bringing them with her in her marble bag into my bed too, gave them all away bar Heskeyon a free transfer at school yesterday 😦  She has learned nothing from the Crouch/Rooney debacle it seems.

Fair enough, I’ve been having my biltong with Fabio, but when the chips are down (like this afternoon) I am right behind the team and as the Manager has finally admitted to “perhaps” having made some “mistakes” I am feeling a bit more optimistic.

GoGo England!

…the virtue of financial prudence…

we have to relearn this apparently. What a gem. Did it spill from the lips of a Victorian Do-Gooder hellbent on reforming the undeserving poor who would so tiresomely insist on lying in the gutters and supping gin with their beggings? No, it came from Georgie Porgie Osborne who is around my age, but is wedded to using the patronising, patriarchal language of a total twat.

Now that’s off my chest I can say that the budget has disappointed me, not particularly because of what it contained, but because it was pretty standard stuff. There are clearly many more ways to skin the cat of the budget deficit over the next few years and I had hoped that at least a few of them were going to be exciting, daring even. As far as I can see it is pay freezes, VAT rises and jigging with the handouts.

Oh what a missed opportunity George. You may be all natty and young, but your ideas are as old hat as the language you couched them in. Your cuts have not so much offered us one Saville Row suit to hang in our wardrobe, admire and try to diet into but, rather a selection of plastic supermarket suits that fit us all badly and are a magnet for dog hair.

Never being one for wall-to-wall criticism I would like to offer an alternative makemeadiva budget that I think could save money and look good too.

  • Abolish child benefit for those on over £50K a year – they like it George but they don’t need it.
  • Raise taxes on fags, booze and reintroduce them to *gambling – you know we’re luvvin it, luvvin it, luvvin it but it’s bad for our health and costs money in policing and health budgets.
  • Introduce a window tax, it will cause public unrest but it will make good headlines
  • Send children up chimneys to see if anyone left their life savings up there

There is £10.3 billion turnover a year on gaming machines.
There is a about £100 million turnover a year on the Grand National and an average race on Betfair would see maybe £300,000 traded, one race at a big meeting on the weekend would see in excess of £1 million regularly staked.

I would tax the layers 5% on losing stakes and the punter 5% on winning stakes. That way there’s an upside to losing and on a race like the Grand National you are looking at the deficit trousering about £5 million in one afternoon…