“The Special One”

 

Hey and hi. Here I go again with my limited knowledge of ‘the beautiful game’. So as you may or may not know, Jose Mourinho is about to be named manager for Manchester United. There have been a few glitches though. Yikes. I hate glitches. You see, apparently,  image rights negotiations are delaying Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester United Manager. As it has emerged that Chelsea still own his name as a trademark and could demand a six-figure sum from United before any deal is concluded. But really, this issue will not scupper his appointment at Old Trafford. Thank goodness. Mourinho is expected to be named as Louis Van Gaal’s replacement after the Dutchman was sacked on Monday DESPITE winning the FA Cup. Football is crazy. I don’t even watch it and I know very little about it. But you wouldn’t know it. Hah.

Oh, I nearly forgot why I even started this blog post. Ok, let’s do this. They call Jose Mourinho ‘The Special One.’ Yes. Why? Please give me a break. Is he really that special? While I was not looking-has he found a cure for breast cancer, the Zika virus and Lyme disease? Am guessing, no. What has he done that is so spectacularly wonderful? Please enlighten me. Please and thanks.

Well, believe it or not, Mourinho gave himself that name/moniker. Yes, yes he did. I could have told you he was arrogant (and I have done so in previous posts). When Mourinho moved to Chelsea in June 2004, he held a press conference upon joining the club and said, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m the special one.” Can you believe he said that? So, the media has dubbed him “The Special One.” I would like to give Mourinho the benefit of the doubt here-I mean, his first language is Portuguese and English is not his native tongue. But sorry, most Portuguese speak English perfectly well. I don’t think there were translation issues here. The guy is just arrogant. Yes, yes he is. But anyway, Good luck to him. I may not like the guy but I don’t have any ill will towards him. So yeah, that is why he is called ‘The Special One.’ And knowledge, is power, people.

Cheers

 

 

University Fees (UK)

Female graduates

Salutations. University Fees. Uggh. The end. But seriously, everyone bemoans University Fees-both here and in the US. Tuition is WAY too high. In fact, I had a cousin who recently graduated from Princeton University. And while Princeton is a great school, its tuition fees are eye-wateringly diabolically high. In fact, if my cousin were to rob a bank, lets say that I would not be that surprised. For real.

Here in the UK, University Fees have had an interesting history. Tuition fees in the UK were INTRODUCED across the entire UK in 1998 under the Labour government as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities. Yes. Please read that again. Later on, tuition fee caps rose with the Higher Education Act 2004-under the Act, Universities in England could begin to charge variable fees of up to £3000 a year for students enrolling on courses as from the academic year of 2006-7. Wow. Then when University fees rose to 5K people began to loose their minds. I found it amazing. I thought those people should have been grateful to only pay 5K. But then again, if one was never expected to pay tuition then had to commence paying tuition, then I can see why they got mad. I get it. I don’t understand it, but I get it.

Current situation

Universities in England will now be able to increase tuition fees above £9000 from Autumn 2017. Yes, ‘Autumn’-they don’t say ‘Fall’ here. Anyway, it is believed that the increased tuition will ensure high-quality teaching. Further, the plans aim to encourage more competition and better consumer value for students. The government will announce in 2016-2017 which Universities are allowed to increase their fees. Sorana Vieru, vice president of the National Union of Students, said students would be “outraged” at the prospect of tuition fees being increased. Well I suppose so. Better not apply to ANY American Universities then. Don’t even think about Princeton.

That being said, maintenance grants/loans are available for students. Of course, you have to repay your student loans. Duh. One last thing, if there are any American college bound students looking to study abroad for F-R-E-E well then, Germany is your best bet. Look into it, I would if I were you. That is all.

Cheers.

 

 

 

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Devizes

Greetings. When you visit London Town (and I hope you do) why not stop and visit Devizes? Oh, you are not familiar with it? Allow me to wax lyrical about this beautiful place located in Wiltshire. Devizes is a market town and civil parish in the heart of Wiltshire, England. Pictured below is Wiltshire- a county in South West England.

Devizes serves as a centre for banks, solicitors and shops and also has an open market place where a market is held once a week. In addition, it has nearly 500 listed buildings (a listed building, in the UK, is one that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest), some notable churches, a Town Hall and a green at the heart of town. Its development grown around the 11th century Norman castle.

Brief History

Devizes Castle was built by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury in 1080, but the town is not mentioned in the Domesday Book (a manuscript record of the ‘Great Survey’ of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror) as the castle was on the boundaries of the manors of Rowde, Bishops Cannings and Potterne became known as the castrum ad divisas (the castle at the boundaries), hence the name Devizes. Further, on John Speed’s map of Wilshire (1611) the town’s name is recorded as The Devyses.  The first castle on the site was of the motte and bailey (fortification of wood or stone) form and was probably made of wood and earth but was sadly burnt down in 1113. A new castle was subsequently built in stone by Roger Salisbury, Osmund’s successor. Devizes received its first charter in 1141 permitting regular markets. The castle changed hands several times during the civil war between Blois and Matilda in the 12th century. In addition, the castle held important prisoners, including Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror in 1106. Robert was kept in Devizes for 20 years, before being moved to Cardiff Castle.

The town has had churches since the 11th century and has 4 Church of England parish churches.  The oldest is dedicated to St John the Baptist and was founded in 1130.

From the 16th century, Devizes became known for its textiles-initially white woollen broadcloth but later the manufacture of serge (a type of twill fabric), druggert (coarse woollen fabric), felt and cassimere /Zephyr cloth. In the early 18th century, Devizes held the LARGEST corn market in the West Country of England (and also traded hops, cattle, horses and of course various types of cloth). Further, before the Corn Exchange was built in 1857 the trade in wheat and barley was conducted in the open, with sacks piled around the market cross.

In closing, Devizes is a lovely place with lovely people. You should visit. I would if I were you. Here are a few pictures of this magical place. And pictures do not lie.

 View of Caen Hill locks, Rowde, Devizes, Wilthsire

 Back in the day

  Long ago

Wadworth Ale is quite strong, but you should try it…

Cheers

The rag and bone man (scrap metal dealer)

The butcher the baker and the rag and bone man who rings his bell and shouts ‘any old iron?’. I know you were waiting for the candlestick maker, but this is 2016 not 1816. The supermarket experience in the UK is made up of going to the butcher, the baker and others. Yes, we do have supermarkets but we don’t do Costco or Sam’s club.

Going to the butcher for the first time was a bit intimidating. There was meat everywhere perfectly tied with string. A fly buzzed hazily and the butcher behind the counter was burly and butch with thick sausage-like fingers. He wore a kind gap toothed smile and wiped blood on his apron. Get. Me. Out. seemed to resonate through my body as my vegetarian status was quietly contemplated. I must admit, I felt a bit lost. How could I order what I wanted when I didn’t even know the proper names of sections of the cow (or other animals)? Further, nothing looked familiar and of course nothing was cooked. ‘Hello Madam’ chirped the butcher, as he grinned broadly at me. ‘What are you after today?’ I thought sheepishly to myself-I am after the EXIT sign-can you please direct me in that direction? Am pretty sure he could smell my fear-I was in a butcher’s shop after all. He spoke to me politely. I told him what I was after and how many people were in my household. He proudly showed me his best cuts of meat and even told me how to cook them! It wasn’t so bad, my intermediary-err…my butcher educated me, helped me and wrapped my meat up nicely for me.

Next stop, the bakery…this was more my territory. The baker was a middle aged woman with bright shining eyes and ruddy cheeks. It did not escape me that she was generous around the middle. I liked her immediately and knew I could trust her. With my life, if needed.  We spoke politely about the weather as I ordered a 4 Marlborough buns, 3 Eccles cake, 2 Egg custard tarts and 1 Mince pie. I left happy and was pretty sure I would be visiting the dentist in the next week or so.

‘Any old iron?’ the old Gypsy with pockmarked skin called out as he drove his white van up and down the neighbourhood. What? He wants scrap metal? I just give it to him and then our transaction is complete? Yes. Weird but ok, I am cool with that. I recently heard a story that a couple had been cleaning out their kitchen, so they put their washing machine and tumble dryer in the front garden-a sort of temporary resting place. In the UK you will find the washing machine and tumble dryer in the kitchen. Weird. Don’t even get me started.  Anyway, the couple later returned to their garden to retrieve their white goods, but quickly realised that both items were gone. They had not heard the cry of ‘any old iron?’ as their washing machine and tumble dryer were subsequently scooped up by the scrap metal man.

The butcher, the baker, the rag and bone man and me. Welcome to England, mate.

TWENTY ØNE PILØTS (Heavydirtysoul)

Image result for images of twenty one pilots band

 

Hello and hi. I had a busy, challenging and full week. But it was basically good. PLUS, I had a bad cold. So, with a busy week with lots to do and a cold, I was less than my usual friendly, garrulous self. There were no jokes to be had and I was less than impressed with a variety of people for a variety of reasons. It was that kind of week.

Anyway, as usual, I listened to loads of different types of music throughout the week. Yes. Yes, I did. Oh sure I listened to my usual stuff (Haim, Florence + The Machine and Sara Barellies) but I also listened to loads of TWENTY ØNE PILØTS. They are pretty cool and originally hail from Columbus, Ohio. Sorry, but that is all I know about them. I guess based on that-my limited knowledge of them, they are NEVER going to hire me to write any publicity materials for them. And I am perfectly ok with that.

Anyway, I have enclosed the link to Heavydirtysoul by TWENTY ØNE PILØTS – sometimes shortened to TØP,  way down at the bottom of this post. Hope you like the song-but it is not for everyone and the video is a bit intense. If you don’t really like the song, that’s ok-we still cool. Yup.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

Murals in Belfast

Hello and hi. Do you like murals? No? Then it is possible that we can’t be friends. Sorry (not Sorry ). Personally,  I happen to like murals-especially if they stop me dead in my tracks and subsequently cause me to look up in admiration with equal amounts of awe and wonder.

You see, normally in London Town when I getting from point A to point B-an awful lot is involved. I am usually rushing (as I am late or lost or both). Also, I am putting my hair in a clip (while being late and getting lost) or I am looking at my watch and subtracting 12. Yes. I have a digital 24 hour watch so I have to subtract 12 just to find out what the time is. Normally I would look to the sun’s position in the sky…but it is February in England. The sun is mostly absent. So, if you didn’t know already 14:00 is 2:00pm. Did you subtract the 12?

The belaboured point I am trying to make here-is that I am sometimes a busy, frenetic person (but I am nice!) and sometimes when/while all this is happening-I will see a mural on the side of an office building or a brick wall adjacent to a disused property and I will just stop.and.stare. and drink it all in. Yes, some murals are THAT powerful. Yes. Yes, they are.

Interestingly, you will find such murals in Belfast. Been to Belfast? I have not-I hope to go but it looks unlikely. As you may or may not know, Belfast is a city better known for its history-not artwork. But a new generation of artists are changing this concept and claiming public spaces as their own. Respect. For ages, the streets of Northern Ireland have been inundated with political murals highlighting and depicting the religious divisions of the region. But all that is changing now as a new wave of contemporary mainstream murals are popping up in areas of Belfast long neglected as well as the more up and coming areas in Belfast.

A large scale hyper-realistic portrait of a chef holding a lobster on a gable wall

A portrait in Belfast city centre by Australian-born artist ‘Smug One’

As reported in the BBC, the art in the city’s Cathedral Quarter has become so popular that local art curator, Adam Turkington now runs a tour around the area. Turkington added, “There’s over a 100 pieces of street art within a very short walking distance.” Oh gosh. How terribly cool. Turkington ended by saying “I grew up in the Troubles. If you have environments where walls are political then public art becomes accentuated and more important.”

Of course the tradition of street art as an active protest against political positions, events etc. are nothing new-just look at Berlin or Bethlehem. Turkington also commented, “We already had a tradition of murals and writing on walls here, which is more often than not associated with division. So to create a body of work that is counter narrative to that is really powerful…so much of the path to creating a shared cultural identity is creating visuals and architecture that everybody can take ownership of.” Indeed.

 

colourful painting of a pitbull

A graffiti piece in the city centre by artist, Verz

 

Many of the local artists who started out as amateur mural painters have now gained commercial contracts as Belfast’s businesses attempts to brighten up their premises- with their own commissioned stylised graffiti. Interesting collaboration and it means: recognition, respect and money, honey. Anyway, below, you will find their work. Enjoy.

Dean Kane-under his alias Visual Waste, specialises in pop culture designs, painting portraits of celebrities that have not become local tourist attractions. Have a look-see:

Portait of Heisenburg from Breaking Bad                                                                                                                                          Image: Visual Waste

a girl reaching up to a hashtage held by a portrait of kanye west                                                                                                                                          Image: Visual Waste

Eon McGinn (aka Emic) is from County Tyronne is a street artist and gave up working a normal job after losing two in a month. Yikes. I think we have all been there-or not. In any case, McGinn cottoned on pretty quickly a career as a street artist was the life for him. Respect.

A rough sketchy portrait of a woman on shutters                                                                                                                                                      Image: Emic

A mural of two hands on a coloured background                                                                                                                                                       Image: Emic

Next up is Mariah Noone, who is originally from County Sligo, Ireland. And while she originally studied animation, she never properly went into that industry. Noone, moved to Belfast 11 years ago and quickly found that she fell head over heels in love with spray painting. Noone says, “I paint, maybe subconsciously, powerful strong looking women.” Yass. Noone also added that she is inspired by nature and Celtic mythology.

A portrait of a mythical cartoon woman wearing a bear hat with animal features.                                                                                                                                     Image: Marian Noone

a side portrait of a mythical woman                                                                                                                                     Image: Marian Noone

So, while I have probably left out a few other equally as important and relevant street artists-I think you get the point. The point being: wow. Just, wow. Hope you enjoyed these murals. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a chance to see them up close and personal if you find yourself in Belfast. That is all.

Cheers

Christine and the Queens (Tilted)

Image result for image of christine and the queens

 

Hello and hi. So the song ‘Tilted’ by Christine and the Queens is erm…ok. It is not for everyone. Maybe it might appeal to you if you are French. I have no idea. I can’t decided if I like this song or not but they are playing it non stop here in the UK. Allow me to rephrase that, here in the UK they are playing a song by a French artist. Ok, weird.

This is weird because the English just love to talk rubbish about the French. At least 3 times a day I will hear a complete stranger on the tube mumble ‘Bloody French.’ And it is never just one particular French person who has caused English said grumblings- it is the entire nation of France that Brits are not too keen on. There are loads of reasons for this. Too many to list here, but the historical ties between England and France includes a myriad of conquests, wars and alliances in various parts/points of history. In brief, all you need to know is that Brits are not exactly BFF’s with France because…history.

Christine and the Queens

Héloïse Letissier was born 1 June 1988. Baby! Her stage name is Christine and the Queens, and she is a French singer, songwriter and producer. Born in Nantes and signed to the independent record label Because Music since 2012. Her work combines music, performance, art videos, drawings and photography. How terribly French of her. Respect.

Letissier studied theatre at ENS Lyon then moved to Paris in in 2010, where she concluded her studies. On a trip to London Town in 2010, she was inspired by the work of the local drag queen musicians, including Russella (who accompanied her in one of her early concerts). Later, her group became her ‘Queens’ as a backing band. Letissier has dedicated many of her creations to them and to ALL transgender individuals-this has subsequently meant that her genre has been described as “freakpop.” Hmm…am not entirely sure if that is even a compliment…’freakpop.’

 

 

Anyway, Christine and the Queens released their debut EP Miséricorde independently followed by another EP in 2012 called Mac Abbey with the minor hits “Narcissus is Back” and ‘Cripple.’ In 2012, Christine and the Queens won the Best Discovered Act known as Découverte du Printemps de Bourges. And she has received loads of other awards as well-just way to many to list.

So, here is the song below for your audible pleasure. Oh and wait until the end when the French rapping bit starts. Have you heard French rap? It is not for everyone. No. No, it is not. That being said, hope you like the video. One last thing-I like it when she sings: ‘I am actually good-can’t help it if we are tilted.’ I think that describes each and every one of us. It sure does. And now for the video…

 

Cheers

Meanwhile at Cambridge University…

 

Image result for image of cambridge university

 

Hello and hi. If you read my blog on the daily (and I am guessing you do…am really hoping you do. Say you do) you know that I have mad respect (read: nothing but amazement) for Oxford and Cambridge Universities. I would have liked to have attended either Oxford or Cambridge, but I know my limits, and did not apply. Anyway, that being said. This is what happened this week at Cambridge. I hope after reading this, you are as shocked and visibly shaken as I was. For real. So, this happened….

As reported in the BBC, Cambridge University Conservatives have expelled their communications officer, Ronald Coyne, of Pembroke College. Expelled. Yes. Wow. Of course you have to do something pretty bad to be expelled. Yes. Yes you do.

Coyne was filmed on 2 February taunting a homeless man by burning a £20 note right in front of him. Uggh. What a bastard. Oh, I have other words to describe Coyne but my parents read this blog so I will keep it clean. Yup. Images from a video were sent to the student newspaper, The Tab, who reported that images showed a student, in white tie, trying to set fire to cash, before the camera panned to a homeless man. The homeless man asked for spare change and could not believe his luck when Coyne pulled a £20 from his pocket-followed by Coyne setting it alight and allegedly saying, “Here’s some change, I’ve turned it into flames.” Coyne is first year student from West Lothian. The formal evening dress, as seen in the video, is no longer commonly worn-but maybe he was coming from a fancy dress party and was subsequently blind drunk. Not that that is an excuse. I mean, come. on.

Currently, the allegations are being investigated by university officials. Well, I certainly hope so. In a statement, a spokeswoman said the university was “aware of an incident” but could not comment further while the disciplinary process was under way.

Further, a statement posted on the Cambridge University Conservative Association’s (CUCA) website said the “committee was made aware of the private behaviour of an individual member (of the club) which we considered to be abhorrent and repugnant.” Indeed. CUCA also added, “we took immediate action to revoke his membership and expelled him from the association.” As his actions were not representative of the group, they later added.

Now that the incident has been widely publicised, Pembroke College has restricted comments on its official Facebook page. Restricted, you say? Hmm…I say, let the people speak. Let the people say exactly what kind of dastardly person, Coyne really is. But Pembroke College has indcated that the move (to restrict comments) was done so, in order “to allow a period of calm reflection about an incident by a student which has caused distress and outrage to many people.” Indeed it has. They also added, that “social media is not the most suitable media for every type of discussion.” Well, of course they are entitled to their opinion and they control their own Facebook page-so they can restrict comments, if they feel it is best to do so.

In closing, Cambridgeshire Police have said it had not received any reports or complaints about the incident and also added that it was not a crime to burn a banknote. Not sure what the outcome will be for Coyne but the University will decide in time. So, watch this space. That is all.

Cheers

 

 

 

Some thoughts on Ed Sheeran (and a video too)

Hello and hi. Ed Sheen is pretty fab. But really now, he is not exactly going to win any beauty contests. Yikes. How mean was that? Very. But I did not mean it. That being said, despite his ok looks, he seems like a nice guy and one who does not take himself too seriously. In short, he seems like a regular guy. His videos are funny, wacky, poignant and beautifully sad. I guess you can tell I am a big fan. Yes. Yes, I am. Here is his new video for ‘Shape of You.’ I really dig this song with its rhythmic beat(s) and its painfully perfectly honest, lyrics. Also, the video is pretty fab. I hope you like it as much as I do. Yes. Yes, I do. Here you go. Welcome, mate!

Cheers

 

The Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee (65)

Related image

 

Hello and hi. This week, Queen Elizabeth, became the first British monarch to reach their Sapphire Jubilee. Woot Woot. Shout out to the Queen. Respect. On 6 February , The Queen celebrated 65 years on the throne-hence the ‘Sapphire’ anniversary. She spent the day privately with family on her Sandringham Estate, Norfolk-and there were no official engagements for the day. Royal salutes were staged for Accession Day and were marked by a 41 gun salute (as tradition dictates) by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery, in Green Park. In addition, the Band of the Royal Artillery dropped some dope beats (read: played rather lovely celebratory music) as 89 horses pulled 6 WWI era 13 pounder field guns into Green Park and fired away as they saluted their mighty Monarch. In addition, there was a 62 gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company which was fired at the Tower of London at 1pm on Accession Day/February 6.

Further, The Royal Mint will be marking the 65th anniversary with a range of specially designed Sapphire Jubilee commemorative coins, as the Royal Mail issued a sapphire blue £5 stamp. A stamp that costs £5 does not actually surprise me-stamps are expensive here but at least you get the option to send something first or second class (with second class stamps being considerably cheaper but letters take longer to arrive at their intended destination).

Royal Mail's Sapphire Blue £5 stamp

In addition, a portrait of the Queen, by David Bailey, has been reissued. It shows the Queen wearing a sapphire necklace set, given to her by King George VI (her father), as a wedding present. Wow. She kept it all that time. I bought some earrings last week and I have already lost them, as the backing fell out, but I digress…

David Bailey's portrait of the Queen

Our Prime Minister, Theresa May (now largely tired of speaking about Brexit) offered the Queen a hearty and heartfelt congratulations and said that the Queen was an “inspiration to all of us” May also added, ” Today’s Sapphire Jubilee marks yet another remarkable milestone for our remarkable Queen…I know the nation will join with me today in celebrating and giving thanks for a lifetime of service Her Majesty the Queen has given to  our country and the Commonwealth.” Indeed. And of course, it is only fitting to end with the British National Anthem. Here ya go. You are welcome.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

Some Olde English Words (and their meanings)

Image result for image of a Victorian person Image: Canterbury Christ Church University

 

Hello and hi. Sorry chaps, no Brexit updates today. But just know this and this is important- so I really need you to focus…ready? Ok, here goes: Brexit means brexit. That being said, let me get on with the getting on and share with you some olde English words and their subsequent meanings. You are welcome.

Gubbins

“It’s not working because the gubbins have fallen out.” Truth be told, I have never heard this particular word. Not that surprising-I am new here. New-ish. Gubbins means: bits and pieces or paraphernalia. It actually comes from an old French word for a bite of food-or a piece of something. Further, when the word crossed over to use in English language it was translated as ‘gob’ which is associated with mouth. Up North they will often say something like ‘oh shut your gob.’ They are weird up North. Please know this to be true. Yup.

Mosey

“Come on…get a mosey on!” or “To mosey along.” Ahh, I do know this word. Massive relief. Actually this word is very strange in the fact that it can mean to hurry up or to go slowly. When this word originally appeared in 1836 it was a verb meaning to go away quickly. The leisurely version of the word came about in the 1960. Truth.

Snap

In American slang we sometimes say: ‘oh snap!’ as an exclamation or that something pretty incredulous has just happened. But on this side of the pond, you might hear: ‘What are you having for your snap?’ Snap means: dinner. It was featured in D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers-and snap was a word that originally came from mining. You see, miners used to take a tin box down into the mines, containing their food (think: lunchbox). And the sound of the tin snapping open and shut led to the meal itself being referred to as snap. Cool beans! See what I did there?

Dander

“Oh me dander’s up!” Have heard ‘dander’ plenty-and maybe you have too. It is an expression that means that you are cross (angry). Actually, this word was first seen in writing in America in 1831-and dander stood for dandruff. And when your dander’s up, it means you’re so angry it’s brought the dandruff off your scalp. Yikes. Head and Shoulders should sort that out. For real.

Mardy

‘Don’t be mardy!’ The band, the Artic Monkeys are party to thank/blame for the recent resurgence of this word-thanks to their song ‘Mardy Bum.’ Now people all over the UK have picked up on this word which stands for a grumpy person. Mardy was originally recorded in Sheffield and Yorkshire in the 1890’s. The idea came from a marred or spoilt child who would then misbehave and be grumpy as well as sulky. Truth.

 

Twitten

“You need to go down the twitten.” This word has nothing to do with social media/Twitter. It is simply an alleyway. Apparently there is a manuscript which was printed in 1831 Sussex dialect which says that a twitten is the word for a narrow path between two walls or hedges. This word is a regional version of betwixt or between-but used as a noun. Again, all true.

 

So, that’s it. Some olde, funky words and their meanings and origins. I dare you to use some-if not, all, next week. Do it. That is all.

Cheers

 

Six Nations Championship

Image result for image for 6 nations rugby

 

Hello and hi. The Superbowl is tomorrow. My home team, the Redskins, are not in the Superbowl this year (and have not been since 1992) and if even if they were-and let’s face it…that is a big IF…I would not support them. Sorry (not sorry) but until they change their name and logo-I want nothing more to do with them.  I mean, ‘Reskins?’ Really? What on earth? This type of ethnic stereotyping simply promotes misunderstanding and prejudice in equal measure. Am I right? I think I am. So, no Washington Redskins for me-I am all about Rugby (but good luck to the New England Patriots-am pretty sure you will demolish the Atlanta Falcons). Yup.

So, no American football for me. I am all about rugby. I sure am. I have previously blogged about rugby. Have you ever seen rugby played? Man, those boys are tough-they make American footballers look like ballerina’s. I am not even joking.  Rugby players are incredible athletes, they have speed, strength and tactical awareness. Fundamental skills include:

  • Tackling (there is tackling form and tackling placement)
  • Passing (this includes spinning and popping the ball)
  • Ball Running
  • Field Position
  • and probably a lot more too

In addition, if you play rugby, it does not hurt if you look like our Johnny Wilkinson who was a former rugby union player who represented England and The British and Irish Lions.

 

Image: The Telegraph

 

 

Anyway, all this talk of Johnny Wilkinson has nearly made me forget the reason for this post…so, let’s do this….

6 Nations Championships

Rugby! To be more precise…the 6 Nations Championships has started today! The Six Nations is an annual international rugby union competition involving 6 European sides:

  • England
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Scotland and
  • Wales

It is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The current champions are England, having won the 2016 tournament.  England is playing France RIGHT now. There is no way France will beat England. It just ain’t gonna happen-(but actually the score right now is 9-9). Come on England!

Format

As mentioned-this championship is played annually. The format is pretty simple-each team plays every other team once (making a total of 15 matches), with home ground advantage alternating from one year to the next.  If a team wins all its games-they are said to have won a ‘Grand Slam.’ Victory by any Home Nation (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) over the other 3 Home Nations is a ‘Triple Crown.’ And while this has long been a feature of the tournament-it was not until 2006 that the physical Triple Crown trophy was awarded.

In addition, the team that finishes at the bottom of the league table is said to have ‘won’ the ‘Wooden Spoon’-which means you have come last in the competition-I don’t think they give them an actual wooden spoon-although no actual trophy is given to the team. Let’s face it-losers usually get nothing. Luckily in Rugby, they get a wooden spoon. Slowclap. And finally, a team which has lost all 5 matches is said to have been ‘whitewashed.’ So there you go, a brief overview of the six nations championship, which kicked off today. In closing… Team England! Woot Woot! That is all.

Image result for rugby 2017 England

 

Image result for image for 6 nations rugby 2017 England

 

Cheers

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall…in tweed

Hello and hi. This week we learned that our William and Harry will be commissioning a memorial statute to their late Mum, Princess Diana. It will be erected outside of Kensington Palace and the new statute will mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. Well done William and Harry for keeping your Mum’s memory alive. Not that there is a chance that we would ever forget her-but well done you, chaps for remembering her and making sure we remember her too.  I suppose while all this was going on, their stepmother, Camilla, was keeping a pretty low profile. She of course, knew Princess Diana well. Man, those two had an interesting relationship to say the least. But that is all water under the bridge now.

Image result for image of diana and camilla                                                                                                             Image: The Daily Mail

 

Image result for image of diana and camilla

 

 

 

Image result for image of diana and camilla

 

So fast forward to today and Camilla got her man in the finish, went and married him. The British public have warmed up to Camilla (including me) and we are now largely resigned to the fact that while she is no Diana (nor will she ever be)-she and Prince Charles seem happy together and apparently, William and Harry get on quite well with her. Which is good for everybody (including me).

So anyway, Camilla was out and about in the city of Bath, today. Slowclap.  And of course, she wore her favourite tweed coat. I love tweed. Yes, yes, I do. I’ve got some tweed blazers that are pretty dope (read: fashionable). And guess who loves tweed too? Camilla, that’s who. You see, me and Camilla are not so different. Actually we are-but we both like tweed and that is where our similarities end.

So, our Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, 69, paid a visit to St. John’s almshouses on Tuesday. The Duchess is a royal patron of the charity and will open its new residence. She also spent time chatting to the staff and residents during her visit. On her visit, our Camilla wore her favourite tweed coat dress (worn over a ruffled silk shirt and suede boots). It is interesting (or not) to note that Camilla has worn this outfit loads of times before on a number of occasions, including the races at Sandown and Cheltenham. So, she wears her clothes more than once? Welcome to the real world, Camilla.  Yeah girl, we all do it as well.

Camilla, 69, cut a glamorous figure in one of her favourite tweed coat dresses worn over a ruffled silk shirt and suede boots as she visited St. John's Hospital's almshouses on Tuesday                                                                                                                                 Image: The Daily Mail

In addition to dropping in on the almshouses, Camilla will open the newly refurbished Rosenberg House in Chapel Row. In addition, she will meet local organisations supported by St Johns as well as community groups who use the facilities. Later, she will attend a reception for residents and supporters. Wow. Being a Royal must terribly exhausting. I could never do it-imagine, having to be all nicey-nicey all the time. Rarely, do you see Royals in bad moods or being snarky or sarcastic. I mean, a world without snark and sarcasm is no kind of world to live in. Indeed it is not.

Anyway, here are some pics of Camilla being royal-like, while in her fab tweed coat.

The Duchess chats to CEO Sue Porto, second left, and residents of the charity's almshouses on what turned out to be a cold and wet morning in Bath

Busy day: As well as dropping in on the almshouses, Camilla will officially open the newly refurbished Rosenberg House in Chapel Row on Tuesday

Chief Executive of St Johns Foundation, Sue Porto, speaking ahead of Camilla’s visit, said: ‘The refurbishment of Rosenberg House reaffirms our charitable commitment to helping people to enjoy an excellent quality of life by supporting them to live as independently as possible.” The Grade II listed building (first built in 1974) is made up of 15 apartments and is hoem to 17 of St John’s 100 almshouse residents.

That is all.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit Bill Debate in Parliament (happy happy joy joy)

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Hello and hi. I was not going to blog today, as I blogged plenty yesterday. I sure did. But today, I could not NOT blog. For you see, today is a special day in the UK  (oh and tomorrow, too). It sure is. So, this is what is going down.

MP’s (Member of Parliament) today are to commence two days of debate over the government’s parliamentary bill to get the formal process of Brexit under way. Happy happy joy joy.  Said in another way: British lawmakers will debate the Parliamentary bill that will give the Prime Minister the ‘go ahead’ to withdraw from the EU. MP’s will be given until midnight to discuss the legislation which would allow our Prime Minister, Theresa May, to invoke Article 50 of the EU Treaty-and thus start the 2 year negotiations that will be necessary, in order to leave the EU.

Further, the UK was forced to bring the legislation to Parliament after The Supreme Court ruled that the government could not trigger Article 50 without permission from lawmakers. MP’s will vote on the EU (Notification on withdrawal) Bill on Wednesday.

Opposition leader (Labour) Jeremy Corbyn has ordered his MP’s NOT  to delay the process by voting against the government on Article 50 (22 MP’s are expected to defy him) and support a “wrecking amendment.” Yes, we too here in the UK have MP’s who defy their leaders. Shout out (woot woot!) to Sally Yates for ‘defying’ Donald Trump. I see you Donald and your craziness and the rest of the world sees it too. But, I digress.

In closing, MP’s will discuss the European Union Bill today up to midnight and tomorrow, Wednesday 1 February a vote will take place on this very important issue. MP’s want to get the bill passed in time to trigger Brexit by 31 March. Like I said, happy happy joy joy!

 

 

Cheers