Sunday, 27 April 2008

Crunch Time

As I write, Saints have dropped into the relegation zone. Assuming all the teams above us lose we still need a minimum of 2 points with just 2 games to play.

The first on Monday night against a team who (realistically) needs just a point in front of their own fans to gain promotion back to the Premier League. Even worse it's live on tv, for some reason we take great delight in embarrassing ourselves in front of worldwide audiences. The final game at hone to know that beating us could (depending on other results) earn them a place in the coveted Play-Offs. So those points look a long way off.

As a fan is it being disloyal to admit it? - we are well and truly f*%#ed. Not least because on the day we dropped into the bottom 3 my shareholder invite to attend the hastily called EGM dropped on my doormat. Years of internal wrangling at board level have destroyed the very heart of the club.

Maybe it's karma, maybe the club is simply getting exactly what it deserves.

The only saving grace is that traditionally we have been able to pull a top performance out of the bag when it's least expected

Ah well 1 week to go and we'll know for sure.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Green Fingers

Thanks to a suddenly unaccountable spirit of self-sufficiency I have decided that I am going to grow our own vegetables from now on. Well, slight exaggeration, but last week I succumbed to an impulse purchase of a BBC Gardening magazine, lured by the packet of free seeds on the cover.

Just a week ago I filled 5 little flowerpots with compost and planted our summer rations. In two pots went seeds of "Oriental Mixed Salad Leaves". The other 3 contain either "Anaheim Chilli Pepper", "Sweet Green Basil" or "Gartenperle Tomato". I say "either" because I immediately spotted my first major error, I had forgotten to mark which pot contained which seeds after I'd buried the little blighters. However, undeterred by this initial setback, I covered them in cling film, placed them on the kitchen window sill , lightly watered them and - well basically forgot all about them.

Today just one week on, I remembered them again. I am pleased (and shocked) to report good progress. Both pots containing the spicy salad leaves are displaying astonishing growth, multiple shoots, all topped by two or more leaves, already about 3 inches high. I guess by Sunday it might be time for them to venture out into the big wide world.

As for the "unidentified" 3 progress is mixed. One (I think the tomato) has already produced 4 shoots about an inch high, with slender leaves. One of the others has several green tips just broken through the surface whilst the 3rd has yet to show any sign that I even put anything into the pot.

It's a bit early to say if anything edible is going to result from any of the 5 pots, but at the moment I'm looking forward to a healthy, "planted and picked by my own fair hand", salad-y diet this summer.

My next project - rip out the lawn and plant myself a small field of barley and hops.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Just Say No !

Just Say No !, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

Flickr is probably the best photo-sharing planet on the web. It's a place were anyone can feel accepted, from the most professional of photographers, to the enthusiastic amateur, to a simple "snapper" who wants to share his or her holiday snaps.

Today they have decided - without consulting the members who pay to keep it going - to allow videos to be uploaded as well.

Why ? I've no idea .

If users want to see videos there are plenty of sites already for that, YouTube, MetaCafe etc, there' no need for them on a photography site. I can only imagine it's the same principle as Tescos expanding into the - well virtually everything - market, thatare worried that if users/customers have to go elsewhere for one thing they might not come back.

Personally I feel it's a ridiculous decision. I have learned a lot about photography from Flickr, the last thing I want is to keep stumbling across terrible mobile phone quality videos of drunken teenagers having a "fun" - there's a time and a place for those but it's not Flickr.

Despite the videos being announced less than 24 hours ago there is already a massive and rapidly growing campaign to get Flick to re-think, or at least consult it's fee paying members over this. If they don't it could be a case of corporate suicide - remember other photo-sharing sites are available.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The Long Journey Home

Yesterday I had to pop up to London on business, taking Mrs W with me.

An easy drive up in the morning, park in Richmond and get a day rover for the tube, avoiding high car parking charges, congestion charges and god knows what other charges.

Tube to Olympia, business concluded by late lunch so hopped on and off tubes for quick wander round Picadilly, Oxford Street, Soho, St James Park, and Whitehall, jump on another tube back to Richmond, grab a coffee and head home about 19.15

Couldn't be easier.

Until we hit a queue on the M3 just south of the M25 junction at about 19.40pm.

A queue which we soon realised was stationery. Soon the sky got darker and the temperature plummeted

A queue which remained stationery until 22.30 when it moved all of 100 yards before stopping again.

A queue which then remained stationery again until 23.07 when out of the blue, and interrupting the 78th game of I-spy - how I didn't guess v was for van again I'll never know - it started to crawl.

A queue which slowly crawled until 23.30 when suddenly we were past the obstruction (apparently a vehicle fire and diesel spill) and we were on our way. Except we didn't go too far, a stop a Fleet Services was by now a desperate necessity.

We finally arrived home at 00.45.

5 1/2 hours for a journey that normally takes 75 minutes. We could have cycled home quicker !

Sunday, 6 April 2008

A Bit Of Snow

Snow Mosaic, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

I might be an overgrown child but I still love to be woken by the words "It's snowing".

For once the forecasters got it right. We would be hit by snow around 8 am Sunday morning. They got it spot in. Heavy snow, which for once actually laid on the ground, gave us a mini-blizzard lasting about an hour. Ironically last but one post was "first Signs Of Spring".

By mid-day it had virtually all gone, but like most things in life, it was good while it lasted, however short.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Unusual Visitor

Unusual Visitor, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

It's not every day you get visited by a skunk - well certainly not in England anyway.

Today, in my shop, a customer asked if it was ok to bring animals in. This usually means a guide dog, or at worst a well behaved dog on a lead so naturally we agreed.

So in he strolled with his skunk in a carry case, and at my request to take a photo for the kids out it came. I had no idea quite how big they are (I thought more like rabbit sized). This one is female, apparently the males are significantly bigger. Thankfully she had been de-scented and was very tame.

The owner runs a business taking animals around schools giving kids a "hands-on" and close-up experience of rare and unusual creatures. Yet another improvement in education nowadays, in my day we had to make do with text book photos and a class gerbil.